If you’re a home improvement show junkie, you may dream of remodeling your kitchen or bathroom, or installing some fancy landscaping, complete with a water feature. But those types of improvements can cost thousands.
The truth is that you don’t have to invest in expensive, large-scale improvements to make a big difference in your home’s appearance. Many worthwhile and effective home upgrades can be done for under $100 each.
And if you make one or two of these home upgrades per month — whatever your budget allows — in less than a year, you can have a home that’s more updated, brighter and less cluttered. See what these real estate industry experts suggest when it comes to making home upgrades on a budget.
Paint Outdated Cabinets
“Painting outdated cabinets white or light gray can increase a house’s value by thousands of dollars, and it is no secret that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes,” said Kevin Bazazzadeh, owner of the real estate investment company Brilliant Day Homes.
“You will have no problem buying a brush or two, a small roller and a couple of gallons of good paint for $100 or less. A weekend and a little elbow grease can bring new life to an older kitchen and earn you some quick equity if you are trying to sell the house or a fresh look if you plan to keep it.”
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Replace Kitchen Hardware
“This includes all knobs and handles on drawers and cabinets,” said Matthew Griffin, owner of At Home Real Estate Consulting. “This is the most affordable and easiest of all the upgrades. Getting rid of the 2002 gold-colored handles and bringing in a matte black or silver handle is an easy way to help your kitchen look less dated.”
Buying kitchen hardware by the piece can be expensive, but you can save by buying in bulk. You can find a pack of 25 matte black cabinet handles on Amazon for around $25.
Add Solar Lights
“Adding solar path lights to exterior walkways or porches is an affordable way to upgrade your outside space,” said Jason Gelios, a top-producing realtor with Community Choice Realty in Southeast Michigan. “Solar lights have become much more affordable in recent years.”
If you’re going for the wow factor, you can find a 12-pack of sleek stainless steel solar lights, featuring eight LED lights each, on Amazon for $42.
Change the Light Bulbs
“Changing the light bulbs in all the rooms costs $50 for about 16 bulbs at Home Depot,” said realtor Alex Young of The Bowtie Group. “Making sure bulbs are the same color in fixtures (and brighter LEDs if possible) is a great way to help a room feel larger. Be sure to get bulbs that have color temperatures appropriate for the space. Bedrooms and some living rooms should have a slightly warmer light, whereas kitchens and bathrooms should have cooler light temperatures.”
Update Your Fireplace
Elizabeth Leanza of Realty One Group suggested updating a dingy, brick fireplace with limewashing. “It’s an affordable and simple lime-based solution that will give your hearth a fresh new look in just a short time, and can be a more forgiving medium than paint,” she said. “Limewashing is one of the best ways to update a tired or dated brick fireplace without spending too much time or money. There are many available products to limewash your fireplace. You can order it at most home improvement stores for around $52.97, (that’s 0.67 a gallon!), and it’s more than enough to complete a small fireplace or brick accent wall. This is a worthwhile upgrade because it really helps update the home.”
Wall-Mount Your TVs
“TV consoles and stands can look dated and cluttered,” said Khari Washington, broker and owner of 1st United Realty & Mortgage. “Mounting a TV to the wall and hiding away the equipment can make a room look open, fresher and cleaner.”
You can find TV mounts for 37- to 70-inch TVs for under $30 on Amazon.
Repaint Your Front Door
“One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to upgrade your home is repainting your front door,” said Marina Vaamonde, founder at PropertyCashin. “The entrance to your home makes a huge impact, and not just in terms of first impressions. The feeling someone gets when approaching your front door makes a lasting effect on their perception of your entire home. Refreshing or completely changing the color of your front door is inexpensive, and it’s one of the biggest upgrades you can make to your home for under $100, in terms of effect.”
Change Out a Main Light Fixture or Two
“Replacing dated or worn light fixtures can really make a big difference in the appearance of a home,” said Mike Stewart, realtor and owner of Mike Stewart Professional Real Estate Corporation. “People like new. When you are selling a property, having modern or stylish light fixtures that match the rest of the home’s decor can really help get potential buyers excited about your property.”
You can find hundreds of light fixtures for under $100 on Amazon that will upgrade your home. Or take a trip to your local home improvement store to check out its selections.
Freshen Up Landscaping
“Adding black or red mulch to the landscaping is another great way to upgrade the curb appeal,” Gelios said. “Usually, big bags of mulch run $3-$4 dollars a bag.”
However, you may be able to find mulch on sale and sometimes big-box stores, like Home Depot, offer bulk pricing, such as if you buy 30 bags, the price will drop 35 cents per bag.
Upgrade Your Bathroom Mirror
“Everyone loves a clean, updated bathroom,” said James Watson, owner of Omaha Homes for Cash. “What is the one thing in the bathroom that is constantly looked at? Sizes typically influence the price, however, most mirrors can be purchased for under $100.”
And if you don’t want to completely replace your mirror consider this suggestion from former mortgage broker, Danny Marshall of Mortgage Rate Guru: “Just adding a frame to your builder-grade bathroom mirror will instantly give it a lift.”
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