Simple, Low-Cost Home Renovation Ideas

Simple, Low-Cost Home Renovation Ideas

Simple, Low-Cost Home Renovation Ideas

At some point, every homeowner looks around the house they've purchased and wishes they could make some improvements. Maybe your home needed some work when you bought it, or maybe time hasn't been kind to your personal style. Either way, the majority of homeowners will forego renovations either because they can't afford it or because they don't have the skills to do it on their own.

You're right to be nervous about costs. The average kitchen renovation will cost around $35,000. Redoing a small bathroom can require a budget in the $15,000 range. Some of that budget goes to materials, but a big chunk of it will go for skilled labor. What if you could make major changes to your home without breaking the bank? Here are a few ways you can make significant changes to your home with a small budget and simple tools. You don't need to be a skilled contractor either, just willing to put in a bit of sweat equity.

Make the Living Room Worth Living In

Homeowners spend more time in their living rooms, family rooms and great rooms than any other place in the house. These spaces are the heart of any home. Fortunately, these rooms are the easiest and least expensive to transform. You only need basic tools that you may already have or that are inexpensive to buy. You definitely want to invest in a good drill and a sturdy multi position ladder.

Adding trim to a living room can transform the space. Although hardwood trim and molding can be extremely expensive, MDF trim is just as beautiful when painted and can cost as much as 50 percent less. For the crown molding that butts up against your ceiling, you can even use molding made from foam which is even cheaper and looks just as great when painted. Avoid using foam trim on chair rails or baseboard molding because it will get knocked up fairly quickly. MDF for molding that will see wear and foam for areas that don't get physical contact will be easiest on your budget and durable enough to last.

All that's left is to paint. Paint will always offer the most impact for the lowest price in any room. You can give your living room a classic look with neutral colors and cream trim, or you can get as dramatic as you like with bolder tones. And don't fall into the trap of buying the most expensive paint around. For interiors, the in-house brand at your local big box or chain home improvement store will be just fine.

Cook Up Change in the Kitchen

This is a difficult room to do on a budget, so set your expectations accordingly. You're not going to get stainless steel appliances and granite countertops on a budget. But you can make your kitchen fresh and modern with a few budget-friendly projects.

Getting all new cabinets may not be in the cards for those working with minimal funds, but there's a lot you can do to the existing ones to make them look brand new. Here again, paint is your best friend. Any kitchen looks bigger, brighter and more classic if you give the cabinets a coat of white or cream paint. Simply changing out the knobs and handles on your cabinets can freshen up their look. If you like the look of open shelving in the kitchen, consider removing the doors from a string of cabinets to get the same casual feel. 

If you simply cannot handle your kitchen counters for another day, think about replacing them with laminate or wood; both of these options are a great deal less expensive than natural stone. There are even paint products now engineered specifically for countertops. They are budget-friendly, easy to apply and can give your kitchen a unique style.

Clean Up Your Bathroom Style

You can make big changes in your bathroom using many of the same ideas as you use in the kitchen. Additionally, replacing accessories like towel racks and light fixtures can update a small bathroom dramatically. The most technically challenging project you might want to consider is replacing the faucets on the sink and shower. Make sure you turn off the water before you do. It's advisable to use paint that is made for bathrooms rather than standard paint in this room. It will cost more, but you'll avoid issues caused by the constant moisture in the room.

You will be amazed at the difference you can make in your home with a series of smaller projects that you can do yourself. The most impactful thing is also the simplest, paint, paint, paint. Adding crown molding to walls and cabinets can make simple structures look elegant. New light fixtures can modernize a space. Fixtures and accessories can give any room a clean and finished look. And you can do it all yourself with a budget the fraction of what you expected to pay.

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