I have a long-standing, ongoing plan to improve my home. Every year, we save up and do one considerable improvement, whether it's adding different lighting in the living room, or building a microwave shelf into my kitchen cabinets, or replacing some of the the flooring in our basement. We have a separate list for the more major ($1,000 plus) improvements, like adding a guest bathroom, or installing central air, etc. and they have their own "funds" that we are building slowly. When we have enough saved in their respective funds, we will unleash those projects, but realistically, they are months or years down the line. That's ok. I'm a patient woman. ;)
What about small changes that have a high impact? Yes, they do exist. A few years ago, I replaced almost all of the switchplates in the house. We had basically been living with the same switchplates that came with the house when we bought it a decade ago. Some were paint-stained, scratched, no longer matched the paint, were plasticy and cheap-looking, or were just plain ugly or boring. I went room by room, replacing all the light plates and socket plates. In the living room, I bought coordinated etched espresso wood plates. In the kitchen, I took the old plates, which were horribly tarnished and scratched copper and had them polished and cleaned. In our bedroom, I bought white wrought iron matching lacework plates. In the hallways, I used oak and cedar plates, some with some pretty carving on them. You get the idea. Total spent? About $120. Is it the first thing you notice when you walk into my house? Of course not. But room-appeal is often in the details.
I have older, cherrywood kitchen cabinets that I'd love to replace one day. Given that that would probably be a $20,000 expense, it won't happen tomorrow. But I have been on the prowl for some more modern, sleek looking hardware to replace the circa 1978 knobs that came on my kitchen cabinets, and make them look even more dated.