Home Updates That Feel More Expensive Than They Are

Home renovations aren’t cheap, and many households will need to save up to make their dreams a reality. For those who are keen to get started cheaply, here are a few quick fixes that will refresh your home.
Home Updates That Feel More Expensive Than They Are

Unless you purchased your house brand-new in the past year, there’s a good chance that you’re itching to make a few tweaks to perfect your humble abode.

A major home (or even just a single room) renovation is a significant savings goal—one that will likely require years of planning and saving. It’s a common goal among homeowners, but it’s one that requires a ton of patience.

For those who are keen to get started but haven’t quite saved up the dough needed, there are plenty of quick fixes that can significantly update and improve your space at a fraction of the cost of a major reno. While you’re waiting to fill your piggy bank—or if you’re after a refresh rather than a total makeover—check out these home updates that feel a lot more expensive than they actually are.

Paint the cabinets

Having custom cabinets designed and installed = expensive. Painting your current cabinets yourself = surprisingly affordable and easy.

Head to your local home improvement store and pick up a kit made specifically for painting your kitchen or bathroom cabinets. These kits typically include just about everything you need to clean, prime, paint, and seal your cabinets. You can paint dated wood cupboards a bright, modern white or add a new finish to dull cupboards—the sky’s the limit.

A word of caution: Give yourself plenty of time for this task. Letting each coat dry before moving on to the next step is the key to a quality finish.

Paint the cabinets
$150

Fix leaky faucets

Dripping faucets are a triple threat: They’re annoying, they tend to cause stubborn stains, and they inflate water and utility bills. If your taps are old enough to leak, chances are good that they could use an update for aesthetic reasons, too.

Many people are surprised to learn that fixtures for kitchen and bathroom sinks are quite easy to install. Unless you’re dealing with old or unique plumbing setups, you should be able to DIY without the help of a plumber. Switching up your fixtures to something new (and functional) will give your space a cleaner and higher-quality feel.

New faucets
$250

Replace window coverings

Window coverings are often the source of interior design faux pas. Old, kinked blinds look unkempt, while curtains are often too dark, too short, or too kitschy.

Focus on the rooms where your family spends the most time—typically the kitchen and the living room—and say goodbye to your old window coverings. Standard-sized blinds and curtains can be replaced relatively inexpensively, and even custom jobs should be affordable if you stick to a single room.

New window coverings
$500

Update the backsplash

A backsplash may seem like a small detail, but it can completely alter the look of a kitchen. Whether you’re dying to test out the subway tile trend or just want to replace those hokey floral tiles, installing a new backsplash is something you can do yourself—and it’s way cheaper than redoing the entire kitchen.

The smaller the kitchen, the easier (and less expensive) the update—but even those with larger kitchens can keep costs down by choosing less expensive finishes like ceramic or stone.

Updated backsplash
$700

Change light fixtures

The wrong light fixtures can make a room look “off”—and old fixtures are sometimes so dirty that they prevent light from coming through properly.

If your home was built after 1985, you should be able to change out light fixtures yourself (if you have an older home, it’s best to hire an electrician for this job).

If you need help picking a style that will update your space, look for something sleek and with minimal decorative elements. Clean lines and clutter-free designs will instantly bring your space back up to date. Don’t forget to choose your bulbs wisely: Bright or cool white bulbs are best for the kitchen and bathroom, while soft or warm light bulbs add the perfect cozy touch to bedrooms and living areas.

New light fixtures
$300

Paint doors

Interior doors take quite a beating from daily use. Chances are good that the doors in your home are way more scuffed up than the walls.

Repainting doors is a task that can be done in less than a day for the mere cost of a paint can and a brush. The result is subtle, but noticeable: a cleaner, crisper, and brighter effect throughout your home.

Pick up a can of paint made specifically for painting doors and trim—the paint may be a little more expensive, but it stands up to extra wear and tear and is well worth the few extra bucks.

Paint for doors
$50

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