The Cons of DIY in Home Renovations: Leave it to the Pros


DIY’ing your full home renovation is tempting…but should you really do it? Here, Sweeten lays out the cons of DIY for home renovations.

the cons of DIY

This is a do-it-yourself, do-it-all maker culture. Fueled by enough YouTube videos, a homeowner can feel emboldened to take on anything—even a DIY home renovation.

It’s natural to be undecided about whether you want to do that full home renovation by yourself or hire professionals. Doing it yourself can mean acting as your own project manager, or it can mean doing it all by hand (completely or partially.) In any case, the prospect of cost savings is what tempts most renovators.

However, there is a counter-argument—the cons of DIY. Is that DIY full home renovation really in your best interests? Examining the cons of DIY isn’t a scare story or a money pit narrative. Instead, it’s a window onto the scale and complexity of DIY full house renovation. Below, Sweeten outlines how to make an informed decision.

Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and financial protection—at no cost to the homeowner.

Cons of DIY: Completion time

Home renovations require time and attention to make both small and key decisions. Depending on the scope, part of your home may be covered in plastic protection, or kitchens and bathrooms will be unusable. What you want is a full home renovation that operates on a compact, predictable schedule.

You have a life. Career, kids, relationships, friends, leisure: All of these have priority. This narrows down the amount of time that you have available to work on your house.

Professionals compress the schedule and complete the project much faster than if you had done it by yourself. Both parties should discuss the schedule and duration so everyone has a clear understanding and realistic expectations. Plus, they have a vested interest in finishing in an efficient manner since yours is likely one of many projects they’re completing.

Keeping on schedule

When you install your own laminate floor or paint your own bathroom, timing is easy. You have three or four minor milestones to hit, and it’s simple to keep them in order.

But when the project is as multi-layered as a full home renovation, it’s like playing multi-dimensional chess. Each project—floor, walls, windows, plumbing, and more—has its own set of milestones. Each of those projects is a milestone and must weave in with other projects. And, to make it even more interesting, you sometimes need to bounce back and forth between projects. Coordinating subcontractors within that system can get bewildering.

By contrast, contractors know how to keep scheduling straight; it’s their stock in trade. They’ll keep all of the projects running as consistently as possible. And they’ll seamlessly coordinate the movements of the subcontractors.

Cons of DIY: Quality of work

Unless you have tiled a shower before, you first need to learn how to tile a shower. The worst classroom for learning how to tile is in your own house. You do not want your house to be a test subject for your beginner tiling, wiring, flooring, or plumbing skills.

Professionals do this work all the time. With training, apprenticeships, and experience in the field, they have already worked out the kinks. Professionals generally turn out professional quality work.

Codes and permits

A vast amount of full home renovation work touches on building codes and permits. Structural work, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and even water heaters require permits in most municipalities. All permit work must be done according to code. And just because you aren’t required to pull a permit for a certain project doesn’t mean that building code isn’t applicable.

Code-compliant work may suffer at the hands of DIYers. The pros know code and are professionally bound to turn out work that complies with the latest codes. Contractors, subcontractors, designers, and architects stay abreast of the latest changes in their field.

Cons of DIY: Finding subcontractors

Subcontractors are skilled tradespeople who do projects like plumbing, electrical, drywall, painting, or flooring.

Even if you’ve decided to DIY your home renovation by hand, you still might end up hiring pros for some projects like whole-house wiring, solid wood or engineered wood floor installation, drywall installation, tiling a shower, or blowing or rolling insulation into an attic.

Finding and lining up good subcontractors can be a challenge. Using a contractor can take that chore off of your plate since the contractor has ready access to a pool of trusted subs.

Renovating safely

Homeowners taking on full DIY home renovations risk injury in many ways. Old paint might be lead-based, or those floor tiles might have asbestos. Black mold is common in ceilings, attics, and walls. Falls—the most common type of household injury—can occur even when you are on a ladder painting crown molding.

When you hire professionals to do the job, they have the know-how, safety gear, and materials to keep themselves and you safe. Safety is second nature to them since their livelihood and health depend on it.

Do DIY renovations really save money?

One reason often mentioned for doing a DIY full home renovation is that it saves money. As long as you can keep the renovation moving and on-target, with no wasted time or materials, you just might save some money.

But there is also the distinct possibility that you may lose this bet. If your project isn’t clearing inspections, you need to do it over until you get it right. That costs money. If you decide to do a hands-on renovation, you may need to purchase tools that are used only once: a wet tile saw, a full set of drywall tools, a paint sprayer.

When you hire a professional to do your full home renovation, you might save money in a number of ways. Savings might come in the form of wholesale discounts, bulk discounts, or special perks granted by a supplier since the professional is a regular buyer. Or from years of experience, the professional may have a keen eye for finding materials that are still high-quality but less expensive.

Is a DIY home renovation the right choice?

No solution applies to everyone in all situations. A DIY home renovation might be perfect if you are hungry to learn new skills. For anyone who is interested in the process as well as the product, DIY renovation is an eye-opener. Finally, if you are short on money but long on time, a DIY renovation might be right for you.

Hiring professionals to do your whole-house renovation helps you hit those critical timing marks that keep you on schedule. The work will be done to professional quality, safely and cleanly, in accordance with local building codes. Peace of mind and the assurance that the job will be done right—and not hanging over your head for months—are just a few of the benefits of using pros to do your full house renovation.

Ready to find the perfect general contractor professional for your home renovation? Get started today!

Post A Renovation Project

Here’s what Sweeten homeowners took part in during their renovation and what their general contractors handled.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.



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The Cons of DIY Renovation


DIY’ing your full home renovation is tempting. But should you really do this?

the cons of DIY

This is a do-it-yourself, do-it-all maker culture. Fueled by enough YouTube videos, a homeowner can feel emboldened to take on anything—even a DIY home renovation.

It’s natural to be undecided about whether you want to do that full home renovation by yourself or hire professionals. Doing it yourself can mean acting as your own project manager or it can mean doing it all by hand, completely or partially. In any case, the prospect of cost savings is the tempting carrot at the end of the stick.

But there is a counter-argument—the cons of DIY. Is that DIY full home renovation really in your best interests? Examining the cons of DIY isn’t a scare story or a money pit narrative. Instead, it’s a window onto the scale and complexity of DIY full house renovation. Below, Sweeten outlines a chance to make an informed decision.

Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and financial protection—at no cost to the homeowner.

Completion time

Home renovations require time and the attention to make both small and key decisions. Depending on the scope, part of your home may be covered in plastic protection or kitchens and bathrooms will be unusable. What you want is a full home renovation that operates on a compact, predictable schedule.

You have a life. Career, kids, relationships, friends, leisure: All of these have priority. This narrows down the amount of time that you have available to work on your house.

Professionals compress the schedule and complete the project much faster than if you had done it by yourself. Professionals are contractually bound to a completion timeframe. Plus, they have a vested interest in finishing on time since yours is likely one in a queue of other projects on their books.

Keeping on schedule

When you install your own laminate floor or paint your own bathroom, timing is easy. You have three or four minor milestones to hit, and it’s simple to keep them in order.

But when the project is as multi-layered as a full home renovation, it’s like playing multi-dimensional chess. Each project—floor, walls, windows, plumbing, and more—has its own set of milestones. Each of those projects is a milestone and must weave in with other projects. And, to make it even more interesting, you sometimes need to bounce back and forth between projects. Coordinating subcontractors within that system can get bewildering.

By contrast, contractors know how to keep scheduling straight; it’s their stock in trade. They’ll keep all of the projects running as consistently as possible. And they’ll seamlessly coordinate the movements of the subcontractors.

Quality of work

Unless you have tiled a shower before, you first need to learn how to tile a shower. The worst classroom for learning how to tile is in your own house. You do not want your house to be a proving ground for your fledgling tiling, wiring, flooring, or plumbing skills.

Professionals do this work all the time. With training, apprenticeships, and experience in the field, they have already worked out the kinks. Professionals generally turn out professional quality work.

Codes and permits

A vast amount of full home renovation work touches on building codes and permits. Structural work, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and even water heaters require permits in most municipalities. All permit work must be done according to code. And just because you aren’t required to pull a permit for a certain project doesn’t mean that building code isn’t applicable.

Code-compliant work may suffer at the hands of DIYers. The pros know code and are professionally bound to turn out work that complies with the latest codes. Contractors, subcontractors, designers, and architects stay abreast on the latest changes in their field.

Finding subcontractors

Subcontractors are skilled tradespeople who do projects like plumbing, electrician, drywall, painting, or flooring.

Even if you’ve decided to DIY your home renovation by hand, you still might end up hiring pros for select projects such as whole-house wiring, solid wood or engineered wood floor installation, drywall installation, tiling a shower, or blowing or rolling insulation into an attic.

Finding and lining up good subcontractors can be a challenge. Using a contractor can take that chore off of your plate since the contractor has ready access to a pool of trusted subs.

Renovating safely

Homeowners taking on full DIY home renovations risk injury in many ways. Old paint might be lead-based or those floor tiles might have asbestos. Black mold is common in ceilings, attics, and walls. Falls—the most common type of household injury—can occur even when you are on a ladder painting crown molding.

When you hire professionals to do the job, they have the know-how, safety gear, and materials to keep themselves and you safe. Safety is second nature to them; their livelihood and health depend on it.

Are you really saving money?

One reason often mentioned for doing a DIY full home renovation is that it saves money. As long as you can keep the renovation moving and on-target, with no wasted time or materials, you just might save some money.

But there is also the distinct possibility that you may lose this bet. If your project isn’t clearing inspections, you need to do it over until you get it right. That costs money. If you decide to do a hands-on renovation, you may need to purchase tools that are used only once: a wet tile saw, a full set of drywall tools, a paint sprayer.

When you hire a professional to do your full home renovation, you might save money in a number of ways. Savings might come in the form of wholesale discounts, bulk discounts, or special perks granted by a supplier since the professional is a regular buyer. Or from years of experience, the professional may have a keen eye for finding materials that are still high-quality but less expensive.

Is a DIY home renovation the right choice?

No solution applies to everyone in all situations. A DIY home renovation might be perfect if you are hungry to learn new skills. For anyone who is interested in the process as well as the product, DIY renovation is an eye-opener. Finally, if you are short on money but long on time, a DIY renovation might be right for you.

Hiring professionals to do your whole-house renovation helps you hit those critical timing marks that keep you on schedule. The work will be done to professional quality, safely and cleanly, in accordance with local building codes. Peace of mind and the assurance that the job will be done right—and not hanging over your head for months—are just a few of the benefits of using pros to do your full house renovation.

Here’s what Sweeten homeowners took part in during their renovation and what their general contractors handled.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.



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Steal This Look: An Economical Kitchen in an English Beach House, Ikea Hack Included


Copyright © 2020 Remodelista, LLC. All rights reserved. Remodelista, Gardenista, 10 Easy Pieces, Steal This Look, 5 Quick Fixes, Design Sleuth, High/Low Design, Sourcebook for the Considered Home, and Sourcebook for Considered Living are ® registered trademarks of Remodelista, LLC.

The Remodelista editors provide a curated selection of product recommendations for your consideration. Clicking through to the retailer that sells the product may earn us a commission.



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DIY: Wheat Sheaf Wreath – House & Home


A definitive sign of fall, the wheat wreath dates back to ancient eastern European harvests, when the last sheaves were tied into crowns worn by the local beauties. Hang one on your door to welcome the season. You can purchase one or create your own DIY version! It’s easier than you think.

What you’ll need:

  • Wire wreath form
  • Paddle wire
  • Wire cutters
  • 100-200 steams of wheat (available through Etsy)

How-to:

  1. Divide wheat into smaller bundles that vary in length for a more organic look (about 10-20 per bundle). You can trim the bottom of each stem slightly, but be sure to leave enough so it peeks through (see photo) for a more voluminous look.
  2. Wrap each bundle in paddle wire, then attach around the wreath form, making sure they are slightly angled from one another.
  3. Once the whole wreath is filled, tie the paddle wire one last time around the wreath and cut off any excess wire.
  4. Hang the wreath on your front door, lean it against a fireplace mantel or place it on an empty wall that needs some seasonal sprucing.

Author: Kimberley Brown & Victoria Christie

Photographer:

Courtesy of Wills & Prior



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DIY: A Summery Side Table by Two Young Paris Architects


Architects Hélène Pinaud and Julien Schwartzmann, the young couple behind up-and-coming Paris firm Heju, design apartments, shops, and cafes notable for their clean lines and playful pastels. After-hours, the two apply that same aesthetic to DIY projects: newly out of design school, they published the 2017 book, Design It Yourself: 35 Objets Design à Petits Prix et à Faire Soi-Même.

They continue to invent—and to present their latest designs on the Heju blog. And they’ve allowed us to share some of our favorites. Today, we present their tiled tabouret, which they describe as “a small piece of furniture that will find its place on your balcony, in your garden, or your living room to give it a swimming-pool atmosphere.” (Scroll to the end for links to more Heju DIYs.)

Photography by and courtesy of Heju.

The side table has a simple plywood frame with a &#8
Above: The side table has a simple plywood frame with a “transom,” the middle cross piece, of painted MDF.
The designers set off basic white tiles with colored grout.
Above: The designers set off basic white tiles with colored grout.

Tools and Materials

All supplies are from Leroy Merlin, France&#8
Above: All supplies are from Leroy Merlin, France’s Home Depot equivalent. They include plywood and MDF cut to size, square white tiles, tile adhesive, paint, grout, pigment, a putty knife, paint roller, hand drill, screwdriver, sponge, and squeegee. For the full specs and step-by-step instructions, go to Heju.



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a laundry rack, dish rack, and herb-drying hoop


At Remodelista, we’re ever on the lookout for household tools that are plastic-free and pleasingly simple. Bonus points for DIY projects that fit this criteria and deserve to be put on display. Here are three examples that feel pleasingly summery (but stand ready for year-round use).

They’re the work of Manda and Caitlin McGrath who collaborate on the cooking and design blog The Merry Thought. Manda is based in Western NY; Caitlin formerly lived nearby but has since moved to Colorado. They’re related by marriage and a shared ability to pull together rooms with artful, handmade designs that cost very little.

Photography courtesy of The Merry Thought.

Caitlin made this DIY Minimal Wooden Dish Rack as part of her $0 kitchen remodel for her brother&#8
Above: Caitlin made this DIY Minimal Wooden Dish Rack as part of her $200 kitchen remodel for her brother’s rental apartment.

“I’m definitely one of those people who fully washes their dishes before putting them in the dishwasher,” she writes (also adding that she and her brother don’t have dishwashers). “To me a dishwasher is basically just a big ‘ol drying rack where guests don’t have to see all your dishes laying out on the counter.”

Make your own dried herbs using this DIY Herb Drying Rack. Caitlin put this one together using a hoop from a crafts store, but you can make own from a wire clothes hanger. Some herbs she says are good for air drying: sage, rosemary, thyme, bay, dill, lavender, and lemon balm.
Above: Make your own dried herbs using this DIY Herb Drying Rack. Caitlin put this one together using a hoop from a crafts store, but you can make own from a wire clothes hanger. Some herbs she says are good for air drying: sage, rosemary, thyme, bay, dill, lavender, and lemon balm.
Manda made this DIY Drying Rack for her own family, and has been putting it to daily use for everything from dish towels to wet bathing suits. The hanging rods slide, so they can be spaced as needed.
Above: Manda made this DIY Drying Rack for her own family, and has been putting it to daily use for everything from dish towels to wet bathing suits. The hanging rods slide, so they can be spaced as needed.

Find materials lists and instructions for each of these projects at The Merry Thought.

Feeling inspired? Peruse our DIY Projects archive for more ideas, including more favorites from The Merry Thought:



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DIY: A Simple, Easy Cover for an Ugly Window Air Conditioner (for $15)


1. Measure.

Measure the interior of your window where you’d like the cover to sit. For the height, be sure to measure a bit generously from the top of the AC unit; for the length, subtract a half inch or so to ensure your cover will fit snugly within the window. (I made my frame to the exact measurement the first time and it didn’t fit.)

An important note: We have deep windowsills, so I opted for narrow strips of wood that would stand up on their own, like a frame, in front of the AC unit, and still leave quite a bit of bare windowsill. If you have shallower sills, and your unit overhangs them into your living space, retrofit this design with wider pieces of wood, so that you end up with less of a frame and more of a deep box that can fit snugly over your unit. (The bottom can fit snugly between unit and sill.)

2. Make a frame.

Cut your four pieces of wood to size: two strips for the length you measured, two strips for the height. The wood that I got from the art supply store was thin enough that I cut it with an X-Acto knife (I wanted my frame to be extra lightweight), but you could also use hardier wood and have it cut to your measurements.

Also note: If you find a ready-made frame that fits your measurements, even better. I made my own because I wanted it to fit perfectly, and no frame I could find was just right.

Holding the frame in place while it dries.
Above: Holding the frame in place while it dries.

Glue the four lengths of wood into a rectangular frame using wood glue, one corner at a time, using something with a right angle (like a notepad) to ensure that all of the corners are square. Hold each corner in place as it dries.

Leave the frame for at least half an hour to let the glue harden. Then, if the wood is thick enough, you can add some hardware to secure it if need be. Mine was fairly sturdy, and the wood was thin, so I added triangular supports in each corner, cut from spare pieces of wood and adhered with wood glue, instead.

The finished frame.
Above: The finished frame.



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small bedroom solution: the DIY paneled-wood headboard


Hammering the panels. &#8
Above: Hammering the panels. “The last plank is the one that goes on top; attach it with screws or wood glue or both,” says Maiju. “I also covered the screw marks with a filler to give them a more finished look.”

Maiju says she’s self taught and that one project has led to another: “It’s been a long process starting with painting picture frames and chairs. Over time, I’ve learned to use different electrical tools. Renovation projects are my meditation. And since my other work is digital, it’s always so rewarding to see concrete results.” Interestingly, Maiju’s last name, Saha, translates as “Saw” in English, which is how she got her blog name, Maiju Saw.

Maiju chose a shade of sage green. She painted the pine directly; you can also prime the panels before installation. For detailed, step-by-step instructions (in Finnish; use Google to translate), go to Maiju Saw.
Above: Maiju chose a shade of sage green. She painted the pine directly; you can also prime the panels before installation. For detailed, step-by-step instructions (in Finnish; use Google to translate), go to Maiju Saw.

The Finished Project

The finished headboard is approximately 45 inches tall and is topped with a shelf for small objects. Learn more about paneling options in Remodeling data-src=
Above: The finished headboard is approximately 45 inches tall and is topped with a shelf for small objects. Learn more about paneling options in Remodeling 101: The Ultimate Guide to Shiplap, Beadboard, and V-Groove Paneling.
Maiju made the bedside ceramic lamp at a clay workshop and finished it with a vintage pleated shade. The leaf pillow is made from a William Morris fabric bought on Etsy; the striped bedding is from H&M Home.
Above: Maiju made the bedside ceramic lamp at a clay workshop and finished it with a vintage pleated shade. The leaf pillow is made from a William Morris fabric bought on Etsy; the striped bedding is from H&M Home.

Browse our DIY Project archives for more ideas, including:

Rehab Diaries: DIY Beadboard Ceilings, Before and After

A DIY Kitchen Overhaul for Under $500, Beadboard Backsplash Included

Idea to Steal: A DIY Headboard from a Natural Fiber Rug



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Rehab Diary: How to Paint Furniture Like an Expert


This summer, my husband and I were driving on Cape Cod, when I spied a couple of midcentury modernesque chairs outside a thrift shop. “Stop!” I yelled–we were in need of dining chairs. When I asked the owner the price, he informed me that there were four more out back. “How much for all six?” I asked. “Thirty dollars for the set,” he replied. I gave him $35. Score!

Only problem, someone had painted the chairs a pale puce green. But for $35, I was willing to put in the labor to paint them. Here’s how I did it.

How-to-Paint-Furniture-Supplies-Remodelista

Supplies

  • Latex paint
  • Primer
  • Water-based polycrylic or finishing wax
  • Paint brush
  • Foam paint roller and pan
  • Fine and medium sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Protective floor cloth
  • Tape (if needed)

How-to-paint-furniture-Remodelista_edited-1

Above: My original chairs. Actually, the color looks almost looks OK in this photo. In reality, it’s quite deadly.

Step 1: Get Your Inner Zen On/Chill Out

Sure, when deadlines loom, I’ve been known to slap on a quick coat of photo-worthy paint. The results never bear close inspection.

The key to a smooth, durable paint job is to slow down. So download those TED talks you’ve been meaning to listen to, or the audio-book version of War and Peace, and settle in. If you don’t rush it, painting can be a very zen process.

How-to-Paint-Funriture-Sanding-Remodelista

Step 2: Sand, Sand, Sand

We all know that real estate adage: “Location, location, location.” With paint, it’s “Prep, prep, prep.” To achieve an even finish, you’ll need to do a thorough sanding job. Use a medium grit to remove old paint, stains, and debris. This process helps smooth the surface and will give your paint something to hold onto. If you’re working with a relatively a flat area, you can use an orbital sander. For something with many round parts, like my chair, you’ll have to do most of the work by hand.

How-to-Paint-Furniture-cleaning-Remodelista

Step 3: Clean and Tape

Once you’ve sanded your piece of furniture, you’ll need to thoroughly clean off all the sawdust. Hands down, a tack cloth is best for removing particles that can negatively effect your paint job. Make sure you wipe every inch of your furniture. Be sure to repeat this process every time you sand.

If necessary, tape off any areas you will not be painting.

How-to-Paint-Furniture-priming-Remodelista

Step 4: Prime

If your piece of furniture was previously painted or stained, I recommend a stain-blocking primer such as Kilz or Zinsser Bulls-Eye 1-2-3 primer. Otherwise, a regular primer will do.

Using a brush or a roller, apply a thin coat of primer to the entire surface of your piece. Let it dry overnight. Then, lightly sand and clean again. If necessary, prime again.

How-to-Paint-Furniture-Roller-Remodelista

Step 5: Paint

Finally, you’re ready to paint. Once again, patience is key.

For projects like a table or dresser that have a lot of flat surfaces, a roller is faster and creates in a streak-free finish. For chairs with round rungs or furniture with hard-to-reach corners, you’ll need a brush. Whichever you use (or, if you alternate between them), apply a thin coat of paint in the direction of the grain. In order to avoid drips or buildup, always go back over what you just painted with the tip of a brush, especially around edges and joints, where paint can accumulate. Allow this coat to dry overnight to ensure that the surface will have hardened enough to withstand a thorough sanding.

Hoe-to-Paint-Furniture-Sand-Remodelista

Step 6: Repeat

Once your first coat is dry, sand, wipe, and paint it again with another thin coat. Repeat: paint, dry, sand, clean. To paint furniture correctly, it can take up to four or five coats.

How-to-Paint-Furniture-top-coat-Remodelista

Step 7: Seal and Protect

Once you’ve achieved full coverage, you’ll need to protect the finish with a top coat. Using a brush, apply one or two layers of polycrylic–again, always sanding and cleaning in between. You can also use a clear finishing wax. (Avoid varnish, though, as it can yellow.)

How-to-Paint-Furniture-Finish-Remodelista

Above: My finished chairs ready for the table. (They look like Canvas’s Georgica Chairs, no?)

How-to-Paint-Furniture-final-Remodelista

Above: My new suite of dining chairs. Total cost? Less than $200 all in.



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Home Improvements You Can Tackle When You’re Stuck At Home


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If you find yourself at home with a little extra free time, put it to good use by giving your place a facelift. There’s never been a better time to transform your home into a sanctuary. Who doesn’t want to dwell inside a cozy oasis where you’re safe from the stressors of the outside world?

Many of these home improvement projects may already be on your to-do list. Thanks to online retailers, the tools you need can be ordered easily and delivered right to your door.

Ready to get started? The following tasks will take your spaces from blah to beautiful and make your time indoors a lot more pleasant.

Paint

Whether you paint an entire room, moldings and trim, or even just the doors, a fresh coat of color brings new energy to your space.

Or, head outside for some fresh air and give your front door a coat or two of a new hue. Switching up the shade of your front door can boost your curb appeal and change your home’s appearance.

And, if you’re thinking of selling your home in the near future, fresh paint can go a long way in helping you get your house sold for the best price. But before you pick up that paint brush, you may want to take a look at Zillow’s guide to paint colors that’ll boost (or hurt) your sale price.

Wallpaper

Not ready to make a long-term commitment? Afraid you won’t be able to put wallpaper up on your own? Consider removable, peel and stick wallpaper (all available online) to add a little fun and flair to your space.

Deep clean

When you’re trapped indoors for a while, you may begin to notice some areas aren’t looking as fresh as they could. We’re not talking about just a surface clean. When you’re cooped up it’s the time to go deeper and focus on those important but often-overlooked spots.

Pull out your fridge and clean those coils, which will make your appliance function more efficiently. Give the inside shelves a good scrubbing with soapy water.

You may also want to take a look at your dryer vent and do a deep cleaning, which can reduce the risk of fire.

Don’t forget everyone’s least favorite—windows. Though they’re a notorious pain to clean, there’s no substitute for sparkling, smudge-free glass.

Declutter

It’s hard to imagine a home that couldn’t benefit from a little decluttering. Even if you’re well-organized, you may have a pile of junk mail. Go through it, and if you find yourself buried in catalogs, stop them before they have a chance to flood your mailbox by visiting Catalog Choice.org, which allows you to unsubscribe from catalogs and other unwanted mail.

As you’re making space in your drawers and closets, you’re bound to find some items you no longer need or want. Consider donating them. You don’t even need to leave the house to do so, thanks to websites like DonationTown.org and PickUpPlease.org. Few things feel as cathartic as giving your items to a good cause. But if you could use an influx of cash, consider selling items through an online marketplace.

Update your hardware

Give your doors and kitchen and bathroom cabinets a makeover simply by switching out the hardware. Don’t underestimate the way door knobs, drawer pulls, and hinges contribute to the overall look and feel of a space. This is a simple project that elevates a room without breaking the bank or requiring too much effort.

Install a new thermostat

Keeping your home at a comfortable temperature as the seasons change isn’t cheap. To cut down on your energy costs and save on your utility bills, consider installing a
programmable thermostat. Or, better yet, a smart thermostat learns your preferences and adjusts accordingly, ensuring you’re cozy without wasting energy.

Landscape

Sick of being inside? Head outside and get some fresh air while working those muscles and sprucing up your property. Depending on the season, you can cut back any dead limbs, weed, rake leaves, or plant a garden. If you don’t have much outdoor space, you can always start with an indoor herb garden. A pop of green enhances your environment whether you’re inside or out.

So, whenever you find yourself with some extra time at home, you have plenty of little improvement projects you can tackle. Just prioritize your tasks and get going. Then, sit back and enjoy your newly-improved space.



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