Category: House and Home

Time for a House Upgrade: Top 7 Home Updates You Need

On average, homebuyers are expected to stay in a single-family home for 13 years. First-time buyers usually stay for 11.

Before you even think about selling, you want to enjoy the space you call home.

The overall design of your home will have a great impact on your mood and family dynamics.

If you’re sitting here reading this, it may be time for you to invest in a house upgrade. But where do you even start?

Below you will find 7 minor changes and major fixes that can make your home feel refreshed and renewed.

1. Revamp the Color Scheme

One of the easiest ways to shift the mood in your home is to paint the walls. Any designer or artist will tell you that color has a profound impact on our lives.

Individual experiences with color will be shaped by your upbringing and other factors. Still, it is an important tool in communicating some of our more unconscious feelings.

If you want a room to feel more relaxing, choose shades of blue and grey. If you want a room to influence more excitement, choose reds and oranges.

If you wish to go beyond the walls, consider changing out some furniture and fixtures.

My favorite color schemes are those that present high contrast and draw attention to a particular area of the room. For example, an indigo living room with a sunset orange sofa.

2. Replace Your Old Carpets

If your carpet is worn out and matted, it can make your whole life feel worn out. A new carpet is warm and fluffy on the feet.

This can inspire a clean, welcoming feeling that you may not even realize you’re missing.

If you do plan on selling, potential buyers will be more likely to choose a home with carpets that look new and clean. They don’t want to have to worry about replacing them right away.

3. Energy Efficient House Upgrade

Replacing your old fixtures can be a costly investment. However, over time, you save money on energy bills and help protect the planet.

With the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, you can gain up to a 30% rebate on qualifying expenditures when you convert to solar energy.

These updates can also improve your home’s resale value. First-time buyers are especially attracted to the potential long-term savings offered by energy efficient homes.

Energy efficiency goes beyond the energy source and includes insulation and flooring. Materials like cork are relatively cheap and can keep your feet warm on cold winter mornings.

Before you take this leap, make sure to do your market research to make sure your investment is worth-while.

4. Landscaping

Landscaping can be a hassle, especially if you live in areas that are prone to drought or flooding. You will want to manicure your yard to suit the climate in which you live.

This can be a fun DIY project in the spring, and it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.

You can find fabulous yard decorations at almost any thrift store. You may want to do some price shopping and research before you choose the plants.

Add some gnomes or lawn totems for cheap and easy improvements.

A beautiful front yard can really improve the curb appeal of your home. It can make it feel more enchanting when you and your guests enter.

5. New Lighting Fixtures

In addition to replacing old incandescent bulbs with more energy efficient ones, such as LEDs, change out the old fixtures.

Add a bit of glamour to your kitchen with a chandelier. Brighten up your living space with recessed lighting fixtures.

Put your design and lighting skills to the test. You can go as fancy or modest as you wish. It’s your home.

Quit living in the dark ages and bring in the light!

6. Take a Look Outside

Don’t neglect the exterior of your home. Beyond landscaping, look at the walls.

Is the paint peeling? Does your house need a powerwash?

An exterior upgrade could be as simple as repainting the trim or as complex as completely replacing the siding. Either way, you can attract more potential buyers with a clean and spiffy exterior.

You may even wish to add a front porch or walkway. These features are sure to attract more money.

7. Finish the Basement

Many times, basements go underutilized. Beyond storage, they can be turned into fabulous living spaces.

You can turn a dingy basement into a bonus room or an apartment that you can rent out.

This can be a big investment but may be a great addition to your home. It may become your teenagers’ favorite place to hang out with friends.

If you’re trying to add storage space, you can better utilize the space with overhead storage and shelving.

As with anything on this list, you can go as big or as small as you prefer. You can read more here about how to improve the space and add value to your home.

8. New Kitchen Cabinets

Does your kitchen feel like a black hole with no life? You don’t have to completely replace all of the cabinets. Maybe your cabinets could use a new paint job.

To many, the kitchen is the center of attention in the home. Food is everything.

You can brighten up your kitchen with a new paint job. This can quickly be done in a weekend, especially if you employ the help of the whole family.

If the structural integrity of the cabinets is suffering, consider replacing the hinges and handles. This can really improve the look and functionality of the cabinets.

Updating Your Home for You

Your home is one of the most important spaces in your life. A house upgrade is a worthwhile investment for you, your family, and future resale value.

While some updates can be big and costly, some can easily be done on a weekend for little money.

You deserve to live in a home that you enjoy. You can learn more about cost-effective home improvement and thrifty living on our site.

How to Make the Home Buying Process Nice and Easy as a Single Mom

home buying processAre you a single parent looking to purchase a home?

As a single mom, you may feel that you have enough on your plate. Buying a home may feel all daunting, especially when you are daily responsible for your child’s welfare.

Luckily, it is entirely possible to purchase your dream home even if you are doing so solo. Read on for insight into the home buying process for single parents!

1. Know Your Budget

It’s vital to identify your financial standing before you start browsing properties on the market. This means assessing income sources, assets, and current outstanding debt. These numbers will help you ultimately determine your maximum budget for purchasing a home.

If you currently own a home, it may be wise to initiate the selling process sooner rather than later. This can help you nail down your budget even more precisely.

Click here if you’re thinking, “I need to sell my house fast!”

Be realistic when identifying your budget, and be liberal (rather than conservative) when calculating your monthly financial obligations. It may also be wise to check in on your credit score’s health.

A higher credit score will boost your eligibility for securing a mortgage with good rates.

2. Know Your Mortgage Options

As a single mom, you may be heading straight for a conventional home loan. However, single parents are at a disadvantage in that they typically do not have a co-signer (i.e., a spouse or domestic partner).

For this reason, it may be harder to secure a conventional mortgage. Yet you do have options when it comes to mortgages.

FHA and USDA loans, for example, cater to individuals of a certain income bracket within more rural areas of the U.S. VA loans may also be an option if you or your family have served in the military.

You may also wish to consult a lender to learn more about your financing options as a single parent.

3. Ask Friends for Lender Referrals

There’s nothing worse than navigating the home buying process alone. Reach out to family members and friends to ask for lender referrals.

Because there are so many lenders out there, referrals can save you both time and money. After all, your friends have already done the work of finding and selecting a reputable lender if they are current homeowners!

Browse consumer reviews online to learn more about what it will be like to borrow from specific lenders. Prioritize the ones that are reputable, certainly, but also don’t neglect locally-based lenders.

4. Meet With All Prospective Lenders

Once you have your list of prospective lenders, be sure to meet with each one in person (or over the phone). When meeting with lenders, clearly state your needs as a single parent.

Ask the lender for advice about which mortgage may be right for you, and be sure to pre-qualify for mortgages with lenders you like.

Pre-qualification will make the home buying process easier and faster. It will also help you compare rates from different lenders.

5. Work With an Agent You Like

Start browsing properties only once you’ve been pre-qualified for a mortgage. When doing so, work with an agent with a positive local reputation.

The best real estate agents will be attentive to your specific needs and supportive at every step of the home buying process.

Final Thoughts: The Home Buying Process

The home buying process can be intimidating, especially if you are navigating it alone! Luckily, even as a single mom, it is possible to purchase a home without too many headaches.

Be sure to identify your budget and mortgage type ahead of time. Ask your friends for lender referrals and be sure to compare offers from multiple lenders.

Get pre-qualified for a home loan before you start looking at properties, and be sure to work with a real estate agent you trust!

At Thrifty Momma Ramblings, we know that life can be challenging as a single mom. Find more personal finance tips here!

1031 Exchange Rules: How You Can Save Money When Selling a Property

1031 exchange rulesIt’s really nice to make a massive profit when you sell real estate.

But it’s not so nice when you have to fork over a huge chunk of those profits over to the IRS come tax time.

That’s the reality of selling real estate, particularly as it applies to investment properties. More specifically, capital gains taxes usually have to be paid on any gains – or profits – of a real estate deal. If you sell an investment property for a profit, odds are you’ll have to pay capital gains taxes on it.

Or do you?

Luckily for real estate investors, there’s this little thing called a “1031 exchange” that allows investors to avoid having to pay capital gains taxes when they sell their properties.

But it’s not so cut and dry. There are certain requirements that investors have to meet in order to take advantage of such a tax perk.

Let’s dive into 1031 exchange rules to see what they’re all about and how they can help you save tens of thousands of dollars when it comes time to sell any one of your investment properties.

What Are 1031 Exchange Rules?

Section 1031 of the IRS tax code allows investors to defer paying any capital gains taxes on the proceeds of the sale of real estate if the profits are put towards the purchase of a “like-kind” property.

Basically, like-kind means similar and can include just about any other type of real estate. That means you could realistically exchange an office building for a single family home.

But you wouldn’t be able to use the proceeds of the sale of real estate to be put towards buying a car. They’re not “like-kind.”

As long as the purchase of another investment property is done within a certain period of time, a 1031 exchange can be put into effect.

What Qualifies as a 1031 Exchange?

In order for you to be able to take advantage of a 1031 exchange, the property being sold must be an investment property. The transaction is not meant for homeowners who are buying and selling their primary residences. Both properties must be investments.

That said, homeowners who are selling their primary residences may also be subject to capital gains taxes if they don’t meet certain criteria. They can avoid paying up to $250,000 for single owners or $500,000 for married owners who have filed their taxes jointly. Still, 1031 exchanges are not meant for primary residences and are only meant for investment properties.

Further, the property that is being purchased needs to be worth more than the one that’s being sold. If you end up paying less for the new property, you’ll be paying taxes on the difference.

Types of 1031 Exchanges

There are three different ways that a 1031 exchange can take place:

  • Simultaneous exchange – This happens when a property is immediately exchanged for another.
  • Deferred exchange – This involves selling a property first then buying another property in its place after a certain amount of time using an exchange facilitator.
  • Reverse exchange – This occurs when the replacement property is bought first. with the help of an exchange titleholder. Then the current property is sold afterward.

It’s always important to use a qualified 1031 exchange facilitator for deferred or reverse 1031 exchanges. That’s because you’re not allowed to take possession of the proceeds of the sale before the exchange is complete.

There are even rules governing who can be an intermediary. For starters, you can’t use the same one that you used in the previous two years. You also can’t act as your own exchange facilitator.

Time is Ticking When it Comes to Finding a Replacement Property

In order to take advantage of 1031 exchanges, you can’t just take your time finding another property to purchase in its place. Instead, there is a certain amount of time that you have to find a like-kind property.

More specifically, you’ve got 45 days to identify a new property that you want to purchase. When you do, you’ll then have 180 days to complete the purchase.

A Maximum of Three 1031 Properties Can Be Identified

It’s pretty common for real estate investors to choose more than one piece of real estate that they have their eyes on. That’s because real estate deals typically take a long time to close, and any delays can creep up that would make them go past the 180-day mark.

By choosing more than one property, it’s more likely that at least one of the deals will go through. But only a maximum of three potential properties can be identified, as long as you close on one of them.

Further, any number of replacement properties can be identified as long as their combined market value doesn’t exceed 200% of the property being sold. For example, if you sell a property for $300,000, the combined market value of your next purchase can’t be more than $600,000.

How Are 1031 Exchanges Reported Come Tax Time?

You will have to pay the tax on the original profits of the sale of the property plus any additional gains since the purchase of the new property. A 1031 exchange is reported on IRS Form 8824 and submitted with your tax return for the year that the exchange took place.

Make sure you consult with a tax expert to ensure that all the rules are followed so the exchange doesn’t fall through.

For more information on 1031 exchanges, read more here.

Final Thoughts

1031 exchange rules are definitely complicated. That’s why it’s important to speak with an experienced tax associate to help you navigate all the ins and outs of 1031 exchanges.

These are handy tools that can help you save a ton of money. But you need to follow the rules closely in order to avoid getting dinged by the IRS.

Looking for more ways to save money? Be sure to visit our blog today!

How to Make Your Home Smart Without Breaking the Bank

how to make your home smart

Transforming your home into a smart home can make your house more convenient, efficient and also fun. You don’t have to break the bank to turn your house into a smart home. Here’s how to make your home smart on a budget.

How to Make Your Home Smart

Making your home smart doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars. Instead, it’s small investments in cost-efficient products that can improve your home’s security, lighting, communications, energy, and efficiency and audio and visual appliances.

For more reasons on why you should make your home smart, read more about the benefits of a smart home.

Start With a Problem

When deciding which products you need to make your home smart, start by trying to remedy any problems your home already has. For example, let’s say you always stress about leaving your house and wondering if you locked your door. If that’s the case you might want to invest in a device that can solve that problem.

Once you’ve mastered how to use your new smart home appliance, then look into other technology that can help you with other home headaches.

Build Over Time

Don’t stress about having to replace every appliance in your home with it’s smarter upgrade. Smart products can take a second to learn how to use and set up, so give yourself time with this. Adding items gradually over time will not only save you money, it will also save you stress.

Here are some of our favorite smart items right now, broken down by the problems they solve.

Safety and Security

Investing in smart door locks, window shades, smoke detectors, alarm systems and internal and external cameras can really help give you a peace of mind. Here are some of our favorite smart home security devices.

Blink Security Camera

This basic security camera records in 720p and has infrared that can detect movement up to 20 feet away. It might not have the highest fidelity, but it can store up to 20 hours of footage for free in your cloud. This device also works with IFTT making it easy to connect with other smart home devices like Phillips Hue smart lights, Alexa, Google Home and the Nest learning thermostat.

Lighting and Switches

Smart switches, lighting, and outlets make it easy for you to turn off or on your lights remotely. You don’t have to fuss around the house flipping off switches or worry if you left a light on when you’re away from home for a while.

Here are some of our favorite smart switches, lights, and outlets.

Sengled Element Starter Kit

This doesn’t work with as many smart home systems as Phillips, but these bulbs are much less expensive. A bulb costs about $9 each, which is great for smart lighting on a budget.

Belkin WeMo Mini Smart Plug

This plug can turn any of your basic devices smart and it lets you control all your appliances via a smartphone app. It’s best to use the Belkin WeMo with items like floor lamps, but you can even use it to turn on your coffee maker at a set time. It works with Alexa, Google Home, Nest and IFTT without blocking the second outlet.

TP-Link LB120 Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb with Tunable White Light

We love how these bulbs can directly connect to your Wi-Fi network without a hub. They are dimmable and turntable so you can turn them from bright to daylight. These settings allow your lights to keep you alert during the day, or calm with soft white light in the evening.

This set also comes with a circadian mode that adjusts the lights automatically based on the time of day. You also can control these lights with Alexa or Google Home.

Logitech Pop Home Switch

Manually turning off all your lights, thermostat, TV and whatever else you have can be incredibly time consuming and annoying. Logitech’s Pop Home Switch allows you to do all of these tasks with a touch of one button.

Each button on your switch can be programmed for more than one action with the single, double or triple press. This lets you conveniently adjust all of your smart home devices at once, and it easily works with your Apple Homekit.

TP-Link HS105 Smart Plug

This smart plug has a great small design, easy to use app, and low price. You can make a lamp or anything else in your home that isn’t smart, with this simple plug, Just plug it into the HS-105, and you can set a schedule of when you want your devices turned on or off just by using your smartphone.

Philips Hue White Starter Kit

Philip Hue lights are one of the most popular for smart homes because they’re easy to use, they have a strong app and they can easily work with a number of smart home systems. While these bulbs don’t change colors but can dim and are an affordable way to get into smart home gadgets.

Ecobee Switch+

This switch takes the idea of an Internet-connected wall switch to another level. Alexa is already built into this switch so you can use it without having to get an Echo or other devices.

The switch also has a motion sensor so it can turn your lights on and off when you enter or leave a room. There’s also a temperature sensor making it easy to link it to Ecobee’s smart thermostat.

Aukey Wi-Fi Smart Plug

This plug doesn’t have the scheduling features like some other smart plugs, but it works well with Google Assistant and Alexa at about half the price of its competitors. At $24 these plugs are also small enough that you can easily fit two into an outlet.

Samsung SmartThings Hub

This lets you connect with smart-home devices that usually don’t work with each other. The app also lets you group items together. With this device, you can adjust shades, lights, and the thermostat at a certain time of day or when you come home from work.

iHome ISP100

Most smart plugs only work for indoor use, but not this one. The iHome ISP100 works with a ton of home systems so you can turn on and off your Christmas light or that outdoor fountain. It’s also easy to set up and use.

Energy Efficiency

There are some other smart devices that can really help the energy efficiency of your home. These devices include smart thermostats, window shades, and fans that can help cut down on your energy bills.

Roost Smart Battery

This Wi-Fi connected battery can insert into any smoke detector and it notifies you on your smartphone when the detector is activated. The app also allows you to alert other people. There’s also a snooze button, in case you were just cooking a steak and the alarm went off.

Honeywell Wi-Fi Thermostat

Most smart thermostats can cost over $200, but this one isn’t as flashy as the Nest or Ecobee and still gets the job done. It works well and even better with most smart home devices than it’s competition.

Audio and Video

Improving your audio and video is always a nice upgrade. There are devices that stop you from searching for multiple remotes and can easily improve your experience.

Amazon Echo Dot

The Echo Dot is an inexpensive way to get a voice control in your home. It’s only $49 and it lets you control all of your devices. From playing music, to ordering pizza without lifting a finger.

Vaux Portable Speaker

The Echo Dot’s speaker isn’t great, which is why the Vaux is a great addition. It’s also super easy to use and only needs to be plugged into work. It also has six hours of battery life is there isn’s a plug nearby, and its sound quality is incredible.

Google Home Mini

This is Google’s version of the Amazon Echo Dot. The Home Mini is a small smart speaker that brings Google Assistant to your house. It’s super cost-effective that sounds better and looks better than Amazon’s.

Logitech Harmony 665

This is one of the most affordable universal remote and it can easily control up to 10 of your entertainment devices at once. While it doesn’t work well with other smart home devices, it’s affordable and a great solution if you’re on a budget.

Amazon Echo (2nd Gen)

This second generation Echo is smaller and more visually appealing than it’s original but it sounds just as good. It also gives you full access to Alexa and you can swap out the cover to one that matches your style.

Google Chromecast

This is the least expensive way to stream content on your TV for only $35. It easily plugs into an HDMI port and lets you stream TV shows and movies from your phone, tablet or PC. It also works with Google home so you can control it with your voice.

Make Your House Smart Today

Now that you know how to make your home smart, start doing the research to transform your home today. Start with where you can really use the help and gradually add devices one day at a time. For more information on home repairs, check out our blog.

10 Tips for Decluttering Your Home and Live an Organized Life

decluttering

Are you tired of stuffing things into a closet whenever you have friends over? Are you sick of wasting time trying to find things in your house? Or are you fed up with feeling frazzled and stressed out every time you look around a room?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it sounds like you might be in need of some home decluttering.

Getting rid of clutter isn’t just about making your space look nice. It also helps you be more productive and has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety.

Read on for 10 great tips on decluttering your home and living a more organized life.

1. Don’t Try to Do Everything at Once

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you take on a decluttering project. This is especially true if you try to tackle the whole house at once.

Space out your project and start by choosing just one room. Don’t try to declutter everything in just one day — that’s a major undertaking, and you’re likely to feel exhausted if you take that approach.

Give yourself a specific date when you’d like to have the house cleaned out by. Then, figure out how much time you’re willing to spend getting rid of clutter each day.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate. Even if you just spend 15-20 minutes a day, it’s better than nothing.

2. Move the Clutter to a New Place

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell how much clutter you’re dealing with until you move it to a new place. For example, try moving everything that has accumulated on the kitchen countertops into the living room.

You’ll be able to look more objectively at your belongings and get rid of anything that you don’t need or want.

When you’ve finished pruning your clutter pile, just be sure to move everything back and put it away — otherwise, you’re not really clearing clutter, you’re just moving your junk from one room to another.

3. Gather Plenty of Equipment

It’s hard to declutter effectively if you don’t have any containers to hold all the clutter you’re eliminating.

Make sure you have plenty of trash bags, bins, and organizational tools on hand so that you can permanently get rid of the things you no longer need. Get yourself a paper shredder, too, for sensitive documents.

4. Create a Master Plan

Many people find it helpful to sit down and create a master plan before they begin a decluttering project. Then, they have a guideline to follow and can cross things off as they go.

Grab a piece of paper and write down every room or area in your house. Then, make note of what belongs in each room or area.

Be sure to include items that don’t currently have a designated space — for example, do you have important papers or toys scattered throughout two or three different rooms? Pick one place where you want all of these items to be stored.

5. Use a Storage Unit

If you have items that are taking up a lot of space but that don’t get used very often, you may want to consider renting a storage unit (like the ones offered by Secure Box Self Storage).

If you have the money to spend, this is a great option for clearing clutter and freeing up space.

6. Work in a Pattern

It can also be helpful to systematize your process. For example, work from the inside out and clear items off the floor first. Or you work in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction in each room.

This eliminates the problem of not knowing where to start when you move on to a new room. You’ll just pick a corner and move in the same direction as you did in the last room!

7. Use Labels

To keep track of the items your getting rid of, take some time to label your piles as “trash,” “recycle,” and “donate.” That way, you’ll know what goes where when you’re finished clearing out a specific room.

You can also expand your labeling to your newly organized rooms to keep them that way. Label areas for toys, books, clothing, etc. That will take the guesswork out of maintaining these areas later on.

8. Make it Cute

Decluttering doesn’t have to be boring. It can also be a great way for you to enhance and personalize your home.

Floating shelves, colorful bins and baskets, and glass containers are all great ways to make your home look cute and clutter-free.

9. Ask Yourself Some Tough Questions

It can be hard to get rid of things that you’ve had for a long time, even if you don’t use them anymore. In order to successfully declutter your home, you’re going to need to ask yourself some tough questions, including the following:

  • Have I used this item in the past year?
  • Am I making use of this item right now?
  • Am I saving this item for future use?
  • Do I actually like this item?
  • How does this item add value to my life?
  • Is this item preventing me from doing something I’d like to do?

It can be hard to answer these questions and realize you’re hanging on to things that are no longer of value. But, they’ll take some of the guesswork out of the process and help you successfully clear out your home.

10. Finish What You Start

Finally, make sure you finish what you start. Don’t move on to a new room until you’ve completely cleared out and thrown away (or given away) everything you’ve taken from the first room.

This will help you avoid having a bunch of half-decluttered rooms, and you’ll be able to track your progress more easily.

Looking for More Decluttering Tips?

These decluttering tips should be more than enough to get you started. But, if you want to take your clean out to the next level (without spending a fortune), be sure to check out the cleaning section of our blog today.

We’ve got tons of tips and tricks to help you conquer clutter and simplify your living space.

Top 10 Ways to Brighten a Room on a Budget

how to brighten a dark room

A dark, depressing room can be hard on your mental health.

But finding cheap and easy ways to update your space can become expensive. If you want to update your space and make it lighter there are some easy ways to get it done though. And most of them won’t break the bank either!

From adding some bright colors, updating your lighting and adding some reflective decorations, you can change any space from a dark and depressing dungeon to a bright and elegant zen space.

Keep reading if you’d like to learn more on how to brighten a dark room without going over budget!

1. Update Wall Colors

One of the pricier but definitely most effective ways to brighten a room is to update the wall colors.

Whites are always bright and welcoming but if you’re not a fan of plain walls, maybe try some light blues, greys or even yellows. These colors are all airy and will liven up any room. Find a color that will work well with your floor color.

2. Paint the Ceiling White

Some historic homes come complete with dark, heavy woods. If your home is not a historical landmark, consider painting the ceiling white. This will make the room appear bigger and will also bring some bright light into the space.

White ceilings will reflect any light within the space. And it will also clean up any dingy ceiling.

3. Change Light Fixtures

Updating your light fixtures will do wonders on improving the level of light in your space.

Getting rid of outdated, dark and clunky light fixtures will give your room a modern and elegant feel.

Also, consider updating the bulbs your fixtures use. Finding bulbs with high numbers of lumens is always a good idea. These bulbs will emit a purer and brighter light.

Energy efficient lighting will also save you money in the long run once your space is freshened up.

If you don’t want to get rid of your fixtures maybe consider getting them some new shades. White shades will help reflect the lamplight. Also, consider turning all lighting fixtures towards walls or ceilings. This also helps with reflection.

4. Add Some Green Things

When it comes to brightening up a space, nothing does it better than some fresh cut flowers from your florist. Finding seasonal flowers doesn’t have to be complicated.

When you choose your favorite local florist in LA you know you’ll have a wide range of flowers, designs, and colors to choose from.

Putting some greenery in your space doesn’t have to break the bank.

Terrariums are a simple but interesting and elegant feature that can bring any room to life. They’re easy to maintain and can survive even the worst green thumb.

Houseplants like snake plants and Chinese evergreens also purify your room’s air.

5. Update Your Window Dressings

Old and outdated curtains can drag any space down.

If you have some fabric in a color scheme that you like and that works for your room though, you should consider DIYing some new and more personalized curtains for your room!

If you have some white fabric, try stenciling a design on them that reflects the overall look of your space. This is a cheap and easy way to dress any room up and bring some light and air into a dank and dreary space.

Not all of us are great at DIY projects though. But luckily sheer drapes are not terribly expensive and they’re easy to hang yourself. Just remember to avoid dark colors and heavy fabrics.

6. Switch Out the Furniture

Is your room full of clunky and dark colored furniture? Is there a room that those pieces might work a little better in?

Well, maybe it’s time for a whole space overhaul! Switching out a few pieces for some with lighter color schemes or slimmer designs can do wonders for any dusty room.

It may also be a good idea to consider de-cluttering in general. Anything old and outdated that you don’t have too personal of a commitment to could be sold or maybe even rehab yourself.

Try re-staining pieces with different colors or lighter stains. That way you can keep some of your favorite pieces, without putting too much of a dent in your wallet.

7. Add Some Shiny Details

Everyone loves things that sparkle and shine.

This is one of the easiest ways to add some light to your sad space. Consider a few pieces that have some shimmer to them. Adding a few reflective candy dishes or even a mirror can brighten up your space and even provide the illusion of a bigger space.

Consider visiting your local thrift store or budget clothing store for cheap but still unique pieces that will draw the eye in your room.

8. Put Some Colors on the Floor

Dingy floors are not fun to look at.

While changing flooring can be a costly and time-consuming process, there are a few easy fixes you can do yourself that won’t bust your budget. If you have carpets, maybe it’s time to get them shampooed.

Hardwood or tile floors can be dressed up with colorful carpets and rugs.

Visiting carpet wholesalers can give you some interesting and colorful options, all without too much cost.

9. Accessories Bring it All Together

Last but definitely not least: The accessories.

Have some throw pillows you think will give your room that needed splash of color? Add them! Maybe there are a few colorful art pieces you’ve had in another room for the past few years that might look a bit better in your freshened room.

Finding some unique and bright pieces to give your room that added boost is a great way to give your space some light.

Get More Tips on How to Brighten a Dark Room

Want to know more on how to brighten a dark room on a budget?

Well, luckily for you I’ve written several blogs on how to decorate your spaces, all without breaking the bank. There are so many ways to liven up a space. Feel free to explore my site and read some more decorating tips.

Top 10 Ideas for Home Lighting Fixtures that Don’t Look Cheap

home lighting

Finding the right light fixtures helps you to see your home in the best possible light. It’s a bad pun but a universal truism. The right home lighting will draw out and emphasize your interior design scheme and color trends.

Bad lighting makes everything look dingy, dirty, and dull, on the other hand. Garish fluorescent lights give your home as much warmth as a dentist office. Low-watt bare light bulbs are like some nightmarish vision of the 1970s come to life.

Changing light fixtures can even serve as a low-cost renovation, luckily!

Let’s take a look at 10 home lighting fixtures ideas that are elegant but still cost-effective.

1. Stick-On Lights

You don’t necessarily need recessed track lighting for every inch of your home. Spending hundreds just to light up certain shadowy nooks might be overkill.

Stick-on lights are a perfect solution if you’re looking to light up your cabinets or countertops. You can get a 3-pack of stick-on lights for around $10.

2. Portable Light Fixture

A portable light fixture can be a great choice if you’ve got numerous dim spots around your house or apartment. Battery-powered LED light fixtures like the Rite Lite 9-Light LED Accent Light is wonderfully portable, so you can bring your illumination with you wherever you go.

Portable light fixtures are great for amateur photographers without access to studio lights, as an additional benefit. Use your light fixture to brighten your living room or kitchen but grab it when you need some bright, direct lighting for taking clear, attractive photographs.

3. Schoolhouse Electric

All things old become new again. This is true in every area of modern living, from cooking to how we listen to music. It’s particularly true of interior design.

Check out some of the cool lamps from Schoolhouse Electric as an example of how designers are updating retro designs and aesthetics.

4. CB2

Crate & Barrel are legendary for featuring lavish, luxe interior design accessories. Unfortunately, Crate & Barrel’s prices are higher than many other big-box retailers because of their quality.

CB2 is a blessing for those looking for exquisite home furnishings on a budget. CB2 feature high-quality, stylish home furnishings at a fraction of Crate & Barrel’s cost.

5. JC Penney

JC Penney isn’t exactly known as a bastion of high style. That’s changing with the new JCP line of home accessories. Martha Stewart, Conran, and Jonathan Adler have been reviving this iconic retailer for a new generation.

Check out the Charlotte Green Ceramic table lamp from the Jonathan Alder Happy Chic collection for an example of these cool lines.

6. LED Rope Lights

LED rope lights are another great, low-cost lighting accessory to revivify your living space. They can bring a soft, gentle fairy light glamour to any room. Even better, they’re supple and flexible so you can run them around any trim or baseboard your heart may desire.

LED rope lights can be found for around $25 from nearly any hardware or department store.

7. Spider Light Fixture

We’ve talked about brightening up shadowy corners. We’ve emphasized how lighting accessories can bring a sparkle to any living space. What about accomplishing all of these feats at once?

IKEA’s Tived light fixture is like having multiple independent track lights in one room. Even better, this ceiling light fixture has six fully-bendable arms. You’ll be able to light up all of your counters, cabinets, and corners with one light fixture!

8. Look For Interesting Shapes In Home Lighting

We’re not just here to offer you a product guide. After all, you can find great deals on lighting fixtures so many different ways. You could go the DIY route or you could upcycle retro lighting fixtures from a thrift store, for instance.

Keep your eyes peeled for interesting shapes and silhouettes. These will help your decor stand out in a subtle way while costing significantly less than a fresh coat of paint or brand-new furniture.

9. Oversized Lighting Fixtures

It might seem like your lighting fixture should match the space it’s illuminating. It would stand to reason that a small room would best fit a small lighting fixture. That’s not necessarily the case.

Interior designer Hilary Nagler talks about making an impact with a lighting fixture. “You’ll get the most bang for your buck with a dramatic piece, whether that’s a chandelier, a floor lamp, or a grouping of pendants. The tendency is to put a small fixture in a small room, but the opposite is true,” as she told Glamour Magazine.

So consider putting a dramatic piece like a raindrop chandelier on your staircase landing, for instance. Your home will be instantly transformed into a more inspiring location.

10. Install A Dimmer

Variable lighting automatically makes a space feel more upscale. It’s also infinitely more customizable, which will help transform smaller spaces for multiple different uses.

Something as simple as a dimmer switch can make you feel like you have a brand new house, usually for less than $20. That’s proof in-and-of-itself you don’t need to drop a mint on fancy light fixtures to revitalize your living area.

Updating your home’s lighting will help you feel more relaxed in the evenings, coming home from a long day at the office. It will help you feel awake and eager to meet the day in the mornings. It’s an investment in your well-being as well as your interior design.

Want To Learn More About Designing On A Budget?

Whether you’re looking for home lighting or wanting to plant a garden, there are ways to make every penny count. Everyone deserves to live in the home of their dreams, no matter what budget you’re working with.

Browse the rest of our interior design articles for more design inspiration!