If you've been living in the same home for many years, or if you bought a fixer-upper, it's natural that you want to renovate and upgrade your home.
But upgrades are expensive. A new set of kitchen cabinets will cost thousands of dollars. New countertops, bath vanities and hardwood floors will cost several thousand more.
#1: Want stainless steel appliances without the astronomical price tag? Use peel-and-stick contact paper with a stainless steel finish. Your appliance will have a stainless steel façade at a fraction of the price of the real deal.
#2: Install new switchplate covers - the covers on light switches and electrical outlets. These cost about $1 each for a basic white cover at major home improvement retailers, and they're easy to install. A new, clean white cover will look much nicer than that old, yellowing cover you had. For added oomph in the kitchen, try stainless steel covers. You can also hunt for patterned and decorative covers online.
#3: Change your doorknobs, handles and hinges. These are inexpensive finishing touches that make a huge difference, and the installation is quick and easy.
#4: Change your lampshades. It's a small detail that makes a HUGE difference.
#5: Make sure the "light spectrum" from your bulbs is appropriate for the area. You want soft bulbs that emit a yellow/red undertone in "hanging out" zones like the living room. You want bright bulbs that emit blue undertones in "study" zones like your home office or library.
#6: Install new blinds or curtains in the windows. Two-inch wood blinds give your home a nicer aesthetic than most one-inch vinyl blinds.
#7: Install crown molding, baseboard trim, doorway trim and other trim accents to your home. Trim and moldings go a long way towards making a home look upgraded.
#8: Rearrange your furniture. You don't necessarily need new pieces of furniture - simply creating new shapes, and reorganizing the flow of a living space, can do wonders.
#9: Cover your furniture with a slip-cover or fabric. This will give it a new color and pattern, making it feel new.
#10: Repaint your walls and/or change your wallpaper.
#11: Alternatively, paint your ceiling a new, fresh color. Some people are experimenting with soft neutral colors on the walls and a bold color on the ceiling, like white walls with a bright yellow ceiling, or light beige walls with an eggplant/purple ceiling.
#12: Hang new photos or art on the walls. For an even more frugal alternative, simply change the frames of your existing photos and art.
#13: Hang more mirrors, even in places that are above eye-level (like over a fireplace). This increases the light that shines through the house. If you can hang two mirrors in the same room, put them on opposite walls; this will give the impression of a larger room.
#14: Change your kitchen and bath rug and your doormat. Switch to a new shower curtain.
#15: Buy some new cushion and pillow covers, or sew them out of old unneeded pieces of clothing or fabric. Don't have any that are good enough? Hunt for fabric at yard sales.
#16: Get some small decorative items like mini-lanterns, artsy coasters and a new coffee table book. These are more "finishing details" that give a space a modern feel.
#17: Put plants everywhere, both indoors and out. If you already own plants, but they're potted in cheap plastic containers, upgrade them to a nice ceramic pot.
#18: Clear your clutter! This alone makes a space feel much more inviting.
#19: Clean and tune-up your furnace and ventilation shafts. This isn't a cosmetic upgrade, but it will make your home function more efficiently.
#20: Burn candles or incense or use an air freshener. A new scent can help you enjoy the feeling of a nicer atmosphere.