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Old Home, New Look: DIY Home Projects

            Do-it-Yourself Renovation Tips for a Picture-Perfect Home Makeover


You absolutely love your home! But because you’ve had the house for a few years, it’s natural to think that a little touch-up maybe for several rooms to give the “old” place a fresh new look. And you’ve decided that the time for the job is now. Youre spending more time at home social distancing and self-quarantining; this might be a great time to prevent “cabin fever” by catching up on home improvements that have been percolating on the back burner.

Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed, though. What may seem like a daunting task can be done without calling a troop of designers or spending a cartload of money. Just be ready with your imagination, some creativity, and the willingness to work slowly—one room at a time.

Here are several tips to consider for home improvement projects:

Look at the big picture, and establish your priorities: which rooms really need to be remodeled—and which one you want to “make over” first.

Create a plan, and be prudent about it.

Put together a timetable.

Determine your budget, and allow flexibility for surprises.

Select efficient and safe designs for your rooms.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.


DIY Home Improvement Ideas 

If you’re looking for some ideas on where to start with giving your home a facelift, consider these options that are great DIY projects: 

  • Paint your kitchen walls and/or cabinets 

  • Change the layout of your living room 

  • Add a focal point to the dining room 

  • Give your bathroom a pop of color 

  • Declutter your master bedroom 

  • Enhance your curb appeal and create an outdoor living space you love 

Many of these projects will only take a quick trip to the hardware store, while others will involve more planning and labor. Depending on how much change you want in your home, plan your projects accordingly. 

White kitchen with wood floor and pendant lighting

You can get this look with a fresh coat of paint, new floors, light fixtures, and bright curtains to set off the contrasting shades (Plan #126-1287).


Give Your Kitchen a Splash of Color 

If you’re like most homeowners, the kitchen rules! After all, it’s the heart of the home and the hub of most family and social activities. A major overhaul is expensive; however, a simple remodel can work wonders.

Country kitchen with cream, blue, and hardwood.

A mix of cream, white, and blue—plus brown hardwood floors and island snack bar—give this kitchen a bright and sunny look (Plan #146-2810).


Repaint kitchen walls and cabinets. You can stick with neutrals like white, gray, beige, or cream, or be bold and go for blue, a light yellow/orange, or green. Sometimes, a new coat of paint makes a huge difference in the space. Focus on details and trim or accents to make the kitchen livelier and more colorful.

If changing the color isn’t the update you’re looking for, here are some other ideas to consider for your kitchen: 

  • What about new tiles? If the old ones are getting a bit ho-hum, choose ceramic tiles that come in several colors.   

  • A new look in curtains, wall paintings, a backsplash, and light fixtures will make the kitchen more attractive.

  • If your budget allows it, you may consider changing countertops—switch to granite or quartz, perhaps with accents of marble or a wood-and-butcher-block combination for your re-do inspiration (see lead photo).


Change Up the Living / Family Room

In most open floor-plan layouts, there is one Great Room that includes the living/dining rooms and the kitchen. The family room is often adjacent to the kitchen. Ingenuity and creativity are once again at the forefront if you want to remodel the living/family room at a minimal cost. 

First, determine what can be discarded or moved around. Clean the areas well, and then go to work. Do a minor switch of furnishings: rearrange your couch or move pieces elsewhere into the family room until you get the new layout and feel you want. Adding a new piece of furniture and moving things around is an easy project that can completely change the feel of the entire space. 

Living room with bold colors

Fabrics give this family room a punch of color.

Top: Complementary colors are the rule of this living room (above): dark brown sofas and chairs with mostly cream throw pillows, a light blue ceiling, and paintings with vibrant shades on the wall (Plan #153-1808). Bottom: A chaise longue, blanket, and vases in coral give a punch of color to this cozy family room (Plan #141-1239).

Here are a few other DIY home improvement ideas to consider for giving your living room a facelift: 

  • If you’ve repainted the kitchen, then why not the living/family rooms? You may opt for a change of color scheme or a muted one to complement the kitchen paint.

  • Change your area rugs or draperies, or switch to blinds.

  • Change light fixtures—those lampshades may not serve their purpose anymore, so go for something new. You can choose track lights or ceiling fans with beautiful fittings.

  • Add throw pillows, blankets, a new coffee table, or a new painting over the couch.

If you prefer a smoother traffic flow and your home is not of the open floor design, consult an architect or engineer before you start tearing down walls or thinking about any bigger projects for this area.


Add a Focal Point to Your Dining Room

There are a few things you can do to spruce up your dining room. If it’s part of the Great Room and adjacent to the kitchen you’ve just repainted, you don’t have too much to do regarding color schemes or matching paint hues.

 One option is to choose a focal point in the dining room to draw people’s attention—an attractive light fixture/chandelier can do the trick. An accent wall is another quick way to make a statement in this room. Add a beautiful wallpaper, bold color paint, or statement mirror piece to one wall of the room to make things pop.


An informal dining area with a traditional look.

Dining room with upholstered chairs that complement the area rug

 Two dining rooms feature light fixtures as the central focus. Top: This informal dining room has three hanging lamps, a small flower arrangement on the countertop, and a runner with a weave basket for decorative flourish (Plan #161-1044). Bottom: This country home’s formal dining room has a hardwood floor, wood table, and upholstered chairs. The area rug complements the chairs’ design. A flower arrangement sits on the built-in wall cabinet (Plan #161-1030).


If this isn’t quite what you want, here are a couple of other possibilities: 

  • Updating chairs always works—and won’t blow your budget. Putting new fabric covers on chairs will give the dining room a totally new look. Add pillows to hardback chairs to add color and make it easier to lean back.

  • How about a runner with accessories like candles, small flower centerpieces, or bottles with dried twigs? This small change can have big results.  


(H3) Add a Pop of Color to the Bathroom

Whether you have a small, old-fashioned bathroom or a more modern one, there’s always room for improvement. The best way to give your bathroom an instant facelift is to go out with the white paint in the bathroom. Beige, blue, light browns, orange tones, and shades of gray are all colors to consider, depending on the rest of your decor. You could do one wall or paint the entire room.

Wall art helps to add color to this bathroom

Bathroom made over with brighter colors and better lighting

Top: A simple makeover is easy to do. Get out the beige tones; update the vanity; get some contrasting prints; throw in plants. Voilà! You get this clean, uncluttered look (Plan #126-1289)! Bottom: How about bolder colors, better lights, mirrors, and decorative trims on the bathroom walls (Plan #141-1134)?


Here are some other projects to consider: 

  • Update sinks and faucets. You could completely change the look of your bathroom by changing from a traditional sink to a farmhouse sink. 

  • Take a risk on a bright or multi-color backsplash on the bath vanity. If you don’t want to paint, add a backsplash that compliments the rest of the room.

  • Invest in new tiles, mirrors, decorative touches; change bath rugs, curtains, and towels. As with any other room, swapping out the home decor in a space can instantly change the vibe. 

  • Get rid of the tub—and go for a stand-up shower.  

Modern looking bathroom with walk-in shower land lots of tile and stone

Here’s a modern bathroom for those who love to soak in hot tubs and those who prefer to step into a shower (Plan # 109-1056).


Rearrange and Declutter Your Master Bedroom?

Perhaps easier to remodel than the kitchen or the bathroom is the master bedroom. Nonetheless, this room deserves some careful thought, planning, and of course, creativity. The first thing to ask is: what do you need or want in your ideal bedroom?

This project can often be as simple as rearranging furniture—like moving the bed and vanity to different spots in the room. But if you want added areas like a sitting or reading space, plan out how it would fit into your master suite. You can also eliminate the unwanted pieces that tend to clutter your bedroom and open the space up. However, do remember to leave room for storage space needs.

Master bedroom with vaulted ceiling and curtains that add a pop of color

This simply laid out and designed master bedroom of a 3-bedroom Ranch has floor-to-ceiling windows for lots of sunlight (Plan #109-1192).


Here are some other ideas to consider: 

  • How do you prefer your space: cozy and homey, modern, airy and sunny, or bright and eye-catching? Repaint the walls to fit your style; choose a color that relaxes you and makes the bedroom a haven for you.

  • Good lights, wall prints, or paintings/artwork you love should find a place on the bedroom walls.

  • Choose linens, bedding accessories, shades, or blinds that give the room the desired ambiance and feel.

Master bedroom with stacked-stone fireplace and ceiling fan

This master bedroom in a Country style Farmhouse pulls everything together – from the fireplace to the wooden bureau, prints on the fireplace mantel, and other decorative trimmings. The bedcover design and throw complement the overall color scheme of the room (Plan #126-1289)


Improve Your Curb Appeal & Outdoor Living Spaces

Now that you’ve rearranged or remodeled the interior of your home, it’s time to focus on the outdoor living spaces. Similar to the master bedroom redo, what do you really want out of your patio, porch, or sundeck? Will it be a place to retreat to for more air and cooler temperature during the summer months? Do you plan to use the space as an additional room when entertaining? Or do you just want to sit there, people-watch, and enjoy the sunrise and sunset? 

Patio with four cushioned chairs areound a cirular table

Covered rear patio with large table and six chairs by an outdoor fireplace

The outdoor patio on the left—with the four chairs and table—is enough for the family or individual members who want to relax in the space. (Plan #165-1077). On the right is a patio more conducive to entertaining—with a bigger table and additional sofa (Plan #134-1355).


Whether you have a screened porch, patio, or sundeck, here are a few tips to consider when you’re seriously contemplating updates:

  •  What kind of patio furniture would you love to have? A few chairs and a table will be enough for the family; if you want it for extra entertaining space, you may want to add a few more pieces, like a sectional sofa or ottomans.

  • Think about protection from the elements—and add an awning or an umbrella if your deck or patio is not covered.

Rear patio with brick privacy wall, stone pavers, and stone outdoor fireplace

A 4-bedroom, 2.5-bath Country style house boasts this amazing outdoor patio in the back, complete with flowers and plants and a sitting area near the outdoor fireplace (Plan #153-1781).


Screened-in rear porch with fireplace and comfy outdoor furniture

Partially covered rear deck with conversation area under the roof overhang

Two examples of a seamless connection of indoor and outdoor living spaces are shown here. The screened porch at the top (Plan #163-1055); and sundeck at the bottom (Plan #168-1088) are reached through glass doors from the indoors. Both spaces exude a feeling of warmth and calm due to the furniture pieces and the plant/shrubbery accents.


  • Make the patio, screened porch, or sundeck more attractive by adding flowers, plants, and a touch of landscaping. There’s nothing more enjoyable than an atmosphere attuned to the beauty of nature.  

  • Add lighting that will illuminate your outdoor space and make it easy for you to transition from enjoying your patio during the daytime into the nighttime.


How to Prioritize Home Projects

With so many updates and home facelift ideas running through your mind, it can be hard to understand where to start. Which space have you been thinking about updating for the longest? Where’s the space that you spend the most time in or look for comfort in?

Think about starting with the easier DIY home projects first so you can decide if these types of projects are something you enjoy doing. Start with the room or space that you think will make the biggest difference. Then, of course, consider the budget and work on the projects that fit your current financials. Everyone prioritizes things differently, so determine which changes would most benefit you and your family. 

As you can see, imagination, creativity, patience, and an organized plan can take you a long way with the remodeling process. Even if your home is older, there are certainly ways you can make it feel new again. Whether you’re looking to change out the doorknobs or change the size of a space, check out the latest trends in house design to get some ideas! 


Footnote: The upper right photograph in the lead image of this article is from a 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath Contemporary style home. To view more, click here


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