home improvement projects

A common New Year’s resolution is to check a few DIY projects off the list. Here are five smart home improvement ideas that’ll keep you on budget this year.

Contrary to popular belief, home improvement projects don’t always require a second mortgage. You can often dramatically improve the look and feel of the residence for much less than you’d imagine – important when you consider that many of us try to work through DIY home improvement projects as part of our New Year’s resolutions. However, we often commit to “saving more money” during this time of the year. How is it possible to upgrade or update a home, breaking the bank? Read on and discover several low-cost, smart home improvement ideas to help you boost your home’s livability while keeping true to your budget.

Top Budget-Friendly DIY Ideas

Would you believe us if we told you that many of the ideas below could be completed for under $100? If you do it yourself, it certainly is possible.

  1. Swap out your wall switch plates: A switch plate may seem like a forgotten element in a room, but keep in mind that an average living room may have ten or more wall plates and/or outlet covers, and they are usually the cheap, boring white ones that have been in the house for years. At a minimum, swap out old, yellowing ones for new units. Or, add a subtle designer touch by using a contrasting color or textured plate to liven up the room. Best of all – a simple cordless screwdriver reduces the swap-out time to about 20 seconds per plate. Approximate cost: $10-$100 for 10-15 switch plates.
  1. Change out lightbulbs: Here’s a great idea – change out the lightbulbs in your entire home, or at least the most public rooms, with eco-friendly LED bulbs and you’ll save a ton of money in utility costs and protect the environment. Consider purchasing daylight bulbs, which emit a whiter light than traditional bulbs and tend to make a home feel brighter and more cheerful during evening hours. Approximate cost: $2 per lightbulb, $100 for the whole home, give or take.
  1. Replace drawer handles: One of the easiest ways to give your kitchen or bathroom a subtle but noticeable makeover is by replacing the existing drawer pulls with something a bit more ornate, elegant, or sophisticated. The nice part? It takes nothing more than a firm twist of the knob in the “loose” direction to unthread it.You can then rethread the designer drawer pull in a matter of seconds, often without having to even reach for a tool. The impact may seem small at first, but you’ll quickly see that this project delivers a serious dose of “cabinet makeover” without costing much at all. Approximate cost: $75-$100 for a kitchen and two bathrooms.
  1. Paint a room or two: Seriously, is there any home improvement project more deserving of the “best bang for the buck” title than a new paint job? Done right, and done DIY, painting is a powerhouse project with low cost and requires only a moderate amount of time. Paint areas of the home that are popular gathering spots. Don’t forget a new hue in the bedroom or an office can deliver mood-enhancing benefits to you and your family. Even if you are new to painting, you can give your home a new personality with ease – and a little over a gallon of paint can cover an average 10’ x 10’ room, for about $30. Approximate cost: $40 per bedroom including supplies.
  2. Re-Caulk the Home: One of the most cost-efficient and intelligent home improvement projects to consider this year is re-caulking certain areas of the home. Namely, windows, door frames, tub and sink surrounds, and any other places that have already been caulked in the past. Take a moment and do a quick inspection. Unless the home is only a few years old, there are likely to be areas where the caulk has begun to disintegrate. Caulking the tub and shower can help minimize the chances of a messy and potentially disastrous water leak down the road. Sealing windows helps to keep the house more comfortable and the utility bills in check. Best of all? Little skill is involved, you don’t need any special tools, and the price for a tube of caulk is a few bucks. Approximate total cost for a home: $30-50.

This year, get a jump now on the low-cost home improvement projects you’ve been itching to start all year. You’ll find that the visual and functional impact of completing several smaller DIY tasks will make your home a more attractive and comfortable space to enjoy.




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Created by nationally recognized millennial money expert Tonya Rapley, My Fab Finance is a leading financial education and lifestyle blog for millennials who want to become financially free and do more of what they love.