Whether you’ve just bought a new home, are trying to sell it or are just trying to spruce it up, major remodels can become a hefty expense. Fortunately, there are still plenty of budget-friendly things you can do to scratch that home-improvement itch and make your home look great as well as increase its value.
Refresh your walls with a new coat of paint.
Painting is one of the smallest investments you can make, but can also have the best results.
One of the easiest and quickest ways to freshen your house is with paint, according to Robert Barillas, the owner of RJB Remodeling and Maintenance. Anytime you repaint your home, it not only gives it a fresh look, but can also add value, Barillas said.
According to Anthony Ciaramaglia, a job supervisor at TME Construction, first impressions are the most important, so don’t just stop on the inside, either pressure wash or paint the exterior of your house as well.
A splash of color at the front of your house is an eye-catching plus, according to owner of California Style Construction Robert Bussard, so you should also apply some fun paint to your front door to help make your entry more welcoming.
With paint, you’ve got unlimited options, but if you’re planning on selling, don’t get too crazy when choosing your paint colors and stick to neutral shades.
Upgrade your home’s hardware and fixtures.
Details matter, and according to Bussard, replacing outdated fixtures with attractive modern ones can make a big difference.
These include things like lighting fixtures, doorknobs, outlet covers, light switch plates and faucets, which Ciaramaglia says are updates that people can easily do themselves.
Barillas says that a great way to create accent points is by changing out standard hardware like window coverings. He advises to stay away from basic blinds and, instead, go for decorative curtains and window dressings to accent your windows.
Install cost-effective flooring.
The floors in your home are constantly being put to the test. Almost daily, they come in contact with dirty shoes, spills, pet claws and furniture scratches, so it’s only a matter of time before they need replacing.
Don’t be afraid to upgrade even if you can’t afford hardwood. Replacing your old floors with laminate or vinyl flooring that is cost effective can still give you a ton of added value, Barillas said.
But you don’t necessarily always need to replace your flooring. According to Ciaramaglia, cleaning your carpets alone can do wonders to the look of your home.
Start with your kitchen or bathroom.
Kitchens and bathrooms can be big selling points on homes and Ciaramaglia says they make up most of the renovations that they do.
Although installing new cabinets or appliances usually comes with a large price tag, you still can give your kitchen a new look without doing a full-blown remodel by making a few cheaper cosmetic changes. For example, if your cabinets are in good shape, Barillas says you can simply reface them with a paint or stain. You can also replace hardware, add a backsplash or install recessed lighting.
For such a small space, there’s a whole lot that can be done in the bathroom for a low cost. Bussard says you can replace old shower doors, bathtubs, toilets, vanities, sinks, fixtures, showerheads, mirrors and lighting.
Don’t forget the outside.
What your house looks like on the outside is just as important as what it looks like on the inside, and a fresh coat of paint won’t cut it if you’ve got weeds and dead shrubbery greeting guests when they pull up to your home.
Simple things like cutting the grass, pulling weeds, raking leaves and pruning hedges are vital, according to landscaper Jorge Alvarez. Alvarez also suggests adding a nice border and mulch to your garden beds or planting some if you don’t have any already.
Replacing old, cracked driveways and walkways with stamped concrete, pavers or bricks is another way to add to your curb appeal, according to Bussard.
And if you like to spend any time outside, a place for summer barbeques and an outdoor area for your kids to play is a must-have, Alvarez said.
Patio covers, decks, gazebos or porch additions make perfect accents to your homes, according to Bussard, and offer an extra dedicated space for entertaining guests.
When deciding what home improvements you want to tackle versus the ones you want to hire a professional for, it’s best to take your skill set into account.
Bussard says that just because you can do it yourself doesn’t necessarily mean you should — some projects, like those involving plumbing or electrical, can be “downright dangerous” to complete on your own.
Professionals are trained to handle tasks that are complicated, time-consuming or dangerous, so some projects are better left to the experts.