“Often, shades can be replaced if they feel dated,” she says, explaining that swapping out lampshades and simple fixtures are easy updates.
Yes, you can even find secondhand rugs, as long as you know what to look for. Rugs can be dingy, dirty, stained (and possibly even worn through in places), so you really want to inspect every inch of a secondhand rug. But with a good vacuuming, a spray of carpet cleaner, or even a hosing down in the yard (depending on the material), you’ll have an affordable, potentially one-of-a-kind rug adorning your floor.
Plus, when you can see rugs in real life, you know exactly what you’re getting, which isn’t always the case when you buy a rug online, Scheer says.
One of the cheapest, easiest ways to upgrade your kitchen or bathroom is to swap out the cabinet door handles and drawer pulls. Good news: You can often find these at secondhand stores like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore and from local organizations that recycle building and home materials, Scheer says.
If you’re moving from an apartment to a house or townhome, chances are you probably need to buy a lawnmower, a rake, snow shovels, tree and shrub pruners, and other essential lawn and garden tools. Hit up an estate sale, a garage sale, or Craigslist, and you’ll save yourself a lot of money, says Deb Tomaro, a real estate agent in central Indiana.
“I spent about $5 for my starter set of garden tools,” she says, recalling her first-time home purchase. “I went to an estate sale and bought a shovel, pitchfork, and step ladder. They were a little rusty, but a little steel wool goes a long way.”
You can find like-new headboards all over Facebook Marketplace, says Betsy Ronel, a real estate agent in New York. Plus, you can make a headboard out of just about anything if you’re willing to go the DIY route, like old window shutters and doors, for example.
“Headboards are a statement in a bedroom and can have as much personality as you want, even if the rest of the room is pretty tame,” Ronel says. “They range from free to over $100 for something more ornate. They can be sanded, stained, or repainted.”