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6 Cheap Home Improvements to Try This Year


By Maurie Backman, The Motley Fool

Whether you're planning to sell your home in the coming months or simply want to make it a nicer place to live in yourself, there are plenty of good reasons to sink money into renovations. But what if you're on a budget, and you're not looking to rack up debt in the course of sprucing up your home?

Thankfully, there's a host of low-cost home improvement projects you can tackle this year that won't break the bank and leave you cash-strapped. Here are a few easy ones that could make a world of difference.


1. Give your walls a fresh coat of paint

Whether your walls are chipped and unsightly or you're just tired of staring at dingy, lifeless walls, a new paint job could breathe life into them. The best part? It won't cost you a lot of money. You can buy a gallon of paint for $40 or less at your local hardware store, and that should be enough to cover a modest-sized bedroom or den. Throw in a few extra dollars for supplies like rollers and painter's tape, and you've got the making of a low-cost, high-impact home improvement project. Blue is on trend this year.


2. Replace old carpet

Worn carpet isn't just unsightly. In some cases, it can be unsanitary, especially if it's harboring pet odors or stains. The good news, however, is that replacing carpet is a fairly inexpensive endeavor. You can buy quality carpet for as little as $2 per square foot, which means redoing a smaller bedroom shouldn't run you more than $250 or $300. Furthermore, some carpet suppliers (including common hardware chains) will throw in free installation, which saves you the trouble of tackling what could be a tricky project yourself.


3. Plant flowers

If your home's curb appeal needs a boost, flowers are a good way to do it. For less than $50, you can invest in flowers that are easy to maintain and add a splash of color to your exterior. Small plants and shrubs can achieve similar results.


4. Replace boring cabinetry hardware

If the hardware on your kitchen and bathroom cabinets is the same hardware your home's original owner put in, it may be time for an update. You can find stylish hardware for $5 apiece, and if you're reasonably handy, you can install it yourself rather than hire a contractor.


5. Swap out a bathroom faucet

Though remodeling a bathroom could be a great return on investment, it can also take time and cost more money than you care to spend. A better solution, therefore, could be to invest in a new faucet for your sink. This is an especially smart idea if your current faucet is rusted or chipped. You'll generally find a host of options for $100 or less, and replacing a faucet is easy enough that you don't need to hire a plumber and rack up extra fees.


6. Update some window treatments

If you have older blinds in high-profile areas like your living or dining room, replacing them could be a smart move. The cost per window will depend on the specific treatments you choose -- there's a wide range. Opt for classic cellular shades, and you could be looking at well under $200 per window.

You don't need to spend a small fortune to get your home into better shape. If you're limited on funds, consider these low-cost renovations in the coming year. They're apt to transform your space for the better.

See more at The Motley Fool

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