Top 6 Easy and Affordable Ideas
If you ask me, it should be the Top 50 things to update your home – as I could really go on and on and on (and on). However, for the sake of short attention spans, the best bang for your buck, and the amount of time it takes me to polish off a bottle of wine, I’m going to stick to the Top 6.
See the before/after of this affordable update here
To make it into my Top 6, these ideas needed to be as follows:
- Affordable (buck)
- Impact (bang)
- Easy (peasy)
You ready Betty?
1. Home Update Idea – Change your cabinet hardware
Approx cost: $150-$200 (approx. $5-6 per handle). Average 30 handles per kitchen. Of course, you can ALWAYS spend more or less, but there are enough options out there and that price range should satisfy most styles.
This kitchen below is the EPITOME of an affordable update!
Kylie M Interiors E-Design and Online Color Consulting
- Painted oak cabinets (should you paint yours? Read HERE)
- Affordable laminate countertop (great ideas HERE)
- Fresh wall colour (you’ll get some great links below)
- Small backsplash detail (DIY friendly vs having to hire somebody)
- AND…hardware! Before, there wasn’t a single handle to be found!
Where should you shop for hardware?
Wayfair. I like the selection and I like the range of prices. I’ve got some great hardware ideas in this blog post HERE. However, even Home Depot and Lowe’s have some great ideas. Same with Build.com.
What’s the best metal finish to update kitchen handles and knobs?
Refer to the notes below on door hardware (Update Idea 2).
What’s a trendy hardware style?
Check out this blog post for hardware ideas to suit your door style HERE.
Make sure to measure the distance between the holes so you get hardware that is the right size
If you have knobs, consider handles instead. Buying a template like this one from Home Depot will make your life ten times easier
- And don’t just focus on the kitchen, do the bathroom, laundry room cabinets and CLOSET doors as well!
2. Home Update Idea – Interior door hardware
Approx cost: If you do some smart shopping you should be able to do each door for approx $30-$40 (hinges and handle).
It’s shocking how many homes have been fully renovated yet the homeowners didn’t think to change the door hardware…CHANGE YOUR DOOR HARDWARE PEOPLE!
I’m going to give you a few examples below. And if you like the STYLE, but not the finish, still check it out as most handles have different finish selections.
HOWEVER, watch out for this particular one…
It’s not that is isn’t nice, I actually like it, but it was WAAAAY overdone in the early to mid-2000s and can look a bit dated compared to cleaner lined options (especially in an oil rubbed bronze finish).
Black is a SUPER trendy choice door hardware. However, you can also get this style in different metal finishes. Clean and simple…
This one has a slightly more traditional vibe, with a modern approach…
If you’re shifting your home from outdated to updated, but don’t want too modern, this is a good transitional style…
How do I pick a metal finish for my home?
Look to your existing metal finishes – light fixtures, cabinet hardware and metal stair spindles, as clues for what finish to choose. If none of those are updated (in other words, they’re probably brass), then choose black. Black is great as a transitional finish when you have gold or antique brass. This works great if you’re on a budget and can only replace a few things at a time.
In this hallway, the bathroom door hardware, light fixture and closet knobs all coordinate
What if I want to change ALL of the metal finishes in my home and don’t know what finish to choose?
Go to the store and pick out a style you like and see how it looks in the different finishes. When choosing new hardware keep these tips in mind…
- If you change your door handle, you will want to change the hinges so they match. There are several different hinge profiles, so be sure to take one of your original hinges to the store with you to get the right size
- Darker hardware is higher contrast on white doors and is a popular finish
- Polished nickel is THE most popular finish for white doors
- Darker hardware is the most popular finish for wood doors
- Don’t forget to update your closet doors knobs too!
3. Home Update Idea – Paint your walls
Approx cost: $100 per room (paint, brush, roller, etc…)
Paint is one of THE least expensive ways to change your space! On a small scale, you can choose to do a feature wall or nook. On a larger scale – the whole shebang!
How do I choose a new paint colour?
Okay seriously, that’s an entire book unto itself. Colour is VITAL to the aesthetic and emotional health of you and your home and any choice should not be made lightly!
If you need help with choosing a new paint colour, I’m here for you and have DOZENS of blog posts related to paint colour, for example:
And many more…
4. Home Update Idea – Paint any wood trims/doors
Approx cost: Under $100 (paint, brush, rollers)
This applies to homes built in the 60s – 90s when there was an overabundance of narrow dark wood baseboards, window casings and doors. In some modern or old homes, this look can be striking and dramatic as the quality and scale of the wood is often better, however, in many homes, this dark wood sucks the living daylights out of a space.
Ummm, is this hard to do? No. Is this labour intensive? You bet your booty it is!
Steps to painting trims and doors
1. Tape off walls and floors and lay down dropcloths – you don’t want to spend more time cleaning up from your paint job than you spent doing it.
2. Fill any holes with wood filler and let it dry.
3. Lightly scuff sand with 220 grit sandpaper – just a basic exfoliation is good.
4. Use a primer like Zinsser oil base primer (I know, it stinks and takes longer to dry but it’s most likely to ensure adhesion of your paint). A lot of these wood trims have an oil finish on top of them and isn’t going to take new paint easily. If you prefer a non-oil primer, I totally forgive you.
5. Apply 2 -3 coats of paint. Brush only where necessary and do the rest with a 10-13mm nap 5″ roller.
AND REMEMBER, paint can take up to 3 weeks to properly cure.
Be kind and gentle. If you hit it the wrong way it CAN peel off, but give it time and with the proper prep work it should be rock solid.
What’s the best white paint colours for ceilings, trims and doors?
Want to check out some beautiful whites?
What’s the best paint FINISH for trim…and walls…and cabinets?
The average home suits matte or eggshell walls and satin trim work. If you want more thoughts/details, read here: The Best Paint Finishes for Any Surface in Your Home
When painting doors…
Always remove the handle/knob before you paint the door. Otherwise, you’ll spend many tedious hours painting around handles and end up with a less-than-ideal finish with brush marks
- Only use a paintbrush around the hinges (and tape those hinges off).
What’s the best type/brand of paint?
Talk to painters and consultants and you’ll get a WHOLE RANGE of answers. When it comes to choosing paint, regardless of brand, I usually go for ‘middle of the road’. Every brand has different lines of paint. I’d NEVER paint with contractor-grade paint and RARELY use the highest end. My fave brands are definitely Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams, which is why I dedicated my colour articles to them.
Keeping your wood trim and doors? Check out this blog post for some great coordinating paint colours –The Best Paint Colours for Dark Trim
5. Home Update Idea – Paint the interior of your front door
Approx cost -$35
Here are a few reasons why you should paint the interior of your front door (or other interior doors)…
In our previous home, the entryway had 3 doors that all looked the same and were all shut 95% of the time (front/garage/suite). This was a great reason to single out the main door and paint it a key colour. If there is any confusion at all, then pick out your main door and give it some TLC.
- Your front door is a direct backdrop or in the SAME room as your living room or dining room. This is a great opportunity to add an accent colour and personality and really REFINE your entryway, especially if you don’t have a defined entryway.
If you have a back door (not including a sliding door) that leads out to your garden/backyard and it’s located in a major room (kitchen/family room/dining/etc…)
If you have a pantry door in your kitchen that stands out in comparison to your cupboards (ie: you have espresso or wood cabinets and a white pantry door or white surround with glass insert). Painting your pantry door will reduce the level of contrast in your space which will add to the flow and overall appeal OR it will add visual interest if you have all white cabinets/trims/doors
To read more about the best paint colours for your front door, check out this post… The Best Paint Colours for the INSIDE of your Front Door
6. Home Update Idea – Get rid of those booby lights!
I actually wrote an entire blog post on this as I’m so passionate about it (no pun intended with the boobs reference). Boob lights instantly advertise the age of your home and are one of the LEAST expensive ways to update a space – so why not change ’em!
My favourite transitional light fixture is this one…
And it’s hard to beat the price! Click HERE
Is it thrilling and exciting? HELLS no, but it’s affordable and simple and is a great choice for hallways, closets and secondary bedrooms – common locations for ye ole booby light.
Want to read more about boobs? Well, you’ve got the wrong site! Want to read more about updating booby lights? Check out this blog post… Budget-Friendly Lighting Updates
Well, that’s it my funny friends. My Top 6 Update Ideas. If I’d done the Top 50 I’d be about 10 bottles in and flat on my face at this point, so ‘cheers’ to moderation!
Need help finding your room’s BEST paint colour?
Check out my Online Paint Colour Consulting, I’d love to help!
READ MORE UPDATE IDEAS
Originally written in 2016, awesomely updated in 2020