When you just move into a new home, it’s exciting to make it your own. During 2013, new homeowners — those who have lived in their homes for three years or less — spent $19 billion on home improvements, according to a Nielsen study.
Some people choose to gut their entire home. “Knock out that wall and make the living room opened to the kitchen,” the homeowner tells their contractor or “I want a state of the art chef’s kitchen with all of the amenities,” a homeowner may decide upon first moving into their new place. Those are the types of home improvements that come with a price tag of several thousand dollars.
Some home improvement projects, however, are not nearly as costly. You can completely transform a room without necessarily knocking down walls or changing your home’s floor plan. Here’s a list of do-it-yourself home improvements that cost less than a family dinner at most restaurants.
1. Painting your entryway enhances curb appeal
If your door is an ugly color, or if the paint is dull or cracked, painting it will give your home an instant face lift. Yes, paint can be extremely expensive, but if you go to the paint store and ask to look through the cans of paint that were mistake mixes, you can buy quality paint at an extreme discount. DIY Network suggests using bright colors like turquoise for a fun look that makes your home stand out.
In addition to painting the front door, you can also paint shutters and trim, as well. This will create a uniform look, all for under $50.
2. Do a little gardening out front
Landscaping can greatly enhance curb appeal, as well. You can create a small garden for a cheap upfront cost. Using seeds, instead of seedlings or plants, can reduce your cost substantially. If you are attentive to your garden and your lawn throughout the years, this will provide you with an advantage when you go to sell your home.
Trees and shrubs can also work wonders for your home. HGTV reports that a properly planted tree can reduce cooling costs by up to 40 percent. The publication provides a few other gardening tips: “Purchase plants that are native to your region or plants that are drought-tolerant; these require less water and maintenance, which means more savings to you and more green in your wallet,” it reads.
3. Cover your chairs or couches
Do your dining room chairs look dull? Maybe they are stained? You can make a couch or dining room set look like a completely different piece by covering them with a different fabric. You can purchase fabric at any local fabric store, and you can get a good deal by buying leftover or excess pieces at a discount. This is a project that only takes a few hours, a staple gun, and maybe a screwdriver. If you have a wooden dining room set, sanding and refinishing can produce similar results.
4. Light it up with better bulbs
Around one-fourth of all energy is consumed by homes, according to Simple Home Energy. As homes become larger, they consume more energy and finding efficient solutions has become a trend in home remodeling projects. While adding a bathroom or remodeling a room will add value to your house, energy efficient investments save you money over the long term.
Simply Home Energy also explains how energy efficient home improvements benefit homeowners. “Unlike improvements such as adding a bedroom or updating a kitchen, which are typically expected to add value equivalent to a percentage (between 50 percent and 80 percent depending on type of remodel and region) of the cost, the value of energy efficiency improvements relates to energy cost reduction. This means that a given reduction in energy use, whether the result of a major improvement or a simple (i.e. low cost) one, can have the same impact on home value. The reason for this is that regardless of how the energy cost was reduced, the lower cost of energy means the homeowner has more monthly budget available for other expenses, such as a bigger house,” reads the publication.
Something as simply as changing your light bulbs to Energy Star lighting will produce cost-savings. You can also install weather stripping, frequently clean air vents, and change your air filter to save on costs.
5. Update drab light switch covers and fixtures
Bathroom fixtures can certainly get expensive, but if you shop around and do a little bit of research, you can find stylish and quality fixtures for under the $50 price point. Overstock and Walmart are both great places to look for deals on chrome faucets and shower heads.
If you have any outlets covers that are chipped, or even if you want to inject some color into the room, you can switch your light switch covers out with new ones that are colorful, wooden, or whatever your taste may be.