This Is the Best Way to Upgrade Your Home Under $50
Just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you can't make your space even better.
It's a tale as old as time: Your home is begging for a remodel, but your budget says otherwise. From redoing that ancient bathroom to bringing your kitchen back to life, the list of to-do projects in most homes only seems to get longer as the years pass. But just because you're not made of cash doesn't mean you can't majorly upgrade your space.
In fact, there's one project that will take you just an hour to complete, but can significantly increase the value of your home: painting your front door. However, any old shade won't cut it if you're looking to reap the financial rewards of this renovation project. According to a 2018 report from Zillow, homes with black or charcoal front doors sell for $6,271 more than their anticipated sale price.
If you're looking for the perfect paint color to touch up your front door with, look no further than this Rustoleum Door Paint, which reviewers on Amazon are praising for its "rich color" and excellent single-coat coverage.
Even if your front door is already in good shape, there are plenty of other easy household projects that can transform your space in a hurry on the cheap. If you're looking for some amazing upgrades for your home that won't cost you an arm and a leg, we've rounded up the best home improvement projects under $50.
Best Life's editors have scoured the internet to bring you the best products out there, and we're hoping you'll love them as much as we do. Full disclosure: we may earn a commission for anything you purchase through links on this page, but that doesn't mean you'll pay more for them (we'd never do that to you!). Pricing and availability are accurate as of the piece's initial publication date, but it's the internet and we can't guarantee that these sweet, sweet deals will last forever, so scoop them up before someone else does!
Recaulk your bathroom.
Those dingy, moldy lines in your tub and shower are a serious pain to clean. Instead of scrubbing for hours, try replacing the caulking as a quick, easy, and cheap way to make your bathroom finally look brand-new.
Paint your kitchen cabinets.
Cabinets cost a small fortune to replace, but you can give them new life for less than a cost of a lunch for two. Chalk paint has become a home DIYer's go-to for bringing old, dingy wood back from the dead.
Upgrade your outlets.
We've all been there: You're phone is almost dead and you can't find your charger base anywhere. The solution? Prime your plugs for modern requirements with wall outlets that have a USB port built right in. And for more great home design tips delivered to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Get a new light fixture.
It's always a bright idea to invest in lighting that you love. But what's truly illuminating is finding a fixture that looks like a million bucks without breaking the bank. This ornate glass piece will help bring your home into the light.
Refresh your kitchen cabinet knobs.
Replacing your cabinets themselves is a once-in-a-decade project. But you can make them look brand new with an afternoon's worth of work just by swapping in new handles and fixtures.
Paint an accent wall.
Large scale painting projects can be as costly as they are time consuming. Instead of touching up from head to toe, pick one wall in a room and give it a splash of color for a look that will really stand out.
Hang a hallway mirror.
Blowing out walls is one way to make a room look bigger, but there's a good chance that that kind of work will also blow out your budget. Instead, try hanging a mirror in your front hallway, foyer, or living room to change light angles and make everything feel more spacious.
Install smart light switches.
Finally setting up smart lights in your home is a huge convenience booster…Until the first time you can't find your phone in the dark. These voice controlled lights will make sure you're never stuck fumbling, thanks to its voice-activated controls and enhanced remote control options.
Add crown molding.
Need a super easy project that will instantly upgrade the look of your home? Adding crown molding is a great way to add personality to any space—all for a minuscule price tag.
Install floating shelves.
Custom shelves may be the kind of improvement you save up for over a few years, but floating shelves make for an incredibly easy home improvement project you can accomplish on even the tightest budget. Plus, they work in bedrooms and living rooms just as well as they do in bathrooms and kitchens.
Add path lighting.
One of the best ways to upgrade your home is to bring a little brightness to your outdoor areas. Path lighting, like these solar-powered lanterns, are effortlessly easy to install and will make a big difference on even the smallest budget.
Hang some plants.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with planters, but there's something super special about bringing your greenery up and off the floor. Hanging houseplants can give any bright corner the feeling of a lush greenhouse, and these macrame hangers will work with practically any potting.
Install motion sensor lights.
There's nothing worse than getting caught in the dark on your way out to the garage at night. These easy-to-install LED lights are solar powered and motion activated, making them a great solution for dim driveways and poorly-lit pathways.
Install a digital thermostat.
That rotary thermostat you use to keep your house warm or cold is a perfect example of vintage in a bad way. Luckily, bringing your temperature control into the 21st century doesn't have to cost a fortune.
Install LED strip lights.
Lighting can be the make-or-break element in any interior design. So why stick with just one motif? Add personality and flair to your space that you can change with the push of a button by lining your molding, cabinets, and shelves with color-changing and dimmable LED lights.
Start a wine cellar.
Your prize bottles of Bordeaux deserve better than a dusty corner on your kitchen counter top. Getting a proper wine storage setup is as easy and finding a cool area of your basement and setting up shelving that allows you to store bottles properly on their sides. This sturdy rack is a one-stop-shop for keeping your vino for years to come.
Organize your recycling area.
The whole point of managing your rubbish is that it shouldn't make your home look like a mess. These colorful Brabantia bins are easy to carry, compact, and can be mounted, making it easy to make them as much a part of your decor as they are an essential item.
Install smart outlets.
Just because your home was built decades ago doesn't mean it can't be brought into the 21st century. Smart outlets are as easy to install as plugging in a lamp and can give you control over practically any item in your house. It's an amazing way to upgrade to a smart home on even the tightest budget.
Add bookshelf speakers.
Getting your home wired with speakers may no longer require any actual wires, but most systems cost a fortune—and usually don't look so great. This bookshelf speaker from Ikea brings a bit of minimalist charm to any room along with your favorite tunes and podcasts.
Install a Wifi extender.
Depending on how your home is set up, there's a good chance you have a few dreaded dead zones of WiFi coverage. This easy-to-install network extender will make sure that you're always connected, whether you're in the bedroom or the basement.
Install under-cabinet lights.
Bringing a little brightness to those dark corners of your kitchen or pantry has never been easier thanks to easily installed under cabinet lights such as these battery-powered pieces. You can even easily control the brightness with the included remote control.
Install a bidet.
Believe it or not, bidets are one of the hottest home add-ons of the quarantine—brought on by toilet paper shortages, of course. This easy to install unit will keep you clean and within your budget.
Install a water filter.
Everybody drinks water! That's why it's important you're making sure to get the best quality water when you go to hydrate. This outrageously easy-to-install Pur filter removes lead and more than 70 other contaminants from your tap.
Add some night lights.
Dark hallways can make some pretty perilous trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Softly illuminate your home at all hours with these Eufy night lights, which turn on automatically and focus their brightness downwards to cut down on harsh glare.
Illuminate your TV.
Want to make your media wall really pop? Installing backlights to your flatscreen can bring a whole new level of illumination to your entertainment room. This set has 20 different colors and multiple brightness levels, making it possible to set practically any mood.
Hang some wall art.
If painting's not possible, why not hang a picture? With inexpensive options like this midcentury abstract piece, it's easy to remake any wall for the better.
Install a dishrag hamper.
Feeling the DIY spirit? Clean up your kitchen clutter by hanging a dish rag hamper under your sink. This wire file holder is the perfect place to store your dirty washcloths with enough circulation so that they don't get moldy. It's the cleaning solution you never knew you needed!
Hang a pegboard.
Just because adding more cabinets isn't in your budget doesn't mean you can't find an affordable storage solution. Pegboards are a practical way to store pots and pans—plus anything else you've got on hand—and can be installed in minutes.
Spruce up your smart home hub.
Your smart home hub may be able to do practically anything, but it sure does stick out like a sore thumb sitting out on a table. Upgrade your upgrade with this adorable stand that will take you back to the days when an alarm clock was your most trusted piece of tech.
Install smart lightbulbs.
Fumbling for a light switch is so 2010. Bringing your home lighting game into the future is one of the best ways to upgrade your home for under $50. These Treatlife bulbs allow you to set the mood with different brightness levels, colors, and effects—right from your smartphone or smart home hub.
Add some patio lights.
Your outdoor seating areas should be open for business both day and night. Make them look their best after the sun has gone down with sensible solar lighting options, like this minimalist lantern.
Add a trellis.
A full garden overhaul may not be in the budget, but for under $50, you can still upgrade your home with a simple outdoor hardware edition such as this trellis. It's perfect for training vines that will literally bring your greenery to another level.
Start a bar cart.
There's no reason to keep your cocktail kit tucked under the sink. Bring your collection right to the center of the party with a simple bar cart—especially this Ikea piece, which can be DIYed into any color of your choosing.
Update your kitchen faucet.
Whether you're doing dishes or washing your hands, a good faucet is an unsung hero of the kitchen. This sleek piece comes complete with a detachable head that makes it easy to rinse all over even the biggest pots and pans.
Throw down a rug.
Not all good-looking rugs have to be exorbitantly expensive. You can bring an entire room together for less than $50 with options like this one from Ikea.
Upgrade your shower head.
There's a good chance you spend a lot of time in the shower. Shouldn't you be getting the most out of it? Replacing your bathroom fixtures can make your tub time more enjoyable without emptying your bank account—especially with this combination rain shower head and a detachable handheld unit, which makes getting clean an opportunity to relax, too.
Install a smart home hub.
You can't bring your house into the 21st century without installing a smart home hub that will bring all of your new technological upgrades to life. This voice-activated assistant makes everything easier, from turning on lights and checking the weather to making a call and starting an episode of your favorite TV show.
Install a kitchen backsplash.
There's no reason to put up with the same dingy tile in your kitchen just because you can't afford a full remodel. This easily-installed backsplash will give your space a fantastic new look for a fraction of the cost of real marble.
Hang some cafe string lights.
Whether you're entertaining outdoors or just manning the grill, cafe string lights are one of the best options for brightening up your deck or patio. They'll bring an airy look to your home without busting your budget.
Stencil your tile or patio.
Laying tile may be expensive and time-consuming, but that doesn't mean you can't have the look you've been wanting since that trip to Morocco. Stenciling existing tile—or even the tired concrete on your back patio—is a fantastic way to breathe new life into existing hardware. It's a fun, easy, and inexpensive DIY project with a huge design payoff.
Put up peel-and-stick wallpaper.
Traditional wallpaper may be an expensive design touch, but thanks to peel-and-stick options, it's never been easier to get stunning design elements onto your walls. This art deco motif will make any room look like a million bucks—for less than $50.
Install a smart dimmer switch.
Having control over your smart bulbs shouldn't always require yelling out commands or scrambling for your phone. This dimmer switch will make setting the mood super easy—and it's a breeze to install.
Add a full-length closet mirror.
Even if you're not working with a walk-in quite yet, you can still get the full view of your look with a full-length mirror hanging on the back of your closet door or next to your wardrobe. This option from Ikea will help you look your best while it looks its best hanging in your room.
Install a wine glass rack.
Storing wine glasses in a cabinet is both space consuming and a recipe for disaster whenever there's an accidental tip over. Make the most out of your kitchen space by installing wine glass racks underneath your cabinet: For just $5, you can reclaim precious shelf space and save yourself the agony of yet another broken piece of stemware.
Add beadboard to your walls.
Just because you can't remodel your entire kitchen or bathroom doesn't mean you can't spruce up their looks. Beadboard makes for a great textural addition to the space next to cabinets, around mirrors, or in entryways. And besides being super easy to install, it's also super affordable.
Hide your trash can.
You may be good about taking out the garbage, but if you're trying to upgrade your home under a certain budget, it might be time to take the trash out of the middle of your kitchen. Hide your rubbish bins away with one of these handy roller organizers that will keep your mess out of sight.
Create a plant corner.
There's no easier way to upgrade your space than filling it with some great greenery. Why not put your plants front and center with a truly stunning stand? This piece will add a beautiful living tiered effect to any unloved corner of your home.
Update your shower curtain.
Bringing your bathroom up to snuff doesn't have to involve a new paint job or major plumbing work: Simply swap out your shower curtain. As the most eye-catching element of a small room, it's an easy way to completely transform your space's personality.
Modernize your house numbers.
When it comes to amazing ways to upgrade your home for under $50, it's often the littlest things that can have the biggest effect. Try swapping your old-fashioned address numbers for these new modern steel-cut pieces, which are bold, easy to read, and feature a floating mount.