I’m always trying to find ways to save a couple of bucks and make a major “oooo” statement in a room. Through house-flipping experiences, I’ve learned that you often don’t need to spend a lot to make a big difference. So, if you’re looking for some ways to spiff up your home while you’re staying at home, here’s a few weekend projects that offer a big impact on a small budget.
1. Outlets and Switches
This week I’m going to take on learning how to change some of the electrical outlets and light switches in my most-used room. They’re currently the old-fashioned kind and covered with paint stains from the previous homeowner. I want to swap them out with the more modern decorative flip switches and sleek outlets. It’s one of those little things that we never think about, but it can vastly change the look of a room. It literally only takes about three minutes per outlet or switch and, for around $3 or $4 each, can make a huge difference, especially for something that we use so many times throughout the day. Make sure you follow safety precautions whenever you’re dealing with electricity and outlets. Always make sure you turn off the electricity to a room via your breaker box before ever doing anything with outlets and switches. And if you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself, you can easily find an electrician or handyman who will do this for a nominal cost.
The same goes for doorknobs. Our bathroom doorknob doesn’t have a lock, so the former owner installed a small slide lock on the door. I’m not sure how one little tiny piece of metal can echo throughout the entire house so loudly, but you would swear it was part of the Space Shuttle engaging for launch as someone uses the bathroom in the middle of the night. It took two years for me to realize that I can actually just go to the store and buy a new locking doorknob! Beyond necessary swaps like this one, doorknobs can go a long way in giving a home an updated, modern look. I’m making the switch from the old shiny brass kind to some nice polished nickel and, for about $20 a door, it can really transform a room.
3. Your Front Door
Surprisingly, there’s actually scientific data about the first impression paint colors give to a home’s value. A recent Zillow report showed that a black, charcoal gray or chalkboard colored door increases a home’s value by several thousand dollars. For a $20 gallon of paint, that seems like a pretty impressive return on your investment. Dark colored front doors can also be easier to keep clean and don’t show dirt as quickly. Just because Zillow suggests very dark front doors, let your imagination be your guide and select a color that suits your home. You’ll see your curb appeal transformed in a weekend.
4. Outdoor Trim and Accessories
I’ve always hated my outside color scheme, especially since it’s basically poop brown trim all around. It almost kept me from buying my house. But I’m terrible at coordinating exterior looks and colors and so rather than make a mistake with a new color, I’ve just grumbled and lived with it. Now I’m ready to take the plunge and am pretty comfortable with changing to a dark grey motif accented by some nice white trim and dark window boxes. Window boxes are a great way to add some architectural interest to your home for a low cost. Other exterior accessories that can make a big difference include adding stylish new “floating” address numbers, a new, fresh clean doormat, or a dramatically styled mailbox.
5. Kitchen Backsplash
Here’s why I love backsplashes: They’re the focal point of a kitchen, a place to show off personality and style with some eye-catching tile. They also typically cover a small area in terms of square-footage, which makes them a spot that’s made for the DIYer. If you have only a few square feet of backsplash, you can also have fun splurging on expensive tiling you might not consider using in larger spaces. Use tiles with mesh backing for easy cutting and placement. Stainless tile trim can add a finished edge.