Weekend Projects for the DIYer
Grab a Brush
Completely change how a room looks and feels. Schedule a room-painting project for an upcoming weekend. In just two days you'll be able to prep, prime, and apply multiple coats of paint to the walls and ceiling. Got a little extra time? Refresh the woodwork with a coat or two of glossy white paint.
Cut Some Tile
Stylishly protect kitchen and bathroom walls from splatters by installing tiled backsplashes. Use glass mosaic tiles to introduce watery shimmer. Opt for handcrafted tiles to add old-world dimension. Like a spic-and-span restaurant look? Lay white subway tiles from countertop to ceiling. If your budget is tight, inset decorative tiles as pops of color amid a field of inexpensive stock tiles.
Replace a Floor
Most seasoned do-it-yourselfers have the skills needed to install flooring. Before you lay new flooring, make sure substrates are in good shape, level, and prepared properly for the flooring to come. Vinyl flooring, engineered hardwood floors, laminate tile or plank floors, and ceramic tiles are relatively easy (though time-consuming) to install. Replacing old carpeting? Create wall-to-wall carpeting using easy-to-assemble carpet squares that allow you to puzzle together colorful patterns; when a square becomes stained, you simply replace it with another. Watch and learn how to install a laminate floor.
Attend to Details
Get out the miter saw and build architectural interest in rooms great and small. Add ceiling moldings, such as crown, cove, or bed, where walls and ceilings join. Protect kitchen eating-area walls from chair dings by adding chair rails. Install picture moldings for displaying artwork. Replace plain baseboards and window and door casings with more substantial trim. Finish lower walls with paneled or beaded-board wainscoting.
Build a Banquette
Extra seating, bonus storage, and attention-grabbing style -- that's what you get when you build a corner banquette or a window seat from upper kitchen cabinets. Start with finished or unfinished refrigerator cabinets, raise them on a fiberboard platform to the height desired, and top the bench with painted medium-density fiberboard. Add a thick cushion and piles of pillows to boost the comfort level.
Upgrade Kitchen Countertops
Replace damaged, stained, or simply outdated countertops with newer versions better suited to your style preferences and food-service requirements. The costs of countertop materials vary greatly, so do your research to determine which type best fits your budget and design aesthetic. Measure existing stretches of countertop, including sink cutouts, and take the measurements with you to the home center or countertop supplier. Get a friend to help you take out the old countertops and set the new countertops.
Remodel a Bathroom
Give a time-tired bathroom a refreshing lift by replacing all the plumbing fittings with good-looking, energy-efficient models. Take out the tub and construct a walk-in shower. Tile or paint the walls. Lay a heated floor. Add a stylish vanity and a complementary backsplash. Build in storage wherever space allows.
Make Way for Storage
Stretch your home's storage and display capacity by framing a doorway with built-in bookshelves or tall freestanding bookcases (secure tall bookcases to wall studs to ensure they don't topple over). Use the shelves to hold charmingly catalogued books, exhibit colorful collectibles, and stow baskets that can be used to corral everything from crafting supplies to kids' building blocks.
Renew the Finish
Are your kitchen cabinets or bathroom vanities looking worn and faded? Do the "green" thing and refinish them instead of tossing them in a landfill. Take the labor-intensive route and strip away the existing finish to create a blank canvas for new paint or stain. Or simply sand, prime, and paint the doors and cabinet boxes for a quicker, but equally high-impact, facelift.
Put Your Laundry Room in Order
The laundry is the second-hardest-working room in your home and will run most efficiently when good practices are put in place. Enhance a laundry room's purpose by mounting shelves and cabinets to hold and organize laundry supplies. Install drop-down accessories, like a folding table, a drying rack, and an ironing board, to create a clothing-care center. Stock shelves with bins and organizers to corral loose change, sewing supplies, stain sticks, and clothespins.
Upgrade Utilitarian Spaces
Clean out storage areas, such as attics, basements, sheds, and garages, to make way for systems that organize the things stored within while maximizing available space to make room for even more stuff. Install shelves, ceiling racks, and cabinets that store, secure, and sort bikes, hand tools, out-of-season clothing, and luggage.
Take advantage of warming days to expand alfresco living and entertaining spaces. Pour a concrete patio or install a paver-stone courtyard. Create a brick-walled fire pit. Put up a gazebo. Add an outdoor kitchen. Build a new deck. Screen-in a porch to extend its usefulness. Treat your kids to a new tree house. Build welcoming spaces that draw people outdoors.
Get in on the farm-to-table movement by growing your own veggies, herbs, and edible flowers. Turn over and amend soil to create garden spaces. Install raised planting beds and construct trellises or teepees to accommodate climbing peas, beans, and squashes. Want to start small? Cultivate herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and salad greens in containers set just outside your kitchen door.
Enhance Your Home's Exterior
Use three colors of paint (one for the siding, one for window and door trim, and a final accent hue for the front door and shutters) to make your home the best-looking residence on the block. Enhance your home's new look by installing standout house numbers and lighting fixtures. Edge walkways with solar lights and colorful plantings.
Make like a true craftsperson and build heirloom furniture to pass down to future generations. Create a coffee table from an old paneled door or industrial cart. Build a bookcase or bench from scratch. Construct an upholstered headboard and matching window cornices. Craft a garden seat, potting bench, or planters.