If you’re planning to invest in home improvement projects this year, you’re part of a trend driven by the favorable economy.
Last year revenues in the U.S. home improvement products market grew 4.9 percent to $365 billion, with additional growth of about 4.8 percent expected this year, according to the Home Improvement Research Institute. The factors cited? Rising employment, rising real disposable incomes and increases in household wealth in addition to income tax cuts this year. Further, prices on such consumer goods are supposed to rise by a modest 4.4 percent this year as opposed to last year’s 5.5 percent.
That said, not everyone wishes to sink a lot of money into such projects. And that’s OK, since even small improvements and décor updates can pack a lot of power in terms of the look and feel of your home. Consider how these projects, all of which cost less than $150, can produce a lot of bang for the buck. You may also choose to combine several of these smaller projects in a single room for a spectacular result!
- Fresh Paint for Kitchen Cabinetry: If your finishes are looking worn or just dated, sand them down and resurface them in one of the latest paint colors. New hardware can also completely transform the look of the room.
- Extra Kitchen Shelving: Find an unused nook or cranny in your kitchen and tuck in a shelf or two to hold functional or decorative items. The choice of materials and hardware for such shelving is nearly endless.
- New Kitchen Backsplash: Options are available in multiple materials including tile, metal panels, bead board, etc. Many homeowners opt to tackle this relatively easy weekend project themselves.
- Additional Seating: Sometimes a few more comfortable places to sit makes a huge difference in having a room be more inviting. You don’t need to break the bank when buying a few furniture pieces. Shopping online could be your new best friend!
- Carpet Cleaning: Vacuuming can only do so much, while a professional cleaning can get rid of stains, allergens and dust mites, and may help prevent mold and mildew growth.
- Wine Rack: Is there a logical place in your kitchen or dining room (perhaps on the underside of a shelf) to install a fixture that can attractively display your wine bottles? Other options include repurposing an existing armoire or cupboard into a wine storage center.
- Floor Polishing: Bring a new gleam to your hardwood floors with a product and/or machine designed to restore its original beauty. Experts advise a thorough polish at least every four to six months.
- Entry Storage: Look at your mudroom or foyer with a fresh eye. How could you better store shoes, hats, gloves, backpacks and other family accoutrements? Consider how hooks, bins, shelves, cupboards, cubbies, benches or other solutions could help.
- Fireplace: Your dated brick fireplace can be updated with a fresh coat of paint. Be sure to thoroughly clean and prime the area before painting. You may also want to determine if your mantle needs to be stained or painted now also. While you are sprucing up the fireplace, now might be a good time to hang a new piece of art over the fireplace, or update the décor items on the mantle as well.
- Closet Organizers: The range of pieces now available for keeping your closets on the straight and narrow is awe-inspiring. Go shop at local home supply stores for ideas on how to better store all your stuff.
- Light Fixtures: Your choice of light fixtures can have a drastic effect on whether your home looks fresh and up-to-date, or dull and dated. There are numerous choices in style and price-point for ambient, task and accent lighting, so the choice is yours! A stylish lamp, pendant or sconce can provide the needed light for a task, in addition to added sophistication to any room.
- Bookshelves: The modular storage units offered in multiple stores offer a range of colors, sizes and materials, and can be customized further with the basket, boxes and bins of your choice. The decorative versions can display your treasures while the more functional versions can store tools, supplies or everyday nick knacks.
- Interior Trim Work: Crown molding and other wall and ceiling trim can add character to your home with relative ease.
- A New Showerhead: You don’t necessarily have to settle for the standard showerhead that came with your home; today’s options include multiple nozzles, adjustable heights, massage features, water-conserving functions, etc. If you’re getting older, you might also install a grab bar while you’re at it.
- New Window Treatments: Consider whether your windows might look better with blinds, Roman shades, panels or curtains, then take a look at the wide variety of materials and colors available.
- Landscaping: Freshen up your front walkway or back patio with new flowers, greenery, statuary, paving stones or a water feature.
Even small home improvements can make a big difference in the ambiance and functionality of your home. Think about how far $150 could take you in terms of impactful small-scale projects.