Home Renovation on a Budget

Say "home renovation" and many people think "too expensive." But revamping your spaces doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Here are 16 ideas to upgrade your spaces with a home renovation on a budget.

Want an easy and affordable way to bring architectural character to your home? This simple DIY molding project fits the bill.

Easy DIY Picture Rail

Turn plain walls into a wow-worthy sight with this simple picture rail project you can do without the pros.

In the Kitchen: Add New Counters

Cabinets plus countertops plus fixtures can equal a five-digit kitchen renovation. But if your cabinets are in alright-enough shape, you can indulge in new countertops. And the smaller square footage you have to cover, the less your cost -- which means you might be able to afford a more expensive material. One idea to save even more: Ask your local stone and tile company about seconds or remnants.

In the Kitchen: Change the Backsplash

Swapping out a tired, old backsplash for one that adds a punch of pattern or color is a great way to freshen up a kitchen and add visual interest, too. Pick a style that has unconventional shapes or a focal-point color.

In the Kitchen: Upgrade Cabinets or Cabinet Doors

Paint, wallpaper, peel-and-stick wood products: All are great options to give a new face to cabinets. Think about adding unusual pattern or color, or even removing doors on some upper cabinets.

In the Kitchen: Add a Faux Island

Stand-alone tables or cabinets easily become a cost-friendly feature for an island-less kitchen. Just add rolling casters so you can move the piece at will. The more extras you add -- say, a cabinet with drawers -- the more it will cost, so if a super-low budget is the goal, go for a simple table.


    In the Living Room: Update Flooring

    Many peel-and-stick flooring options are thin enough that you don't have to remove existing flooring to give your room a budget-friendly upgrade underfoot. Even if you do want to or have to take off what's there, a new floor can be a long-lasting project that, on its own, isn't too expensive. Plus, plenty of DIY options exist to help you save on labor, too.

    In the Living Room: Change Window Treatments

    New fabric, new shades, or a combination of the two can give a pretty facelift to a living room. Plenty of sew-it-yourself options -- even those that refashion a bedsheet -- can go a long way to hide older windows (a pricey renovation project) or other room flaws.

    In the Bathroom: Swap Out the Medicine Cabinet

    You can add both style and storage to your bathroom with a simple, budget-smart change: a new medicine cabinet. Give yours usability with a mirror on the outside and corkboard or chalkboard on the inside, as well as fresh framing when closed.

    In the Bathroom: Wallpaper an Accent Wall

    Wallpaper has become a project that's easy to tackle, even for a beginning DIYer -- which makes it a great project for a home renovation on a budget. Look for temporary options so you can add pattern or color and take it off if you change your decor style.

    In the Bathroom: Add Storage

    The slimmest of open shelves offer more than just storage: You can use them to create a bathroom display with pretty baskets or other decorative accents. And most off-the-shelf storage options like this are easy to install in just a sliver of bathroom space.

    In the Bathroom: Swap Out Hardware

    Neutral cabinets can get a modern-day wakeup with new cabinet hardware. Pick different styles from the same family -- say, long pulls for drawers and small knobs for doors -- or mix and match different finishes for a more eclectic look.

    In the Bedroom: Add Interest to Walls or Ceilings

    Even if you don't have a stash of power tools, you can easily add wainscoting or another type of trim and molding to give visual depth and interest to ceilings or walls in a bedroom. Choose prefinished trim to cut down on labor time, or finish it yourself to save even more on your renovation budget.

    In the Bedroom: Inset Display Shelves

    Kids bedrooms present an ever-evolving home renovation conundrum: They quickly move from toys and books to collectibles and beyond, but where to store all of that stuff can be difficult. A simple home renovation change that's easy on the budget is to add floor-to-ceiling shelves that are narrow. They're inexpensive and don't require a huge footprint to fit in a variety of bedroom sizes.

    In the Dining Room: Install a New Light Fixture

    Most spaces, especially the dining room, are stuck in a lighting-fixture time warp. But a few hundred dollars and a little bit of electrical DIY can give your ceiling space, and your room, a game-changing focal point. If you want an entirely different look, go for several pendants above a dining table instead of the traditional chandelier.

    In the Dining Room: Wallpaper a Built-In

    Most of the time, homeowners ignore the secondary spaces, such as the wall behind shelves. But those are great spots to add pops of color or pattern either with paint or wallpaper. Another idea: Swap out the door inserts for glass or apply colored film to existing glass.

    In the Entry: Create a Mini Mudroom

    A bench, a shelf, and some hooks are really all you need to create a life-changing, budget-smart mudroom. You can buy a prefashioned kit if you like, or you can use separate pieces that work together as a whole. If you have space, include a cubby for each family member.

    In the Entry: Paint the Stairs

    Your stairs may be in great shape -- or they may be tired and worn. Either way, paint and elbow grease are a budget-friendly way to renovate the path from one floor to another. Pick a pattern or choose a solid, attention-grabbing color. Once dry, paint them with polyurethane to protect the finish.

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