16 High-Impact Home Updates That Cost $30 or Less

Take your home from builder grade to builder bae.

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July 19, 2018

Photo By: Photo by Sarah Dorio; Design by: CLOTH & KIND; Builder: Athens Building Company

Photo By: Sarah Dorio/Flynnside Out Productions ©2016, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Sarah Macklem

Photo By: lauren rubin architecture

Photo By: Suzanna Scott

Photo By: Eric Perry ©2014, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: M.A. Allen

Photo By: Lindsay Raymondjack ©Designs by Joanne Palmisano, photos by Susan Teare

Photo By: Julie Blanner

Photo By: Jenna Diermann, Jenna Sue Design Co.

Shiplap All the Things

Get the shiplap look for waaay less (and without tearing up your walls) by using plywood. Yep, you read that right: fake a gorgeous shiplap wall in any space by trimming down plywood into planks, then attaching the boards to your wall using construction adhesive and nails. Finish it off by painting the panels, and admire your DIY shiplap on a dime.

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Classic Carriage Doors (on the Cheap)

Carriage house garage doors are highly sought after in home design and renovation, but these charming additions quickly add up in cost. One carriage-style garage door alone can run upwards of $1,400. Luckily there’s a budget-friendly alternative: these magnetic hinges and handles will take your door from drab to fab instantly for just $14 — no hardware required!

BUY IT: Amazon, $14.10

Give Cabinets a Lift

Add height and interest to your builder grade cabinets without paying the hefty price tag of custom cabinetry. Interior designer Sarah Macklem from The Yellow Cape Cod achieved this rich, tall cabinet look in her own kitchen by adding pre-primed MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) and decorative crown molding to the tops of her cabinets.

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Mirrored Closet Doors

Make a small bedroom look larger by adding mirrors to plain closet doors. Simply pick up a couple of cheap, framed floor-length mirrors for less than $10 at your local big box store, paint the frame to match and attach to your closet door with construction adhesive for a permanent look or removable picture-hanging strips if you're renting. Feeling extra crafty? Glue thin trim pieces to the mirrors for a high-end look.

BUY IT: Target, $5.99

Mailbox Makeover

Boost your curb appeal instantly by giving that old, tired mailbox a quick, inexpensive spruce. Eileen of Just Measuring Up updated her mailbox for just under $20 with some basic supplies from the hardware store and a fresh coat of paint. Pro tip: before installing a new mailbox, remember to check with the postal service for current installation guidelines.

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Painted Marble

Make a worn dining table look luxurious by transforming the tabletop into a piece of chic (faux) marble. This unique and crafty DIY combines leftover project paint, ultra high-gloss epoxy and basic craft supplies to recreate the veining lines and texture found in real marble. Patience and a designated project day will save you anywhere from $500-$1,000 when dreaming of your very own marble furniture piece.

Flea Market Flip: DIY Faux Marble Dining Table

DIY Glass-Front Cabinets

Brighten up your kitchen and put that gorgeous wedding china on display by replacing existing interior wood cabinet panels with Lexan polycarbonate glass-substitute sheets. A 12x12 Lexan insert runs about $8, meaning this project will likely only set you back $16.

BUY IT: Amazon, $7.41

Learn How:: Update Kitchen Cabinets With Glass Inserts

Frame the Bathroom Mirror

Could your bathroom use a little TLC? Add a quick and easy dose of style by framing a plain glass bathroom mirror with decorative molding.

How to Frame a Mirror

Paint an Area Rug

At first glance, this chic floor accent looks like an area rug. Surprise! It’s paint. Copy this trendy, long-lasting look by using a patterned tile stencil and paint made specifically for floors, then add dimension with copper leaf accents. Why paint an area rug instead of buying one? A painted floor design won’t gather pesky hair and dust like an area rug can.

Get the How-To: How to Paint a Stenciled Pattern on Hardwood Floor

Under-Cabinet Lighting

Set the mood in your kitchen by installing soft, inexpensive lighting under the cabinets. A 6-pack of LED puck lights costs around $20 and they're ultra-easy to install. But puck lighting isn't the only option — this helpful guide can help you pick the perfect under-cabinet lighting for your wants and needs.

BUY IT: Amazon, $22.55

Cheap + Chic Headboard

Who says a one-of-a-kind focal piece has to break the bank? Make your very own stylish, tufted headboard using a wood board, canvas drop cloth and quilt batting. The best part? This no-sew project has the same look as an upholstered designer headboard, for less than $30!

Watch the Video: DanMade Padded Headboard

Wallpaper Your Vanity

Achieve designer-worthy style on a budget by applying wallpaper to a boring bathroom vanity. This project by Brian Patrick Flynn uses vinyl wallpaper to give an outdated bathroom cabinet a fresh new look — no sanding or painting required.

Update a Vanity With Wallpaper

Backsplash With a Purpose

Need extra storage in your kitchen? This DIY pegboard backsplash is both decorative and ultra-functional.

Get the How-To: Budget Backsplash Project: Pegboard Storage

"Stainless Steel" Dishwasher DIY

Stainless steel appliances not in the remodeling budget? Blogger Julie Blanner upgraded her basic black dishwasher by covering it with an inexpensive stainless steel decal. For just under $20, this self-adhesive film will instantly take any appliance from basic to luxurious without breaking the bank.

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BUY IT: Amazon, $19.99

Upgrade a Basic Bath

Give a boring bathtub a cozy cottage makeover with charming beadboard trim. This project requires roughly one 4’ x 8’ sheet of beadboard (which comes in just under $20) and zero hardware (only glue!), making this thrifty upcycle ideal for beginner DIYers.

Update a Bathtub Surround Using Beadboard

Panel a Plain Door

The easiest way to make a big, designer-worthy impact in your space? Update the doors. Jenna Sue of Jenna Sue Design Co. turned her plain door into a paneled Shaker-style door for just $12 by attaching plywood panels and painting it a rich black shade. Since most Shaker doors can retail for over $200, we’ll call this project a steal!

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