When it comes to improving our homes, many of us within the modern world are without the skill sets that would have been common even a generation ago, such as working with two by fours or sewing our own clothes. Work — even the kind that used to be done my most people on a Saturday afternoon — has become so highly specialized that even tinkering has become a lost art.
For the resolute DIYer, however, the reality that the times have changed is little more than a challenge to recover what has been lost. If you have projects around your house that you’d like to take on, rest assured that there is plenty you can tackle yourself, regardless of your experience thus far. Save yourself some money, rack up some rewards points on your credit card and bask in the wonderful feeling of self reliance.
1. Paint Unsightly Floors
Whether your hardwood has seen better days, or you’re living with linoleum that makes you feel like you’re caught inside a terrible time warp, the desire to change what’s underfoot is an almost universal one among homeowners. And, when you haven’t the time, money, or know-how to really rehab or transform your floors, you can begin to believe you’re stuck with them.
While it may seem unorthodox at the outset, one quick and attractive fix is to paint floors that look bad. All you need to do is clean them well, lightly sand them, and tape off the walls or baseboards. Be sure to use a paint that’s made to endure being walked on, and use a high-quality roller or brush. Bright white or a bold, solid color both work well, but you can also tape off designs and take a two- or three-tone approach.
Whatever you choose, be daring. If you don’t like the way it turns out, you can always just paint it again.
2. Improve Ye Old Front Door
There are a number of ways you can improve your front door depending on the amount of money you have to spend, and the amount of time you have to commit to the project. If you’re short on either or both, simply choose a vibrant color and a high-quality paint and, after preparing the surface properly, get to work painting your front door. You’ll instantly feel like you’ve upgraded your home every time you step through it.
If you have a little more time and money to devote after painting it, look into upgrading your door’s hardware. From vintage locks and handles to brushed nickel or stainless steel, changing out hardware take a bit more time and effort, but it can add a classy look where before there was just pragmatism.
3. Switch Out Faucets
From the kitchen to the bathrooms, faucets are an essential part of cleaning, cooking, and being clean, and over time, they can wear out or simply begin to look dated. Without reinventing the wheel, find replacement faucets that will fit the sinks and holes occupied by the ones you have now.
Grab your tools, a free afternoon, and watch a YouTube video or two. With a little time and focus, you’ll have the new hardware up and running in no time.
4. Update Light Fixtures
While true electrical work is best left to a professional, you can easily update light fixtures with little more than the wherewithal to turn off a breaker. Transform your dining room’s pendant light into a mini chandelier. Change out ceiling fixtures in bedrooms and bathrooms with vintage pieces, flea market finds, or department store clearance gems. Then, pull all your breakers back into the “On” position, and run from room to room switching on every gloriously new light in your house.
5. Go for Curb Appeal
One of the easiest ways to upgrade the looks of your home is to focus for a moment — or a weekend — on improving its curb appeal. Step into the street and face your house. How’s the lawn? The landscaping? Are there toys, tools, broken steps, hanging shutters, or anything else in your view that seems out of place?
Whatever you see that takes away from the inherent good looks of your home, get to work setting it aright. While some aspects of curb appeal require little more than cleaning up, others take time and effort. Repair hanging or missing shutters or trim. Paint your mailbox if it’s looking drab. Clear out flower beds of dead and dying detritus, and break out the edger for the tufts of grass at the edges of your sidewalk. In every way you can, make your home’s exterior a domain of calm tidiness. Then, commit to maintaining it.
Upgrading your home is one of the most rewarding ways a homeowner can spend her time, and it doesn’t have to require the skills of a master carpenter in order for the improvements to be noticeable.