Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he has been trying his hand at being a freelance writer. When he isn't writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.
There is no end to the number of improvements and changes that you can make to a house. Everything from massive additions to a home pulley system for the dishes can make your home life either more productive, more enjoyable, or both.
However, if you want to avoid the old trap of turning your home into a “money pit,” it’s important to consider the longevity of your home improvement projects. From expensive projects like adding on a garage to tiny ones like painting a bedroom, always consider how each activity will impact the next owners. Will the proposed changes increase the value of the home? Will it make it easier to sell?
Here are a few of the best budget-friendly projects that you can do to quietly and easily boost your home's value while also making it more enjoyable while you still live there.
Stick to a Design Style
First and foremost, before you get too invested in individual home improvement projects, start by studying the different kinds of interior design types that are currently trending. This includes options like:
- A classic style that incorporates a sense of sophistication and timelessness — this is good for those who don’t know when they’ll sell.
- A modern style that focuses on function, minimalism, and decluttering — this is good for those who will sell in the next few years.
- A contemporary style that keeps up with the times and appeals to forward-thinking home buyers — this is good for anyone planning on selling very soon.
There are many different design styles to choose from. The important thing is that you pick one at the get-go and then commit to applying it across every room, project, and piece of decor in your house. This will give your home a better flow and cohesiveness as each project knits your spaces together.
Update the Walls
One of the quickest and most affordable ways to spruce up your living space is by updating the colors on your walls. You can do this affordably and quickly by adding some wallpaper. Look up the latest wallpaper trends on Pinterest or a popular home decor site and then select something that fits your design style.
The other obvious choice is painting. Paint is cheap (you can often paint an entire room for under $50, especially if you don't need to cover over a bold color.) As you choose your paint, once again, you can look for trendy colors. However, keep in mind that, unlike wallpaper, paint allows you to go super simplistic by choosing whites, grays, and other gentle colors that don’t tend to go out of style so quickly.
If you’re feeling the itch to get something splashier on the walls while you’re still living in your home, you can always create an accent wall and turn into a natural focal point without compromising the subtler feel of the rest of the room.
Refinish the Floors
New floors can be expensive. Refinished floors, however, can be an extremely affordable, powerfully effective home improvement project. If you have hardwood floors that have seen better days, you can have a professional refinish them for a few thousand dollars.
If you’re feeling up for the challenge, you can even do the work yourself. Rent a sander from your local home improvement store, get some stain and polyurethane, and you can cut that cost from thousands to mere hundreds — every penny of which you can easily expect to get back in retail value.
Address Lighting and Add Mirrors
Lighting is a central aspect of selling a home. Good lighting can make a room feel bigger and more exciting. Combined with light-colored walls and a mirror or two, proper illumination can make a space feel two or three times as big as it is.
There are many ways to add lighting to your house, including options that don’t require wiring or cords. Also, you can take a variety of different approaches with your lighting, regardless of the specific fixtures you're working with. For instance, make sure to:
- Choose focal points for the lighting in each room.
- Layer your lighting options for better balance.
- Purchase smart light fixtures to add a level of sophistication and cutting-edge tech to your home.
The best part? Most lighting fixtures and mirrors are extremely affordable as far as home improvement costs are concerned.
Update Kitchen Hardware and Fixtures
Kitchens can be both the most expensive improvement projects, and they can give you the most bang for your buck. If you're specifically looking for budget-friendly improvements, though, you're likely going to focus on other areas of your house.
However, before you move on to other spaces, there are a couple of cheap-yet-effective ways that you can refresh the look of your kitchen:
- Hardware: It’s expensive to replace cabinets. The handles on the cabinets, though? Not so much. Buying fresh, trendy hardware is a great way to update the look of your culinary space without breaking the bank.
- Fixtures: Faucets and lighting, while still costing something, are typically pennies on the dollar compared to most kitchen remodel costs — and they can completely revitalize the look and functionality of your food preparation spaces.
Give Your Bathroom a Once Over
Much like the kitchen, a bathroom will reward you for making the right investments. If you're looking for the lowest cost with the best outcome, you're going to want to focus on hardware and fixtures, just like in the kitchen. Replacing the faucet, the showerhead, and even the toilet can be fairly inexpensive and easy to do.
Additionally, you can make small updates, such as painting a bathroom, adding a rug, or replacing a mirror, all of which can dramatically bring the space to life.
Improving for the Future
From kitchen and bathroom updates to lighting, refinished floors, and fresh paint on the walls, there are many different ways that you can improve your home at a very affordable rate.
Projects like these are excellent investments for two reasons. First, they make your home better to be in right now, while you’re living there. Second, they provide added value and increase the sellability of your abode when you go to sell.
Along with these indoor suggestions, there are many outdoor improvements that you can make as well, which will pay you back in spades when the time comes.
So take a look at the above list, choose the most applicable project to your current situation, and start making plans.