10 low-cost home improvements

Replace carpeting, buff floors

Loop carpeting is great for high-use areas such as family rooms because it's so durable. Twist carpet is softer to walk on and a better choice for bedrooms. But whatever style and color you choose, getting rid of stained and dated flooring can make a world of difference. Expect to pay about $20 per square yard installed.

Or you could get rid of that carpet completely if you have hardwood underneath.

We know that floor refinishing can be expensive. That's why we recommend having the floors rebuffed and coated only — no sanding. This won't take out all of the dings and gouges, but if your floors are already in decent shape, re-sanding isn't needed.

Only looking to do a room or two? Focus on the bedrooms of family members with allergies. Hardwood floors won't trap dust like carpets do.