19 Budget-Friendly Home Renovation Ideas for Every Room in Your House

white den with green couch
Photo: Peter Molick

Say "home renovation" and many people think "too expensive." But revamping your spaces doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Here are 19 upgrade ideas perfect for a home renovation on a budget.

01 of 19

In the Kitchen: New Countertops

Kitchen with gray brick and wooden cabinets
John Granen

Cabinets plus countertops plus fixtures can equal a five-digit kitchen renovation. But if your cabinets are in decent shape, you can indulge in new countertops and upgrade one of the hardest working surfaces in your home. The smaller square footage you have to cover, the lower your cost, which means you might be able to afford a more expensive material. An idea to save even more: Ask your local stone and tile company about seconds or remnants.

02 of 19

In the Kitchen: Change the Backsplash

Kitchen counter with geometric backsplash
Annie Schlecther

Add a punch of pattern by swapping out a tired backsplash for one that freshens up your kitchen and adds visual interest. With options for tile, stone, glass, ceramic, and beaded board, there are so many opportunities to find a material that's right for your budget. Another frugal option is to only install a backsplash where it provides the most protection, like behind a range or near a sink.

03 of 19

In the Kitchen: Add a Faux Island

remodeled shite kitchen red color space rug
Laurey Glenn

Stand-alone tables or cabinets can be 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 (for example, a cabinet with drawers) the more it will cost, so if a super-low budget is your goal, start with a simple table. That is, unless you already have a piece of furniture sitting unused that you're ready to turn into an island.

04 of 19

In the Kitchen: Upgrade Cabinets or Cabinet Doors

bright dishes in white kitchen open shelving with wallpaper
Dustin Halleck

Paint, wallpaper, peel-and-stick wood products: All are great options to give a new face to old cabinets. Corbels can be added below cabinets or under floating shelves for a classic, built-in look. Removing doors on some upper cabinets offers you easy-to-access open storage without having to add new shelving. Look for ways to refresh your home that not only fit your budget but also how you use the space on a daily basis.

05 of 19

In the Living Room: Update Flooring

white den with green couch
Peter Molick

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 the floor must come off because you just can't stand it any longer, 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.

06 of 19

In the Living Room: Change Window Treatments

low table and patterned curtains
Nicholas Johnson

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 can go a long way to hide older windows (which would be a pricey renovation project). To save a little extra money, aim to reuse the existing curtain rods and rings.

07 of 19

In the Living Room: Install Dimmers

open living room with modern chairs
David Tsay

If your home has scarce overhead lighting, you might be having a hard time getting the right balance of light. This is even more true in older homes with fewer outlets available for floor and side lamps. In these instances, installing a dimmer switch can be your quick and easy solution: keep it bright when accomplishing tasks, but turn it down for softer ambient lighting that's comfortable for lounging.

08 of 19

In the Bathroom: Add a Medicine Cabinet

bathroom wall contemporary mirror and towels
Jay Wilde

You can add both style and storage to your bathroom with a simple, budget-smart change: a new medicine cabinet. Replace a plain wall-mount mirror to gain storage and a new look. If you're feeling crafty, add a cork board or chalkboard on the inside of the door for daily reminders and affirmations.

09 of 19

In the Bathroom: Wallpaper an Accent Wall

bathroom with vessel sink and bold red graphic wallpaper
Paul Costello

Wallpaper has become easier to tackle, even for a beginning DIYer, which makes it a great project for a home renovation on a budget. You can add pattern and color with wallpaper in a snap, and it's totally fine to limit it to one stand-out wall (and keep the budget low). But if you're not ready to tackle proper wallpapering quite yet, try the temporary, peel-and-stick kind. You can easily take it off if you change your decor style, so you don't have to worry about giving a current design trend a shot.

10 of 19

In the Bathroom: Add Storage

slate blue cabinet in bathroom with brick column
Kimberly Gavin Photography

If you are short on built-in storage, adding a purchased cabinet or open shelves can make all the difference. Look for off-the-shelf storage options in a variety of styles, including tiered carts, leaning ladders, and apothecary cabinets, all intended to maximize vertical space. They're a pretty and practical storage option and you can use them to display baskets or other decorative accents.

11 of 19

In the Bathroom: Swap Out Hardware

bathroom with gray vanity and white countertops
Jessica Delaney Photography, LLC

Bathroom cabinets can get a modern-day wakeup with new 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. Look to add backplates if your current knobs lend themselves to a more shapely flair.

12 of 19

In the Bathroom: Safety Updates

floating vanity double sink in modern bathroom
Brie Williams

Toilet paper holders and towel bars are usually nothing special to look at, but these two overlooked accessories represent a chance for you to make your bath a little safer. Multiple companies now make ADA-compliant toilet paper holders, towel bars, and other accessories that can safely be used as a grab bar. Whether you're thinking of yourself in the future or someone else now, it's a worthwhile investment at any time.

13 of 19

In the Bedroom: Add Interest to Walls or Ceilings

two toned wall master bedroom
Brie Williams

Even if you don't have a stash of power tools, you can easily add wainscoting or trim to dull bedroom walls or ceilings. You can even get the illusion of wainscoting by applying trim or lumber to an area of the wall as an outline, then use paint to tie the wall and trim together to imitate the real deal. It looks high-end without all the cost. Choose prefinished millwork to cut down on labor time, or finish it yourself to save even more on your renovation budget.

14 of 19

In the Bedroom: Add a Headboard

small white bedroom wall length green headboard
David Tsay

A guaranteed way to update your bedroom is to add a headboard, whether it's small and stately or oversize and dramatic. Purchased new, they can get quite expensive, but there are a lot of ways to maximize your style and budget with DIY headboards.

15 of 19

In the Bedroom: Inset Display Shelves

bedroom with built-in shelving bold bedspreads
James Nathan Schroder

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

16 of 19

In the Dining Room: Install a New Light Fixture

slate blue dining room with antique features
Nathan Kirkman

Dining rooms are often stuck in a light 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. Go for a traditional chandelier or—for a more contemporary approach—choose several pendants. For help with the electrical know-how, check out this how-to guide for installing a light fixture.

17 of 19

In the Dining Room: Reinvigorate a Built In

shelving with wallpaper in back
Emily Followill

Obscured spaces, such as the wall or back panel behind shelves, don't get much attention. But those are great spots to add pops of color with paint or wallpaper. Another idea: Swap out the door inserts for glass or apply colored film to existing glass. These little touches can go a long way to making a room feel renewed.

18 of 19

In the Entry: Create a Mini Mudroom

mudroom cubbies storage drawers hanging bags
Laura Moss

A seat, a shelf, and some hooks are really all you need to create a life-changing, budget-smart mudroom, even in a tiny space. You can buy expensive organizers designed for this function, or you can combine reused and repurposed pieces with less expensive newer items that work together as a whole solution. If you have the space for it, a cubby for each family member makes the daily routine easier.

19 of 19

In the Entry: Paint the Stairs

white staircase with dark accent in middle
Ann VanderWiel Wilde

A creative use of paint is a budget-friendly way to renovate the path from one floor to another. Pick a pattern, a theme, or choose a solid, attention-grabbing color and make your stairs a showstopper. Once dry, paint them with polyurethane to protect the finish. Do it once and you're set, or have fun with it and make updates seasonally to keep friends and family members wowed.

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