Before and After: The Best Under-$500 Room Transformations We Saw in 2020

published Dec 25, 2020
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Gray couch in front of large window with cream-colored area rug

Renovating on a budget can come with a unique set of challenges. Perhaps you’re attempting to DIY as much as possible, or put some impressive IKEA hacks to the test—or maybe you’re trying to make everything budget- and renter-friendly.

Budget renos might be challenging, but with unique DIY options, smart repurposing of furniture, and creative uses of paint, they can still be high-impact. Skeptical? Take a look at these 10 stunning transformations—the best under-$500 redos we saw in 2020.

1. A DIYer Turns a Spot Under a Staircase into a Tiny Outdoor Oasis for $100

Johanna Beach turned a completely unused space under a staircase into a dreamy little oasis for her friend Hannah in this redo. By building benches and sourcing items from places like Facebook Marketplace and Rebuilding Exchange in Chicago, Beach managed to complete the project for just $100.

2. A $110 Closet Makeover Filled with Smart, Renter-Friendly DIYs

Ashley LeDuc took her messy coat closet and not only implemented an organization system, but with the help of several clever DIY tricks, she managed to make a hallway coat closet look beautiful. The superstar in this redo? Black washi tape.

3. A Chic $200 Refresh of a “Handyman Special” Bedroom

Kellie Brown had a challenge of one week and a $300 budget cap to create a new master bedroom, and this one is full of DIY magic—even though it was her first time using a nail gun and a drill. The total transformation only cost $197.

4. $200 Made this Living Room Window Seat a Dramatic Focal Point

Jessalyn Thompson’s house lacked character, so she DIYed a window seat in her living room that is any bookworm’s dream. By building her own window seat and implementing smart hacks (like non-wired sconces), the whole project took nine days and cost around $200 to complete.

Credit: Ashley Alongi
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5. A $250 Update Perks up This Drab 1980s Kitchen

Ashley Alongi’s New York City apartment was stuck in the 1980s, but with a fresh coat of paint on the cabinets, as well as peel-and-stick wood-look counters, and a Moroccan star wallpapered backsplash, Alongi blasted it into the present in this simple redo.

6. Just $125 Gave a Cramped Closet a Colorful New Life

Amanda Walker took an awkward closet and transformed it into something beautiful and functional—and managed to maximize storage space.

7. This $350 Pantry Redo Is a Master Class in Organization

Getting an Instagram-worthy pantry can be expensive—those containers add up quickly! But Torie of Scotshill House was able to create this beautifully organized pantry for $350 by spending time planning, researching, and reusing items she already owned.

8. A £300 Hallway Redo Swaps Dated Carpet for Fun Pops of Color

Geri Alessi loved the rooms in her home, but felt entering the hallway was always a let down. By removing the carpet and adding a fresh coat of paint with fun pops of color—like in the door frames—as well as putting up wall art and plants, the space is now as inviting as the rest of the home.

9. An Old Childhood Bedroom Gets All Grown-Up for Just $450

Amilia James wanted to give her sister an upgrade to her childhood bedroom once she found out she was moving back home due to the pandemic. By incorporating a mix of new and refurbished items, as well as creating a cohesive aesthetic, James was able keep the costs to $450 in this inspiring redo.

10. This Funky $100 Bathroom Redo Uses Paint in Cool, Surprising Ways

Savvy DIYers know that paint is the secret to a low-cost transformation. Angie Scheer took that to heart in her whimsical bathroom redo, where she used a different color on nearly every surface—the floor, the vanity, and the walls—for a stunning result.