By Barbara Pronin
When it comes to upgrading our homes, there is a never-ending list of things to do, from buying new patio furniture to replacing the kitchen cabinets. But the editors of Money Magazine suggest five home remodeling projects that will vastly improve the look of your home without breaking the budget:
- Improve the curb appeal – Whether or not you are planning to sell your home, an inviting first appearance is important. Spend some time in the front yard from the curb in, pulling weeds, planting perennials, and trimming hedges. You can make needed repairs to fences or front steps and change out your old, dull mailbox all for under $500.
- Paint the front door – A spiffy new fiberglass front door could cost $1,000 or more, but you can upgrade the look for a lot less by adding new hardware and a fresh coat of paint. Add a new light fixture, a fresh doormat and a pot of flowers and you may have money left over from that $500 bill.
- Paint interior walls – Nothing changes the look of a room more than a fresh coat of paint. It can get complicated and expensive if you need to repair drywall, remove mold, or have really tall ceilings, so you may need to hire a professional. But if you can do it yourself, you may even be able to upgrade baseboards or add crown molding and stay within a $500 budget.
- Update the lighting – Lighting fixtures are to a home what jewelry is to an outfit. They can add pizzazz or look dated and dowdy. Switching out a chandelier over the dining room table is a fairly easy, budget
friendly project. Shop big-box stores for inexpensive models or ask about floor sample sales at retail outlets. If you’re on too tight a budget, consider updating lamps you already have with new shades.
- Install new toilets – It may not materially change the look of your bathrooms, but if you have toilets installed before 1995, replacing them with new models will save thousands of gallons of water you won’t have to pay for. You can get new models for well under $200, so you may want to spend some of that $500 budget to upgrade the look with bathroom lighting, mirrors or storage units.