7 Weekend Home Projects

So many projects, so little time. That tends to be the mantra for homeowners with an ever-growing to-do list and limited availability to accomplish their tasks. Fortunately, the weekend is an opportunity to dig into certain projects and see them to their completion by the time the weekdays come around again. These seven weekend home projects can be accomplished within a couple of days and will make a dent in your to-do list.

 

1. Upgrade Your Kitchen Cabinets

Giving your kitchen cabinets a facelift is a simple way to give your kitchen a makeover. When staining wood cabinets, begin by removing the cabinet doors and hardware, then wipe the doors to clear away and dust and dirt. After applying and removing wood stripper, sand the doors to get them primed and ready for a new stain. When painting cabinets, choose a color that works well with your appliances. As you pack up the contents of the cabinets keep your most frequently used items nearby so you can access them during your  project. To add a finishing touch to your weekend cabinet makeover, shop around for new hardware and drawer inserts.

Image Source: Getty Images

2. Refresh Your Front Entry

Your home’s front entry is the key to making a lasting first impression and helps to enhance your curb appeal. Make a statement by giving your front door a fresh coat of boldly colored paint, look for stylish house numbers, and add classic front entry elements like a sitting bench or swing for ultimate comfort.

 

3. Improve Your Home Office

Whether you work remotely or in person, much can be done in a weekend to improve the functionality of your home office. Creating an environment conducive to your productivity helps to separate your office from the rest of your home, maintaining a balance between your work life and your home life. Situate your desk near a window to attract natural light. If the room has no windows, orient your seating so you’re facing the open space of the room. Experiment with therapy lights, ergonomic chairs, and soothing décor to make your office as comfortable as can be.

 

4. Curate Your Bathroom

In one weekend your bathroom can be transformed into a sanctuary of self-care. Refinishing your tub is a cost-effective alternative to a replacement. Start by removing any and all hardware, then sand the whole surface, filling in any cracks or holes with putty. Once you’ve sanded down the putty, apply multiple layers of primer and topcoat following the manufacturer’s instructions and buff the surface. Replace your vanity’s cabinet hardware and drawer pulls, matching them with your shower rod, faucet and shower head to tie the room together. Switch out your shower curtain and carpets for bold colors to liven up the space or choose neutral tones to create an organic feel.

 

A bathroom with a dark blue vanity, white walls, and white tile.

Image Source: Getty Images

5. Organize Room-By-Room

Spending a weekend organizing each room of the house is sure to make a big difference in the look and feel of your home. Bookcases and coffee tables are magnets for clutter in the living room. Start by emptying everything and sort the items into three piles: keep, dispose, donate, (this method of organization will do wonders for your closets and bedroom as well), and invest in storage bins to keep the space tidy. In the bathroom, organize the medicine cabinet and vanity drawers first. Get rid of expired medication, makeup, and toiletries. Take the same approach to your shower. Once you’ve gone through everything, reassess your shower shelving to fit your newly organized inventory. After working your way through your kitchen cabinets, consider either a hanging or wall-mounted pot and pan rack to save space.

 

6. Fix Up Your Fence

Whether your fence needs a simple wash, a new sealant or stain, or repair, tending to it will freshen up your yard while also extending the life of your fence. Power washers are a helpful tool in getting your fence clean before re-staining, but a sprayer that’s too powerful could damage the wood. Let the fence dry for one to two days before applying the stain. As long as any damage that needs repair is contained to a section of the fence, a weekend should be plenty of time to get it fixed. To replace any damaged rails, pry them off their posts with a crowbar or cut the damaged section out with a handsaw. When repairing fence posts, be sure to remove any rails that are connected to it.

 

7. Build a Firepit

Common firepit materials include brick, stone, or cinder blocks. Outline your firepit before you start digging. Once the hole is dug six to eight inches deep, fill in the hole with gravel until it is level with the ground. Choose your materials, fix the stones into the ground, compact them together, and enjoy your time by the fire. Check for local burn bans or regulations.

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7 Ideas for Creating a Beautiful Yard

Spring is in the air and homeowners everywhere are preparing for a season of tending to their yards. Whether you’re looking to tackle a complete makeover, boost your home’s curb appeal, or simply make a few DIY upgrades, these ideas will help you make the most of your home’s landscaping.

 

1. Remodel Your Patio

The best patios are durable and long-lasting. If your patio requires repair, a remodel can play a significant role in creating the beautiful backyard you envision. Think about how your patio will be used before choosing materials. For example, if you plan on using it as a dining area, an uneven material like cobblestone may not be the best choice. Design your new patio pattern, including gaps between pavers for loose materials, before getting started.

 

2. Upgrade Your Deck

Decks can often be the focal point of a backyard. A few upgrades can easily transform the look and feel of the space. If you are building a new deck, take your local climate into account when deciding on materials. To upgrade your existing deck, create a seating area using chairs or a bench and decorate the area with plants to make it feel more welcoming. Pergolas and patio umbrellas will help to keep the area shady and cool while adding some color to the space. If you are rebuilding, consider building in seating during construction.

 

3. Start a Vegetable Garden

Gardens don’t just pop up in your backyard overnight, they take time to grow. Start by building your garden beds, aligning them north to south for maximum sunlight. Choose an area of your backyard where your veggies will have direct access to sunlight, without being blocked by shade from trees and shrubs. Research your local climate to determine which vegetables you should grow and what kind of yield you can expect. To protect your garden from weeds, insert a barrier in the bottom of the beds.

 

4. Edge Your Walkways

Nothing catches the eye in the garden like clean, crisp edging. Edging comes in a variety of materials, from plastic to more durable options like aluminum or steel. Before you install the edging, use a lawn edger or spade to make the cuts and shape the pattern. Tap the edging it into the ground with a mallet to solidify it into the ground and to protect it from animals.

 

5. Add Landscape Lighting

A beautiful backyard deserves to be enjoyed around the clock. Landscaping lighting can extend those days spent in the yard well into the nighttime. There is an array of landscaping lighting options to choose from, including spotlights, floodlights, in-ground lighting, outdoor post lights, and more. Choose the one that best highlights the features of your yard.

 

6. Install a Fire Pit

Fire pits help to tie a backyard together. The style of your fire pit should match other features in your backyard to bring cohesiveness to the space. Traditional fire pits are usually accompanied by circular seating, while more modern options like fire troughs provide a centerpiece to take in surrounding views. Wood fire pits provide a classic, crackling environment, gas pits burn cleaner than wood and come with an on-off switch, while gel-powered fire pits create a smaller frame and are typically used for accent lighting.

 

7. Add Garden Containers

Garden containers of all shapes and sizes can be very useful in the yard, especially for homeowners with limited garden space. By adding pots, wooden boxes, or bowls to your yard, you’ll provide a flexible home for a variety of plant life. Just make sure each container has proper drainage holes. If not, you’ll need to make the holes yourself, or you can opt for self-watering pots.

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Simple Bathroom Upgrades

The thought of upgrading a bathroom often brings to mind large-scale renovations, demolition, and hefty price tags. Even projects like replacing a backsplash or repairing tile can be more involved than you might think. However, it’s possible to give your bathroom a makeover without breaking the bank (or your back). Whether you’re looking to just freshen it up or make it feel like your own personal spa, these simple projects can help take your bathroom to the next level.

 

Upgrade your Décor

If you want to make a big splash without spending big money, consider upgrading your bathroom with new décor. A fresh coat of paint on the walls or a bold, patterned wallpaper can completely change the character of the space, while accent pieces like a new shower curtain and towel racks can reinforce your color choices. Installing shelving is a simple, functional tactic that gives dimension to your walls. Whether it’s in the shower, above your toilet, or beside your vanity, a shelf can save surface space while helping to tie the room together.

 

Upgrade your Tub

Upgrading your tub doesn’t have to mean buying a replacement. Simply refinishing your tub will have it looking brand new and helps you save money. Over time, tubs accumulate cracks, dings, and discoloration due to mold, but refinishing can cure these imperfections right away. Start by removing all hardware from the tub. Sand the whole surface, fill in any cracks or holes with putty or epoxy, then sand them smooth. Apply multiple layers of primer and topcoat, give it a buff, and enjoy your brand-new bathtub.

If refinishing your tub is too much to handle, consider simply touching it up. Fill in any cracks and apply a fresh line of caulking around the surface. After this is done, shop around for new tub hardware to polish off your cost-effective bathtub makeover.

 

Upgrade Your Vanity

With just a few tweaks, you can turn your vanity area from a mirror with counter space to an impactful centerpiece. Instead of going all out with a new cabinet install, simply replacing your cabinet hardware and drawer pulls can make a big difference. Think of ways your new hardware can reinforce the style of your bathroom. Match them with your shower rod, faucet, and showerhead to make your bathroom more eye-catching.

Your vanity also offers a great opportunity to add some color to your bathroom. Giving it a fresh coat of paint will help to liven up the space at a low cost. For wooden vanities, a re-stain is a great way to give them new life. Start by removing the doors and drawers. Apply wood stripping to all surfaces, then let them sit for the recommended time. Now you can begin to scrape away the old finish. Sand down all surfaces and apply the primer before staining the wood. Once your stain settles in, apply a second coat and your vanity will be good as new.

 

Finishing Touches

Well-organized surfaces and compartments will help to create serenity in your bathroom. Whether it’s in the shower, the medicine cabinet, or below the vanity, look for multipurpose organizers that help cut down on bathroom clutter and save space. Add in natural elements like bamboo and river rocks to make your bathroom feel like a soothing sanctuary.

 

For more ideas on affordable home makeovers, check out our tips for upgrading your bedroom, home office, and kitchen.

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DIY Remodeling vs Professional Remodeling

Deciding whether to DIY a remodeling project or leave it to a professional is a matter of weighing the risks and rewards, time, and budget. Before you start applying a new coat of paint or go about knocking down a wall, create a plan for your remodel to help you decide which projects you can handle, and which ones belong in the hands of a pro.

 

Create Your Remodeling Plan

Knowing your plans for your remodel will help to determine your timeline and budget, which will inform your DIY-vs-Pro decision making. Set specific goals for each project so you’ll know when you’re getting off track but remain flexible in your planning to leave room for any unexpected hurdles that will inevitably pop up in the remodeling process. Your budget will also help you decide who should execute certain projects. For example, if you’re budgeting more for a kitchen remodel than any other project, that is a likely candidate for professional help.

 

If you’re having trouble deciding the best route to take with your remodeling projects, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What risks am I comfortable taking on?
  • How much time am I willing to dedicate to this project?
  • Does this project require a permit?
  • Do I have any experience with this kind of remodel?
  • Am I comfortable giving up control of this project?

 

DIY Remodeling Pros and Cons

Pros: Taking a DIY approach to remodeling projects pays dividends in many ways. Without having to pay labor costs, you stand to save significant money by tackling a project on your own. Going DIY also allows you to set your own schedule for the project. And of course, the sense of ownership and pride you will feel knowing you completed the project on your own is a priceless feeling for a homeowner.

Cons: DIY projects can be consequential. Mistakes at any point in the renovation process can lead to greater costs and sometimes, hiring a professional to fix the mistake. Unfortunately, this can result in the loss of significant time and money.

 

Professional Remodeling Pros and Cons

Pros: Professionals are inherently more experienced, bringing their specialization to the table on every home renovation project, so you can expect them to perform high-quality work that will increase the value of your home.

Cons: Getting professional quality work means paying for it. When budgeting, expect higher costs for any project you’re thinking of outsourcing to a pro. Bear in mind that, especially for large-scale renovation projects, your home will become a construction site. Accordingly, you may need a back-up plan, such as a temporary kitchen set-up or a short-term rental home .

 

DIY Remodeling vs Professional Remodeling: Around the House

The following list breaks down which projects are typical DIY candidates and which ones homeowners commonly opt for professional help to complete. However, the decision is ultimately up to you. If you have your heart on tackling a project on your own, gather your tools and make it happen!

Kitchen

  • Professional: Any large-scale structural changes, new gas lines, or new plumbing projects should be handled by a professional.
  • DIY: Simpler kitchen projects like a backsplash or faucet replacement and any cabinet finishing tasks are perfect DIY candidates.

Bathroom

  • Professional: Plumbing installation, running electricity, or any projects involving an expansion or alteration to your bathroom structure.
  • DIY: If your bathroom is simply in need of some new tile work, basic medicine cabinet restoration, or minor flooring improvements, roll up your sleeves and DIY.

Backyard

  • Professional: Consider hiring a professional for any significant outdoor projects like concrete builds, in-ground pools, and technical deck work.
  • DIY: Common backyard DIY projects include building a garden tool shed, building a fence, and refinishing a deck.

General

  • Professional: It is best to hire pros for new roofing, any foundation work, and extensive demolition projects. For asbestos and drywall finishing, it’s easiest, and safest, to go with the pros.
  • DIY: Any interior painting projects, basic electrical work, or simple trim and door upgrades.

If you’re planning on going through a remodel while you live at home, read this first. For more information on how certain renovations may impact the value of your home, talk to your Windermere agent.

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Buying with Remodeling in Mind

Everyone has their own definition of a dream home. For some, they know right when they see a home that it’s perfect as is. For others, it takes remodeling to achieve their vision. Whether you’re looking for something in need of a few upgrades or a total fixer-upper, buying with the intention of remodeling comes with added considerations.

 

Finding the Right Home to Remodel

 

When it comes to choosing the right home to remodel, you’ll want to look for a property that not only aligns with your renovation plans but has significant ROI potential. How much value a home stands to gain depends on a variety of factors, like the cost of the project and your local market conditions. Knowing this information will help paint a picture of a home’s potential ROI. By conducting detailed Comparable Market Analyses (CMAs), your Windermere agent can provide helpful info on how similar homes in the neighborhood have performed on the market. Though these factors don’t provide a concrete valuation, they will help you understand how much your home could be worth. 

 

Choose the Right Remodeling Projects

 

The right remodeling projects are the ones that align with your plans for living in the home. If you’re looking for an investment property, you’ll be targeting renovation projects that appeal to buyers, like a kitchen remodel, attic conversions, garage door replacement, and exterior projects that boost the home’s curb appeal. However, if you’re planning on putting down roots and staying for an extended period of time, you’ll want to focus on projects that maximize your enjoyment of the space. In either case, any structural issues require immediate attention and should be at the top of your list.

 

Know Your Remodeling Budget

 

Your remodeling budget will help you determine the scope of renovations you’re able to afford, and ultimately, which home is right for you. Knowing this information will help your agent identify which homes fall within your range. It will also guide your conversations with your lender when structuring your loan. For more information on home renovation loans, talk to your Windermere agent.

 

Break Down Your Remodeling Costs

 

Although remodel cost estimates aren’t always final, they give you an idea of what you can expect to spend. No renovation comes without hurdles and complications, so leave some wiggle room in your budget for unforeseen costs. This will allow you to expect the unexpected and stay within your budget. A cost breakdown will also help to identify areas where you can save money by doing-it-yourself. Painting projects, landscaping, and small-scale demolition are common DIY projects that can add up to significant savings.

  

Find the Right Contractor

 

For the remodeling projects that require professional expertise, finding the right contractor is another pivotal step in making your dream home a reality. Start by reaching out to your circle of friends and family for referrals. If someone you know and trust had a positive experience with a contractor, that’s a great starting point. Continue your search by gathering information for multiple contractors in your area and request project bids and timelines from each one. This will allow you to compare pricing and make a more informed decision. 

 

Conduct Thorough Inspections Before Remodeling

 

Buying a home with the intention of remodeling means that a home inspection is likely to produce a longer list of items than a newly constructed home. Conducting a thorough home inspection is critical to formulating your plans for remodeling. Additionally, it will help identify which issues need immediate attention, enabling you to negotiate repairs and concessions, so long as the inspection is performed during your inspection contingency period.

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Renovating Your Vacation Home

Owning a vacation home comes with the reward of having your own slice of paradise, but it can also present some unique challenges if you need to make renovations. It’s important to understand how you will use your second home before diving into any renovation projects. This will help keep you organized and on track throughout the renovation process as you transform your space into a true vacation retreat.

 

Take Your Time

 

Before you start in on any renovations, take time to think about how you will use your second home. For example, if you plan on eventually retiring to your vacation home, you can prioritize projects that increase the quality of your time spent there over the years.

 

If your vacation home is intended to be a place for large family gatherings, you’ll want to consider bedroom and bathroom accommodations accordingly. Vacation homes often have greater flexibility when it comes to sleeping arrangements, just be sure to understand the code limitations of your property before proceeding.

 

If you are looking to sell in the future, you will likely prioritize renovations that help increase the home’s resale value. Keep in mind that the some renovation projects in a primary residence may not have the same effect on the value of a vacation home. Your best bet is to talk to your Windermere agent about how different renovation projects may affect the value of your property.

 

Renovating By Season

 

Is your vacation home primarily a summer getaway or a winter retreat? The seasonality of your stay will help to prioritize your projects as well, regardless of your local climate.

 

Winter – Early Spring

  • The early months of the new year are actually a great time to start additions to your home. Winter conditions are typically better for digging foundation and pouring concrete. Winter is also the perfect time to get started on any indoor painting projects you have in mind.

 

Spring – Early Summer

  • Always the busy season for builders and contractors, the spring-to-early-summer months are perfect for outdoor projects like patios and decks, knowing they’ll be completed just in time for summer. Depending on your local climate, you may want to start a deck or patio earlier in the year, giving the wood ample time to stabilize and avoid early damage from too much sun exposure.

 

Summer – Fall

  • A fresh coat of paint gives your home new life. Depending on the paint you’re using, temperatures need to remain above 40-50 degrees while your painting project is taking place. Accordingly, the summer—and depending on where you live, early fall—months are a safe bet for making your exterior paint project a success.

 

Fall – Winter

  • If you’re looking to get new appliances in your vacation home, look to the fall and early winter months for holiday deals. If your vacation home is the rendezvous for family holiday gatherings, you’ll want to make sure any large-scale renovations are finished before the holidays come around.

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