30 High-Impact Home Improvement Ideas That Cost Less Than $150

bright dishes in white kitchen open shelving with wallpaper
Photo: Dustin Halleck

Tackle common home improvement projects and transform often-overlooked spaces with simple and budget-friendly updates. You'll be surprised at what a big impact these changes can have on the style and function of a room. Try one (or a few) of these affordable mini makeovers to help your home look better and work harder.

01 of 30

Boost Accessible Kitchen Storage

global-inspired kitchen with green tiles and sleek wood cabinetry
Kim Cornelison

Whether your kitchen is large or small, ample storage is always a selling point. Take advantage of an unclaimed wall or corner space with open shelves to keep dishes, spices, and frequently used cookware within easy reach. If you're an entertainer, consider mounting a wine rack next to or under upper cabinets.

02 of 30

Embellish the Entrance

Blue front door with white trim
Werner Straube

Millwork adds rich character to rooms throughout your home, so why not use it to dress up your curb appeal, too? Pull elements of indoor style outdoors to give your exterior a sophisticated look. Frame your front door with millwork, and paint it to coordinate with your home exterior.

03 of 30

Restore Shine to a Wood Floor

bright retro living room with painted brick corner fireplace
James Nathan Schroder

The versatility and warmth of wood are incomparable to other flooring materials, but regular exposure to dirt, dust, and high foot traffic can leave it looking dull and distressed. Restore your floor's shine factor by polishing with a product that is specifically designed for hardwood floors. A wooden floor should be polished once a year and every four to six months in high-traffic areas of the home.

04 of 30

Give the Fireplace a Facelift

modern white living room with gray painted brick fireplace
Stacey Brandford

Give a boring brick fireplace a modern makeover with a fresh coat of paint. Before you begin this home improvement project, thoroughly clean the fireplace to loosen grime. Apply a stain-blocking primer to the clean fireplace before you paint to help cover any soot stains. Consider a high-gloss paint for a beautiful, contemporary look.

05 of 30

Try a New Hue

With the simple addition of color, you can give your bathroom cabinets a brand new look. All you need are the right tools, a bit of time, and a paint color that inspires you. Watch and learn how to paint cabinets like a pro.

06 of 30

Stop Clutter at the Door

large mudroom with geometric floor
Nathan Schroder

As one of the first rooms guests see, the entryway has a big job to do: make a good first impression and keep drop zone items tidy. Outfit your entryway with added function by creating a do-it-all storage system. Enlist the help of furniture to perform double duty, such as a bench that also acts as a shoe caddy. The right combination of storage solutions (including wall hooks, lockers, and cubbies) will help your entryway stay organized and inviting.

07 of 30

Highlight Your Space with Lighting

rustic cottage kitchen with exposed beams and pendant light
Ann VanderWiel Wilde

Beautiful light fixtures can go a long way in energizing or soothing a space, and smart designs can ease eye-intensive tasks. Successfully light a room by creating layers of light with task, accent, and ambient lighting. An interesting pendant, sconce, or chandelier instantly boosts a room's sophistication. Here, an industrial fixture not only makes a style statement, but it also provides a targeted light source for the table.

08 of 30

Banish Closet Clutter

organized closet with shelving and labeled bins and baskets
Brie Williams

One size doesn't fit all when it comes to how you use your closet storage. Before rushing off to the store for new closet organizers, measure your closet space, take an inventory of what's being stored, and consider your current and future lifestyle. Once you know for certain what's supposed to be in there, hit the store and look for ways to maximize your closet capacity. Cut the clutter to make the space work better for both your routine and your stuff.

09 of 30

Add a Sink Filter

chrome faucet on marble countertop with farmhouse sink
Stacy Zarin Goldberg

An undersink filter gives you clean, great-tasting water without cluttering your sink or countertop space. Even better, you can easily install a water filter without hiring a professional. Before starting your project, make sure the undersink space is large enough to accommodate a water filter system.

10 of 30

Go Modular with Shelving

modern living room with black sofa and books arranged by color
Brie Williams

If space is at a premium in your humble abode, boost a blank wall's style and storage capacity with a modular shelving unit. Available in all shapes and sizes, they're sure to fit almost any willing space. Books and display pieces can add colorful interest to open shelves, while cubbies are also a perfect fit for baskets, boxes, and bins for accessible yet out of sight storage.

11 of 30

Accessorize Your Entrance

bright yellow front door on house with blue siding and plants
Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Polish the look of your front door with small accessories that pack a big punch. Details such as house numbers, outdoor lighting, and a letterbox can make a lasting impression and give your exterior a distinct personality. Matching finishes on these accessories will give you a tailored look, while mix-and-match accessories, such as vintage or upcycled fixtures, will create a one-of-a-kind aesthetic.

12 of 30

Build Your Own Entry Organizer

Transform a bookcase into a versatile entryway organizer. The best units are those with adjustable shelves that let you utilize space how you need it: slim slots for shoes and an open area for coat storage, for example. You can add additional function with hooks in just the right places. A simple, inexpensive, box-store bookcase may do the trick, or an older unused cabinet could be the perfect fit. In either case, you can increase the style with eye-catching paint and accessories.

13 of 30

Have Carpets Professionally Cleaned

neutral bedroom with black bed frame and beaded light
James Nathan Schroder

When was the last time your carpets were cleaned; like really cleaned? For a little bit of money, you can revive the look of your carpets and improve your family's health with a professional carpet cleaning. Weekly vacuuming removes topical dirt, dust, and hair, but a carpet-cleaning service will remove stains, allergens, dust mites, and grit. If you have carpet in high-humidity areas of your home, start there, as carpet cleaning will also fight mold and mildew growth. A good deep clean will help carpets wear better and last longer.

14 of 30

Add a Backsplash for Less

bright dishes in white kitchen open shelving with wallpaper
Dustin Halleck

A backsplash not only contributes a dose of character to a kitchen, but it also protects walls from splashes and spills. Beaded-board panels and decorative tile backsplashes are easy to install and can be done without the help of a professional. Even someone new to remodeling can do it! Use our step-by-step guide to learn how to tile your own backsplash in a weekend or less.

15 of 30

Accentuate with Crown Molding

detail of white crown molding and naby blue ceiling
Werner Straube

Trimwork and crown molding are jewelry for walls, doors, and windows. Whether you're replacing old trim or adorning your walls for the first time, you can transform a room with trim in just a weekend. Give your home a complete look for less with affordable, off-the-rack moldings from a local home improvement center. For a deluxe custom look, you can layer pieces of crown molding around entryways and ceilings.

16 of 30

Make a Roman Shade

boho kitchen with bamboo chairs and red wallpaper
Werner Straube

Give windows a custom look at a cheaper price using DIY window treatments. With a mini blind and midweight upholstery fabric, you can create a charming Roman shade to block out the sun and boost your color scheme. Choose fabric in an eye-catching complementary pattern to make the window a focal point.

17 of 30

Add Some Greenery

muted blue exterior with bright yellow door and lush landscaping
Laurie Black

A landscaped walkway suggests an inviting home. Create natural beauty and texture with an assortment of perennials. Whether you're putting them in the ground, potted, or a mix of both, you can install an enticing introduction to your home in one afternoon with a quick trip to a local home improvement center, greenhouse, or farmers' market.

18 of 30

Replace a Shower Head

modern matte black shower faucet and subway tile
Julie Soefer

Start your day with the perfect shower experience by switching out your shower head. A multi-function shower head will give you a more customized experience: an invigorating pulse to wake you up, or maybe a concentrated stream to clean up after outdoor activities. A handheld or sliding bar model is easy to adjust for different heights, whether for tall adults, small children, or pets. Plus, newer models are typically more water-efficient. Choose a model that matches your current plumbing for a quick home upgrade.

19 of 30

Create a Hub for Entertaining

labeled wood boxes in simple white storage unit
Richard Leo Johnson

An unused hutch, armoire, or bookcase can quickly transform into an entertaining or beverage station with a little creativity and organization. Store bottles and beverage glasses on open shelves for easy access, or free up space by outfitting the underside of a shelf with hanging storage for wine glasses. Use drawers or cabinets for serving trays, utensils, and linens.

20 of 30

Encourage Hassle-Free Game Time

games and toys in cabinets and pull-out shelf
Werner Straube

Designate a zone to serve as a central area for often-used games and media. A dedicated cabinet, closet, or other storage space keeps family members from having to search for games, toys, and other accessories. Divided shelves and a combination of shallow baskets, bins, and photo organizers help the space stay organized. Labels make sure things go back to the right place.

Editor's Tip: Face DVD or video game spines outward so they are readable at a glance.

21 of 30

Build an Outdoor Path

lush landscaping with stone path and rose-covered arbor
Rinne Allen

Savor warmer seasons with a simple path that leads the way through your yard or garden. An understated path of irregular-shape flagstones creates a casual, welcoming atmosphere. If you're feeling crafty, outline a path with painted stones, bricks, or old garden edging.

22 of 30

Install a Bathroom Vent Fan

wood beam and hanging curtains in tile cornered shower
Edmund Barr

If mold creeps into your shower stall or your bathroom mirror is consistently foggy, it might be time to replace your bathroom vent fan. You can install new ventilation in about three hours, and the outcome will leave your bathroom dry and odor-free. To learn how to install a bathroom vent fan, see our step-by-step guide.

23 of 30

Create a Small Appliance Hideaway

gray shaker cabinets with hidden kitchen appliances
Emily Followill

Small appliances like stand mixers, slow cookers, and food processors can end up on the countertop because they're heavy and awkward to move when needed. If you're tired of wasting valuable countertop space on these appliances, install an appliance lift in a base cabinet. Fancier models with soft-close and lift-assist features could put this project out of your budget, but the basic spring-loaded hardware and required wood supports should be just right. And it's not only for unused or cumbersome appliances; when countertop space is at a premium, it's a smart solution for things like toasters and coffeemakers, too!

24 of 30

Add Window Boxes

Window in brick house with plant box
Ann VanderWiel Wilde

Window boxes have a little something for everyone: They add color to the exterior of your home and attract birds and butterflies that can be admired from indoors. There are a ton of window boxes and baskets available, so you'll easily find something that fits your style. But if you've got tools and materials already, build a window box and save the project money for creating a floral showstopper.

25 of 30

Upgrade a Small Appliance

kitchen with stainless steel appliances and white cabinets
Brie Williams

Small, accessible appliances lend a big hand in the kitchen. Streamline efficiency at the hub of your home with a new small appliance, such as a toaster, blender, coffee machine or electric kettle. Replace one of your current appliances that's underperforming, or purchase a new gadget your kitchen routine would benefit from incorporating. (Just remember to make room for it before it comes home!)

26 of 30

Pay Attention to Details

Mirror above entryway bench
David Tsay

Details make the difference, and you can prove it with high-impact, low-effort improvements that you'll enjoy every day. Upgrade builder-basic outlet covers, light switches, or door knobs with something that better fits the overall character of your home or the fixtures in the room. These small changes won't go unnoticed by you or your guests.

27 of 30

Prep for Additional Home Improvement Projects

Garage organization with columns with shelves
Marty Baldwin

Once you get started, it's hard to stop identifying places around the home that need a little TLC. To make things easier on yourself, organize your home improvement supplies with common household items. For example, repurpose spice containers or mason jars for storage of pesky pieces like screws and nails. Although you can purchase these for cheap at the store, you might already have some at home to get you started. Use these ideas for garage storage and organization (many of which can be adapted to basements, potting sheds, and other home improvement spaces) to inspire you.

28 of 30

Simplify Laundry Day

labeled bins with rollers underneath laundry room counter
Jay Wilde

Jump-start laundry day by streamlining your sorting ritual. Separate laundry bins encourage organization as a daily routine. The open design with easy-to-read labels helps the whole family see where to place items, saving you time on washday. Small-space solution: Opt for laundry bags that can hang from over-the-door hooks rather than hampers that take up floor or shelf space.

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Light the Night

tan home exterior with white arbor over patio and red door
Edward Gohlich

Illuminate your deck stairs or patio drop-offs with low-voltage lighting. If you don't already have an outdoor lighting system that you can tap into, there are a variety of solar options. Look for stick-in-the-ground pathway lighting or stair-mounted solar units. Deck and outdoor lighting adds safety and beauty to alfresco spaces and allows you to enjoy time outside well past sunset.

30 of 30

Install a Programmable Thermostat

vintage accent table below gold ornate frames
Helen Norman

Regulating your home's temperature is a breeze with a programmable thermostat, and it will save you in the neighborhood of $150 in utility bills each year if used correctly. Modern thermostats are mercury-free and more energy-efficient than an old manual thermostat. Smart thermostats go one step further, not only offering programmable settings but also technologies that adjust the temp based on whether the house is empty and let you change settings from your phone.

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