You don't need to break the bank to make long-lasting upgrades to your home. These indoor and outdoor DIY projects all cost less than $100 but will make your home look like a million bucks.
1. Chalk Paint Old Furniture
Consider giving an old desk or dresser a facelift with a coat of chalk paint. Cleaning and dusting are all that’s needed to prep the item before applying paint. Chalk paint is great because it sticks to many different surfaces. Chalk paint goes on thick. The first coat will look streaky. Paint a little slower than you would with latex paint and two coats should suffice. One 30 ounce can of boutique chalk paint costs around $35, which is twice as much as cheaper brands you can find at a hardware store. Both yield similar results. You may need two small cans to do a medium sized dresser, keeping the cost well under $100. You can add a distressed look with a piece of sandpaper or add a second color for a fun design. Many old furniture stores hold workshops on chalk painting techniques.
2. Build a Fire Pit
A fire pit is a great way to get family and friends together outside without leaving the house. You may not need to buy anything if you have a garage full of bricks and rocks, and stones scattered about your yard. If not, a trip to a garden or landscape center for stones is required. For a 5-foot circle, 15-20 bricks or stones may work, depending on how high you want to build it. At $4 a piece for basic retaining wall blocks, this project will cost $60-80. It will cost even less if you can find deals on used items online. Find a spot in your yard that is central and will be able to fit chairs around the fire pit without feeling cramped. Decide on your circumference, shovel away any grass, and scrape the surface a few inches below so that the pit is concave. Place bricks or stones around the circular area to create an interesting border, which will also keep flames away from feet. Check area restrictions on fire pit sizes and burning permits.
3. Wow with Wallpaper
Wallpaper is making a comeback so feel free to get creative. Floral patterns and bold colors are great ways to make a design statement in your house. You don’t need to do a whole room. Instead, select a feature wall or use wallpaper on the risers on your stairs. The hard part is choosing a pattern. Once you’ve got that figured out, calculate the square footage you need, take a trip to a paint or hardware store, and make sure you grab any necessary tools. Wallpaper starter kits cost around $15. Prices will vary depending on style. Peel and stick wallpapers have grown in popularity, but there are still plenty of traditional options that need to be glued to the wall. Wallpaper can take some getting used to but it's a satisfying DIY job under $100 — as long as you aren’t doing the whole house.
4. Change Kitchen Cabinet Hardware
Add beauty and value to your kitchen without the cost of a renovation by replacing your cabinet hardware with newer pulls or knobs. This project only takes a few hours and some patience with a screwdriver or drill. Measure the distance between the screw holes (not all handles are the same size) and count how many pulls or knobs you need. Pulls cost $3 to $10, so to meet that $100 budget you’ll have to choose a style you can afford. You could match the finish with the other appliances or go bold with trendy bronze or black matte. Unscrew the old hardware from behind the doors and shelves, clean any residue that may have built up, and attach the new hardware. If you were considering painting the cabinets, now is the time to do it.
5. Replace Electrical Outlets and Switches
Changing dated outlets and light switches is an upgrade most people don’t consider but it makes a huge impact. It’s only cost-effective if you do the job yourself and will require basic electrical knowledge. A 10-pack of outlets or switches range from $10 to $15 depending on the design. A set of 10 wall plates or covers will run around $5 per pack. You may not be able to do the entire house for under $100 but you could do one floor or a few rooms. As always with electrical projects, turn off the main power from the breaker box before any work starts. Remove the covers with a screwdriver and gently pry receptacles and switches from their home box. Find where the wire is connected on the side and unscrew to loosen it from the home. Take your new receptacle or switch and simply re-attach it to the wires (remember: black to black, white to white). Most will have ground wires as well that attach to a green or bronze screw.
6. Plant Perennials
Gardening can be a daunting task but not if you’re planting no-fuss perennials that come back year after year. Adding just a few plants will add beauty and shape to a blank space. Research your zone (whether the plant can survive your region’s climate) and consider what kind of sun and shade your garden receives. A tiny shovel is all that’s required for planting as well as regular watering to keep the plant thriving through its first year — just check each plant’s water needs. One-gallon perennials cost around $10. Garden centers tend to drop prices significantly towards the end of the season. Don’t be afraid to grab some clearance perennials. They will come back as long as they have some time to establish before winter. You may need a bag or two of good soil, which costs around $3 a bag, and some mulch, which costs around $5 a bag, but $100 can go a long way in sprucing up a barren landscape.