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6 easy, cheap home upgrades for the weekend renovator

Spend less to love your home more

Two people sitting against a white wall surrounded by home improvements supplies. Credit: Getty Images / Prostock-Studio

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If your home is in desperate need of a refresh you may be looking for ways to renovate without costing you too much money, time, or sanity. No matter what your budget is, there’s always a way to revamp your home without breaking the bank.

The key to saving money on your renovations are to take on projects that you can do yourselves. Seeking out projects that won’t require you ripping out cabinets or floors but can still get you better storage and sparkling new floors is possible.

These are some of the best renovations you can take on yourself, saving you both time and money.

1. Refresh a backsplash

A kitchen with a white peel-and-stick tile backsplash. A person using a black marker on tile.
Credit: Art3d / Rainbow Chalk Markers

All you need to create an attractive backsplash is some peel-and-stick tile.

If you’re dreaming of a kitchen renovation, but you just don’t have $30,000 in the bank, you can still give the busiest room in the house a refresh. Add some flair by installing a backsplash behind your range or over your countertops. You don’t even need to hire someone to install it, nor do you even need any grout and special tools.

All you need to create an attractive backsplash is some peel-and-stick tile. Expose the sticky backings and adhere the tiles to the wall.

What if you already have a tile back splash that needs a little refresh? Well, that’s where a grout pen can come in. As shown by Alex Stedman, you can give your tile backsplash some oomph. This is a lovely option if you have existing tile that is looking tired. Grout pens come in a variety of colors, so you brighten up an existing white or add a dark contrast to make your tile pop.

2. Brand new floors to hide your old ones

Two overhead shots with different types of flooring. One flooring is fake marbe tile and another is hardwood floors.
Credit: Smartcore

Luxury vinyl flooring can bring in the look of hardwood floors without the cost of hardwood

Part of the expense of renovations are hiring contractors to come in and do the work. If you’re ready to take on the responsibility of a DIY, then you can tackle your floors on a budget.

Luxury vinyl flooring (or LVT (tiles) or LVP (planks) for short) can bring in the look of hardwood floors without the cost of hardwood. Plus, because this type of flooring “floats,” aka it locks together rather than being nailed down or glued in place, it can be layered on top of your current flooring, rather than you expending time and effort to rip out the old stuff.

LVT also comes in waterproof options, making it a logical choice to revamp your bathroom and kitchen.

3. Create an abundance of storage

A hanging storage system hanging from an existing shelf. A magnetic bar installed onto a kitchen backsplash.
Credit: Yamazaki Home / Modern Innovations

Another creative way to add a layer of storage in your kitchen is with a hanging shelf that slides onto the base of a cabinet without any need to install it with hardware

If you’ve exhausted every morsel of space in your kitchen cabinets and fear that the only solution is to rip out your old cabinetry and replace them with larger ones—just you wait. You have a much less expensive alternative.

First, organize your small appliances, Tupperware, and utensils, and get rid of everything you haven’t used in a year or so. You can also install open shelving on a free wall, which not only adds storage space, it creates a unique decorative touch.

Another creative way to add a layer of storage in your kitchen is with a hanging shelf that slides onto the base of a cabinet without any need to install it with hardware. Or, mount a magnetic strip on the wall that can securely hold onto knives, kitchen shears, and other metal tools. Your kitchen tools neatly lined up on the strip will not only free up space in your drawers but offer an industrial design flair.

4. Revamp your appliances

A side by side shot of an appliance with and without stainless steel contact paper.
Credit: Livelynine

Stainless steel contact paper creates total magic by transforming your large appliances.

Large appliances have a reputation for lasting around a decade, and they cost a pretty penny, so many homeowners can’t or won’t replace them until they have to. If your refrigerator and dishwasher is in perfect working order but its dull white or black finish is bringing your home décor down a notch, a quick DIY trick is all you need to give your appliances an update.

Stainless steel contact paper creates total magic by transforming your large appliances.
Contact paper is easy to install (use a wallpaper kit to smooth out bubbles), as it just has a peel-and-stick approach, so there’s no need for wallpaper glue to create this gleaming finish.

5. Switch out your handles and knobs

Three side by side shots of a round minimal door knob, a square door knob, and a decorative door knob.
Credit: Wayfair / Anthropologie

You can create a sense of cohesion in the home by updating the drawer pulls, handles, and knobs across your cabinetry, so they seamlessly blend.

To liven up the details, zoom your design focus in on the small stuff. You can create a sense of cohesion in the home by updating the drawer pulls, handles, and knobs across your cabinetry, so they seamlessly blend.

For example, a black matte set with a simple, contemporary design can breathe new life into your space.

If you prefer a mix-and-match eclectic look then take the opposite route and brighten up your cabinets’ hardware with flashy knobs. A unique mix of ceramic and vintage inspired knobs can add some major personality to your home décor.

6. Bring the spa home with you

Two different shots of a shower head with two heads and another showerhead head model that's a waterfall showerhead.
Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser / Moen

Showerheads are easy to switch out and often come with upwards of two dozen different settings.

When a new master bath is out of the budget, you can compensate with a luxurious new showerhead. Not only is it much less expensive, it can satisfy your dreams of a spa-like experience.

Showerheads are easy to switch out and often come with upwards of two dozen different settings. And, if you’re willing to spend a little bit more, then a waterfall showerhead does the trick.

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