How to Spruce Up Your Home for $300 or Less: An Interview with Adrienne Hubbard
We sat down with Adrienne Hubbard of Crafty Little Gnome for her take on how to spruce up and even increase the resale value of your home for less than $300.
For most of us, the weekend is just about the only time we have to spend on giving our homes a facelift, but few of us want to spend the entire weekend on a single project. That’s why we’ve compiled our list of 57 things you can do in a weekend that increase curb appeal.
1. Take care of seasonal lawn maintenance
One of the first things people will notice about your home is the state of your lawn, and maintaining your yard season by season can be simpler than you think. We’ve created guides for each season so that you can simply and easily keep up your lawn no matter what the weather is like.
Lawn care guides by season
2. Paint your shutters
Give your home’s shutters a fresh coat of paint. Typically, paint ranges from $15–$50 per gallon with supplies like painter’s tape and brushes costing no more than $40. You can get this project done in an afternoon for less than $100.
3. Plant a shade garden
If you’re short on sunlight, you can plant a shade garden to boost your home’s curb appeal with deep green foliage and bright, popping blooms. Shade plants typically need no more than four hours of sunlight per day, so north-facing houses tend to support front yard shade gardens quite well.
4. Swap out your house numbers
Update your home’s entrance with a new set of house numbers. Local home improvement stores have sleek modern options which can really give your front door a face lift.
5. Replace your mailbox
Just like your house numbers, the mailbox is a quick swap that often goes overlooked.
6. Trim your trees
Tree trimming is a task best handled in late winter, but it’s technically never too late to give your branches a trim. Not only does this task improve the look of your trees and thus your property, tree trimming is also an important part of maintaining the health of your canopy.
7. Stain your porch or deck
This task will likely take you two days, but the pay-off of a newly stained deck is well worth the trouble. Check out our guide to wood-staining projects for step-by-step instructions for staining your deck.
8. Repair chipped or cracked windows
Conduct a simple inspection of your home’s windows and take the time to repair any chips or cracks. Not only is this important to the look of your home, cracked windows can mean unnecessarily high energy bills, so this is a task better done sooner than later.
9. Pressure wash your home’s exterior
OK, this one is just fun. Pressure washing your home’s exterior is one of the most noticeable ways to improve the look of your home. Always make sure to repair any chips or cracks before you pressure wash the exterior. Most pressure washers can be rented for $50–$100 a day.
10. Pressure wash your driveway and sidewalk
While you’ve got that pressure washer rented, wash your driveway and sidewalks to keep them looking sparkling and new.
11. Replace loose or missing shingles
You can usually conduct a visual inspection of your roof (grab a pair of binoculars if your home is two stories) to evaluate whether you need to replace or repair roofing. Keep in mind that safety is of utmost importance when you’re working on the roof, so if you’re not comfortable in any way or are unable to take the appropriate precautions, call a pro.
12. Jazz up your front stairs
Your front stairs can really do a number on your curb appeal if you haven’t paid them any mind. If your front stairs are concrete or wood, a good pressure washing can help, but we like to go even further. Potted plants and solar-powered walkway lights are a few of our favorite weekend-friendly touches. Check out our front stairs inspiration for a few ideas.
13. Spread mulch or pine needles
Gardens love mulch—it helps prevent weed growth, conserve moisture, and adds great nutrients to your soil. A fresh application of mulch or pine needles is the perfect afternoon project, and at just $2–$10 a bag, you can usually get away with this quick task for under $50.
If mulch isn’t your thing, check out our guide to mulch alternatives.
14. Style your balcony
If you’re lucky enough to have a balcony or a porch large enough for sitting, treat yourself to a little upgrade and outfit the space with outdoor sofas and a coffee table. Check out six of our favorite ways to decorate a balcony to spark a few ideas.
15. Paint your front doors a contrasting color
One of the most simple yet powerful improvements you can make to your home’s curb appeal is to paint your front door a contrasting color. Our favorite choices are bright yellows or reds or a trendy jewel color like teal or ultraviolet. If loud colors aren’t your theme, a black door on a white house is a classic alternative.
16. Add a new door knocker
Gorgeous hardware with a new paint job can make your front door that more classy.
17. Lay a new brick walkway
Brick is a classic and cost-effective choice when it comes to laying a new walkway or garden path. Our quick guide to brick patterns ranks brick lay patterns by difficulty, so you can asses what’s realistic for you to tackle in a weekend.
18. Paint your front stairs
If you have poured concrete or wooden stairs on your house, give them a fresh coat of paint or stain.
19. Trim your hedges
Trimmed hedges can give your home a neat and polished look. Though flowering shrubs and hedges should be trimmed when the blooms fade, non-flowering hedges can be trimmed at anytime.
20. Install solar-powered walkway lights
Add charm and make an environmentally responsible move by installing solar-powered lights along your front sidewalk or entryway. This is one of our favorite ways to increase curb appeal, and definitely one of the most delightful.
21. Edge your sidewalk
Keep your sidewalk looking crisp and clean by spending 30 minutes on this task. Use a power edger or weed wacker to remove overgrown grass and weeds. You can use a manual edger, though a power edger is much more efficient. After the edging is complete, line your sidewalk with beautiful plants and flowers like peonies, roses, or hosta.
22. Kill weeds
If you want a simple project this weekend, we’ve got you covered. Our recipe for the most powerful natural weed killer around is straight from the mother-in-law of one of our writers, so you know this stuff is good.
23. Do some hardscaping
Built-in concrete planters, a low stone wall, or new front steps are just a few ways you can add structure and character to your front yard.
24. Paint the garage door
Garage doors don’t have to be drab or purely functional. Upgrading your garage door with a vibrant color, or fresh coat of paint, can dramatically improve the way your home looks.
25. Plant roses
Widely admired for their graceful buds and sweet, delicate fragrance, roses are sure to stand out in your yard or garden. Add them to a trellis, plant them in the ground, or grow them in containers.
26. Build a berm
A berm is an easy way to add height to the landscape and integrate color into your yard via plants, mulch, stone, or trees. You can build a berm by clearing away grass, enriching soil, and planting flowers and other foliage.
27. Repair your front step railing
If your front step railing is damaged, give it a quick update by resetting the posts with quickset concrete. If your railing is rusted or peeling, sand it down and add a new finish or coat of paint.
28. Plant a garden that attracts pollinators
What better way to boost curb appeal than to plant a garden full of blooms loved by bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Plants like verbena, black-eyed susan, sunflower, and lavender are a few of our favorite pollinator-attracting options.
29. Make a hummingbird feeder
Attract hummingbirds with more than just popular pollinator plants. Hang a hummingbird feeder on your back porch and fill it with homemade hummingbird food to encourage these delicate birds to keep visiting your property.
30. Get rid of creeping charlie
Though some love the delicate purple blossoms of creeping charlie, others aren’t fans of this member of the mint family since it has the tendency to spread across a lawn so quickly. Here are three ways to get rid of creeping charlie on your lawn.
31. Clean your windows
OK, if you’re really looking for a quick curb appeal project this weekend, get those windows squeaky clean. Here are two of our favorite eco-friendly ways to clean glass.
32. Hang a new porch light
Upgrade the look of your old and worn-out porch lights with modern lanterns or outdoor pendant lights. These unique lighting brands offer a fresh take on outdoor (and indoor) lighting fixtures and are sure to make your house stand out.
33. Clean your gutters
Gutters should be cleaned twice a year: once in the spring and once in the fall, and depending on the size of your home, the whole job can typically be completed in less than an hour. See our guide to cleaning your gutters.
34. Aerate your lawn
If you tend to see brown patches popping up on your lawn, then it may be due for some aeration. Lawn aerators use rows of spikes or tines to penetrate the soil and cut through thatch to break up compacted earth to let air, water, and other nutrients reach the roots of your lawn. Aeration also promotes the decomposition of organic matter—a natural fertilizer for a healthy lawn—and encourages deeper and stronger roots, thicker growth, and a greener lawn overall.
35. Rake your leaves
If you have a lot of deciduous trees in your yard, this may be a task that you complete every weekend during the fall—better to do a little cleanup at a time than to wait until you have a foot of leaves to rake. Make sure you complete the job before it gets too cold and winter sets in—snow mold can build up between leaves and lawn and damage your yard.
36. Clean your grill
Cleaning your grill should take no longer than 20 minutes to complete and will give your outdoor kitchen a simple revamp. Here’s how to clean a grill in nine steps.
37. Start an organic garden
Growing an organic garden is a truly gratifying experience. What could be better than watching seasonal flowers bloom outside your window or walking out back to harvest fresh fruits and vegetables for a meal? Here are our recommendations on how to get started with organic gardening.
38. Mow your lawn
Try mowing in the early morning or just as the sun starts to go down: this will help you stay cool and keep your grass far more healthier than if you were to mow during the heat of the day.
39. Plant a tree
Adding a tree to your yard can provide shade and privacy while increasing property value. Fast-growing trees are typically preferred since they tend to be the best shade-providing trees. Here are eight of our favorite fast-growing trees.
40. Hang a porch swing
There’s something so beckoning about sitting on a porch swing and feeling the warm summer breeze while sipping a glass of ice-cold lemonade. Porch swings can range from $150 to $1,000 and can be bought at most home improvement stores.
41. Fertilize your lawn
For most lawns, you’ll need to apply fertilizer only once or twice per year. Depending on the size of your lawn and the method of fertilizer you plan to use, allow for two to six hours to complete the project. View our complete guide to fertilizing your lawn.
42. Clean your pool
Keep your pool in pristine condition by spending 30–45 minutes skimming off leaves and debris from the pool surface, vacuuming the bottom and sides of your pool, and cleaning out the skimmers.
43. Get rid of crabgrass
For those who take pride in a lush and beautiful lawn, eradicating crabgrass should be top priority. Go the natural route and pull crabgrass yourself or use crabgrass herbicides to effectively remove the plant.
44. Plant a vertical vegetable garden
Switch up your landscape with a vertical vegetable garden. Make sure you have a spot in your yard that gets plenty of sun. Ideally, your vertical vegetable garden will get six to eight hours of sunlight every day. Check out these four vertical garden plans for inspiration.
45. Repair fencing
All fences need periodic maintenance to keep them functioning properly and looking their best. Here’s a guide to all types of fence repairs from fixing posts that lean to repairing buried rot.
46. Add window boxes
This is a great way to add a little charm and pop of color to your home. Add petunias, black-eyed Susans, daffodils, snowdrops, or hyacinths to window boxes for maximum visual effect.
47. Plant marigolds
Marigolds are simple to grow, easy to maintain, and act as a great companion plant to other flowers. Not to mention, their bright, bold, bountiful blooms are definitely an eye-catcher. Plant these flowers in planters or in your garden.
48. Get rid of mildew
Mildew can form on your home’s siding and in your garden, leaving grayish-white spots in its wake. Dedicate a couple of hours to assessing the mildew in and around your home and getting rid of it with a store-bought cleaner and scrubbing brush.
49. Decorate for seasons and holidays
Nothing is more welcoming than a seasonal wreath on your front door during the holidays or a few pumpkins on your doorstep in the fall.
50. Repair broken patio pavers
Fixing cracked or chipped patio pavers is a simple and inexpensive task. Simply pry up the damaged bricks and replace them with new ones. You can buy patio pavers at your local home improvement store.
51. Plant winter-blooming flowers
While spring is considered prime time for most gardens, some flower varieties prefer cooler temperatures and can be planted in the winter. These five hardy winter-blooming flowers will add months to your gardening season and vibrant colors to a typically neutral winter palette.
52. Start an herb garden
A herb garden is incredibly easy to start: all you need is a little sunshine, well-draining soil, and a little fertilizer or compost.
53. Hide your outdoor air conditioning unit
Cover up your outdoor air conditioning unit with lattice and greenery, or consider building a DIY pallet fence. Paint an old shipping pallet to match the color scheme of your home and dress it up with solar lights and hanging plants.
54. Stage the front of your home
Home staging doesn’t just apply to your home’s interior: your front entrance needs to be warm and inviting, too. A bistro table and chairs can cost around $800 with an ROI of 40–60% and pots of flowers can range between $20–$200 with an ROI of 100–200%.
55. Caulk holes in your home’s exterior
Check your home for cracks in door frames, windows, and walls. If you find any holes, seal them with caulk. Not only will this make your house look more polished, it will prevent pests from getting inside.
56. Add hanging planters to your porch
A porch can become more prominent and inviting with hanging basket planters filled with colorful flowers. Browse your local nursery for flower and plant options.
57. Camouflage your electrical boxes
Notoriously unattractive, your outdoor electrical boxes can be covered up with a layer of paint that matches the color of your home’s exterior, evenly spaced shrubs, or large rocks and boulders.
We sat down with Adrienne Hubbard of Crafty Little Gnome for her take on how to spruce up and even increase the resale value of your home for less than $300.
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