Is your home looking a little tired? Are you dreaming of doing some renovating, but lack the funds to do so? Well, you aren't alone. According to the latest research form Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, so far there is a 12.3% drop in 2009 spending on home improvement projects. This is a slight improvement over the 13.6% drop in 2008. But things aren't expected to get much better any time soon.
Most of us think of home improvements and imagine huge projects that cost buckets of money and lots of time. The truth is that most homes can benefit from smaller projects, from a little attention to detail that often gets neglected. Most often renovations are undertaken because we want our homes to look better and function better.
With this in mind, I've rounded up my favorite tips and tricks to easily improve our homes on a very limited budget:
For less than $50:
1) Update bathroom and kitchen faucets. This might seem like a daunting project, but it is really quite simple. Just remember to turn your water supply off before you begin. A new shower head can make all the difference in how you feel about your morning shower, which in turn affects how you feel about your bathroom.
2) Add new hardware to your kitchen cabinets to change the look of your outdated cabinetry. Change brass hardware to brushed nickel for a more modern look.
3) Install new light fixtures to change the entire look of a room. Most can be purchased relatively inexpensively at the big box stores. There is no reason to live with horrible lighting.
For less than $10:
4) Stock up on cleaning erasers. I use them all the time to clean my walls, doors and trim work. I honestly never realized how filthy children are until I had my own. Spending half an hour cleaning off doors where dirty little hands grab them, the walls next to the staircase where they insist on running their hands while they walk up and down the stairs, and the balusters on your staircase, makes a huge difference in how a house looks.
5) Keep touch-up paint on hand. Sometimes the cleaning erasers are not enough. Don't be afraid to pull out your paint and touch up the areas that look less than beautiful. A tool like the Rubbermaid Paint Buddy Touch-Up Tool is perfect to keep on hand. Stock up on several for your home's primary colors. Remember your front door. I generally touch up the paint on my front door every spring. Of course maybe you don't have children who throw rocks and sticks at the door and then kick it every so often just for good measure.
6) Quick-repair those loose cabinet knobs. Cabinet knobs falling off when you pull on them? Most likely the threads inside have been stripped. Fill the hole in the cabinet where the knob screws in with some broken toothpicks and wood glue. Allow it to dry. Screw the knob back on.
For free ... who doesn't love this price?
7) Declutter, declutter, declutter. Did I say declutter? Nothing makes your home feel closed in more than piles of stuff stacked everywhere. View your belongings with a critical eye. If your things aren't useful or don't make you happy in some way, get rid of them.
8) Embrace the things that you can not change. Bright pink bathroom tile? Avocado green appliances? And, no budget to invest in changing them now? Work your decor around what you can't change, rather than try to mask it. Even though you may loathe the tile or appliances, make the room look as though you chose those items on purpose. You will be surprised how much a little shift in attitude can make all the difference.
What small fixes have you used to update the look and functionality of your home, when your budget doesn't allow for a big investment? I'd love to hear from you in our comments!