Mar 06 2012
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Cheap Home Improvement Ideas

Filed under: Home Improvement » Ideas,

Adding New Touches to Your Home Frugally

home improvement blueprintWhen it comes to home improvement projects there is no telling when the desire to do something a little different to your home will strike. Unfortunately these urges to try something new to brighten up your home do not always follow your budget – in fact often times they arise at the precise moment when you have no more than $50 to “splurge” on making a difference to your home. Still, when it comes to adding a few new touches to your home there are plenty of things that can be done within a budget to give a fresher look to the place. Whether you are looking for a simple change or one that really packs a punch below you can find ten suggestions for cheap home improvement ideas that are sure to give you the home improvement fix that you have been looking for!

Ideas for Improving Your Home on a Budget

Sometimes all it takes to add a little something to a room is moving around furniture, but if that doesn’t satisfy your home improvement craving here are some affordable home improvement ideas: Redecorate the en-suite bathroom, add a border or frieze to a room, add a mirror, replace an old piece of furniture, add more storage, add or replace artwork in a room, retile the bathroom floor/entryway, add a new color scheme, add an area rug, and change the lighting.

Redecorate the En-suite Bathroom

Redecorating an en-suite bathroom is an easy way to add a little sparkle to the old bedroom that you have grown used to. While redecorating of the room can be rather costly if you prefer to purchase high end items from department stores, it can also be extremely affordable if you are prepared to do some shopping around. Many of the big megastores carry the basics such as shower curtain liners for no more than a few dollars and when it comes to towel sets they often have coordinating towel sets and bath mats on clearance or for reasonable prices. The best place to get your shower curtain hooks and shower curtain? Shop around at discount stores such as TJ Maxx or Ross to get the best deal and don’t forget stores like Bed Bath and Beyond who have a wide array of shower curtain choices and always offer 20% off coupons through regular mailings. Adding a new shower curtain, bathmats and towels is a simple and affordable way to give your home a little boost and if you’re really getting in to it pick up a new trashcan and shower caddy while you’re at it. This entire project can be completed easily for under $100 and it really gives a whole new feel to the entire bedroom and en-suite bathroom combination. One key tip to remember when decorating small spaces is to go with lighter colors as they give the appearance of a larger room, whereas darker colors give a closed in feeling.

Add a Border or a Frieze to a Room

Whether you are looking to add a little something to the kitchen or whether you are looking to redecorate the nursery, adding a border or a frieze to the room can give a whole new look without the hefty price tag. A border that runs along the top of the room is the perfect way to give a new splash of color or new theme to a room that seems to be rather bottom heavy in appearance. Likewise, adding a frieze at the midpoint of a room can bring a splash of color in that really serves to separate the top and bottom sections of the room or tie the two sections together if there is a variation in color schemes between the top and bottom portions of the wall. Generally borders and friezes are relatively inexpensive and they are a great and easy way to bring in a motif that can really tie together the entire room when replicated throughout with additional knick-knacks. Borders are available in most mega-stores and while it used to be that they required pasting to apply, the majority of them are now peel and stick borders making application much easier and less time consuming. If you feel a little more artistically inclined you can also perform this step with a sponge, some paint and a stencil but choose your paint wisely!

Add a Mirror

Adding a mirror to any room is an extremely affordable method of changing the entire visual appeal of a room. The shape and size of the mirror that you add should depend upon the size of the room and the location where the mirror will be placed; however a solid decorative mirror will not only give visual appeal but it will also give the illusion of a much larger room. If you are a believer in feng shui or if you are attempting to follow the rules of feng shui when decorating it is important that you obey the rules of mirror placement in the home. When it comes to feng shui and mirror placement the following rules should be abided by:

  • Mirrors should not be placed opposite doors or where they can reflect doors as it is believed that this will reflect positive energy and prevent it from entering the room.
  • Mirrors should not reflect the sky.
  • Mirrors should not be placed where they can reflect the bed.
  • Mirrors should be placed at the end of hallways or behind auspicious plants to improve wealth and longevity.

There are many types of mirrors to choose from that fall in to a variety of price ranges, mega-stores even sell mirrored décor so that you can also add a motif to the home while placing your mirrors.

Replace an Old Piece of Furniture

Replacing an old piece of furniture does not necessarily refer to the age of the piece of furniture being replaced by more to replacing something that has become part of the room with something that will really stand out. Replacing a bookshelf with a dresser or a sideboard is a great way to increase storage, decrease clutter and add something new to the room all at the same time! Replacements don’t have to be large either, replacing a traditional bookshelf with a ladder structured bookshelf works just as well to bring a touch of newness to the room. It is important; however, to maintain the same theme within your room whether you have a black finish or a pine finish, stick with what you have to give the room uniformity. A “new” piece of furniture does not have to be new either, it can be a piece that you salvaged from a thrift shop and refinished, a piece that you purchased brand new from a mega-store or furniture shop or a piece that you bought from an antique store the impact of having a piece that is new to the room will remain the same. It is important when replacing or moving furniture items from one room to another that you keep in mind your decorating theme, if you have straight line modern furniture then placing an intricate antique desk with scroll carvings is not going to create good flow within the room. The amount of money you spend on this project depends upon the piece of furniture that you wish to purchase.

Add More Storage

One exceptional way to really change the look and feel of a room is to add more storage and organization. This concept goes for any room from the laundry room and the master closet to the kitchen and the bedroom. De-cluttering a room not only gives it a much lighter and more open feel but it also helps to eliminate the number of surfaces that are collecting dust which will make you feel better overall about the new look that you have created. Adding storage to a room can be as simple as purchasing an under the bed shoe storage system or as complex as purchasing an entire closet organizing system. Whatever your storage purchase is there are a great many storage options for every decorating budget out there! As with adding a new piece of furniture to a room, it is important to keep in mind the current color scheme and theme of the room that you are going to be organizing and purchase a storage unit that compliments that rather than going for the cheapest unit available. When it comes to storage, solutions aren’t always about hiding items in plastic Tupperware containers; sometimes the trick is to hide items in plain view. Handy ways to hide items in plain view include utilizing a trunk for a coffee table, replacing bookshelves with furniture that has closed door storage and replacing toy boxes with cube storage that features pull out drawers. Depending on what you are looking for rearranging a room by increasing storage can be done easily for under $50.

Add or Replace Artwork in a Room

Artwork really makes a home look lived in and by adding or replacing artwork to a room you can achieve a whole new look on a budget. Certainly you aren’t going to find a Rembrandt on a budget (well, it’s not likely anyway,) but you can find plenty of art that will give your designated room a whole new look! As with some of the other aspects mentioned above, it is important to purchase artwork that is going to flow with the rest of your home so stick with a theme that can at least be continued throughout the room. Some great places to scout out artwork that will add to your room on a budget without looking cheap include: TJ Maxx, Ross, Target and art supply stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby. For some of these stores you will be able to locate canvas prints that are ready for hanging, at others you may find prints that need framing but either way you should be able to find at least one nice piece of art for your home for under $50.

Retile the Bathroom Floor or Entryway

Retiling any part of your home is something that should not be attempted by an amateur, not only because of the danger level of working with ceramic tile but also because of the frustration level that will quickly mount once tiles begin cracking (which they will inevitably do.) However, if you are so inclined to take on a retiling job for a small area of your home you will be able to procure some ceramic tiles by visiting your local hardware store. Most large home improvement type stores carry a wide selection of floor tiles and at any given time at least one of these sets will be on clearance. Finding new tiles on clearance is a bit of a challenge but it is also a great way to save money on a big change that is going to give your home a whole new look! Depending upon the type of tile that you select and how much of it you need as well as the clearance price you should be able to easily retile a small bathroom or entry way for under $75.

Add a New Color Scheme

Adding a new color scheme is something that can really brighten up a room that has become dull or ordinary. There are many different ways that you can add a new color scheme to a room to really bring out a new look and most people tend to automatically think of repainting. Repainting is a good way to improve an area of your home; however, it is a semi-expensive and extremely time consuming process. Rather than changing the colors of the walls there is the option to change the colors within the room. By adding a new color scheme to drapes, bedding, throw pillows or even artwork you can bring out a whole new look while spending considerably less money that you may otherwise do. It takes a thrifty shopper to be able to give a room a whole new look but with a little shopping around it is easy to bring that new look in while spending under $100. Local stores such as Target, Wal-Mart and IKEA are great places to shop for bedding on a budget and artwork can be procured at TJ Maxx, Ross, Target and art supply stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby, as listed above.

Add an Area Rug

Adding an area rug is another great way to bring a splash of color in to a room that has become a little too drab as well as covering up a carpet that has become a little too “well loved.” Not everyone can afford to replace an entire carpet but shopping on a budget can help you to uncover some great finds in terms of area rugs. Megastores such as Target and Wal-Mart offer both area rugs on a budget and those “do-it-yourself” rugs that come in packs of carpet squares. If you have a room that has a slightly irregular shape it is generally easier to go with “do-it-yourself” rugs since you can control the length and width of the rug. When purchasing a rug it is important to pick a color that matches your existing color scheme and a size that does not cover the entire carpeted area of the room as this will make the room look much smaller than it actually is. Adding an area rug can be done through budget shopping for just under $50.

Change the Lighting

Something as simple as changing the lighting in a room may seem simple but it can bring a whole new look to a room that has become dull. Placing spotlights under artwork can really bring the focus of a room to accent pieces and placing artistic lighting pieces can add a touch of elegance to a room that otherwise seemed empty. A room that was previously too dim can be brought to life with the installation of track lighting over key areas to focus attention rather than having the whole room blend together. Installing new lighting can range from an extremely affordable to a slightly more expensive process depending upon the type of lighting you are looking for and the existing electrical wiring in your home. Adding a few accent lighting pieces can easily be accomplished for under $50 though.

Sometimes Simple Changes Are All it Takes

Regardless of what type of budget you are working with there are always plenty of things you can do to brighten up your home and give it a fresh new look. Whether you decide to simply rearrange furniture or whether you decide to raid your local thrift shops for a new piece of furniture, living on a budget should never rule out the opportunity to enhance your living space. Listed above are just a few low budget ideas to get your started when thinking about implementing change and if you’re feeling brave, why not try a few of them – in fact some of them can even be rolled in to one home improvement project with the right amount of creativity!

Useful Design: Decorating with Odds and Ends Like Dressing Tables, Crafting Tables, Dog Beds, and Fish Bowls

Update Published on March 6, 2012

Get your home decor project started by bringing in design elements with unexpected, yet useful and affordable décor strategies that will always make a tasteful statement.

Dressing Tables

A dressing table is a wonderful addition to a bedroom area. However, you should always keep it neat. Everything on it should serve a purpose and you should never use it for storage. It must blend in seamlessly with the color and design theme of your room. In this case, simplicity is important, so always aim to avoid crowding and chaos.

It does not matter how beautiful the toiletry bottles and items are on your dressing table. They will not look good if your table is cluttered and junky.

Work Tables

Many couples’ bedrooms or bedrooms that a female member of the household will use, will need some sort of worktable. This is a convenient addition to any bedroom space set aside for the active hobbyist, seamstress or knitter.

She can also display her workbag, shelves or baskets as long as the area is kept neat and clean looking. The work area can introduce a nice splash of color and character into an otherwise dull room. You can use things like florals and other patterns that would look tacky in other portions of the house. You will find that odd things will look quite appropriate in this area and will serve to cheer up the space.

You can add splashes of color in your work area with throw pillows and lampshades. Many people have found that worktables have caused their bedroom spaces to become so vibrant that fresh flower use would be excessive. A well-designed work area can give that part of your room a feeling of being in bloom, just like your creativity.

So use your worktable to build character in the room. Make it blend with the color scheme and period of the room and allow the table to bring its own flair into the room.

One great way to design your work area is to purchase a workbag that you really like, that goes with your room theme. Try to find work items for your tabletop that will compliment that bag, and art that you can hang around your worktable that will match both the bag and your room. You should tuck away anything that does not match in nice cabinet. This way, the work area becomes a space unto itself, yet it still blends with the room.

The Pet Zone

Pet areas can be quite a decorating nightmare for some. Depending on your animal, you might have a new mess to clean up everyday. This can take away from your overall design.

Before you start your new decor project, keep in mind that you will have to create a pet area that looks nice with your color scheme.

It is also a good idea to have interchangeable cushions or cushion covers in case you do not have time that day to clean your pet area for company. Make sure you have the tools on hand to keep your pet area clean. In addition it might be important for you to design your room around your pet or just to make sure that the furniture, art and curtains do not clash with your animal‘s fur, plumage or scales.

If you do not have a pet already, you should think about getting a fish or an aquarium full of fish. Fish globes and aquariums are beautiful in every space. They can also bring a feeling of peace to any room. Fish are pleasant animals to watch and come in a variety of truly beautiful color combinations.


One of the most stunning elements in any home is a fireplace. A fireplace will create a picturesque and comfortable scene wherever you find it. In uncertain housing markets, fireplaces remain steady as an extremely valuable selling point for people buying and selling real estate. Fireplaces are one of the main places in the home that create the most positive memories for both children and adults alike.

Fireplaces are also wonderful because in addition to serving a sentimental and aesthetic purpose; they also serve a utilitarian purpose by providing warmth in the winter and reducing bills. If the installer has sealed the fireplace properly and you use it properly, the fireplace will be one of the most useful parts of your home.

If your fireplace works with the design scheme or period scheme of your room, it can be an amazing focal point. One of the most important things to consider about your fireplace is its size and whether it compliments the space that you live in.

Fireplaces should always be wider than they are long. They must also seem deep and expansive, so that there is proper distribution of smoke out of the chimney and not throughout your house.

If you have a problem with your fireplace smoking then you have to get something called a flue. Some people have had good results putting brass hoods in front of their fireplaces to avoid smoke as well.

Another important element to consider in the beauty of your fireplace is the tile. Does the right tile surround your fireplace? Does it compliment your color scheme? Shiny tiles around your fireplace tend to look tacky most of the time and sometimes using uninteresting red brick can have the same cheesy effect.

You can find tiling with a dull finish in a reasonable price range. This is the best look whether you are on a budget or not. Most fireplaces will have ornate crown moldings all around them made of wood or stone. A marble fireplace is a wonderful, beautiful fireplace to have. These always tend to look quite beautiful.

When a fireplace is present, you should probably just let it be the focal point of your room unless the room is abnormally spacious. You should always make sure that the area around the fireplace has soft comfortable chairs and tables, lamps, a television and interesting reading material within good reach.

Fireplaces do tend to be expensive, but if you have the money, they always make a delightful and profitable investment.

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