Want to upgrade your home but only have a little bit of money? Maybe you’re hoping to turn that stimulus check or tax return into a low-cost home upgrade. Or maybe you’re just ready for a change.
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to improve your home’s appearance, comfort, and even value. Whether you want a new bathroom, need a place to escape from the day-to-day, or just want more storage, these home improvements can be done for just a few hundred dollars each.
Makeover Your Bathroom
Hankering for a new bathroom? The average bathroom remodel costs more than $10,500, but if you don’t have that kind of money lying around, you can upgrade the form and function of yours for just a few hundred.
Pick up a new granite bathroom vanity top, some new fixtures, and a mirror. Bring new life to your old bathroom vanity with a fresh coat of paint, or pick up a new one if it’s in the budget. Stretch your dollars by checking out your local Habitat for Humanity Restore or other architectural salvage retailers, or repurpose another piece of furniture into a stylish bathroom fixture.
If your basic fixtures are still in good shape, make your bathroom feel new again with some new accessories — a new towel rack, shelves, soap dishes, pull-out mirror, storage cupboard, and light fixtures. Install a bathroom fan if you don’t yet have one. Check the caulk around your sink and tub for signs of age and replace it if necessary.
Escape to the Backyard
What would it take to turn your backyard into a retreat from workaday life? Would a pop-up canopy or pergola do the trick? You can buy a screened-in canopy or pergola for a few hundred dollars, and set it up in just a couple of hours on any flat space. They’ll keep out insects and provide welcome shade from the sun — and if you want more privacy, many models allow you to hang curtains to block prying eyes.
Don’t have a deck or patio on which to put such a thing? You can build your own paver patio for about $3.50 a square foot. It’s hard work — it involves a lot of digging, and you’ll have to rent a heavy plate compactor, but it doesn’t take any special skills or experience.
Boost Your Curb Appeal
If you’re looking for affordable home improvement ideas that can really boost the value of your home, look at making some small upgrades that can boost your curb appeal. Paint your front door, trim, and shutters to match. Pick up some new door handles and house numbers, and a new mailbox. Replace your worn-out light fixture. Add charm to a plain concrete walk and driveway with a border of pavers or bricks, dry set into a well-tamped base. You can even paint your concrete steps and porch, and don’t forget to pick up a new welcome mat.
If you have a mailbox down by the road, consider sprucing it up with a new mailbox post. If you’re not in any hurry, you can fill your flower beds cheaply by planting some low-maintenance, self-sowing annuals, like four o’clocks, night-blooming tobacco, or cosmos. For a few dollars in seeds, you could have beautiful flowers that come back year after year, with no need for replanting.
Refresh Your Kitchen
Brightly colored kitchens are trendy right now, and you might be surprised at how much brighter and more cheerful your kitchen feels after a kitchen cabinet refresh. For a couple of hundred dollars in paint and supplies, you could totally change the look of your kitchen cabinets with a fresh coat of paint. Use a high-gloss enamel paint that will hold up to scrubbing and catch the light. If you have a little more money to spend, add an affordable but attractive butcher block or tile countertop.
Increase Your Storage
Who doesn’t need more closet space? You can get a lot more storage out of your closets, cupboards, and pantries with a minimum cash investment in organizing hardware. Add more usable storage space to your kitchen cupboards with cabinet roll-outs. Install an inexpensive and practical closet organizer system in your bedroom closet. Add some corner hanging rods to your closet or bedroom.
You don’t need to take out a second mortgage to make home improvements that will result in a nicer, more comfortable, and even more valuable home. With a few hundred dollars of cash and some sweat equity, you refresh the look of a room or outdoor space and make it feel brand new again, even if it isn’t.