Project On A Penny: Home Improvement Ideas on a Budget Part II

Our refreshed project on a penny home improvement ideas on a budget series continues with more money and time saving remodeling suggestions.

Home Improvement Ideas on a Budget

6.  Make the decorative call to replace outdated window treatments or elect not to use window treatments at all.


There’s no substitute for the beauty of natural light, but privacy concerns may trump this option.  If going with window treatments consider blinds, shutters, shades, panels or valances.  These are all great and affordable choices.

102084034.jpg.rendition.largestBetter Homes and Gardens

Dressing up a window frame with pediments, decorative corbels and/or architectural balusters is another decorative option that will help to achieve a custom look.

102133025_wMidwest Living

7.  Shed New Light On The Situation


New lighting fixtures instantly turn on the wow factor.  Pendant lights will be hanging around and on-trend for awhile. A well placed lamp on the countertop quickly becomes a focal point of function.  Battery-operated under cabinet lights are my first choice of affordable accent lighting. These types of lights cast a lovely light at night- an all grown up night light.


Recessed lighting or can lights or downlight accent beautifully as well. Wall sconce lighting is a versatile choice for ambient lighting in foyers, kitchens and bathrooms.

wall-sconce-lightingCushman Design Group via Houzz

It’s all about the lighting!



Bonus Suggestion**


Fireplace built-ins come in as one of the top remodeling projects I love to tackle.  It is amazing what you can do with a gallon of paint, new cabinet hardware and a double roll(s) of gorgeous wallpaper.  If time and the budget allows, travertine or marble wall tile enters the picture. Painting the built-ins and the bricks is a step in the right direction, but conducting a tile cover up over the bricks produces a powerful result.  Budget friendly?  Perhaps not, but in terms of adding resale value to the property it can be a justified expense.  Picture lights (very affordable) mounted at the center point at the top of each unit creates a stunning library effect, and wallpapering the back wall of the unit or painting in a fabulous designer color brings forth the decorative oomph in updated fashion.



8.  Places In The Home #1 rule of kitchen redesign & remodels: Furr-down be gone!

Furr-Down: A box-out at the ceiling typically 12″ high and 14″ deep. Often used for AC ductwork. Kitchen cabinets are installed up to it creating a step effect. Also called a soffit or bulkhead.

Furr-down. Soffit. Bulkhead. Whatever you call it I call it ugly.  I am no fan of the furr-down in kitchen design, especially if it is strictly for decorative purposes. Removing an ornamental furr-down takes years off the life of an outdated kitchen. May I suggest adding decorative crown molding to the tops of  kitchen cabinets to up the decorative ante and give a finished look.

crown-molding (1)

9.  Update (modernize) switches, plugs and the plates that cover them


Small changes make safe and stylish improvements.


10.  In with the new countertops.  Or not.

In real estate it’s all about location, location, location.  In decorating it’s all about enhance, enhance, enhance.  If the existing countertops are free of stains, marks, scratches and the like, are workable with your color palette and are not overly antiquated, you may be in business. Countertops are the utilitarian workhorse of the indoor and outdoor kitchen, and as such should be crafted from quality materials coupled with a quality look.


If a quality, style and affordability tops the list, consider laminate countertops. Certain products experience an ebb and flow of popularity. Laminate countertops are back on the radar of kitchen design. Today’s laminate countertops offer a stylish and affordable solution. Manufacturers pay very close attention to the design and decor needs and wants of the buying and remodeling public, and the kitchen design industry has made huge strides in bringing to the retail marketplace affordable alternatives to expensive kitchen countertop materials.


Working with, enhancing and home improving upon what you have with home improvement ideas on a budget, affordable materials, design ingenuity and DIY vision does a remodeling budget good.

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