Home Refresh Ideas for Any Budget

Does your blah bathroom need some brightening? Could your living room use a little more life? Maybe it’s finally time to bring your kitchen into this decade. Good news: you don’t have to break the bank to freshen up your furnishings.

From instant updates to more elaborate makeovers, we’ve put together a list of ideas, improvements, and fixes to help you liven up your living space on any budget.

$50

Start small
Updating knobs, door pulls, and handles is more affordable than replacing an entire dresser or cabinetry, and it will give your existing furniture a whole new look.

Go green
Nothing breathes fresh air into a room like potted plants or fresh flowers. Take a trip to the flower shop for a sweet centerpiece, or “shop” in your own yard for a natural seasonal arrangement.

Frame something fun
A swatch of textile, a small trinket or a treasured memento can become wall art. Simply remove the glass from a picture frame, mount the object on matte board and hang.

Curate a photo gallery
Find photos you love, convert them to black and white and hang them on your wall for an elevated, art gallery look. Or, think outside the frame: pin photos to a clothesline, insert them into glass bottles, or even have a favorite photo professionally printed on a piece of wood.

Brighten your bathroom
When it comes to decorating, the bathroom is often the most overlooked room in the home, but it’s also one of the easiest to make over. A fresh shower curtain and bold new towels are a quick and easy way to bring a bathroom to life.

$100

I love your accent!
As home design trends go, accent walls are on the rise. While some people find them too overbearing, others find they’re the perfect way to make a room pop and create a fresh, new look with minimal cost.

Treat your windows
A new pair of captivating curtains or drapes instantly makes a world of difference. Choose a style that complements your taste, but also the room’s décor style. If you’re particularly crafty, you can re-purpose old sheets and tablecloths to stand in for traditional curtains.

Have a seat
Add a bench or trunk at the foot of your bed. It’s an ideal accent piece, and a great place to sit when putting on your shoes. Plus, if you find one with a lid, it’s performs double duty as storage for extra blankets or pillows.

Add a rug
If new wall-to-wall carpeting or hardwood floors are too pricy, add a vibrant new area rug instead and breathe new life into your living room.

$500

Built-in shelving
If you buy pre-made shelving units (anywhere from $25 and $150, depending on the size) and decide to DIY, you can transform unused wall space into an attractive storage and display space for around $500.

A temp solution
Okay, it’s not a décor refresh, but trimming $150-200 off your annual heating and cooling bill is pretty refreshing. You can make it happen by purchasing a digital thermostat that automatically changes your home’s temperature. Even more good news: they’re relatively easy to install on your own.

Patio pick-me-up
Pop in some colorfully-patterned planters. Add some metal lanterns. Swap in some fresh patio furniture cushions and a few accent pillows and lay down an outdoor rug for a cost-effective way to spruce up your outdoor space.

Floor-to-ceiling repaint
A relatively easy project with a huge cost-to-payoff ratio. With a few hundred dollars and a spare weekend or two, you can make your entire home look like new.

$1000

Whole new light(s)
Browse your favorite home design Web sites to catch up on current lighting trends, and select the styles that match the décor of your room. A DIY light fixture update can be done for about $1000, but if you decide to hire an electrician, consider purchasing less expensive lighting to offset the labor cost.

Modernize your kitchen
If you choose your projects wisely, and you’re fairly handy, you can make a large impact with less money. Repainting the cabinets, installing a new backsplash, switching out light fixtures, and updating cabinet hardware can all be completed DIY for around $1000.

Upgrade your bathroom
You can switch out your shower curtain and towels, add a glass tile backsplash, install updated vinyl flooring, hang a new ceiling light, update your plumbing fixtures, and even add a custom vanity—all in the neighborhood of $1,000.

A design refresh doesn’t have to be expensive. If a room is looking a bit tired, you can easily wake it up with a little creativity, a little work, and a lot less money than you probably thought.

While there are many online guides and resources available to help you through the projects mentioned above, all DIY projects should be attempted at your own risk, based on your level of confidence in successfully completing them.

Terry Grahl

Enchanted Makeovers

I believe when we DIY, we not only refresh and recharge our home, we empower ourselves.

Some of the most inexpensive ways: refresh with new colors. Visit your local thrift stores. Grab those decorative pillows and re-cover them with your favorite fabric. Are your kitchen chairs a little worn out? Paint them. Instead of tucking away your children’s art, frame your favorites. Not only will it inspire and uplift your children, just maybe YOU will take that leap and make your own piece of art work too place next to your loved ones. Don’t worry about trends: DIY is about self-expression and sharing your heart.

John Linden

MirrorCoop

  1. Paint any trim with fresh paint. This is often simpler and less expensive than repainting walls, but creates a subtle contrast that gives a space depth.

  2. Clean the interior and exterior of all windows (or just large windows). It’s very easy to overlook how much light is blocked by dirty windows. This is an easy way to increase light into your space.

  3. Wash or replace dingy linens. Another subtle trick that will go a long way. Very fresh-looking fabrics tend to make an entire space appear very clean, so this is an easy way to get there!

Carole Marcotte

Form and Function

  1. Declutter! If you clear everything, it is easier to see your space. First, remove all accessories and artwork. Next, rearrange furniture before beginning afresh, allows meaningful items to come into focus.

  2. Swap décor from one room to another. We often pick the same colors throughout our house without realizing it, thereby making décor infinitely swap-able! Rugs, curtains, furniture, pillows, blankets, artwork: it’s amazing how fresh something can appear when placed in another room.

  3. Unique artwork. Add some personality to your wall with three-dimensional pieces or a shadow box with family items.

  4. Shelving accents. Have extra paint or wallpaper? Paint the back of a bookshelf for an interesting effect, or layer in wallpaper. If you don’t have any paint you can pick up a “sample” can at the paint store or pick up an inexpensive, clearance wallpaper roll. Once you change those bookshelves, rearrange them! Since you have emptied them, put them back differently.

  5. Reinvent an existing piece. Paint or upcycle into something new.

  6. New hardware. It’s a reasonably-priced options for updating furniture and cabinets.

  7. Finally, flowers! From your yard or the grocery store, they refresh and make you feel happy.

Kimberly Villa

Kaminskiy Design and Remodeling

One of my favorite ways to spruce up a home is to add houseplants. They’re inexpensive, and a great way to add some life to the room. I would recommend palms or philodendron which are easy to grow and maintain.

Another way to make your interior pop is to add an accent wall. Anytime you paint a portion of the room, it becomes the main focal point. It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to grab a bucket of paint, and the results can substantially change the appearance of the room. To create an even cooler look, try incorporating chalkboard paint so you can change up the scenery whenever you want.

My last tip is to replace boring or outdated light fixtures. Lighting isn’t nearly as expensive as most people think. My favorite design trend is combining conventional and contemporary styles, for example, adding a mid-century floor lamp next to a tufted sofa—this gives your room a unique character.

Adam Watson

Hollywood Mirrors

First impressions count! Paint the front door a nice vibrant color that stands out, such as a blue or green. This transforms a boring front door into a feature, giving your home character people will notice.

From there, I recommend decluttering your entryway. Doing so will put you in a good, happy mood the instant you come home.


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