Simple Home Upgrades

Everyone has walked into their home at some point and just felt like moving. It can happen a lot more if your home is older with outdated finishes. A whole home remodel would do the trick, but that may not be in your budget. Don’t worry, here are a few projects that can bring a lot of new life to a home without breaking your budget.

Replace the doorknobs. If you have old, brass-colored doorknobs, you can swap out to brushed nickel for less than $200 for the whole house. All you need is a screwdriver and a Saturday afternoon to replace them. Don’t forget the hinges too.

Install new bathroom faucets. They get corroded and outdated. You’ll need to watch a few YouTube videos before you take on the project, though. It’s not too complicated, but you can't wing it and you'll need some special tools, like a blow torch. For a two and a half bath home, you’re looking at $100–$150 and a Saturday. Higher if you also replace the towel bars and toilet paper holder too.

Put in LED replacement lights. Whether you have recessed can lights, ceiling-mounted lights, or hanging lights; LED upgrades are available. So get rid of those old dome lights that look like grandma’s punch bowl stuck to the ceiling and replace them with something more modern and efficient! Some of the recessed can lighting replacements screw into the old light socket and require no tools. Look to spend anywhere from $50 to $100 per room and a few hours. If you need to touch any wires, make sure you turn off the power at the breaker.

Paint. Drab, old, dull paint can bring down a room. One or two gallons will cover a typical room, or you can do an accent wall and get away with a quart. Expect to pay about $50 per room including supplies. Remember the more you tape, the less touch-up is needed.

Organize your closet. Kill two birds with one stone here. Get rid of a bunch of old clothes you never wear anymore and get a closet that’s better organized and more efficient! There are tons of options for “drop-in” closet organizer kits that screw or click together.

Clean up your yard. Trim back neglected plants. Tighten up the edges of your garden. Dig out those old, overgrown pavers. There are a lot of things you can do around your yard for free that will help freshen things up. Check on Facebook or Craigslist for people giving away unused material (leftover materials pop up a lot).

Replace cabinet pulls and handles. Sometimes it’s the little things that can really tie a room together. Often times in a kitchen, it’s the cabinet fixtures. It’s something anyone can do with a screwdriver. If you have all the knobs and handles you need, it can be done in an hour after work. Ikea and Amazon have a lot of budget-friendly options that’d cover most kitchens for $50–$100. Try putting a different design on the island or a standalone cupboard to add a little flair.

Put down a rug. It’s that simple. Doesn’t matter if you have hardwood, tile, or carpet. A rug can change up the feel of a space. Expect to spend anywhere from nothing to a few hundred, the choice is yours.

Replace your outlet and switch plates. This can be a huge improvement in older homes. Plastic degrades over time and gets that yellow tinge. Old plates were often made from a brittle plastic that can crack. While you’re at it, replace the outlets and switches too. Rocker style switches and plugs with built-in USBs are a great update. Changing the plates should cost about $50. Replacing the outlets and switches is going to bump the cost to around $200–$300.

Remove ceiling popcorn. It’s no longer 1973. With a spray bottle and a scraper you can shave years off your home. Some plastic sheeting and a few rolls of tape will help too. Unless you also want to replace your carpet. Altogether you’re looking at $50 and a weekend as an investment.

Sometimes a few details make the whole picture better. Everything on this list can easily be done by you and with tools you most likely already have or are at least inexpensive to buy. Either watch a few videos, talk to someone at your local hardware store, or, better still, ask a neighbor for tips and some help.

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