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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Renovating Your Short-Term Rental

Renovating your short-term rental property will not only keep it in peak condition but will also help it stand out to potential renters. Completing remodeling projects with the goal of increasing the return on your investment is a matter of identifying which renovations make sense for the home, putting together a plan, and taking steps to minimize the risk of the projects going over budget.

 

Start with Repairs

Because rental properties are by nature a source of income, it’s worth your while as the homeowner to reduce maintenance costs wherever possible. This can often mean spending money in the short term on repairs and replacements in order to save money down the road. Furthermore, by upgrading your appliances, fixing leaks, and updating any outdated features, you will provide the most accommodating environment for your renters. Making these improvements can also help set your rental apart from other properties, giving you a competitive advantage in the market. As you go about making repairs, don’t forget to check the working condition of all faucets, electrical outlets, and lights.

 

Renovating Your Rental

Understanding the scope of your renovations and the motivation behind them before you get started will help formulate your plan moving forward. Are you looking to upgrade the home to sell it in the future? Are you renovating to increase rent? Or are you simply looking to be more competitive in the local rental market? Knowing the answers to these questions won’t necessarily change your renovation plans, but it will provide guidance as you enter the remodeling phase. Consider talking to your Windermere agent about how different projects may affect the value of the property.

Even a small-scale renovation can make a big difference in the minds of renters. To create the best first impression from the get-go, consider boosting your home’s curb appeal. Projects like exterior painting, refinishing a deck, and power washing your siding and walkways will help provide an inviting outdoor setting for your renters.

When it comes to interior renovations, kitchens are a great place to start. Thankfully, kitchen makeovers can be simple. Identify the areas of your kitchen that need repair first, then expand your project list from there. Next, consider upgrading the bathroom. Begin by checking your pipes, drains, and p-traps for any signs of wear and tear. Simple things like painting the vanity and updating the bathroom hardware can also make a big impact.

Last but not least, if you decide to hire a professional to renovate your rental property, be sure to gather multiple bids and compare prices before making your final decision.

Learn more about the pros and cons of investing in vacation rentals here: Vacation Home or Income-Producing Investment. You can also read about vacation home renovations by season here: Renovating Your Vacation Home.

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Ideas for Decorating with Plants

At the mention of interior design, the first things that often come to mind are furniture, wall art, paint colors, and other material components. However, plants are an important décor element that have the power to refresh the look and feel of any indoor space, while making your home eco-friendlier. Keep the following tips in mind when decorating your home with plants.

 

Consider Your Space

Before you make a trip to the nursery, think about which spaces in your home are best suited for plants. It’s also important to research the needs of the plant varieties you’re considering. By knowing how much shade and direct sunlight they need, you’ll be able to identify the best home for each plant type and the care they need to grow.

 

Go Vertical

Empty vertical wall spaces provide the perfect opportunity to incorporate hanging plants. Whether you use planters or install shelving, hanging plants attract the eye and bring an organic, living element to what was previously a blank canvas. Hanging herb gardens are a wonderful addition to the kitchen, allowing you to keep fresh ingredients and flavors out in the open air and within reach at all times.

 

Floor Plants

Floor plants are typically large and require plenty of space. Due to their size, they are often used to balance the proportion of rooms containing large furniture items like couches, desks, and tables. Common floor plants include the fishtail palm, olive trees, the rubber plant, fiddle leaf fig, and bird of paradise.

 

Low Maintenance Plants

For those who don’t consider themselves to be green thumbs, cacti and succulents are the way to go. Most succulents come from hot climates with little humidity and have thick tissue that stores water for long periods. Accordingly, they are lower maintenance than most other plants and require little watering.

 

Decorate with Terrariums

Another creative, relatively low-maintenance option for indoor gardeners is a terrarium. Terrariums are contained indoor gardens, usually in a glass container that can be left either sealed or open. Closed terrariums are self-nourishing, creating their own water cycle. Plants that grow in humid conditions are best suited for this environment. Open terrariums provide a good home for plants that need less water, like cacti and succulents. Terrariums make for eye-catching décor, with styles ranging from minimalistic to intricate.

 

For more information on home design and the latest trends, check out our tips on how to upgrade your bedroom, home office, and kitchen, as well as the 2021 paint color trends and principles of timeless home design.

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Upgrading Your Work From Home Space

We don’t need to tell you that COVID-19 drastically changed the way we live and work. An estimated 58% of Americans are now working remotely, and it has had an impact on how we use the space in our homes. Home offices, once a luxury, are now in high demand as working from home became the new normal over the past year. That being said, is your home office operating at its highest potential? Let’s look at some ways to upgrade your home office and turn it into the workspace of your dreams.

The New Normal

It’s been almost a year since millions of employees started working remotely, so we are all familiar with the concept of a home office and working from home. While some have space to spare, not everyone has a dedicated room in their home or apartment to turn into an office. Whether you have a setup that would make Google HQ jealous or you’re currently borrowing your teenager’s closet to conduct Zoom meetings, it is important to prioritize the functionality of your space. Take advantage of every inch you have to give yourself a comfortable working environment.

With functionality top of mind, here are some crucial things to consider when revamping or creating your home office.

Create a Dedicated Space

It can be difficult living and working within the same couple hundred square feet. For the sake of maintaining some semblance of work-life balance, create a space dedicated to work and only work. Set all of your work equipment in a singular area and keep it there. Use dividers, doors, or your desk to mark off the area you’ve made.

Those who have been working from home for years have said that creating a designated workspace is one of the best things you can do for your mental health and overall wellbeing. A separation of work and home communicates to your brain that one area of your home is a place to work, and the other is a place to live – which can reduce work-related anxiety.

Make Your Windows Count

Setting up your desk under or near a window can do wonders for your creativity and productivity. If you can avoid it, don’t position your desk toward a wall. If you don’t have windows available, be sure to turn your desk outward, toward your room. This position will give your eyes the ability to bounce around the room instead of staring at a blank wall, which can be just as draining as it is boring.

Even if your desk is set up near a window, remember to head outside every so often. It’s all too easy to sit at your computer for hours at a time without standing up and enjoying some sunshine. Give yourself set breaks to soak in some vitamin D, whether you take your lunch outside or simply sneak some fresh air between meetings.

Some WFH Must-Haves

Enough of the basics. Here are some must-haves that will brighten your office space and make you excited to “go to work”.

  • A therapy light can have a positive impact on your mood and energy by simulating natural light. Set one up on your desk to increase alertness and improve your sleep.
  • Save your back with an ergonomic chair made for longer periods of sitting. This will help reduce back pain and improve your posture.
  • Standing desks are another back-saver that will save you from sitting for eight hours a day. Seen to increase activity and overall health, standing desks can change how you work for the better.
  • A full-size keyboard provides all the keys necessary to get the job done, including a number pad and function keys. Tenkeyless keyboards (keyboards without a number pad) are gaining popularity, but full-size keyboards remain on top due to their ease of use and practicality.
  • Mini humidifiers are an effective way to combat dry air, giving you happy lungs, sinuses, and skin. Put one on your desk to increase the humidity in your space.
  • Working on screens all day exposes you to blue light, which can negatively impact your sleep and overall mood. Get a pair of blue light glasses to combat these rays.

 

With  many of us still working from home for the foreseeable future, it’s more important than ever that your workspace serves your unique needs. Make your area work for you to improve your productivity and personal wellbeing. At the end of the day, we’re all human, and we work best when we’re feeling our best.

 

Disclaimer: This is a guest post written by the real estate experts at The CE Shop. The CE Shop is the leading provider of online real estate education with convenient courses available in all 50 states and D.C. To find out more about The CE Shop and the resources they provide, visit www.TheCEShop.com.

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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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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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