Most people who own homes will agree that there's always room for some sort of improvement. The problem, however, is that sprucing up a home costs money -- something most of us don't have in an unlimited supply.
The good news is, you don't need to spend a fortune to refresh your home and boost its appeal. Here are a few options for renovating your space that won't completely break the bank.
1. Slap on a fresh coat of paint
There's nothing like a new coat of paint to turn an outdated room into a bright, inviting space. And you don't need to be an artist to tackle this sort of task yourself. All you need are some basic supplies, including brushes, rollers and trays, some drop cloths, and painter's tape. Here's some more good news -- assuming you go the DIY route, painting a room will cost as little as $200, and that includes the paint. Of course, your costs might climb if you're working with a larger space or opt for truly high-end paint, but otherwise, it's a project you can do on the cheap.
2. Update your window treatments
Dented, dirty blinds can make your windows look old and dated -- so it pays to replace them with new window treatments, which, incidentally, don't have to cost a ton. You can invest in some curtains and rods, hang your new treatments yourself, and update prime areas in your home, such as your living room or dining room, for less than $100 per window.
3. Plant flowers and shrubs for curb appeal
Your home's exterior sets the tone for those who visit your space. So if you're willing to sink a little time into your front lawn, it'll pay off in a very big way. Visit your local nursery, choose some plantings that are easy to maintain, and replace old, dying bushes with fresh shrubs and flowers. Since this type of work by no means requires a professional landscaper, the only costs you'll incur are the items you purchase.
4. Upgrade your kitchen and bathroom hardware
Those old, rusted knobs on your bathroom and kitchen cabinets aren't doing those rooms any favors. Since new hardware is easy to come by and doesn't cost a lot, replacing your current set could work wonders for your interior. Now you should know that removing and installing cabinet hardware can be tedious work, but if you're willing to dedicate part of a weekend, you can replace your hardware for less than $5 per piece. Along these lines, you might consider upgrading your kitchen and bathroom faucets. If you're reasonably handy, you can do this yourself without hiring a plumber, thus keeping the cost down.
5. Replace worn, stained carpet
Let's face it: Even if you're obsessive about vacuuming, if your carpets are stained and dingy, they'll detract from your otherwise noble efforts. Rather than sink money into a series of professional cleanings, it often pays to replace carpet completely when it's in really bad shape. You can have new carpet installed in a 12-by-112 room for just $300, and since many of today's brands include some sort of stain protection, you'll have an easier time with maintenance going forward.
6. Refinish your kitchen cabinets
For many households, the kitchen is the focal point of the home. So if yours is filled with old, chipped cabinets, you may be tempted to rip them out and put new ones in. The problem, of course, is that new cabinetry can run you many thousands of dollars, depending on the size of your kitchen and materials you choose. A better bet, therefore, is to have your existing cabinets refinished. For a standard kitchen, you might spend $2,000 or less to give your cabinets a face lift, which, in turn, will revitalize the entire room.
7. Re-caulk your bathrooms
Nothing screams "ugly" like brown or chipped caulk lining your tiles. If you're willing to invest a few dollars and a couple of hours, recaulking your bathrooms will instantly deliver a breath of fresh air. At roughly $2 to $5 a tube, it's quite possibly the cheapest home improvement you'll ever make.
8. Wash and stain your deck
Because your deck is constantly exposed to the elements, its condition can deteriorate over time -- especially if you're talking about natural wood. On the other hand, a little hands-on care can turn a neglected-looking deck into a welcoming outdoor retreat. To start, rent or borrow a pressure washer to remove dirt and grime. Next, apply a coat or two of stain to give a wooden deck a fresh, new look. You might also consider renting a sander if your deck is splintering.
Whether you're looking to sell your home or simply make it a more attractive place to live, these improvements will transform your space without busting your budget. And remember, you don't have to tackle them all at once. Home improvements are often a work in progress, but eventually, you'll get there.
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