Skip to main content

21OAK may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

6 easy ways to update your home for under $500

Update your home with these inexpensive, easy projects

Couple painting white walls

When most homeowners think of renovations, they think of time-consuming projects that always run over budget. And often, they’re right. But updating your home doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Tearing down cabinets and installing brand-new hardwood floors aren’t the only ways to up your home design game.

With a bit of planning and elbow grease, you can refresh your space with inexpensive home remodeling projects that will have a considerable impact. Here are six DIY home projects that you can easily complete for less than $500.

sleek modern bathroom
Max Vakhtbovych/Pexels

1. Give the bathroom a makeover

Transforming your bathroom into a spa-like oasis doesn’t have to be an expensive project. With a few thoughtful updates, you can create the bathroom of your dreams while staying on budget. Here are a few high-impact ideas that won’t break the bank.

  • Install a new showerhead. Consider replacing your current showerhead with an affordable rain showerhead for instant luxury.
  • Upgrade the hardware. Give your faucet, towel bar, toilet paper holder, and other fixtures a modern upgrade. Choose sleek black or glamorous gold for your hardware accents.
  • Replace the countertops. While they may not take up a lot of space, countertops are still a focal point in any bathroom. And since they’re smaller, you can install luxurious materials like quartz or granite without going over your budget.
  • Add luxurious touches. Don’t forget the decor! Purchase new plush bath towels, strategically place some live plants in the shower or other areas in the bathroom, and hang serene wall art to complete the finishing touches.
White and blue kitchen cabinets
Hendrickson Photography/Shutterstock

2. Refresh walls and cabinets with new paint

It’s amazing just how much a fresh coat of paint can change the appearance of a room. Renew faded or dull paint with a new coat in the same color, or try something new for a totally different look. Repainting the walls is the perfect home DIY project for budget-conscious homeowners since it’s affordable to simple enough to complete on a weekend.

Recommended Videos

Your walls aren’t the only feature that may benefit from a new coat of paint. You can give your kitchen a complete, easy makeover simply by refinishing or repainting your cabinets. The color or wood stain you use can alter your kitchen’s whole design and feel, so think carefully before selecting a shade.

Kitchen with a green tile backsplash
Hendrickson Photography/Shutterstock / Shutterstock

3. Install a new backsplash

If you’re DIY savvy, consider installing a new kitchen backsplash. Though hiring professionals for this project may end up costing more than $500, you can easily do it yourself within this budget. The most significant factor that contributes to the cost of a new backsplash is the material you choose. Here is the average cost per square foot of common backsplash materials:

  • Ceramic: $2 to $5
  • Porcelain: $3 to $6
  • Marble: $7 to $10
  • Tile: $25
  • Stainless steel: $20

Overall, you can expect to spend an estimated $300 on all the tools and materials needed for the project. If you need to reduce costs further, only install the backsplash where it’s essential: above the sink and stove. In a matter of days, you can update your kitchen with a trendy new backsplash.
Crown molding on a ceiling

4. Add crown molding

Crown molding can have a huge impact on any room as it can pull together a room and draw the eye up to make your space feel larger. The molding is a decorative accent placed where the wall meets the ceiling, and it’s surprisingly affordable to install.

The timeless accent suits most design and architectural styles, especially traditional and farmhouse homes. Paint the crown molding to match your trim so it stands out even more against the walls.

Plants in large wooden box

5. Build a raised garden bed

If you’ve ever dreamed of having a beautiful garden but thought it was too complicated or costly, think again! Building a raised garden bed is a fantastic, simple, and pocket-friendly DIY project that anyone can tackle.

All you need are some basic materials like wooden boards or blocks, easily available at your local hardware store. No fancy tools are required, just a bit of creativity and enthusiasm. The best part? Raised beds offer excellent drainage, and less weeding and they let you customize your soil mix for happy plants.

Not only is it a budget-friendly option, but you can also repurpose old lumber or recycled materials for an eco-friendly touch. Plus, it’s incredibly satisfying to see your plants thrive in a garden you built with your own two hands.

Yellow house with a blue front door and plant
David Papazian/Shutterstock

6. Boost curb appeal

The outside of your home may be due for an upgrade, too. Improving your home’s curb appeal can make a great first impression on guests and provide a significant return on investment if you plan to sell your house. There are a few easy ways to give the front of your home a full makeover:

  • Consider repainting the front door or replacing it if it’s in bad shape. Choose a stand-out hue that complements the color of the rest of the house.
  • Place some potted plants or plant flowers near the entryway for another pop of color.
  • Replace the house numbers. While it may not seem like much, adding new house numbers is an affordable way to make a statement.

You shouldn’t need to take out a loan to make your home feel fresh and new. There are lots of high-impact DIY projects that cost less than $500 to complete. Upgrade the fixtures and hardware in the bathroom for a modern spa-like vibe, paint cabinets or add a new backsplash in the kitchen, or spruce up your curb appeal with plants and fresh paint. By making these inexpensive upgrades, you can completely transform your house into somewhere you’re proud to live.

Editors' Recommendations

Shannon Cooper
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Shannon Cooper has written about everything from pet care and travel to finance and plumbing in her seven years as a writer…
Replacing your doors and windows? This is what you should buy, according to an expert
Change up the aesthetics of your space with door and window replacement
three vertical windows with a view of nature

When it comes to upgrading your home, one of the most impactful changes you can make is door and window replacement. Not only does this improve the overall aesthetics of your space, but it also enhances energy efficiency and security. As we step into 2024, experts in the field of doors and windows are predicting some exciting trends that will shape the choices homeowners make when it comes to replacing their doors and windows.

From window embellishments and stunning views to smart window technology, let's explore what you should consider when replacing your doors and windows this year.

Read more
Blinds vs. curtains: Which should you choose?
A guide to deciding between curtains and blinds
Curtains in large living room

When moving into a new home or redecorating a space, one challenging step is choosing between installing new curtains or opting for blinds. Before you finalize a purchase of either, consider what look you’re trying to achieve. Factors such as cost, ease of installation, maintenance, lighting options, and energy efficiency may sway your decision when it comes to decorating your home. This research takes time and patience, but there's good news!

We’ve consolidated all relevant information into a comprehensive blinds vs. curtains guide for your convenience. Here are the pros and cons you need to know when searching for window coverings that will best suit your needs.

Read more
What a hardwood contractor says your wood flooring says about you
According to a hardwood contractor, the species, stain, and cut of your wood floors can say a lot about you
bleached light wood flooring in an entryway

The home is a canvas for your personality, and your interiors should reflect your personal aesthetics. A professional hardwood contractor on TikTok, @lumberjackwoodsupply, says your wood flooring may reveal more about you than you might have thought. Here is what the species, color, and style of your wood flooring say about you (though, of course, some of these are a bit tongue-in-cheek).
What your wood flooring species says about you
If you have lighter, slim, natural pine floors, this TikToker says you likely fall into one of two categories. “You definitely have an appreciation for old things,” says @lumberjackwoodsupply. Alternatively, “you most likely own an old house that had these floors underneath.”
Walnut flooring
Walnut flooring is classy, elegant, and often sold at a steeper price. The hardwood contractor says homeowners with walnut flooring “have taste.”
Red oak
“There’s a good chance you didn’t choose to install this. It was just already in your house,” says this TikToker. But if you did choose to install red oak flooring, “you are either on a budget or you like to go against the status quo.”
Brazilian Cherry
“You probably live in an upscale but slightly outdated suburban home,” says the hardwood contractor. “There’s a good chance you hate the red.”
If you favor the sleek light wood tones of maple flooring to curate an airy and uplifting aesthetic, “You either live on the beach, or you want to look like you live on the beach,” says this TikToker.
Hickory flooring is well-known for its boldness. It’s a unique wood with a quirky grain and various hues. If you have hickory flooring, “you like unique things,” says the hardwood contractor. “You want to be different.”

Read more