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Interior Design

Improve Your Home: Weekend DIY Projects

You don’t have to be a pro at construction to master these quick and easy DIY projects.

Add storage to your entry

Add storage to your entry.

If a traditional entry closet or a beautiful built-in shelving system is not an option in your home, refashioned furniture can achieve a look that’s equally stylish and storage-savvy. This small-scale table is a perfect size for beside the front door. Though compact, the table’s drawers and shelf make the piece super functional for busy drop-zone items. A wall-mount shelf above the table hangs keys within easy reach.

Make your entrance inviting

Make your entrance inviting.

A cheery front-door color and a touch of landscaping can do wonders for your home’s curb appeal—and make a lasting impression on guests. Dress the door with new hardware, and add a welcome mat and potted plants near the entrance. Consider installing outdoor lighting to enhance your home’s architecture and illuminate the walkway. 

Install a new faucet

Install a new faucet.

Inject elegance into your daily life with a faucet that ups the ante in looks and quality. Just make sure the configuration matches your existing sink, or you might end up replacing that, too.

Give your yard a boost

Give your yard a boost.

With flagstone, you can easily make an outdoor patio in a weekend—no mortar required. Add potted plants and outdoor seating, such as a bistro set or an eclectic mix of colorful chairs, to create a quaint backyard escape.  

Add molding

Add molding.

Living room, dining room, great room: any common area looks better with the finishing, defining touch of decorative molding. If you live in a historic home, make sure your molding choices complement your home’s architectural style.

Paint or paper a wall

Paint or paper a wall.

Self-adhesive and repositionable wallpaper creates a romantic accent that’s easy to apply, remove and reuse. It works like a giant sticker. Peel the decorative paper off the backing and adhere it to a primed and painted wall. To create a curvy top edge, use your mirror to inspire the outline of your design. Cut the shape from craft paper and test the look. Tape the pattern on the decorative paper applied to the wall; use a crafts knife to cut around the template. Peel away the paper above the cut.

Update your hardware

Update your hardware.

Spice up your cabinets and drawers by replacing factory-issue handles and pulls with designs that reflect your personal taste. For a unique, eclectic look, scour antiques shops for hardware pieces.

Look up and dress up your ceiling

Look up and dress up your ceiling.

Give your ceiling a little eye candy. Beautifully highlight a coffered ceiling with colorful paint, and keep the trim white for a bold visual effect. Placing a ceiling medallion around a fan or light fixture is another way to add architectural flair overhead. Decorative ceiling medallions are available in all shapes, sizes and styles. 

Make your fireplace more efficient

Make your fireplace more efficient.

To quickly and easily rehabilitate your existing fireplace, a gas or wood-burning insert adds energy efficiency to your home without tearing apart your hearth and mantel.

Get a built-in look

Get a built-in look.

Create extra storage in a snap with kits for bookcases or shelving that you assemble yourself. Try a cabinet and open shelving combination for display spaces.

Patch holes in walls

Patch holes in walls.

Whether an art-arranging project went awry or you're tired of looking at dings around the house, concealing wall blemishes is a weekend-worthy project. With a putty knife and surfacing compound, you can easily repair nail holes and other minor wall imperfections. For larger holes, place an adhesive patch over the area and spread an all-purpose drywall compound over it with a trowel. Depending on the size of the wall hole, the compound may need to dry overnight. Paint over the patch when it is dry.

Hang a new medicine cabinet

Hang a new medicine cabinet.

With just a stud finder and a drill, you can install the cabinet in less than an hour. For quick installation, choose a cabinet that can mount directly to the wall above your bathroom sink, rather than cutting away drywall and recessing the cabinet between studs.

Add a ceiling fan

Add a ceiling fan.

Add a ceiling fan and save money by not running the air conditioner on those marginal days when all you need is air movement.

Spice up your stairway

Spice up your stairway.

Add drama to a staircase with distinctive railings or embellishments. Architectural-salvage and reuse centers are hot spots for ideas and materials.

Put dimmers on the lights

Put dimmers on the lights.

Dimmer switches quickly give your dining room the atmosphere of a swank restaurant. You can use standard incandescent bulbs, but if you prefer fluorescent light, look for special dimmable bulbs.

Replace your showerhead

Replace your showerhead.

Choose a low-flow unit and you’ll get virtually the same sensation of water flow while saving money on your water bill. If your showerhead flow is already low (and shouldn’t be), check to see if hard-water deposits are clogging the holes.

Redo your backsplash

Redo your backsplash.

Tired of a dull kitchen? Transform the mood of the kitchen with a bold new backsplash in ceramic or glass tile. Just make sure the wall is sound before you start the installation.

Paint or paper a wall

Swap out the sink.

A new sink can energize a boring bathroom. Before you replace it, though, consider your needs. You might want to try standing in front of the model you’re considering and acting out your morning routine. Will you have enough room to brush your teeth or put in your contacts? Your choice should balance aesthetics with practicality.

Replace interior doors

Replace interior doors.

Update these often-overlooked interior elements with form and function. Switch a blah door with a finely detailed antique. Or simply upgrade with solid-core doors, which dampen noise far more efficiently than the hollow-core doors common in new construction.

Upgrade your flooring

Upgrade your flooring.

Installing a hardwood floor can take longer than a weekend, so choose a material that’s less time-consuming. Start with anything that comes in a roll, such as sheet vinyl, which looks better and lasts longer than it used to.

Dress up your fireplace

Dress up your fireplace.

If it’s time to replace that dingy 1970s-era mantel, choose one with enough depth to let you display pictures or other decorations. If you buy a ready-made mantel, don’t be afraid to paint it or add moldings.

Strip and stain wood cabinets

Strip and stain wood cabinets.

Stripping and staining cabinets takes only a weekend, and it will give your space a major face-lift. Sealing cabinets with polyurethane will also increase durability. Begin by removing cabinet doors and hardware. Wipe cabinet fronts and doors with mineral spirits to remove any dirt, dust and grease. Apply a gel-type stripper per manufacturer’s instructions, and then remove the stripper with a plastic putty knife. Next, sand the wood with sandpaper. Using a disposable sponge brush, apply stain in the direction of the cabinets’ wood grain. Allow the stain to dry thoroughly, and seal with polyurethane.

© Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.