12 More DIY Home Improvement Projects Under $50
Give your home a big boost with this second round of low-cost upgrades. You can tackle them in a weekend or less!
DIY “Glass” – Front Cabinets
Open up your kitchen and give it a high-end look by replacing the interior wood cabinet panels with inexpensive plexiglass sheets. If you’re not quite ready to go totally open with your cabinetry, consider trying this project on just a section of your cupboards, like those flanking the stove or the one above the coffee counter.
Use this tip to give your run-of-the-mill, builder-grade light switches a custom look. Simply choose a picture frame the same size and color as the switch cover, and use adhesive putty to attach the frame to the wall. Tip: Typical 3.5” x 5” frames fit a standard 1-gang switch plate.
Another impactful use of framing is to jazz up a ho-hum plate glass bathroom mirror. If your bathroom could use a little TLC, consider using decorative molding to frame the main mirror and inject a quick and easy dose of style.
Peel-and-Stick Vinyl Tiles
Usually available in 12” x 12” squares or a 9-foot roll, self-sticking vinyl tile comes in a wide range of styles — from Moroccan to subway tile. They have the ability to completely transform a space in very little time. The downside? They might not hold up in high-traffic areas long-term, and can behave poorly in the heat. But overall, they’re a great budget-friendly option for smaller spaces like a den, the laundry room, or as a kitchen backsplash. The best part is that they’re removable, so you are free to play with trends without committing to them completely.
Customized Cabinet Feet
This cute project makes your regular kitchen cabinets look like they are built-ins by simply adding furniture feet painted to match. Start by measuring the height from the floor to the bottom of your cabinet. Then, go online or to the craft store and search for unfinished “bun” feet to fit your measurements. Paint the feet to match your cabinets and affix them under your cabinets to give the appearance of a built-in piece. Tip: Take a kitchen drawer with you when getting your paint so that they can mix the exact shade you need.
Stenciled Stair Risers
Give your staircase a makeover by stenciling the risers to look like they’re covered in vintage tile. The best way to keep this project budget-friendly? Measure the stair risers and then find a stencil online. Rather than stenciling directly onto your staircase, go easy on your back by cutting thin plywood boards to size and working on them at a work table. Install the finished boards directly to the stair risers using a nail gun, or if you’re a renter, use removable picture hanging strips.
Bring In More Plants
Lush, green plants add instant style to any space, especially when placed in interesting containers and arranged in a pleasing way — like on colorful, thrifted stools for instance. (This works extremely well in a sunny bathroom where plants are exposed to plenty of light and moisture.)
Another way to incorporate plants is to hang a dedicated plant shelf. A simple shelf filled with low-maintenance houseplants can even act as a second window treatment when hung above a window.
For those lacking a green thumb, fake it until you make it as they say! When arranged right, faux plants can look and feel like real ones — and without the upkeep.
For the outdoors, consider mixing fake boxwoods and fake annuals with real, hardy vines for a low-maintenance look that will last through the summer.
Beautify Your Pantry
Organized pantries look so inviting. Try giving your messy storage closet an overhaul by using dedicated bins to house pantry staples. Baskets make a great choice, as they are aesthetically pleasing and there is a wide selection of inexpensive options from which to choose. If your budget allows, consider handy clip-on labels.
Another interesting upgrade to bring some lived-in character to a builder-grade home is to swap out your standard pantry door for a charming antique one. Vintage doors can be found at antique shops, flea markets and thrift stores. Be sure to keep the door measurements on hand and to bring a measuring tape with you when looking.
Inject Color With Shelf Liners
Not just for drawers, self-adhesive shelf liners are a great way to give glass-front kitchen cabinets or open shelving an impactful (and inexpensive) pop of color and retro-style charm.
Add mood lighting to your kitchen by installing soft lights under the cabinets. Ultra-easy to install, a three-pack of LED puck lights will run about $30. However, keep in mind that puck lighting isn’t your only option — there are many inexpensive options from which to choose.
Give Cabinets a Boost
Give standard cabinets some extra height and character without the big price tag of custom cabinetry by adding pre-primed MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) and decorative crown molding to the tops of your cabinets. Simple and effective, this project brings a rich, tall cabinet look for pennies on the dollar.
Update the Exterior
Don’t forget about the exterior! Use DIY wood window boxes filled with gorgeous seasonal blooms to add color and interest to the front. Or, if you’ve got an extra 20 minutes and about $40, it’s possible to send your home’s curb appeal through the roof with a new set of outdoor lights.
For eyesores in the yard that are taking away from your garden bed aesthetic, like a vent pipe or meter, consider disguising them with a faux rock that fits over top.
Another great exterior project? Adding decorative fence post caps to glam up the grounds. Not only do they look great, they protect the posts’ end grain from the elements and add years of life to your fence.