1. Replace Kitchen Countertops
Upgrading kitchen work surfaces makes a big style statement in one of your home's most important spaces. There are several sleek, budget-friendly materials to choose from, including green countertop options like stainless steel, cast concrete, and solid surfacing and terrazzo composites made from recycled materials. Complement the new look by updating the hardware on your kitchen cabinets and drawers, and cut down on countertop clutter for a tidy appearance and more room to prep meals.
2. Make Your Bathroom Functional for Years to Come
If you plan to grow old with your home, it's never too early to start making small home improvements that’ll add up to easy access for family members of all ages and abilities. Run through AARP’s Bathroom Checklist to assess the current state of your bath, and then select home improvements that will make the space safer and easier to use. These can include installation of a wider entry door (32 inches is the standard for optimum access), easy-to-grasp door and cabinet hardware, rocker light switches, grab bars, and a shower fixture with a removable, hand-held shower head.
3. Brush on a New Look
Paint is one of the most transformative and cheapest home improvement products around, so make it your go-to technique for updating a living space. Most manufacturers offer handy sample sizes for testing out new hues, as well as special formulations and tools for faux finishing techniques. Adding crown moldings, chair rails and other trims is the next level in creating a custom look on a budget.
4. Spruce Up an Outdoor Room
Warm-weather leisure is all the more enjoyable with comfortable outdoor zones for entertaining and relaxing. Building a small deck or a patio of brick, natural stone or cement pavers can expand both your living space and your home’s value. You can also update landscaping and add pathways to form outlying seating areas or hideaways in a yard of any size.
5. Enhance Curb Appeal
Take those landscaping improvements around to the front yard, which plays a key role in your home's ability to make a good first impression. Then take a close look at the entry and ask yourself whether a stranger would find it welcoming. A beautiful new door built to withstand the elements is an affordable and long-lasting upgrade that will instantly ratchet up your home's perceived value. Add a few planters for a pop of cheerful color and a decorative bench for an inviting place to sit, and you've got a space that says "Home sweet home."
6. Improve Energy Efficiency
The climbing costs of home heating fuel make projects that keep out the cold all the more valuable. Avoid wasting precious energy dollars and keep your home toasty warm by sealing all heating and cooling ducts along seams and connections. Use duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed tape (never duct tape, as it doesn’t have the required staying power), followed by insulation wrap. Also consider upgrading your home’s insulation. A visit to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Insulation Recommendations page will provide guidance for your specific climate and location.
7. Accessorize to Organize
Make more space inside your head as well as within your favorite four walls by clearing away clutter and installing organization systems. In the garage, cheap home improvements like shelving and overhead storage solutions free up space so you can actually park a car and easily access gear. A bedroom closet fitted with modular components will allow you to start the day without stressing over the mess. Priceless!