Home renovations can add value to your property, but there are ways to upgrade it without going into debt or blowing up your savings.

Interested in these budget-friendly options, Redditor u/scal369 made a post on the r/HomeImprovement community, asking its members to share $500-$1,000 investments that were "a total game-changer", and everyone immediately jumped into the comment section.

From re-painting the interior to battery-powered lawn equipment, the answers they provided touched on both aesthetics and functionality, and you don't need to be the handiest person on the block to try them yourself.

Image credits: scal369

#1

When my kids were little I bought a refrigerated water fountain and put it on the side of my house facing my backyard. I'd love to know how many thousands of gallons the neighborhood kids drank. It saved them from coming in the house when they were playing outside. Total game changer. They liked drinking from it so much they would get off the couch and go outside to get a drink.

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Mindghost
Community Member
5 months ago

That's a cool idea for both sides :)

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#2

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) Extra fridge. Just by coincidence right when the pandemic started we replaced our fridge and left our old one in the garage planning on craigslisting it. We kept it instead and used it for bulk storage. It's been great - fewer visits to the grocery store, and more home cooking.

LA_Nail_Clippers , unsplash Report

Francisco Manuel Teruel Gutiérrez
Community Member
5 months ago

Tip: empty bottles can be stored at ambient temperature.

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#3

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) A 3D printer. Half the random things I need for my apartment I just make myself now. Want an under-cabinet mounted paper towel holder? Done. Little sliding shelves for under my coffee table? Np. Tiny, oddly-shaped random piece of plastic to fix some latch or whatever that broke on my expensive something-or-other? Give me 20 minutes.

ghostfaceschiller , unsplash Report

Elita One
Community Member
5 months ago

If you can afford one.

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#4

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) Painted the interior of the whole house before moving in. It feels 20 years newer.

stardust_2001 , pexels Report

Caro Caro
Community Member
5 months ago

It feels cleaner too.

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#5

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) Automatic light sensors for the laundry room and pantry. Not having to fumble while carrying a load with two hands is wonderful.

Tricky-Juggernaut141 , pexels Report

River Webb
Community Member
5 months ago

but it's part of the laundry experience

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#6

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) Insulated the attic for ~ $500 plus $150 to put a bathroom fan in(in the upstairs bathroom before I blew the insulation in)

Easily have saved $1800 in heating and cooling costs since

pseudotsugamenziessi , unsplash Report

Francisco Manuel Teruel Gutiérrez
Community Member
5 months ago

Insulation is always a good investment.

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#7

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) Bidet toilet seat. Your butt will never feel so clean. And the heated seat is great in the winter.

gfunkdave , flickr Report

Hawkmoon
Community Member
5 months ago

Bidet was almost in every bathroom before. I don't know why they disappeared, but I remember that they were very practical and useful. And now it's an expensive supplement or integrated into a high-end luxury toilet.

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#8

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) Cabinet hinges with slow-close springs. Like moving to Beverly Hills.

Clarkkent435 , wikimedia Report

Caro Caro
Community Member
5 months ago

What if you're p!ssed off and you really really want to slam one of those cabinet doors? THATS why I don't have a modern kitchen ... I can't slam doors.

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#9

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) Shelving system in the garage. The amount of space we freed up was well worth the cost considering we don’t have a basement or a useable attic for storage.

[deleted] , flickr Report

Vicky Z
Community Member
5 months ago

I'll go cry in a corner cause i don't have a garage and most people i know don't have either

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#10

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) Battery powered lawn equipment. No more gas cans. No more 'tune ups'. Much less noise and no stinky exhaust (I hate two stroke fumes). Only think I have to do is keep the blade sharp and keep things greased. And in terms of power? Snapper 58V is just as powerful as it's gas counterparts. Now there's an 82V model out.

FYI - I have the Snapper blower, weed eater, and mower (Walmart was having a 50% off closeout sale). I will never go back to gas lawn tools as long as I'm on a town/city lot.

darth_faader , wikimedia Report

DE Ray
Community Member
5 months ago

I got a corded electric mower 8 years ago. Love it. So much so that I got a corded weed-eater/trimmer the next year. True, the extension cord long enough to reach my whole yard cost as much as either, but so worth it for not having to get gas, change oil, wear ear plugs, etc.

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#11

Putting a dimmer switch in the bathroom was the best decision ever. In the early mornings, it's not blindingly bright — but when you're cleaning the bathroom or want a bright shower, you have the option of turning it all the way up. Such a small investment, but I appreciate it every day.

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Vicky Z
Community Member
5 months ago

I just keep my one eye half closed in the mornings to not be disturbed by the lights😅

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#12

Best $20 investment was properly fitting door sweeps. I didn’t realize how much cold air was entering the house during the heating season. Take time to measure the size of the gap and width of the door.

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Rei
Community Member
5 months ago (edited)

Yup, we did that as well and I pretty quickly felt how much warmer the entrance area was. I would also recommend spending money on good windows and their isolation because that's where most of the heat disappears. Huge windows are nice, but there was a reason why older houses had quite small windows built in back in the days.

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#13

A tankless water heater. Taking a shower with endless hot water is life changing.

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Monday
Community Member
5 months ago

*cries in water restrictions*

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#14

I installed sliding shelves in all of my lower kitchen cabinets. Eventually, I'll swap all of them out for drawers, but sliding shelves was a low-cost upgrade that adds SO much functionality. No more taking out every single item just to find that one thing in the back!

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Huddo's sister
Community Member
5 months ago

Good thinking! I have put lazy Susans in my pantry shelves, but pull out shelves would be good for the under sink shelves etc.

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#15

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) Hiring a professional cleaning service twice a month. :P

Tiredplumber2022 , pexels Report

Caro Caro
Community Member
5 months ago (edited)

It's nice when you can afford it. Coming home after work and everything is tidy and clean, its great. '

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#16

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) when we redid a bathroom we put in radiant heat under the tile floor. fantastic. Will do same anytime I do a floor. my cousin put it his finished basement in MN and the TV room went from being cold and uninviting to the most cozy room in the house during those long winters.

you can buy an electric mat to put under a thin rug.

memyhr , pexels Report

Robert T
Community Member
5 months ago

I take you just mean underfloor heating. This can either be a pipe that carries hot water like central heating radiators or an electric heating element. If you are lifting the floor to retile, then it can be worth doing. But then where you do put your towel to warm?

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#17

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) No brainer! Keyless entry lock. We got a Schlage. It was an easy install. The battery life is good and you get plenty of warning when it is time to change the 2 AA batteries. I no longer have to carry a house key. I can give workers, guests or relatives the other door code and then easily change it when I want to.

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Gavin Johnson
Community Member
5 months ago

*lockpicking lawyer has entered the chat*

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#18

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) Replaced pantry bifold doors with a French door style opening. Put spice rack on back of new doors. Added a few things to the inside and it seems so much more usable and organized

NoGoodDevGuy , unsplash Report

Vicky Z
Community Member
5 months ago

You didn't need all that for 5 spices😅😅😅 (i know it's a stock photo just kidding)

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#19

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) Range hood vent. I can cook what I want and sear the f*ck out of some steaks.

chazgrundle , flickr Report

Elita One
Community Member
5 months ago

Wait people don't have range hoods?

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#20

When I had toddlers that answer was a fully fenced yard. Life changing.

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Jonathan
Community Member
5 months ago

Fully electrified fenced yard

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#21

A dishwasher is a must. So many fights used to be about who’s turn to do the dishes. Now we just place them in the dishwasher with some soap and press the button.

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DE Ray
Community Member
5 months ago

People don't think about it, but dishwashers are so much more efficient, too. Not only do they do a better job of cleaning, but they use significantly less water than hand-washing.

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#22

Installing ceiling fans in every room — even the kitchen and garage — helped significantly with our cooling bills in the summer. Why turn the AC down when you can just turn a fan on?!
The $70 Home Depot ones look perfectly fine to me, and they make SUCH a difference in my everyday happiness.

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Curry on...
Community Member
5 months ago

I have them in every room of my house too. Makes a huge difference.

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#23

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) New water saver toilets. My water utility had a $75 rebate per low usage toilet so I replaced all my old water-wasters for next to nothing.

Part of the contract with the provider is you have to disable the old toilets so they can not be reused so as an added bonus I got to put on my safety glasses and find out how many hits with a hammer a toilet bowl can take before it shatters.

(For reference the answer is one).

EduardDelacroixII , pexels Report

Elita One
Community Member
5 months ago

My toilets don't even use water, they're long drop decomposing toilets, full of bugs and critters who eat down the waste to nothing, now that saves water. (only good for places where they can be used of course)

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#24

Cleaning lady was a game changer, every 2 weeks they come and my home is spotless when I get back from work. Sheets changed, windows clean, bathrooms spotless, dope AF.

Never thought I’d get there but I can see why everyone with more money then me does it.

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Joybug
Community Member
5 months ago

We have a cleaner, great investment, what they can achieve in an hour and a half is a lot more than I could because it's not their house and they don't get distracted. Gives me piece of mind knowing the whole house gets a good once over every fortnight. I don't just look at the $$ value of it because it is worth so much more to me emotionally to have that task completely taken care of.

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#25

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) I bought a Google Home Mini speaker and a bunch of cheap, compatible smart outlets. I say 'good night' and it turns on my white noise machines, turns off my lights (including the Christmas tree!), turns on my heated blanket, tells me the weather for the next day, and starts the sleep playlist I like on Spotify. All of that for just over $100.

OyHereWeGoAgain , flickr Report

Elita One
Community Member
5 months ago

Please tell me I'm not the only one who doesn't like these smart home devices? It may be convenient but there is always that possibility they are spying on you, and this is coming from a young person.

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#26

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) Way less than $500, but removable shower heads. Makes cleaning the shower so much easier.

Also less than $500, smart lights and plugs for interior and exterior lights.

Then, closer to $500, the artificial Christmas tree that already has the lights in them. No more tangled light strings. Get them on a smart plug and you don’t have to fiddle with it all season.

$500-$1000: drinks fridge. Keeps booze and bottled drinks out of the kitchen fridge space.

More than $1000, remote control motorized blackout shades in the bedroom. Pretty much total darkness. And you can set up a schedule for them to auto open partially to fully. We used Hunter Douglas via Costco.

FranqiT , unsplash Report

xolitaire
Community Member
5 months ago

Wait, there are "un"removable shower heads?

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#27

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) USB outlets everywhere at $135/6 pack.

VECBlows , flickr Report

Thomas Sweda
Community Member
5 months ago

But then you lost half your electric outlets.

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#28

$1000 worth of Ryobi tools. Ive saved probably 30k on researching the hell out of projects on YouTube/Reddit and doing them with Ryobi tools and its been amazing. They basically have a tool for EVERY kind of job and its sub $100. Having the right tool makes such a difference and at the end of it you have your project done, saved a TON of money, and built a tool collection.

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Pungent Sauce
Community Member
5 months ago

Ryobi is underrated for sure.

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#29

Mesh Wi-Fi totally changed my life. It's so worth installing one of these systems instead of the router your cable company charges you monthly for — now I never have to think about where the 'good' or 'bad' Wi-Fi spots are. It's just reliable everywhere, and you can forget about it entirely.

captainvancouver Report

Vicky Z
Community Member
5 months ago

Companies charge monthly for the router??? Where? I paid once when i signed the contract and that's it! If something happens to it they change it for free!

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#30

People Share What Things Massively Improved Their Homes With Minimum Effort (30 Posts) We love our smart thermostat. They have really amazing features, and it's so much easier to know exactly how your system is working. We got ours for $180 at Costco during their Christmas sale, and installing it on our own was a piece of cake too.

otatoe9999900 , smarthomeperfected Report

Eric Mac Fadden
Community Member
5 months ago

Not a thing in tropical countries... unfortunately... I dream of AC and to pay the power bill for it

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Note: this post originally had 78 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.