Believe it or not, there’s a lot of redecorating you can do for $500 or less. Pick the right project and you can pack quite a design punch. Whether you’re looking to redo an entire room this year or make a series of smaller changes both indoors and out, these 15 creative home updates offer plenty of inspiration — and they each cost about $500 or less.
1. Add Built-In Bookcases
This timeless design feature provides extra storage and can be accomplished for a lot less than people think. For a minimalist look for even less, try open shelving.
2. Add Simple Architectural Details
Small touches such as crown molding in a living room and wainscoting in a dining room are often easy enough to add by hand. They are also additional selling features down the road, but are also pretty to look at right now.
3. Refresh Your Tile Backsplash
With so many tile styles at a wide variety of prices, it’s entirely possible to add or replace the backsplash in your kitchen or bath for less than $500. For more impact, lay the tile in a geometric pattern, like herringbone, and opt for cool colors or interesting textures.
4. Use a Fresh Coat of Paint
One of the easiest and least expensive ways to change a space is to paint. But rather than just repaint rooms in different colors, try something new, like using chalkboard to draw quirky illustrations in a child’s room, painting horizontal stripes in two separate shades in a guestroom, or give your front door a new look with a fresh coat in a fun color. You can also try staining or painting your dining chairs or use spray paint and modern bulbs to give light fixtures an entirely different look.
5. Swap Out Hardware
From swapping out doorknobs to changing the fixtures in the kitchen and bathrooms, new hardware can make a huge difference. Try trendy styles, such as brass or matte black. And if you grow tired of it, you can always switch it again relatively inexpensively.
6. Rethink Neglected Spaces
Which rooms or nooks are used the least? Try turning an oft-used closet into a built-in home office by removing the doors and adding a floating shelf for a desk. A few desk accessories, some wall art, and a pretty office chair, and you’re ready to work from home when duty calls.
7. Create a Casual Vibe With
Comfy Floor Pillows
This will encourage relaxation and conversation, poufs that double as additional seating for game and movie nights, and plenty of cozy blankets within arm’s reach.
8. Replace Light Fixtures
Replace your ho-hum ceiling light fixture with a dramatic showstopper, or switch out the light shades on table lamps for a totally different look.
9. Make An Gallery Wall
Fill it with black-and-white photographs and artwork in inexpensive frames, splurge on one piece of large-scale wall art you absolutely love, or create an accent wall with trendy modern wallpaper or vintage-inspired shiplap.
10. Add Window Treatments
Whether you prefer bamboo, wood, or fabric shades, window treatments can make quite a statement. New curtains hung near the ceiling will make rooms appear larger, while shutters and sliding barn doors give windows and doors that fresh, farmhouse look that’s everywhere right now.
11. Get Houseplants
Try creating a nature-inspired work of art with a modern wall planter hung indoors or on a patio. Fill it with kitchen herbs and it’s a prime example of both form and function.
12. Add New Linens and Pillows to Your Bedroom
You likely spend more hours in your bed than any place else in your home, so why not make this the comfiest, most luxurious spot in the house? Whether you opt for a new, upholstered bed frame, a cushy new headboard in a fun fabric, or fresh new pillows and plush bedding, you can spruce up your sleep zone and easily spend less than $500. Consider extra touches, like a cozy feather mattress topper, to make the bed itself feel new.
13. Buy Some New Rugs
While redoing your floors is a pricey endeavor, you can score great rugs online and at estate sales for a lot less, yet the impact can be just as significant. Also consider playing with flexible and functional carpet tiles so you can switch out the looks even more often by changing the patterns.
A Scandinavian-style living area featuring an ivory rug with a black diamond print.
14. Build a Small Wooden Pergola
Add a natural touch with vines designed to run along the edges and depending on the size of your space, your materials should remain well within budget.
15. Add More Outdoor Seating
Add a porch swing, a hanging chair or bed, or even a simple hammock to a shady outdoor spot. Toss in outdoor pillows and a side table where you can set a cup of coffee or glass of lemonade and you’ve got yourself a cozy nook for reading or lounging.
Ana Connery is former content director of Parenting, Babytalk, Pregnancy Planner and Conceive magazines as well as parenting.com.
While editor in chief of Florida Travel & Life magazine from 2006-2009, she covered the state’s real estate and home design market as well as travel destinations.
She’s held senior editorial positions at some of the country’s most celebrated magazines, including Latina, Fitness and Cooking Light, where she oversaw the brand’s “FitHouse” show home.
Ana’s expertise is frequently sought after for appearances on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America” and CNN. She has interviewed the country’s top experts in a variety of fields, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and First Lady Michelle Obama.