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5 Home Updates for $10,000 or Less

By Home Mortgage Zillow

Whether you’re moving in, moving out or just looking to move up without leaving your current home, a mini-makeover can be every bit as satisfying as a complete renovation. At the right price point, it can also provide a great return on investment.

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If you focus on the right elements, you’ll be amazed how $10,000 can transform your home. Here are five great ideas that show just how far your investment will go.

A classic kitchen

Start by simply refacing those cabinets. At less than half the cost and one-third the time required to replace them, this project is a no-brainer. If you’re aiming for a classic, light and airy feel, then a white color scheme is ideal.

After the cabinets, repaint the rest of the space. The simplicity of white-on-white tends to make quite the statement. But if that’s a bit too much white for you, consider a complementary wall color in softer shades of citrus or blue that keep the space bright and friendly.

Add some polish by replacing all your hardware, and don’t forget the faucet. Working with a light or white scheme, think brushed nickel for drawer pulls and hardware.

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If you’re happy with the cabinets you have, an alternate makeover at this budget is an appliance upgrade. Stainless steel is timeless. You can get high-quality equipment that makes cooking an event, and turns your kitchen into a high-tech, high-luxe space without going over budget.

Brand new bathroom

Get this makeover moving by replacing that built-in vanity with a standalone that offers a much more personalized and custom look. Here, too, remember that the faucet is key in terms of looks and functionality. Choose a style that sits a little higher above the bowl than the original to add a bit of functional luxury.

A new countertop at this scale is very affordable — especially if you can find a remnant — so splurge for some sleek, low-maintenance, solid surface quartz that wears well and cleans easily.

While we’re at the vanity, replace that builder-style mirror clipped to the wall by either covering the entire vanity wall with a seamless, clipless mirror, or hanging one with a frame that fits the space. Finish off your own private hideaway with a fresh coat of paint or wall covering that creates a spa-like feel. Think light and inviting here, with cool pastel shades such as soft green, blue or yellow.

Your favorite house on the block

In a sale situation, curb appeal offers an excellent return on your investment, but many homeowners think twice about selling once they see their home with a new façade. Painting the exterior can take up most of your $10,000 budget, but in most cases, you’ll have enough for a few other key changes.

After the exterior paint, a complementary color for the trim will bring a crispness that takes years off the look of your home. A contrasting color for the door will bring that last pop of polish to the project.

Bring in a couple of large-scale pots with dramatic plantings to frame the entry, and update shrubs and fresh bark or mulch to bring the exterior back to life. Highlight your work with exterior lighting, and invite your guests in with new house numbers and walkway lights.

Beyond cosmetics

Remember that a big part of what makes us feel comfortable in our own homes relates to light and temperature. You’ll notice right away the difference that a 21st-century thermostat makes in temperature accuracy, and in the time your systems need to run to keep your home at your preferred environment.

Dual- or triple-pane windows are another huge factor in controlling your home’s climate while keeping costs down.

Finally, consider going at least partially solar. The money you save will pay you back over time, and solar power is an attractive amenity for potential buyers.

Makeover from the inside out

When many homeowners paint, they just do a quick covering of the walls. But the difference between only painting the walls and getting the ceiling, trim and doors, too, really can’t be measured.

Try to make one color work throughout the house to create a sense of space and consistency. Beiges, grays and other neutral shades keep the space looking clean and bring enough contrast to make that trim pop.

When you’re done, you should have enough money left for throw pillows and other accessories that will convince you you’re not in the house you started in.

Find more home design inspiration.

More from Zillow:
How to Budget for Home Renovations
Glam Geometric Patterns for Your Home Decor
Make Your Kitchen the Best Seat in the House

Kerrie Kelly is a Northern California interior designer and the founder of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab. She is an award-winning interior designer, multimedia consultant and an author of two books: “Home Décor: A Sunset Design Guide” and “My Interior Design Kit,” with Pearson Professional and Career Education.