11 effective home improvements that won't break the bank

Most homeowners want to make home improvements that add value to their property, brighten up the interior or give it much-needed curb appeal. And they want to do all this without draining their savings account.
This might sound like nothing more than wishful thinking, but it is possible to make drastic changes in and around a home without spending a lot of cash or adding a home equity loan. Yes, there is some effort involved because many of these suggestions are do-it-yourself projects, but those that require a professional are simple and inexpensive.
Here are 11 ideas that will invigorate a tired home without breaking the bank:
1. Let there be light
Rooms that don’t have adequate natural light can feel small and dreary. Track lighting is one solution for lighting up specific areas of a room without taking up precious space. It’s easy to install for a do-it-yourselfer or an electrician, so it isn’t a costly project. Recessed lighting could be another option, although it takes a higher skill level and potentially more cost.
2. Get organized
No matter how well a house is decorated, it will be overshadowed by clutter. Organizing is all about throwing away things that are no longer useful and finding a place to store those that are. Shelving added to interior spaces does not require a large budget or much time and effort to install.
3. Add curb appeal
Whether a front yard looks like a jungle or a wasteland, it detracts from the curb appeal. But, by doing some simple trimming and removal of trees and shrubs or by adding a few shrubs and trees – or by adding a few – any yard can be transformed quickly and inexpensively into an eye-catching landscape.
4. Paint the front door
Speaking of curb appeal, giving the main entrance a fresh coat of paint will make a dramatic improvement to the look of any house. Update the porch light or add more outdoor lighting for an even brighter appearance.
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5. A backyard home away from home
Some flagstones or pavers installed in a shady area out back could be the start of a backyard oasis. Add some secondhand outdoor furniture and string a few lights for a festive look that will make every neighbor envious.
6. Change the look of the kitchen cabinets
Get the kitchen cabinets spray-painted at a fraction of the cost of a custom cabinet installation. Add new hardware and that dated kitchen will be revitalized.
7. Give the bathroom a fresh look
Most homeowners will be able to install new fixtures in the bathroom. If not, it’s a quick and inexpensive job for a plumber. Not only will the bathroom look great, but the new fixtures should function better than the old ones.
8. Add energy efficiency
Start by retaping all heating and cooling duct seals. Then, replace any worn weather stripping around doors. Adding to the attic’s insulation is another way to keep heated and cooled air from escaping. These are all DIY projects that are inexpensive and can save plenty of money.
9. Update the bedroom
Replace the frame and headboard, and change all the furniture hardware to match. New curtains and a matching area rug are other relatively low-cost items that will transform the look and feel of any bedroom.
10. Brighten up the dining room
Experienced do-it-yourselfers can tackle the obvious first project: a new chandelier. After that, look at window treatments and wall hangings to give the dining room a fresher and brighter appearance.
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11. Install a smart doorbell for added security
A doorbell equipped with a camera will allow you to see and speak with people at the door. It isn’t very costly (usually less than $200), and it acts as a security barrier for the family and a conversation piece for prospective buyers.