You don’t need a large budget to give your home a noticeable boost. Whether you’re looking for functional fixes, to enhance visual appeal, or just a small refresh—there are a number of ways to update your home cheaply and easily.
100 DIY Home Improvement Projects for Under $100
The editors of This Old House share their favorite home projects you can do yourself on a budget.
Add Carved Corbels Under Your Breakfast Bar
How to do it: Check salvage yards for Victorian-era ones with patina for an extra flourish in the eating area.
Estimated cost: Two 30-inch-high-by-19-inch-deep Queen Anne–style corbels, about $95
Plant an Evergreen Screen
How to do it: Plant an evergreen screen on the north side of your house to block winter winds. Arborvitae ‘Green Giant’ can climb 3 feet in one year.
Estimated cost: $92 for two; Jackson & Perkins
How to do it: Suspend a chandelier in the laundry room for a bit of sophistication in an unexpected place. White Capiz pendant with cord kit.
Estimated cost: similar to shown, $80; World Market
Hook Yourself Up
How to do it: Wall-mount a row of hooks above your kitchen counter to keep dish towels and measuring cups at the ready.
Estimated cost: Polished chrome Alno utility hooks, about $8 each
Make Your Sink Do Double Duty
How to do it: Fit an undermount sink with a cutting board for more prep space. Measure the length and width of the basin, adding ½ inch to each side. Trim a piece of butcher block to size with a jigsaw. Then create a lip around its underside so that it will rest on the edge of the counter.
Estimated cost: 18-by-12-inch maple block, about 86; Butcher Block Co.
Display Your Display
How to do it: Display your flat-screen TV on a tabletop easel with adjustable clamps.
Estimated cost: Academy Deluxe Table Top Easel, about 80; Madison Art Shop
Wallpaper a Door
How to do it: Use paper and paste left over from a big job to dress up door panels, letting stiles and rails frame the decoration. For slab doors, trace a shape on the back of the paper, cut it out, and center it on the door.
Estimated Cost: Nothing
Hang Natural Fiber Shades
How to do it: Use natural fiber shades to highlight the transition between indoors and outdoors and help insulate windows.
Estimated cost: Bamboo Roman Shade, similar one shown, about $32; Target
Turn a Closet Into a Home Office
How to do it: Unhinge the door and trade hanging rods for shelves—a deep one for the desktop and two shallow ones above for storage.
Estimated cost: One 20-by-24-by-¾-inch and two 12-by-24-by-¾-inch white melamine shelves, metal standards, and shelf brackets, all by Elfa, about $95; The Container Store
Turn Upper Cabinets to Instant Shelving
How to do it: Remove the doors on a bank of upper cabinets, then paint the interiors for instant open shelving.
Estimated cost: 1 gallon of Elements Zero VOC 100 percent acrylic paint with a washable semigloss sheen, about $35; California Paints
Create Cubbies in a Bookcase
How to do it: Cut vertical dividers to the depth of the unit minus ¾ inch, and secure them in place with glue and finish nails. Face dividers with 1×1 trim flush with the shelf fronts.
Estimated cost: One sheet of ¾-inch plywood and three 1×1 strips,$26; Home Depot
Install a New Doorbell
How to do it: The Lighted Visitors Button shown here will impress your guests.
Estimated cost: About $70; Rejuvenation Inc.
Add a Doormat
How to do it: Polish up an entry hall with a dirt-grabbing doormat to protect the finish on wood floors.
Estimated cost: Chilewich woven vinyl mats wash out in the sink, about $50; Crate & Barrel
Raise the Lighting
How to do it: Flank your sofa with matching pendants to open up space on end tables.
Estimated cost: Two Eden pendant lamps with drum-style fabric shades, about $99; CB2
Tone Down Brassy Hardware
How to do it: Take the gleam off like-new brass hinges and doorknobs with a simple rub of a darkening solution.
Estimated cost: 8-ounce bottle of Brass Antiquing Solution, about $7; Constantine’s Wood Center
How to do it: Add a shelf above a doorway, paint it to match the trim, then use it to display pottery.
Estimated cost: 40-inch-long 1×6 red oak shelf and two 7-inch Classic Oak Brackets, about $32; Rockler
Clear the Counter
How to do it: Build in a soap dispenser beside the kitchen faucet to keep that Palmolive bottle out of sight.
Estimated cost: Whitehaus’s Beluga Soap/Lotion Dispenser in polished nickel, about $90; KitchenSource.com
Install a Ceiling Fan
How to do it: Install a vintage-look ceiling fan to recirculate warmed air in winter. Reverse the blades’ spin to lower summer cooling costs.
Estimated cost: 52-inch Energy Star Capri with “tarnished” oiled-bronze finish, shown at right, about $90; Lamps Plus
Cover Your Lawn With Flowers
How to do it: Plant a mass of bulbs with grasslike foliage in your lawn. Early-spring bloomers will be ready to mow when your turf perks up.
Estimated cost: 100 scilla siberica bulbs, similar to shown, under $20; John Scheepers, Inc.
Add Floating Shelves
How to do it: Add floating wall-mount shelves in place of a bookcase to free up valuable floor real estate. The shelves’ hidden hardware gives them a sleek, airy look.
Estimated cost: 3-foot-long wood Chunky Wall Shelf, about $34 each; West Elm
Conceal Your Air Conditioner
How to do it: Hide a through-wall air conditioner inside a stock kitchen cabinet you can close when the unit’s not in use. Paint the cabinet the same color as your walls so it’ll “disappear,” or choose wood-veneer doors to mimic a pricey built-in.
Estimated cost: 36-by-18-inch Akurum fan cabinet with oak-veneer doors, about $88; IKEA
Waterproof a Kid’s Bath
How to do it: Adhere rubber floor tiles to the wall for a lively waterproof backsplash in a kid’s bathroom. Coat the tile backs with adhesive and stick them up.
Estimated cost: BR Profile Studded Tiles in 20 colors, about $4.25 per square foot; ACTiVA Rubber Flooring
Upsize Your Windows
How to do it: Make small windows look larger by hanging drapes at ceiling height.
Estimated cost: Pair of 108-inch Brimfield 4-in-1 Panel Drapes in Carafe, about $70; JCPenney
Paint Your Front Door
How to do it: Brush on a vibrant color, such as a rich red, for a more welcoming entry.
Estimated cost: 1 gallon of RedSeal Exterior Latex Eggshell House & Trim paint, about $25; Pratt & Lambert
Add Vintage Sparkle
How to do it: Swap out a plain powder room doorknob for a vintage glass sparkler. Leave the hallway-facing knob in place for a unified look with the rest of your doors.
Estimated cost: Multifaceted 1900s glass knob with a brass shank that fits most spindles, about $38; Liz’s Antique Hardware
Use a Louvered Shutter to Sort Mail
How to do it: Mount it on the wall, stick letters and bills in the slots.
Estimated cost: Unfinished 12-by-41-inch Western red cedar fixed-louver shutter, about $91; Shuttercraft.
Hide Home Office Wiring
How to do it: Run wiring behind a beadboard panel in the knee-hole at the back of your desk. Velcro the panel to blocking mounted on the rear legs or sides of your desk so that you can pop it off to access the outlet.
Estimated cost: 4-by-8-foot sheet of plywood beadboard, about $20; Lowe’s
Cover a Scuffed Toekick
How to do it: Mask a messed up kitchen toekick with stainless-look peel-and-stick laminate strips.
Estimated cost: 6-inch-high toekick cover, about $12 per linear foot.
Unclutter Your Workbench
How to do it: Organize workbench clutter on a simple pegboard rack.
Paint a Tile Backsplash
How to do it: Brighten up a dark, dated tile backsplash with cheery paint. Scuff the surface with sandpaper and apply two coats of adhesion primer. Let dry and roll on two coats of oil-based semigloss paint.
Estimated cost: 1 gallon each of Adhesion Primer and ProClassic Alkyd Interior Enamel, about $96; The Sherwin-Williams Company
Crown Your Roofline with a Weather Vane
How to do it: Perch a classic rural wind spinner on top of your peak.
Estimated cost: Verdigris resin rooster, shown below, about $89; The Weathervane Factory
Decorative Stair Brackets
How to do it: Trim out your staircase with decorative brackets fastened to the outside of the stringer just below the treads.
Estimated Cost: $100~
Dim the Lights
How to do it: Install a dimmer switch in your dining room to set the mood—and save energy. You can even get them in colors to match your wall or trim paint.
Estimated cost: Lutron’s Diva C.L dimmer, starting around $31, including a tinted switch cover; Pro Lighting
Brighten Cabinet Insides
How to do it: Highlight the inside of a glass-front cupboard by brushing on a bold hue.
Estimated cost: Aquarium Blue latex paint, $16 per quart; Benjamin Moore
Give Bookshelves the Once-Over
How to do it: Group hardcovers and paperbacks separately and sort them by size for a tidier look. Use heavy decorative items, such as a stone bowl or vintage cast-iron tub claw-foot, as bookends.
Estimated cost: Salvaged tub foot; about $20; The Old House Parts Company
Cover with Climbers
How to do it: Put a trellis over an exterior window for clematis to climb on. Coat decorative wood brackets with primer, then paint and secure them to the studs on either side of the window with deck screws. For the top, rip a piece of 5/4×6 red cedar decking into three strips, space them evenly across the brackets, and secure with trim-head screws.
Bring It Down to Eye Level
How to do it: Lower your art to eye level, about 64 inches from the floor.
Estimated cost: Reposition 17 pieces with the OOK Valu-Pak Pro Hanging Kit. about $9; OOK
Fix Up Your Fixture
How to do it: Spruce up a home-center ceiling fixture by swapping out the generic white globe for a colorful, vintage-look schoolhouse shade.
Estimated cost: 10-inch opal drum shade with a painted blue stripe, about $62; Schoolhouse Electric Co.
Use a Ladder as a Bath-towel Rack
How to do it: Lean it against a wall and sling bath sheets and washcloths over its rungs. The white metal ladder shown here is new.
Estimated cost:For even more character, try a colorful, vintage five-rung wood ladder, about $43; A Rustic Garden
Bulk Up Door Trim
How to do it: Build up a wimpy entry door casing in your foyer with applied moldings to create a more substantial first impression of your home.
Estimated cost: Four 6-foot-long-by-3¾-inch-wide primed white miterless moldings, about $80; Van Dyke’s Restorers
Faux Your Floor
How to do it: Paint worn vinyl flooring to look like stone tile. Use two similar colors for the “stones” and white paint to create faux grout lines. Seal the surface with three coats of polyurethane.
Estimated cost: 2 quarts of Valspar latex Porch and Floor paint and 1 quart of Cabot Water Based Polyurethane, about $54; Lowe’s. One 4-ounce tube of Pearl Acrylic Artist Paint for “grout,” about $3; Pearl Paint
Skirt a Sink
How to do it: Wrap a pedestal sink with a skirt and conceal your waste bin and toiletries below. Stick fabric to the basin edge with adhesive-backed Velcro.
Estimated cost: 60-by-32-inch white ruffled cotton sink skirt, about $60
Cover Door Scuffs
How to do it: Fasten a kickplate to your front door as a traditional and stylish way to protect the bottom from scuffs.
Estimated cost: 30-inch solid-brass kickplate, about $64; Signature Hardware
Strip Paint-Caked Door Hardware
How to do it: Buy a thrift-store Crock-Pot and fill it with water and 2 tablespoons of liquid laundry detergent. Drop in hinges, knobs, and escutcheons. Heat on medium overnight. By morning, the paint will be falling off the metal.
Estimated cost: About $5 for the pot
Install New House Numbers
How to do it: Add eye-catching house numbers to make sure your address isn’t missed.
Estimated cost: Arts and Crafts 2¾-by-3¾-inch glazed ceramic tiles $14 each; Pewabic Pottery
Ornament Your Newel Post
How to do it: Top your newel with a carved wood finial for a more stately staircase.
Estimated cost: Antique Ivory Knewl Post Finial, about $86; Layla Grayce
Create a Luxe-Look Bathroom Shelf
How to do it: Support a 4-inch-wide marble door threshold with decorative metal brackets.
Estimated cost: 36-inch-long threshold, about $28; at most flooring retailers. Two Mini Pennsylvania Dutch Motif 3-by-4-inch cast-iron brackets, about $11; House of Antique Hardware
Tear Out Old Carpet on Your Stairs
How to do it: Refinish the treads and paint the risers white—or get creative and paint a runner-like pattern.
Estimated cost: 1 gallon of white paint, sandpaper, wood putty to fill tack holes, 1 quart of stain, and 1 gallon of clear polyurethane, about $95; Lowe’s
Add a Stained-glass Window in Your Bath
How to do it: If you can’t find an exact fit to replace your existing window, simply hang one from chains in front of it.
Estimated cost: eBay store Bell Antique Mall has Art Deco windows similar to shown, starting at $69; Ebay
Gloss Over a Frame
How to do it: Refinish a dull mirror frame with glossy paint for an upscale look.
Estimated cost: 13-ounce can of Mohawk Colored Lacquer Enamel, about $6; Pond Cove Paint & Supply
How to do it: Put casters on a table for a dual-purpose dining and food-prep surface in a small kitchen.
Estimated cost: Four Waxman swivel casters with brakes, about $15; Lowe’s
Screen Your Fireplace for Warm Weather
How to do it: Retool your fireplace for spring with a screen made from a salvaged section of iron fence. Get one that’s slightly larger than your firebox opening so that you can secure it to the surround. Add hook-on hangers to hold potted blooms.
Shine Some Light on Your Work
How to do it: Brighten countertops instantly with battery-powered LED undercabinet puck lighting.
Estimated cost: Four adhesive-backed Bell & Howell Mini Power Pods, about $20
Make Candlesticks from Wood Spindles
How to do it: Use a spade bit to drill a recess in the tops for the candle. Group sticks of varying heights for a stunning tabletop display.
Estimated cost: Two 12-inch and two 7½-inch turned redwood spindles, about $9; Vintage Woodworks
Create a Sense of Uniformity
How to do it: Unify unmatched bedroom furniture by painting pieces the same hue.
Estimated cost: 1 gallon of eco-friendly Inside Palette acrylic paint, about $45; YOLO Colorhouse
Get a Stencilied Look in Your Kid’s Room
How to do it: Decorate the walls with easy stick-on decals in fun animal shapes.
Estimated cost: 22-by-30-inch elephant design, about $25; Janey Mac at Etsy
Assemble a Wall Display
How to do it: Group small prints, photos, and vintage plates and hang them together for the look of a large, expensive piece of art. Arrange the display on the floor first to limit nail holes.
Fill the Paver Cracks
How to do it: Plant low-growing English thyme to prevent weeds from sprouting between pavers. Just sow seeds in early spring so that they’ll sprout as the temperature rises.
Estimated cost: 400-seed packet, about $2; Diane’s Flower Seeds
Brush On a Welcome Mat
How to do it: Make this diamond-patterened rug like mat on your stoop by mapping the design with painter’s tape and using a roller to put colors in their places.
Estimated cost: 2 quarts of Valspar latex Porch and Floor paint, about $24; Valspar
Switch Out Your Island Hardware
How to do it: Change the hardware on your kitchen island to give it the look of custom furniture. Leave the existing knobs and handles on the cabinets alone.
Estimated cost: Melon Knob and Melon Handle, about $26 for both; Anthropologie
String Dazzling Lights
How to do it: Run rope lighting along the bathroom vanity toekick for a soft ambient night-light.
Flank the Bed
How to do it: Build a wall-mount bedside table with wood corbels topped by a slate roof shingle.
Install a Cross-Handle Faucet
How to do it: Swap in a cross-handle faucet to warm up a bathroom. A compact, centerset design—for basins with holes spaced 4 inches apart—preserves sinktop space.
Estimated cost: Randolph Morris 4-inch centerset bathroom faucet in chrome, about $84; Vintage Tub & Bath
Crown Your Cabinets
How to do it: Top stock kitchen cabinets with crown molding for the look of custom casework. 32 feet of crown to trim out the average kitchen.
Estimated cost: About $80; Lowe’s
Mount a New Mailbox by Your Front Door
How to do it: A bold-colored locking model will make your entry more eye-catching—and protect your privacy.
Estimated cost: Priority Mailbox in red, about $58; chiasso
Use Bin Pulls as Sash Lifts
How to do it: Screw classic bin pulls onto double-hung windows to keep frames free from fingerprints. Twenty Victorian-style cast-iron decorative bin pulls will outfit 10 windows in first-floor rooms, where guests are more likely to see them.
Estimated cost: About $82; House of Antique Hardware
Give Your Porch Some Space
How to do it: Paint your porch ceiling sky blue to create a more spacious feeling.
Estimated cost: 1 gallon of Behr Premium Plus Ultra Exterior paint in Niagara Falls, similar to shown, about $36; behr.com.
Protect Your Corners
How to do it: Put turned wood corner moldings on the outside corners of foyer walls to protect paint and add architectural detail.
Estimated cost: Traditional 22-inch cherry Corner Guard, about $15 each; Van Dykes Restorers
Give a Wall a Glimmering Two-Tone Effect
How to do it: Roll stripes or stencil a pattern of shiny glaze over a wall painted with a solid matte finish.
Estimated cost: 1 quart of Studio Finishes latex glaze, about $9; Benjamin Moore
Free Up Your Sink
How to do it: Hang a wall-mount cup and toothbrush holder in the bathroom to declutter the sink deck.
Estimated cost: Banner Concave Design Porcelain Toothbrush & Tumbler Holder in chrome, about $23; Vintage Tub & Bath
Frame Your Reflection
How to do it: Transform an unadorned mirror by wrapping it in wood molding.
Estimated cost: A simple frame kit containing four mitered Pemaquid Slim molding strips in a distressed silver finish, the clips and glue to secure it together, and hardware to mount it, about $97; MirrorMate
Bring the Outlet Closer
How to do it: Drop in a floor receptacle so that you don’t have to string long cords between table lamps and wall outlets.
Estimated cost: Carlon Drop-In Floor Box, about $58; tselectronic.com
Help Guests Be Heard
How to do it: Dress up your entry door with a handsome knocker.
Estimated cost: Colonial-style bronze door knocker, about $50; Restoration Hardware
Divide and Conquer
How to do it: Install a chair rail in your bedroom and paint the wall below a serene accent color.
Estimated cost: Enough red oak Colonial-style moldings to wrap the walls of an 8-by-10-foot room, about $75; Baird Brothers
Flank Your Front Door with Sconces
How to do it: Try barn-style caged lights to accent a traditional entry, then screw in outdoor-rated CFLs to save on your energy bills.
Estimated cost: Two cast aluminum vapor-tight lights, about $99.60; Warehouse Lighting
How to do it: Connect two rooms with a pass-through carved out in a nonload-bearing wall. Frame the opening with 2x4s, cover with drywall, and finish the edges with corner beading.
Estimated cost: Lumber, sheet of drywall, beading, and 5-gallon bucket of joint compound to coat it all in mud, about $55; Do it Best
Design a Mudroom Area Rug
How to do it: Use stick-down carpet tiles. Use six tiles for a runner or nine for a square. Mix and match colors for a custom pattern.
Estimated cost: Six 20-by-20-inch textured tiles, about $54; FLOR
Fit a Window Seat in an Alcove
How to do it: Support a ¾-inch plywood seat deck on 2×6 hanging strips anchored into the side and back walls. To form the cubbies, glue and nail in place two plywood dividers. Face the unit with 1×4 poplar.
Estimated cost: Materials for a seat similar to this one, about $60; at lumber yards. 16-by-26-inch Gripper Sensations Microsuede Window Seat Cushion, about $30; JCPenney
Shine in the Darkness
How to do it: Make your house easy to find at night with solar-powered LED numbers.
Estimated cost: Matterinc’s aluminum address placards, about $19 each; Target
Add a Ceiling Medallion
How to do it: Highlight a hanging light fixture with some decorative interest at the ceiling.
Estimated cost: Paintable 18-inch polyurethane medallion with floral-and-leaf pattern, similar to shown above, about $57; Creative Trim
Switch Out a Switchplate
How to do it: Change out the plastic switchplate cover in your dining room with an embossed metal one.
Estimated cost: Single-toggle, lead-free, pewter-finished Lattice switchplate, about $65; Eleek
Build a Wood Planter
How to do it: Build an outdoor planter from leftover deck boards and railing balusters. Frame the box with balusters, then clad the sides and bottom with cut boards. Drop in a plastic liner to hold the soil and protect the wood from rot.
Estimated cost: Square liner, about $15; Lowe’s
Create an Instant Collection
How to do it: Mass like objects—vases, candle-sticks, bowls—and displaying them together. Follow the designer’s rule of thumb and group items in odd numbers for a look that’s more pleasing to the eye.
Estimated cost: Nothing
Tone Down the Contrast
How to do it: Paint trim lighter or darker than walls, rather than bright white, for a more subtle contrast.
Estimated cost: 1 gallon of Farrow & Ball’s Water Based Eggshell yields a saturated color and a slight sheen. About $99; Farrow & Ball
Blur Room Lines
How to do it: Use a folding screen in the corner of a small room to make the space appear larger by blurring the line where walls come together.
Estimated cost: Espresso Shinto Screen, about $99.99; DHDTV Specialty Hardware
Seal for Delivery
How to do it: Swap in an insulated mail slot to keep out weather and muffle noise.
Estimated cost: Polished aluminum Draft Dodger insulated mail slot, about $45; DHDTV Specialty Hardware
How to do it: Affix mirrored tiles to the soffit above kitchen cabinets. The reflective surface will bounce light around the room, making it appear bigger and brighter.
Estimated cost: Twenty 4-by-4-inch peel-and-stick tiles, about $10; Amazon.com
Hang a Mirror
How to do it: Hang an oval-shaped mirror like a pendant from a decorative chain for an elegant look in a bath, bedroom, or foyer.
Estimated cost: Frameless oval mirror, about $84; Bellacor
Lock Up in Style
How to do it: Screw in vintage-look sash locks for a tight seal between double-hungs to prevent drafts.
Estimated cost: Bronze bamboo-pattern sash window lock as below, about $13; House of Antique Hardware
Accent a Wall
How to do it: Create an accent wall in the living room by papering the fireplace or sofa wall with grasscloth. Choose one with a tone that picks up the surrounding paint color.
Estimated cost: Double roll of Oriental Grasscloth Knot Textiles, about $70; Creative Wallcovering
Cap Lamps with Colored Shades
How to do it: Change the quality of the light with a hue other than off white.
Estimated cost: The medium-size Mica drum shade shown above creates a warm glow in any room.About $59; Pottery Barn
How to do it: Update an old fridge with a faux stainless-steel painted finish.
Estimated cost: 1 quart of Thomas Liquid Stainless Steel TM Base Coat, about $56; Thomas’ Liquid Stainless Steel
Flower Box Boost
How to do it: Mount flower boxes planted with colorful perennials to front-facing windows to boost your home’s curb appeal.
Estimated cost: 18-inch cedar window box with liner, about $29; Hooks and Lattice. Flat of flowers, about $10; at garden centers
Whitewash Interior Exposed Brick
How to do it: Brush on a tinted latex stain, wipe, and repeat until you achieve the desired look.
Estimated cost: 1 gallon of Studio Finishes latex glaze, about $23; Benjamin Moore
Recess Electronics Wires
How to do it: Banish flat-screen TV wires using a recessed outlet and an open-back wall plate to route wires behind the wall.
Estimated cost: Vanco Rapid Link Power Dual Recessed Outlet Flat Panel TV Power Kit w/Romex and Signal Cable Wall Plates, about $86; Amazon.com
Seagrass Hallway Runner
How to do it: Roll out a seagrass hallway runner. It’ll stand up to heavy foot traffic and make your house smell beachy.
Estimated cost: 2¼-by-7½-foot basket-weave seagrass runner, about $60; Overstock.com
Keep Small Appliances Out of Sight
How to do it: Clear counter clutter by installing a pop-out appliance lift in a base kitchen cabinet.
Estimated cost: Heavy-duty mixer lift, about $99.99; Rockler
Tile Over Your Hood
How to do it: Trim the wood vent hood cover above your range with a tile border.
Estimated cost: 6-by-6-inch Interceramic Antique Metals Hammered Ceramic Tiles in bronze, about $10 each
Add a Stainless Backsplash Behind Your Stove
How to do it: Nail an easy-to-clean panel on the wall or right over tired tile.
Estimated cost: 1½-by-4-foot stamped Design 204 panel, about $70; Classic Ceilings
Get Fido’s Bed Off the Floor
How to do it: Create a crawl space in an existing built-in. Remove lower cabinet doors or place his cushion below a window seat or on the bottom shelf of a bookcase, as shown below.
Estimated cost: Nothing