DIY room makeovers for under $1,000

Use this price guide for cheap makeovers on your important rooms

by Zack Reeves ConsumerAffairs Research Team
Looking at iPad and paint colors


A makeover on the important rooms in your home doesn’t have to cost a fortune. If you budget, search for deals and do the work yourself, you can tackle a major makeover on your kitchen, bathroom or living room for under $1,000.

White pot sitting on stove

Kitchen makeover

Install backsplash tiles

To make a statement behind your kitchen sink and along the countertops, install backsplash tiles. These small tiles, sold in easy-to-install sheets, can make a bland wall pop with new color.

To install backsplash tiles, you’ll need to buy the tiles ($5-$20 per square foot), a roll of painter’s tape ($3-$8) to block off your counters, a drop cloth ($4-$8) and ceramic tile mortar ($15) to use as adhesive.

Paint the walls

A new coat of paint brings a kitchen to life. When matched with new backsplash tiles, the walls of your kitchen make a dramatic statement about your home. Consider reds, yellows, blues or greens to give the kitchen a new flair.

To paint your kitchen’s walls, you’ll need painter’s tape ($3-$8), a drop cloth ($4-$8), brushes or rollers and trays ($5-$20), multi-purpose primer ($30 per gallon) and paint ($20-$30 per gallon).

Redo your flooring

The key to having a beautiful kitchen might be right beneath your feet. A floor of old, ugly tiles or peeling vinyl can make your kitchen look and feel outdated. This makeover will take two or three days.

You can remove your old floors by using a claw hammer ($10-$20), a prybar ($10-$20) and a respirator mask ($3-$7). To redo your floors, you’ll need tiles ($1-$7 per square foot), tile mortar ($15), tile spacers ($5 for 100), grout ($1 per square foot) and grout sealer ($15).

Upgrade your countertops

Even if the rest of your kitchen has everything going for it, ugly or bland countertops will overshadow everything else. An update to these highly visible surfaces can reap huge rewards in terms of your kitchen’s look.

You can upgrade your countertops by adding a granite imitation paint, which creates all the look of granite without the work or cost. You’ll need a granite painting kit ($30-$80), which usually includes all the tools you’ll need.

Total cost

At the cheapest, working with a 70 square foot kitchen, incorporating all of the upgrades listed will cost around $350. At the most expensive, working with the same space, these upgrades come out to about $1045-just over budget. This means that, looking out for deals, you can come out with an upgraded kitchen for somewhere between these two price points.

White bathroom with tub

Bathroom makeover

Paint the walls

Old paint or bad wallpaper can make a bathroom feel dingy. Remodel your walls by painting over old paint or tearing out the wallpaper to paint over what’s underneath.

To paint your bathroom’s walls, you’ll need painter’s tape ($3-$8), a drop cloth ($4-$8), brushes or rollers and trays ($5-$20), multi-purpose primer ($30 per gallon) and paint ($20-$30 per gallon).

Refinish the bathtub

If tubs aren’t properly maintained, they may build up grime and hard water stains. If you need to make your bathtub shine, invest in a bathtub refinishing kit. These small kits can be spread over your bathtub’s finish to create a new seal, and their color mimics the porcelain of a clean tub.

To refinish your bathtub, you’ll need a bathtub refinishing kit ($30-$80), a few sheets of fine sandpaper ($4-$10 per pack) and a small paint roller ($5-$15).

Re-tile the shower

Showers can often feel too small, too dark or too dirty. Re-tiling a shower can make the shower feel bigger (especially if you tile up to the ceiling), and the new tiles give you a chance to make sure the shower stays clean.

To re-tile your shower, you’ll need tiles ($.25-$1 per tile), mold-resistant grout ($20), thinset adhesive mortar ($25), grout sealer ($5-$10), a tile saw (rentable for $40-$50 per day), a dropcloth ($4-$8), a five-gallon bucket ($3-$5) for mixing and a sponge for cleaning.

Redo the floors

A new set of tiles makes your bathroom look great and contributes to the waterproofing of this damp area. While redoing your floors takes some knowhow with a saw, the work is straightforward and can be done in two or three days.

To redo your bathroom floors, you’ll need tiles ($5-$10 per square foot), tile mortar ($15), tile spacers ($5 for 100), grout ($1 per square foot), a tile saw (rentable for $40-$50 per day) and grout sealer ($15). Keep in mind that this does not include cement backing boards ($5 per square foot), which are sometimes necessary if the old tile floor is cracked or if your floor is made from plywood, which doesn’t bond well with tile mortar.

Change towel bars and toilet paper holder

An easy and low-cost way to add functionality to your bathroom is to update towel holders or a toilet paper holder. These can be installed straight into the wall and come in a variety of styles to suit your bathroom.

For this upgrade, you’ll need a toilet paper holder ($3-$20), a towel bar ($10-$30), a power drill ($20-$50), a set of screwdrivers ($2-$5) and a level ($8-$15).

Total cost

At the cheapest, working in a bathroom of 45 square feet, all of these makeovers will cost around $696. At the most expensive, with a bathroom of the same size, a makeover comes out to $1484-far over budget. The majority of this cost comes from the floor and shower tiles, so be sure to keep an eye out for deals and coupons that can help you make the most of your money.

Modern living room with shelves

Living room makeover

Paint the walls

To make a living room feel like a place you’d actually want to live in, you might want to put a fresh coat of paint on it. To make the room feel larger than it is, try painting your living room shades of blue, green, yellow or white.

To paint your living room, you’ll need painter’s tape ($3-$8), a drop cloth ($4-$8), brushes or rollers and trays ($5-$20), multi-purpose primer ($30 per gallon) and paint ($20-$30 per gallon).

New furniture

New furniture can make a living room feel like you’re in a completely different home. To make the most of switching from your old furniture to your new, sell your old furniture to make this switch as cheap as possible.

Some items that make a living room are coffee tables ($25-$200), sofas ($100-$500), chairs or recliners ($50-$200), entertainment centers or television stands ($25-$200) and bookshelves ($25-$100). These are low price estimates, dependent on sales and discounts.

Mount the television

For a chic look and increased floor space, try mounting your television on the wall. This look lends itself to a home theater experience as well.

To mount your television, you’ll need a television mount ($25-$100), a level ($8-$15), a power drill ($20-$50), a set of screwdrivers ($2-$5) and a stud-finder ($5-$15).

Install shelving

If you’re looking for a way to makeover your walls, a few shelves can be a great way to spiff them up while displaying interesting photographs, art or souvenirs.

To install shelves, you’ll need a power drill ($20-$50), a set of screwdrivers ($2-$5), a stud-finder ($5-$15), a level ($8-$15), shelving ($5-$20 per shelf) and shelving brackets ($1-$10 per bracket).

Install ceiling medallions

Despite their name, ceiling medallions-small ornate circular fixtures, often installed over a chandelier or other lighting-can be installed anywhere, even on your walls. Place a few white medallions on a white wall to create an accent pattern, or paint the medallion to match or contrast with the wall’s color.

To install the ceiling medallions, you’ll need medallions ($10-$50), construction adhesive ($4-$8) and a power drill ($20-$50).

Total cost

At the cheapest, working in a living room of 330 square feet, this makeover can be done for around $460. Keep in mind that this price is dependent upon getting discounted or used furniture. Shop online for sales, or consider buying your furniture either used or a little at a time; you don’t have to do it all at once.

At the most expensive, working in a living room of the same size, these changes would cost around or more than $1500-far over budget. However, this makeover's price is dependent upon buying furniture at higher prices. By buying discount furniture and searching for deals on tools and decorations, you can easily upgrade your living room for under $1,000.

White kitchen with dining room


These small makeovers, when done together, can dramatically change your home. Remember to be patient and search for deals. Buying used or discounted items will help you save quite a bit, so don’t be afraid to get a bit thrifty when you’re shopping.

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by Zack Reeves ConsumerAffairs Research Team

As part of the Consumer Affairs Research Team, Zack Reeves creates content that helps consumers make important decisions. He parses through fine details to present buyers with all the information they need to improve their lives.