22 Upgrades Under $50 to Make Your House Look Awesome

You don't need much cash to spruce up your property and upgrade your quality of life.

13. Paint exterior shutters and trim

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A fresh coat of paint (or two) on shutters and trim provides a quick, easy shot in the arm for your home’s exterior. Paint all the trim or just the window trim. And if you are short on time or materials, repaint only the front-facing trim. It’s safest to use a color that’s already part of your home’s exterior color scheme.

14. Install new door handles

Interior door leverDefiant/ Home Depot / Money Talks News

Put attractive new knobs or handles on interior doors and closets. For family members who are aging, arthritic or disabled, make life easier by replacing knobs with easier-to-grasp door levers like these at Home Depot.

15. Make a new headboard

Everything / Shutterstock.comEverything / Shutterstock.com

Craft a new headboard for your bed or refurbish your old one. If you scrounge for free and cheap materials, you can do it for less than $50. DIY Network has 15 ideas and photos for upgrading headboards. Martha Stewart tells how to make a padded headboard in nine steps (with video) using a hollow-core door, batting and fabric.

16. Rearrange bookshelves

Evgeny Karandaev / Shutterstock.comEvgeny Karandaev / Shutterstock.com

“Style” your bookshelves with artistic flare. Better Homes & Gardens has inspiration and tips. This is a fun, creative project, so spend some time and enjoy it. Among BHG’s tips:

  • Treat each shelf as a display, and then stand back and make sure all shelves work well together.
  • Position some items off-center on a shelf.
  • Place some books in horizontal stacks and use the stacks as bookends for books shelved vertically.
  • For a designer look, cover the inside of a bookcase with fabric or wallpaper.
  • Don’t pack treasures and collections on every shelf.
  • Pieces of pottery make nice, solid bookends.
  • Stack a pyramid of books and put one of your favorite objects atop the stack.
  • Use bookshelves as a gallery for framed photos or art.

17. Rearrange furniture

Alex_Po / Shutterstock.comAlex_Po / Shutterstock.com

Ask someone whose home styling skills you admire to help you see your home and possessions in a new light. Stay open to change and new ideas.

18. Add container plants

photoiconix / Shutterstock.comphotoiconix / Shutterstock.com

New plants dress up your home’s porch and garden and create great curb appeal. You can start plants from seeds in the spring. In autumn, dig a few of the more vigorous and prolific perennials from your garden and install them in pots. Ivy, a pest in gardens, looks terrific trailing down sides of planters, for example. Your local garden store or nursery may have a half-price area from which it sells cast-offs. Often, watering and care is all they need.

19. Install kitchen utility hooks

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For a quick kitchen upgrade that you’ll enjoy daily, install a wall-mounted row of sturdy utility hooks. Use them for everything from dish towels and pot holders to utensils and measuring cups. You might even slip a recipe you’re using into a plastic ring-binder sleeve, add a ring clip and hang it for ready access.

20. Install new house numbers

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Change your old house numbers. Find some new ones with an online search or at hardware stores. Or, shop for handmade numbers at Etsy.

21. Give light switches new life

Anna Jurkovska / Shutterstock.comAnna Jurkovska / Shutterstock.com

Here’s how to give grimy old light switches new life: Toss the old covers out and treat yourself to new ones. For a fun project, cover some of them with decoupage.

22. Give your home a deep cleaning

Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock.comYuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock.com

If you’re stuck in a rut, try using Oprah.com’s checklist, timeline and instructions for deeply, thoroughly cleaning your home in eight hours. Oprah.com calls it “spring cleaning,” but don’t let that stop you from doing it now.

The psychological benefits of a really clean home are immense, and you’ll feel wonderfully virtuous for doing it.

What cheap, satisfying home upgrades have you done? Tell us in the comments below or on Money Talks News’ Facebook page.

Kari Huus and Marilyn Lewis contributed to this post.

Marilyn Lewis
Marilyn Lewis
After a career in daily newspapers I moved to the world of online news in 2001. I specialize in writing about personal finance, real estate and retirement. I love how the Internet ... More


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