17 Clever Home Improvement Ideas Under $200
Home improvements aren't just projects that involve a wood, hammer, and nails. Any project that makes your house more comfortable, beautiful, or functional is a home improvement—and we have 17 smart ideas for under $200.
Bye-bye, '80s paneling
You don't have to shell out a lot of money to remove paneling, simply update it with a fresh coat of paint. "One home I did could have been used as a set of Stranger Things. A splash of white paint livened it up and made it seem twice as big," says interior designer Beatrice Novobaczky of Beatrice Interiors. These are the 12 home improvements you should never tackle yourself.
Transform your bed
A headboard gives your bed the visual focal point it deserves, and it makes it more comfortable for reading or watching TV. You have a couple of options here for under $200: Assemble one from a retailer like IKEA or get a little more creative. "An old quilt, linens, or any large piece of fabric can be used for a headboard or wall hanging," says Novobaczky. Sew on plastic rings or, for a no-sew option, use curtain clip rings. Attach the rings to the top of fabric every 8 to 12 inches, depending on the weight of the fabric. Then hang them from a decorative curtain rod on the wall behind the bed.
Enhance your view
"Whether you would like to create a little privacy or just a nicer view from within your space, a window box can really change the point of view and bring the outdoors in," says Novobaczky. Fill them with spring and summer blooming bulbs, evergreens, lavender, fresh herbs, or hardy beach grasses.
How many times have you walked past that blank wall in your house and wished you could do something with it? Novobacsky has the perfect solution: Sand and spray paint your own old wood frames or purchase some from a thrift shop; a few ornate ones will add to the visual impact. "Think gold, black, white, or even magenta. You don't even need to get into all the nooks and crannies, just let some of the original colors peek through," says Novobaczky. Fill the frames with your favorite family photos, old and new. If you notice that your wall is damp, this is most likely the problem.
Uncover hidden storage
Every square inch counts when it comes to storage, and a staircase may just be one secret space worth uncovering. "Installing open shelves underneath a staircase is an easy way to organize your belongings," says Justin Krzyston, contractor/designer at Stonehurst Construction. "The nice thing about open shelving is that you only need a couple of materials to create a perfectly functional storage area." Check out these 18 tricks to get more storage space.
What's more inviting than reading a book in a cozy window seat? "A DIY, 3-foot-long window seat could cost as little as $150 to build and install in your home," says Krzyston. If you're not handy with tools, no worries. "In some cases, it might be easier to purchase a movable bench to fit under your window," says Krzyston. This home improvement idea not only quenches your desire for a cozy nook but also doubles as storage whether it's inside the seat or in attractive baskets under the bench. These furniture pieces with hidden storage are beautiful and functional.
Freshen up your kitchen
Save money by refinishing your existing cabinets and changing the hardware rather than replacing the cabinets entirely," says Krzyston. Another option is to paint them. "Adding a pop of color with paint is a cheap and easy way to freshen up your kitchen with some contrast," suggest Krzyston. These 13 kitchen design ideas will make your home look more expensive.
Think about all the time you spent looking for a pot lid that was in the back corner of a large cupboard? Give yourself the gift of time by installing pullout organizers in your kitchen cupboards to help you fully utilize the space. With pullouts, it's easier to access pot, pans, pantry items, and spices, says Krzyston. Once you organize your cabinets, try these suggestions to declutter your countertop.
Open shelving is a hot trend right now, but its functionality is a home improvement that is timeless. "An easy way to display your mementos and picture frames is to add functional yet aesthetically pleasing floating shelves to your wall," suggests Krzyston. In the kitchen floating shelves, create an open and airy feeling while displaying treasured collections or everyday items. "These can either be bought pre-assembled, or you can purchase the wood needed to put them together yourself. It's an easy project that can put together and installed within a weekend," says Krzyston. Once you've tackled this project, roll up your sleeves and DIY these 11 home improvements.
Add elbow room in your shower
Sometimes a shower curtain infringes on your personal space. Wouldn't it be nice to gain an extra 10 inches to move about more without brushing up against the shower curtain? Lori Matzke, home stager, and owner of homestagingexpert.com has a solution: Switch out the straight shower curtain rod for a sleek, modern curved one. "Add a new shower curtain, fluffy chenille bath rug, soft white towels, and a handy basket filled with soap and lotions, and you've just created a brand-new spa where your bathroom used to be." Check out these 13 easy bathroom makeover ideas.