Improve Your Home in Just a Few Days with These 32 Weekend Projects
Spruce up every space with our collection of quick do-it-yourself home improvement projects. Each one can be completed in just a weekend and increase the function (and style) of your home.
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 potted plants near the entrance. Consider installing outdoor lighting to enhance your home's architecture and illuminate the walkway. Replace your worn-out welcome mat with a bold statement mat to create a warm and welcoming persona for your home.
Replace Your Kitchen Island
For an impactful weekend update, swap out the surface of your kitchen island. With all the appealing looks of luxurious stone without the tedious upkeep, the 180fx by Formica Group’s Calacatta Cava finish pairs well with contemporary, traditional, and farmhouse styles alike.
Brighten Your 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. Hanging a new light fixture is a simple way to change the look of your room, and it's a project you can do yourself. Consider the design, as well as function, when choosing the right light fixtures for your kitchen.
Add a Window Box
One of the first living walls, window boxes have been a longtime favorite of gardeners. Filled with a lush display of flowers, they add charm to any exterior window. Not only do they give windows a nice finish, but they also bring gorgeous flowers up and into view from inside the home. Plus, you can build the popular curb appeal element yourself.
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. If you're planning on buying a new sink, it's easiest to install a faucet and other hardware on a new sink before the sink is put in place. Buying a new sink allows you to customize the number of holes to fit your preferred faucet.
Add Storage to Your Entry
If a traditional entry closet or a built-in shelving system isn't 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 lower shelf makes the piece super functional for drop-zone items. Hang a wall-mount shelf above the table to keep keys, hats, and sunglasses within easy reach.
Paint or Paper a Wall
Select the perfect self-adhesive wallpaper to create an accent that's easy to apply, remove, and reuse. 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 and peel away the paper above the cut.
Hang Outdoor String Lights
Set the perfect outdoor ambiance with string lights. These weather-resistant lights are perfect to light up your patio or deck for outdoor dining and relaxing. Attach the lights with screw eyes and carabiners so they're just as easy to put up as they are to take down. With this easy method, string lights remain sturdy throughout the year, so you don't have to worry about plastic hooks and other temporary solutions that won't last after the season.
Add Beaded Board
Beaded board lends a traditional touch to kitchens and bathrooms. Cut holes in the boards or sheets for outlets, phone jacks, and other wall necessities. Be sure to finish it with a waterproof sealant if you are installing it behind or around a sink. For a modern take on beaded board, try wider plank paneling.
Related: How to Install Beaded Board
Switch to Energy-Saving Windows
If you have a window that faces frigid winter winds, replace it with a high-efficiency unit. If your home has single-pane windows, they could be wasting up to 25% of your energy costs. Improve your home's energy efficiency by replacing single-pane windows with high-performance double-pane Energy Star-rated windows. Look for windows labeled low-emissivity (low-E) or spectrally selective—they have a coating that reduces thermal heat transfer.
Give Your Yard a Boost
With flagstone or cement pavers, you can easily make an outdoor patio in a weekend, no mortar required. Add potted plants and outdoor seating, such as a bistro set or an eclectic mix of colorful chairs, to create a quaint backyard escape. With the right planning and pieces, even a small space can become an outdoor retreat. Look for nooks in your yard where you can put a bench and a small side table and make a mini patio to enjoy your landscape.
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. Choosing one color (no pattern or texture) and clean-lined tile for the backsplash in a small kitchen keeps the look uncluttered and roomy.
Replace Your Showerhead
Choose a low-flow showerhead 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. Many new showerheads provide more options for control (multiple spray styles, pivoting angles, temperature settings) and they’re more efficient. Try replacing your showerhead with a newer model so you can achieve a spa-worthy bathing experience in the comfort of your home.
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.
Update Cabinet Hardware
Spice up your cabinets and drawers by replacing factory-issue handles and pulls with designs that reflect your personal taste. These days there is cabinet hardware available for every kitchen style. Simple metallic hardware work best and is guaranteed to look great with any paint color for future cabinet makeovers. For a unique, eclectic look, scour antique shops for hardware pieces.
Hang a Medicine Cabinet
With just a stud finder and a drill, you can install a medicine cabinet in less than an hour. For quick installation, choose a flush-mounted cabinet that can mount directly to the wall above your bathroom sink, rather than cutting away drywall and recessing the cabinet between studs. A flush-mounted cabinet will probably be shallower than a recessed cabinet and will protrude into the bathroom space. For good looks, paper the back of the cabinet with adhesive shelf liner.
Put Dimmers on Lights
Dimmer switches quickly give your dining room the atmosphere of a swank restaurant. You can use fluorescent lights or special dimmable LED bulbs. A rotary dimmer switch is the most common type of dimmer switch. As you rotate the knob clockwise and counterclockwise, the intensity of the light changes.
Related: How to Install a Dimmer Switch
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. Equipping your fireplace with glass doors blocks heated and cooled air from escaping and amplifies the fire's heat, which in turn reduces energy costs. Closing the damper when the fireplace is not in use will help keep cold out of your home and add to heating efficiency. Having your fireplace and chimney professionally cleaned will also improve fireplace efficiency.
Get a Built-In Look
Create extra storage in a snap with kits for bookcases, shelving, or cabinetry that you assemble yourself. Try a combination of open shelving and cabinets for a mix of storage and display space. Arrange wall-mount shelves above a desktop framed by cabinets or file drawers to fashion a home office or a kid's homework station.
Install a Ceiling Fan
Improve lighting and ventilation by replacing an existing light fixture with a ceiling fan. A ceiling fan will help you save money by not running the air-conditioner on those days when all you need is air movement. To keep your family comfortable and energy costs low, set your fan to spin counterclockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter. The clockwise motion in the winter makes cool air rise and redistributes warm air.
Add a Sliding Barn Door
A sliding barn door adds dimension to any home with a farmhouse flair. Perfect for a kitchen or den entrance, a sliding door provides privacy when needed or acts as eclectic decor when not in use. They are relatively easy to install; all it takes is assembling and mounting the hardware and door to a doorway.
Related: How to Install a Sliding Barn Door
Replace an Appliance
If you're considering replacing an appliance, replace it with an energy-efficient product. Products that earn the Energy Star label are independently certified to save energy, save money, and protect the climate. Now you can look for appliances that are designated as Energy Star Most Efficient 2020, a distinction recognizing products that deliver cutting edge energy efficiency along with the latest in technological innovation. Homeowners can safely and properly dispose of broken or outdated appliances by selling, donating, or recycling them.
Brighten a Dark Corner
If you're looking for a quick way to change the look of your room, hanging a new light fixture is your best bet. Be sure to choose a high-quality fixture. A well-made light fixture looks better, lasts longer, and gives clearer light, so inspect your fixture's construction the way you would a piece of furniture. It's even easier to add a new light fixture into ceilings connected to attic space, 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."
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."
Swap Out the Sink
A new sink can energize a boring bathroom. Before you choose your sink design, 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.
Related: How to Install a Bathroom Sink
Stain Wood Cabinets
Stripping and staining cabinets will give your space a major facelift. Sealing cabinets with polyurethane will also increase durability. Before staining, you'll want to prep your surface. Begin by removing cabinet doors and hardware, then 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, and you'll be set to begin staining.
Dress Up Your Fireplace
If it's time to replace your dated 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. A simple fireplace makeover can begin with items you already have in your home. Shop your existing inventory of accessories and display a few on your mantel for a quick, no-cost refresh.
Replace Interior Doors
Update these often-overlooked interior elements with form and function. An interior door's materials could affect how well it works and how long you can wait before buying a replacement. Switch an ordinary 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.
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. Loose-lay sheet vinyl is unique because it doesn't require adhesive. Once you cut it to size and put it in place, it's installed. It's an ideal solution for covering surfaces such as painted concrete, to which adhesives don't adhere well.
Add Ceiling Details
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.
Living room, dining room, great-room: Any common area looks better with the finishing, defining touch of moldings. Installing molding is a simple way to add style and definition to any room. Crown molding bridges the junction between walls and ceiling, a prominent location where the architectural accent can shine. If you live in a historic home, make sure your molding choices complement your home's architectural style.
Spice Up Your Stairway
Add drama to a staircase with distinctive railings or embellishments. The right staircase railing design for your home will reflect its architecture and provenance. In an open and airy room, the best stair railing ideas will stay in step with the space rather than detract from it. Architectural-salvage and reuse centers are hot spots for ideas and materials.
Add Grab Bars
Grab bars are one of the simplest ways to make an existing bathroom more accessible. 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.