Ways to Upgrade Your Home on a Budget

By Ashley Wirgau on June, 15 2022
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Ashley Wirgau

After spending the last two years so close to home, who isn’t ready for an upgrade?

Turns out that as we watched the walls slowly closing in around us, we realized those walls were also in need of some paint. If you are one of the millions of homeowners pondering a property makeover in 2022, you are in good company. But with so many different ways to renovate, how do you decide which home upgrades are worth it?


Home Upgrades That Add Value

If you are going to go through the stress of a remodel (or even a minor upgrade), it is a good idea to make sure the work you plan to put forth is really worth it. No one wants to spend energy on projects that do little to increase the overall value of a home, so before hiring that contractor or stocking up on supplies, peruse the following lists to see where you might find the most bang for your buck.


Minor Makeovers

Even if you are working with a relatively small budget, there are plenty of affordable updates within reach. The simple task of exchanging switch plates and outlet covers can elevate a home’s aesthetic. Selecting specialty plates made of copper or rubbed bronze add warmth to a room while stainless steel or slate bring a more modern feel.


Next, upgrade dingy old door knobs to match the plate covers for a more complete look. To take it one step further, replace those outdated light fixtures and ceiling fans. An understated ceiling fan does a lot to lift the appeal of a bedroom or living room, and there are loads of options to suit any price range. For a fresh look, try exchanging bulky faux-wood fans for a sleek caged design.


Next, take a look around your house and examine the trim boards. Could they use a little love? Although tedious, repainting baseboards and trim requires little monetary investment and works to substantially brighten a space. While you have the brushes out, you might as well tackle the interior doors, too – and don’t forget the closets! A fresh coat of paint really does wonders for rooms that feel weathered.


As you rearrange your belongings in preparation for the big paint, it might also be time to minimize the mess. One of the cheapest and most effective ways to upgrade your house is by eliminating the clutter that has accumulated in it. You might even end up making a few dollars by selling off the unnecessary items crowding those corners. The process is not an easy one, but by following a basic checklist and working your way through each room, you can find space you never knew you had.


DIY Dreams

Freshening up an entire room with a new coat of paint isn’t the most convenient chore to tackle, but if you are looking for a fast track to that new home feel, it’s time to go paint shopping. For a noticeable upgrade, select a color quite different than your current tone. Stuck for style ideas? Try Sherwin-Williams Color of the Year or peruse their top 50 colors for more inspiration.


If you fancy yourself a woodworker, it might pay to build and install basic shelving in the areas of your house that need it most. Are your bathroom countertops over-crowded? Do you have piles of items littering dressers or coffee tables? These might be the areas that would benefit most from additional storage options like these DIY shelving projects.


For those handy folks with actual skills and a power sander, might we suggest refinishing hardwood floors? Real hardwood does not hold up well to scratches and scuffs over time, requiring extra attention and sometimes a complete overhaul. If your flooring has begun showing signs of wear, a refinish might be in order. That does not necessarily mean sanding down to bare wood, though. If the dings and scratches are relatively shallow, a less intensive approach may be all you need.


Heavy Hitters

Significant remodels are where an upgrade can really stretch a budget, so beware. Large renovations of kitchens, bathrooms, and even bedrooms can suck a savings account dry. For homeowners wanting the wow factor, be prepared to spend a little more if you are planning a full room remodel. That being said, there are ways to accomplish big things on a modest budget, especially if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and get involved.


While kitchen and bathroom re-dos tend to break the bank, the master bedroom is a place where minor changes can make a large impression (plus, there are no pricey appliances to purchase). The master also seems to be the room that gets forgotten, even though it is a key component when selling a home. If yours needs a facelift, start with the walls and flooring. Lots of homeowners are ditching carpet in favor of vinyl plank these days, and with materials for each sitting in a similar range ($2-6 for carpet / $2.50-5 for vinyl) it is really a toss-up if you’re only considering cost. Either way, if you are open to installing the product yourself, you can save anywhere from $2-4 per square foot on the total project. YouTube videos abound offering step-by-step instructions on how to properly replace each, so get browsing to determine if this is an option for you.


Another surefire way to upgrade your space is by rethinking any non-load-bearing walls. How necessary are they to your floorplan, and how might their removal help amplify your home? Instead of a complete kitchen overhaul, could you simply remove a wall to provide for a floating island or separate dining area? Is there a hallway that could be expanded to create an airier feel? The cost to remove a non-load-bearing wall is much cheaper than one that is integral to the home. These non-essential walls can also often be removed by a homeowner who has a long weekend available to demo and then patch and paint. Even if you decide to hire a contractor, it should be relatively low cost, hitting somewhere between $500-1800 depending on who you hire.


We’ve all been given plenty of time to pick our properties apart these last couple of years, and many of us have already spruced up various areas around the house. For those of you who have been holding off and are finally ready to take the next step, don’t be deterred by fear around your finances. There are lots of ways to upgrade your home on a budget because it doesn’t take a complete renovation if you have a little time and a good imagination.