There has yet to be a home renovation that has been silky smooth, without a single snag or snafu, so be prepared for days when things just aren't going right. It’s natural to want everything to go perfectly according to plan, but with so many products and people involved, it’s unlikely that everything will turn out exactly how you imagined, which can be frustrating and sometimes even costly. 
Not every home improvement is cosmetic. Deteriorating roofs, termite infestation or outdated electrical systems — you can't fix it if you don't know it's broken. Hire an inspector to check out the areas of your home that you don't normally see. They may discover hidden problems that could negatively impact your home's value. Small problems (such as a hidden water leak) can become big, expensive problems quickly; the longer you put off repairs, the more expensive those repairs will be.
Of course, finding less expensive ways to do expensive-looking things doesn’t begin and end at IKEA. All you need is a little creativity (and maybe a little help from design blogs) to come up with a less expensive way to do a project you’ve been dreaming of. I was able to create this large dynamic wall of chunky shelves for very little money by polishing up construction-grade lumber, and Laura made her closet doors look brand new with a little applied moulding. If you don’t want to shell out a lot of money to replace your laminate countertops, you could refinish them with concrete feather finish like Josh did in the Habitat House. And if you like shiplap and want to make it on the cheap, try using inexpensive lauan instead of shiplap siding! You’re really only limited by your creativity or your internet connection!
Although it probably sounds a little intimidating, most people can switch out a light fixture safely and successfully, if they’re careful and follow the instructions. And what a difference fresh lighting makes, especially in the bathroom! This DIY bathroom remodel idea is small and simple, and it can often be done in under an hour, and it really makes such a difference in the brightness and updated feel of the bathroom. Lighting is key in the bathroom, so be sure you’re opting for light that is bright enough, but not too bright, and also designed for high-moisture areas.
Although it probably sounds a little intimidating, most people can switch out a light fixture safely and successfully, if they’re careful and follow the instructions. And what a difference fresh lighting makes, especially in the bathroom! This DIY bathroom remodel idea is small and simple, and it can often be done in under an hour, and it really makes such a difference in the brightness and updated feel of the bathroom. Lighting is key in the bathroom, so be sure you’re opting for light that is bright enough, but not too bright, and also designed for high-moisture areas.
Not a fan of your ceiling lights? By all means, replace them if you have room in your budget. But don’t just throw away the old fixtures. If you need the money, try selling all of your old fixtures on buy/sell/trade sites like Craigslist, OfferUp, or Facebook Marketplace. Old kitchen cabinets, appliances, doors, hardware, and lots of other materials might be of interest to someone else out there scavenging for materials, but if nobody wants your junk, you can sell metal items to scrapyards in exchange for cash. If you don’t need the money, definitely take care when removing old fixtures so you can donate them to your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
One of the simplest, most cost-effective improvements of all is paint! Freshly painted rooms look clean and updated — and that spells value. When selecting paint colors, keep in mind that neutrals appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable. On average, a gallon of paint costs around $25, leaving you plenty of money to buy rollers, painter's tape, drop cloths and brushes. So buy a few gallons and get busy!

Every bathroom should have an excellent mirror. What makes a bathroom mirror excellent? It should be large enough that you can see at the very least your entire head, although more of your body is better. It should also be well-lit. Mirrors are beneficial, particularly in small bathroom remodels, because they reflect a lot of light and make the tiniest, postage-stamp-sized bathroom feel a bit more spacious than it actually is
Realtors agree that top on most homeownes' list of wants is ample storage space. For less than $5,000, consider upgrading your home's storage by adding custom shelving systems to a closet or garage. The first step to really getting organized is de-cluttering. Start by sorting your belongings, then stash them away in your new organized closet or garage to really maximize your home's value.

Big projects or small, probably all of us could stand to learn some decent home repair or home improvement skills. (All around the home, there are things we should never have to pay others to fix for us.) Learn Bob Villa-worthy skills and help others at the same time by volunteering or through free clinics and other resources. Turn to great reading resources and try starter projects too. If you get stuck on a project, iOS app Fountain will connect you to a home improvement expert to answer your question for $5. (Also, did you know we have a home improvement subblog here at Lifehacker called Workshop?)

The bathroom is often considered to be one of the most important rooms in a house (along with the kitchen), especially when it comes to selling a house. Because of this, it’s a good idea to make the bathroom look and feel as fresh and updated as your budget allows. Of course, you can always decorate the bathroom, which will go a long way to accomplishing its updated appeal. But sometimes décor just won’t cut it. One of the most cost-effective ways that you can achieve a successful bathroom upgrade, whether it’s a large or small bathroom remodel, is to look into DIY bathroom remodel options. Sounds intimidating? It doesn’t need to be.


Last but not least, one of the worst things you can do when it comes to home improvements is to start a project without the major details—cost, time, materials, and design—as realistic as possible from the start. Nothing costs more than having to "change horses in midstream" (e.g., you want to move the fridge somewhere else now or want to change your tile choice). Use design tools to conceptualize your project and add a healthy buffer (10-15% more) to your time and financial budget to account for the inevitable surprises.

I recommend starting with one or two rooms and finishing those before moving on to other areas. For one thing, most people find it difficult to finish a project before moving onto the next thing. Prioritize what will be the most intensive project and do it first, otherwise it may drag on for years! If you force yourself to finish one project before beginning another, you won’t have to live in a house full of unfinished rooms. Also, from a budget standpoint, beginning with only one or two rooms is smart because if you run into unexpected expenses, you can deal with them without having to halt work, take out a loan, or make huge compromises in other spaces.


The thrill of a home renovation can quickly be diminished by unforeseen circumstances, stretched budgets, and other unexpected issues. The good news is that most of the time these problems can be mitigated, if not avoided entirely, by keeping an eye out for warning signals. Read on as we go through essential home renovation tips to consider before kicking off your own revamp.
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