Because we'd just been royally screwed by our tiny three bedroom condo, which we'd painstakingly decorated to match our garish personalities, and had not one but two new babies arrive shortly after our house was purchased, we left most of the original decorations intact. With the exception of the horrifying first-floor bathroom that had not one, not two, but three separate patterns of wallpaper, we didn't have the time, energy or motivation to fix the house up.
I'm throwing a party this weekend – the first in five years – which means that I'm suddenly confronted with the notion that people are going to show up at my house, not only to celebrate my daughter's third birthday, but to silently judge my decorating skills. Which, as I've mentioned, are null. So I embarked upon a mission to fix up my house as best as I could without breaking my already-strained budget. Here's what I've learned about doing home improvements on the cheap.
Painting a room is the cheapest and easiest way to change a room's look, feel and atmosphere. Several gallons of paint can run you close to a hundred dollars – more if you have bigger walls, obviously – but make a vast difference. A word of caution – use quality brands of paint when repainting walls during your home repairs. You may FEEL as though you're saving tons of cash by going with the cheapest brands, but it will take more time, energy and money to apply the additional coats of paint needed to completely cover the walls.
When replacing light fixtures, comparison shop. To pick out a new chandelier for my dining room, I went to no less than three of the big box hardware stores to see what my best options were for my limited budget. I found the best, biggest and most varied selection of chandeliers at Menards. I did peruse some online retailers of lights, but since I couldn't physically touch and see the items, I didn't feel comfortable shelling out the cash for those light fixtures. But I'm weird like that.
A great option for home accessories, light fixtures, and other household building supplies is an outlet called ReStore, which are located in both Canada and the US. ReStore is a unique type of home improvement outlet because it accepts donations from building sites and stores that are closing to support Habitat for Humanity. ReStore is both a socially and environmentally responsible type of store because it promotes recycling (yay!) and helping others. Each ReStore is a bit different in the items they stock, so it's wise to check their merchandise regularly when doing home improvements. I'm a huge fan of theirs.
Now that I've been bit by the home improvement bug, I'm all about fixing up my WHOLE house, which means I'm bound and determined to learn more about home improvements for less.
If you have any other budget-conscious ideas for home improvements and remodeling, I'd be beyond thrilled to hear them. I've got most of a house to fix up!