Upgrade your home today with these inexpensive DIY projects.
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Get inspired with these home improvement projects that won’t break the bank. You might be surprised how a small, inexpensive change can make a big difference.
With the fluctuating cost of materials and labor, more of us are looking for low-cost DIY projects to upgrade our homes. If that’s you, you’re in luck. Get inspired with these home improvement projects that won’t break the bank. You might be surprised how a small, inexpensive (and sometimes free) change can make a big difference.
Fake it 'til you make it
Fake the beloved architectural details found in charming older homes at a fraction of the cost by installing trim and molding. If you immediately looked up toward your ceilings and around your windows, you’re on the right track. Keep going, though, and add these details above kitchen cabinets, too, just like Young House Love.
More inexpensive DIY projects to fake architectural detail:
- Paint, wallpaper or add a textured surface like shiplap to an accent wall. Painting wavy lines and arches instead of the entire wall add unexpected visual interest where there wasn’t any before.
- When painting an accent wall, don’t limit yourself to the room’s dimensions. Use the accent color to delineate a faux boundary or create the illusion of a separate space in an open floorplan like Delia Creates did for her entryway.
- Instead of gutting the bathroom entirely and replacing a bathtub, fake a new look with a beadboard surround. We’ve also seen this sophisticated built-in hack done with stone.
Sleep on it
The largest piece of furniture in your bedroom is the bed itself. A DIY headboard can be a simple and cost-effective way to make a statement. We like how Shanty2Chic built a barndoor-style headboard for less than $100. This one was for a child’s room, but you can’t go wrong with a similar look when you’re designing a farmhouse modern bedroom.
More inexpensive DIY projects for the bedroom:
- Instead of building a new headboard, or to give the one you have a more dramatic flair, paint a mural at the top of your bed. Dwell shows the impact a simple circle can have, while @prettyinthepines takes a more subtle approach.
- Rather than lining the curtain rod up with the window, hang curtains closer to the ceiling to make a room look larger. If the window is off-center in the room, extend the rod and curtains beyond one edge of the window to create the illusion of a more symmetrical space.
Get your affairs in order
Build or install store-bought organizational systems in your closets, kitchen pantry or garage. Customize them based on your storage needs. That could mean a lower rod so the kids can hang and reach their own clothes like Grace In My Space, a built-in shoe rack or suspended shelves for large sports gear or out-of-season holiday décor.
More inexpensive DIY projects to improve organization:
- Take advantage of inexpensive baskets and pretty bins to use with existing shelving. Try clear acrylic organizers so you and the kids can see what’s on the shelves without pulling everything out of the closet or pantry first.
- Declutter. The only cost is a bit of time and effort. It’s easier to stay organized when you don’t have unnecessary belongings getting in the way.
Step into the light
Replacing builder’s grade overhead fixtures is an obvious option for changing the mood or your home and making it brighter, but why not try under-cabinet lights? LED strip lights are popular, especially if you want to be change colors from time to time. We also like wireless light bars and puck lights. They can be mounted with screws or with self-stick tape, so you aren’t running wires or calling an electrician. The DIY Playbook used a little bit of everything in their home, installing puck lights under the upper kitchen cabinets, light bars in pantries and LED light strips underneath lower bathroom cabinets.
More inexpensive DIY projects to improve lighting:
- Use LED lights in the hallways. These lighting strips can gently illuminate passageways for a relaxing ambience and safety. No more stumbling in the dark and no more blinding yourself when you switch on the overhead lights in the middle of the night.
- Try changing just your lampshades. Emily Henderson shows two options for a DIY lampshade – covering it in fabric and painting it.
More inexpensive DIY projects to upgrade stairs:
- Just like you can add running lights along your hallway, try LED lights on the stairs or under the handrails. This is another example of how safety and style go, well, hand in hand.
- Upgrade the spindles and banisters. Wood or wrought iron can help capture a more traditional style, while cable and glass lean more modern.
Make an entrance
More often than not, we think of doors as purely functional. They keep things in or out, provide privacy, and block sound and sometimes smells. Doors and entryways can be so much more, though, with the right artistic touch. Paint your interior doors a bold color, just as you might an accent wall. Design Sponge certainly didn’t hold back, painting each of their three doors a different color to stand in bold contrast to the ultra-white walls.
Our tips for giving hollow core doors a budget makeover is one of our most popular blogs and is full of more easy and cost-effective ways to make your entrances look more sophisticated.
More inexpensive DIY projects for doors and entryways:
- Install a DIY Dutch door. Or if you have a wider opening – maybe there isn’t even a door there currently if you have an open floorplan – try French doors or a sliding barn door.
- Decorate your entryway with functional and stylish pieces. Start with these must-have elements for your foyer. You might already own some of the items you need.
- Hang a mirror to make a small foyer feel larger and reflect more light. Simply refinish or reframe an existing mirror or, if you’re looking for a bigger project, try this dollar store hack from Blooming DIYer.
Get a grip
Think about upgrading your door hardware. Maybe it’s as simple as switching from knobs to levers. Do you know which one is better? Choose the right one for your lifestyle and don’t skimp on quality. Schlage door hardware is known for its premium construction and lifetime guarantee, so you can be confident in your choice for years to come, without paying to replace them regularly.
More inexpensive DIY projects with hardware:
- Replace the cabinet pulls in your kitchen and bathroom with round hand-painted porcelain knobs or modern bin pulls. Choose a finish that complements the cabinet paint color, your faucets or both. You might also swap out the hardware on dresser drawers, your nightstand or a basement bar cabinet.
- Use cabinet or door handles to make a DIY serving tray. It’s great for drinks when entertaining, breakfast in bed or even corralling décor on the coffee table.
Indoor plants literally bring life to your home. Science has shown that they can improve your mood and create a calming atmosphere. It’s why so many of us added them to our new home offices in 2020. Living walls can create a jungle vibe in your home. This easy DIY succulent wall planter from Sunset is a great low-cost version. If you’re feeling extra handy, don’t be afraid to make frames in different shapes and sizes.
More inexpensive DIY projects with indoor plants:
- Embrace the plant “shelfie” trend. Choose the right container for your houseplants, then fill a bookcase with your greens. You might also install shelves above the kitchen sink or in the bathroom, perfect for those humidity-loving plants.
- Make your own indoor hanging basket. We like this natural look from The Summery Umbrella. But if you’re one of the many in love with Boho design, don’t miss these macrame plant holder ideas from Brit + Co.