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Budget breakdown: What small updates actually cost

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, trav...

Will that project break the bank?

Is that small update really as small as you think? We broke down the costs of some popular home updates to help you find out what they’ll really cost — and if they’re in your budget or not.
Woman painting window sill

Simple home updates sometimes end up costing way more than you budgeted. Dig a little deeper and think about all the associated costs that might be required before you deem a project "low cost." SheKnows talked to an expert and determined the true cost of some common home updates. Are they what you imagined, or do the costs surprise you?

Paint

When you think about painting a room, you probably only consider the cost of paint, but there’s a lot more to it than that. You’re likely going to need primer, and you’re also going to need supplies like paint brushes, rollers, tape, trays and tray liners and drop cloths. If there are any repairs that need to be done (and those should definitely be attended to before a new coat of paint!), you’ll also need spackle, caulk, putty and a putty knife — at the minimum. All those costs combined mean the cost to paint an average room ranges from $200 to $500. These costs tend to go up if you decide to paint trim or ceilings.

One way to reduce the cost of painting a room is to buy high-quality paint. The cost per gallon may be slightly higher, but it will probably require fewer coats, meaning it’ll take less pain and less time. Bonus!

Lighting

Erin Davis of Mosaik Design & Remodeling in Portland, Oregon says an easy way to make a big impact is by simply changing your lighting fixtures. "It is amazing what a great light fixture can do to a room. Just swapping out new fixtures in the existing locations is the most affordable way to go. Think about putting a small chandelier in your powder bath or adding colorful pendants above an island or sink in your kitchen," she said.

New lighting fixtures can cost anywhere from $10 to upwards of $1,000, but they shouldn’t require any supplies that don’t come with them, other than basic tools. The homeowner really decides what to spend on this project.

According to Davis, "A homeowner usually can change out an existing fixture with a new one with some basic instruction." But if you do decide to bring in an electrician, she says it will probably cost you $75 to $95 per hour.

Hardware

Hardware is an easy fix that sometimes ends up being a lot more costly that you imagined. "You will be surprised at how different your cabinetry looks with updated hardware. This is the jewelry for your cabinets, so have fun with it," said Davis.

"Prices vary depending on style and quantity," she added. "For example you can find cup pulls at most home improvement stores for between $5 and $15."

That may sound like an inexpensive project, but most kitchens have an average of 23 to 28 cabinets and drawers. That means it would cost anywhere from $115 to $330 to buy new hardware for the average kitchen.

Plumbing fixtures

Are you dying for a bathroom or kitchen remodel, but just can’t find a way to work it into the budget? Try changing out the plumbing fixtures!

"Depending on how handy you are, this can be a fairly simple DIY project that adds not only style, but function," said Davis. "There are so many wonderful fixtures out there that you can get for under $200. Think about installing a pull-out faucet in your kitchen if you don¹t have one. These are really popular right now because there are tons of style options that are super functional."

More house fun

Learn how LG appliances can help make your house a home by visiting Life's Good House.

More home update tips from SheKnows

Deciding which home improvement projects to tackle first
Cool tools to use when remodeling
Online tools to guide your design

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