Time is limited, funds are tight, but you desperately want to make over a few elements of your humble abode’s exterior and interior. Are there any feasible solutions?
Definitely, but the most ideal option is to put on your “handyman” cap and perform the tasks on your own.
But, let me warn you in advance: If you run across an idea or situation that seems too complex, do yourself and your wallet a favor and stick with the pros.
Otherwise, take a look at these simple and affordable DIY projects that can completely refresh your home’s appearance.
1. Bathroom shelving
Running low on storage space in the bathroom? Weaved baskets affixed to the wall will do the trick and can easily store a plethora of items, such as soap, lotion, and towels. We tend to stock up on common toiletries when we find them at a rock-bottom price, so these fixtures come in handy.
During my couponing days, I managed to pick up a stockpile of deodorant, liquid soap, and shampoo for less than 50 cents each. Guess where they were stored? You’ve got it — on these unique shelving structures.
If the grand, sitting, or dining rooms are equipped with basic lighting structures, spruce things up by installing chandeliers. They can be found in most home improvement stores for under $100. Along with being easy on your wallet, chandeliers add an element of class to the space.
3. Flowers, anyone?
Looking to lighten up the mood of your home with some fresh new flowers, but you don’t have anywhere for them to go? Grab a few used wine bottles or jars, apply your favorite shade of paint to the surface and you have a set of vibrant colored vases. I’m a huge fan of keeping fresh flowers around the home, so I’m always excited to pull out the decorative vases and put them on display for my viewing pleasure.
4. Add a little color
When we initially moved into our home, the walls were a dull shade of off-white. After a few years of working tirelessly on touch-ups to keep the walls clean and eventually growing bored with the appearance, we added a few accent walls and gave the living areas an entirely new look for a few hundred bucks by changing up the paint.
I’m thinking wallpaper may be a bit dated, depending on the pattern printed on the adhesive paper, but it’s definitely worth a shot if you have no desire to paint. I must add that I have run across some very neatly designed wallpaper for children’s rooms in the past few months at the arts and crafts store.
6. Dye the grout
This was another major problem in our home. The new tile was installed with off-white grout, which was immaculate until we started spending extended periods of time in the wet areas. Instead of shelling out loads of cash to have it steam cleaned or hiring a pro to come in and replace the grout, we decided to stain it a darker color. It took some time, but the supplies to do the job only came in around $40, making the project worthwhile.
7. Refinish wood floors
Recently installed wood floors to minimize cleaning? The one thing no one warned me about was the dull look they exude after an extended period of wear. We frequently have an issue with the children’s footprints smearing up the floor, so we use wood floor cleaner to keep things looking fresh.
8. Ceiling fans
You can kill two birds with one stone by installing ceiling fans throughout your home. Not only will they add a bit of flavor to each room, but they’ll also save you a little dough on your utility bill by recirculating both cool and warm air around the house.
9. Pendant lamps
It’s something about those hanging lamps that give the interior of a home a more modern look. Unless you already have stylish chandeliers in place that give off a modern aura, give these a try in your kitchen and grand room.
10. Clean the carpet
Almost every homeowner with pets or children in the home can probably attest to this one. Whether it’s spilled juice or embedded dirt from everyday activity, there’s a strong chance filth will take its toll on your carpet at some point.
The solution: rent a Rug Doctor from the nearest supermarket or purchase a reasonably priced steam cleaner. We went with the latter because our carpet always seems to look a little worn after a month or so of wear, and we wanted to have the steamer on hand to quickly clean up occasional messes.
11. Garage shelving
How about all the boxes sitting around the garage eating up floor space? One of my close relatives recently relocated and left a “few” of their possessions behind. There’s not much room in my home for storage, so I suggested that they leave the donations in the garage. Those “few” items turned out to be 15 or so large plastic storage containers scattered on the pavement.
Once the initial panic subsided, we promptly installed shelving on the garage wall and stacked the boxes on top of one another. The entire project only took a few hours and now our garage looks tidy again.
12. Window coverings
I stumbled upon these by mistake when searching for something visually appealing to cover the glass area on my door. Since they were inexpensive, I decided to try a few out and discovered not only to do they add a little flair, but they’re extremely simple to install and came in a variety of shades to match the existing decor in my home.
13. Add drapery
Easily give your windows a larger-than-life appearance by adding drapery close to the ceiling. The panels and drapery are simple to install and rather affordable. You can visit a discount retailer to secure the supplies for less than $100 or make the materials on your own.
14. Bicycle hooks
For some strange reason, we had too many bicycles lying around in the garage, most of which have been donated to us over time. As convenient as it was to leave them parked next to the car so we could select the one we wanted to take a ride on, they occupied way too much space. With the wall space that remained after we put up shelving, we installed hooks, hung the bicycles on them, and solved the problem in just a few short minutes.
15. Add a backsplash in the kitchen
Most of the major home improvement retailers sell peel and stick tiles that will make the process of adding a backsplash behind the stove an easy one. Plus, it’ll add a modern but elegant touch to your kitchen areas. And what’s better than a catch-all grease barrier to isolate the messes and expedite the cleaning process?
16. Change your bedding
It’s amazing what a new comforter set, throw pillows, a picture, and rug can do to the interior of your bedrooms. When I desire to switch things up a little without spending too much, I head to the nearest discount retailer –such as Ross, Marshalls or TJ Maxx — pick up the items I just mentioned, and the room suddenly has a whole new look.
17. Refinish cabinets
In case you haven’t noticed, let me be the first to tell you cabinetry isn’t cheap. And if yours are getting a tad bit worn on the surface and you’re disgruntled with their appearance, pick up a repair kit to conceal the blemishes. You’ll save yourself thousands of dollars by doing so.
18. Accent your door
To breathe new life into a dull-colored exterior, apply a bright colored coat of paint to the door to make it pop. A new front door on your home improvement dollars, but sometimes a simple coat of paint can have the same effect.
Quick note: If you reside in a deed restricted community, seek the approval of the homeowner’s association (HOA) board beforehand to avoid fines and wasted paint. I learned about this potential issue watching a show on HGTV about flipping homes. The investors had allocated $2,500 to the exterior paint job only to be notified by the president of the community’s HOA that the color had to be changed promptly.
19. Add backsplash to cabinets
Turned off by the light wood tint of your cabinet’s interior? Grab a can of paint and brush on a fresh coat to enhance the overall image.
20. Home office
Any idle closet space available in one of the spare bedrooms? If so, convert it into a home office by adding two boards of smooth-finished plywood; one for the desk areas and another for shelving space. And when the office is not in use, remove the chair, shut the door, and no one will even know it’s there.
21. The reading corner
Prefer a quiet place to read in lieu of a home office? Skip the shelving and add a beanbag or chair and pole lamp to the closet.
22. Create your own artwork
Even if you aren’t artistically inclined, head on over to for an endless collection of ideas and DIY instructions. A good friend of mine who recently purchased a home quickly grew bored by what she saw in stores and decided to create her own artwork. To my surprise, the pieces turned out beautifully. (By the way, she is a Registered Nurse without a creative bone in her body).
23. Dim the lights
By installing a dimmer switch, you can control the mood of the room when guests are over. It’s also a great way to conserve energy in your children’s rooms when the sun begins to go down if they still need a bit of light before heading to bed.
24. Install a dispenser on the kitchen counter
Tired of the dish liquid bottles cluttering the kitchen counter? Head to your local home improvement store and purchase a soap dispenser to clear the space. You’ll need to drill a small hole in the countertop, but the counter will look much more appealing without all the plastic bottles lingering around.
25. General garage hooks
What about all the other yard and miscellaneous tools? Although we loathe the thought of doing yard work or any other arduous tasks around the house, we have a ton of handy tools that are also hanging on multipurpose hooks we installed to minimize clutter.
26. Paint your appliances
They sell professional grade kits in most home improvement stores that can help you restore the shine your appliances once had. We have stainless steel appliances in our kitchen, and they are quite a pain to keep clean. More often than not, we have to whip out the kit to touch up those surfaces that the children never seem to get enough of.
27. Kitchen shelving
Prefer to use the kitchen space currently occupied by cabinets to display your most valuable dishes? No need to run out and buy a courier cabinet or some other fancy display piece to show off your prized possessions. Instead, paint the interior of the cabinets, remove the doors, and display your fine china and other valuables for your guests to see.
28. Pressure wash
Sometimes, the exterior of your home, along with the sidewalk and concrete around it, just need a good bath to turn a new leaf. I was blown away by how much more pleasant our home looked after its first real bath outside of the occasional rain showers.
29. Don’t forget about landscaping
It’s never any fun to pull up to your home, glance at the yard, and instantly get a pit in your stomach. This was the story of my life for a few years after we moved in; the yard was in shambles, and I had no desire to pay someone to give it a facelift and maintain it. That’s until the HOA mailed us a letter threatening to apply monetary fines to my account or take further action if the problem remained unsolved.
That was enough for my husband and I take matters into our own hands by treating the lawn with strong fertilizer instead of completely re-sodding, applying weed killer and planting a few new flowers to add a hint of color. All in all, we saved at least $1,000, compared to the initial quotes we received.
There are tons of other affordable DIY home renovation projects floating around in cyberspace, but these are the ones I found most useful. Best wishes on all your future projects!