There are pros and cons to watching all of those house-related shows on HGTV. It can be a great source of inspiration, or it can induce envy and guilt. If you’re fortunate to already have a home that you own (or landlords that will let you make changes), there are some great ways to transform your current house into a dream home without spending a bundle. The first step? Create that budget. It’s effortless to overspend, especially on a home remodel that will be heavy on big-ticket items. You also want to be sure that your upgrades truly increase the value of the house.
Here are some of the best ways to get closer to your dream home without draining your bank account:
1) Focus on windows first. Windows don’t only make a big statement because they take up a lot of real estate on your home, they can also be a big money suck when it comes to energy. Older windows that aren’t energy efficient simply don’t have the capacity to keep your energy bills in check. If you replace your windows, make sure they have a decent ENERGY STAR rating. You might even enjoy a tax cut, so be sure to check with your CPA.
2) Opt for a paint job. Whether you paint the inside or outside of your home (or both!), it can make a big difference. The exterior can increase curb appeal, and painting the interior a different color can instantly update the look and make the home appear more prominent. As a bonus, both of these projects can be done yourself, especially if you have a single-level home. However, it’s also a big task. There are often discounts available on sites like Groupon, so take a look around for potential discounts.
3) Pay attention to landscape. Gardening is a great form of exercise and is linked to a variety of health benefits. It’s also one of the best ways to increase curb appeal and value of the home. You can spend as much or as little as you’d like on landscaping, and choose to DIY for everything or hire a professional. If you do decide to dig into the landscape, make sure to choose native plants.
4) Refinish the floors. If you have hardwood floors, you want to show them off and make sure they look their best. A refinish every few years can help, and this is your opportunity to choose a new stain. You can really make these floors pop with an upgraded area rug. Area rugs pull a room together and offer warmth, figuratively and literally.
5) Don’t forget to focus on lighting. Lighting can make all the difference, and you want to maximize natural light where you have it and decrease dependency on the overhead light. Natural light matched with aptly placed lamps makes any house homier. Plus, if you optimize the natural light in your home, you’ll naturally decrease your energy bills.
6) Rearrange the furniture. Many people get stuck in their ways when it comes to furniture. Simply moving it around can make it feel like you have a brand new home. Try keeping couches away from walls if possible to create a more inviting environment.
7) Focus on one room at a time. Thinking about making over a home is understandably overwhelming, but a little more manageable if you focus on one room at a time. To start, pick the room that has the most meaning to you whether it’s a bedroom for a retreat, your bathroom that you’d like to turn into a spa getaway, or the kitchen as the heart of the home.
A house becomes a home when you insert your personality into it. Ditch the decorations that don’t mean anything to you. If you have shelving, “curate” it by allowing various depths of the objects you display and leave staggered white space. Pay attention to the details that require little or no money if you enjoy home makeover shows rather than the big-ticket items. There are always ways to make your house reflect you without overspending—or spending anything at all.