Update your home on a budget

Feb 26, 2013 at 4:32 a.m. ET

Do you want to give your home a facelift without breaking the bank?

With a few bucks and a bit of creativity, you can update the look and feel of those tired spaces around your house.

Got a budget? No problem! Here are our tips for giving your home the refresh it needs without having to dig too deeply into those pockets.

Improve the entry

We all know that first impressions matter, and the same goes for houses. So if you’ve just got a small budget, put some aside to spend on the façade of your home. Try painting your front door or investing in a newer, more interesting one. Believe it or not, this simple change can dramatically enhance the look of your entrance. Want more DIY ideas? Update the door trim, replace your house numbers and consider updating your outdoor light fixtures.

Update the kitchen


Fix the faucets

Instead of changing everything about your kitchen, just focus on one of the hardest-working things: the sink. Replacing a dated faucet can refresh the look of your kitchen and give it that extra bit of sparkle. Plus, new faucets are way more high-tech and functional, so this upgrade will be useful as well as pretty.


On the surface

If you’re bored of looking at the same old kitchen, consider dropping some cash on a new surface. For a high-end, stylish look, fit your island with a marble or granite top that has a different pattern or texture than your current one. If you’re willing to spend a little more money, refurbish all of your countertops — this will revamp your kitchen so much that you won’t need to touch anything else.


Lighten up

For a quick and easy update, think about adding new light fixtures above your island or prep counter. Just like a new granite top, this move ticks all the right boxes: Interesting fixtures not only add style and a focal point to your kitchen, but they also improve lighting over the areas that need it most.


Burst of colour

If you’ve got a relatively bare wall in your kitchen, why not turn it into a feature wall of sorts? Paint the wall in a hue that reflects your personality and taste: If you’re an adventurous chef, try a passionate colour like red or orange; if cooking is your therapy, go for calming colours like blue or green. An update for the price of a small tub of paint? Yes, please!



Looking for a super cheap and ridiculously easy way to refresh your kitchen? The answer could be as simple as accessorising. Add some instant colour and texture with accessories such as a huge fruit bowl, vintage storage canisters, or a new table runner. Cool appliances like a chic coffee machine will also do the trick.

Check out more ways to update your home on the cheap >>

Refresh the bathroom


Bath time

To bring a fresh vibe to your bathroom, concentrate on your tub. If you can swing it, hire a professional to refit your tub with different fixtures and give it a new lease on life. If you’ve got a stand-alone bath (rather than a built-in one), consider changing the footholds as well. These two updates will give your bath some polish and are a whole lot cheaper than replacing it altogether.


Cool cabinets

Got a weekend to spare? Spend it sanding and refinishing or painting your bathroom cabinets. This aesthetic alteration will update the look of your bathroom, and if you choose an interesting finish or bright colour, it will also do wonders in changing the feel of it. This is DIY at its best.


Switch it up

They may seem insignificant in the scheme of your bathroom, but changing knobs and handles can make a difference. Replace your current, dull door handles and drawer knobs with shiny new ones to give your bathroom some gleam. For those who are keen for a more adventurous renovation, choose statement bits and pieces over standard ones.


Fresh towels

Brightening your bathroom can be as simple as purchasing a new set of towels. Go for the fluffiest, luxurious and most colourful ones you can find or afford and display them proudly on your hooks or rods. For an extra touch of sophistication, coordinate your bath mat and shower curtain with your brand new towels. Hint: Check out the teen décor section of the store before splashing cash in the "grown up" department — you may walk away with a bargain!

Jazz up the bedroom


Chic headboards

To update your boring bedroom, start with the bed area and try making a headboard. Headboards can be constructed out of just about anything, including wood, fencing and some metals. But if you want a cheap update, be creative: Make a collage, use recycled materials, or incorporate your hobby (such as artwork or skis) into your headboard. Experimenting is half the fun.


Snazzy walls

If you want to inject some brightness into your bedroom, consider giving the walls a bit of a refresh. A bold paint colour, a textured feature wall or a cool wallpaper are all easy ways to revamp your room. The best thing about these kinds of updates? They can be done in the space of a Sunday afternoon. To keep the cheap-and-easy theme going, add a few new accessories — think cushions, chairs and canvas prints — into the bedroom mix. Rearranging the furniture can also change the whole feel of your room and it costs absolutely nothing!

More home decorating tips

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