7 Summer Home Improvements on a Budget

  • August 14, 2023
  • By: Tara Spicer
  • Tara Spicer is a writer for GreenPath Financial Wellness, covering everything from budgeting best practices to financial literacy for families. A former book editor and University of Michigan alum, she divides her time between the page and parenting in Seattle, Washington.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Summer is a popular season to tackle home improvement projects and breathe new life into your living space. However, many homeowners are deterred by high costs associated with renovations, especially with recent surges in inflation.

The silver lining? You don’t need to break the bank to enhance your home’s aesthetics and functionality. With some creativity and resourcefulness, you can revitalize your space without compromising your finances. Here are a few ideas to inspire your summer to-do list.

Accent Wall:

One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to transform any room is with a fresh coat of paint. If you’re working within a tight budget, even one accent wall can brighten up the surrounding space. You can request paint samples to test out at home and knock this project out in a day by enlisting the help of friends or family. Prefer to skip the painting route? Opt for easy-to-apply adhesive wall decals or wallpaper panels, available online and in most home retailers.

DIY Landscaping:

Enhance your home’s curb appeal by sprucing up the landscaping. A little goes a long way in this category: trimming overgrown hedges and tree branches, mulching, adding inexpensive outdoor lighting or stepping stones, and repurposing materials (such as tires) for container gardening are all affordable ways to refresh your outdoor areas. Pro-savings tip: if you haven’t already, start composting kitchen scraps and yard waste to create nutrient-rich garden soil.

Energy-Efficient Upgrades:

Summer often means higher energy bills due to air conditioning usage. Opt for fan usage on milder days and check for air leaks around doors and windows, sealing them with weatherstripping or caulking. Switch to LED or CFL bulbs, as they use less energy and produce less heat compared to traditional bulbs. Install reflective blinds or curtains designed to block out sunlight and heat during the hottest parts of the day. These small changes can add up to significant savings on your monthly utility bill.

Home Organization:

There’s no better time than summer to host a garage sale—for whatever you can’t sell, set up an area where you can group items by category: keep, donate, or discard. Tackle one room at a time so the process is less overwhelming and use storage bins, crates, empty jars and shelving to house whatever remains. And while you’re in organization mode, don’t just limit your de-cluttering to physical items…digitalizing bills, statements, and important documents can eliminate paper clutter and the psychic stress that’s often attached.

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Refurbished and Consignment Furniture:

Instead of buying new furniture pieces to upgrade your space, consider refurbishing your existing pieces. Sand down old wooden furniture and give it a fresh coat of paint or stain. If DIY isn’t your thing, scope out the consignment furniture retailers in your area which carry quality pieces at deeply discounted prices. You can also join apps like OfferUp to see what people are selling in your neighborhood.

Updated Hardware and Fixtures:

Replacing old and worn-out hardware and fixtures can instantly elevate the look of your home. There are many options for swap-outs here: dated doorknobs, kitchen drawer and cabinet handles, sink and bath faucets, light switch plates, and overhead light fixtures. You don’t have to rely on big box stores for modern fixtures—antique or vintage shops, Etsy, and consignment furniture retailers like those mentioned above offer unique styles to choose from.

Low-Cost Flooring Enhancements:

If you have worn-out carpets, remove them to expose hardwood or concrete flooring. Adding stylish and affordable floor rugs are an excellent way to add warmth and texture. If the exposed hardwood floors have seen better days, consider refinishing them instead of replacing them. Refinishing can remove surface scratches and renew the wood’s appearance. You can also purchase vinyl decals or stickers which can be applied directly to the floor to mimic the look of expensive tile or hardwood. They are easy to apply and remove without damaging the existing flooring.

These ideas are just the beginning of what’s possible when it comes to refreshing your living space without breaking the bank. Want to get an idea of how your home improvements factor into your overall financial picture? Crunch the numbers with our Interactive Budgeting WorksheetInteractive Budgeting Worksheet or connect with one of our financial counselors who can help create a personalized action plan with your home improvement goals in mind.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tara Spicer (She/Her)

Tara Spicer is a writer for GreenPath Financial Wellness, covering everything from budgeting best practices to financial literacy for families. A former book editor and University of Michigan alum, she divides her time between the page and parenting in Seattle, Washington.

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Tara Spicer

Tara Spicer is a writer for GreenPath Financial Wellness, covering everything from budgeting best practices to financial literacy for families. A former book editor and University of Michigan alum, she divides her time between the page and parenting in Seattle, Washington.