By Marty Basher
Rainy weekend? The idea of giving parts of your home a spruce is a good one, but who wants to live with endless construction, to say nothing of the contractor who suddenly discovers a problem that is going to up the total cost to 20% more than the estimate? There are plenty of projects you can undertake yourself to improve your living space, making it more functional and appealing to the eye. And you can get these done in a single weekend. What’s not to love?
1. Bookshelf Bar Cart for the Living Room or Den
If you’ve always wanted a snazzy way to store your drinks and fancy glassware, ready to impress your guests when you offer them a libation, this project is an easy one. All you need is an old bookshelf—not more than 40” high—some latex paint, four caster wheels and a handle to move it around with, or two: one for each side of the top of the cart.
Just paint the unit and when it’s dry, add the wheels to the base and handles on the top. Once you’ve put out your bottles, your ice bucket, as well as the fancy highball glasses you got years ago but never use, you will have the perfect little bar cart to entertain from.
2. Play Space
No matter how much you’d love to make yourself believe that toys will stay in playrooms, they don’t. Instead of the constant battle, why not build a play space? With the addition of some simple shelving and a few bins of your choice, you can turn an unused corner of the living room into an organized play area. While building shelves is quick and easy, there are also kit shelving and some fully built shelving units as well, if building is too time consuming or not in your wheelhouse.
3. Update Bathrooms
While replacing faucets is a bit more complicated, it can still be done in a weekend with minimal cost and difficulty, even for a novice. New fixtures can be purchased at any home improvement store and replacing those can both update a bathroom and give it a completely new look.
4. A Custom Closet You Can Install Yourself
The ability to buy and install a custom closet, all with easy to assemble parts that are made from high quality plywood, and will last a lifetime, sounds like a unicorn but Modular Closets has a solution for just about every space you can imagine.
From a double-sized bedroom closet to an open space below the staircase, there are pre-designed and custom solutions with shelves, dovetail drawers, hanging bars and even tie / belt racks that you can put together and install in no time, without the expense of hiring someone to design and install it for you.
5. Not a Fan of Baby or Pet Gates? A Dutch Door Might be Just the Ticket
Dutch doors are the split doors that are on separate hinges, so that you can swing open the top while keeping the bottom firmly closed. If you have a space where you want to be able to see what’s going on inside, for either kids or pets, a Dutch door lets you do that while keeping everyone safe and secure.
You’ll need four hinges for your door—whether you are reusing an old one or getting a new one—evenly spaced so that there are two for each half. Then, you saw the door in half, sanding and painting to finish it. All you need to do is hang the two halves, with appropriate hardware for opening and securing them, and voila: Dutch doors.
6. Give Doors and Windows a Fresh Look
Add new curtains or blinds to your windows. Bring in fun, colorful patterns and sheer textures that enhance the illusion of space and increase the amount of daylight in a room. You can mix and match solids with patterns, as well as different colors, to bring a room’s personality to life. Paint your doors a color that will help brighten the place up. Even paint the trim around your windows and doors. After you finish painting the door, add a nice wreath to give that finishing touch.
7. Add a Splash to the Kitchen
Or a kitchen backsplash. Go modern, or even do minimal. Both are trending, and both can give a fresh and nice look to your home. There are many backsplashes to choose from to fit almost any budget. A great backsplash helps to keep the kitchen looking neat and welcoming.
8. Update the Laundry Room for Beauty and Function
Updated laundry rooms are becoming one of the spaces that people look for when they’re buying a property. It’s not just about having a couple of machines in the deepest, darkest corner of the basement anymore. With that in mind, you can spruce up yours by adding shelving, cupboards, a visually appealing wallpaper behind the machines and storage hooks for an ironing board, iron and more. Even better? Secure a folding table to the wall that can be folded down flat when not in use: that way, you’re not using more space for furniture, but the table makes the laundry room more functional and useful.
9. Give Key Furniture Pieces a Face Lift.
Looking to replace a chipped, fading dresser, or worn-out table seats? Rather than forking over a couple hundred dollars to buy new furniture, turn old furniture into a weekend DIY project. Repaint, repolish and restain your favorite coffee table, hope chest, office desk, etc. Choose fun, bright colors that make a room pop with edginess and excitement. Take it a step further with stencils, tile patterns and glass mosaic.
10. Add a Library or Reading Nook.
Celebrate your favorite literature by setting up a calm, quiet library or reading nook for you and your family to enjoy. This area can be as big or little as space allows, taking up an entire room or a storage bench under a window. Along with standing and wall bookshelves, add a comfy seating arrangement: a sofa, a couple arm chairs, bean bags or indoor hammock. Don’t forget proper lighting! Otherwise, you run the risk of straining your eyes and causing headaches. Rugs, house plants, candles and other decor create a cozy atmosphere in your library or reading nook.
11. Replace Old Outlet and Light Switch Faceplates.
The little details can make all the difference in a room. A simple, weekend DIY project that will spruce up your house is switching out dirty, cheap outlet and light switch faceplates with new, durable ones. Aim for faceplates made of metal, tile, and polished wood. If you’re feeling a bit artsy, grout together colorful glass, pebbles, or other materials for beautiful mosaic additions to your walls.
12. Clear the Clutter
From baskets to bins, there are all kinds of neat ways to clear the clutter and make a difference in the way your home looks. Utilize shelves and drawers. Be sure to give each item its own space.
13. Awesome Accents
Create a warm and inviting space with some great, yet inexpensive accents for your home. From lamps (even changing out the shades on some lamps) to different wall hangings, your home can be warm and inviting and look like a whole new space. Accent rugs, throw pillows, and even vases of flowers can throw in pops of color.
There are projects galore that can go a long way to giving your home a little face lift, without the grand expense and fuss that goes into major surgery. Have a little fun and plan your next project; you’ll enjoy the satisfaction you’ll feel after a job well done.
Marty Basher, home organization expert for modularclosets.com, offers these tips on DIY projects that can be done in a weekend. Modular Closets are high quality and easy to design closet systems that you can order, assemble and install, in no time at all. Visit their website at modularclosets.com.