14 Cheap, Budget-Friendly Home Improvements To Upgrade Your Space

Photo: shutterstock
How To Upgrade Your Home With 14 Cheap Home Improvements
Self

Everyone has been stuck at home for months, and while that’s hard enough if you live in a house with a yard or a patio, it’s even rougher when you find yourself in a tiny apartment.

While being stuck at home all day and all night, with little fresh air and limited in-person socialization, things can feel kind of suffocating. That's why making our home feel more livable, even in the smallest of ways, can make a big difference.

What home improvements can add a little something extra when you're stuck in the house?

Making the best of what you already have and purchasing a few decorative accessories is the easiest way to redecorate without breaking the bank.

Here's how to upgrade your home in 14 cheap, budget-friendly ways.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Make Your Home Your Happy Place

1. Create a focal point.

Does your living room have a flat screen TV or fireplace? If your television is mounted on the wall, use that as an opportunity to create visual interest and storage. And when dealing with smaller spaces, vertical storage is essential and can do a lot.

Says Nitu Patel, founder of Phoenix and Rose Feng Shui, “Well-designed spaces have focal points to anchor the room and draw attention to one specific area. Consider placing a cube shelving unit underneath the television for extra storage or to display books and decorative accessories. Above the television is a great place to hang a free-standing shelf for a variety of green plants.”

Soon enough, your simple TV area will transform into a beautiful display and storage solution.

Try these products:

2. Incorporate textiles.

Shapes and textures can change the entire feel and look of any room. So, add throw pillows, blankets, or sheepskin pieces to create an easy, chic vibe. Be sure to pick out the right size area rug for the room (painters tape comes in handy here).

Adds Patel, “Textiles add instant softness and warmth to a space. Rugs define and ground the seating areas while adding color and life to a room. Don’t be afraid to layer printed, textured, or asymmetrical rugs over neutral ones.”

Try these products:

3. Use multipurpose furniture.

Do you live in a small one bedroom or studio apartment? Maybe you have a defined sleeping and living area but you're missing a work space. There's a solution for that!

Try to select furniture with storage options built in — a sectional couch that doubles as a bed and houses extra bedding, a chest used as a coffee table, a bed with storage drawers, or an entryway curio with cabinets.

“Think about using a console table with stools against a wall as a makeshift entryway table or work space for a narrow area. Or, you could place the table and stools behind a couch for extra seating or a place to dine,” advises Patel. 

Try these products: 

4. Think of the big picture.

Redecorating can get expensive and quickly become a daunting task.

But to help, Patel says, “Make a few purchases that take up a good amount of space and make a statement — a large plant, a framed piece of artwork, or a bold zebra print rug.” 

Try these products:

5. Use cinnamon in your corners.

Pay careful attention to the corners of a room and use them to your advantage. Use a non-toxic spray and some paper towels to thoroughly clean the corners from ceiling to floor.

“The corners of any space is where all the energy concentrates; it’s the best way to feng shui change into your life. Apply cinnamon oil to the cleaned areas to banish negativity and clear any financial blocks. Cinnamon has been used since Egyptian times to attract money and change negative financial situations,” says Patel.

Try these products: 

RELATED: 11 Easy, Cheap Ways To Decorate Your Home Or Apartment To Completely Transform It

6. Pay attention to lighting.

Nothing transforms a room like lighting. Japan uses remarkable moody atmospheres by creating shades of dark and brightness. So, why not bring a little bit of Japan into your own home?

“The paper on these lamps gently diffuses light throughout a room and brings an exoticism to your everyday living areas. It features a unique cross-hatch lattice and is made of kiln dried spruce with a durable polyester reinforced shade,” suggests Peter Head of Japanoscope.com.

You can also opt for LED lights!

Try these products:

7. Add greenery.

Adding greenery in the home helps in a big way. Not only do plants help elevate your mood, but they add life to your space and clean the air.

“Lately, I've been big on vertical wall plants that don't take up a lot of space,” says Ruggero Loda, founder of Running Shoes Guru. For example, moss wall art. “These framed pieces are living artwork for your space and not very expensive at all. They bring a sense of peace and are a wonderful way to bring outdoor greenspace indoors.”

This is also a great time to consider growing fresh herbs, as fresh ingredients are sometimes hard to get at the local supermarkets. 

Try these products:

8. Add 'extra verve' to your space.

Everything looks better with a finishing touch, whether it’s salt on the food you make or that final bit of perfume before leaving the house. The same is true for your home.

“Sharing some of the easy extra touches that can be done in any home are inspired by my mom’s favorite saying: 'The extra verve of the added touch,' which is all about cultivating a personal practice of finding happiness through the little things that spark joy for you,” recommends home expert Abigail Cook Stone.

This can be done in various ways. As stone adds:

“Add $6 of bodega eucalyptus from Trader Joe's or your local bodega to the shower for a home-spa experience.” Be sure to use a rolling pin over the leaves first to start releasing those essential oils. Or, “Create a ‘meditation nook’ in an unused corner at home with a decorative pillow, and an altar-like display of candles, crystals, and plants.”

Try these products:

9. Add wall photos.

We've all got countless digital photos that are just taking up space on our phones and computers. Add last year's vacation memories, your beloved pet, or even shots of friends and family you haven't hugged in way too long.

It’s one of those simple budget-friendly ways to spruce up your tired decor, while adding a customized touch that will fit any motif.

Try these products:

10. Create a reading corner.

Having a place you can call your own is vital to your mental health, especially in a time where many of us feel confined within our own homes. This gives you peace of mind that you can be alone and focus on just you.

“Look for a quiet place or nook in your home that can become your own. Even better if it's near a small window or natural light. Choose a comfortable chair for reading, and select a small table or a small bookcase where you can keep your glasses, a cup of tea or coffee, or essentials nearby!” suggests Raf Howery, CEO of Kukun.

Add a throw or small pillow for increased comfort, and spend a few hours immersed in a good story.

Try these products: 

RELATED: How To Create 'Sacred' Space At Home Where You Can Actually Relax

11. Hang artwork that fits your style.

Art work creates instant warmth in the space and can change the way you look at a room. It also gives you an outlet to express yourself and step away from the news or worries of the day.

“If you paint or draw yourself, this is the right time to get creative and get them hanging in your room. It will personalize your space and fill you with a sense of pride.

If you're not into creating your own art, don't worry! There are plenty of great options to choose from online that fit your style. Order what you like and block out a set time to hang your choices when they arrive. This personal decorating party will give you something to look forward to,” says Howery.

Warm tones and images of nature are versatile choices that can instantly create calm. 

Try these products:

12. Include a luxurious touch.

Scheduling spa time gives you permission to pamper yourself — be it a hot tub, a nap, or just some aromatherapy.

Howery recommends the following:

“Add items that make you feel comfortable and cared for. Many spas have a quiet room or sleep room.

At home, new bedding is one of the simplest ways to create a sense of pampering yourself. Fresh pillows or a new mattress pillow top can add support and luxury with a small expense.

Pick up some candles or diffusers to perfume your room with scents that appeal to you. Lavender, rosemary or jasmine are great scents for adding calm to a room instantly. These can be perfect in your bedroom or bathroom, and if you have a tub, bath salts or even soaking with epsom salt is a great way to relax your muscles and your mind.”

These small design tweaks can shift your mind to a state of relaxation. Even a new shower curtain can be an instant face lift for a bathroom.

Try these products:

13. Remove the clutter.

“When you have too many shelves filled with ornaments, candles, vases or frames, this gives the impression that a space is too crowded and it overwhelms your senses,” warns Alex Azoury, founder and CEO of Home Grounds.

Instead, select only your favorite pieces and store them, donate, or giveaway the rest. A good way to go about this is to invest in mobile storage.

You'll find many stylish, slimline storage carts on the market that are handy for stacking your books, towels, and even kitchen items. The best thing is that you can move them out of the way, or into another room if you have one.  

“If you've nowhere to store what you've just removed from your shelves, then find a large wicker basket or hamper with a lid and place lesser-used items in there,” adds Azoury. “Stackable crates are another great way to store or display items. Plus, you can configure them to suit your purposes. They also make a great extra seating if you place a cushion on top.”

Try these products:

14. Grab a paintbrush.

Even if you're renting, an apartment owner usually won't mind if you paint the walls. Heck, it saves them time and money!

“If your living space has drab or dark colored walls, then a fresh coat of paint will lighten and brighten any room,” recommends Azoury.

Choose from creamy whites and pale grays, blues or pinks to give the appearance of spaciousness. You might choose to add a feature wall or separate one area from another by using a different color.

Try these products:

RELATED: 5 Expert Tips On Decluttering Your Home Once And For All

Sign Up for the YourTango Newsletter

Let's make this a regular thing!

Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her.

YourTango may earn an affiliate commission if you buy something through links featured in this article.

Author
Author