You don’t need a massive budget or carpentry skills to update your home. All it takes is some inspiration and a little elbow grease. We’ll help you with the first part.
We’ve rounded up 7 of the best weekend home improvement projects so you can transform your home DIY-style. Each project includes detailed instructions and styling advice with suggested product links. To top it all off, we specially designed this list to focus on improvements that buyers will love with expert tips from Bethany Culley, a top real estate agent who sells 71% more properties than the average agent in Madison, MS.
Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned DIY pro, make your home more beautiful, and more marketable, with these easy weekend projects.
Source: (Elizabeth Explores / Unsplash)1. Add style and storage to the entryway
The entryway welcomes buyers into your home, setting the tone for the rest of the house. Give this space some attention with a decorated entry table and hanging round mirror. This is a super easy home project for beginners. Simply measure your entry space, shop for accessories, hammer a couple nails, and voila! You’ve got a totally new entrance.
Decor purchases: Narrow entry table (depth approx. 18 inches or smaller, depending on entry room width) Large round framed mirror, width narrower than entry table (splurge: selections from Wayfair; save: Ikea Langesund) 2 glass lanterns, one taller than the other 2 flameless tower candles; opt for a model with an internal timer Wicker storage baskets or fabric boxes no deeper than the depth of the table Mounted coat rack matching your home’s hardware Home accessories of your choosing: picture frame, decorative vase, hidden key box, books Tools you’ll need: Measuring tape Hammer Nails Pencil Leveler (optional) Instructions: Place the entry table against the wall, leaving space for your front door to open completely. Measure table length, mark the center point with a pencil on the wall. Hover mirror above table to choose a hanging height. There should be a small gap between the bottom of the mirror and the table, around 10 inches. Mark the wall at the mirror hook. Hammer a nail into the wall where your reference marks meet so the mirror will hang centered above the table. Hang mirror. Decorate table with lanterns and your chosen accessories. Remember less is more — you want a curated, not a cluttered table top. Place baskets under the table or on the bottom shelf. Nail coat rack to the wall between the table and front door or on the opposite wall. Use a leveler or two reference marks at the same height. 2. Paint the living room a neutral shade
New paint is an easy way to refresh your living room. According to HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights report for Q1 2019, 57.38% of agents recommend that sellers paint their interior before listing. Cully recommends selecting a single color for all common areas:
“Bedrooms can be a different color, but kitchen, den, foyer, dining, hallways all need to be one color. Here in Mississippi, we’re all about grey. As light and airy and neutral as you can get. Not white-white, but a light, light gray.”
Whether you gush over gray or melt with warmer tones, choose a light, neutral shade to attract buyers. Here are real estate agents’ top rated paint colors:
Agreeable Gray by Sherwin-Williams Accessible Beige by Sherwin-Williams Repose Gray by Sherwin-Williams Kilim Beige by Sherwin-Williams Off White by Behr Tools you’ll need: Paint (1 gallon per 100 square feet) Primer Paint roller Paint roller extension rod Paintbrushes Paint tray Painters tape Tarp or plastic sheeting Step ladder (optional) Instructions: Remove everything from the walls: art, window dressings such as curtains and rods, mounted television, etc Move furniture to the center of the room away from the walls or into a separate room. Tarp any furniture you leave in the room and floor adjacent to the walls Apply painters tape along the ceiling and floorboard where the wall meets. Tape over any chair rails or moldings, as well as over any socket covers and built in lights you choose not to remove. Paint the walls with a coat of primer first. Pour primer into a paint tray. Brush paint along moldings, then use a roller to paint the walls top-to-bottom. If you’re covering up darker paint, apply three coats of primer. Wait for the walls to dry between coats. Stir your paint color and pour it into a paint tray. Paint the walls following the technique explained above. For the most even coverage, paint long strokes in a zig zag pattern with the paint roller. Source: (Hannah Busing / Unsplash)3. Style your fireplace with a floating mantel
The hearth of your home, your fireplace deserves to be the center of attention. Elevate its appearance in one weekend by fitting a new mantelpiece and fireplace screen.
Decor purchases: Floating mantel (classic: Middle Fireplace Mantel Shelf; contemporary: Modern Farmhouse Fireplace Shelf Mantel; trendy: Black Walnut Live Edge Floating Shelf; DIY: $20 Floating Shelf) Fireplace screen (classic: PB Classic Triple Screen; contemporary: Beckett Fireplace Screen; trendy: Deco Fireplace Screen) Home accessories of your choosing: candles, flower vases, photo frames, large monogram, decorative clock, bookends A. If you’re mounting on brick or stone: Tools you’ll need: Drill Masonry drill bits Lag bolts and shield sets Tape measurer Long leveler Silicone Instructions: Determine desired mantel height (around 60 inches above the floor). Place leveled marks every 16 inches. Drill holes at each mark using a drill and 3/4″ masonry bit. Insert a lag shield into each hole, then insert a 10” lag bolt into each sleeve until tight. Align mantel and mark on back where each bolt will hit. Drill 1/2 inch holes into the back of the mantel. For added security, apply high temperature silicone to the end of the lag bolts. Align the mantel so the holes meet the bolts and push it against the wall. Decorate the mantel with home accessories. If this isn’t your tv spot, create a focal point with a large clock, wall art, or dry wreath. Place the fireplace screen below. B. If you’re mounting on drywall: Tools you will need: Drill Tape measure 2 shelf brackets Toggle bolts Screwdriver Leveler Instructions: Lay the shelf front down and place brackets 4 to 6 inches from each end. Mark where the holes will go for each bracket. Remove brackets to drill pilot holes on each mark. Align brackets with the holes and drive screws through the holes. Determine mantel height (around 60 inches above the floor). Align mantel and mark where brackets will hit the wall. Use a leveler or measure the distance from each mark to the floor to ensure the marks are even. Drill pilot holes into the walls where the marks are. Push in metal toggle bolts. Tighten the screws until bolts are snug. Remove the screws. Line up the mantel brackets and drive screws into the toggle bolts. Decorate the mantel with home accessories. If this isn’t your tv spot, create a focal point with a large clock, wall art, or dry wreath. Place the fireplace screen below. 4. Replace or paint your hardware to update cabinets and built-ins
If you’re selling your home, that brass has got to go. Replace your hardware with new fixings or paint your existing hardware to instantly update your home. Make-over candidates include cabinet knobs, handles, hinges, toilet paper holders, towel racks, and metal wall fixtures like sconces.
Tools you’ll need: Screwdriver Ziplock bags Mineral spirit Etching paste Tarp or newspapers Oil based spray primer Oil based spray paint (your choice of matte black, semi-gloss black, and dark bronze) Instructions (via Hunker): Unscrew all hardware from cabinets and walls. Place screws in zip lock bags labeled by hardware type. Clean hardware with a mineral spirit. Rub hardware with an etching paste to promote bonding between the fixture and the paint. Rinse and dry hardware. Place it over the tarp or newspaper. Spray primer on the hardware. Once dry, flip hardware and spray the other side. Follow with two coats of spray paint, allowing each side of the hardware to dry between coats. Repeat the process to paint any nails which will be visible. When hardware is completely dry, reassemble and enjoy a fresh look. Source: (Domenico Loia / Unsplash)5. Declutter and organize your home office
You know where everything is in your office: every stack of paper is meaningful, each reference book is lying just where you left it. When buyers see your organized clutter — they just see clutter. Clean up this space with improved organization systems and a dash of decor.
Decor purchases: Storage unit (small: Argonaut 3 Door Accent Cabinet from Wayfair; large: Bestå from Ikea) Organizational wall display (explore options with Pottery Barn’s Daily System collection) Desktop charging station Small lidded basket or box Cable organizer Indoor plant (palm: White Bird of Paradise; rubber: Burgundy Ficus; snake: Sansevieria Laurentii) Tools you’ll need: Trash and recycling bags Boxes Marker Instructions: Declutter with Culley’s “three box and a bag rule”:
“You can declutter any room in one hour. I don’t care how messy it is. You pick an object up once. If it’s going with you to the next house, it goes in one box. If it’s going to charity, it goes in another box. If not, then it goes in the garbage bag.”
Culley suggests packing up as much as you can, leaving only the items you use every day. Label the boxes and store them in a closet or in the garage. Add a storage unit with doors to conceal contents. Place neat rows of folders and books in the open shelves. Store your office miscellaneous inside of the doored sections. Add storage and style with an ottoman bench. Create a collage above the desk including a whiteboard calendar, file storage pockets, and shelves. Keep your devices charged and organized with a desktop charging station. Hide your router in a lidded wicker basket or leather storage box. Untangle and merge visible wires from your computer and printer with a cable organizer. Breathe life into the space with a tall indoor plant. 6. Beautify your front yard to boost curb appeal
In HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights 2019 Q1 Report, 94.25% of real estate agents agree that curb appeal adds to a seller’s bottom line. Improving your landscaping is an easy weekend home improvement project with a high return on investment. Lay out fresh mulch and recoup 126% ROI. Service your lawn to it’s greenest and enjoy 352% ROI (on average, that’s $1,200 added to your sale price!).
Decor purchases: Seasonal flowers or low lying shrubs Solar lanterns Tools you’ll need: Pressure washer (rentals available for $30 at stores like Home Depot ) Lawnmower Edger Gardening gloves Shovel Fertilizer Mulch or pine straw Instructions: Mow and edge your lawn. Remove any weeds and add fertilizer to any spotty patches. Pressure wash your walkway and driveway. Create a landscaping design plan for your planters to achieve their full potential. Find inspiration on sites like Houzz and Pinterest and discuss your ideas with your local nursery staff. Share photos of your design inspo and your house with them for reference. Plan in hand, remove any weeds and dying plants. Turn the soil. Plant your selection of colorful, low maintenance flowers or flower-less ground cover like mondo grass. Add a layer of mulch or pine straw to finish the look. Distribute solar lanterns along the walkway to top it all off with night time glow. Source: (Brett Taylor Photography / Shutterstock)7. Color your front door and decorate with accessories
“If you’ve got a wooden front door and it faces West, it’s gonna be worn out,” Culley advises. Give your door a fresh coat of paint and swap out entry accessories so your home makes a great first impression with buyers.
Explore paint colors that will compliment your home’s overall color palette. If you own a brick beauty, discover the perfect door color pairing with this guide. You can also use an app like Sherwin Williams ColorSnap Visualizer to digitally overlay colors onto your door.
Decor purchases: Seasonal wreath (bright: Smith & Hawken Dried Thistle Wreath; blooming: Fern & Echinops Wreath; green: Savory + Majoram Wreath) Lighting fixture (traditional: Audrey Outdoor Sconce; contemporary: Taylor Sconce in Bronze; trendy: Capture Outdoor Wall Sconce) Wall mounted mailbox (see our suggestions to boost mailbox curb appeal) Welcome mat (light hearted: Mainstay Hello Coir Outdoor Mat; monogram: Estate Monogrammed Coco Door Mat; rounded: Sunburst Half-round Coco Door Mat) Tools you’ll need: Bucket Sponge Dish soap Towel Paint samples or peel and stick swatches 220 grit sandpaper Oil based primer Oil based paint color in a gloss or high gloss finish Painters tape Paintbrush Paint tray Tarp Screwdriver Hammer Nails Instructions: Wash your door and front entry with soapy water or a pressure washer. Apply paint samples or peel and swatch stickers to test color options on door. Remove hardware from door or cover completely with painters tape. Sand door lightly. Wipe off loose particles with a dry cloth. Apply painter’s tape along door windows, sweep, frame, and hinges. Prime the door with two to three coats of primer. When primer is dry, paint the first coat of your selected paint color. For even results, paint the door in sections as indicated in this video. Apply two to three coats, allowing each coat to dry in between applications. Replace hardware when door is completely dry. Replace the sconce and mailbox with complementary updated units. Add flair with a welcome doormat and wreath. A little TLC goes a long way in your weekend home improvement projects
Weekend home improvement projects are an easy, affordable way to update your home. When it’s time to sell, these DIY home improvements will boost your home’s marketability and value, decreasing the market time and increasing the sale price. Until then, enjoy your day to day in an ever more stylish living space!
Header Image Source: (Africa Studio / Shutterstock)