DIY Home Projects for $50 (or Less!)
You don't have to be a card-carrying member of the expert DIY club to give your home a fresh face. Try these 22 DIY home projects -- all about $50 or so -- for low-cost, big-impact changes in the spaces you love.
Everything In This Slideshow
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Hang Floating Shelves
Static walls can get boring -- fast. For a fresh look that offers flexibility, install floating shelves. They offer lots of pluses: They can be staggered or aligned, various lengths may be combined, and the objects on the shelves can be rotated as seasons or tastes change. Most premade shelves come with installation directions, but if not, the shelves should be attached securely to a wall stud or using a wall anchor. Measure both height and width to ensure you have room for the shelves as well as the items you want to display.
Get a Stylish TV Wall
Make your TV meld with your decor using these simple styling tricks.
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Swap Out a Doorknob
Tired finishes or worn-out hardware can make doors unappealing elements in the overall look of a room. A fresh doorknob can give new life to a door, and it's an easy project. Simply remove the old plate and hardware and install the new, following the manufacturer's directions. Or you can paint the old hardware using a metal-appropriate spray paint. Tip: You may need to touch up paint or stain on the door around the new plate if the old hardware is a different size.
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Tidy Up the Pantry
A disorganized house can feel like a cluttered, worn-out house, and one of the places that quickly falls into disorganization is the kitchen pantry. Invest in a few uniform size and style containers as well as some decorative labels, and you’ll give all those shelves and your food storage a fresh, new look. To start, remove everything from the pantry, tossing any items that are old or expired. Decant loose food staples such as dried pastas and cereals into larger containers, and group like items -- crackers and canned soups for example. Then label shelves and containers.
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Light is often an afterthought, but a new light fixture is a simple DIY project that fast-forwards the decor of a space into fresh, fabulous territory. Swap out a lamp in an entry, for example, or replace a too-small fixture in the kitchen with a series of smaller pendants over a work space.
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Organize Your Drawers
Drawers that hold a jumble of items -- miscellaneous crafts and school supplies in the kitchen, socks and underwear in the bedroom -- can easily be tamed, sometimes with DIY items you already have on hand. Go for clear containers to group like items or dividers (you can find inexpensive ones at hardware or big-box home improvement stores) made from wire or plastic. Then designate space for everything -- socks in the middle, for example, or paint in a single container.
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Build a Headboard
Plenty of simpler-than-you-think headboard options offer the structure of a behind-the-bed piece without the expense. A piece of thick plywood or a hollow-core door, for example, can be painted or covered in fabric (add batting for an upholstered look) and attached to the wall. In a pinch, a headboard simply can lean against a wall, with the mattress serving as a support.
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Make a New Window Treatment
For a fresh pop of pattern or color, try a new window treatment. Thousands of premade options exist, and simple no-sew or minimal-sew updates are easy enough to make from a piece of decorative fabric. (A channel for the hanging rod and finish seams at the sides and bottom are about all that's needed.) For those with more DIY and sewing skills, window treatments can be more complex, such as Roman shades.
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Remove Cabinet Doors
To breathe new life into your kitchen, try removing doors on a few cabinets here and there to make your dishes the focal point. Paint the insides of the cabinets the same or a contrasting color.
Convert Cabinets to Open Shelving
See how to convert your cabinets into open shelves with this step-by-step tutorial.
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Paint an Interior Door
Front doors are often painted for accent or to assist wayfinding. When it comes to interior doors, homeowners are more hesitant to add color. But a bright hue can revive a room and highlight a point of interest -- here, the entry to a butler's pantry.
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Stencil a Floor
An option for interior or exterior floors, simple floor stencils can add a focal-point pattern or accent color to a space. For inspiration, pick up a color or a motif in existing furniture or fabrics. A stencil should be applied, starting from the floor's center, in small areas at a time. Once finished, apply a protective finish and allow to dry the recommended amount of time.
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Paint Stair Risers
Who says the risers on interior stairs have to be bland and boring? Use paint -- either a solid color or a pattern -- for a more exuberant display of your style personality. Be sure to tape off the treads to protect the existing finish, or include them in your pattern as shown here.
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Update Cabinet Handles
Opening doors and drawers with ergonomic hardware that's easy on the eyes and the wrists is a simple way to invigorate cabinets in a kitchen or bathroom, or even on a dresser. Make sure to measure the existing anchor holes and choose an option that's the same width.
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Install Trim Around Shelves
Wood trim takes more DIY time and a few tools, but it gives presence and architectural heft to a room. Use crown molding where wall meets ceiling, or lower it a few inches in very tall spaces to make the room feel more intimate. Trim and molding may also be used to accent other elements in a room, such as shelving. Crown molding can be painted or stained ahead of time or installed unfinished.
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Add a Simple Message Board
From grocery lists to activity reminders, family message boards are a fun and functional DIY project -- plus, they're super simple to upgrade with color or pattern. Purchase a premade message board (magnetic or cork options make it easy to display photos or to-dos) or craft your own.
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Upgrade a Curtain Rod
Cheap and plain curtain rods look just that -- cheap and plain. The next time you're at the home improvement store, take a look at the options for new curtain rods for window treatments. Color -- changing from white to a dark tone -- gives a rod more presence, while decorative extras, such as finials or caps, add visual interest.
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Tile a Countertop
If you can't afford a high-end countertop update, tile is a budget-friendly project that can give a kitchen or bath a reinvigorated decorating aesthetic. For a clean, contemporary look, choose a single style of tile; for a more personalized touch, consider adding decorative tile inserts or creating a pattern out of contrast-color tiles.
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Add a Wall Decal
Peel-and-stick wall decals are no-fuss, no-mess DIY projects that can transform a room with very little investment of time and money. For a kid's room, consider a decal that creates a scene -- a tree adorned with birds, for example -- while a living room may be appropriate for a patterned piece. Bonus: In a few years when your style changes, the decal is a super easy switch out.
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Make a Window Seat Cozy
A combo reading-relaxing nook with a hard bench is anything but inviting. If you've got a space that's perfect for a good book, add a few low-cost DIY amenities to spruce it up: a cushion, pillows, a throw, a side table, or a lamp.
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Paint a Room
A single can of paint is still the best DIY method to freshen up a room's look with very little investment of time and effort. Pick an unexpected color, or use something existing in the room -- a background hue in an accent pillow, for example -- as your guide.
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Modernize House Numbers
In just minutes (and using tools you likely have on hand), you can refresh your home's curb appeal with a new set of house numbers. Go for a style or color that picks up on a detail on your home's exterior, and place them in an easy-to-see spot. For even more punch, consider placing an accent uplight or downlight that draws attention to the numbers during nighttime hours.
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Add a Pegboard Organizer
Looking for a DIY project that also adds quick and clever organization? Go for a pegboard organizer: It can be adapted to a range of rooms (home office, kitchen, or garage, to name just a few), is easy to install, and can be painted to match existing decor. Before hanging, lay the pegboard piece flat and place to-be-stored items on it to ensure you have enough space. Attach it to wall studs or using wall anchors.