Curating living environments that are functional, comfortable, and beautiful is more important than ever now that we are spending more time a home these days. Looking to take advantage of the current state of quarantine to polish up the home front? Check out my 3 easy DIY home improvement projects that require neither the assistance of contractors or anything beyond your basic tool kit.
- Update Home Hardware. Updating your home’s hardware is a fun and easy way to add polish to your place. To create a consistent and cohesive feel throughout the home, choose pieces in the same finish, such as brushed nickel, chrome, matte black, or brass, to use throughout your home. My all-time favorite place to shop for hardware is Rejuvenation, but it can be a tad spendy so I’ve also been known to buy pieces in bulk on Amazon or Home Depot. Here’s a list of hardware swaps to consider.
- House Numbers. Guests and delivery folks alike appreciate bold and beautiful house numbers. While years back these could be quite expensive, big box home goods stores now have plenty of attractive options to suite your home’s style.
- Garages and Outbuildings. One of my biggest gripes about homes built in the decades between mid-century and the millennium, is how the garage door is often the structural focal point. If your home features a prominent garage door, or even if you just want to class up your garage or an outbuilding such as a tool or garden shed, decorative carriage-style hardware gives your home an instant boost of charm. These even come in easy to install magnetic kits, which require no screws or holes.
- Kitchen and Bath Cabinetry. This is a particularly nice swap if you’re trying to update older pieces. Consider what finishes you have in your home that you love—or are already updated, and swap these in to make your home feel more pulled together. Also, for a fun and quick option, consider a adding wallpaper to glass front cabinets (see the feature pic above). There are a ton of chic removable wallpaper options these days!
- Furniture. One of my favorite ways to decorate on a budget is to source second-hand, solid-wood furniture, then refurbish these pieces with fresh paint and hardware to match my home’s style. Anthropologie is my go-to spot for pretty and unique hardware for furniture pieces such as nightstands, end tables, and dressers.
- Add some Polish with Paint. Nothing has a bigger impact for the amount of money and skill required than painting. Here’s a list of my favorite DIY painting projects that pack a big punch.
- Interior Walls. The most obvious of course is painting interior walls by either touching up your current colors with a fresh coat, or picking an entirely new color or scheme. Check out my recent post for 6 Steps to Perfect Paint Colors.
- Front Doors. Brighten up your curb appeal by painting a pretty pop of color on the front door. Not sure what hue to choose? Pinterest is a great place to start. Paint brands will also typically have in-store pamphlets with color coordinating suggestions, as well as online tools for selecting color palettes to help you match up your home’s exterior with complimentary door paint.
- Cabinetry and Furniture. Need to spruce up tired kitchen cabinets, bath vanities, or wood furniture? A fresh coat of paint costs a fraction of the price of putting in new cabinetry, and can totally update your pieces. Make sure wood is cleaned, primed, and hardware is either removed or protected before getting started. Not sure what color to choose? You can never go wrong with varying shades of white, black, or gray.
- Concrete. Do you have a dated concrete porch, or a basement that’s seen better days? Give your hard-working floors a clean and polished look with a fresh coat of epoxy paint, which will quickly minimize cracks and imperfections.
- Pretty up the Yard and Patio. If you’re lucky enough to have a patch of outdoor space during quarantine times, getting outside for a little fresh air and yard work does wonders to lift one’s spirits. Here’s a list of my top three DIY efforts to polish up the yard and patio.
- Chip Bark. Nothing will give your yard instant polish like a fresh layer of chip bark atop your garden beds and around the bases of tree. Rather than purchasing several bags at the nursery, I recommend picking up a truck load of bark (and compost if you’ve got a garden) each spring. If you don’t have access to a truck, most bark and soil supply companies will deliver for a small fee. And, don’t forget that it never hurts to prime your beds with a little weeding and pruning first.
- White String Lighting. Whether you have a tiny deck or a large patio, there is no better way to boost outdoor ambiance than with a few strings of white lights. These come in various sizes, shapes (including Edison bulbs and globes), and lighting sources such as LED, incandescent, or even solar power!
- Annual Flowers. Visit your local nursery or grocery store and buy a pallet of annuals to tuck into your yard and flower pots. If you’re not skilled in landscape design, simply buy a large quantity of one type of flower. My procession of annuals typically starts with primroses in late winter, bulbs such as daffodils and tulips around Easter, pansies in late spring, bright red germaniums for summertime, and mums in the fall.
I hope you’re inspired to take on some (or all—depending on how long the current state of affairs lasts!) of these simple home improvement projects. Not only will these DIY efforts keep boredom at bay, you’ll get a little exercise, possibly learn a new skill, and emerge with a lovely and polished home.
Feature photo by Marla Smith Photography