If you've been living in the same home for many years, or if you bought a fixer-upper, it's natural to want to renovate and upgrade your home.
But upgrades are expensive. A new set of kitchen cabinets will cost thousands of dollars. New countertops, bath vanities, and hardwood floors will cost several thousand more.
Use Peel-and-Stick Contact Paper with Stainless Steel Finishes on Appliances
This gives you the modern look you're going for without the astronomical price tag. Your appliance will have a stainless steel façade at a fraction of the price of the real deal. No one will know the difference!
Install New Switchplate Covers
These are the covers on light switches and electrical outlets. A basic white cover will cost about $1 each at major home improvement retailers, and they're easy to install. A new, clean white cover will look much nicer than that old, yellowing cover you had. For added oomph in the kitchen, try stainless steel covers. You can also hunt for patterned and decorative covers online.
Change Your Doorknobs, Handles, and Hinges
These are inexpensive finishing touches that make a huge difference, and the installation is quick and easy. Along the same lines, you can also buy new hardware for the cabinets in your house.
Change Your Lampshades
This is a seemingly small detail that has the potential to make a HUGE difference. If you start making small changes like this, try and think of a theme to build off of so everything in your home looks cohesive.
Make Sure the "Light Spectrum" from Your Bulbs is Appropriate for the Area
You want soft bulbs that emit a yellow/red undertone in "hanging out" zones like the living room. You want bright bulbs that emit blue undertones in "study" zones like your home office or library.
Install New Blinds or Curtains in the Windows
Two-inch wood blinds give your home a nicer aesthetic than most one-inch vinyl blinds. As a plus, they're harder to destroy if you have any kids or pets in the house.
Install Crown Moulding, Baseboard Trim, and Doorway Trim
Trim and moldings go a long way towards making a home look upgraded, especially crown molding. Depending on your budget, you can go fancy with wood trim, or give a room an extra splash of color by painting over white trim.
Rearrange Your Furniture
You don't necessarily need new pieces of furniture. Simply creating new shapes and reorganizing the flow of a living space can do wonders.
Rearranging not enough? Adding some decorating with slipcovers or fabric will give furniture a new color or pattern, and this is another item that can add to the theme of your home.
Repaint Your Walls and/or Change Your Wallpaper
You'd be surprised at what a fresh coat of paint can do for your home. Try a matte finish if you had a glossy finish before. If you have wallpaper, rip it off and paint instead.
Alternatively, Paint Your Ceiling a New, Fresh Color
Some people are experimenting with soft neutral colors on the walls and a bold color on the ceiling, like white walls with a bright yellow ceiling, or light beige walls with an eggplant/purple ceiling. If bold is your style, go for it.
Hang New Photos or Art on the Walls
Is your home a little bare? Put a personal touch on the walls with photos or art. For an even more frugal alternative, simply change the frames of your existing photos and art.
Hang More Mirrors
This increases the light that shines through the house. If you can hang two mirrors in the same room, put them on opposite walls; this will make your room seem bigger. You can even hang them in places that are above eye-level (like over a fireplace).
Change Little Things You Never Think About
Your kitchen rugs, bath rugs, hallway runner, and your doormat are perfect candidates. You can even switch to a new shower curtain or buy a new bathroom set. Imagine you're moving into a place for the first time and own nothing. What would you change?
Buy a New Bed Set and/or Pillow Covers
If you're crafty, you can sew these out of old pieces of clothing or fabric, or knit a blanket. Don't have any that are good enough? Hunt for fabric at yard sales.
Buy Small Decorative Items
Examples include mini-lanterns, artsy coasters, or a new coffee table book. These are "finishing details" that can give a space a modern feel.
Put Plants Everywhere
Both indoors and out. If you already own plants but have them potted in cheap plastic containers, upgrade them to a nice ceramic pot. Feeling creative? Paint the pots!
Clear Your Clutter!
It alone makes space feel much more inviting, and anything you declutter can be sold or donated.
Clean and Tune-up Your Furnace and Ventilation Shafts
It isn't a cosmetic upgrade, but it will make your home function more efficiently.
Burn Candles or Incense, or Use an Air Freshener
A new scent can help you enjoy the feeling of a nicer atmosphere.