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Room refresh — 6 affordable and easy home upgrades

What we'll cover

  • How small improvements can make a big difference

  • Six easy upgrades to consider

  • Average cost of common home projects

Sometimes even a small renovation can breathe new life into you home. Whether it's adding some smart home tech, changing paint colors or swapping out hardware on your kitchen cabinets, you don't have to spend a lot on improvements to make a noticeable difference. Consider these cheap and easy home upgrades that won't break your budget .

1. A fresh paint job

If a room is feeling blah, one of the easiest, fastest and most affordable ways to give it a boost is a new coat of paint. Whether you choose another color or just freshen the current shade, you'll be surprised by how much this simple job can change the look and feel of a room.

If you go the DIY route, the average cost to paint a standard-sized room is between $200 to $300, keeping in mind one gallon of paint can cover up to 400 square feet of space. The average cost for a professional to paint an interior of a house is $2.75 per square foot. At that rate, a 400-square-foot room would cost $1,100 to paint.

If a room is feeling blah, one of the easiest, fastest and most affordable ways to give it a boost is a new coat of paint.

2. Contemporary wallpaper

Another option to refresh your walls is wallpaper. If you're picturing your grandparents' decades-old patterns, you might be surprised by what modern wallpaper has to offer. Bold tropical prints, understated geometric patterns and art deco are just a few of the styles trending now.

Rather than papering the whole room, pick an accent wall to create visual interest. Not ready to commit? Removable wallpaper makes taking it off a cinch. Peel-and-stick wallpapers range from about 75 cents to $5 per square foot. To have a professional install traditional wallpaper, you can expect to pay between $25 and $80 per hour, plus the cost of the wallpaper itself, which can range in price from $10 to several hundred dollars per roll.

3. New showerhead

Bathrooms are a popular renovation spot, but you don't have to overhaul everything to give yours a refreshed look. Something as simple as swapping out the showerhead can instantly make the bathroom look more clean and modern. Bonus: your daily shower can go from ho-hum to a spa-like experience. Shower heads typically range from about $75 to $100. Professional installation will set you back around $240.

4. Mesh Wi-Fi router

Some simple but significant upgrades can go beyond the physical appearance of your home. If you're dealing with a spotty internet connection in certain parts of your home, a mesh Wi-Fi router may be the solution you're looking for. If you have a large house with multiple floors or barriers like brick walls, this device makes it easy to get connectivity throughout your home. It also offers easy remote management.

From home office to gaming needs, accommodate everyone in the household with a mesh router that can cover 3,000 to 5,000 square feet. A two-piece mesh router kit can cost $200 or more. If you have a smaller home with just a few spots of dead zones, a Wi-Fi extender can solve the issue for $20 to $100.

5. Smart speakers

Want to step up your entertaining? Get quality sound for music, podcasts and more along with the power of voice assistance. Smart speakers from Google, Amazon and Apple come with a range of capabilities and price tags. You can get a basic model for as low as $50 or a speaker with all the bells and whistles for $400 and up. This upgrade can add functionality and enjoyment to your home — and make your house the life of the next neighborhood party.

6. LED candles

Changing up the lighting can make a big difference in a room's style and ambiance. But you don't necessarily need to hire an electrician to add some mood lighting. You'd be surprised at how realistic quality LED candles can look. And unlike real flames, you don't have to worry about a fire hazard. You can snag flameless LED candles for between $9 and $50. Place them strategically throughout your home — in the dining room, on the mantle, in your bedroom — to set the vibe.

Affordable upgrades for an effortless refresh

When you're ready to spruce up your home, you don't have to spend a fortune to make improvements . Small touches can transform your space. Pick simple, inexpensive upgrades that suit your style and needs to freshen up your home without straining your wallet.

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