5 high-impact home improvements on a shoestring budget

  • 5 high-impact home improvements on a shoestring budget

    Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | February 24, 2016

    Charming brown house

    It's the little things that count. That's quite true when it comes to home improvements, where a few simple cosmetic changes can give you a fresh look and alter the entire atmosphere of the house. These improvements don't take a big bite out of your budget but can offer big dividends in how your house looks, and how happy you are with it.

  • Change up the color

    Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | February 24, 2016

    Break out the paint

    Brightly colored paint in cans

    It's a simple truth: Paint is a beautiful thing. Not only does it hide flaws, it does something much more important: It changes the overall impression and 'feel' of a room, which can then change your mindset. Opt for colors that are sunny and bright, or relaxing and calm. If you are looking to make a big visual impact, a pop of color -- such as an accent wall in a vivid red or yellow -- can really make a space stand out.

  • Make some spa space

    Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | February 24, 2016

    Enhance your bathroom

    Black and white bathroom

    Tired of seeing the same old bathroom? You can enhance it with a few well-placed items. If you have the room to expand the mirror, do it! While you're at it, install handsome globe lights that bring the glamour.

    If space is what you need, consider installing a shelf unit that complements the colors of the room. Bathroom too tiny for shelves? Think again: There are numerous companies creating bathroom shelving units that are only a few inches deep and can be adjusted into hundreds of configurations to meet your unique needs.

  • Swap out your surfaces

    Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | February 24, 2016

    Replace the kitchen countertop

    Kitchen with marble counters

    Depending upon the countertop you choose, this home improvement project is a bit more pricey, but worth it when you see the 'new to you' kitchen. If you're on a shoestring budget but you are still craving something new, consider pouring your own concrete countertop. You'll save on labor costs and have something you can truly call your own.

    If you don't want to spring for a whole countertop, consider investing in a large, beautiful butcher block to rest on the island, or a marble rolling board, perfect for the serious cook.

  • Reface, replace, repaint

    Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | February 24, 2016

    Update the cabinets

    Medium tone kitchen cabinets

    Countertop is fine, but those cabinets have got to go? This might be one of the easiest changes you make in the kitchen. You can reface the kitchen cabinets, either by ordering new doors and drawer fronts, or making the most of the ones you already have -- that simply requires some elbow grease, as well as a good stain or paint. Whatever option you choose, just make sure that the door fronts still match the look of the cabinet boxes.

    Want to go even cheaper? Just update the hardware. You will be surprised at how different your kitchen can look by simply replacing the door handles and drawer pulls. Or perhaps you could invest in a do-it-yourself backsplash, made possible with self-stick tiles designed to stand up to kitchen messes.

  • Make a grand entrance

    Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | February 24, 2016

    Rework the entryway

    Modern entryway to home

    This is a home improvement project that offers a huge variety of creativity, all within whatever budget you might have. There is, of course, the aforementioned paint. Changing the look of your front door requires only a great outdoor paint and maybe a new set of hardware. Not ready to make that commitment? Consider new shrubs, plants or flowers to enhance the look of your entryway.

    Assuming that you have a bit more cash to burn, a decorative yet functional screen door, complete with a storm door insert, can make your front door look entirely different, as well as provide a cooling breeze during the summer. Many of these doors are so user-friendly that they can be installed with basic household tools in a single weekend afternoon.

    High-impact home improvements don't have to cost a lot of money. They just have to have some visual 'wow' that makes them pop. Why not get started on the planning right now?