8 Small-Budget Makeover Ideas Under $500
If your bank account isn’t quite ready for a big-budget remodel, consider some of these small-scale upgrades for big impact.
Change up Rugs, Window Treatments and Shades on Light Fixtures
Even if you’ve recently added a fresh coat of paint and your furniture is current, old or outdated accessories can make a room feel tired in a hurry. For a quick refresh that is easy on the wallet, consider updating your rugs, shades and window treatments — each with a pop of color or pattern that makes it stand out. Hone in on three complementary hues and use them in each item to varying degrees. A bold pattern in one accessory helps balance out other less distinctive combinations.
Tile a Floor or Wall
When it comes to a focal point in the bathroom, the visual impact of a tile wall is hard to match. It’s also a great DIY project that can go a long way in orienting space behind sinks or a bathtub. If your bathroom features mostly neutral finishes, try adding a vivid color or style that brings energy and a sense of excitement.
Try Modular Carpeting
Expensive and intrusive, new carpeting is not the easiest update to make in a home. But carpet tiles are an entirely different matter. Not only are they flexible and functional — you can cover an entire room or create a custom accent rug — carpet tiles are a cinch to install, and even easier to switch out. Use them to add a pop of color, or enhance visual organization in a space.
Install Built-In Bookshelves
Take care of two problems at once with built-in bookshelves. They will most definitely transform your room, while also creating needed storage. You may even be able to install them yourself, depending on your skill level and willingness to learn. Basic shelves that are straightforward (no extras like trim or doors) can be had for pretty much the cost of the wood. As far as placement goes, try to find a spot in your room that surrounds a window or is next to a door. Compare the prices of melamine and wood for the most cost-effective choice, then see if your store or lumberyard will cut the boards to size for you.
Purchase a Quality Piece of Furniture
While it’s true that a small-scale budget might not allow you to invest in a room-transforming sofa, it will enable you to build on long-term furniture investments with a distinct table or side chair. Focus on mostly neutral pieces that give you optimal flexibility for future accessory upgrades, but don’t shy away from extra details that inject character or a distinctive style. Tip: For side tables, consoles or coffee tables, be sure to look for drawers or shelves to boost storage.
Wallpaper a Room (and Add Trim)
Another potential DIY project, wallpaper is an effective way to add one-of-a-kind pattern and color to a room. It’s also a way to incorporate an accent wall that unifies a room’s colors, injects character, or makes a bold visual statement. Wallpapering a single wall can be done in an afternoon and high-quality wallpaper costs around $100 per roll.
To enhance the presence of a room even more, consider installing substantial ceiling molding or base trim in an appropriate style. It typically costs about $10 per square foot, and all you need to install it is a miter saw (which can be rented) and finish nails.
Upgrade Sink and Fixtures in the Kitchen or Bathroom
Although typically presented as an all-in-one deal, remodels can be staged in a budget-friendly way with careful planning. For instance, thoughtful shopping can snag a new sink perfect for remaking part of your kitchen. Just be certain to match the size and counter setup so that you avoid costly adjustments to surrounding surfaces. If you have enough left in your budget, swap out the faucet too!
Get a New Window
Upgrading all of your windows is cost-prohibitive for most homeowners. But a single window that is too small or problematic? That’s a manageable project that has the ability to change the look and feel of a room dramatically. Try to choose a window that offers a new, but often-used view (like in the kitchen) or one that needs an upgrade to match others in your home. A new, small-to-moderate size window will cost around $500 installed.