The popularity of shows like Fixer Upper, Property Brothers, and all other things HGTV have people scrambling to make their modern farm house dreams come true. The reality of these reality tv shows, however, is that the average person does not have the money, time, or professional help to update their homes accordingly. Luckily, there are ways to make a big impact on a small budget by following these five steps:

Step 1: Need vs. Want
If you’ve invested in a home, you likely have a handful of solid, expensive, and lasting items in your possession. Take inventory of what you already own before hitting the stores. Plan for what you want to purchase and set a budget.

Step 2: Go in Stages
Secondary to evaluating what you already own vs. what you need to buy, try to plan a remodel in stages. Maybe the artwork and curtains in your living room can wait a while, but the couches desperately need to be replaced or updated. Don’t feel obligated to do it all in one chunk.

Step 3: Choose Your Color First
One of the best investments in renovating a room or changing your home decor style is to switch up the wall colors. When you determine your color palette, the rest can fall into place over time. Whether you go light and neutral or bold and daring, a fresh coat of paint can make a huge impact.

Step 4: Go Second-Hand
That old saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is so true. By joining your local buy, sell, trade sites on Facebook, you have access to an endless revenue of furniture, accessories, light fixtures, and textiles. People who are trying to offload their belongings to make room for their own new things are willing to sell for a bargain. You’ll be amazed at the high quality items that are available on these sites for a lot less than they are in stores.

Step 5: Buy Online
With sites like Wayfair, Overstock, and World Market, the amount of choices online greatly outnumbers what you can find in stores. The prices are also phenomenal. While buying large items unseen might feel like a risk, there are usually extensive customer reviews and lots of real-life photos available for most items. By doing the proper research and taking your time, you can save a lot of money buying online. Returns are usually easy, too!

If you’re planning on selling your home or looking to buy a new one, curb appeal plays a key role in whether you or a potential buyer want to take a look at what the inside has to offer. Here are a few ways where homeowners can improve the outside look of their homes.


Everyone likes to see objects in the right place. If it doesn’t look pleasing to the eye, a potential homebuyer might have uncertain feelings going into the home from the start. The front door of your home can be decorated with light fixtures on both sides as well as planters on each side to offer the home a welcoming and beautiful entry. A nice wreath hanging on the door wouldn’t hurt either!

-Mailbox makeovers

If you have a post mounted mailbox, it should match the home. Wooden mailboxes can be painted to match the exterior of the home, or by adding a beautiful flower garden around it. You’ll have to make sure the flowers don’t overgrow around the mailbox but it definitely leaves an appealing area for anyone looking at your home.

-Adding Art

Complimenting your home by adding artwork to the outside is a great way to catch the eye of a homebuyer (remember that these art pieces should be weather-resistant). Examples of these pieces include, water sculptures and bird baths. Make sure not to overdo it with a ton of these pieces all over the yard but one piece near the garden will really bring potential buyers to imagine their future home to look beautiful and elegant with their own artwork.

-Painting your home

Whether it’s painting the siding or just the trimming, any little project will improve the look of your home. Choose colors that will appeal to the eye of the beholder. Grays, blues, and whites are just a few colors that bring out a sort of elegance and highlight the home in a rather pleasing way.

-Walk the walkway

The walkway to your home should be as inviting as possible. If your walkway consists of uneven stones or cracked concrete, a potential homebuyer might lose their interest in taking a look inside. Take the time to make small changes, it won’t break the bank and it will improve the chances of selling your home.

These little improvements really make a big difference in the curb appeal of a home. Whether you’re looking to sell or buy, take a minute to look outside. Would this home catch your eye if you were looking to purchase a new home? If you’re not appealed to it, chances are neither will anyone else.

The bathroom is one of the rooms in your house that every guest is likely to see at some point. Making it look presentable and clean can sometimes be hard to do with an outdated room in need of upgrading.  Makeovers can get to be quite expensive; however, there are some ways you can effectively make a big impact for a much lower price.  When giving any room a makeover, the best rule to follow is to renovate what you can and only replace something if it’s an absolute necessity.  There are many things that you are able to DIY in your bathroom to make it look fresh and new for a fraction of the cost of a typical remodel.

Utilize Paint
Paint can be one of your best friends in renovation.  It’s one of the easiest ways to update something for relatively cheap.  Painting the walls can give a room a whole new look. You can change the color drastically or simply just repaint it with a similar shade to make it new.  With a few extra steps, you could also paint the trim around a shower, cabinets, faucets and even the floor.

Change The Handles
A quick and easy way to change the look of a room is to switch out the handles or knobs.  You can replace the toilet handle, cabinet handles, drawer handles or knobs, and doorknobs to make an effective change in a small way. You can find cheap handles and knobs at home depot or other department stores.

Customize Curtains
Why buy an already made shower curtain in a pattern you tolerate, when you could customize your own that you love? Some custom-made shower curtains by designers can be costly, but if you take your own measurements and pick out your own fabric, you can hire a seamstress to do the hemming for much cheaper.

Frame Your Mirror
Putting a frame around your mirror is an easy way to upgrade the look and make it look more elegant and classic.

Get Creative With Organization
If you have boxes of toilet paper, Q-tips, and other things stashed in sight, it can look a little messy. If you don’t have many storage places, one easy way to make it look more presentable would be to find ways to make it look more organized. One thing you can do is to get mason jars and decorate the tops with something that will match the rest of your bathroom and fill them up with smaller products such as Q-tips and cotton balls. You can store toilet paper by putting a shelf in above the door.

Don’t Forget to Decorate
Decorating the bathroom is important too! If you want to stick with a “mason jar” theme, you can use them to make your own candles or hold flowers.  You can also use printout decorative sayings or pictures, frame them, and hang them on the wall. There are many cheap things you can do to decorate your bathroom and upgrade it to something entirely new.

Millennials are starting to stray from renting. Instead, they are searching for their first home.  There are some specific requirements that this generation wants that may be different from previous generations. To sell a home towards Millennials, read what they consider home “must haves.”

A Good Location
Younger homebuyers without children tend to see a good location as one that is near public transportation and/or has a good walking score.  This is different from their parents that likely didn’t mind a longer commute with more privacy.  Although, young homebuyers that have children may also want something that’s a little more residential.

Online Photos
Today, most people start their search for a home online. Making sure that the home has professional looking photos is key to capturing the interest of millennial homebuyers.  Factors such as lighting, angle, and general cleanliness are all important for a photo to come out looking its best.

Open Floor Plans
Many young homebuyers don’t feel the need for a formal dining room.  During get togethers, most people are now spending their time in the kitchen and the common living room. There is a desire to have more of a flow when they are entertaining instead of having rooms sectioned off for specific purposes.

Updated Kitchen and Bathrooms
As mentioned before, the younger generation entertains more in the kitchen, which requires a nice big space. In addition, kitchen and bathrooms are often very expensive to renovate and change.   Millennials often have limited budgets and spend their money on a down payment and furnishings instead of updating.

Low Maintenance
Making a home as low maintenance as possible is excellent for millennial homebuyers. Wood floors and granite countertops are a plus since they're much easier to clean than carpet and easily stained surfaces. 

The appeal of doing something yourself is undoubtedly huge. In an ideal world, you’ll get a great sense of accomplishment, bragging rights to all your friends and family, and you’ll save a ton. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Failed DIY projects are both demoralizing and can create problems that are much more expensive than the original fix. Here are some tips so you know what projects to take on and which you should probably hire out.

Know Your Skills: You have to be honest with yourself here. Do you really know how to do the job? If you are inexperienced or lack the required skills to take on the project, it can only cause problems. Firstly, many jobs, especially anything electrical, can be quite dangerous and if you are unsure of how to do it, you’ll possibly hurt yourself. Even if you are able to finish the job unscathed and feel like it was successful, you never really are sure of the quality of your work. If you seal something improperly or don’t reinforce something enough, you could have leaks or structural issues in the long term that are much more costly than hiring a professional for your small job. As a rule of thumb, if you have to follow along and mimic a YouTube video in order to do the project, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

Avoid Most Big Jobs: Unless you have done extensive research and have training in the area, conquering a large project is not in your best interest. Even if these jobs seem easy, they most likely are not. There is a reason renovating a bathroom, for example, is much more expensive than you, as a DIYer, think it should be. While on the surface, pulling out a toilet and bathtub may seem simple. You will quickly find it requires more tools and time than you ever imagined. Big jobs like this can look easy, but you can be quickly overwhelmed and easily make mistake that a professional would not.

Permits: Jobs that require any kind of permit are probably not worth your while. Professionals have spent years working with the necessary powers and can likely get these permits with a lot less stress and time that you can. If you are thinking about doing the work on your own without a permit, think again. Unpermitted improvements make it very hard to sell your home and could lead to a lawsuit if something were to go wrong with the repair post-sale.

Enjoy It: If you look at the project and are dreading it from day one, hire it out. When you are unhappy in your work, you are much more likely to rush through it and do a poor job that could hurt you down the line. Further, projects often take a lot of time and if you hire it out, that is time that could be spent doing something you truthfully enjoy as opposed to slaving over a home fix.

DIY work is fantastic if done well, but too many times quick fixes and other improper work cause a lot of trouble in the future. Do a lot of research and planning before you start any DIY project to be sure it is something you are fully ready to handle.

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