Pick from our round-up of value-boosting upgrades that all come under the $500 mark—some well under. Not only will they be soft on your wallet now, but some of these will even save you money in the future. Check out our easy home improvement ideas below.

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1. Refresh Your Rooms With Paint

You can give your dull, faded walls a burst of brilliant depth (or wash away your decorative sins in pristine white) simply by taking a can of paint and pouring it in.

That’s the power of a coat of paint: it rearranges your reality. Therefore, painting is the most discussed DIY upgrade.

While you don’t have to be a professional to learn to paint, a good paint job is more than just applying color to the wall. Check out our handy instructions to expertly coat your walls on the weekend, from the sander’s first scratch to the brush’s last feather.

2. Install a Low-Cost Star Runner

Do you want to have a good grip on the slippery stairs? Try a DIY runner. After getting a quote to wallpaper his dangerously slippery oak staircase, TOH reader Jaime Shackford took on the project.

He gave his stairs a slip-resistant upgrade using just two off-the-shelf woven runners ($125 each) and supplies from a home center.

home renovation tips

image of the balcony. modern home designs

3. Renew Old Flooring With Paint

The burgundy-red floor of the main bedroom at Sara and Andrew’s Massachusetts farmhouse did not match the new, energetic personalities of the newlyweds.

But finishing was not an option on a budget. So, to bring the space up to date, they painted the floor in a light checkered pattern, using beige and white to warm its cool blue walls.

Here we show how a little measuring and a few coats of durable floor paint can add much character to a room for a small price.

4. Make Shade and Add Privacy With Interior Shutters

Sunlight streaming through windows can be an annoying distraction. Not to mention the neighbors who have more night hours to monitor in your well-lit living room.

You could install shutters to ward off prying eyes, but wood shutters would definitely look better.

Interior shutters were the original “window treatments” commonly used in southern and urban homes, and they remain a great way to add architectural and historical detail.

They also help protect against the cold winter winds or the sweltering summer heat. And they’re easy to install in any window because they attach to a thin frame that fits inside the window opening or around the outside of the box.

home renovation

Loft kitchen design

5. Give Kitchen Cabinets a Flawless, New Finish

Your cave kitchen looks like this because the dark cabinets have absorbed all the light in the room.

But a brighter makeover doesn’t mean replacing those dark boxes with new ones.

As long as the frames and doors are structurally sound, you can clean and repaint them and, on the weekend, take the kitchen from dreary to sunny.

All you need is a heavy-duty cleaner, sandpaper, a brush, and a little effort. You don’t need much money because the conversion will cost you a fraction of the price of even the cheapest new cabinets.

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