7 of the Best “Game-Changer” Home Projects You Can Do for Under $1,000, According to Reddit

published Jun 9, 2022
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As with all things in life, owning a home requires a careful balance. Since it’s yours to enjoy, after all, you want every room to resemble your specific tastes. But you probably also want to make sure that any upgrades you invest in are worth it — either in resale, or in money saved or quality of life gained before that.

Deciphering which DIY projects are worth the money and which ones are skippable is a tricky task. After all, some things that seem pricey at first look end up paying dividends, and other budget projects might be flops that you’ll only find yourself redoing later. It turns out that this is a quandary many homeowners find themselves in, which is why the question came up on Reddit. 

Recently, Redditor u/scale369 asked the Home Improvement subreddit commenters to describe the best $500 to $1,000 home projects that were worth every penny, either because these solutions are safer, more efficient, or more beautiful than what they had before. Follow along to see how incorporating these seven budget-friendly luxuries into your home can capture the best of both worlds: comfort now, and potential rewards later. 

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Repainting the Interior

It may seem like repainting the interior of a home is a task that can wait, but it’s something thousands of readers upvoted as worthwhile — whether you’re moving in, moving out, or simply in need of new surroundings. “Painted the interior of the whole house before moving in. It feels 20 years newer,” says user u/stardust_2001.

Painting multiple rooms can potentially cost a small fortune with professional help, but doing this yourself over time can cut the budget down considerably. Just make sure you have the right tools, patience, and plenty of good playlists. And while you’re at it, many commenters also noted that this would be the perfect time to upgrade outlet covers and light switches to match.

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Installing Garage Storage

While piling boxes upon boxes in your garage and parking your car outside is technically a solution, it isn’t exactly an efficient one — particularly if you’re looking for something specific amongst all that stuff. Many commenters said that investing in heavy-duty steel shelving units for their garages had major benefits in clearing space and keeping everything organized. (And as a side note, it also helped people to declutter.)

“I got the Costco ones. Worth every penny. I recommend going with the 18-inch option. 24-inch shelves take up more floor space than you’d think,” says user u/Desdinova74. One user also said that installing the shelving to ceiling joists overhead was ideal, since that provided even more opportunities to store things away. 

Placing Sliding Shelves Inside Lower Cabinets

It’s not easy to crouch down and reach for items in the depths of a lower cabinet, no matter how flexible you may be. That’s why many people agreed with user u/trivialcabernet that installing sliding shelves within those drawers is absolutely worth the time and effort. “I eventually want to swap all the lowers out for drawers, but sliding shelves was a low-cost upgrade in the meantime that adds so much more functionality,” they say. One user said that they got their sliding shelves from Amazon’s wholesale section for $40 each. Keep in mind that you’ll want shelves to fit your exact cabinets, so be sure to measure them before you buy. 

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Plugging in Motion Sensor Lights in Dark Corners

Walking into a dark room can present its own set of challenges, like when your hands are full or you’re not sure if a step is mere inches away. That’s why Redditors liked the idea of installing motion sensor lights in areas that need better illumination, which can include next to a garage door, in an attic, near the front door, or even under kitchen cabinets. The best part is that you don’t even have to think about turning them on. 

“I bought a four-pack of rechargeable lights and they are amazing. I have one in [the] hallway between [the] bedrooms and bathroom, one in [the] laundry room, one under [the] cabinets next to [the] sink, and one outside at the base of the ramp in [the] breezeway. Best $30 I’ve spent in years,” says user u/readstewmuch. Similarly, many commenters also said that installing LED lights throughout their home was worth it. 

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Investing in an Extra Refrigerator 

If you have a big family, or a busy social calendar, or you like having a fully-stocked refrigerator at the ready, then you’ve probably run into the problem of not having enough space for everything you need to keep cool. That’s why commenters suggested getting an additional refrigerator to store bulk items. If you don’t have the space for a full refrigerator, smaller ones were suggested for beverages, too.

Getting an extra refrigerator may not be great for energy conservation, but if you make a point to use what you have, it can be worth it. “Just by coincidence, right when the pandemic started we replaced our fridge and left our old one in the garage [to put on] Craigslist,” says user u/LA_Nail_Clippers. “We kept it instead and used it for bulk storage. It’s been great — fewer visits to the grocery store and more home cooking.” 

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Adding Soft-Close Everything

Slamming drawers and cabinets shut may be a thing of the past once you install soft-close doors, which many people said made them feel as if they were experiencing the high life. But don’t restrict this feature to your kitchen. It can be used in your bathroom, too. “Soft close toilet seats [cost] about $35 a piece, and unless you have a ‘Cribs’-style mansion (in which case the $500 to $1,000 investment would be irrelevant), you’ll get by likely under $150,” says user u/feina635.” One more spot to include among your soft-close upgrades? Your trash can. 

Getting a Single-Basin Kitchen Sink

While a few noted that buying a dishwasher is necessary in itself, you’ll likely still have to do the dishes on a regular basis. And for that chore, many Redditors noted that having a single-basin sink — like the wide farmhouse-style ones, for example — made the process much easier. “I will never do a split-basin sink again,” says user u/fslashd. “The ability to wash a full baking sheet in the bottom of the sink with room to spare is a game changer.” And if you’re changing your sink, others noted that you should