Make Over Any Room for $200 or Less

Have you grown tired of the look of your home’s décor? Use these tips and a small budget to make over any room in your house and take your décor from tired to admired.

by Shaunna Privratsky
Make Over Any Room photo

Are the walls of your house starting to close in on you? Is the tired furniture and dingy paint prompting you to pack up and move?

Are you short on the funds to do much about it?

Before you jump into the housing market or go into debt redecorating, consider these tips to freshen up your space without busting your budget.

Make a Plan and a Budget

You shouldn’t start any home improvement project without a plan and a budget. You can do a lot with a limited amount of money, but some projects require more than others. You want to ensure you don’t start one you can’t afford.

Think Twice About Major Renovations

If you are planning a major renovation, first consider how it will affect the resale value of your house. According to Remodeling Magazine’s annual report for 2024, kitchens and bathrooms net a big return on your investment, while bedrooms and living areas don’t offer as much. A minor kitchen makeover gives you a 96.1% return, while a midrange bathroom remodel will yield a respectable 73.7% return on your investment.

But you should be careful not to overspend. Most people want to personalize these areas, so putting too much money into these spaces can backfire if you decide to sell your home.

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Consider Updating Your Outdoor Living Space

Another area that offers a big reward is outdoor living, such as decks, patios, three-season porches, covered sunrooms, or formal gardens. Any investment made here will increase your home’s value and add more square footage of living and entertaining space.

Choose carefully if you are mainly considering your home’s resale value. A wooden deck will return 82.9% of your cost, while a sunroom did not even make the list of Remodeling Magazine’s recommended updates. For a 188.1% return, replace your entry door with a steel one and spruce it up at the same time.

Pick Which Room You’ll Makeover First

Use the following tips to makeover any room in your home:

Pick a theme.

Once you pick a room you are going to tackle, decide on a theme.

This could be an architectural style, like Mission, Contemporary, or the old standby, Eclectic. Or you could choose a color theme with one or two accent hues to complement it. Or base your room on a favorite collection, a treasured art print, or the funky old couch your grandma gave you that you adore.

Make a list of materials and costs to ensure you’re staying within budget.

Keeping your theme in mind, divide your plan into five major areas: flooring, walls, lighting, furniture, and accessories.

Make a list of items you’ll need for your project and the estimated costs. Having a plan makes the whole project go smoothly and eliminates overspending.

Now that you have your plan firmly in mind, go online to get prices. Shop around for price as well as quality. When your shopping list is complete, either place your online orders or hop in the car and go shopping.

Find Frugal Flooring Options

Flooring can be a big expense.

Hate the green shag carpeting but can’t afford to replace it? Cover it with an attractive area rug. Discount stores, home improvement stores, and even catalogs are good sources for inexpensive rugs. I scored a room-size rug for $49 at a back-to-school sale. The regular price was $189!

Paint Walls on the Cheap

Walls are a relatively easy fix.

Neutral or light walls will expand the space visually. Yet don’t be afraid of color. You could paint one wall your focal color, like Ocean Blue, and then paint the other walls a pale gray.

Paint is the cheapest, fastest way to start your “look.” The colors can be custom-mixed, and the semi-gloss finish makes cleaning a snap and offers excellent coverage.

Update Lighting for Less

Lights add visibility and mood. The lamps or lights you have will most likely work, or you can spray paint them for a totally new look at a fraction of the cost of new lighting. Shining light upwards also draws the eye up and makes the room appear taller.

To update our black lamps, I purchased feather trim at Michael’s craft store. With a little glue, it instantly transformed Modern style into Safari.

Update Furniture Frugally

Furniture is another area to consider. You may just need to update what you have.

Slipcovers are a quick way to totally change that old chair into the new favorite seat in the house. Or you can paint wood or metal furniture to give it new life.

Mix Things Up

Rooms become “stale” or boring when everything stays the same. Add some excitement by changing the floor plan and mixing things up.

If the sofa has always been in front of the window, put it against the wall. Move the television stand to a new corner. Pick a new wall or area for the focal point with a large picture, mirror, or wall design.

Accessories for Pennies

Next comes the most fun part, the accessories. Remember that less is more; there will be less to dust and more drama.

This can really cement the theme you choose. For example, if you are going for a Contemporary look, choose sleek vases with a single flower, shiny metal platters with patterned balls, chunky black candlesticks, etc. You can find many of these items for just a few dollars at thrift store and garage sales.

Have Fun With Your Budget Room Makeover

Have fun and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Walls can always be re-painted and furniture can be recovered or rearranged, and you can change your theme.

Decorating should be fun, no matter how big or small your makeover plans are. Make it sparkle with a touch of your personality, and your “new” space will be big on style.

In today’s high-priced home market, it might not be feasible to pick up stakes and move. Yet by relocating a few key pieces of furniture or picking up a paintbrush, you can get a whole new look in your home. Once again, it will be the house of your dreams.

Reviewed May 2024

About the Author

Shaunna Privratsky became an expert in personal finance out of necessity. Between writing, reading and gardening, she is always on the lookout for bargains. Visit her at The Discount Diva.

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