20 DIY Home Projects Absolutely Anyone Can Do
Don’t let home improvement ideas intimidate you. These DIY home projects are simple enough for anyone to conquer.
Every home can use a little sprucing up. If you’ve been overwhelmed by a list of needed house projects in the past, this is your chance to tackle a few easy DIYs like a pro. Even if you think you’re the least handy person around, these home projects are doable.
Not only can you save money by tackling home projects yourself, you can also learn useful skills along the way. Building these skills may benefit your well-being, and in the process, you may discover new passions and greater confidence. DIY at home can also provide creative ways to express yourself.
1. Wallpaper a Wall
Wallpaper can add color and pattern in an elegant or invigorating way that paint can’t always match. Available in a variety of materials, it can also add texture to your room. Today’s peel-and-stick wallpapers make your DIY décor easier to apply. Just be sure to measure the height and width of each wall and multiply those numbers to calculate the square footage of the wall. You can subtract 10 square feet for every door or large window. If your chosen wallpaper has a pattern, professionals recommend buying an extra roll or package in the same dye lot, depending on the size of the pattern.
Related: How to Clean Wallpaper
2. Make Compost
Composting diverts materials from the waste stream, decreasing trash at landfills, while also improving soil: a win-win. It’s a simple habit to pick up. Just be sure to learn what can be composted—such as fruits, vegetables, coffee grounds, dryer lint, shredded newspaper, grass clippings, and small leaves and twigs—and what can’t. For example, don’t add meat or dairy products to your compost. Ideally, you’ll want three parts brown material to one part green material. Place your compost in a warm, sunny spot, keep it moist, and turn it frequently using a pitchfork or a compost tumbler like this one available at Amazon, selected for “best aeration” in our researched buyer’s guide.
3. Tile a Backsplash
Backsplashes have a practical side in protecting your walls, but they also have a decorative side, with a wealth of colors, sizes, and shapes of tiles from which to choose. Once you’ve selected your tiles, measure the space and mark your starting point. Apply tile mastic to adhere the bottom row to the wall. Insert spacers and keep going. You may need to score and cut tile around electrical outlets. The next day, grout the tile using a rubber float. After the grout has set for an hour, wipe away any excess.
4. Install Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl flooring comes in many iterations: by the roll, in “tiles,” and in plank form. Any version makes a great floor surface, particularly in rooms where high moisture levels occur, such as kitchens and bathrooms.
Vinyl plank is easy to cut, doesn’t require bonding to the subfloor, and snaps together simply for a tight fit. Gather the proper tools, remove baseboards and molding, measure accurately, make sure the floor is level, and begin laying out your planks. For floor ducts and door frames, use a utility knife or saw to cut to fit. Tiles are laid in similar fashion. Rolls of flooring have to be carefully unrolled a few feet at a time, removing the backing as you go in order for it to adhere to the floor.
5. Build a Raised Garden Bed
If you’re looking for things to build with the kids, a raised garden bed may interest you. They make growing vegetables and flowers easier on your back and knees. Choose a spot and plot out the size and footprint of your raised bed; 3 feet wide typically enables gardeners to easily reach across. Most are between 12 and 20 inches tall.
You can buy a kit like this one available on Amazon—a top pick in our researched guide to the best raised garden beds—or use water-resistant material, such as concrete blocks, landscape timber, or rot-resistant exterior wood like cedar. You may need screws to attach the corners. Add good soil: a combination of two parts topsoil to one part compost is best. After planting, you may want to mulch the beds to retain moisture; raised beds will lose moisture faster than in-ground gardens.
6. Paint the Front Door
Add a cheerful welcome to your “projects house” with a painted front door. Ideally, you should remove the door from its hinges before painting. Sand, wash, and dry the surface as part of the prep. Remove hardware—doorknob and hinges—and cover any glass panes.
Apply primer or a paint-and-primer-in-one. It will probably take two coats, so let it dry between applications. Once the final coat is dry, replace the hardware and reattach to your house.
7. Hang Plants From the Ceiling
A fun décor DIY project that can improve your health by adding oxygen to a room involves hanging plants from the ceiling. Choose a location that gets the required amount of light for your plant. Locate a stud or beam to attach a swag bolt to, or use a toggle bolt to secure to drywall.
Be sure the bolt capacity is rated for the hanging wet weight of your plant plus its container. Be aware that plastic anchors support less weight from the ceiling than the wall; they are not a good choice for a hanging plant. Once the swag bolt is secure, hang your plant.
RELATED: 5 Kid-Friendly DIY Projects.
8. Make Over Secondhand Furniture
Old furniture often has great “bones” or nice detail, but the upholstery might be worn or simply dated. Re-upholstering furniture can give it a second life.
It’s pretty easy to recover a basic chair seat. Measure the cushion to determine the amount of fabric needed; be sure to allow a few inches all around to fold over the bottom of the seat. Remove the seat from the chair. If you need to make any repairs or want to add new padding or refinish the chair, now’s the time to do it.
Cut the fabric to fit. Fold it over the seat and use a staple gun to attach it to the seat’s underside. Stretch it taut and do all sides. Angle the fabric around the corners before stapling. Then reattach to the chair and you have a fresh look.
9. Replace a Faucet
Whether your current faucet has sprung a leak or you’d simply like to update the look to match your décor, you may be able to replace it yourself. If your new faucet has the same hole configuration, this will be a snap. However, even if you want to switch from a three-hole faucet to a one-hole faucet, you can do it by adding an escutcheon plate that covers two of the holes.
Begin by shutting off the water (usually via a valve under the sink). Loosen the nuts on the faucet and lift it out. Then place the new faucet and escutcheon plate if necessary, attach the nuts, and connect the appropriate water lines. If you’re using an escutcheon plate, you may need to caulk it.
10. Build a Shelf
Adding a shelf is a quick and easy project that adds function and form in the way of decorative storage. Determine where you want to hang a shelf and what size the shelf should be.
It’s best if you can attach the supports to a wall stud, but drywall anchors may work if there’s not too much weight placed on the shelf. For longer shelves or heavier loads, you may want to consider adding brackets for extra support.
Measure the height you want and the distance you need between brackets. Drill pilot holes for the screws before screwing the brackets into place. Some shelves simply rest on the brackets; others are attached by screws. Test the strength before placing any breakables on the shelf.
11. Grow Your Own Food
Growing fruits and vegetables provides fresh food at your fingertips. It’s a great learning experience for children and often results in tastier produce than you can buy at the store.
Decide how big you want your garden to be, based on what you intend to plant. Choose a spot that gets 8 hours of sunlight a day and remove any sod or other plant material. Prepare the soil by tilling or digging. You may want to add compost or other soil amendments to improve the growing media.
Plant seeds, bedding plants, or a combination thereof, following the planting instructions on the package. Add fertilizer like this highly rated organic option available at Amazon—a favorite in our researched guide to the best fertilizer for peppers and veggies. Water. You may need to provide protection from wildlife or harmful insects, or structure for climbing plants and tomatoes. Periodically, you will probably have to pull weeds and irrigate.
12. Frame a Mirror
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the most creative one of all? You can have a luxe mirror for less by making your own frame. Measure the piece of unframed mirror, and purchase an appropriate amount of framing material in a width and style of your choosing. Remember to factor in the mitered corners when determining the lengths you’ll need for each side of the mirror. You’ll need to cut a dado in each piece—a slot for the mirror to slide into. This is most easily done using a table saw, but a router will suffice.
Next, you’ll need to use a miter box to make 45-degree cuts for the corners of the frame. After sanding the wood, insert the mirror and use silicone glue to set the joints. Apply compression with a band clamp while the glue dries. Using a nail gun to insert a nail into each corner is optional. Apply caulk to conceal the joints and wood putty to hide the nails. Affix hanging hardware. Paint or stain it and hang.
13. Seal Drafty Windows and Doors
Reduce your heating and air conditioning bills by sealing drafty windows and doors. Latex caulk is often used for this application because it expands more than silicone caulk. Load the tube into a caulking gun like this highly rated option available at Amazon, selected “best overall” in our researched buyer’s guide.
After you have removed the old caulk and cleaned the area with vinegar or liquid caulk remover, let it dry. You may want to tape off the area to avoid getting unwanted caulk on the walls. Once you’re ready, use scissors or a utility knife to cut the tip of the caulk tube at a 45-degree angle. Use the trigger on the caulk gun to apply a thin line of caulk. Run your gloved finger over the line to smooth it. Let dry for 24 hours.
Related: How to Use a Caulk Gun Like a Pro
14. Paint Kitchen Cabinets
Add some color to your kitchen by painting the cabinets—or lighten up the room by painting them white. Whatever color you choose, select a semi-gloss or gloss paint because it is easier to clean and stands up to wear and tear better than a matte paint.
Remove the doors, drawers, and hardware. Apply two coats of primer. Sand the surface lightly. Apply the paint, going with the grain. Don’t forget to paint the backs of the cabinet doors too. When they’re dry, reinstall and enjoy your new kitchen look.
15. Conceal Cords
Technology has provided a lot of convenience, but it comes with a lot of cords. If you’d rather look at anything but a messy tangle of cords, this DIY for the home project will straighten things out in no time.
There are many options. You can adhere clear Command Cord Clips like this set available at Amazon—a favorite in our roundup of the best ways to hide every wire in your home—to the back of your electronics or furniture to corral your cords. Some furniture comes with cord-hiding compartments, or you could build your own secret storage into a TV stand. For wall-mounted TVs, you can run the cords through a cord cover like this SimpleCord Cable Concealer Kit available on Amazon. For ultra-invisibility, paint the cord covers the same color as your walls. Paintable baseboard cord channels like this D-Line Cord Cover available at Amazon—awarded “best for walls” in our researched guide to the best cable management solutions for the home—offer another way to route cords around a room in a protected tunnel that hardly anyone will notice.
16. Add Solar Lights Outdoors
One of the easiest DIY home projects is adding solar lights to your yard or along a sidewalk or driveway. Available in a wide range of sizes, styles, brightness, and even color of light, solar lights require no wiring and don’t add to your electric bill. What they do add is ambiance and an element of safety.
Stand-alone solar path lights are mounted on a spike that easily slides into the ground. Simply place one every 6 to 8 feet, although you can put them closer for a brighter walkway.
17. Carve Out a Home Office
Living through a global pandemic has changed employment status for many of us who now telecommute from home. Whether you’re working full-time from a home office or just need somewhere to pay the bills, you may want to carve out some space for a home office.
Use a nook or a closet if you have to, but if you can commandeer an entire room, consider swapping a hollow core door for a solid door to reduce sound intrusion from the family room. Upholstered furniture, rugs, and quilt wall hangings will also muffle sound from the rest of the house.
You can use a table as a workspace instead of a desk, but be sure to add an ergonomic chair, sufficient lighting, some shelving, and storage. Be mindful of traffic flow so the family doesn’t trip over you.
18. Declutter and Donate
Gain usable space by decluttering your home. Get the whole family involved. First, sort through your stuff to determine what you really use and what you wouldn’t miss. Donate items you no longer need to a school, a homeless center, an animal shelter, your church, or your favorite charity.
Next, store things used infrequently in cabinets and drawers, leaving countertop space free and clear. For the things you feel must be left within easy reach, try some simple DIY projects to organize your must-haves like shoes, mail, cords, keys, and more.
19. Line Drawers
A generation or two ago, housewives lined all their shelves and drawers with adhesive shelf paper. The idea was sound; they protect surfaces from stains and spills, and make clean-up a breeze. But today’s shelf and drawer liners offer choices.
Fabric liners like this colorful option available at Amazon, a top pick featured in our guide to the best shelf liners, are washable for long-term use. Plastic liners work best on open wire shelves, where they prevent items from becoming unevenly balanced. Foam liners provide extra cushion for delicate, breakable items. Vinyl liners are the least expensive and are available in the widest array of colors and patterns, but adhesive-backed liners leave a sticky residue when removed.
20. Create a Container Garden
Another great DIY home project for the whole family is creating a container garden. Pretty up your patio with a bouquet of flowering plants in a decorative container. Create bright color combinations that will attract pollinators for an added bonus.
Select an appropriate outdoor container with a drain hole in the bottom and fill it with potting soil. Let the kids choose a selection of plants. The rule of thumb is to combine a thriller, filler, and spiller—a tall, showy plant, smaller plants to fill in the space, and a trailing plant to spill over the side. Take care that all plants have similar sunlight and water requirements and are suitable for your climate
One kind of container you might want to add to your home are window boxes filled with beautiful flowers.