5 Affordable Home Makeover Project Ideas

We moved into our townhouse that we bought on a whim over a year ago. We knew when we bought it that it needed a home makeover because it was stuck in the time period it was built in, the 80’s. Nothing against the 80’s, but we wanted to update many items by giving ourselves a home makeover.

Unfortunately when you buy a house you often spend a big chunk of your money on a down payment. I still had my emergency fund intact but I didn’t want to dip into it so we had to put a lot of bigger projects on hold. We were able to do a few affordable home makeover projects though.

Paint the Walls and Baseboards

This wasn’t a ton of fun but it is definitely a home makeover project that you can do yourself. Painting a house brings it back to life and allows you to put your own touch on the space you’ll be living in. We personally opted for brighter beachy colors because the house doesn’t have a ton of natural light and we live close to some of the most beautiful beaches.

Painting the baseboards is a pain but they look great when you’re done. This is easier to do when nothing is in the house because you don’t have to move anything. You could do it later but it will be a lot more trouble than if you just get it out of the way before you move in.

Update Light Fixture and Fans

The light fixtures and fans in our house were horrible when we bought it. Glass panels surrounding light fixtures… enough said. This was another home makeover project we were able to do ourselves. It does take a bit of simple electrical work to tie in the new fans and lights but watching a couple videos on YouTube should do the trick. If you don’t know what you’re doing you may need to hire an electrician.

This a surprisingly affordable home makeover project and it really changed the whole feel of our house. We didn’t feel stuck in the 80’s anymore and it was really beginning to feel like our house.

Update the Landscaping

We were lucky enough (sarcasm) to buy a short sale. The day we went under contract the previous owners turned off the water to the sprinkler system. It was mid summer in Florida and when we went to the walk through the day of the closing the beautiful yard was completely dead. We knew updating the landscaping was going to be on the home makeover project list.

We ended up sodding the yard, mulching and redefining the flower beds and planted some new plants. We planted an orange tree as well. Hopefully we have some oranges next year! We did all of this for under $1,000 but we also had an extremely small yard because we live in a townhouse.

We still have a bit more landscaping to do but the good thing about this home makeover project is you can do it in steps. You don’t have to do it all at once.

Changing Door Knobs to Match Your Style

Have you ever walked in a house and noticed something just doesn’t look right? It is a small detail but you can’t put your finger on it… It might be the door knobs don’t match the house. We had bronze door knobs and they weren’t gonna fly.

In addition to just changing the door hardware we actually changed the doors as well. We had flat panel doors that were painted horribly. We decided to upgrade them to the 6 panel doors and let me warn you it is a giant pain! We finally have all of the doors and hardware updated but the closet doors still need to be painted and hung… We’ll finish this home makeover project one day…

Light Switches, Electrical Outlets and Covers Make a Difference

Light switch covers and electrical outlet covers are easy to change if you only have to change the cover plates themselves. If you have to change the switches and outlets themselves it gets more complicated. Our house came with all tan switches and covers that didn’t work well with our new paint colors.

Once they’re all updated your house will have one less thing that bugs you. We haven’t done the whole house yet but it is on the list. We started with the kitchen first because the outlets were most obvious. Again, YouTube is a great resource here. If you don’t know what you’re doing you probably need to hire an electrician.

There you have it! I hope you enjoyed reading about the five affordable home makeover ideas that we implemented or plan to finish implementing in the near future.

Are these home makeover projects you are considering doing? If not, what are some affordable home makeover ideas that you can share?

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. There are so many things that we want to do. We want to paint some of the rooms a different color (everything in our house is some shade of brown), change the light fixtures and of course carpet!

    • Do the easy stuff then sell and get the house you want. I know you aren’t staying in that house so don’t put anything in you can’t get back out.

  2. YouTube videos were a godsend for our podcast. I read all kinds of stuff on what to buy and how to hook it up and it all made me dizzy…..then I watched a YouTube video and realized how much easier it is to learn by watching.

  3. I’m a fix it dude and so when we change our house, they tend to be big things! And with my job I have access to lots of free recycled wood and supplies — which makes it all cheaper. BUt I think if someone isn’t a carpenter type person like me, that these are GREAT ways to change things around a little without busting the budget or taking tons of time.

  4. We’re actually getting ready to do a master bath remodel, but that really is not cheap. 🙂 We’ve been wanting to change our light fixtures for several years, but just never seem to prioritize it. We’ve painted a few rooms in the last year or two and it does make a great difference.

  5. Love this list! I bought my place as a foreclosure, so I spent the first six months DIYing the $h!t out of it…haha. I painted everything, updated fixtures (you’re spot-on with including the light switches, etc. ), worked with my neighbors to upgrade the landscaping efforts, and refinished a few miscellaneous items. It was so much fun that I’m currently looking to overhaul my office and add some more cabinets in the kitchen. 🙂

  6. We worked on the landscaping a bit but trees are fairly expensive to buy…much more so than I originally thought. We also painted a room which was a run experience and since our baseboards are wood, we just had to touch them up using some refinish stuff. Thankfully for us our house isn’t that old (only 7 years), but when we buy the next place it might be a little more outdated so we’ll have to look at ways to upgrade things without breaking the budget.

  7. Great ideeas! I have done all of those ideas and started to replace carpeting. The next big project is the kitchen and bathrooms.

  8. I painted the baseboards in my condo many years back. I was told that the best way to do it was to remove the baseboards, paint them, and put them back on. Not wanting to do that, I just painted them. They would have definitely looked better had I done it the ‘right’ way. If I were to do that now, I would likely take them off and re-paint or replace them altogether.

  9. We purchased my grandmother’s house. It was in really good shape so we didn’t have to do too much. We painted all the walls to more neutral colors (she had an ok green color that just wasn’t us). I replaced several light fixtures and a lot of switches and outlets (added a few GFCIs and a few better grounded outlets). I learned a lot about electrical wiring and that they really don’t build them like they used to…

  10. Wow! Was that pic really your home? 3000+ square feet? We’ll be doing a bit of remodeling soon of an old building we’re moving into. Should be pretty cool.

  11. That was a lot of work but it is nice when your home is just the way you want it to be.

    I agree, hanging doors and painting baseboards is a real pain, but I love a room with fresh new paint.

  12. Dude, sounds like we are doing some of the same upgrades you did! We are painting the walls and considering painting the baseboards and doors, we are changing the light switches and some of the light fixtures, and I just bought all new door knobs! Thankfully I can put off the landscaping until the big freeze is over…you know how that goes right? Just kidding you guys are spoiled down in Florida 😉

  13. The house I just moved into had a mix of brass, ceramic, and plastic wall plates. We were able to make them all look the same for less than $30.

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