A.J. Shepherd

A.J. is a full-time graphic designer and wanna-be-out-of-debtor who shares money-saving ideas and tips on getting out of debt. In 2003, he found himself $40k in debt ($20k in credit cards alone) and rid himself of debt in five years. He and his friends have a website dedicated to personal finance and gaining financial independence at www.threethriftyguys.com. Read more about A.J. Shepherd.

Low-cost alternatives to updating your house

Posted by: A.J. Shepherd Updated: September 17, 2010 - 12:52 PM

My wife and I recently moved into an older townhome that was built in the early 80’s. The prior resident was an older woman who had lived there since the house was built. Needless to say, there were a few remnants of yesteryear.

We didn’t have a lot of money to do major upgrades, so we went the low-cost route. In a very short timeframe, we were able to update the house just by making a few minor, inexpensive changes.

Here’s some of the things we did. 

Changed out all the switch plates

The existing plates were turning an ugly yellowish tint, so we decided to head to our nearest Home Depot and got some white plastic switch plates. These were about 50 cents a piece and did wonders for the home.

Switched all the knobs to nickel
The wood in the house is a dated-looking oak. So, to update the look we just switched out all the knobs and door handles on the cabinets and drawers to a brushed nickel. Purchased in a box of about 20 knobs, this was a great low-cost alternative to resurfacing the wood.
 

New light fixtures
Probably the most dramatic change took place when we replaced the dated disco-ball light for a new modern fixture. The nickel accented light, was a great addition and added a lot of warmth.

 

Scrubbed and cleaned
An obvious solution – but just by using some good ol’ fashion elbow grease and ammonia, things started to regain their original sheen.

Painted
Fortunately enough for us, the house was painted by the time we moved in by the previous owner. Painting will do wonders for your dated interior.

Backsplash
Since the kitchen is the “heart” of the home, we want to put in a backsplash. While we haven’t completed the work yet – adding a back splash can be done fairly inexpensively through adhesive tiling. I recently found out about this company, requested some samples and was amazed at the quality. We may still go with traditional tiling, but the stick-on route could be an efficient solution.

What are some things you’ve done to update your house on a budget?

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