Written by Lee Ann Murphy
Photographed by Paul Wicheloe
1. Make an entrance.
A new front door can dramatically change the look of your facade and enhance curb appeal. Complete the update by repainting exterior trim, repairing cracks in the front walk and replacing your house numbers.
2. Give your cabinets a makeover.
If they aren't truly dated and you aren't changing the layout of your kitchen, you may not need to replace them. Adding trim, such as pictureframe molding, crown moldings, feet or corbels is a clever way to change the flavor of your kitchen. And many companies will remove and replace doors and drawers or refinish them for less than the cost of a new installation.
3. Give yourself some trim.
Beadboard wainscoting can give a fresh country look to any room. Or add a chair rail, picture molding or baseboard, and frame doors and windows with trim work for a classic look.
4. Go for color.
A bright tile backsplash can jazz up a dull kitchen. Or create a border of plain tile in a punchy color instead of using expensive shaped listellos.
5. Say it with paint.
If you don't want to go with a whole new color, consider a new twist on the shade you already have. Try your hand at a faux finish such as sponging or ragging, use painters' tape to make stripes, or use a bright color on one wall to add depth and drama to a room. And don't forget the ceiling: A fresh coat there can really brighten a room.
6. Check out metallics.
Gold, silver or bronze paint can make a bold statement in living rooms and dining rooms. Cover whole walls or just paint trim and moldings.
7. Improve the lighting.
Layer light for both ambience and comfort. Undercabinet lights remove shadows from your work spaces, while overhead fixtures can set a stylistic tone: Hang a classic chandelier or opt for a sleek pendant with a fabric drum shade. If you have a ceiling fan, look for replacement fan blades to update the fixture's look. Installing dimmers are an inexpensive way to upgrade lighting throughout the house.
For less than a hundred dollars, you can give the kitchen a new vibe by replacing the cabinet hardware. Add matching towel bars and robe hooks to that list and you can do the same in the bathroom.
9. Don't ignore the floor.
It doesn't get much attention, but scuffed, worn flooring makes a space feel tired. Refinishing wood floors and replacing old, matted carpet can revive a room without changing anything else.