House Improvement Ideas If You Are On a Tight Budget

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House improvement doesn’t always have to be expensive. All you need is your creativity to make your home look more appealing. Being able to enhance your home in a cost-effective way is one of the most practical things you can do in this time of pandemic.  

There are numerous home improvements that can create big appeal with little money. Some are aesthetic, like interior painting or adding decorative trims like crown molding or faux wainscotting, others like building closet cabinets may be more functional. By finding a way to upgrade existing features, like whitewashing stone surfaces or changing dated fixtures, you can get a fresh look without breaking the bank. While most hear the word wallpaper and think of grandma’s 1960’s house, there are countless trendy and beautiful wallpapers available today that can really change a space. Homeowners can do most of these projects and still save on cost. It will take some trial and error to get a polished end result.

Here are some low cost home improvement ideas if you are on a budget:

Light Fixture Update

Changing the color temperature lights and fixtures can make a dramatic impact on a room. The glass bell shades on this light fixture had a yellow glaze & warm light bulbs that made the room dim and yellow that gave it a warm glow, especially when warm color temperature light bulbs were used in it. First we changed the bulbs to a cool white light, but the glass still glowed yellow. Instead of buying a new fixture, I used a wire brush wheel and flap sanding disc to remove the yellow glaze on the glass. In the end, we had a nice bright fixture without the yellow glow, for free!

Lighting Options

  • Warm color bulbs, yellow glaze on all bell shades
  • Cool color bulbs in all three, middle bell shade 
  • Cool color bulbs & glaze removed on all three bell shades

Bathroom Wallpaper & Finishes

If you can put a screen protector on your phone and get the bubbles out, you can hang wallpaper! We chose a wallpaper with large floral elements that added color and character. We sanded the glass light fixture bell shades to remove the yellow glaze, and switched from warm bulbs to cool bulbs, and really brightened up the space! Our main floor bathroom had been pretty drab for several years, and with a few simple changes we were able to make it look like a finished space. Note–the wallpaper was not long enough to cover the wall top to bottom, so I added crown molding to shorten the wall height. Crown molding can be tricky, but totally doable with trial and error! 

Whitewash Fireplace

This is a very simple project that can really improve the look of an outdated fireplace or other stone surface. This project can be done for around $30, or less if you have some of the materials already! Major win! After cleaning the area with a wet rag, I mixed equal parts water and chalk paint, applied the mix with a chip brush, and wiped with a damp rag. Start with a light coat, as it is always easier to add more than it is to take away. For the brass parts on the fireplace, after masking with tape and plastic, I used high-temperature spray paint to match the other pieces.

Playroom & Shiplap

You might wait to do any shiplap projects until lumber prices have returned from the moon, but this is one to have on your vision board. We transformed a room on the first floor to a playroom for our twins. Material costs will vary depending on the wall size, but most likely you will spend $300 or less. All other items in the room were either from stores like Ikea, Target, or TJ Maxx. We wanted a shiplap wall to give the room some character. Most box stores carry pre-made shiplap boards, some even pre-finished. It’s probably best to cut them to length as you go to ensure a proper fit, but the stores can also cut them if needed. After finding the studs, just use a finish nailer to mount them and paint as needed! Now the twins have a room they love to play in, and we don’t have the clutter of their toys in the living room! 

Vanity Makeover

Replacing a vanity is surprisingly easy and something I would definitely recommend. Material costs were $150 for the vanity top from, $60 for faucet & hardware, and paint. Switching out the vanity and faucets is fairly straightforward. Painting cabinets can be tricky, so be sure to sand the surfaces to give the new paint better adhesion. 

Home Improvement Ideas from Ben Shrauner, Owner of SellYourKCHouse.com

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