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6 Cheap and Easy Home Improvements that Make a Big Difference

2012 September 12

When we moved into our 1982-built townhome a couple years ago, there were some major design “no-no’s” going on. I loved the ’80’s as much as the next fella – but there are certainly some things that should have been left there! Among them are shag carpet, floral patterned couches and gold-colored anything (Gag me with a spoon!).

So, with a limited budget, the wife and I decided to make a few small home improvements that made a world of difference. I recommend these too if you are tight on funds and/or just looking to make a few small interior changes. 

  1. Light fixtures
    The funky chandelier we had hanging in our dining room needed to be put out of its misery. We updated to a brushed nickel fixture that was classy and minimal. For under $100, it not only brightened up the room, but gave the area a much needed update.
  2. Switch Plates
    Speaking of light fixtures – we also changed out the switch plates that were around the house. These included the outlet covers as well. We changed all ours from a yellow-tint to all white. Another minimalistic update that didn’t cost an arm and/or a leg.
  3. Window Coverings
    Another huge “dater” of a home is the window treatments. An easy way to bring them into 2012 is to get a curtain rod and some drapes from IKEA or Target. You can get these for a decent price and it will class-up your home in no time. We put a rod and curtain throughout our house and they looked much better than the old and dated blinds.
  4. Knobs
    When we moved in – the kitchen had these ugly gold-plated knobs on the cabinets. They really made everything look dreary and old. While some knobs can run a pretty penny – we found some fairly reasonably priced ones at our local hardware store. We chose a brushed nickel look. I can’t tell you how much of a difference this seemingly small change did to the overall look of the kitchen.
  5.  Paint
    Dark brown really has a way of making an already dark house look even darker. That’s what was in our place. So, a change was in order. This is an obvious home improvement and it does wonders to the look of your home. Colors trends still seem to be in the earth tones – so you can’t go too wrong with those. Also, gray seems to be making its way into a lot of decor/furniture (just pick up a Restoration Hardware catalog).
  6. Vent Covers
    The first home I bought was a new construction. But one thing I didn’t like about it was the floor vents. In the kitchen/dining area – on the hardwood floor – they used these cheap white metallic covers. Bad move. I took them out and replaced them with wood covers that matched the flooring and it made a night/day difference.

After all the changes had been made we bought two  leather reclining chairs for the living room. They were the perfect fit into our newly decorated condo. Nothing is more relaxing than reclining in a deep, comfortable leather club chair. To improve any living room or den, a durable leather recliner provides just the right amount of class and comfort. Leather recliners give off a classic, “lived-in” look.

I know there are other ways to improve your home on the cheap. What have you done to update or “spruce-up” your house?

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Helped start Three Thrifty Guys with his friends Charlie and Mark after being inspired by how they lived their lives “on the thrift”. A designer by day, Aaron was once $40k in debt. After 5 years – he dug himself out and lives to tell about it. Aaron also blogs at the StarTribune

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