Every house could use a little fixing from time to time. Some projects are big, requiring the help of a professional, but others we can do ourselves. With most of us spending more time at home and looking for ways to distract ourselves, why not tackle a few of home improvement projects? Whether your budget is big or small, here are a few home improvement ideas you can finish in a weekend to add to your quarantine to-do list.
Projects under $500
From repairs to updates, it’s easy to come up with a list of things you could quickly fix in your home. All they need are a few, affordable purchases and some elbow grease.
Modernize the lights*
How often do you think about your light switches? Probably not a lot, but if you live in an older home, these switches got flipped thousands of times even before the house was yours. Not only that, but many of these models don’t work nicely with modern LED bulbs.
If you have “dated” switches, now’s the time to replace them with something a little more modern. In a weekend’s time, you too can complete the great switch switch and add a new, functional look to every room in your house.
To change a light switch:
- Turn off the power at the fuse box.
- Remove the switch plate at the fixture, then use a voltage tester to make sure the circuit is dead.
- Unscrew the switch and pull it out with the wires still attached.
- Compare your new switch with the old one to establish where the wires go, then swap one at time.
- Gently push the new wired switch back into the wall and screw it into place.
- Reattach the switch plate and turn back on the power.
*Note: Electrical projects are not recommended for anyone without knowledge and skill in electrical work or experience as an electrician. Accidents with electrical projects can result in serious injury. Consider seeking the services of a trained professional to help you.
After you handle the light switches, give yourself some time to address your bulbs. Even after updating your switches, you’ll still have money left in your budget to replace current bulbs with energy efficient ones.
Beautify your vents
Vents are a necessity in every house, but those basic industrial grade covers, with the slats, are boring and not particularly functional. They collect dirt and get dusty quickly. Small things can fall down them into no-man’s land.
Add an aesthetic flair by replacing them. It’s a quick, weekend project that requires minimal cost in supplies. It’s also one of those activities where you can get really crafty.
To replace your air return vents with something homemade, you’ll need:
- Patterned aluminum sheets for air to move through
- Tape Measure
- Hammer and nails
- Wood framing
Cut the aluminum sheet to the right size for your vent. Frame it with the wood, and attach the pieces together using the brackets. Hammer into the wall. You can paint the wood to match your wall, and even paint the aluminum sheet. If you don’t want to make your own vent cover, it’s still a weekend project to buy pre-designed ones. They’ll cost less than $40 per vent cover, easily fit into place with minimum work.
Update cabinet hardware
Another way to upgrade your home over a weekend is to address the pulls and knobs on your kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Most people don’t love the hardware that comes with their house, yet hardly ever change it. Now is a perfect time to tally up the number of each, confirm measurements, and replace them. Refresh the look of your kitchen and all your bathrooms with just a screwdriver and some time. Knobs come in a range of costs and styles, with some offering both affordability and style.
Paint a room
Maybe it’s time to tackle that painting project this weekend. Whether it’s freshening up a room with a fresh coat, or completely changing the color, painting a room is a great weekend project. Spend one day taping edges, prepping walls, and moving furniture out of the way. The next day, paint. Remember to spackle all the existing holes in your wall on the first day, so you can sand the spots smooth. Also consider applying a primer coat to your walls if you’re switching from a dark to light color of paint.
Projects under $1000
More expensive projects don’t necessarily mean a bigger time investment. They may just have more costly supplies. Either way, these pricier enhancements can help beautify your home in ways you hadn’t thought of doing before the coronavirus.
Enhance your entrance
While a lot of people may not be walking through your door right now, it’s no reason to ignore it. If the entrance to your home feels dull, now’s the time to spruce it up or even replace it.
For a lower-cost option, you can always paint your front door and update the hardware. Even a classic wooden door may look better with a pop of colorful paint.
To replace your front door, check your local hardware supply store for a solid door that matches your personal style. Look for contemporary fittings and locks to stay on trend. While you’re shopping, grab a new welcome mat and maybe a potted plant or two to complete the new look.
Replace tired light fixtures*
Do you love the furniture in your kitchen or dining room but hate the light fixture? You don’t have to settle. With a $1000 budget you can replace one or both light fixtures yourself and add some class to your eating areas.
Replacing a fixture is much the same as updating your light switches. Simply switch off the power at the breaker, disconnect the old fixture, and connect the wires to your new one. You can sell the old fixture or donate it.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when replacing a fixture. Keep the same imprint as the previous light instead of drilling new holes and worrying about new wires.
Spend an hour or two browsing sites from hardware stores, furniture stores, and online shops like Wayfair and Overstock to find the best deal on the perfect replacement fixture.
Swap in a ceiling fan*
Save a little money on your AC bill this summer by putting ceiling fans into your hottest rooms. If wired for it you can even add one to your deck or patio. When the temperatures aren’t scorching, a fan may circulate the air enough on its own to keep things cool.
Ceiling fan installation is very straightforward, and should only take you a few hours to complete. The cost is reasonable too. The top tier of household fans cost around $350 each, so you can put in a few to cool off your home.
After you remove the existing light fixture and old electrical box from the ceiling, you’re ready to start. You’ll need to cut a new hole in the ceiling and install a fan-specific electrical box before covering up the work by gluing on the ceiling medallion that came with the fan. Then, follow the instructions to install the fan itself and you’re all set. Remember, you don’t assemble the fan completely before you put it into the ceiling. The main component goes up first followed by the blades and lights.
Keep yourself busy during quarantine
We’re all finding ourselves home way more often, noticing those little things we could upgrade or improve. Don’t let these projects sit undone any longer. Jump in, and with the right budget and a couple of days, you can transform your home.
* Reminder: We at Sundae do not encourage work on electrical projects without professional experience and knowledge. Accidents with electrical projects can be very dangerous and result in serious injury. Consider seeking the services of a trained professional to help you.
Composed by a team of experienced content, marketing, and real estate professionals, the Sundae Blog is a go-to authority for tips, instructions, and data-driven insights aimed at helping homeowners maintain, renovate, sell, and buy homes, while navigating a complex real estate market.