DIY Repair & Maintenance

Getting Ready for Houseguests: Fix the DIYs You’ve Been Meaning to Get to All Year for About $50

Transform your home before your guests arrive with these simple fixes.
Savannah Sher Avatar
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Preparing for houseguests goes beyond just tidying up—it’s a perfect opportunity to tackle those small DIY projects that have been sitting on your to-do list for months. Look around your home and try to see it through your guests’ eyes. While the list of minor repairs and home upgrades may be long, most of them can be tackled with a budget of $50 or less, and some may even be doable with supplies you already have on hand. This guide offers practical and affordable solutions for small but impactful fixes to make your space more inviting and polished.

1. Complete Unfinished Projects

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Every home has them: projects started with enthusiasm that are now left incomplete. Prepping for guests is the perfect time to revisit these tasks. Whether it’s a piece of furniture you began sanding but never got around to painting or shelves waiting to be mounted on the wall, finishing these tasks can significantly elevate the look of your space. Completing these projects not only clears your conscience and to-do list but also adds a finishing touch to your home, making it more welcoming for your guests.

2. Touch-Up Paint Jobs

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Your walls and baseboards experience day-to-day wear and tear over time, leading to scuffs and chipping that can make your home look a bit unkempt. A small can of touch-up paint is a minor investment that allows you to refresh your trim, wall corners, and baseboards and spruce up your living space. This is particularly important in high-traffic areas that are likely to see the most damage but are also highly visible.

3. Refresh Wood Furniture

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Chipped and scratched furniture can contribute to an overall air of disrepair in your home, but luckily these small imperfections are easy to fix. Depending on the issue that needs to be repaired, you’ll likely need some wood filler like this Minwax Stainable Wood Filler at Amazon, sandpaper, and a matching paint or stain. These fixes not only improve the furniture’s appearance but also extend its lifespan.

4. Patch and Paint

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Replacing things like light fixtures or thermostats can leave behind unsightly patches if the new fixture isn’t the same size as the old one. Start by using some spackle like this DAP Drydex Spackling and Nail Hole Filler to patch the area if needed, then, once it has dried, sand it down to create a smooth canvas. Finish by painting over the affected area in a color that matches the wall.

5. Get Rid of Leather Scratches

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Leather furniture adds a luxurious touch to any home, but leather can easily become scratched or even torn, especially if your house is home to kids or pets. Scratched leather creates a look that’s shabby but not chic. A leather repair kit (like Fortivo Leather Repair Kit at Amazon, which is a favorite in our researched guide to the best leather repair kits) is an inexpensive solution that can restore the elegance of your leather pieces while simultaneously protecting them from further damage to ensure the piece looks great for years to come.

6. Tighten Door Knobs

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Loose door knobs may seem like a minor annoyance, but they can speak volumes about the overall maintenance of a home. Taking the time to tighten and secure all of your home’s interior door knobs is a small task that makes your home more functional. This easy fix ensures that every door operates smoothly and feels more secure, contributing to the overall sense of care in your home.

7. Refresh Switch Plates

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Over time, light switch and electrical outlet plates can become discolored, taking on a yellow hue that is particularly jarring against white walls. Consider either replacing them with new, white switch plates for a fresh and clean look or painting over them in a color that matches your wall. While this may seem like a subtle change, it can make a major impact and eliminate visual distractions.

8. Replace Light Bulbs

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Lighting has a major impact on a home’s ambiance, and burnt out or flickering light bulbs can contribute negatively to this effect. Make the investment in replacing old bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs, which will help to lower your electric bill. These Philips LED Basic Frosted Light Bulbs were our top pick in our guide for the best LED bulbs. They last for approximately 10,950 hours, so they shouldn’t need to be replaced again any time soon.

9. Fix the Running Toilet

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A constantly running toilet is not only annoying but also wastes water, leading to higher utility bills. Fixing a running toilet usually involves making minor adjustments to existing parts or replacing internal components like the flapper, fill valve, or chain, which can be done with basic tools and minimal expense. This repair not only improves the functionality and efficiency of your bathroom, but also shows your guests that you care about every detail of your home.

10. Restain Bathroom Cabinets

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Water and grease can leave unsightly wear on bathroom cabinets, making them look old and shabby. While you may be tempted to replace them altogether, they can look brand new if you restrain them in a few simple steps. A good cleaning or degreasing followed by a fresh coat of stain or paint can revitalize your cabinets and breathe new life into your bathroom.

11. Replace Weatherstripping

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Worn or torn weatherstripping around doors is more than just an eyesore—it can result in drafts, and increased energy costs, not to mention unwanted critters can more easily make their way into your home. Keep your guests warm and comfortable by replacing it to seal out drafts and maintain a consistent indoor temperature.

12. Recaulk the Bathroom

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Take a look at your guest bathroom and check for any crumbling or moldy caulking around your tub, sink, or shower. This not only looks unsightly but can also be a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Check out our guide to the best caulk and paired with a good caulking gun, you can easily seal these areas to prevent water damage and give your bathroom a clean, finished look.

13. Replace Vinyl Floor Planks

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Vinyl flooring has become a popular alternative to genuine wood flooring because it’s durable and affordable. Even with careful maintenance, however, the planks can become scratched or torn over time. Replacing these damaged or worn planks can dramatically improve the appearance of your floors. If you have spare planks left over from the original installation, this fix will be straightforward and cost-effective.

14. Add Ceiling Fan Pull Extenders

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Does your guest bedroom have a ceiling fan? The standard pulls that come with most ceiling fans can be hard to reach for some users, making a ceiling fan pull extender a minor upgrade that can make a major difference in terms of accessibility. This quick and inexpensive addition will allow guests to more easily control the light and fan, making it a thoughtful fix.

15. Update Guest Bathroom Fixtures

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Replacing outdated fixtures like faucets in the guest bathroom is a simple way to modernize the space. A new faucet not only improves functionality but also contributes to the bathroom’s overall style. This update can be surprisingly affordable and is typically a simple swap that can be done with basic plumbing tools.