Affordable Upgrades

So you’ve got a new house – congratulations! There’s just one problem…

It’s not quite your style. But with all the money you just dropped on closing and moving and new furniture, you don’t have a lot of cash to spruce it up.

Or, maybe you’re just about to sell your house and you wish you could spruce it up a bit before putting it on the market, but you don’t want to spend a ton.

Basically, you need a lot of look for not a lot of dough, right?

Don’t worry! These quick and usually DIY upgrades will make your home look and feel like a million bucks (for just a tiny chunk of change).

You can upgrade your home’s style with these easy projects.

1. Remove The 90’s Ducks

Maybe your home doesn’t have literal country blue ducks all over the kitchen, but if you have an older home, chances are good there’s some equally cheesy decor hanging around. Just taking out the cheesy badness of decades past — by removing the wallpaper or covering up the hokey paint — will make your home look and feel much fresher.

It’s got to go.

2. Get Rid of Grime

Take a close look at the surfaces that often get ignored. Places like the base molding and window sills often have a layer of grime that needs to be removed or even repainted. Get your elbow grease on and try a Magic Eraser on these surfaces. If that doesn’t work, fresh caulk and a new coat of bright white paint will go SO FAR to making your place look bright and clean again.


Get ready to scrub.

3. Paint!

A new coat of a light, neutral paint will make any room look and feel invigorated.

Not sure what to choose? Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige works just about anywhere if you like neutrals. Not into beige? That’s ok. Agreeable Gray is a great cooler neutral, and Alabaster is the perfect white-but-not-TOO-white.

So fresh. So clean.

4. Highlight One Wall

If you’re already working with a neutral palette, you can add in some personality and pizazz. Add an accent wall in a fun spot like your breakfast nook or powder bath and really go all out.

You can use wall stickers or removable wallpaper for a low commitment look, or go simple and slap on the paint. Just this one simple addition will make you smile whenever you walk in the room.

How cute is this?

5. Add Art

Adding art to your home is a great way to add style. But not just any art…

Add some large scale art that you LOVE.

What does large scale mean? Well, think of the biggest piece you have, and then find something bigger. If you LOVE it, it belongs on the wall, and a big piece will set the tone for an entire room. This doesn’t have to cost a fortune, either. You can get great pieces at Living Spaces or IKEA for around $100.

Want to spend a little more? Scroll around Instagram. You can find fantastic original art there AND you’ll be supporting small business owners. Win / Win.

I actually have this painting and I love it.

6. Show The Ones You Love

When you’re moving into a new place, it can be a little unsettling. Nothing will bring a sense of home like the faces of your loved ones. You can add professional portraits if you like, or you can share your happy memories of more candid moments in a big old grid like the one below.

Again, this doesn’t have to break the bank. Mixtiles will ship you ready to hang photos for $12 apiece (sometimes even less)! Best of all, these babies don’t damage your walls, and they can be moved again and again.

BRB – I’m about to buy some photos.

7. Change Out The Faucets

Now that we’ve fully addressed the walls, let’s turn our attention to other areas. Those “crystal” faucets? They’ve got to go.

Luckily, replacing them is a pretty easy project AND you can get some much better-looking alternatives at your local Home Depot. This super simple faucet is a huge upgrade… and it’s less than fifty bucks! Watch a couple of YouTube videos, break out the wrenches, and kiss those acrylic cheapies goodbye.


You can do this. Trust me.

8. Swap Out Light Fixtures

Now we’re getting a little more technical. if you don’t have a ton of knowledge in this area, you might want to bring in a pro. Don’t worry, though. You can find an electrician who will give you a reasonable rate for this task, and if you’ve got a couple of lights to replace, they can help you with all of them at once.

No matter who does the installation, you can find great looking lights to replace the brass builder basics. This alone will make a huge transformation in your space!

Simple. Architectural. What’s not to love?

9. Change Your Light Switches, Too.

While you’ve got the electrician there… (or if you’ve decided you can DIY), change out your switches and outlet covers.

There are so many options nowadays; there’s no reason to have yellowed, cracked switches. Also, the sky’s the limit on this. You can stick with simple new plates or you can add dimmer switches or switches with smart features.

TBH, this one would mystify me for a few months.

10. Bring The Outdoors In!

Adding plants brings a vibrant, happy energy to any room, and they can be super cheap, too.

So, head on down to your local nursery and stock up on succulents and shade lovers.

These little guys just want you to take them home!

There you have it — some great ways to spruce up a house on the cheap. Which one will you try first? Fair warning: Once you get started, it’s kind of addictive. You might wind up the next Bob Vila yet.

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