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Fix up your home

Updated on October 8, 2014
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Home Improvement

The economy is in shambles and money is hard to come by. Many people are struggling to find ways to pay the bills without having to worry about that old water heater or that god-awful bathroom faucet. There is always a way, but in hard times, hard decisions have to be made. The ugly fact of the matter is that while getting those bills paid are a priority, that faucet is still leaking and ever so close to putting your entire bathroom at risk with water. The good news is that you can still get your bills paid and still make the improvements to your home without going broke.

The first thing is to make a list of what needs to be done and prioritize. While total makeover is the end goal, not everything has to be done at the same time. Using your gut will tell you which things need to be done versus which things will simply look better if they are replaced. I am going to leave out MAJOR Projects as this is not the goal of the article. If your roof is leaking in 20 different places and you don't see that as your top priority then I guess you better learn to swim come spring.

How much money have you put into your home in the last year?

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Painting tips

PAINTING--One of the cheapest ways to make large wholesale changes in the home. A fresh coat of paint in a vibrant color can make a world of difference in a room. Lighter colors reflect more light and make a room seem larger. Lighter colors along with the change in contrast of the room improves mood. Prices can range from cheap to wildly expensive.


Flats (Matte)---cheap, no gloss (good for theatre rooms) or ceilings and rooms with little to no traffic. This type of paint is not washable ans stains easily.

Satins---durable and easy to clean, great for rooms with kids, low luster, washable, but will lose luster over time.

Eggshells---somewhat washable and gives a rich sheen

High-Gloss---Can be expensive, Finishes hard upon drying making the surface tough and easy to clean. Surface will reveal EVERY surface imperfection. Normally left to painting professionals.

Semi-Gloss--great for kitchens and high dirt areas and rooms with small children. Very good resistance to stains. Can be expensive.

KITCHEN--Grease and Oil is a big issue here. Nicked-up counter tops can be re-glazed. Wooden Cabinet Faces can be re-sanded and re-stained. Anything that is supposed to be shiny (Faucet, Sink, Cabinet Handles) that are now overly dull will stick out like a sore thumb. Stay away from plastic faucets. Faucets can be had NEW IN BOX from craigslist, ebay, and even garage sales for cheap. Check your local GOODWILL, SALVATION ARMY, HABITAT for HUMANITY and GARAGE SALES for steals in hardware, tools and parts. A greasy and rusted range-hood will kill a kitchen in the looks department. A new BASIC Broan or Nautilus wont cost over 40 dollars. If the floor is salvageable leave it. If not, try a heavy-duty self-adhesive tile. This will be quick unless you have a huge kitchen.

BATHROOM--Same as Kitchen except shiny Stuff x2--water is your culprit this time. Shiny items include Bath faucet handles, Bath Sink Faucet, shower head, bath spout, overflow switch(Be careful), Toilet flush handle..Stay away from plastic faucets. Shower curtain rods usually aren't stainless steel and can rust quickly. You can replace or buy the plastic covers for them. Old, moldy caulk should be cut out and re-applied. If your toilet is old but still works, leave it and try to add a seat top and tank covers and a new flush handle. Take a look at the floor and see if a couple boxes of sticky tile will improve the look. Some of your light fixtures may have started to rust so make sure you give them a close look. IF YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO CHANGE LEAVE IT.(ELECTRICAL WARNING) If its in OK condition, leave it or possibly find a fancier light cover.

Drywall repair

BEDROOMS--Change ugly doorknobs. If you have mini-blinds that are broken bent, dirty, replace. All outlet and switch covers should be intact for looks and safety. If they are just dirty from hand oils, remove and submerge in warm soapy water and clean with medium duty scratch pad. If they are old and bogus or broken, please replace. If the outlet itself is broken and you can change it do it, if not leave it PLEASE.(ELECTRICAL WARNING) Any decent wall coverings can help spruce up a room. I have made my own artwork and hung it up and it works just as fine as the thirty dollar fruit prints at Wal-mart. Try replacing that light fixture above the bed with a ceiling fan/light combination. Basic white, 3-4 bulbs, 5 blades, 35-40 inch. $45 or less if on sale.

CARPETS---Sometimes a carpet just has to be removed. If the integrity of the carpet is not there, you know that cleaning it will not do much. If the carpet is still in ok shape and doesn't have massive stains, try a Pre-treater and a good steaming. I'm not fond of the grocery store carpet cleaners as many are not heavy duty enough to make any real difference. If you can get a hold of a heavier duty home model or can find a deal for your local carpet cleaner do it. An older carpet in an ugly color looks a lot better when its clean.

Where can I get Supplies for my project??

Home Depot



Habitat for Humanity--Restore

Newspaper Ads


Free items near the curb of the street. (Not Kidding, i have found ladders, sinks, and other items in great condition for NOTHING!!!)


This list is not all-inclusive and discretion will have to be used according to your own situation. Remember, do a little at a time. Don't go nuts, as even the cheapest items can add up quickly. On the flip-side, don't neglect your home. We all claim to have very limited funds, but many of us eat out too much, smoke like chimneys or buy overpriced shoes. Take those funds and invest it in your home. Try to do as much as possible on your own, but be wary, especially with projects involving water supplies and electricity. Have fun with it, learn as much as possible, and take pride that YOU did it.


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    • defcon4 profile image

      defcon4 7 years ago from Bozeman, MT

      Nice work, I like the style and the content. Keep it up, Don't leave home without the multitool!