Easy updates you can do yourself

Most for under $100

So you've been dreaming of updating your home, but the cost of new flooring or a kitchen remodel doesn't fit your budget? Don't despair. There are lots of ways to revitalize and update your home without breaking the bank. Check out these simple updates and fixes that will give your home a fresh new look, inside and out. Just a few inexpensive fixes, and you'll be eager to show off your beautiful abode.

Replace your front door. This is the first thing guests see when they walk up to your home. So it's a great place to begin your updating. A higher-end wooden door will add beauty to your entrance. But even a new steel door painted in an inviting color will add a lot of curbside appeal to your home.

Repair window screens. Torn window screens detract from curb appeal. Fortunately, they're inexpensive and easy to fix. Buy a package of replacement screen and a screen rolling tool to do it yourself. If you're not up to the task, hardware stores often do screen replacement at a reasonable cost. Just drop off your damaged screen, and they'll have it ready for you in a couple of days.

Cure dirty or crumbling grout. The wonderful thing about tile is not only its luxurious look but also its longevity. But filthy or broken down grout can spoil the look. Make your tile floor or shower look new again by freshening the grout. If it's just dirty, you can clean it. For instructions, visit www.bobvilla.com. If the grout is broken down and needs to be replaced, find grout removal instructions at www.thespruce.com.

Update switch plates and outlet covers. This is a super-easy way to update a room, and there are so many choices for every decorating style. If you like the look of metal switch plates but don't want the expense, buy some metallic spray paint in bronze, brushed nickel or silver. Just remove the covers, spray them, and in an hour they'll be ready to put back on.

Replace ceiling fan blades. Do your ceiling fans look decrepit? The blades often deteriorate faster than the fixtures. So buy new blades to make your fans look new again.

Liven it up with paint. Fresh paint goes a long way toward updating and freshening a room. With hundreds of shades to choose from, there's lots of room for creativity to achieve the designer look you want. Pick up paint brochures at your hardware store for color scheme ideas, and notice how unexpected colors are paired together to create fabulous designer looks. Then play around with different colors against the color of your room's flooring and furnishings. You might be pleasantly surprised to discover an unexpected color pairing creates a beautiful new look.

Freshen trim and doors. Paint the trim and doors throughout your home in a single color. Not only will this freshen your home, but it will also give your home a cohesive look. If your home is small, then white or light gray paint will keep your home bright and make it feel more spacious.

If you have a larger home, you can go bold with a medium or dark color. This will add richness to your living space. Medium grays and tans or dark charcoal and coffee colors are good choices. But before you get your paint mixed, pick up plenty of sample cards with various undertones. Hold them against the walls (or new paint colors) in each room to find a color that blends well with every color scheme in your home.

Wallpaper a small room. Wallpaper is in again and can transform a small room, such as your bathroom or foyer. Choose from the latest patterns, textures and colors for a great new look.

Replace vent covers. Over time, banged up and painted-over vent covers become an eyesore. So new vent covers will go a long way toward making your home feel like new.

Freshen bathroom caulk. Old stained and deteriorating caulk can make a bathroom unsightly. It can be removed and replaced relatively easily with a little patience. Visit www.houselogic.com to find simple removal instructions and the correct way to apply fresh caulk.

Clean hard water stains off of your toilet and tub. If you have hard water, your toilet bowl and bathtub may be hideous. Luckily, there are several options to remove hard-water stains. CLR calcium, lime, and rust remover does wonders on porcelain. If your bathtub is vinyl or acrylic, CLR must be diluted and can remain on the fixture for only a couple of minutes. So read instructions carefully. For more hardened buildup on porcelain, buy a handled pumice stone and sand off the accumulation. But don't use pumice stones on vinyl and acrylic because pumice is too abrasive and will leave scratches.

Update cabinet hardware. New cabinet knobs and pulls can give your bathroom or kitchen a facelift, and there are tons of styles from which to choose.

Revitalize or paint cabinets. If your solid-wood bathroom or kitchen cabinets look worn, you can revitalize them by rubbing them down with Old English. Painting them is a good alternative since white or gray cabinets are the trend. You can also get creative, and choose a bold color to liven up your kitchen or bathroom.

Install a kitchen backsplash. A tile backsplash will add richness to your kitchen. Find do-it-yourself instructions at www.diynetwork.com. If that's more work than you want to invest, choose from a wide selection of faux tile backsplash panels to add dimension and character to your kitchen.

Update doorknobs. Do your doorknobs look shabby or dated? This is another easy fix. Brushed nickel is the latest trend in hardware. Doorknobs come complete with instructions and are easy to change with just a screwdriver. Also, consider replacing the hinges to match the doorknobs.

Kimberly Blaker is a freelance lifestyle and real estate writer. Find her at kimberlyblaker.com.

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