You don’t need to be Bob Vila to successfully spruce up your home, and you don’t need a ton of time, either. Simple, quick home upgrades can really improve the look and feel of your home, while still keeping your investment of time and money to a minimum.
A few cans of paint, some new outlets, and some new fixtures can really leave your home looking and feeling like new. Whether it’s painting your bathroom tiles to achieve that trendy patterned-concrete look, installing new USB outlets so you can all charge your phones and tablets, or freshening up your entryway door with a new coat of paint, these are some of the best ways to upgrade your home yourself, in just a day or two.
1) Paint Your Bathroom Tiles
You’ve probably seen those trendy, cement tiles printed with all manner of modern and art deco designs. They’re known as encaustic tiles for the process used to decorate them, and they mimic the popular inlaid tile designs used throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Muslim world from the Middle Ages through the Victorian era. Laying these tiles can be expensive and complicated, because they have to be sealed with a double layer of polyurethane after setting but before grouting, a process that can take longer than 10 days.
Or, you can achieve the same look in a weekend, and at a fraction of the cost, by painting your bathroom tiles with chalk paint, stencils, and polyurethane sealer. You’ll need to clean the floor thoroughly first – any dust or debris left behind will cause the paint to chip. Paint the grout and around the edges of the room in your background color with a brush, then coat the middles of the tiles with a roller. Use a stencil and a contrasting color to carefully pattern each tile. When it’s dry, you can touch up the design by hand before sealing it with polyurethane.
2) Upgrade Your Electrical Outlets to USB Outlets
If there’s one thing you house doesn’t have enough of, that thing is most likely outlets. You probably have at least one smart phone or tablet per person in your household, and most of them probably have USB chargers. You can free up outlet space, and charge your devices faster, if you switch out your regular electrical outlets for USB outlets.
If you know how to wire a standard electrical outlet, you know how to wire a USB outlet — they wire up the same as traditional outlets. It takes just a few minutes per outlet to install them. The only caveat is that you need a little more space in your walls to fit USB outlets – they require about three inches of depth in the wall, because of all the extra wiring in the outlet box.
3) Switch Out Your Showerhead
Few things can make your shower feel as luxurious as a new showerhead, and it’s easy enough that even a novice plumber can do it. You’ll need an adjustable wrench to remove the old showerhead, and some plumber’s tape for leaks.
You might be able to remove your old showerhead by hand, turning it counter-clockwise. If not, use an adjustable wrench to remove it. Screw your new showerhead in by hand and turn it on to check for leaks. If there are any leaks, unscrew it and apply plumber’s tape, then screw it back in, tightening carefully with an adjustable wrench.
4) Revamp Your Entryway
If you’re looking to pump up your curb appeal, there’s no better way than refreshing your entryway. It’s easy enough to paint your front door – just remove the hardware, and sand with a palm sander to roughen up the paint finish. Hand-sand in the crevices. Then paint with primer and apply your new coat of paint, hand-painting the trim. While the paint is still wet, go over it lightly with a paintbrush to get the smooth, hand-painted finish. Once the door is dry, you can reattach your hardware, or put on new, nicer hardware. Complete your entryway renovation with a new porch light fixture, new mailbox, and new house numbers.
5) Refresh Your Kitchen Cabinets
Kitchen renovations are among the most costly home improvements most homeowners can perform, but you can freshen up the tired look of your old kitchen by refinishing your kitchen cabinets. A coat of paint can brighten up old cabinets, and most wood-laminate, metal, and wood cabinets can be repainted easily. Simply remove hardware, clean cabinets thoroughly with a kitchen degreaser, sand surfaces lightly, and then repaint. Apply a coat of primer sealer and two to three coats of kitchen enamel paint, so that your newly painted cabinets can stand up to the scrubbing and scuffing most kitchen cabinets must endure.
DIY home improvements don’t have to eat up weeks of your free time. With a little creativity and a free weekend, you can spruce up your kitchen, refresh your entryway, or bring the Mediterranean look of patterned tile into your bathroom. You’ll be so pleased with how your project turns out, you’ll be planning DIY projects for several weekends to come.