10 low-cost home improvements

Replace light fixtures

Taking out that brassy chandelier and replacing it with a sleek, modern fixture can instantly update a room. How much you spend is up to you; options are endless at prices that go from $50 to the thousands. You'll find lots of ideas at LightingUniverse.com. Just remember to be careful and make sure the circuits are shut off before you get going.

Not interested in dealing with a rewiring job? Then replace your lamps. You can find lamp bases and shades at just about any big box home improvement store, but you can also check out your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore, which will take in private donations and overstocks from contractors — even items from hotels that are being renovated. You're bound to find lamp bases and a good selection of shades for a fraction of what you'll pay retail. Proceeds go toward Habitat for Humanity's home building projects.