Pia Tryde—Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley
By Porch
February 4, 2016

Did you include home improvement in your New Year’s resolutions this year? Our homes require a lot of regular maintenance and repair, and you may feel overwhelmed with the sheer number of house projects on your to-do list. Don’t worry: there are plenty of projects you can do for your home, inside and out, that is within your budget.

Here are the projects Ty recommends to make your home look better and make you feel smarter about home improvement.

Spend $500 or Less

There are some surprising upgrades and improvements you can make with a mere $500. For these low-budget projects you’ll want to shop for seasonal sales, discounts or deals. Be smart about purchasing tools or equipment; you may be able to borrow a ladder or rent a tool for less than the purchase price.

Read Next: 8 Smart Ways to Boost Your Home’s Value

Some of these projects should possibly be done by a professional, especially if you’ve never done this type of project before. “You’d be surprised how often a handyman is called in to fix what the homeowner attempted to do, but messed up due to lack of experience or impatience. If you really want to learn a new skill, like installing backsplash tile, be sure you take a class or watch a video about how to do this so you do it correctly the first time,” advises Ty.

Here are some other ideas for $500 or less:

  • paint interior walls
  • new cabinet knobs in the kitchen or bathroom
  • hang new pendant lights
  • upgrade outlets and light switches
  • pressure wash the driveway or walkway
  • do a minor upgrade to your front door like install new house numbers, a new mailbox, or paint the front door
  • install new exterior lights for safety and security
  • service your appliances like washer and dryer, air conditioner or heating system
  • change the filters in your home such as the furnace, humidifier or refrigerator
  • buy and install new smoke alarms, especially if yours are 10-years old or older. Check the expiration date on your fire extinguishers while you’re at it.
  • stop drafts around doors and windows

Spend $5000 or less

Although $5000 won’t buy you a new master bathroom, you can still make some really important changes. “At this price point you’ll want to consider the projects that may require professional expertise or more expensive materials,” says Ty. “Maximize your dollar by focusing on specific rooms or spaces and really taking care of the problems that are stopping you from enjoying that room.”

Read Next: 10 Upgrades Under $1,000 That Increase Home Values

Another great way to maximize this dollar amount is to focus on the hidden costs of home ownership, like your water or electrical bill. By upgrading your water appliances to ones with a WaterSense label, you’ll not only improve the look of that space but save money on your monthly water bill. Now that’s smart home improvement!

  • upgrade appliances to energy efficient models. Focus on toilets, showerheads and faucets
  • replace the front entry door
  • replace the garage door
  • create more organized spaces like your closets, garage, pantry, attic or basement with a professional shelving system
  • address minor repairs around the home. Fix broken stairs, take care of a drainage issues near the foundation, or hire a professional to make minor plumbing or electrical repairs or upgrades.
  • invest in smart home tech upgrades like thermostats or water sensors
  • install a security system
  • install, fix or replace the backyard fence
  • paint the exterior or the house
  • solve basement dampness with moisture blocking paint, installing a sump pump, or addressing minor foundation issues
  • install a sprinkler system

Spend $10,000 or Less

With a more significant monetary investment you’ll be able to make some great transformations to specific rooms, like the kitchen or yard. With the average cost of a major kitchen remodel scaling at over $56,000, $10k may not afford you the kitchen of your dreams. However, upgrading your kitchen appliances will not only improve the look of your kitchen, it can also help you reduce your water and electrical costs.

“Everyone wants a new kitchen,” says Ty, “but you’d be surprised how amazing a kitchen can look with some new stainless steel and a new coat of paint.” With $10,000 you can add other improvements that help you save money on on your energy bill.

For example, replacing old windows with energy efficient models can reduce heat transfer as well as keep out unwanted dust and noise. Adding new insulation will also help your home regulate temperature much more efficiently, saving money on your summer and winter energy bills. Even though these projects aren’t as flashy as a new set of furniture, these kinds of investments will help you save money over the long term.

  • replace major appliances like the water heater, furnace or major kitchen appliances
  • add kitchen upgrades such as installing new countertops, new cabinet fronts, new flooring, or adding a kitchen island
  • add master bathroom upgrades like a new vanity, sink, lighting, and other fixtures
  • address concerns inside and outside the home. Hire a professional to fix mold issues, repair the roof or gutter system, repairing siding, and fix structural issues
  • add curb appeal by investing in landscaping projects. Add new walkway pavers, a new railing on a staircase, plant new shrubs or tress, add mulch, or consider adding new exterior lighting.
  • replace old windows with double-paned windows
  • remove interior walls to open up a space
  • revive your outdoor entertaining space with a new grill or outdoor kitchen features, new furniture, or revive your deck with a professional sanding and staining job
  • replace old carpeting with new

Seattle-based Porch.com is a home services platform that helps homeowners maintain their home and get projects done by connecting them with quality home improvement professionals. Porch is available nationwide online, through the Porch App and serves as the exclusive in-store resource to over 1,700 Lowe’s home improvement stores across the U.S.

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