5 Easy Fixes Under $1,000

Do you have a nagging feeling your house looks exactly the same it did when you were a kid, even though it’s no longer your parent’s house? You don’t need to take out a new loan for major remodels — you just need some inspiration. Here are five great fixes for less than $1,000 that will bring your house into the 21st century. Of course, costs will vary depending on where you live, the extent of the required renovation and whether you are willing to apply some elbow grease.

1. The house feels like Antarctica, or the desert.

If your house is too cold or too hot, constantly changing with the weather outside, it might be because of poor insulation. An easy fix you can do yourself is to add insulation to your attic or crawl space. Just be sure to wear protective gear such as a mask, gloves and eye protection and follow the manufacturer’s installation guidelines. You can expect your house to be approximately 7 to 10 degrees warmer in the winter, and 7 to 10 degrees cooler in the summer, just from new attic insulation. Not only will you be more comfortable at home, you will save hundreds of dollars in your energy bill.

2. My kitchen is darker than a cave.

A terrible flaw in a house is a kitchen that doesn’t have enough light. Fortunately, this can also be easily fixed for well under $1,000. Start by adding under cabinet lights. This is where you want to start because you’ll have easy access and it will cause minimal disruption. If you need to add more light, create a cozy atmosphere by adding pendant lights. There are countless choices for these available so you can set your own style.

3. My cabinets date to the Civil War.

Start by painting your cabinets a fresh new color. While you’re at it, toss out the old hardware and install new, more modern pulls and handles. For the paint, don’t choose something from the discount bin. Yes, the goal is to save money but cheap paints won’t perform well, especially if you’re trying to cover dark colors. Inexpensive paint will need four to five coats to cover what premium paint will cover in two coats. And old, tarnished hardware will make your cabinets look dated no matter what. New hardware will go a long way in updating the look of your kitchen.

4. My bathroom is also living in the past.

The updates you’ll need to make will depend on exactly which parts of the bathroom look dated. You can tackle most of these while sticking to your $1,000 budget.

Keep an eye on big box stores. They usually have a sale on bathroom fixtures every quarter or so. Sign up for their email newsletters and be sure to ask the manager for any specials they might have.

You can start by replacing the vanity. Make sure you can either reuse the countertop, or buy a vanity with a top/bow combination. Look out for the number of openings in the new top — it will need to match your faucet, unless you’re planning on replacing that too.

You can also add tile to the back splash. White subway tile always looks fresh and can make your bathroom look brighter.

Another option is replacing the medicine cabinets. Usually, you’re just a few screws away from pulling out the old cabinet. Just be sure to measure the rough opening so you can choose a new cabinet that will fit like a glove.

Lastly, get a new toilet. New designs will also save on water use.

5. The door to the castle looks like the door to the dungeon.

The focal point of the exterior of your house is the front door. This fix will get you the most bang for your buck, but be careful or it will quickly blow through your whole $1,000 budget. You have several options. The most budget-conscious is to repaint the door you already have. Don’t cut corners and prep the door correctly by sanding it and using filler as needed to get the door ready for a fresh coat of paint or a new stain. The second option is to replace the door entirely, but be aware it will use up your whole budget to purchase a new door and have it professionally installed.