10 Kitchen Improvement Ideas You Can Get Done for Under $100
You can create a functional and inviting kitchen your entire family will enjoy without spending a fortune. The average cost of a kitchen remodel is $12,700 to $33,200. Instead of breaking the bank, get rid of that remodeling itch with these ten DIY kitchen updates, all for less than $100.
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Refresh the Sink
Give your chrome sink a fresh look when you paint it. Use sandpaper and a $4 can of spray paint designed for metal to refresh your sink for a fraction of what you would pay to replace it. If painting’s not your thing, upgrade the faucet, a focal point in your kitchen. Select a stylish faucet or a design that fits your personality.
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A decorative light fixture upgrades your kitchen’s appearance and only costs $30 to $90. Select a fancy, rustic or chrome light fixture that matches your existing decor or kitchen’s color. Alternatively, you could add a statement floor lamp or hang $8 battery powered LED lights under or inside the cabinets, two smart and affordable ways to increase lighting and create a cozier and more welcoming kitchen space.
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A coat or two of paint or stain allows you to update your cabinets on a budget. Refinish all the cabinets in the kitchen with a kit for around $75, or focus only on the doors, trim, or shelves to cut costs. For best results and to maximize your time and money, spend adequate time on prep and follow these tips:
- Thoroughly clean each surface.
- Fill in nicks or holes with wood putty.
- Sand the surfaces between paint or stain layers.
- Allow the paint to dry completely.
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Turn Your Fridge Into a Chalkboard
Consolidate weekly menus and give your kids space to draw when you paint a chalkboard on your refrigerator doors. With painter’s tape, outline the shape and size of the chalkboard. Then apply a few thin layers of $20 magnetic primer and $10 chalkboard paint. When the chalkboard dries, your family will enjoy your new and functional fridge doors.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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A pop of color on the wall draws the eye and adds excitement to a kitchen. You can create a DIY ceramic backsplash for $25 per square foot or a stainless-steel backsplash for $36 per square foot. You can also choose tile, stick-on metal, or chalkboard paint. Once complete, your colorful or textured backsplash will add visual appeal above your sink or behind your stove.
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Your cabinet handles and drawer pulls may seem insignificant, but they make a big impact on your kitchen’s appearance and style. With your new hardware, a few tools and a bit of time, you’ll add personality and style to your kitchen. The average kitchen has 40 drawer pulls or knobs, so browse your local big box store for an affordable set of hardware. For fine vintage, decorative, or colorful hardware, check out local estate sales or a Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
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Customize your kitchen and maximize its space when you transform an empty wall, cluttered drawer, or unused cabinet into storage for pantry items, cookbooks, or pans. The cost of this kitchen improvement depends on the size, type, and finish of the shelving units, single shelves, pull-out trays, lazy Susans, and other storage options you choose.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Now’s a wonderful time to update your kitchen decor and ensure the room reflects your personality and style. For a few bucks, replace worn rugs, boring curtains, and collectibles you no longer love with a new floor runner, bright fabric curtains, and pretty artwork.
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Spend a few hours clearing clutter from your kitchen cabinets and counters. Toss outdated or unwanted food, donate utensils and appliances you no longer use, and remove items that don’t belong in the kitchen. You won’t spend a dime to create a tidy kitchen that’s also more functional and spacious.
Guest Room Essentials: Going The Extra Mile For Your Visitors
Guest rooms are all about making your visitors feel as cozy and comfortable as possible. While many guests are just fine with a bed to sleep in, it’s a nice gesture doing a little bit more to make sure their stay at your place is great.
Drawer and Closet Space
Guests that are staying over for more than a few days will appreciate a place where they can keep their things. It’s much easier accessing makeup, clothes, and other belongings from a drawer than by having to dig around a suitcase. A dresser with a few empty hangers is also sure to be appreciated.
There’s nothing worse than traveling for a few days and forgetting to bring something to keep your dirty clothes in. If this happens to your guests they’ll be forced to stuff their clothes back into their suitcase or in a plastic bag. A hamper gives them a nice place to keep it all, especially if they need to do laundry before leaving.
The Wi-Fi Password
In this day and age, it’s only a matter of time before your guests ask for your Wi-Fi password. Otherwise, they’ll have to use their own data while using their laptops and smart devices. It shows courteousness when they don’t have to ask for the password because it’s already in the room on a post-it note or printed note card.
Your guest room should be clean and odor free by the time visitors arrive. Give them a way to keep the room smelling great by leaving some candles or air fresheners. Guests will definitely appreciate it when they want to leave your room as nice and clean as when they arrived.
Extra Blankets & Pillows
People have different sleeping habits. Some prefer having a few pillows for support, while others like the heavy feel of two thick blankets on them. Be sure to leave spare pillows and blankets in the room, especially during the colder months of the year.
We’ve all been there. You’re staying at a hotel or visiting family and realize you forgot to pack your toothbrush or body lotion. Your guests won’t need to worry when they see that you’ve left an amenity basket filled with towels and other common toiletries. Definitely, leave plenty of toilet paper to avoid any awkward scenarios with your guests.
There’s a reason why most hotels have curtains made of thick fabrics covering their windows. Not everyone enjoys strong rays of light in their face while they’re still trying to catch a few more minutes of sleep. Blackout curtains let your guests sleep better, especially if they’re sensitive to light and have trouble sleeping if a lamp outside is near enough to shine inside.
Water & Snacks
Your guests shouldn’t have to explore every cabinet in your kitchen as they try and guess where you keep your cups. Leave a pitcher with water or a few water bottles in their room so they can comfortably have a sip in the dark hours of the night. While you’re at it, leave some snacks you’d think they’d like in case they get a little hungry but are embarrassed to mention it to you.
Television, Magazines & Books
Some people like to keep a shelf of books in their guest room. While that’s fine, guests are less likely to pop open a random novel than they are a recent magazine. A television they can click on to watch and relax with is also appreciated.
Luggage racks are great because it means your guests won’t have to toss their bags on the bed or kneel on the floor to look through their stuff. Instead, they’ll be able to more conveniently access their belongings while you don’t have to worry about dirty luggage ruining your carpet, tables, or chairs.
Love having guests and parties at your home? Here are a few useful tips for protecting your home from post-party damage.
Whether it’s a need, like a leaky roof, or a want (goodbye shag carpeting!) there are renovation loans that can help pay for your home renovations.
How do you decide which type of mortgage is right for your fixer-upper? Here’s what to know about each option.
Comparing popular home renovation loans:
|Home renovation loan||Minimum credit score||Minimum down payment / Equity required|
|Fannie Mae HomeStyle loan||620||5% down payment|
|FHA 203(k) loan||620||3.5% down payment|
|Home equity loan / HELOC||620||20% equity|
|Cash-out refinancing||640||20% equity|
Goverment-backed home renovation loans
Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle Loan
One of best-known loans for home improvements, Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle Renovation loan allows borrowers to either purchase a place that needs some repairs or refinance their home with a new mortgage to fund improvements.
The HomeStyle loan is available from any Fannie Mae-approved lender, but there are minimum requirements to qualify. For a primary residence, you have to have a minimum credit score of 620. You can check your credit score for free with myBankrate to see if you fit this criteria. You’ll also have to put down at least 5 percent of the purchase price of the home.
Before you can get approved, you’ll also need to have a certified contractor prepare and submit a cost estimate and detail of the work to be done.
One advantage of a HomeStyle loan over other types is that it’s just one loan, instead of taking out a loan for the mortgage and then another loan for home repairs. This can mean less paperwork and only one set of closing costs.
Keep in mind that the money for the repairs or improvements goes into a separate escrow account that’s used to pay the contractor directly. You don’t have access to these funds like you would with some other types of loans, like a home equity loan or a cash-out refinance.
“The nuance with the HomeStyle loan is that there’s a little less freedom for the customer because the funds are held in an escrow account,” says Eric Wilson, director of operations at Better Mortgage.
FHA 203(k) loans
The Federal Housing Administration offers a type of home renovation loan known as a 203(k.) With this type of loan, there’s typically a lower minimum credit score requirement than with a HomeStyle loan, and also a lower minimum down payment of 3.5 percent.
FHA 203(k) loans can be broken down into two types: limited (formerly called streamline) and standard.
A limited FHA 203(k) loan is designed for cosmetic improvements or upgrades, and is capped at $35,000. A standard FHA 203(k) loan can be used for more extensive and expensive remodeling but also requires hiring a qualified 203(k) consultant to oversee every step of the work, from plans to the finished product.
There’s built-in security with having that consultant. Most people doing a major home improvement project typically hire a contractor on their own, according to Stuart Blend, regional sales manager for Planet Home Lending. But with an FHA loan, that 203(k) consultant acts as a project manager, assessing the proposed costs, plans and the work being done every step of the way.
“When you take out that loan, that money rests with the lender. We’re holding those funds in escrow, and we’re making sure everything is done the way it’s supposed to be done,” he says.
Private home renovation loans
Another way to finance your home renovation is by taking out a home equity loan, sometimes referred to as a second mortgage. They’re a one-time loan, so they aren’t subject to fluctuating interest rates, and monthly payments remain the same throughout the life of the loan.
A similar loan is the home equity line of credit, known as a HELOC. It has a revolving balance and might be best for someone who has several large payments due over time, like with a big home improvement project.
With either option, you’re pledging your home as collateral, meaning if you don’t make the payments on your loan, the lender could end up owning your house. Alternatively, you can take out an unsecured personal loan to avoid owing collateral.
But HomeStyle and FHA 203(k) loans have some advantages over home equity loans.
“The loan amount with either of these is based on the completed value and not the present value. A home equity loan is based on the current value,” says Gregg Harris, president of LenderCity Home Loans, a division of BBMC/Bridgeview Bank Group.
Cash-out mortgage refinancing
A cash-out mortgage refinance is another private home remodel loan. Cash-out refinancing allows homeowners to take out another mortgage. The second mortgage will be higher than the first, and the homeowner will recieve the difference in cash.
Like home equity loans/HELOCs, cash-out mortgages require homeowners to use their home as collateral. But if you’ve got a considerable amount of equity in your home, you might be able to find lower interest rates. Combine lower interest rates with additional value derived from home renovations, and you might save more in the longer run.
You’ll need at least 20% available equity in your home to qualify for cash-out refinancing. The total loan amount is limited to available equity in your home. Credit score requirements vary per loan amount and value of your home, but generally start at 640
How do you choose?
“It really comes down to credit and eligibility,” Harris says.
An FHA 203(k) might be best for someone with so-so credit, as most Fannie Mae HomeStyle lenders require a minimum credit score of 620. But borrowers can get a mortgage with a down payment as little as 3.5 percent. HomeStyle loans require 5 percent.
Also consider how much you want to borrow and what it is you want to change.
“Make sure you’re working with a lender that is well versed with the details of the program,” says Laurie Souza, the business development manager in the specialty and renovation lending department at Mortgage Network Inc.
It can be complex to calculate the best home renovation mortgage for your needs, so a lender who has deep knowledge of the programs can help you find the right fit, Souza says.
10 DIY Kitchen Cabinet Ideas
1. Unique Ways to Customize Your Kitchen Cabinets
Kitchen cabinets need updating? You’re in luck. Kitchen cabinets are the perfect canvas for fast and fun-to-do DIY projects. You’ll fall in love with your cabinets after you embark on one or more of these small projects, each designed to maximize your creativity with only moderate cost and effort.Continue to 2 of 11 below.
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“Tide-Line” Two-Toned Kitchen Cabinets
Two-toned kitchen cabinet paint schemes may be common, but can you believe this fantastic twist? Katie Fontana and Tony Niblock began their bespoke cupboard company British Standard with the aim of providing “understated elegance,” as they say. They fail to mention, too, their talent for understated whimsy, as evidenced by this unique take on two-toned paint schemes.
Most two-toned schemes go something like this: lower cabinets, dark color; upper cabinets, light color. British… Standard’s design includes the walls–and the bottom six inches of wall cabinets–in that dark, lower color. They call it a “tide line,” and it’s a fun DIY touch you may want to consider if you are painting your cabinets and want to elevate your kitchen beyond the ordinary.Continue to 3 of 11 below.
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Satin-Finish Brass Fixtures
For decades, brass fixtures have been excluded from homes. In a frenzy of brass-stripping, these fixtures were replaced by nickel, stainless steel, and matte black fixtures. Now, guess what? A new generation of brass is here, and it’s better than before.
Designer Tobi Fairley places elegant brass fixtures against cream-colored kitchen cabinets for a gentle contrast. Instead of 1980s-era mirror-finish brass, choose calm, friendly satin-sheen fixtures that let the warm color show through,… rather than reflecting the room back at itself.Continue to 4 of 11 below.
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Faux-Cycled Barnwood Cabinet Doors
Score! Imagine the thrill experienced by Katie and Eric, over at the lifestyle blog Mountain Modern Life, when they discovered these charming reclaimed wood barn doors when wandering around the country back roads in their RV.
Except for one thing: this is not reclaimed wood. These are 100% new DIY-made cabinet doors, not recycled barnwood (though you cannot be faulted for thinking so!).
Dumpster diving did produce those base cabinet boxes, though. Everything past that point is a clever replica of… weathered barnwood.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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DIY Slab-to-Shaker Kitchen Cabinets
Shaker style cabinets are characterized by a raised picture-frame perimeter around the door and drawer fronts. Ashley, at the design blog Cherished Bliss, theorized that she could turn her flat (slab) cabinet doors into Shaker-style cabinets by running a thin frame around the doors. Would it work?
She lightened her work by choosing 1/4-inch plywood for the frames and especially by having the lumber yard rip the wood to 2 1/2-inch wide strips.Continue to 6 of 11 below.
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DIY Kitchen Cabinet Door Organizer
So what are you going to do about your under-sink kitchen cabinet mess? You know: paper towel rolls swollen with leaky water and cleaning supplies impossible to find in the murk.
How about this quick, simple and ultra-cheap DIY cabinet door organizer? Ana White sells plans for ambitious projects, like entire kitchen cabinets you can build from scratch. Whet your appetite for building with this extremely easy, free project, available on her site.Continue to 7 of 11 below.
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Easy DIY LED Kitchen Cabinet Lighting
Admit it, you want kitchen cabinet lighting. But fear has held you back. Fear no more. Thrifty Decor Chick and interior decorator Sarah felt the same way until she discovered the power of LED tape lighting.
Forget the bulky, heavy incandescent rope lighting of the past. The present and future belong to these rolls of light-weight LED lights that come with adhesive on the back. All you need to do is plug them in (no hard-wiring required!) and you can connect them all throughout your cabinets.… Controlled with a standalone remote control or by your mobile device, literally millions of RGB (red-green-blue) color combinations are possible.Continue to 8 of 11 below.
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Add Crown Molding & Elevate Kitchen Cabinets
Those dead spaces at the top of your kitchen cabinets are good for collecting dust and little else. Sarah Macklem at the design blog The Yellow Cape Cod wanted kitchen grandeur, and her short, plain builder-grade wall cabinets refused to cooperate with those visions of grandeur.
Adding crown molding across the top of the cabinets visually elevates the cabinets. With taller-looking cabinets, Sarah was “able to fake a custom look with my ‘real-person’s’ budget,” as she says. The… trick is not to install the molding directly on the cabinets. Instead, create a framework from 1 x 1 boards, attach the molding to the frame, then attach the frame to the top of the cabinets.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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DIY Faux Freestanding Kitchen Cabinets
Get the retro look of freestanding kitchen base cabinets on the cheap. Before the advent of continuous kitchen base cabinets–the kind your kitchen probably has now–cabinets had exposed legs. Then toe kicks came along in the 1950s and 1960s and hid the legs. Toe kicks do make sense–they keep your kitchen cleaner by preventing the migration of dust and debris under the cabinets. But something was lost with progress. Feet give your cabinets a lighter, airier feeling, a sense that these large units… are slightly elevated.
Britt, from the design blog Gus & Lula, wanted feet on her cabinets. So she and her husband added faux feet, made from a few scraps of MDF (medium density fiberboard), screws and paint. It is an entirely DIY-able, cheap and fast project. Download and print faux feet templates from their site.Continue to 10 of 11 below.
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Suspend Storage Jars With Magnetic Strip
Suspending glass storage jars under cabinets from their lids is hardly a novel idea. But this concept is cooler, safer and more flexible than the traditional method of screwing the lids to the underside of the wall cabinets.
Mount a powerful magnetic knife strip under the cabinets, then attach the jars to the strip.
For added safety, store only light-weight kitchen goods such as dried fruit, candies, chocolates, marshmallows, nuts and coffee.Continue to 11 of 11 below.
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Trompe-l’œil Beadboard Cabinets
Your eye says, “Beadboard,” but it’s smooth when you touch it. What’s going on here? Beadboard is supposed to have distinctive vertical grooves.
This is beadboard that fools the eye–trompe l’oeil, in French–made from wallpaper and trim board. Brandi Sawyer ingeniously applied beadboard wallpaper to her kitchen cabinet doors. To cover up the edges of the wallpaper, she constructed frames from trim board and glued the frames to the doors.
You’ve seen this home before. You must take another look.