3 Simple Steps to Update a Room under $100 (and our Guest Room Plans)

I like to think that I have an eye for seeing the potential in a space and the ability to look past an unattractive current state. The idea of buying a fixer upper has always appealed to me because I like to put in the blood, sweat, and tears into making a space my own. However, the ideas in my head and the money in our bank account don’t always match up. In fact, they rarely do. Haha. I have had grand ideas of what I could make of our house if the sky were the limit. But in reality, we don’t have $50-$100k to build an addition above the garage, gut the house, add windows, etc, and I know most people don’t either. That’s why I look for clever ways to update or upgrade without blowing the budget.

The three things I find myself doing time and time again that have the biggest visual impact on a space are:

  1. Paint the walls (a no brainer that most people know). It can transform a room from drab to cheery, dirty to clean, lifeless to alive. A gallon of each paint and primer won’t set you back much more than $60-$75, depending on the brand or finish.
  2. Change the outlets. Whether it is just the outlet covers or the actual outlets themselves (or in our case, both) these can make a room look much more modern. The best part? You generally won’t spend more than a few dollars an outlet.
  3. Swapping out an air vent, if the room has one. You can go nuts spending $60 on a fancy floor register cover like this one from Restoration Hardware (which by the way, I had no idea they were called register covers. Learn something new every day!) or you can spend $18 like I did for a look alike at Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe’s. I got this one for reference.

We’re working on updating the guest room right now since Ben’s parents are coming to visit this weekend. We won’t be even close to done by then, but I wanted to get these 3 things checked off the list. Here’s what we’ve worked on so far:

We started by taking down a massive wall shelf that was hung right at eye level. It nearly hit you in the eye when you took 2 steps into the room. We then filled all the holes with spackle, and Ben peeled the wallpaper trim. We heard steam was one of the best ways to go so we got out the steamer we received as a wedding gift, set it up on the ironing board and Ben worked his way around the room. Not exactly ideal, but it got the job done. Check out just how dingy the walls were after we were done. Can you see the stripe where the wallpaper was?




We primed the walls first with Kilz primer that the previous owners left in the house. I initially tried to just paint white paint over the already white walls but wasn’t getting the coverage I needed. The walls were a lot dirtier than we expected. Save yourself the trouble and just go ahead and start with the primer. You won’t regret it. I then added two coats of paint to the walls. Ben had one request when I was picking a paint color and that was that the color isn’t pink. I obliged and picked a light lavender instead. Needless to say, it isn’t exactly his favorite choice 😉

Next, we tackled the outlets. I put Ben to work right when he got home before we lost daylight. We removed the old covers, easy peasy, but the outlets themselves gave us a little bit of trouble. They were wired through the back of the outlet rather than the side like the previous outlets we’d fixed. It worked out, just took us much longer than expected. Once those were installed we added the new white covers.


Lastly, I popped out the blue floor register cover and set in the new one. 30 seconds max.




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Guest Room Checklist

Prime and paint the walls

Replace outlets and outlet covers

Switch register cover

Switch out ceiling fan for light fixture or newer ceiling fan

Add basic furniture (Bed, nightstands, etc)

Decorate the walls

Install a closet rod because there currently isn’t one in the closet

Install new curtain rod

Hang curtains

Install crown moulding

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