It's common to start thinking about a new house in the New Year. We all do it (in fact, we're doing it right now). But if it's not a practical time to buy (or sell) or you're not in a financial position to make that kind of change, you can still make your house feel like new. Make one big change or a couple of smaller ones to breathe new life into your home. In honor of the new year, we've got 16 ways to go about it, and you can do them for under $1,000.
You won't find a better way to make a big change for a small financial hit, and you can do it yourself. If your kitchen or bathroom cabinets have seen better days, a coat of paint can re-energize the space and save thousands of dollars in replacement costs.
2. Redo your exterior trim
Painting your entire exterior might not be in the cards right now, but giving some attention to your home's trim can have a tremendous effect on the way the house looks. Look closely at the wood areas around windows, doors, and garage doors. Any chipped or peeling areas can be sanded and repainted. Bringing in some contrast or depth with a new color is a great way to change the look of your home with minimal financial pain.
3. Repaint your door
Replacing the entry door busts our $1,000 budget (the mid-range cost average is $1,230 according to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report), but the return on investment is over 100 percent, making this one smart renovation to do if your home needs it. Or, splash a coat of paint on your door to get a fresh feel at a lower cost.
4. Update the exterior details
While you're thinking about the exterior of your home, take a look at other elements like the house lights and the landscaping. It might be that changing out your lights to something more modern, adding uplights that showcase the home, or even adding some fresh flowers and a seating area on the porch, is enough to give the home the lift it needs.
5. Get a new toilet
It may sound silly, but something as simple as changing out a toilet that's seen better days can take away the little stresses that are making your home feel less than great.
6. Get a new vanity
The same principle applies to your vanity. An older version with chipping paint or a tired sink/countertop can drag down your space and take you with it. Plumbing is something that experts typically recommend leaving to a pro, but if you're game (and willing to attend a workshop or watch a few videos), you can do it yourself and feel a sense of pride along with the joy of seeing something pretty in your bathroom.
7. Update your lighting
Old, ugly ceiling fans or builder standard light fixtures making you sad? Your space will sparkle with new options. Pendants continue to be the hottest thing in lighting, and newer, sleeker ceiling fans can continue to give you the function you want without the hideous look.
8. Knock down a wall
A closed-in kitchen, and, especially a kitchen and living room that aren't open to each other, is reason enough to feel like moving. Removing the wall in between can change the way you use your home, see your home, and feel in the space. But make sure you're not dealing with a support wall, or taking it out can be much more expensive (at the least) and potentially dangerous to the structure of the home. It's sometimes difficult to determine whether a wall is load bearing or not so it's always best to call in a professional.
9. Create a pass-through
If you are not able to knock down the wall, creating or expanding a pass-through from the kitchen to the living room or dining room can give you a similar feel and function.
10. Get one great piece of furniture
Sometimes that's all it takes to shift the focus from what you don't like to what you do. And a great piece doesn't have to be expensive. Go get that fuchsia chair you've been eyeing. Replace your old couch with a great new one. Up the ante in your bedroom with a statement headboard. Or hit the flea markets for an antique sideboard you can paint peacock blue to turn your dining room on its ear.
11. Think slipcovers
If new furniture is not in your budget, covering it up can make it look brand new.
12. Dress the walls
Whether you don't have enough art or the art you do have is not inspired, focusing on dressing your walls can have a dramatic effect on how the space comes together.
13. Let the light in
Are those dark, heavy window coverings stifling your space? Go for a layered look that allows better light control and adds interest with texture and color.
14. Clear the clutter
It will cost you nothing to get rid of stuff. In fact, donating items can be a tax write-off!
15. Rip out that old floor
Yes, flooring can be a huge expense. Sourcing materials and pitching in to do it yourself can keep costs manageable. And a new floor—especially a product like wood-look tile, which is on trend and super easy to maintain—may just be enough to make you forget about moving.
16. Get a great rug
A great rug can also turn a worn floor that's looking sad into one that's happily sheathed by something pretty. It's not a permanent solution, but the "out of sight, out of mind" principle applies here. If your can cover up the offending areas—where it's most stained and scratched, it'll feel new again, even if it's not.