Weekend Projects for the New Nester

Cottage with red door
Want to make your new house feel like home? Tackle these easily accomplished weekend projects to freshly feather your nest and add long-lasting personality.

Stage Exhibits

Mount modern floating shelves, sleek picture ledges, or traditional crown-molding shelves to display your favorite collections, books, artwork, and kitchen and bath equipment. Opt for shelves equipped with pegs or hooks to accommodate everything, including dish towels and backpacks.

Upgrade Light Fixtures

Switch out outdated light fixtures with fixtures sporting more stylish silhouettes. When replacing an old fixture with a new: Turn off the power for the room where you'll be working and remove the fixture. If the electrical box is loose, tighten the screws. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installing the new fixture.

Get tips and tricks on how to paint cabinets in your home.

Re-Color Cabinets

Bring timeworn vanity and kitchen cabinets up to today's standards with paint colors that fit your preferred palette. First empty the cabinets and clear a work space near the cabinets. Remove cabinet doors, scrub, sand, and prime all surfaces, and then apply at least two coats of paint.

Beef Up Walls

Add pattern and dimension to a room's perimeters using wallpaper, beaded-board panels, or molding. Though time-consuming, these updates can be accomplished by novice do-it-yourselfers. Be patient, take accurate measurements, and use proper cutting and application tools to ensure success.

Switch Out Switchplates

Banish the boring and reenergize the view by replacing plastic switchplates with more decorative options. Switchplates and outlet covers crafted from metal, painted ceramic, wood, stone, and glass range from old-world to kid-pleasing in design.

Control the Mood

Replace ordinary light switches with dimmer switches that let you regulate brightness and vary the atmosphere in communal spaces and private places. For rooms with ceiling fans, choose a dimmer switch that also allows you to control fan-blade speed.

Get Everything Up to Snuff

Make sure that your home's bones are in good shape before you settle in; once the furniture is arranged, repair tasks often get moved to the back burner. Spackle and patch holes; recaulk sinks and tubs; replace damaged switchplates and outlet covers; tighten loose screws and hinges; and repair screens. 

Paint to Please

There may be no better (and cheaper!) way to change the look of a room than with paint. Update your interior walls and ceilings with paint colors that make you happy and complement your furnishings. Choose easy-clean semigloss paint finishes for bathrooms, kitchens, and hallways. Don't forget to paint closet interiors before you unpack. You'll love having spick-and-span storage spots to stow your clothes and linens. 

Customize Closets

Install closet systems tailored to fit each family member's wardrobe. Add hanging bars, wire shelves for holding folded clothes, shoe racks, and other organizers that stretch storage capacity.

Swap Hardware

Give interior doors, bathroom vanities, and kitchen cabinets a lift by changing out knobs for alternative types that delight your eye, match your home's origins, and further your decorating preferences.

Repaint Baseboards

Baseboards, which take a beating from passing feet, rambunctious pets, in-transition furniture pieces, and wayward vacuum cleaners, often need touching up long before it's time to repaint walls. Rejuvenate woodwork with a thorough cleaning and fresh coats of paint. If needed, patch dings and prime over dark marks before painting.

Promote Good Grooming

Equip every bedroom with a full-length mirror so occupants can check their appearance before heading off to school, work, or play. Install a full-length mirror on a closet or bedroom door, or on a wall near a closet. Or, replace a plain door with a door pre-equipped with a built-in mirror.

Quickly Update Bathrooms

Install new towel racks, stylish toilet roll holders, and cool-looking shelves to instantly rejuvenate a tired bathroom. Tap underused wall space above the toilet for hanging cabinets or floating shelves. Replace your showerhead with a pulsating or rain-shower model that offers spa-like comfort.

Customize Storage

Make a list of what you want to store where and then outfit drawers and cabinets with appropriate organizers. Visit a specialty storage retailer or home center to look for compartmentalized drawer inserts, back-of-the-door racks, stackable wire shelves, and pullouts that will make the most of your cabinet space.

Make over your kitchen lighting with easy under cabinet lighting. See how to add two different types of undercabinet lighting.

Create Better Task Lighting

No need to call an electrician to banish the shadows from work areas. Add plug-in light strips or puck lights to the underside of your kitchen cabinets to illuminate the countertops below.

Improve Curb Appeal

Help guests find your new digs. Paint your front door a standout hue. Hang noteworthy house numbers. Install arresting light fixtures. Edge walkways with solar lights. Pot up handsome containers with colorful plants and place them at the base of your steps.

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