5 Affordable Home Upgrades You'll Love

You want to update your house, but you don't have tens of thousands of dollars to do it. Fortunately, there are many appealing home upgrades that won't break your budget. Discover five low-cost ways to improve the aesthetics and function of your home. You can even do many of these upgrades yourself, which will save you more money on the cost of labor.

1. Stair Runner

Bare steps are more than just an eyesore. They can also be a safety hazard due to slipperiness. You can easily install an attractive stair runner that provides traction on wet or slippery stairs. Shelf liners that come in long rolls are a budget-conscious solution for this. Choose a woven runner. They're available in solid colors and patterns. Any big-box home improvement or local hardware store will have the adhesives, tacks, or staples necessary for securing the runner to the steps. A DIY runner will cost less than $200, while a customized runner could cost as much as $2,500.

2. Painted Cabinets

Perhaps you bought a house that looks like it's straight out of 1974 with harvest gold or avocado green countertops and cabinet fronts. Updating the look of the cabinets is a simple weekend project. Remove the cabinet doors. Sand them with coarse-grit then fine-grit sandpaper. Be sure to do the same for the visible parts of the cabinet bodies. Place the doors on a plastic tarp, and use the appropriate type of interior paint. If the wood is dark in color, you'll need to apply a primer before painting. Once the fronts are dry, turn them over and paint the back. You'll need two coats of paint on each side.

3. Drawer Pulls

Swapping outdated cabinet handles and drawer pulls is another low-cost upgrade with a big visual impact. You can find replacements at a Habitat for Humanity Restore location, estate sales, or the big-box home improvement store. You'll just need a few hand tools or a power screwdriver to remove the old hardware and install the new pieces.

4. Hard Surface Flooring

Carpeting is a haven for dust mites and dirt. There are affordable hard surface flooring options that are easy to install yourself. You can get materials at discount outlets to save even more. Pulling out the old carpet requires some elbow grease, but two people can easily remove a room's carpet and tack strips in an hour. You'll need a laser level to make sure the floor doesn't slope. Vinyl plank, laminate, and cork flooring are affordable replacement options.

5. New Faucets

Old faucets with mineral scale detract from your kitchen or bathroom's appearance. It's not too difficult to remove and replace a faucet. You could choose a replacement that offers water-conserving features, such as a better aerator. While you're at it, you can replace your old showerhead with a new one that includes a handheld wand. These offer more comfort and flexibility.


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