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Freshen up your home for under $50

When you get in the home repair and remodel mindset it is often very easy to get carried away.

Like we’ve talked about before, something like a leaky ceiling can go from being a quick mud and tape job to having to replace the entire roof. Home repair projects can be labor intensive as well as expensive. This week, we try to dial it back a bit, and give you some ideas on quick and relatively simple fixes around your home for less than $50.

So, put away the chop saw and the hammer and add some value as well as aesthetic quality to your home without taking out a second mortgage.

1) Think about some of the odds and ends:
Electrical face-plates can be easily replaced with just a screwdriver, and you get a handful of these suckers pretty cheap ($20). If your current ones don’t match the decor or if they’re just in bad shape, consider swapping them out. Other equipment such as doorknobs, overhead light covers, broken molding strips, mirrors, or towel rods are all cheap and easy to install.

2) Make your home more efficient and save yourself some money:
Probably the best way to get your money back in the $50 and under improvement category is to pinpoint areas where you are not entirely energy efficient. Old windows with leaky or cracked weather stripping are easily replaced and will save you money on your electric bill. Maybe think about putting in a low-flow shower head or even a less powerful toilet to save money on the water bill (that is if you’re not like me and need to feel the power of 10- high pressure gallons a second). Even something as cheap and simple as swapping out incandescent bulbs for more energy efficient bulbs can save you some cash (hit up PUD or your local energy company for free light bulbs).

I realize many people rail against fluorescent bulbs because they’re too dim, or the lighting is sickly and don’t like low flow bathroom equipment because it’s not powerful enough, but the point of this article is to get the most out of your improvements. There is no moral imperative here to go make your house “green,” so please don’t read it that way.

3) Consider resurfacing:
Sure this one is kind of like sweeping everything under your bed when you were a kid, but what the heck? Paint, lacquer and sealant are all fairly cheap (maybe over $50 in some cases depending on the size of the project, and the quality of the product). In any case, you can beautify your home relatively quickly and cheaply by grabbing a gallon of paint and freshening up your walls, or buying a bucket of deck sealer and staining your deck. This kind of improvement is a little more labor intensive, but definitely gets you a lot of bang for your buck.

As a courtesy to yourself, make sure you really stop and take a careful look at the kind of quick fixes that will benefit your home specifically. As with larger projects, it can quickly become expensive if you drop a nickel here and a dime there until you’re all of a sudden in deep. Pick a few things that really need to be taken care of and focus on those. This list is far from comprehensive, but hopefully gives you a jumping off point for your next project. What else can you think of, or have done recently for less than $50?

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