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From the Magazine

4 Ways to Upgrade Your Home Without Spending a Ton of Cash


Any time is a good time for home projects — and whatever task you’re tackling, you can do it for less with these savvy tricks! 

Get a bargain on paint

A new coat of paint can refresh the look of any room, but at about $30 per gallon, the cost can quickly add up. The easy way to save money? Just ask about returned or clearance paint at the store. The big-box retailers such as Home Depot and Lowe’s sell paint that has been returned by people who simply didn’t like the color — the paint itself is perfectly fine — at a steep discount. 

Also smart: Contact your local recycling center. That’s where homeowners and local businesses dispose of unwanted paints and stains, and most of it is in fine condition — and the center may let you take it for free! 

Spend less on tools

Frustrated when you need to buy an expensive tool that you’ll only need once? Check out local lending libraries, which let you borrow tools for little to no cost. Find out if you live near a lending library — there are nearly 100 across the country — at Local Tools

If no lending library is available, consider renting a tool from local hardware stores or the big-boxers Home Depot and Lowe’s — just make sure whatever you’re renting isn’t “commercial grade” or too complicated for a nonprofessional to use. 

Nab deals on flooring

New flooring can make a huge impact, but the cost can be prohibitive — unless you shop around! Flooring dealers often have large remnants from previous projects that were either unused, over-ordered or returned due to a dye-lot mismatch (when the sample doesn’t match the end product color closely enough) that they’re happy to sell at cost or even below cost to move the product out of their warehouse. 

Depending on the size of the remnant, you may be able to carpet a room or two wall-to-wall. Smaller remnants work great, too, as cheap area rugs — just ask them to bind the edges so they don’t look raw and unfinished. 

Update counters for less

If you’re looking to upgrade your counters, you don’t need to call a contractor — just pick up a can of countertop paint! There now are some great resin-based countertop kits on the market that are easy to use and can transform even the most outdated counter surfaces and make them look like marble, Silestone and more — it’s an easy DIY that will look like you paid way more than you did! Check out kits by Rustoleum and Gianni in home-improvement stores, which cost about $60 to $100.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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