15 Ways to Make Your Home Look Amazing for Under $100

By Camilla Cheung on 11 August 2014 5 comments

Beautifying your home doesn't have to mean building a new wing or digging out for an infinity pool (and paying infinity dollars for it!). (See also: 25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Great)

In fact, here are 15 ways you can majorly upgrade your home for under $100.

1. Paint

A few gallons of paint will set you back far less than $100 and can make a huge impact, as long as you're willing to do the labor yourself. Sometimes a fresh color is all it takes to inspire you to rearrange furniture, hang some art, and in general change things around. Stripes or an ombre color scheme can perk up a boring room or revitalize a tired piece of furniture. For instant curb appeal outside, paint your front door or refresh your exterior trim.

2. Organize

Set yourself a budget of $100 and head for the Container Store or a home goods store and load up with baskets, shoe racks, desk organizers, or an inexpensive closet system. Getting all that clutter off the surfaces of your home and into dedicated organizational spaces can make your home look ten times bigger. And better.

3. Use Subway Tile

Tile has a reputation for being expensive, but the most trendy tile of this decade — basic white subway tile — is usually extremely affordable and can run for as little as $1-$2 a square foot. For $100, you can get enough subway tile to redo your kitchen or bathroom backsplash, or even to re-tile your shower surround if it's starting to look dated. Of course, you'll have to be willing to put in some sweat equity of your own (stripping off old tile and laying the new), but the results will be fresh, new, and clean.

4. Buy Plants

A large plant or tree in the ground, or in a planter box in front of your home can instantly upgrade the appeal of your house. Whatever climate zone you live in, you can find an attractive plant for about $100 — be it simple rosemary, succulents, an evergreen, or a Japanese maple tree. Or plant $100 worth of flowers, either in the ground or in planters, and your home will look instantly landscaped and beautiful.

You can also bring the outside indoors by bringing in a striking indoor plant such as a trendy fiddle leaf fig tree (or for the less experienced gardener, a potted palm or money tree). Place a large green plant in the corner of the room to draw the eye and make the room appear larger.

5. Add Patterned Textiles

I'm kind of a fabric junkie, and I'm always picking up gorgeous patterned fabric at discount fabric outlets such as Home Fabrics. If you don't have a fabric store near you, you can often get great deals on fabric online on sites such as Fabric.com. I like the line of Premier Prints home decor fabrics that run for about $10 a yard or less. For that price, you can make a set of curtain panels, recover a bench or set of dining chair cushions, upholster a headboard, and in general use the pattern to bring extra oomph to your space (tutorials about such easy DIY projects abound on the Internet). (See also: How to Make Your Own Curtains)

6. Install a Statement Light Fixture

While I love the budget-friendly line of lighting by Young House Love (all fixtures are under $100), in general a statement light fixture is going to run you far more than your $100 budget. But one great, creative solution is using exterior lighting, such as rustic metal lanterns, indoors. There is no danger in using an exterior light fixture indoors, and many of these rugged fixtures are very affordable. Hang a couple lanterns over an island or dining table, for example.

7. Plank a Wall

A really popular look these days is to cover an accent wall with reclaimed wood planks (check your local Craigslist for reclaimed lumber sources). Old wood can range in price, but for $100 you should be able to cover an alcove in old barn siding or plank the nook above your fireplace. With easy, straight cuts, this is a project suitable for even those new to DIY. Can't afford enough reclaimed lumber but want a wood-planked look? Try using laminate flooring right on your walls!

8. Upgrade Front Door Hardware

If your front door is still sporting early 90's brass hardware, consider updating it with a new hardware kit. While these kits, which include locks, knobs, and handles, range in price, you should be able to find something nice at the local hardware store for under $100. Your front door makes a big impression on visitors, so this is a sound investment.

9. Hang a Mirror

You can get large-scale mirrors for great prices at consignment stores, discount stores like HomeGoods, or IKEA. Hanging a mirror over a buffet, dresser, or console table is a great way to bring more light into a room and make it seem more spacious.

10. Stencil Something

Modern stencils are chic and fresh (say goodbye to the grapevine stencils of the 90's) and can be bought for well under $100. Check out the gorgeous designs by Royal Design Studio. Try stenciling a wall in a geometric or Moroccan trellis pattern (a bathroom wall is a great place to go bold). If a wall is too ambitious for you, even stenciling an accent piece such as a thrift store tray, box, or chair can add a bespoke flair to your home.

11. Frame Your Photos

Stop putting off printing all your digital pictures! For $100 you can easily get some large-scale photos printed at Costco and pick up a few IKEA frames. Hang pictures in a grouping for bigger impact (especially if you can't afford a huge frame or picture). Hanging photos makes your house seem homier, cozier, and more personal. Just be sure not to go to the opposite extreme of cluttering up every side table and shelf with mismatched frames.

12. Upgrade Lighting

Bad lighting can not only put you in a bad mood, but also make your home look dated and ugly. Invest in a couple of sculptural lamps and quality light bulbs that will cast a warm glow on your space, putting you in a happier state of mind and making everything in your home look better. Another great place to add lighting is under cabinets — just buy some stick-on LED lights and you'll have the look of expensive under-cabinet lighting for far less. It's all about the details, folks!

13. Coordinate Colors and Patterns

Matching sets make your home look more pulled together, whether it be matching towels in the guest bath, coordinating bedding in the bedroom, or coordinating (though not necessarily matching) accent pillows. Make a few things match for under $100, and you'll find your home looks less visually cluttered and more intentional.

14. Let the Light In

This is a tip home stagers use often — roll up the blinds, throw open the curtains, and let the sunshine illuminate your home. You can take it a little further by getting rid of dark drapes (perhaps replacing them with inexpensive light-colored ones), painting your walls a light color, and/or painting dark furniture white. A tip for curtains — hang rods high and wide above and to the sides of your windows. This will make your windows look taller and wider, and will prevent the curtains from blocking any light when pushed to the side.

15. Clean and Declutter

A clean and neat home looks more upscale and stylish than a cluttered and dingy home. So get yourself some good cleaning products and get to work! While you're at it, get rid of old knick-knacks, magazines, and other things that you don't need or use anymore. Edit your belongings — display only the best.

Hiring someone to clean your house might seem like a luxury, but often a professional eye will catch dirt and dinginess that you've simply gotten used to. There are often deals on Groupon or LivingSocial for discounted cleaning services. Consider having someone come and make your home spic-and-span for around $100.

Do you have any tips on making your home look great on a budget? Please share in comments!

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Guest's picture

So long as you get creative and stay true to a budget, making your house look awesome doesn't have to break the bank ... thanks for the inspiration!

Guest's picture

My favorite (read: free) way is to just rearrange furniture. It's shocking how much of a difference placement makes.

I definitely agree with the paint thing, though. Our bathroom cabinet was a dingy white color (surrounded by the white of our walls). I picked up a small can of black paint for around $7. The walls may still be boring, but the black cabinet looks sharp.

Guest's picture

Put a bird on it

Guest's picture

These are useful ideas. Another way to revamp your home is to switch around furniture positions and get rid of anything that you don’t need. A lot of us have a chair or table in the living room that occupies space. Instead of keeping it in your living space, sell it. You won’t regret it. The house will feel far less claustrophobic and more spacious, making you feel less trapped. Also, if you do not like the way your house looks now, positioning some furniture pieces here and there can make all the difference. Wake up that space-savvy freshman in you.

Guest's picture
Emma Harris

For statement lights, I’d go with old and vintage. These pieces seem to have this interesting story that you would want to know of. I accented my home with these Mason jar pendants http://tinyurl.com/k2xpp3v and it looks glorious! Aside from giving my space enough lighting, it also adds personality and interest to my room.