Cheap Home Improvement Ideas: The 8 Easiest and Best Tips
It’s going to be a new year soon, and perhaps your space could use some updating. But if you’re like most, extra funds might just be a bit sparse right now. Never fear…in my humble opinion, here are the 8 easiest and best cheap home improvement ideas out there that’ll give you the biggest bang for the effort and the money.
Cleaning and Decluttering Goes a Looonnng Way!
Clean and declutter everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. Layers of dirt, dust and grime will occupy the craziest places, and the theory will always hold true that if an item has not been used or viewed in the course of a year, then it needs a new home. This is a great time of year to clean and declutter (except windows in colder places); I usually don’t like to wait until spring if I have time and energy now to get it done! When spring arrives, time is better spent doing gardening and outside chores…and the windows. Those darned windows!
Charities and community food kitchens are in need year round for donations, so extend the spirit of giving long as possible. Be aggressive with your contributions. Purge your clothes, your kitchen pantry, your housewares. How many wire whisks do you really need?
Take a close look at your garage and pare down tools taking up valuable space. And bathrooms are notorious for accumulation, aren’t they? Hurrah for reclaiming sink space – oust unnecessary nail polish, hand lotion and hair products – and hide the rest. Put a decorative vignette there instead.
Clean from top to bottom. From the top? Light fixture globes and ceiling fan blades and the top of the fridge – these will all need a good dusting or scrubbing. Replace blown light bulbs. Oh…and trim, door insets and baseboards…those gather the nastiest grime! Handprints and fingerprints and…yuck! (Microfiber rags are FANTASTIC for baseboards and trim, by the way.) Cleaning baseboards and trim is an often-neglected task that can make a big difference. And when cleaning, take note…are there areas that could use recaulking or paint?
Repair and Paint, Always!
Cleaning, repairing and painting are ALWAYS my go-to tasks for a quick and inexpensive home face lift. Caulk fills in cracks and gaps, protects against water damage and creates a uniform surface for paint. And paint? It is always the easiest and cheapest transformative solution, hands down, for any space. But if you’re not feeling or needing to paint the walls and ceilings, focus on the trim and doors.
Consider higher traffic areas like outside corner baseboard edges that may sustain scuffing or wear, and high visibility areas like behind bathroom sinks, tubs and kitchen back splashes. What about windowsills? Could they use a fresh caulk job and new coat of paint? What other areas could use some attention?
Yawn. Your Bedding is Tired…
Rustic vintage style doesn’t mean that your bed linens should look decades old, too. Faded, worn bedding makes the entire room appear exhausted, so now is a great time to consider updating your bedding. Take advantage of year-end deals…fluffy pillows, a new duvet or quilt and a matching bedskirt should wake up your sleep space!
Through the Looking Glass…
I know…you don’t do windows. Even if it’s too cold outside to give the outdoor panes a scrub, you still cleaned the indoor surfaces, right? GOOD!
Now that they’re clean and you can actually see through them, what creative ways could you dress up your windows? Do you need to block the light, or allow it to stream in?
If the view isn’t the best, try something unexpected: a stained-glass panel, window film, or suspending virtually anything (like a map, a poster, a photo, an old window or mirror) on the inside of the window frame using cup or eye hooks. Look no further than your own memorabilia stash or local flea markets for inspiration!
Plants liven a space like nothing else (but then again, I’m partial to my little green buddies). Oxygen is a must-have. And coincidentally enough, houseplants are trending for 2018. (Yes, really.)
For those of us cave-dwellers, lower-light options do exist, like Sansevieria (snake plant) and Aspidistra (cast-iron plant). Medium to high light options are plentiful, and are available in home improvement centers even at this time of year. Try mixing a low-growing variety with larger-scale specimens in the same pot (as long as their requirements are the same) to yield an interesting statement piece.
So you don’t have a green thumb? Faux plants are looking better than ever! Fill an awkward space with a plant…real or fake…and you’ll brighten up the space, I promise.
Grounding the Floor
We have hard-surface flooring throughout our home – by choice – because we have pets. Even though we love the easy-care of hard flooring, rugs can improve the space in the following ways:
- Grounding the furniture for a cozier space
- Defining visual areas while slowing traffic flow
- Tying furnishings together with color and texture
- Under-foot warmth, cushioning, and sound-softening
- Capturing outside dirt, moisture and debris at the door
Fixing the Fixtures
2018 is shaping up to be a bit eclectic when it comes to hardware finishes. Rose gold is in (love this), but also mixing and matching other finishes is okay, too. Honestly though, I won’t go out of my way to mix brass and brushed nickel. Nope. I’m not a stickler for matching everything, but I prefer to have a bit of continuity, so here we go again…PAINT! With the proper prep, there’s a paint and a finish for virtually every project imaginable, so don’t be afraid to change the metallic finish on your pulls, doorknobs, hinges, light fixtures and ceiling fans. Go for it!
Making New Storage Spaces
Do you have an awkward area, like an inside corner, a funky entryway or a spot over a door or kitchen window? Consider functional or decorative shelving for those spaces. We have tiny bathrooms in our home, and recently installed a fantastic shelf over the inside door – what a great idea for towel or toiletry storage. We also have a tricky entryway area that could use a dedicated space for keys, dog leashes, etc…so a simple shelf table with millwork corbels could be something fun to do! Glass shelves spanning a sunny kitchen window can display plant cuttings or a small herb garden.
Welcome in the New Year!
If the outside temperature happens to climb to above 60 degrees, a fresh coat of paint on your front door and a new welcome mat will spruce up even the dreariest of entries. If not, wait until spring…but until then, the inside of your home awaits. Cleaning, decluttering, caulking and painting trim and hardware…installing new shelving, introducing new plants and creative window decor, choosing cozy new rugs for your tootsies, and changing out old linens for soft snooze-worthy bedding.
There is plenty to do, and much of it can be low-cost…so here’s to a new year and fantastic new space!
Do you have a low-cost idea to improve the look of your home? Share it below!
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