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11 Simple Ways To Update Your Home Without Spending A Lot

After a sewage flood, we completely remodeled our daylight basement, but our main floor, where my husband and I spend most of our time, still needs updating. However, we’ve chosen to concentrate our finances on college expenses and to pay off debt, so the complete remodel we’d love to have on our main floor can wait. That doesn’t mean we can’t make small, inexpensive changes that will make a significant impact and satisfy our desire to complete DIY house projects.

If you’d like to update your home but don’t want to spend a significant amount of cash, check out these ideas that will allow you to make your home feel like it’s new again.

1) Paint Walls, Furniture, And Fixtures

Paint goes a long way in many different areas besides the walls.


You want to put in a new fireplace, with a hearth and stone that goes to the ceiling. It would be the room’s centerpiece and bring your house to dream home status.

Stop to think precisely what it is about your fireplace that you don’t like and see if there’s a tiny step you can take to make it a bit more palatable.

Our fireplace has a very expensive antique around it. It’s pretty awesome if that’s your thing.

One guest said it looks like it should have hard liquor lining the mantel because it has a bit of a saloon look with its columns and oval mirror.

For now, we’ve painted the gold grill of the fireplace matte black, to make it easier on our eyes, and hung a wreath we purchased from a local farmer’s market on the mirror. It was a simple project. One that only required a can of paint and a wreath, but it made the fireplace a little less of an eyesore. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an eyesore, but the gold has been banished, and it has a few things we love on it!

Gas fireplace grill in a box waiting to be painted.
Fireplace with gold painted black.

Ceiling Fan

So, you want to replace your ceiling fan with that sweet industrial-style fan you saw your Facebook friend put in, however, that expense is so low on your financial priority list that it could be years before it happens.

What if you painted your ceiling fan blades in a color you like to make them fresh and new again?

Steve taking ceiling fan blades off so we can paint them.
Updated ceiling fan.

It’s incredible the difference it makes!

Address Numbers

Do you want to buy those sweet house numbers you found on Pottery Barn but can’t justify the cost for something that is okay left alone?

One simple fix is a can of spray paint. Take the numbers off your house, give them a quick spray in the color you like best, and reattach them.

You now have house numbers you may like even better than the Pottery Barn alternative.


Do you have outdated furniture or need furniture and aren’t above acquiring something free from your local Buy Nothing Group? Instead of dealing with outdated furniture, take a little time to refinish it and make it something you can be proud of. Or, as proud as you can be until that $3,000 piece is something you’re willing to spend your hard-earned cash on, which may never be once your refinished piece is working well for you.

We have refinished and repurposed many pieces of furniture over the years and still have most of those pieces.

Counter height table with barstools that don't match.
Kitchen table that has been painted with Fusion Mineral Paint in the color Bayberry and the top finished with a water-based polyurethane.

Paint is an excellent tool to make your home feel fresh and updated.

2) Put In New Hardware

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From doorknobs and hinges to doorsteps, changing out hardware can make a big difference in the feel of your home.

We were a bit forced to change out the hardware in our basement, but I have to say, the new hardware is a huge improvement over the previous gold hardware!

Doorstops in black.
New black doorstop installed.
New door hardware in matte black.

3) Change Out Light Bulbs

It can be challenging when a light bulb needs to be changed, and you don’t have the same watt or color on hand. However, you will feel so much better when your space has all the same wattage and color.

Take some time to go through and change all of your light bulbs, so they are the same. No more mixing daylight bulbs with soft white. It just doesn’t work. And, for goodness sake, get rid of those coil fluorescent bulbs.

Old light fixture with coil fluorescent bulb.

4) Install New Light Fixtures

While we’re talking about light bulbs, you might also want to consider changing a few light fixtures.

We changed out all of our outdoor fixtures to something that was more our style.

The teenagers that visited our kids called the lights in our basement ‘boob lights.’ When we remodeled, we changed the light fixture in our son’s room, but we still have a few boob lights to switch out.

5) Switch Out Light Switch Plates

You can buy fancy light switch plates, and some people may think they’re awesome, but I prefer that all the light switch plates are uniform and blend into the background instead of standing out like the one below.

Light switch plate.

6) Install A Curved Shower Rod

If you have a tub/shower combo, a curved shower rod will give you more space, making showering more comfortable.

7) Update Window Coverings

If your curtains are super dated or not your style, it could be that removing the curtains will update your space best.

One of the first things we did when we moved into our new home was remove the curtains in the great room. I’m sure they were expensive curtains that the previous owner loved, but they just weren’t our style.

Dated curtains.

Maybe adding curtains is what will make your house feel updated.

After remodeling our basement, we needed to do something to cover our sliding glass door. We had removed the old busted-up vertical blinds and decided to install an iron pipe curtain rod. The corner shelf my daughter and I had built was industrial style and used iron pipe, so we figured an iron pipe curtain rod would go nicely.

Iron Pipe Curtain Rod

8) Shop Your Own House

The difference it can make when you shop your own house is amazing! Look around and determine if a piece of furniture or decor item would fit better in another space.

This was a trick I used when we staged our home to sell. Instead of purchasing new furniture to stage or storing furniture, we moved the furniture to a space that made more sense.

Staged living room.

9) Try Your Hand At Built-Ins

If you have a spot in your house that could use built-ins to work better for you, take some time to determine if you could learn how to do it yourself so the costs will be minimal.

We had this funny little area that held a few pieces of audio equipment. I knew the space could work harder for us, so I created a built-in desk area.

Do you have a nook begging for a Built In Desk? Check out what we did in our own awkward little nook! I'm super excited about this built in desk as it turned out so nice! The space, that was so awkward before, now looks like it was always meant to be.

10) Install Wood Shelving

I don’t know about you, but wire shelving makes me cringe. We still have it in our master closet, but I’ve successfully removed it from the rest of our house by installing wood shelving.

With just a few tools, you can install wood shelving too!

DIY Small Closet Shelves

11) Refinish furniture

We talked about painting furniture above, but it could be that refinishing furniture is what you need to do to refresh your space.

When we moved into our new home, I built a King Sized Farmhouse bed for my husband and me, and we refinished our queen size sleigh bed for our son, who had outgrown his twin.

Sleigh bed ready to refinish.
New bedroom light fixture.

If you have financial goals that don’t include updating your home, but you’d like to give it a quick refresh, think small and determine what simple changes you can make so your home is one that you’re proud of.

11 Simple Ways To Update Your Home without spending a lot.

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