Things That Make Your House a Home Without Spending a Dollar

Last updated on September 29, 2023

A good approach to living is to do what you can with what you have where you are. If you apply this philosophy to your home, you can find cost-effective ways of making things feel more comfortable. They say home is where the heart is, right? In that sense, home could just be a town, rather than a building. They don’t say home is where the bank account is.

What's Inside

Maximizing Your Living Space

First, take stock of what you have available right now. For example: do you have a box of old comic books that aren’t particularly valuable? Certainly, there are those special edition first prints from the forties or fifties, but for every mint-condition shrink-wrapped comic, there are a thousand issues nobody liked that fell between the cracks of society.

Well, what if you took those comics, cut the pages out, and used them as wallpaper in one of the rooms of your home? A comic book page is about eight inches by twelve, so a thirty-page issue will cover a segment of a wall ten feet high by three feet wide. It’ll actually be a little less than that, because you’ll need to overlap and re-shape images for best results, but you get the idea.

Profit Can Erase Spending

A box of comics could be the wallpaper for an entire room. It’ll take time, but with some simple household materials, and no money spent, you can totally change the spirit of a room to match your innermost preferences. Now certainly, though you haven’t spent any money in this scenario, that doesn’t mean what you’ve done is without value. Time is money!

So for the time being, forget that time is money because the options considered here will certainly take time. Still, if you do the job right, what you’ll actually do is increase the value of your property. Accordingly, if whatever you do increases the value of your property, then time and monetary expenses are overcome by value.

This means sometimes though you spend money because you have profit, you actually don’t diminish your assets—so in the end you’ve made money, not spent it. This is a considerable approach to take if you’re handy with tools or wood. For example, you can find an online blueprint and build a DIY deck that brings more value than cost.

If you’re not handy, but you’ve got time and money, you might look at something like solar panels. A single panel is about $100 if you buy cheap and in bulk at 100 Watts per panel. It’s about a dollar a watt. So a 3.1 kWh (kilo-Watt hour) solar array will cost about $3,100, and then you’ll want to add about another $1,900 in cables, batteries, surge controllers, etc.

Breaking Down The Solar Energy Tactic

Now homes average about $100 a month on a utility bill, if a solar array knocks that down to $20 a month, then you’re saving $960 a year. Panels last about ten years, so you can pull $9,600 worth of value in saved utilities alone.

Where before you’d have spent $12k for the same energy, now you’ve spent only $7,400, including the cost of panels, DIY installation, and whatever residual expenses in traditional utilities remain. In total, over ten years you save $4,600, minimum; or $460 a year—which can be used to better your property, making it more “homey”, if you like.

That’s not to mention what your property value does through green energy options like this. In many places, you’ll get a tax credit, and additionally, you’ll see property value spike between $10k and $20k for a 3,1 kWh system—depending on where you live. For example, in California, this would increase property value significantly!

So you’re looking at $13k in direct property value and $4,600 in deferred utility costs before your tax break. For a $5k investment and a week or two of your life, you make $17,600, and that’s on the conservative end of things. Plus, your home is more reliable because it’s now grid-independent. Something that really makes a property feel idiosyncratically maximized is infrastructural independence.

A Few More Ideas, And The Bigger Picture

Something else you might look into is strategic interior refurbishment. You want things to feel natural, right? But a lot of properties come with cabinets, cupboards, and other storage options which were made by the original designers. This can be less than aesthetically pleasing. 

Or what about a wall mural. Are you good at painting? In one room you might put a mural from floor to ceiling. Additionally, you could use varying techniques to make space feel “psychedelic”. There are a lot of options here, provided you’re creative, have some time on your hands, and you’re willing to put yourself into the changes you pursue.

Consider your premises, consider what you have available, and what the impact of your actions will be. Don’t rule out landscaping—you might be able to plant a few seeds around your property entirely for free, and see those plants yield fruit.

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