Our home was built in 1997. Most of the fixtures (faucets, lighting, carpeting, countertops, appliances) were builder-grade (aka cheap). We've slowly replaced the cheap-o stuff with nicer upgrades, courtesy of my handy husband. He can't do everything, but I'm so happy with what he's learned by watching web videos and reading internet articles on home improvement.
Our latest project: finally changing the light in the dining area of our eat-in kitchen. After five years of living with a frosted glass and brass cheap basic light, we settled on a brushed stainless steel casual fixture with a beige drum shade. I've been looking for an affordable fixture with a drum shade for nearly two years and we finally found this one for less than $100 at Lowe's:
It may not seem like a huge deal, but we got rid of our '90s-style beige appliances and flourescent lighting a few years ago, but we were still working with this super basic light fixture. The new one looks like a real lamp and it makes me feel like I'm eating at a cozy restaurant or coffee shop, even when I'm just eating cornflakes at 6:30 am. Plus, E installed a dimmer on this fixture, so we can have some ambiance when we're enjoying our evening meals. I love it. Little improvements make a big difference. What do you think?