June 18, 2024

Cheap DIY Ideas for Home Improvements in San Diego Homes

July 18, 2022

Home. It’s where we make memories, laugh, relax, and play. These days, home is where many of us work too.  If you’re lucky enough to own a home in San Diego, then you know what a sanctuary it can be.  It’s the one place you can truly be yourself, enjoy your privacy, and feel safe doing your own thing.  If you cherish the luxuries and benefits of homeownership, you might be thinking about giving your “home sweet home” some upgrades. If so, here are a few tips on home improvement in San Diego that can make your abode more cozy and appealing than ever before.

Why Should You Consider Home Improvements in San Diego?

Home life took a dramatic turn thanks to the titanic shifts caused by the pandemic. With forced quarantines, our homes became more than a place to crash – they became our safe harbors, our ports in the storm, and safe havens. Suddenly, we found ourselves spending unprecedented amounts of time in the home. In turn, this motivated many San Diegans to start getting serious about DIY home improvements. 

In fact, San Diego home improvements continue to rise well after the height of the pandemic because many homeowners have grown accustomed and even prefer staying home more often these days.  As a result, homeowners are motivated now more than ever to make their domiciles more functional, welcoming, entertaining, and efficient.  

Alternatively, many San Diego home renovations are a result of owners attempting to fetch a better price because they’re trying to sell their homes.  One of the best reasons for home improvement in San Diego is appealing to house hunters.  While it’s true the real estate market has been crazy these past few years – one thing is certain – San Diego home remodel and/or improvements are the number one advantage for selling a home in SD. 

Even the kitchen remodel cost in San Diego is well worth the price, because home buyers tend to look at kitchen upgrades first when deciding to purchase.   Moreover, any reno can potentially make a big difference in the asking price, which could mean home sellers who make improvements stand to earn more money on the purchase of the house.

Whether you want to boost the value of a home you’re selling or just want to spruce your place up for added comfort, style, and function – home improvements can mean significant benefits. What’s more, you don’t necessarily have to do a total overhaul to make an impact.  Some of the cheapest home improvements can make a tremendous difference in how your home looks and feels.  Having said all this, here are some helpful DIY ideas for home improvements in San Diego. 

How To Make Home Improvements in San Diego On A Budget 

As mentioned, home improvements in San Diego don’t have to cost a fortune.  Homeowners can use many options and strategies to reduce costs and get glowing results.  However, if you’re thinking of a whole home remodel, where to start might be a big concern because it can be such an epic and potentially expensive proposition. No matter what kind of upgrades you’re contemplating, here are some suggestions about how to make home improvements on a budget.

Financing Your Old San Diego Home Project

If you’re facing a hefty historical home renovation, or need to do some major upgrades to outdated areas of your abode, you might consider applying for a renovation loan.  For instance, if you qualify, you could get an FHA 203k loan. This is a loan from the Federal Housing Administration that covers renovation costs and your first mortgage with a fixed or adjustable rate. 

You might also look into a Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation loan which are funds tied into the refinancing of your mortgage that you can use to make upgrades and improvements to your home. Getting HomeStyle loan approval requires above-average credit scores from borrowers.  However, the regulations on renovation work that can be done with this loan are more lenient than an FHA 203k.  Alternatively, an FHA 203k loan approvals aren’t as strict about credit scores, but there are more contingencies on what kind of improvements can be made with this type of financing.  

Lastly, you could opt for a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). Most lenders allow homeowners to borrow up to 80% to 90% of their home value. In this scenario, you can borrow against the available equity in your home to make improvements. The home is used as collateral for the HELOC.  As you repay the balance on the line of credit, the amount of credit available is reloaded in the line and available for use on future improvements. 

Affordable Interior Home Improvement DIY Projects For Your Old San Diego Home 

If financing renovations isn’t an option, but you’re still wanting to do a San Diego home renovation, there are several affordable options on the table for you.  With minimal cost, you can make an old home look good as new.  Here are a few affordable interior DIY projects that will make a big difference in your home’s appearance and value.

Remove & Replace Carpet 

One of the more simple DIY projects that will enhance your home is removing the carpet and replacing it with new.  This could be a huge boon to the environment of your home because, over time, carpet can get ultra-filthy.  Not only does carpeting start to look old and tired after a while, but it can also be a harbinger of allergens and dirt build-up that can be harmful to a household’s health.  

Once you start ripping up the old carpeting, you may find a goldmine. To explain, many old homes in San Diego were originally built with hardwood flooring.  If you find that’s the case with your home, why not think about restoring that original flooring? Original hardwood floors are a big plus for home buyers, so it could be a coup if you’re renovating with an eye to selling your home.  Moreover, restoring original floors means you don’t have the expense of buying new carpets and enduring the labor to install them. 

Freshen Up Walls

Look at any number of before and after pictures from any DIY project involving wall preparation, and you will undoubtedly be stupefied by what a transformation this simple improvement can make.  Think about removing old wallpaper and replacing it with an updated print.  Or, opt to put a fresh coat of paint on the interior walls.  These improvements are relatively simple for even the most amateur DIYer.  Plus, paint and wallpaper are one of the least expensive improvements you can make.  

Even if you don’t want to go through the hassle of wallpaper or new paint, you can still get a glowing look on your interior with a good scrub.  Fix scratches and clean up stains on the walls in your house.  The result will render a fresh, invigorating, and renewed vibe.

Add Solar 

Perhaps one of the most excellent prospects for home improvement in San Diego is going solar.  This is also a phenomenal improvement for your pocketbook because it could save you a ton of money on your electricity costs. In fact, the more power you use, the greater potential you have in savings by going solar.  Additionally, adding solar energy to your home is contributing to the betterment of the environment.  Not to mention, a solar-paneled “green” home is a highly coveted feature for new home buyers. 

Before you start seeing dollar signs when considering going solar, you should know that there are tax credits and incentives that can counteract the expense of installing solar panels and a power station. To explain, you may be eligible for the Federal Solar Tax Credit.  Currently, homeowners can stand to get a 26% tax credit for solar systems installed in 2020-2022.  For the year 2023, the tax credit is 22%, and will continue to be that rate until 2024 unless Congress changes it.

There are other incentive programs you can take advantage of that can reduce the cost of solar installations. Here are a few you may be eligible for and interested in:

  • Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit 
  • Disadvantaged Communities – Single-Family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH) program 
  • LADWP – Net Metering 
  • Self-Generation Incentive Program 
  • Property Tax Exclusion for Solar Energy Homes 
  • NEM 2.0 


Not only is insulation a necessity for the comfort and value of any home, it’s also one of the better improvements for a solid return on investment. To elaborate, upgrading insulation means big savings in reduced energy costs.  Be aware that different insulation materials vary in cost. For example, fiberglass insulation is typically less expensive than other insulation types. 

If researching prices, removing, and installing new insulation feels a little out of your depth, do a quick search online for “insulation removal near me.”  Getting a qualified professional might be your best option, especially if you are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of removing and installing insulation.    

Address & Fix Mold Damage

Not only is mold a major eyesore, but it’s also a potential hazard to your health.  And while a bathroom remodel in San Diego is a fabulous way to freshen up the necessary room, the simple DIY act of removing mold makes a huge difference in the look and feel of the bathroom.  It’s also a cheap improvement, typically requiring only household cleaning products, or a solution of bleach and water to remove unsightly mold in the bathroom.

However, if you have more troubling mold issues such as black mold, or an infestation in your walls, you might want to contact remodel contractors in San Diego to tackle mold remediation for you.  A contractor can identify if you have mold, and should explain the process for removing it.  Clearing mold and fixing damage caused by it will increase the value of your home.  More importantly, it will improve the safety of occupants – especially those who suffer from lung problems or allergies.

Improve Window Treatments 

Very often, homeowners live with the same window treatments for years upon years, making them virtually invisible over time.  If you stand back and take a hairy eyeball to your window treatments, if you’re honest, you might confess they might look outdated, dowdy, or downright shabby.  If you can relate, then it’s time for some upgrades.

Opt for wooden blinds for a rich, warm, inviting new look.  Or perhaps horizontal aluminum blinds would make the perfect enhancement for an industrial, modern appearance. Incorporate valances, drapes, or roll-shades for a textured pop of color. Even less expensive options such as plastic or paper blinds can significantly impact your home’s appearance. 

Affordable Exterior Home Improvement DIY Projects For Your Old San Diego Home 

While interior home improvements in San Diego are certainly enticing for homebuyers and homeowners alike, sprucing up the exterior of the home is just as effective for radical transformations.  What’s more, updating your home’s exterior doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Here are some ultra-affordable home improvement DIY projects you can do on the outside of your home that will make a difference without crushing your budget.

Power Wash The Exterior of Your Home

This tip might not sound like much, but power washing the outside of your home can be a real game changer in terms of giving it a facelift.  When we live in the same home for many years, we tend to overlook the grime that accumulates on the outside over time.  Once you subject it to a powerwash, you will be shocked at the transformation. If you don’t have a power washer on hand, you can rent one relatively inexpensively at almost any home improvement store in San Diego.

Upgrade/Clean Up Landscaping 

Landscaping is part of that ever-important element in the real estate industry known as “curb appeal.”  If you’re selling your home, having a well-manicured, clean, and tasteful landscape can leave a dazzling first impression on potential buyers.  Even if you’re not selling, there’s something about driving up to your new beautifully landscaped yard that says, “welcome home.”  In either case, cleaning up your yard and introducing a landscape aesthetic can revitalize the look of your home’s exterior.  It’s also fairly cheap to do.  The most investment this DIY project requires is elbow grease, time, and maybe a bit of sweat equity.   

Replace Sprinklers with Greywater System 

As a resident of San Diego, you’re probably very familiar with how much water is a premium commodity.  Calls to conserve water are frequent and getting more urgent every year. As a result, one of the most conscientious home improvements can be to replace lawn sprinklers with a greywater system.  Greywater is water used to wash dishes or do the laundry.  You can install a low-tech, simple greywater system inexpensively by applying a three-way valve to funnel greywater from home appliances to your lawn’s sprinkler system.  You can opt for a more elaborate system that can disburse greywater to your lawn and landscaping.  However, these may be more costly and often require a professional to install. 

Whether you go DIY or hire a contractor in San Diego to install a greywater system, this improvement is really attractive to both homeowners and homebuyers alike.  This is because these systems could save you anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 gallons of drinking water per year.  This is huge when you consider the current climate conditions and droughts in the area. In fact, outdoor irrigation (lawn watering) accounts for two-thirds of water consumption in California. In light of this staggering statistic, installing a greywater system can keep your lawn lush and your flowers blooming while simultaneously saving you water and money as well as contributing to the efforts to conserve water in San Diego.

Final Thoughts on Home Improvements to Your San Diego Home

In closing, we hope we’ve made a good case for DIY improvements for your home.  From simple cleaning to a fresh coat of paint, you will be astounded by what a few simple, inexpensive updates can do for the overall appearance and vibe of your home. 

Ultimately, doing your own home improvements is a brilliant way to increase value as well as give you a strong sense of pride. There’s something so uplifting in standing back and seeing your hard work shine through in one of your most precious assets – your home.  So get your work clothes out, don your gloves and get to work! You won’t regret all the fruits of your DIY home improvement efforts.