Not all home improvements have to break the bank, some small changes can make a big difference in the value of your home.
Wendy Bounds, author of The Wall Street Journal's home improvement column, Did It Myself, has five simple projects you can do yourself, most of which will cost less than $50.
Bounds says if she can do these projects, anyone can. "You can definitely do all of these by yourself, using the Internet if you get stuck," Bounds said.
The projects are listed from the easiest to the most difficult.
Fix Wall Flaws
Before painting, it's important to patch up the walls. New tools make it easy to fix tiny imperfections in Sheetrock, as well as bigger ones. The easiest, cheapest fix for tiny holes from picture frames, small paint chips and nails is a patch stick.
The DAP Patch Stick is an all-in-one product perfect for small nicks. No other tools are needed, and it comes with built-in plastic spackle knife to wipe off excess hardening in minutes. You can get it at any home improvement store.
More serious holes and damage will require joint pound and a putty knife.
Tidy Up Tiles
Cracked tiles and discolored or loose grout can make a bathroom feel old and worn. Short of replacing tiles, you can simply freshen up the grout with a scum-busting product like Black and Decker Scum Buster.
Install an Energy-Efficient Thermostat
Swapping out an old thermostat for one that's programmable and digital can save you up to a third on energy costs. Most can be replaced with a hammer and a screwdriver. These help reduce energy usage and are available at most home improvement stores.
A New Light on Energy Conservation
One of the best ways to subtly update the feel of a house is to swap out discolored switches and electrical outlets for sleeker new ones. New dimmers with remote control can help conserve energy; so can lights with motion detectors.
Wood Flooring Would Be Nice
Wall-to-wall carpeting can harbor lots of allergens; wood floor on the other hand can instantly update and add value to the home. No glue, no nails required — just a hammer, measuring tape, easy-to-use saws and a little patience. A small guest bedroom can be done in a Saturday. First timers should rent a saw; don't buy it. And have a friend who's done it before supervise you.
Cost: $2-$6 per square foot, $220 for a 10-by-11-foot room.