Easy Ways to Add Character

With little time and little money, you can add lots of charm all around the house. Here are 19 do-it-yourself projects to consider.


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Window Box
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Enhance the Exterior

    The simple and affordable addition of shutters, window boxes, and planters near the front door makes a friendlier facade and provides cheerful color. Hang the window box at a height where you can care for the plants. Fill it with your favorite blooms, or add candles for a quaint touch.

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Let Your Garden Glow

    Outdoor lights, including floodlights, globes, tier lights, and lanterns, are easy to install and are the perfect way to add warmth and color to your front yard. For a touch of romance, use candle-lit lanterns to create soft pools of light along a garden path.

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Dress Up Your Deck

    Make a boxy builder deck look like a custom addition with decorative metal or glass balusters and post caps that double as planters or light fixtures. Add delightful details with colorful plants, pillows, furniture, outdoor rugs, and accessories.

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Focus on the Foyer

    Make the foyer useful by clearing out clutter that accumulates around the front door. Include a storage unit to keep mail, car keys, and other essentials in order. If space permits, include a small bistro table and chairs for a cute conversation space.

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Add Architectural Details

    Bring your basic builder's kitchen to life. Frame windows with wide molding, install cornices on top of cabinets, or add bun feet or carved legs to cabinets for furniture-style accents.

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Be Creative with Paint

    Can't afford brand-new cabinets? Fake it by using bright paint to take your cabinets from dull to darling.

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Add Function to an Awkward Space

    Give an awkward area a purpose and appeal. Transform a basic bay or boxy window into a reading nook. Or furnish an empty corner of the living room with a game table and storage cabinet.

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Dress Up the Mantel

    Give a boring and bare fireplace mantel warmth and charm by adding family photos, heirlooms, and holiday decor.

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Add Old-Fashioned Appeal

    Visit a flea market for vintage signs, furniture, and collectibles that will fill your home with friendly charm.

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Use Lighting Effectively

    Add comfort, convenience, and character with the right lighting. Update the chandelier over the dining room table. Add simple plug-in puck lights under kitchen cabinets and inside closets. Cozy up a dark corner with an accent light. Install mini accent lights on wall art or framed family photos.

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Be Savvy about Storage

    If you have a home that lacks closet space, pegs and shelves placed in convenient nooks provide places to hang, store, and display everyday necessities.

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Create Display Space

    Use open shelving around the house to store and display collectibles. This also makes a small room feel bigger.

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Update Your Doorknobs

    Reinvent your entry or interior doors with antiqued brass, crystal, porcelain, or colored-glass doorknobs.

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Get Custom Looks for Less

    Embellish and paint plain purchased brackets and attach to shelves in any room for a custom look that won't drain your wallet.

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Do Some Window Dressing

    Make your home look good inside and out with decorative indoor shutters. Traditional wood shutters and plantation shutters add rustic appeal. Some help insulate your cozy spaces.

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Install Beaded Board

    Add dimension and charm to bathroom walls with beaded board. Save money by tackling the project yourself in a weekend and by using panels. Panels are virtually identical to authentic beaded board, and they are sold in lightweight 4x8-foot sheets for about $20 each.

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Add Wood Underfoot

    A natural wood or bamboo floor will last longer than synthetic materials and will transform the character of your interior. Plus, it won't trap allergens. Use machine-washable area rugs to warm the space and protect heavy-traffic spaces.

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Frame the Views

    Dress up a window with colorful treatments and hang them higher than the window to make the windows seem larger.

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Put Wasted Space to Work

    Transform a plain wall into a storage and display showcase by adding stacks of open shelves or cutting out drywall to create a recessed niche.

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