10 DIY home projects that are easier than you think

Mon May 21 2018

A young couple sit on the floor surrounded by paint cans and a ladder

One of the joys of owning a home is the freedom to make it fit your style. But some home renovation projects can be time-consuming and expensive if you hire contractors to do the job.

So why not see what you can tackle yourself? Not only can small projects improve the look and feel of your home, but they can also add to the home’s value. The key is to pick projects that are both safe and can be done appropriately by a careful amateur.

These 10 DIY home projects may be a good fit for your skill set and budget. For easy reference, the projects are organized by objective (from installing new fixtures to upgrading decor).

Project: Install new fixtures


Replacing faucets can add a quick touch of your style to your home’s kitchen and bathrooms. The only tools you’ll need are:

  • Two adjustable wrenches
  • A basin wrench

Choose from a variety of faucets, but you may want to make sure the finish (e.g., polished chrome, bronze, etc.) match or purposefully contrast your existing fixtures.

Remember that apart from design, faucets come in different configurations (e.g. hole openings). These can range from the standard single-hole faucets to pull-outs and side sprayers. When choosing your new fixture, pick one that matches the hole openings to your sink.

Ready to start? See how to change a faucet.

Lighting fixtures

Switching out lighting fixtures is another way to update your home’s look. This project only requires a few basic tools:

  • Wire cutters
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire connectors

When picking out your new fixture, consider the placement (e.g. over the dining room table or kitchen island), fixture diameter, and clearance (you don’t want anyone to hit their head).

Before starting any lighting projects, make sure to turn off your power at the breaker boxes. For step-by-step instructions on replacing a light fixture, see this easy guide.

Ceiling fans

Living in the south means hot and humid summers. Luckily, ceiling fans can cool the air while saving on air conditioner costs.

The ceiling fan installation process is similar to that of lighting fixtures. You’ll need:

  • Wire cutters
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire connectors

If the wall is less than 12 feet long, homeowners generally choose a 36-inch diameter fan.

Depending on the current fixture type, you may need to install a support brace for your ceiling fan. If you can get to the space above the ceiling, you can also make a brace using some wood and screws. If you don’t, you can insert an expanding metal brace through the fixture hole from below.

This guide offers the remaining fan installation steps.

Project: Upgrade your home’s exterior


Nothing helps your home stand out like a great exterior color scheme. That doesn’t have to mean redoing your siding, which can get pretty expensive.

Instead, paint portions of your home’s exterior in a color that fits its existing palette. This will refresh your home’s appearance without breaking the bank or overextending yourself. Parts to consider painting include:

  • Door casings
  • Front door
  • Railings
  • Roof edgings
  • Window frames

These tips can help you pick out exterior accent colors.

Project: Get organized

Drawer charging stations

We’re always scrambling around for phone and laptop chargers, not mention untangling them from the bottom of our bags of drawers.

Yet by installing a power strip in the back of your kitchen and/or bathroom drawers, you can easily store and charge all your electronic devices in one location – no more messy drawers and countertops.

In most cases, all you’ll need to do is drill holes in the back of your drawers for the power strip cord. You can also outfit your drawers with organizers to give each device an assigned place.

Medicine cabinets

Medicine cabinets are great for bathroom storage. Yet depending on the number of bathrooms (and people) in your home, one cabinet per room may not be enough.

With a stud finder and drill, you can install a medicine cabinet (or two) for your bathrooms. This project can usually be completed in less than an hour! You’ll need:

  • Bolts
  • Drywall anchors
  • A stud finder
  • Drill
  • A pencil to mark the cabinet’s placement

Choose a cabinet that mounts directly to the wall. This way, you won’t have to worry about cutting out drywall to make room for your cabinet. Then check out these installation instructions.

Project: Upgrade your decor

Crown molding

Who says you have to stick to single-color walls for your rooms? Crown molding can add a stylistic touch to any room and can be used to create atmospheric effect. For example:

  • Federal Style molding can help low-ceiling rooms look more spacious.
  • Greek Revival molding can add some visual interest to a room with minimal decor.
  • Early American molding can help your ceiling blend with new room additions, making them appear cohesive.

Installing crown molding is also straightforward. You’ll need a saw, tape measure, and nails. Make sure someone else is around to spot the ladder while you work. For more instructions, see this crown molding installation guide.

Staircase embellishments

Similar to crown molding, staircase embellishments can enhance your staircase. You may want to consider:

  • Tile. You can use tile in a variety of colors and create an eye-catching pattern.
  • Wallpaper. Try matching your stairs with the room’s wallpaper.
  • Acrylic. You can use clear acrylic to protect decorative staircase panels.

Before moving forward with the installation, carefully inspect your stairs. Remove nails, staples, or tacks. Fill any hole or cracks with putty.

For steps on installing tile on your stairs, check out this guide.

Kitchen backsplash

Backsplashes are both stylish and functional and can easily update the look of your kitchen. You may consider:

  • Acrylic tiles to add a beautiful accent to a solid-color kitchen.
  • Mirrored tiles to make a small kitchen seem larger.
  • Reclaimed wood to contrast kitchens with stainless steel elements.

Here are some examples.

Most backsplash installations only require tile adhesives, grout, measuring tools, and a tile-cutter. See these backsplash installation instructions.

Replace cabinet door inserts

Similar to a backsplash installation, changing your cabinet door inserts can revamp your kitchen. Try swapping out your current inserts with:

  • Glass
  • Stainless steel
  • Stamped tin
  • Wood

Apart from the chosen inserts, you’ll need a screw gun and caulking gun. If you cut out the inserts yourself, you’ll also need a table saw. Use these steps as a guide.

Make your home reflect you

DIY projects help you quickly and inexpensively spruce up your home. These improvements can add curb appeal and atmospheric effect to your home – and add to its value.

But remember to only take on projects that you feel comfortable completing on your own. When in doubt, ask for help from a professional. And if a project requires you to use a ladder, make sure a spotter is present to assist you. Improving your home is only worthwhile if you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor, so stay safe!


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