Improve Your Home: 30 Weekend Projects
Spiff up every space in your home. Here are 30 quick do-it-yourself updates to get you started.
Everything In This Slideshow
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Install Beaded Board
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Add Storage to Your Entry
If a traditional entry closet or a beautiful built-in shelving system is not an option in your home, refashioned furniture can achieve a look that's equally stylish and storage-savvy. This small-scale table is a perfect size for beside the front door. Though compact, the table's drawers and shelf make the piece super functional for busy drop-zone items. A wall-mount shelf above the table hangs keys within easy reach.
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Make Your Entrance Inviting
A cheery front-door color and a touch of landscaping can do wonders for your home's curb appeal -- and make a lasting impression on guests. Dress the door with new hardware, and add a welcome mat and potted plants near the entrance. Consider installing outdoor lighting to enhance your home's architecture and illuminate the walkway.
See how to create a beautiful container garden.
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Recharge & Reorder
Get creative with drawer space. Outfitted with divided storage (typically used in kitchen drawers) and a power strip, this drawer serves as a charging dock and daily organizer for cell phones, music players, and other electronics. Drill a hole through the back of the dresser and drawer to accommodate electrical cords.
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Light Up the Kitchen
Dress up an eating area with a fresh light fixture. Replacing an existing fixture is your easiest option: Just turn off the power at the breaker box and connect the wires.
Install a New Faucet
Inject elegance into your daily life with a faucet that ups the ante in looks and quality. Just make sure the configuration matches your existing sink, or you might end up replacing that, too.
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Paint or Paper a Wall
Self-adhesive and repositionable wallpaper creates a romantic accent that's easy to apply, remove, and reuse. It works like a giant sticker. Peel the decorative paper off the backing and adhere it to a primed and painted wall. To create a curvy top edge, use your mirror to inspire the outline of your design. Cut the shape from kraft paper and test the look. Tape the pattern on the decorative paper applied to the wall; use a crafts knife to cut around the template. Peel away the paper above the cut.
See our ultimate painting guide.
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Give your ceiling a little eye candy. Beautifully highlight a coffered ceiling with colorful paint, and keep the trim white for a bold visual effect. Placing a ceiling medallion around a fan or light fixture is another way to add architectural flair overhead. Decorative ceiling medallions are available in all shapes, sizes, and styles.
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Switch to Energy-Saving Windows
If you have a window that faces the prevailing winter winds, replace it with a high-efficiency unit. If the window opening is a nonstandard size, you'll probably have to order the new window.
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Make Your Fireplace More Efficient
To quickly and easily rehabilitate your existing fireplace, a gas or wood-burning insert adds energy efficiency to your home without tearing apart your hearth and mantel.
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Get a Built-In Look
Create extra storage in a snap with kits for bookcases or shelving that you assemble yourself. Try a cabinet/open shelving combination for display spaces.
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Patch Holes in Walls
Whether an art-arranging project went awry or you're tired of looking at dings around the house, concealing wall blemishes is a weekend-worthy project. With a putty knife and surfacing compound, you can easily repair nail holes and other minor wall imperfections. For larger holes, place an adhesive patch over the area and spread an all-purpose drywall compound over it with a trowel. Depending on the size of the wall hole, the compound may need to dry overnight. Paint over the patch when it is dry.
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Hang a Medicine Cabinet
With just a stud finder and a drill, you can install the cabinet in less than an hour. For quick installation, choose a cabinet that can mount directly to the wall above your bathroom sink, rather than cutting away drywall and recessing the cabinet between studs.
See how to add storage to a medicine cabinet.
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Add a Ceiling Fan
Add a ceiling fan and save money by not running the air-conditioner on those marginal days when all you need is air movement.
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Spice Up Your Stairway
Add drama to a staircase with distinctive railings or embellishments. Architectural-salvage and reuse centers are hot spots for ideas and materials.
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Replace Your Showerhead
Choose a low-flow unit and you'll get virtually the same sensation of water flow while saving money on your water bill. If your showerhead flow is already low (and shouldn't be), check to see if hard-water deposits are clogging the holes.
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Redo Your Backsplash
Tired of a dull kitchen? Transform the mood of the kitchen with a bold new backsplash in ceramic or glass tile. Just make sure the wall is sound before you start the installation.
DIY Tile Backsplash
Watch and learn how to tile your own backsplash this weekend -- it's easier than you think!
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Replace an Appliance
If you bought your refrigerator before 1993 or your dishwasher before 1994, when the federal energy-efficiency guidelines for each went into effect, consider replacing them with more efficient models. Some newer models use at least 15 percent less energy than required by current federal standards and 40 percent less energy than the conventional models sold in 2001.
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Light Up a Corner
With attic space above a dark corner, it's easy to add a new light fixture, says Daryl Berg, a journeyman electrician in Longview, Washington: "Just cut the hole for the fixture and run the wires through the ceiling joists to a new circuit."
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Swap Out the Sink
A new sink can energize a boring bathroom. Before you replace it, though, consider your needs. You might want to try standing in front of the model you're considering and acting out your morning routine. Will you have enough room to brush your teeth or put in your contacts? Your choice should balance aesthetics with practicality.
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Replace Interior Doors
Update these often-overlooked interior elements with form and function. Switch a blah door with a finely detailed antique. Or simply upgrade with solid-core doors, which dampen noise far more efficiently than the hollow-core doors common in new construction.
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Swap Out Cabinet Door Inserts
Make boring cabinets sing by replacing the door inserts. Stainless steel, stamped tin, wrought-iron grillwork, glass, and wood painted to match your flooring or countertops are all possibilities. The process is simple, says Mike McAllister, owner of Riverside Kitchen Center in Mount Vernon, Washington: "Remove the small flange that holds the existing insert, then replace the insert with your material and add wood or metal stops to keep it in place."
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Upgrade Your Flooring
Installing a hardwood floor can take longer than a weekend, so choose a material that's less time-consuming. Start with anything that comes in a roll, such as sheet vinyl, which looks better and lasts longer than it used to.
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Dress Up Your Fireplace
If it's time to replace that dingy 1970s-era mantel, choose one with enough depth to let you display pictures or other decorations. If you buy a ready-made mantel, don't be afraid to paint it or add moldings.
See a mantel makeover.
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Add Grab Bars
Grab bars are one of the simplest ways to make an existing bathroom more accessible, and stylish designs can be found at your local home improvement center. The most important thing to remember when installing grab bars is to find the studs and mount the bars directly to them. Miss the studs and you'll be pulling out more than the bars when you put your weight on them.
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Strip & Stain Wood Cabinets
Stripping and staining cabinets takes only a weekend, and it will give your space a major facelift. Sealing cabinets with polyurethane will also increase durability. Begin by removing cabinet doors and hardware. Wipe cabinet fronts and doors with mineral spirits to remove any dirt, dust, and grease. Apply a gel-type stripper per manufacturer's instructions, and then remove the stripper with a plastic putty knife. Next, sand the wood with sandpaper. Using a disposable sponge brush, apply stain in the direction of the cabinets' wood grain. Allow the stain to dry thoroughly, and seal with polyurethane.