Techniques for Thrifty Home Transformation

Sometimes learning to love the home you already have can use a little help. Avoid the allure of ditching it for something different by transforming it. Breathe new life into your home for a fraction of the cost of going new and you won’t have to learn to love it because you simply won’t want to leave! Keep reading for quick, easy and cheap ways to thrifty home transformation.

New home

If you’re left thinking that trading up to more square footage or a different layout is a necessity, think again. Consider redesigning your existing furniture layout and/or getting rid of some furniture entirely to free up more space in your existing home. An easy way to play with and plan out possible layout solutions is to draw a picture of the room to scale and then draw and cut out pieces of paper to represent each piece of furniture you have planned for that room. You can easily move the pieces around to try out different layouts without wearing yourself out physically in the process.

An additional way to help solve the infamous struggle for more space is to think up, not out. From the backs of doors to the insides of closets and cabinets to walls in every room in the house, vertical storage space solutions are severely underutilized. Find ways to make your existing space work even harder for you by taking advantage of them. Large bungee cords stretched across the back wall of closets provides immediate, easy storage for everything from rolls of wrapping paper to umbrellas to even baseball bats. Hooks attached with removable adhesive strips can easily be added to the backsides of doors and inside cabinets to create quick, effective storage for lightweight items such as sweaters and jackets, totes and backpacks and kitchen items like potholders, cooking utensils and trivets. Maximize the usable space on top of the fridge, kitchen cabinets and bookcases by adding pretty baskets that immediately provide additional storage space to stash away lightweight items such as towels, out of season clothing or extra bed linens.

Invest a few dollars in making your home beautiful, usable and lovable again. Don’t replace carpet, instead rent a steam cleaner at your local retailer and do the cleaning yourself. Purchase under-the-bed storage bins that feature wheels and utilize the entire width of the bed to maximize the use of this otherwise unharnessed space opportunity. Forget replacing furniture at a premium price and instead focus on transforming on a dime. A new coat of paint can breathe new life into a bookcase or dresser. A new tablecloth can instantly make an old, scratched up table “new” again. A functional, easy-to-care for slipcover can immediately give the look and feel of new furniture without the hefty cost. Recover and reuse throw pillows rather than pitching them and shelling out cash for new ones.

When all else fails and you find you do need a real change, don’t confuse “new” with “different.” The prior is more often than not quite a bit more expensive than the latter. Scour your home for items you simply don’t need or use and get on Craig’s List to either sell them or trade them for different items you can. It could be a win-win situation for both parties.

Photo credit: Townie

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Author Info

This post was written by Shannon M. Medisky. Shannon is an educator turned parent turned writer and focuses on sharing new and innovative ways to not just survive, but thrive on empty. Visit to learn more. Her newest book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Stretching Your Dollar is available in bookstores now.

One Response to “Techniques for Thrifty Home Transformation”

  1. Andrew |  Sep 09, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Great ideas here. The only one I’d add, which doesn’t apply to everyone, is to check if there is wood under your carpet. Even if it’s in bad condition, it can be fairly easily restored and add a ton of value to your house or apartment.