18 Fun Home Improvements You Can Make for Less Than $100 Each
You might have big home makeover dreams, but big dreams often come with big price tags.
However, with a little thought and imagination – and some shopping around for the best deals – you can do some fun home improvements for less than $100 each.
Whether you want to upgrade a certain room in your house or change something across a larger area, such as lighting or wall color, there are a ton of affordable ideas to help you freshen up your space without busting your budget.
The great news: All of these suggestions can be done over one weekend, max.
1. Change Your Light Bulbs
It’s super-simple, but makes a huge difference to the atmosphere in your home. According to New York City realtor Leonard Steinberg, the best low-cost home improvement anyone can do is to change out their light bulbs.
“Most homes have hideously cold LED or fluorescent light bulbs that cast a ghostly coloration on even those with the best complexion,” Steinberg said.
Go for warm white LEDs for the main lighting in your lounge, vintage filament bulbs for secondary lounge lighting, and filament vintage bulbs with warm color temperatures and low lumens in your bedroom.
Steinberg suggests adding a coat of paint to the walls to maximize the effect.
2. Make the Most of Vertical Space
It doesn’t take long for various types of clutter, such as mail, trinkets, bags and dishes to gather on countertops and flat surfaces. Getting rid of some of the clutter in your house gives it an instant makeover.
The key is to take advantage of free vertical space.
For example, you could hang a key rack next to your entryway, fill a wall space with an accordion hanger (either horizontally or vertically) or fix your television to the wall with a mount to create cleaner display space for photos, small plants, etc., on shelves. You could also fix large floating shelves over beds for heavier objects, like books, albums and candles.
You could actually do all of these things for $100 or less.
3. Get Creative With Rugs
As well as having a huge impact on the look and feel of an area, rugs can be used to “zone” your home.
For example, you can use a runner to follow the length of a dining table to mark it out from the rest of the room. This versatile rug style can also be used to divide up two parts of a room, either equally or asymmetrically.
You can also zone a seating area with one large and two smaller rugs, or if floor space is scarce, hang rugs on your walls to bring color, pattern and interest to blank areas, and add insulation and warmth.
4. Refresh Your Accessories
Little touches make a big difference when it comes to home improvements.
If you’re restricted to a tight budget, take it one room at a time. You can find inexpensive ways to update every room in your home, says New York City realtor Tali Berzak of Compass.
For example, a magnetic key holder can help you keep all your keys in order and make your hallway look more tidy, a nice towel basket is great for organizing towels in your bathroom and a contemporary sponge holder adds elegance to your kitchen.
5. Update Bathroom Fixtures
You don’t have to rip everything out and start from scratch to give your bathroom a facelift. Update your fixtures by replacing a leaky or outdated faucet or shower head, or revamp the space with a new rug and hand towels or an inexpensive art piece that enhances your color scheme.
Sophie Kaemmerle, Communications Manager for NeighborWho.com, recommends visiting thrift stores to find items to give this small room a big personality.
6. Replace Knobs and Hardware in Your Kitchen
New York City realtor Lauren Fernandes recommends replacing all the knobs and hardware in your kitchen.
Choose new pieces that reflect your personality and complement the existing decor in your home, starting with your local hardware store for affordable options. You’ll be surprised at the range of colors and styles available, giving you plenty of room to get creative.
7. Use Wallpaper for an Accent Wall
If you can’t afford to wallpaper every wall in a room, choose an accent wall to receive the patterned touch, and simply give the other three walls a fresh coat of paint.
When choosing your wallpaper, go for something bold and eye-catching to create a focal point in your space. Take some time to choose your accent wall – either go for the wall that’s first visible when you walk into the room, or the wall you want to draw attention to, such as the chimney breast wall to highlight a fireplace or the wall behind your bed.
8. Invest in a Full-Length Mirror
A full-length mirror isn’t just a great practical addition to a room. It adds a tasteful, elegant touch. It looks more expensive than it has to be, and it opens up any space.
Hung vertically on a wall, a full-length mirror makes the room seem taller; hung horizontally, it makes the room feel bigger. Stacy Caprio of Fiscal Nerd recommends searching online resale sites, Cragislist and retailers like Wayfair to find a great buy that suits the existing decor in your home. In fact, all shapes and sizes of mirrors bring lots of benefits to your space, including maximizing natural light and reflecting artificial light sources.
9. Fix What Needs to Be Fixed
Instead of spending $100 buying new things, a more cost-effective, environmentally friendly approach is to fix what you already have. Perhaps your home has a beautiful, classical door or item of furniture, which simply needs a little TLC to look great again.
For example, all you need to rejuvenate an old table is sanding paper, a couple of brushes and a pot of paint. Do the same with any kind of door in your home. Sand away old paint and imperfections, get rid of dust with a brush and apply a fresh coat of paint.
10. Clean and Reseal Tile Grout
OK, this might not be the most fun thing on the list. But it works.
Whether in a bathroom or a kitchen, cleaning and resealing tile grout makes a surface look like brand new, at a fraction of the price of removing and replacing old tiles.
You don’t need to be a master tiler to reseal grout – just take your time and make sure you have all the essential equipment, including gloves and eye protection, masking tape and grout sealer. Watch a few online instructional videos before you start, and take your time!
11. Create Faux Stained Glass
You can quickly spruce up your front door with decorative window film, says Kaemmerle.
“The film is removable, able to be repositioned, and is available in many styles. In addition, many are available for less than $30,” she said.
To achieve the look of stained glass without the cost of installation, mount a decorative panel on the interior of the door behind an already present glass insert.
12. Light Your Pathway
To improve the exterior of your home, install solar-powered LED lights.
“Good lighting can make a great difference in bringing new life to your home,” said Kaemmerie. “It not only adds character to your landscape, but it has the practical component of helping to make things more visible at night.”
Solar-powered LED lights are quick and simple to install, as they don’t require wiring. You can find an eight-pack for around $50 online.
13. Add Storage
Kaemmerle recommends adding cabinets to a laundry room for additional storage, and her top tip is to visit secondhand and thrift stores to find the best deals.
“Once you purchase your cabinet, apply a fresh coat of paint and wood trim from your local hardware store,” she said. “Finish the look by installing a wooden board above your washer or dryer, and using brackets to attach it to the wall, to give you an additional space for folding your laundry.”
14. Add a Kitchen Backsplash
The cost of remodeling an entire kitchen can be huge, but you can use peel and stick backsplashes to add affordable texture and color. Similar to an accent wallpaper wall in another room, a backsplash is a great way to inject personality into a kitchen, from a futuristic metallic effect to a bright, eye-catching pattern.
Many companies supply bespoke backsplashes, cutting the product to your exact requirements. “They come in many styles and colors and are easy and quick to install,” Kaemmerle said.
15. Upgrade Your Lighting
Lighting is key to creating the right ambiance in any room, and you have various products to choose from, depending on what you want to achieve.
For example, a wireless lighting dimmer lets you control the lights of any room, at the touch of a button. An overhead chandelier makes a bold statement and creates a talking point in a living room, while ceiling lights with versatile controls positioned around your bed (instead of over it) provide total bedroom ambiance.
16. Refresh Your Wall Colors
Possibly the most budget-friendly way to give your entire home a brand new look is to change the color of your walls. Your biggest problem will be choosing a shade, as there are literally thousands of options, starting from less than $10 per gallon.
Before you go wild with your paintbrush, buy some sample sizes to let you try a few different shades on the wall, as it can look quite different than how it appears on the tin. If you’re considering a drastic change, apply some of the sample and live with it for a few days to figure out how you feel about it as a long-term decor choice.
17. Build a Pizza Oven
Turn your backyard into a real social space by building a wood-fired pizza oven from bricks and concrete. This involves building a small igloo-type structure out of bricks, adding a chimney, cementing it all in place and lighting a fire to dry out the interior. Lots of tutorials are available online for basic designs that give you delicious pizza.
18. Style Your Backyard
Whether you have a pizza oven or not, you can make your backyard a space you want to spend time in without spending a fortune – or even getting your hands dirty.
You can do a lot with supplies you probably already have at home, such as cleaning your plant pots with warm water, a scrubbing brush and a little detergent, scraping away moss and weeds from cracks in your patio with an old pair of secateurs then filling in the gaps with sand and cement, and replacing old, tired plants with healthy new ones.
Add personality with a few outdoor candles in lanterns, a string of fairy lights, and a bird bath or interesting water feature.