You know that point each winter when it seems like the cold and snow might never go away? Everyone’s a little on edge because they’re tired of looking at the same four walls? These 20 easy home projects may be just the thing you need to reinvigorate your head and your space!
1. Freshen a Room with Paint
Painting a room is a low-cost way to give it a completely new look and feel. Maybe you want to go basic white or to add a splash of color on an accent wall. However the spirit moves you, take your time with cleaning the wall first and taping the trim so you don’t have to fix too many mistakes.
2. Install Safety Systems
If you have a smart home security system you’ve been meaning to set up, now’s the time! Most take minutes to install. Consider adding some additional safety systems, too.
For example, homes are twice as likely to experience water damage than fire and theft combined. Water sensors are easy to install and connect with your smartphone to monitor leaks. Just place them in areas that might be prone to water damage.
3. Update Cabinet Hardware
If you want to give your kitchen a new look without spending on a full remodel, change out the hardware on your cabinets. You only need new hardware and a screwdriver. If you’re mounting new hardware on cabinet doors that had none before, create a template so you mount them uniformly across all cabinets.
4. Hide Your Cords
Technology makes life easier, but the jumble of cords that come with it can be messy. Luckily, there are plenty of creative ways to organize and hide all the wires and cables required to run our homes these days. For example, you could use zip ties and a wall-mount surge protector to hide your cords behind a bookshelf or entertainment center.
5. Add Crown Molding
Don’t be intimidated by a crown molding project . It’s an easy way to spruce up your space. Use a coated polystyrene, which is lightweight, easy to cut with a handsaw, and simple to apply with a joint compound. Just remember to measure twice and cut once.
6. De-Grime the House
Homes accumulate dirt and grime on the exterior walls and eaves. If temperatures haven’t dropped too much, you can tidy up the exterior with a power washer. Spray your home’s walls starting at the top and work your way down. It’s cheaper than repainting, and it really brightens up your home’s facade.
7. Install a Stair Runner
Have some bare stairs in your home? Install a runner – it creates traction that makes your stairs safer. You’ll need a non-slip runner and tacking to set the runner in place. Be sure to measure the space and outline the runner so the tacks are uniformly lined up on the stairs.
8. Install Weatherstripping
Lower your energy costs this winter by installing weatherstripping around windows and doors. You can use peel-and-stick strips and place them around doors and windows to keep cold air from entering your home through gaps. That keeps the furnace from kicking on more frequently and reduces overall energy consumption.
9. Replace Your Furnace Filter
While you’re thinking about energy consumption, take a few minutes to change the furnace filter. This reduces the work the furnace needs to do – it’s harder to produce heat through a clogged filter – and that keeps your heating costs lower.
10. Install New Window Treatments
New window treatments can refresh the look of a room, keep heat out, and help improve energy efficiency in your house. Best of all, they are easy to switch out if you already have curtain rods installed. Just measure the length of your windows, find new curtains that are the right length, and replace your old ones.
11. Shampoo Carpets
Carpets endure a lot, from grass-stained shoes to muddy paws to accidental spills, so now’s the time to give them some love. Deep clean your rugs by renting a steam cleaner. Vacuum your carpets really well before you steam clean them to make sure you have as much of the dirt, hair, and dust out of the carpets for a more effective clean.
12. Paint Kitchen Cabinets
Just as painting a room can dramatically change its look, painting your kitchen cabinets can give your kitchen a whole new feel. Remove the doors of all cabinets. Sand the doors and cabinet frames and clean any dust and grime. Put on a fresh coat of paint. Let the cabinets completely dry before you reinstall them. For extra credit, combine your freshly painted cabinets with new hardware for an updated look.
13. Clean Dryer Ducts
Lint in your dryer duct doesn’t just make your dyer less efficient – it’s also a fire hazard. This home improvement task is more about muscle than cost. Unplug and move the dryer out of the way and vacuum the duct with a shop vac to clear the space. Clean the area behind the dryer while you have it pulled out.
14. Organize Your Closets
The first step to organizing your closets is to gather the items you no longer need and either toss them out or donate them. Next, take a moment to think about what sort of storage makes the most sense for you. Do you need more hooks and rods? Additional shelves? Baskets or boxes to keep your items neatly corralled? Any of these options may work, but if you’re not sure, there are tons of online resources to help you figure it out.
15. Create a Chalkboard Wall
Give your little ones a place where they’re allowed to write on the walls by creating a chalkboard wall. Chalkboard paint is inexpensive and an easy way to transform a room that you may need as a home learning environment.
16. Install a Programmable Thermostat
Replace an old dial thermostat with a programmable one – it’s easier than it seems! You can program your thermostat to run lower during the day and increase it at night, depending on your preferences. Customizing its output can reduce your energy bills. Here’s a how-to video to help you get started .
17. Install Lamp Dimmers
This is a super easy home improvement project and it can transform your home’s lighting. Simply find a plug-in lamp dimmer (about $20 at most home improvement stores), and plug the lamp into the dimmer and the dimmer into the wall. Voila! You now have ambient lighting.
18. Update Plumbing Fixtures
Changing out your old plumbing fixtures is a simple way to change the look of your kitchen or bathroom, but it may also help with your water bills. Look for products with a WaterSense label from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
One caveat: check the weather before you take on this project. You may have to postpone if the temperature is below freezing.
19. Test Your Toilet Flapper
A leaky flapper triggers your fill value to constantly refill your tank, which basically means you’re throwing money down the toilet.You can test your flapper by putting a few drops of food coloring in your tank and waiting 20 - 30 minutes. If the color shows up in your toilet bowl, you have a leak.
You may be able to stop the leak simply by cleaning your flapper. But if that doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to replace it.
20. Get Some Houseplants
Nothing livens up a room quite like a new plant friend. They decorate your space and improve the air quality. Plus, if you work from home, plants can also boost your productivity by 15 percent. Researchers found that plants in your workspace can make you feel more physically, cognitively, and emotionally involved in your work.
New to greenery? Check out our beginner’s guide to houseplants to find the right plants for you.