Knowing the top home improvement ideas matter when you want the most bang for your buck. Making your home look better is important for homeowners, landlords, and anyone who just wants to be proud of their property. Sometimes, life keeps us too busy to commit to large-scale home remodeling, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do some quick, affordable fixes to improve your home’s appearance. Even installing new light switches or upgrading a thermostat can make your home look and feel better!
Check out these quick and cheap fixes that will improve your home’s curb appeal and make it more marketable. If you plan to sell or list it for rent with our responsive property management services, even small fixes can make your listing photos stand out. So, if you have just a weekend to spare, these cheap and quick fixes will give your property a noticeable update.
1. DIY Landscaping Your Home’s Exterior
- Average cost: $40 per square foot
If you are willing to put some DIY effort into your outdoor space, you can make your home look better for little upfront cost. This also helps if you plan to sell your home and you need to make a good first impression.
With a rake, a few bags of mulch, and some plants from the hardware store, you can update your exterior for listing photos or your own pride. It’s an excellent way to do something that has a big impact without completing a large home renovation. Mulch only costs $2 to $5.50 per bag, and it takes just an afternoon to place it around your home. Some border fencing or stones can also provide a presentable barrier between mulch territory and green grass.
2. Area Rugs
- Average cost: $400- $1,000
A bare or worn-out floor can get a high-end upgrade with an affordable area rug. This quick improvement takes just minutes to “install” but it can offer years of enjoyment. You can make this addition even more stylish with a new (or reclaimed) coffee table that draws attention away from the floor’s imperfections. Thrifted and refinished accents can also help you save money but still add glamour to your home.
Whether you need them for home staging or to make your property cozier in the winter, area rugs are a faster alternative to changing old flooring. You also can find some incredible deals if you shop for clearances or look for treasures at closeout stores. Don’t forget the rubber grip mat to keep your carpet in one place!
3. DIY Vinyl Flooring
- Average cost: $2 to $7 per square foot
If you’re handy, you can save a lot on flooring improvements. There are many different versions of stick-on or interlocking vinyl flooring that people with a little bit of know-how can install in as little as a weekend. There are even some varieties that are as cheap as $0.99 per tile.
Even if you use hired help, the cost of installing vinyl flooring is lower compared to tile or hardwood flooring. Since vinyl comes in many different faux wood and stone varieties, you can make your room look fashionable for less than the cost of natural materials. Luxury vinyl flooring can also improve the resale value of a home, especially if it’s an upgrade from the previous flooring and in a starter home.
4. New Front Door
- Average cost: Around $500
A new front door can dramatically change the way your home looks to the outside world, yet it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. You can find good-looking exterior doors for around $400 at your local hardware store. Then, it costs around $70 an hour of labor to install it. Even with hired help, you can be looking at an excellent curb appeal boost for under $1,000 easily.
- Tip: If your doors are still looking good but need a touch up, even small upgrades like installing a new knocker or hardware can be an excellent makeover for your entryways.
5. Stick-on Kitchen Backsplash
- Average cost: $4 per square foot
While the average cost to install high-quality porcelain backsplash typically ranges in the $1,000-$3,000 range, you can cheat the system with stick-on backsplash. Not only does this project involve minimal prep and labor, but you can even find 8”x8” decals for $1.25 each at the Dollar Tree (as of September 2022). This can result in a total cost between $100-$300 for the average kitchen backsplash. Talk about a deal!
- Tip: Adding or changing knobs can offer a new look to your kitchen too. When you order these parts in bulk, you can make a big impact for minimal cost.
6. Stick-on Molding
- Average cost: $1-3 per foot
Take the same concept of stick-on backsplash and apply it to stick on molding to achieve another upgrade that will fool everyone into thinking that you spent thousands of dollars on your home. This upgrade is especially effective after a fresh coat of paint.
Stick-on molding is widely available on popular websites like Amazon. You can also find them in your local Home Improvement store at the DIY project. When you shop around, you can find some incredible deals. Whether you want chair molding, base molding, or crown molding, these stick-on solutions will instantly make any space feel more stately.
7. New Interior Paint
- Average cost: $3,029 (for entire house with a pro. DIY costs the price of materials, which is about $50 for brushes/rollers and $40 per paint can/ $100 for ladder)
Painting isn’t just one of the top affordable ways to improve your home’s looks, but it also has an average ROI of 107%. Also, lighter paint colors can reflect natural light and make small spaces feel bigger. Moreover, finishing one room at a time takes one day out of your weekend, so you can finish strategic areas in intervals, gradually making the room feel brighter.
8. Update Light Fixtures
- Average cost: $196 per fixture
Trading an outdated chandelier for a svelte, modern light fixture can make your interior look pop with style. Just a small upgrade here or there can make a big difference in the way your home looks and feels. It also makes real estate marketing pictures look great!
9. Installing Blinds
- Average cost: $700
You don’t notice how important window treatments are until you enter a house without any. By getting your home outfitted with fresh, clean blinds, you can give it a facelift and improve its interior lighting. Also, window treatments are a major convenience that buyers and renters love to see included with their new home.
10. Faux built-in bookcase
- Average cost: $40 per bookcase
Built-in bookcases are a hallmark of expensive homes, and many people shy away from this home upgrade due to cost – but you can replicate this book in an inexpensive way. Simply buy some affordable bookshelves from a store like Ikea or Target and mount them to the wall.
This home project works best when you buy a set of bookcases and arrange them into sequences. This look can also be achieved by using cube cubby storage shelves. Be sure to use the proper amount types and screws to ensure that the shelves are strong enough and mounted correctly in the wall.
Bonus: FREE Fixes
If you have $0 to spare for an interior design upgrade or remodel, don’t fret. There are still many free ways to improve the look of your home.
- Declutter your home of unused items like kitchen gadgets, old toys, clothing, shoes, and outdated home decor. Simply having more space will make your home show better and improve its functionality and flow. Remember: minimalist design is in!
- Deep clean your living room, dining room, or any other living space that looks dull. Too often, dusty base boards, dirty carpets, and dull wood floors diminish a room’s beauty, but cleaning can restore the original splendor of your property, just like the first time you saw it.
- Bring in fresh flowers or houseplants from your yard and place them in rooms to make your home feel more biophilic and inviting.
- Rearrange your furniture and home decor. Simply angling furniture in a new way or changing the covers of your throw pillows can provide the refresh you’ve been craving.
Top 10 Cheap Home Improvement Projects for Small Budgets
We understand that sometimes you just want to go for the big-ticket projects like new windows or a new kitchen that will impress your future buyers (or yourself). If you’re looking for improvements that increase home value without any financial barriers, check out these high-ROI projects. We’ve done the hard work for you to find the best upgrades that will have lasting impacts on your home value.
To learn more about making your home more marketable, contact us today.
Alicia Persson is a real estate content/SEO writer at Marketplace Homes. She has several years of experience working in real estate teams that specialized in investments and property management. Before she joined Marketplace, she was a freelance writer for 7 years, leading to a specialization in real estate and home living content for boutique digital marketing agencies. During her writing years, she learned the basics of SEO and gained experience writing for many different clients, making her highly versatile at creating diverse content.
She is a proud University of Virginia master’s graduate and enjoyed her undergraduate years at the University of Mary Washington. When Alicia is not writing, she plays keytar and sings in a local 90’s rock cover band, or she spends time with her amazing family.