Since many of us are spending more time at home these days nesting-in-place, focusing our energy on improving our surroundings can be extra beneficial. Small home projects can improve the aesthetics of our physical surroundings while bringing a sense of contentment into our home.
Whether you are super handy or not at all, there are plenty of home projects totally tackle-able without any expert help—and most of them are very affordable. Here are 17 expert-endorsed home updates perfect for time spent social distancing, especially as we enter the chillier months.
Update Your Kitchen Cabinets
Have you been wanting to refresh your kitchen cabinets for a while? Updating them is easier than you think. “For a small change, replace your cabinet hardware,” Ashley Drost and Marie Trohman of Proem Studio suggest. Chic new hardware can elevate your cabinets, especially paired with a fresh coat of paint. If you have a little more time and are looking for a more impactful change, painting your cabinets a fresh neutral shade or with a pop of color will breathe life into your kitchen.
Give Your Front Door a New Look
Painting your front door is another small project that can change the way your home looks from the outside and improve curb appeal. “This only takes about half a day and makes a big impact,” explains Drost and Trohman. Sanding and staining your front door will allow you to let the natural wood grain show through and revive the coloring.
Rearrange Art or Update a Gallery Wall
If your art is feeling stale, there is no better time to switch things up. “Swap out the art in your gallery wall for a fast, inexpensive refresh,” Drost and Trohman suggest.
Oil Wooden Cutting Boards
Wooden kitchen tools benefit greatly from regular cleaning and maintenance with natural oils. “This is quick and easy and helps maintain cutting boards and wooden spoons,” according to Drost and Trohman. They suggest using mineral oil or another food-grade oil that can be purchased at food supply stores for a quick and easy refresh.
Polish Your Silverware
This one takes some elbow grease, but cleaning your silver regularly helps prevent tarnishing and keeps your cutlery ready for use. Drost and Trohman suggest using a good polishing cloth and Wright’s Silver Cream to rid your silver of any buildup.
DIY Custom Blinds
Professional installation of blinds can be incredibly expensive, but you can still get custom blinds at an economical cost if you are willing to do the installation yourself. DIY Easy Blinds is a national online retailer offering at-your-door self-installed window treatments. Orders are placed online, including the booking of pre-order phone consultations with a team of experts who will walk you through the measuring, ordering, and installing process. The products, ranging from faux wood blinds to blackout shades, arrive rolled up with all hardware needed for installation.
Update Your Bookcases and Bookshelves
“Painting old bookcases and shelves is an easy way to update a space in no time,” according to interior designer and blogger Anita Yokota. “You can have lots of fun with different colors, too, and infuse some personality into a room without a full commitment.”
Swap Out Bathroom Fixtures
Upgrading your bathroom fixtures can make a huge design and functionality impact according to Maverick Watson, the project expert at Build.com. “Making small updates to the shower can offer a whole new look without costly renovations,” he says. Consider installing a new shower head to enhance the bathroom’s aesthetic and water pressure. He suggests the Hansgrohe Raindance showerhead, which is both sleek in style and great for creating spa-like pressure at home.
Upgrade Your Lighting
Investing in a new lighting fixture is another budget-friendly way to transform any space. “The ambiance of a room is largely determined by the lighting in the space,” says Watson. “While spending large amounts of time at home, consider making upgrades to help a room feel cozier with warmer light.” You can swap in a new ceiling light or wall sconce to make your nights spent indoors feel tranquil and snug. Pendant lighting is another great DIY option to consider when looking to add lighting that doubles as a statement piece.
While spending large amounts of time at home, consider making upgrades to help a room feel cozier with warmer light.
Invest in New Hardware
Swapping out old hardware can help breathe new life back into entryways and cabinetry, and Watson suggests the Schlage Custom Alexandria knob set as a small piece of hardware that packs a lot of flare. For a more modern look, consider adding a new metal by installing matte black accents throughout the home or opting for on-trend brushed gold.
Paint Your Space
Nothing refreshes a space like a fresh coat of paint, and Amy Leferink of Interior Impressions suggests a paint makeover for a simple and effective update. “I would say that painting your walls a new color is always a big game-changer for a room, and it isn’t too much of an undertaking,” she explains.
Wallpaper an Accent Wall
If you have been toying with the idea of wallpaper for a while, try starting with an accent wall. “This is a great way to add more personality and texture to your space,” Leferink says. It's also a lot more affordable than wallpapering an entire room, especially if you use the peel-and-stick variety.
Swap Out Your Linens
A great way to transform your sleeping space is with new bed linens. “Give your primary bedroom some love by investing in luxurious, soft new sheets,” suggests Leferink. If you can't splurge on an entirely new set, purchase an inexpensive white coverlet and add fun throw pillows and a coordinating throw at the bottom of the bed.
The term “Primary Bedroom” is now widely used to describe the largest bedroom in the home, as it better reflects the space’s purpose. Many realtors, architects, interior designers, and the Real Estate Standards Association have recognized the potentially discriminatory connotations in the term “Master.” Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge.
Organize, Organize, Organize
Organizing can instantly transform your home, but this is one project that can take more time than money. However, if you have the budget, Leferink suggests adding new organizational pieces to the mix. “Buy pretty baskets and boxes to store seasonal items, add color, and tidy storage to your closet,” she says.
Give Your Bathroom a Mini Remodel
While you might not be able to fully renovate your bathroom without the help of an expert, Lowe’s trend strategy manager Caroline Harmon suggests a few aesthetic updates and organizational hacks that can transform the space. “Focus on a series of small upgrades that will boost the style and feel of your bathroom, like hanging a new mirror or updating vanity lighting," she suggests.
Remake Your Mudroom
Your mudroom doesn't have to be boring, but it should be clean and efficient. “While these rooms can carry dirt and debris, brighten the space with a fresh coat of paint, warm wicker bins, a new bench, comfy cushions and hooks for coats, leashes, and scarves,” suggests Harmon. You can also add an accent wall, a stand to hold wet umbrellas, or a trendy, round gold mirror for an added style element.
Bring in a Fire Pit
Making your own fire pit is a family-friendly project that can be completed in a weekend but provides seasons full of memories. As for design, the look and feel of your fire pit are ultimately up to you—it can be built using pavers or even retaining wall blocks for a rustic vibe, or you can buy one prebuilt. However, when choosing a location, make sure the pit is away from the house or any low-hanging tree branches for safety.