Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to live in a variety of homes. From a vacation rental property to a suburban cookie cutter house and a ranch style country home, they all needed some updating. Working from a budget, I often got creative and completed projects on my own. From this experience, I’ve gathered up an arsenal of my favorite easy home updates that all ring up under $200.
1. Paint An Accent Wall
We all know a can of paint makes a dramatic impact. Strategy though, is what turns it into a home update.
I’m not advocating for just painting one of four walls a different color. (In fact, I’d suggest NOT doing this). Instead look for opportunities to feature an area of the room, highlight an architectural element, or define a space.
Painting the walls in this bedroom corner helped define it as a separate office nook – and created dramatic impact.
This dark wall next to the toilet in this bathroom turns an otherwise boring, wasted space into a dramatic focal point. Shelves and wood shades make this a huge update.
What color to paint an accent wall?
As with all wall paints, I recommend choosing a neutral (meaning no funny undertones). This will help make sure all other colors work well together and it makes for a nice backdrop. I created a list of all my Neutral Paint Colors.
2. Fireplace Makeovers
In nearly every house I’ve lived, the fireplace has been refreshed. Why? Because it’s one of the easiest updates with major impact. Since it’s often a focal point of a room, changing this alone can refresh the entire space.
Most of my fireplace makeovers include painting. I completed a Whitewashed Brick Fireplace which really moved that living room beyond the 80’s. I also Painted Ceramic Tile Fireplace and most recently a black Stone Fireplace.
Rustic Wood Beam Mantle
Adding a wood beam mantle is another fairly easy home update with relatively little cost for the impact.
Add Fireplace Tile
While I haven’t tried it yet myself, I’d really love to tile a fireplace! These gray chevron tiles would be a pretty upgrade to most fireplaces. And if the thought of tile and grout sounds intimidating, tile-look stencils like this modern stencil or a more traditional look are a great option.
I’m leaning towards incorporating this wall detail to add character in our new home. I found this excellent Board and Batten Tutorial from Unexpected Elegance which makes it seem pretty doable!
3. Change Out Light Fixtures
Like I said, I’ve lived in more than my fair share of houses of the years (curveballs, ya know?). The very first thing I do when moving in is to change out those light fixtures!
Chandeliers come in making a big impact. Whether it’s a basket light to add some texture or some like a mid-century modern chandelier, changing out those outdated lights quickly transforms a space.
Flush Mount Lights
Change out those dreaded boob lights (you know, those round builder grade ones in every room) with a lovely flush mount light.
This type of lighting is often the easiest to change out so I’ve gathered up plenty of affordable options. These 9 Flush Mount Lights are great options for bedrooms, larger laundry rooms, or offices.
For hallways, lofts, and other small spaces, these 9 Small Flush Mount Lights are a great update.
How to Install Light Without Wiring?
Sometimes we don’t have existing electrical where we need it so wiring can be an issue. If so, check out my tutorial for Installing Wall Sconces Without Wiring or use something like these battery powdered wall sconces.
4. Add Shelving
Shelving is another easy home update that can often be completed for less than $200. Shelves add functionality, character, and create a custom look.
I added double brackets to create shelving above the toilet. This is one of my favorite updates as it makes great use of that often unused, extra space.
Recently, I added open shelving to my kitchen after removing the upper cabinets and retiling. I’ve done this before in previous homes and I love the character it adds.
If you’re curious about how to makes shelves, check out my DIY Open Shelving Tutorial!
I also used corner shelf brackets to create matching corner shelves to make the best use of extra space.
5. Window Coverings
Whether you’re looking at curtains, shades, or blinds changing out window coverings is a very simple home update with a big impact.
Of course, a whole house transformation would surely add up, but I like updating window coverings one area or room at a time. (And ps. the whole house does NOT need to match exactly).
While white wood blinds are a safe bet, I love woven wood shades because they add texture and detail.
While I do not choose drapes for every window, I do like these Crossweave Curtains in Stone for a wide range of spaces.
Is it ok to have windows without coverings?
Yes! By all means, yes. Bare windows are often an incredible feature to room. Assuming privacy isn’t an issue, go ahead and take those window treatments down! Basically, a free home update.
6. Switch Out Hardware
Design is in the details
Of course, don’t forget about the front door hardware!
7. Paint A Door
Speaking of doors – painting them makes a big difference! Recently, I painted my front doors black and couldn’t be happier with the transformation.
Go on and paint those interior doors too. A back door, laundry room door, or closet are all good options for adding interest and contrast.
8. Install a New Faucet
Like other hardware, faucets make a big difference! In this Budget Bathroom Makeover, ripping out the countertops for a new sink was just not in the cards.
Instead, I simply replaced the old, shiny silver faucet with a new modern matte black faucet for an easy home update (check out the whole project for tons of budget friendly ideas).
9. Change the Bathroom Mirror
Many small bathrooms include basic or outdated mirrors. These are easy to change!
While the bathroom above was part of entire remodel (check out the Bathroom Remodel post to see the before!), the previous mirror definitely needed an update and that alone would’ve made a huge difference. I opted for a Black Metal Mirror with rounded corners.
In my budget bathroom makeover, I actually kept the existing mirror because it was so large and simply added a frame to it! HGTV has a good mirror framing tutorial but I went with a company who provides all the custom supplies to frame a mirror – it was insanely easy!