7 Under-$100 “For Now” Upgrades to Tide You Over Until Your Next Renovation

published Feb 11, 2021
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Though a large kitchen renovation complete with new tiling, countertops, and top-of-the-line appliances may be number one on your wishlist, those large-scale projects aren’t always possible. They take time and a whole lot of money. There’s good news, though: While you wait to pull the trigger on that reno you have your heart set on, there are plenty of easy and inexpensive (we’re talking under $100!) upgrades that can make your space a little more functional and friendly on the eyes. Here, seven creative suggestions to liven up your home while you wait for a full-on reno.

Credit: Franke Chung

While you wait to buy a new ceiling fan, replace the shade and paint the blades.

Stuck with a drab and dated ceiling fan? Modern replacements are surprisingly expensive, sometimes costing upwards of a couple hundred dollars. For a fast fix, you can simply swap out the shade over the light. Lighting stores, hardware stores, and online retailers like Amazon all have plenty of options. Another cheap update: painting the blades or hardware a different color, which costs only as much as a can of spray paint.

While you wait to install a new toilet, add a new toilet seat and install a new toilet flusher.

If you’re planning to replace your toilet as part of a larger bathroom reno, some new hardware — a flusher handle and a new soft-close seat — can breathe new life into your existing throne. It’s incredibly easy, too — all it takes is a few screws.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

While you wait to redo your kitchen, install a new faucet.

Even if you’re not a big fan of the sink itself — maybe you’re dying for an expansive farmhouse-style sink, but have a small stainless one — you can at least make your current situation look a little sleeker with a new faucet. It’s a fast fix you don’t even need a plumber for. Once you turn off the water, all you have to do is remove the old faucet, install the new one, and reconnect the lines.

While you wait to redo your bathroom, refinish the vanity.

In most bathrooms and powder rooms, the vanity is one of the largest focal points, so refinishing it is a great way to give the space a little lift. There are plenty of options for doing so on a budget, too. Give it a fresh coat of paint (you’ll only need about a quart), use a contact paper on old laminate countertops, replace the faucet, or simply add new hardware on any drawers and doors. 

While you wait to retile your floors, paint them.

Rather than spending a pretty penny to rip up an existing tile floor, consider painting it — like DIYer Sarah did in her bathroom — until you have the time or funds for the larger project. There are tons of cool stencils you can use to create Pinterest-worthy patterned floors. For durability, reach for a specially formulated floor paint that can withstand heavy foot traffic, and make sure to clean and prep before painting your tile floors.

Credit: Ashley Poskin

While you wait to replace your windows, add weatherstripping.

Have drafty windows that let the heat out in the winter and the cold air out in the summer? Replacing your home’s windows is an expensive endeavor, but weatherstripping (or caulking) can help until you’re ready to spring for new ones. To help improve the insulation and seal up any leaks or cracks, apply the tape around the entire frame of the leaky window. 

While you wait to install built-ins, hack some.

Always wanted a built-in media center, cubbies in the mudroom, or a charming window seat like the one in this San Francisco home? Millwork doesn’t come cheap, but IKEA furniture does — and there are plenty of ways to turn some of the retailer’s most beloved products, like the BILLY bookcase, into something that looks entirely custom.