14 Low-Cost Updates That Add Value to Your Home

Custom details add character but can come with a big price tag. Follow these cost-cutting tips to personalize your home without exceeding your remodeling budget.

kitchen with subway tile and blue island

Annie Schlechter

The customization and personalization of your home are important. It can benefit the flow and function of the space, making it more suitable for your family and your aesthetic. Unfortunately, home renovations can seriously add up. With a little planning and creative thinking, you can cut costs without sacrificing any updates. Check out these budget-friendly home improvement tips and tricks to plan your next project.

01 of 14

Paint the Front Door

teal front door porch stone exterior facade potted green plants
Greg Scheidemann

First impressions are essential. Turn a drab exterior into a fabulous focal point with a quick coat of paint to boost curb appeal. Experts recommend choosing neutrals or matching the color of the house for a monochrome look, but you can also add a pop of your favorite color for personality. Some popular front door color choices are blues, greens, and cheery yellows. While you have all the supplies, don't forget to refresh the door trim, too!

02 of 14

Update Cabinet Hardware

black cabinets in kitchen
Annie Schlechter

Outdated hardware can distract from the charm of otherwise timeless cabinetry. Luckily, swapping out the hardware on bathroom and kitchen cabinets is a relatively cheap way to update your home. Cabinet handles or knobs range anywhere from $1.50 to $6.00 per piece. You can also buy them in bulk. The price per handle will go down significantly and you'll have enough to replace all of the hardware in the room.

03 of 14

Install New Flooring

living room with blue and white patterned rug
David Land

High-traffic areas and carpeting don't mesh well. Places that are walked on more often tend to discolor and wear out faster than other areas. Implement durable (and easy to clean!) materials underfoot in places like the living room, entryway, kitchen, and hallways. Materials like hardwoods, laminates, and tile are ideal. Traditional hardwoods can be pricey, plus, you're more likely to need to hire a professional installer. More affordable options include engineered hardwoods or laminate wood flooring. Laminate wood floors mimic the look of hardwood floors but are significantly lower in cost and easy to install yourself.

04 of 14

Paint or Stain Cabinets

kitchen with green cabinets and white textured walls
Brie Passano

Make dated cabinets a thing of the past by dedicating a weekend to getting down and dirty in the kitchen. If you're loving to improve the value of your home for resale, make sure to choose a versatile color when selecting a paint or stain color, and be careful to correctly prepare the cabinets before starting. This will likely entail stripping, sanding, and priming before painting or staining.

05 of 14

Use Ceramic Tile

kitchen with subway tile and blue island

Annie Schlechter

Ceramic tile is classic and widely available at home centers and tile stores. Its traditional look makes it the perfect fit for bathrooms, kitchens, and fireplaces. Create a budget-friendly custom look by mixing ceramic tiles with a few decorative tiles. Or install subway tile with a unique pattern, such as herringbone or vertical running bond.

06 of 14

Pay Attention to Color

modern living room with teal-blue walls and black window trim
Jay Wilde

Color is a home designer's cheapest and most powerful tool when transforming a room. Whether you're adding a little color or a lot, make over any room in your home with a fresh coat of paint, or colorful tile, hardware, or accessories. Regardless of the colors you have in your home, if you're considering selling your home in the near future, consider repainting in neutral paint colors, which appeal more to buyers.

07 of 14

Install a Ceiling Fan

living room with sectional and sofa table two ceiling fans

James Schroder

In colder months, it can be hard to keep homes warm. However, ceiling fans offer an economical way to cut costs and stay cozy by circulating warm air. Likewise, the fixtures also help keep rooms cool in the summer. Ceiling fans are easy to install and provide a layer of comfort, especially in bedrooms.

08 of 14

Skip Crown Molding

blue white modern bedroom color block wall paneling
Brie Williams

When working with a remodeling professional, purchasing molding materials and paying for installation can be tough on your pocketbook. Instead, go with less expensive wainscoting, a simple chair rail, or wall frame molding. Can't live without the crown molding look? Save money by installing it yourself.

09 of 14

Pick an Array of Light Fixtures

green and brown modern kitchen
Werner Straube

Choose to invest in pricier, eye-catching fixtures to highlight one or two main areas in the home. Dining rooms or areas in the kitchen (over the island or sink) are great candidates. For other areas, opt for less-expensive, off-the-shelf fixtures.

10 of 14

Enhance with Woodwork

black white bathroom double vanity gold mirrors herringbone subway tile
Nathan Schroder

Architectural woodwork not only adds character, but it also disguises imperfections in old walls. Use simple woodwork, such as beaded-board paneling and corner rosettes, to dress up walls and add interest to rooms. Beaded board is durable, budget-friendly, and can stand up to splashes, making it a popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms.

11 of 14

Add Carpet to Bedrooms

teal, pink, and brown master bedroom
Karyn Millet

Wear and tear is inevitable on carpets, but no one wants to start a new chapter in someone else's mess. Install new cozy carpet in low-traffic areas, like bedrooms. Skip hardwood, laminate, or tile flooring; the future owner's feet will thank you on those chilly winter mornings.

12 of 14

Implement Open Shelving

white subway tile gray kitchen cabinets open shelves
Greg Scheidemann

Good looks and practicality are equal partners when implementing storage in heavy-traffic areas. Open shelves in the kitchen marry storage and display space, providing easy access to dishware during meal prep and entertaining. The technique also works well in any small space around the house, from bookcases to bathroom storage, as the visual openness keeps the room from feeling cluttered.

13 of 14

Pick Midrange Cabinetry

kitchen midrange cabinets

Brie Williams

Select affordable, midrange kitchen cabinetry instead of top-of-the-line cabinets. The money you save can be spent on high-quality appliances. The extra allowance will help you find long-lasting appliances that complement your kitchen and your cooking preferences.

14 of 14

Add Additional Storage


Kritsada Panichgul

Storage is an important part of any home. If your house lacks storage, think about adding multifunctional furniture, like portable kitchen islands and storage ottomans. Hidden storage can be a much more affordable alternative than adding shelving or built-ins.

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