Affordable Home Improvement: 54 Genius Project & Renovation Ideas You Can Do for Cheap

Affordable Home Improvement

“Affordable home improvement” can feel like an oxymoron.

As most homeowners know, improvement projects tend to come with hefty price tags, long timelines for completion, and the inconvenience of living in a construction zone for as long as the project takes to complete.

But home improvement doesn’t have to be such a hassle. There are plenty of small, affordable home improvement projects you can DIY — sometimes in as little as an hour.

Whether you’re looking to make your space more comfortable, functional, and stylish for your own enjoyment, or you’re looking for a boost to your home’s resale value before you list it, these 54 genius projects will add tons of value — without a huge upfront investment from you.

Affordable Home Improvement: 54 Genius Project & Renovation Ideas You Can Do for Cheap

Affordable Home Improvement Projects Under $100

Affordable Home Improvement Projects from $100-$200

Affordable Home Improvement Projects from $200-$500

Affordable Home Improvement Projects Over $500 (That Will Save You Money Over Time)


Affordable Home Improvement Projects Under $100

There are so many ways you can make improvements to your home for less than $100 — we know, because we have 31 ideas for you right here.

Add Attractive Shelving

Home improvement projects don’t need to involve heavy construction — something as simple as adding some stylish floating shelves can not only add storage space, but freshen up a living room or bedroom.

Get Creative with Storage

Another simple, affordable way to brighten up a space is to add some creative storage. This can be anything from hooks on a wall for hanging coats and bags, to a bench with built-in storage to help reduce clutter.

Brighten Up Your Floors

Floors see more wear-and-tear than most other parts of your home, so focus on refreshing them for a simple and affordable home improvement project. Polish wood floors, or give vinyl, tile, or laminate floors a deep scrub to get them looking brand new.

Paint the Floor

If your floors need more than a polish or clean to look like new, consider painting them. Tiles, vinyl, and wood can all look great with a clean color or pattern stenciled on.

Paint an Accent Wall

You don’t necessarily need to repaint a whole room to brighten it up — just focus on one wall, and paint it a bold color or stencil or stamp a pattern to make it into a stylish accent wall.

Use Peel and Stick Wallpaper

If painting is too permanent, there are other ways to create an eye-catching accent wall on a budget, like peel-and-stick wallpaper. It’s designed to be easily removable without leaving any wall damage or residue, which makes this a great way for renters to freshen up their space.

Turn Boring Doors Into Panel Doors

Doors are an often-overlooked, yet simple way to bring style to your space. All it takes is some plywood and paint to DIY panel doors out of boring, plain doors.

Update Your Window Treatments

Whether it’s with blinds, shades, slats, or stylish new curtains, a new window treatment is a very affordable way to breathe new life into a room. Try experimenting with different styles and lengths for a new look — for example, you can make windows look bigger by hanging floor-to-ceiling curtains around them.

Make Use of Contact Paper

Contact paper is an extremely affordable way to make simple, temporary style changes in your space. You can use it to refinish countertops, add a pop of color to the back of a bookshelf, turn an up-cycled coffee table into a marble statement piece, and so much more. Just find a roll of contact paper in a pattern you love and look for places in your home where you can apply it.

Use Shelf Liners

Another easy way to add a pop of color to shelves or drawers is to add liners to them. For this you can use contact paper or wall paper, or, for an easy-to-clean, no-slip surface, look for specially made shelf liners.

Invest in a Closet Organization System

Too many closets contain just a single hanging rail and a high shelf. It’s not practical or easy to organize, and you can instantly add style and function to your closet by investing in an organization system. This could be shelves, hanging organizers, racks, and more, all depending on your budget and your needs.

Organize Other Areas

Another great way to instantly upgrade your space is to declutter and organize spots like the pantry, the entertainment center, the entryway, and other spots that seem to attract clutter. Invest in attractive organization tools, like matching baskets or bins, to turn an eyesore into a Pinterest-worthy part of your home.

Switch Up Your Hardware

One very quick, easy, and budget-friendly way to upgrade your space is to replace hardware, like cabinet and drawer pulls, or even doorknobs, with stylish new versions. You can go for a modern look with minimalist, matching hardware, or a more funky design by switching to mismatched, vintage pieces.

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Clean Up Your Switchplates

Because they get touched so often, switchplate covers for light switches and power outlets tend to get pretty grimy. Don’t underestimate how much it can help brighten up your space just to clean or repaint them so they look like new. It’s also an option to replace plain covers with fancier ones, but you can also DIY this look by painting small picture frames to match their color and mounting them on the wall around each switchplate (Pro-tip: A 3 x 5 picture frame will fit most standard, single lightswitch covers).

Add Feet to Furniture

Cheap wooden furniture that sits on the ground can be quickly and easily classed up by adding wooden feet to raise it up a few inches. This is a simple, affordable way to make furniture look instantly more expensive.

Try Out Track Lighting

An easy upgrade for any kitchen or bathroom is track lighting, which can be easily installed under cabinets or counters without a major upfront investment.

Lay Down New Caulk

If your bathroom is looking dirty and dated, one culprit may be browning, peeling caulk that needs to be replaced. With the help of a tutorial video or two, anyone can recaulk their tub and sink, replacing aging sealant with pearly white, clean caulk that will instantly make the space feel newer and brighter.

Make Over a Vanity With Cheap Materials

There’s a new trend the last few years: Concrete countertops in kitchens and bathrooms. And considering how affordable concrete can be, it’s no wonder this is a trend that seems to be sticking around. An online tutorial can help you make over your bathroom vanity in just a few days.

Frame Your Bathroom Mirror

If your bathroom is lacking in style, a quick, affordable fix is adding a frame around the mirror. Say goodbye to harsh edges and plastic clip holders, and hello to a mirror that look far more expensive than it actually is.

Paint a New Look for Your Shower or Tub

Retiling a shower or tub can be expensive. So why not achieve a similar look with a much smaller price tag by painting your existing tile? This can breath new life into older tiles, or create a new, modern look for your bathroom.

Replace Your Shower Head

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to upgrade your shower is by replacing an old showerhead with a new one, preferably with some luxurious features. There are showerheads that can increase your water pressure or add pulsing or lighting to your shower setup. Another popular option is a rainfall showerhead, which can be easily installed in most showers.

Update Your Air Vents

One of the least attractive parts of many a home is the vents for heating and air conditioning, which tend to get dirty easily and not match the decor of the home. With a simple tutorial and some affordable supplies, though, you can beautify your home’s vents with decorative covers.

Remove Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn ceilings are a trend that tends to make a home look dated. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to remove them — it just takes a little time and elbow grease. Be sure to use an EPA-approved asbestos test kit before starting this project.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

In many homes, it’s simpler and more affordable than you might think to install a programmable thermostat. Having such exact control over the temperature in your home comes with the added bonus of saving on energy bills for years to come.

Paint Your Front Door

Does your home need a quick refresh that brings better curb appeal? A coat of paint in a bright color can add a stylish pop to your home’s exterior, all for under $100 and a half day of work.

Give the Garage Door a Makeover

Another outside door that can be spruced up on a budget is your garage door. Consider giving it a new look with a coat of paint, decals, or something like an affordable kit that turns any garage door into a stylish faux carriage door.

Add Window Boxes

Another way to add instant curb appeal to your home is by installing outdoor window boxes for growing flowers or even herbs. Adding greenery is a simple and cost-effective way to brighten up any space, even the outside of your home.

Divide Perennials or Propagate Houseplants

On that note, an extremely affordable way to add more greenery to your home is to use the plants you already have. Perennials that grow in clumps can be divided and spread out every few years, and with the help of a YouTube tutorial, any home gardener can easily propagate many common houseplants to start growing more.

Add an Outdoor Walkway

Paver stones can often be picked up on the cheap for another affordable home improvement project. If you’re only able to get a few matching stones within your budget, space them out to create a stylish outdoor walkway.

Hide Outdoor Eyesores

There are plenty of solutions you can fit into a budget for hiding eyesores, like vents, PVC pipes, and utility boxes. Hollow, plastic “rocks” are one very affordable option. You can also use some creative landscaping with bushes and flowers to cover smaller eyesores.

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Add Outdoor Lighting

Installing lighting isn’t always the most affordable home improvement project, but outside, you have many options for budget-friendly styles. String lights can add ambiance to a patio or deck, with the added bonus of being very trendy and easy on the wallet.

Affordable Home Improvement Projects from $100-$200

With a little more room in your budget, there are many more affordable home improvement projects you can take on. For under $200, you can likely accomplish any of these.

Create a More Functional Entryway

Many homes lack a functional entryway, which leads to clutter and disorganization. An affordable home improvement project is to add storage, shelving, wall hooks for hanging coats and bags, a shoe rack, a bench, or other solutions to turn your entryway into a usable space. How this is designed and how much you spend will depend on your space and needs, but in almost all cases, this can be done on a pretty tight budget.

Paint a Room

Possibly the most classic way to refresh a room in your home is to give it a new coat of paint. This can easily be done in any reasonably sized room for under $200.

Get Creative with Molding, Baseboards, and Trim

Make a room look instantly much more expensive by adding crown molding, a baseboard, or trim around its perimeter. If you want to save a few more bucks, you can get unfinished molding for cheap and then paint or finish it to match your room’s decor.

DIY a Fireplace Update

There are many ways you can update a fireplace for under $200. Painting it is one option. Adding a stylish new mantle is another. Pinterest is filled with potential ideas for making a dated fireplace look brand new on a budget.

Build Your Own Barn Door

If you love the look of farmhouse decor, you can build your own sliding barn door on a budget. Simply remove an existing door from its hinges, and pick up all the hardware you need to install it on a sliding track.

Update Your Lighting Fixtures

You’d be amazed at how much it can modernize a room to simply replace dated lighting fixtures. And while this may seem daunting for an amateur DIY-er, it’s actually simple to swap them out. To save even more, look for vintage lighting fixtures you love at second-hand stores.

Refresh Your Cabinets

Making dated or worn down cabinets look new doesn’t have to be expensive. A coat of paint or wood stain can help breathe new life into old cabinets, as long as their bones are still in good shape.

Have Your Carpets Cleaned

Regular vacuuming can only do so much. When it comes to carpeted areas that get a lot of foot traffic, it’s inevitable that over time, dirt will build up. Dropping the cash to have your carpets professionally cleaned can make a world of difference, especially if it’s been a while since they’ve had a deep clean.

Paint the Stairs

A staircase can be a major focal point in a home, so making it look nice is an easy way to make an entire space look new. One very affordable way to spruce up a staircase is to paint it. And you don’t have to stick with one all-over color. Try stenciling a pattern on the backs of the stair rises for a pop of style, or painting just the railings to add contrast.

Install Stair Brackets

Another easy and affordable way to dress up a plain staircase is by adding stair brackets. These give any staircase a stylish, vintage look. Some decorative brackets can be attached just with an adhesive, making this a quick and simple DIY project with a big payoff.

Stick On a Backsplash

Tile backsplashes look great in the kitchen or bathroom, but they can be expensive and difficult to install. Luckily, there are now simpler ways to achieve the same look, like with a stick-on backsplash designed to look like patterned tile.

DIY a Kitchen Island

Having a kitchen without a built in island doesn’t mean you can’t have all that sweet, sweet counter space. As long as you have room for it, it’s easy to DIY a kitchen island. Many people refinish a dresser to match their kitchen decor, which gives them a ton of added storage space, too.

Install a New Sink or Faucet

A new sink or faucet can really dress up a kitchen or bathroom. Plus, even the nicest of faucets likely won’t run you more than $200.

Upgrade a Small Appliance

Is your microwave, blender, or food processor straight out of the ‘90s? If so, it can really help your kitchen if you spend a little to upgrade it. Even better if you choose a new version that better matches your decor or other appliances.

Install a Bathroom Vent Fan

Without a vent fan, bathrooms tend to get musty and moldy. Surprising for many homeowners is the fact that it actually isn’t that difficult (or expensive) to install one, in many cases. We recommend doing plenty of research before attempting this yourself, and, if possible, consulting a knowledgeable friend for help.

Clean or Refinish the Deck

If you have a deck that’s been exposed to harsh weather, odds are it could use a little love. Power washing a deck can restore it to like-new, and adding a coat of weatherproof stain ensures it’ll stay that way for a year or more.

Affordable Home Improvement Projects from $200-$500

If you have more than a couple hundred dollars to spend, but still don’t want to break the bank, these affordable home improvement projects are for you.

Install a Stair Runner

Having a carpet store install a custom runner on a staircase can easily cost thousands. But by finding a pre-made runner or two and spending a few days putting in the hard work, you can install your own for a fraction of that cost.

Create a Library with Modular Shelving

These days, you have many choices for modular furniture. There’s IKEA, the brand that started the trend, but now, stores like Walmart and Target also make their own mass-produced furniture that’s affordable and easy to customize. Using modular shelves (and perhaps some embellishments like crown molding) you can create library walls and storage solutions that look like custom built-ins, but without the hefty price tag.

Install a Low-Cost Floor

New flooring doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Affordable options like vinyl and laminate have seen major improvements over the years, and now can look stylish and high-quality, for pennies on the dollar compared to what you’d pay for wood or tile.

Put in Ceiling Fans

Want to add a design piece to a room that’s also functional? A ceiling fan is perfect for that. This is another project that might seem intimidating, but with a little research (and help from a friend) can totally be done DIY-style.

Invest in Landscaping

Professional landscapers will charge thousands to transform your home’s curb appeal. But by investing a few hundred dollars and a weekend of hard work, you can get a variety of plants and flowers that will instantly brighten up the exterior of your home.

Affordable Home Improvement Projects Over $500 (That Will Save You Money Over Time)

These projects require more of an upfront investment, but will save you money in the long run.

Install New Appliances

New appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, and ranges aren’t cheap. But if the ones you have in your home now are very old, it’s a worthwhile investment to replace them with energy-saving models that will pay for themselves over time.

Replace Your Windows

Especially if your home is older, with single-pane windows, the investment you spend on energy-efficient glass will pay for itself over the years by reducing your costs for heating and cooling your home.

Affordable home improvement projects are out there, for every budget and every need. Giving your home a refresh doesn’t need to be expensive, time-consuming, or a hassle. What are you waiting for? Happy renovating!

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