33 Home Upgrades That Cost Less Than $100

Woman painting her home
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Sometimes home improvements are out of reach for the moment. A kitchen upgrade can cost tens of thousands of dollars you might not have to spend right now.

Other improvements are unavoidable, but also expensive and unsatisfying at the same time — take a roof replacement for one example.

But if you’re in the mood to spruce up your home, there are plenty of doable projects that make a real difference and won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

The following improvements should run you less than $100 but will help make your home look and feel like a million bucks.

1. Paint the front door

Front door on old brick home
1000 Words / Shutterstock.com

Painting your whole house? That’s an expensive project that takes time. On the other hand, painting the front door gives the front of your house a fresh, new look in an afternoon. It can also increase your home value, as we explain in “Painting With This Color Can Boost Your Home’s Sale Price by $6,000.”

2. Add a bird feeder

Perky-Pet bird feeder on Amazon
Perky-Pet / Amazon

Add a bird feeder for your feathered friends to visit near a kitchen or living room window, and you’ll draw a bit of natural beauty and song to your yard. A feeder needn’t be fancy — you will find a range of options and price points.

The one pictured above, by Perky-Pet, promises anti-squirrel features — and that is key. If left to their own devices, squirrels will consume all your bird feed.

3. Add path lighting

Enchanted Spaces solar yard lights.
Enchanted Spaces / Amazon

Add a little romance to your sidewalk or garden path with solar-powered lights, and you’ll also add curb appeal and safe stepping for guests in the evenings.

The lights shown here, by Enchanted Spaces, cost well under $100 for a set of six.

4. Paint the porch floor

Porch with rocking chairs
Christopher Edwin Nuzzaco / Shutterstock.com

Painting the front porch floor is an easy, cheap way to improve curb appeal.

Depending on the size of your porch, it should only take a gallon or two of paint plus the cost of a roller and pan. You can use a pressure washer to prep the surface. Choose a paint or stain that’s tough enough for use underfoot and that’s meant to be used outdoors.

5. Paint the garage door

Garage doors on town homes
Elena Elisseeva / Shutterstock.com

As with the front door and the porch floor, the garage door is a good place to make a difference with a fresh coat of paint or stain.

Once again, make certain to ask your paint store professional to sell you a product made for the purpose and material you have in mind.

6. Add mulch

Garden bed with mulch
Ozgur Coskun / Shutterstock.com

Laying down mulch on your garden beds or around the base of trees can quickly make your yard look tidier. It can also spare you a lot of weeding, prevent erosion, save water and, depending on what material you use, improve the soil.

Mulch comes in a variety of colors, textures and materials. Check out Home Depot’s buying guide to learn more. Unless your yard is massive, you can get plenty of mulch to go around for less than $100.

7. Update a light fixture

Woman changing light bulbs
YuryRyzhenko / Shutterstock.com

You can run up a big bill with fancy track lighting and other expensive fixtures, but there are plenty of less costly pendant lights and lanterns available to hang over a kitchen table or spruce up a hallway.

A great place to search for fun household items like fixtures is Cost Plus World Market, which sells this pendant lamp for well under $100. For hundreds of styles and ideas, check out the offerings on a home renovation site like Houzz.com.

8. Replace the porch light

Olga Steckel / Shutterstock.com

Has your affection dimmed for the porch light that came with the house? Or, maybe you think it’s wise to install an additional exterior light out by the back door or garage.

This sconce on Houzz costs right around $50. If you are handy and install it yourself, you could add two for just under $100.

9. Make a chalkboard wall

Chalkboard wall in kitchen
Photographee.eu / Shutterstock.com

Chalkboard paint can transform a kitchen wall into a place to keep a grocery or chores list, and an art spot where family and guests can doodle. In a child’s room, a chalkboard wall is a pallet for art that changes as the occupant grows up. In a home office … well, it just looks hipper than a whiteboard.

Chalkboard paint is usually available at home improvement stores like Home Depot. If you want to get really crafty, make your own chalkboard paint using latex paint and grout. Doing so is certainly cheaper, and allows you to choose any color you like.

10. Add a fire pit

Teens roasting marshmallows around a firepit
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

You can make a fire pit in your backyard with simple pavers or bricks, buy a smaller, tasteful one from Amazon for under $100, or spend thousands of dollars on a gas-fed designer fire pit for your elegant poolside patio.

Whatever your budget, it’s nice to gather around a fire in the backyard and chat.

11. Seal or stain your wood deck

Person staining a wooden deck.
Dagmara_K / Shutterstock.com

Wood decks don’t last forever. But they will last a lot longer and look better if you stain or seal them every couple of years.

The cost of stains or sealants will vary depending on the size and surface of your deck. Ask a paint store expert for help choosing the right product.

Whatever you spend, it will be far less than the deck replacement that will be required if you neglect the original deck for too long. But it may require some serious elbow grease. Take a look at this Lowe’s guide to preparing your deck and apply stain or sealant.

12. Insulate water pipes

Pipe insulation
Wichien Tepsuttinun / Shutterstock.com

Admittedly, this upgrade is boring. But it’s easy, and it will save you money.

You can insulate pipes that carry hot water through a cold basement or crawl space with foam pipe insulation, pre-slit, hollow-core, flexible “sleeves” made of polyethylene or neoprene foam.

Before shopping, make sure you know the diameter of the pipes you are insulating.

13. Paint anything

Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com
Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

There’s no quicker fix than a can of fresh paint.

Use it to give new life to dingy wood furniture. Try a new color in your bedroom or bathroom. Or paint the ceiling a soft sky blue.

HGTV has 50 ideas for projects requiring a single can of paint.

14. Update a bathroom faucet

Lucien Milasan / Shutterstock.com
Lucien Milasan / Shutterstock.com

This Old House says replacing an old faucet with a shiny new one is an easy project that takes about two hours, and the site gives step-by-step instructions.

Tip: Find a new faucet with the same finish as your other bathroom fixtures. Although prices range widely, you’ll find plenty of choices under $100.

15. Dress up an old sofa

Andreas G. Karelias / Shutterstock.com
Andreas G. Karelias / Shutterstock.com

Give the couch new life by pulling a slipcover over its tired old self.

Amazon has dozens of inexpensive slipcovers in solid colors and floral prints.

With any remaining cash, jazz up your “new” couch with some new throw pillows.

16. Update cabinet hardware

Ceramic cabinet pulls
Wings of Twisted Tapestry / Amazon

If your kitchen and bathroom look dated but you can’t replace the cabinets, replacing the cabinet hardware gives rooms a new look.

Shopping tips:

  • Remove one handle or drawer pull to see the number of screws and spacing required. Your new hardware will need to have the same configuration.
  • Before shopping, take stock of your room’s style and browse home decorating magazines to identify the look of the hardware you want. For example, do you want pulls or handles? Sleek and modern? Old world? Recycled and eclectic?

There is a huge selection of pulls and knobs on Amazon — including the ceramic pulls pictured above — and also on Houzz. If you are looking for a vintage look or trying to match the hardware on an older house, check out building salvage stores in your area.

17. Create order with pegboard storage

Galushko Sergey / Shutterstock.com

The old-fashioned workshop staple of pegboard storage is still a great system for bringing order to any room.

You can purchase and assemble the components individually. Or use a kit, like this kitchen organizing system. You’ll find many variations to suit different size spaces and needs — whether it’s a garage organizing system or a setup for garden tools.

18. Tackle carpet stains

Dragon Images / Shutterstock.com
Dragon Images / Shutterstock.com

Take a Saturday morning and give your carpets some TLC at virtually no cost, using a solution of white vinegar and water to tackle stains. Or read consumers’ reviews to find carpet cleaning products you want to try.

For carpets stained beyond your powers of restoration, consider using a professional carpet cleaning service. Have only the most heavily trafficked room done if you need to keep costs low.

When looking for a professional service, make sure you’re comparing apples with apples: Some services charge by the room, others by the square foot.

19. Reupholster an ottoman

Oleksandr Berevsky / Shutterstock.com
Oleksandr Berevsky / Shutterstock.com

Grab a staple gun, a little fabric and a simple piece of furniture — like an ottoman — and give it new life.

Brooke Ulrich, DIY blogger at All Things Thrifty, explains how to tackle reupholstering. Here’s a quick video with a genius trick for removing old fabric from furniture, which she says is one of the hardest parts of the job.

Shop for fabric and a piece of furniture with simple lines at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, a thrift shop or Craigslist. Or search online for “fabric outlet” and “discount upholstery fabric.”

Another source: JoAnn fabrics and craft stores’ frequent sales, discounts and coupons allow for big savings.

20. String fairy lights

indoor fairy lights coffee tablet sweater interior
Alena Ozerova / Shutterstock.com

Having trouble letting go of your holiday lights? No worries. String up some lights indoors to cheer you up when the nights are long. Here’s an example, at Amazon, of copper wire string lights that you can shape as desired.

Caution: Read all instructions carefully and make certain that, if they’re going outdoors, you’ve chosen waterproof products designed for outside use.

21. Make a faux tile backsplash

NantukelPhotography / Shutterstock.com
NantukelPhotography / Shutterstock.com

This is more than a simple painting job but offers amazing results. A painted kitchen backsplash mimics the contemporary look of stone and glass tiles, minus the costly tile. The project requires a lot of preparatory taping.

For instructions and photos, check out those of the blog Reality Daydream.

22. Make a Mason jar lamp

Ezume Images / Shutterstock.com
Ezume Images / Shutterstock.com

Mason jar lamps are trendy. A YouTube video by TheSorryGirls takes you step by step through the process of making one.

If a single-jar lamp isn’t enough of a challenge, and you have plenty of Mason canning jars, look for instructions online for making a Mason jar chandelier. Stick to using found materials to keep your costs down.

23. Swap out your shower curtain, bath mat and towels

Bathroom with colorful shower curtain
Artazum / Shutterstock.com

There are so many beautiful shower curtains to choose from on Amazon and Overstock — functional bathroom art!

With this inexpensive upgrade, you might also consider replacing those threadbare towels with new bath towels. These few changes will improve the look of your bathroom.

24. Install a front door kick plate

Bobkeenan Photography / Shutterstock.com
Bobkeenan Photography / Shutterstock.com

A kick plate is a broad strip of polished metal used horizontally along the bottom edge of a front door to protect it from scratches, kicks and dog paws. Kick plates are decorative as well as functional.

Change your old kick plate for a new one, or install a kick plate if you haven’t used one before. Choose one with a finish that meshes with the finish on your existing exterior hardware.

25. Paint exterior shutters and trim

Serenethos / Shutterstock.com
Serenethos / Shutterstock.com

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 of the trim or just the window trim. If you are short on time or materials, repaint only the front-facing trim. It’s safest to use an exterior paint color that’s already part of your home’s exterior color scheme.

26. Install new door handles

Door handle
Titikul_B / Shutterstock.com

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.

27. Make a new headboard

Everything / Shutterstock.com
Everything / Shutterstock.com

Craft a new headboard 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. This Old House shows how to make an upholstered headboard in eight steps.

28. Rearrange bookshelves

Evgeny Karandaev / Shutterstock.com
Evgeny Karandaev / Shutterstock.com

“Style” the contents of your bookshelves with artistic flair. Better Home & 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 the 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.

29. Rearrange furniture

Alex_Po / Shutterstock.com
Alex_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.

30. Add container plants

photoiconix / Shutterstock.com
photoiconix / Shutterstock.com

New plants dress up your home’s porch and garden and create great curb appeal. You can start plants from seed or relocate existing plans into pots to save money.

If you want to buy plants, 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.

31. Install new house numbers

Frontier Sights / Shutterstock.com
Frontier Sights / Shutterstock.com

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

32. Give light-switch covers new life

A man flips a light switch
SpeedKingz / Shutterstock.com

Give those grimy old light-switch covers new life: Toss them out and treat yourself to new ones. Or, for a fun project that will save money, cover your existing plates with decoupage.

33. Give your home a deep cleaning

Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock.com
Yuganov 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 in any season. You’ll feel wonderfully virtuous for doing it.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
10 Things That Can Ding Your Social Security Payments
10 Things That Can Ding Your Social Security Payments

Here are 10 things that could mean less money in your pocket during retirement.

11 Secret Uses for Everyday Items That Save Money
11 Secret Uses for Everyday Items That Save Money

These are simple solutions for life’s irritations.

5 Simple Steps to an Awesome Retirement
5 Simple Steps to an Awesome Retirement

The path to your dream retirement begins with these five steps. How many have you already taken?

8 Ways to Snag Extra Savings at Walmart
8 Ways to Snag Extra Savings at Walmart

Are you aware of all these ways to boost your savings in Walmart stores and at Walmart.com?

11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet
11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet

It’s scandalously easy to overspend in these areas of your life.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.