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10 DIY Home Improvements For a Fresh Look

Simple projects that revitalize your living space

A very neat American house with gorgeous outdoor landscape. Northwest, USA.
Getty Images

 

Spring isn’t just a time for cleaning. It’s also a perfect time to look at your living space with a critical eye – and to get creative.

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After years of being cooped up, working remotely and following lifestyle restrictions, your home may need refreshing with some simple DIY home improvement projects.

People want to optimize their indoor living space, says Andra DelMonico, lead interior designer for the Trendey home design website. She expects more people to convert areas created during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as home offices, into more flexible space to be used for multiple purposes. “They’re asking, 'Is this the best use of the space?’ ” she explains.

Another trend, says Jessica Nickerson of the DIY blog House Homemade, is that people will continue to look to vintage and second-hand sources “to get the most bang for your buck and acquire one-of-a-kind pieces.”

Here are 10 ideas to refresh the interior or exterior of your home:

1. Repaint the front door

“Painting your front door can give your house a totally new feel without breaking the bank,” Nickerson says. “That’s a pretty easy day project.”

Consider a distinctive color that makes a statement, such as an orange door for a gray house. It doesn’t take much paint, so DIYers can buy a quart for less than $20.

2. Replace hardware

Updating cabinet and drawer hardware is an easy way to transform the look of a bathroom, kitchen or other room. For a modern look, replace antique brass knobs with matte black pulls.

Dollar Store Sign with Photos
Yvonne Lozoya bought inexpensive spring signs, painted them and attached photos of her granddaughter.
Courtesy of Yvonne Lozoya

3. Create artwork

Art adds color and personality to a room. A “cool” idea offered by various websites, DelMonico says, is to get your own photographs printed on canvas, metal or wood. You also can buy inexpensive frames for artsy postcards or greeting cards you already have.

After watching online tutorials from “Chalk It Up Fancy,” a mother-and-daughter team who buy inexpensive items to repurpose, Yvonne Lozoya, 57, bought some signs printed with sayings like “Welcome Spring” at Dollar Tree. Lozoya, who lives in Central Texas, and husband Alex, 60, spray painted the signs off-white, attached family photographs and rope to hang them throughout the house. “I get a lot of pictures from my granddaughter and I run out room” she says.

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4. Install floor tiles

Jazz up a small space, such as a laundry room, with vinyl peel-and-stick floor tiles in bold geometric designs. Faux wood makes a mudroom or bathroom feel cozier. The tiles are easy to install, clean and replace.

5. Embrace outdoor living

Create a new outdoor seating space by simply placing a bench on your front porch or making a patio from pea gravel and then adding an outdoor kitchen or comfy furniture, says DelMonico, who lives in Tampa, Florida.

Tile Backsplash
Ann and Ernest DelMonico recently installed this glass tile backsplash in their kitchen.
Courtesy of Ernest DelMonico

6. Make a statement with bathroom mirrors

Bathroom mirrors today are more than functional. Go modern with a round metal-framed mirror, retro with a starburst version or rustic with a wood-framed mirror. The Lozoyas, recently made their own wood-framed mirrors for less than $100. Yvonne, who used to make stained glass, cut a half-wall mirror to a smaller size, bought wood, stained it and bronzed it to make a frame. 

7. Add a kitchen backsplash

Peel-and-stick ceramic or glass tile sheets make it easy to protect the wall behind your stove and above counters and modernize the look of your kitchen, DelMonico says. Her parents just installed a light gray backsplash with peel-and-stick glass tile in their New Port Richey, Florida, house.

Ann DelMonico, 73, measured and Ernest DelMonico, 72, cut the tile with a rented wet saw. “I’d never done it before,” Ernest says of the half-day project. “It’s scary at first, but there are so many places to get information. There are lots of little tricks you can learn on YouTube.”

8. Upgrade lighting

Indoor lighting can change the mood of a room. Add more lamps or choose lightbulbs based on their kelvin temperature – designated as “k” on packaging – which is a scientific measurement for the color of light. Replicate daylight around 4,000 kelvin for kitchens, offices and bathrooms. Outdoors, add lights along pathways and driveways to prevent falls and boost curb appeal.

9. Go green

Beautify the front of your home or patio by planting flowers and greenery in large, decorative pots. Choose one large plant or several smaller plants in varying shades and heights, DelMonico says. Indoors, plants add color and scent to a home. They’re also good for your health: NASA research found that houseplants help purify the air of toxins by releasing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide.

Fenced Area Garage
DIY blogger Jessica Nickerson created a fence on the side of her house to hide messy yard items.
Courtesy of Jessica Nickerson with Sheryl Jean using BeFunky

10. Conceal clutter

Many people have more stuff than they need. If you have yard equipment or sports gear without a home, consider building a fence to hide it, advises Nickerson. It’s easier and less expensive than erecting a shed, she adds. Nickerson built a three-foot-tall movable fence to conceal a trashcan, wheel barrel and other items that didn’t fit in her Dallas-area garage. “It makes a huge difference to what’s seen on the side of the house, and it blends in with the house,” says Nickerson, who provides step-by-step instructions on her blog.  
 

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Sheryl Jean is a contributing writer who covers aging, business, technology, travel, health and human-interest stories. A former reporter for several daily metropolitan newspapers, her work also has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and The Dallas Morning News and on the American Heart Association’s website.