If you’re like most homeowners, you can easily identify a host of improvements you’d like to make to your home such as increasing closet space, sprucing up the yard, redoing the roof or repainting the living room. And the list probably goes on and on. You might hesitate to start checking off the list due to cost or difficulty of the project, and in many cases rightly so as many projects take a lot of time, skill, tools…and dough.
There are, however, many far easier, less expensive ways to fix up your property and add value to your home. Most will cost you about $100 and should take no more than a weekend to finish.
1. Head off inefficiency in the shower.
Replacing an old showerhead with a more water-efficient one is easier than it seems. Each head is different, but you may just need to hand-tighten a new showerhead onto the pipe by turning clockwise. Don’t use a wrench unless the instructions explicitly say so. If you do need to use a wrench, do not over-tighten. Proceed by one-quarter turns. As with anything plumbing-related, be careful with the amount of pressure you use.
Today’s low-flow showerheads come with multiple settings, so a shower also can become a massage. And consider a showerhead filter while you’re at it if your water is heavily chlorinated or has other strong chemicals present to prevent damage to your skin and hair.
2. Plant a screen.
Privacy can be planted with certain trees or shrubs, such as arborvitae, cypress, juniper or many other evergreen species. And if you do this on the north side of your house, you get a bonus windscreen. Some seedlings are extremely inexpensive ($3-4 each), but can grow up to three feet a year and are quite hardy. But do your research and choose wisely because spruces, firs and other coniferous species can grow hundreds of feet tall and can completely dominate the landscape.
3. Get hooked.
Wall-mount a row of hooks above the kitchen counter to keep utensils and measuring cups handy. Or in the hallway for keys, coats, backpacks or purses. Or in the bathroom for towels, the garage for tools, closet for clothes. Use your imagination! Just get that stuff off the floor for instant aesthetic improvements.
4. Think about what’s at your feet.
Doormats are more than just decorative. Vinyl and natural-fiber ones also retain dirt, so you’ll be prolonging the life of your floor or carpet.
Every door gets scuff marks sooner or later. That doesn’t mean you have to buy a new door or repaint it. Instead, install a kick plate. Most people associate kick plates with institutional use, but doesn’t your home door get a daily workout too? Kick plates can be brass, stainless steel, nickel, aluminum – whatever best matches the décor – and might not even require drilling and screws if the door is made of metal because some kick plates are magnetic.
6. Get pegged.
A simple perforated-pegboard wall panel costing $10 to $20 can magically unclutter a garage. Don’t hang anything with a weight it can’t bear, however. Screwdrivers and wrenches, good. A bike or bowling ball bag, not so good.
Put swivel casters on a table to create a mobile, multi-purpose or food-prep surface, especially handy in a small kitchen.
8. Where’s the sink?
If you can’t find your bathroom sink amidst the clutter of combs and brushes, hairdryers, makeup, toothpaste, shaving cream and meds, and the undercarriage storage is full or non-existent, perhaps mount a medicine cabinet. Medicine cabinets have come a long way in the past several decades, and are available in a wide range of sizes and materials. Make sure you fasten the cabinet to a stud, however, or if mounting on drywall, use wall anchors.
Once you conquer these, check out the DIYs that are just as doable, with a little more elbow grease.