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4 home improvement projects that won't break the bank


By Kali Geldis/

To the uninitiated, home renovations sound daunting and conjure painful images of burning cash. But don't let that scare you. Many projects can be done in a day, and if you're smart about it, says Kerrie Kelly, founder of Kerrie Kelly Home Design Lab, they'll boost curb appeal without breaking your budget.

"Whether it's something you leave on a list for a handyman to do or you do it yourself, which is always gratifying," she says.

Here are few of her favorites.

​Switch the hardware


Sometimes it's easiest to begin with the front of the house rather than what's inside, Kelly says, especially if you're on a tight budget. To that end, changing the front doorknob and lock is a quick update that only takes a few minutes and can compliment the style of the house. Add a kick plate for a touch of glam or go gold for a traditional feel.

​Brighten the lights

Alexandre Zveiger/iStockphoto

Another quick, simple way to brighten your home is by changing the lights in the front yard. Feel free to purchase new ones, or better yet, clean the ones you already have. Your home will look far less spooky at night and you'll actually see where you're walking.

​Paint the door

Julija Sapic/iStockphoto

If scrubbing bug-infested front yard lights isn't your thing, put a new coat of paint on your front door to freshen it up. Go for something that complements the house's exterior or be bold and opt for a pop of color, Kelly says, which will set the right tone.

​Upgrade your house numbers

Rafaël Croonen/iStockphoto

House numbers and address plaques are another quick update that can make a big difference. With the proper placement, they can make your house easier to find -- not a bad thing when trying to sell -- and the right style of numbers can help play up its architecture.

As you start to plan your home improvements, it's helpful to set a budget so you don't overspend. If you can avoid going into debt to spruce up the abode, all the better. Carrying a high amount of debt on your credit cards -- relative to your credit limit -- can have a negative impact on your credit scores. However, if you do access credit for your home improvement projects, be sure to come up with a plan to pay it off (and follow it). (You can see how your debt is affecting your credit by getting your free credit report summary on, and you can calculate how long it will take to pay off your credit card debt using this free calculator.)

Need more inspiration? Read on for other home improvement projects you can do in a day.

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