4 DIY projects perfect for new homeowners

Shannon Lee | Improvement Center Columnist | February 8, 2016

A couple building kitchen cabinetsYou love every part of your new home…well, almost. There are some things that you could do without, or some areas that just need a bit of sprucing up. And if you had the cash on hand, you would do it, but you just bought the place, so money's tight. Regardless, that old floor is already driving you a little bonkers, and that bathroom faucet drip is even worse, and don't even start on the kitchen cabinets…

Sound familiar?

A few weeks after that first rush of new-house-love, reality starts to settle in. And that reality often includes the little things that you would love to change. The good news is that temporary fixes for the most common eyesores are easy DIY projects that are perfect for new homeowners. Here are a few that just might make you fall in love all over again.

Make kitchen cabinets handsome again

Do you love your kitchen but those cabinets just have to go? It can be tempting to start ripping them out, but doing that leads to a serious overhaul of the kitchen, and that's only a good idea if you have a budget that can handle it. While you wait to build up the cash, consider refacing the kitchen cabinets.

Assuming the boxes are sturdy and in great condition, you can transform the look of your kitchen cabinets by replacing or sprucing up the doors and drawers fronts, as well as investing in new hardware. You can strip off the old finish and start over with a new one, turn to paint for covering up serious flaws, or even replace the fronts completely with something that matches the color and material of the old boxes.

Got a really tight budget? Focus on a very thorough cleaning of all the cabinets, then spend a bit of money to replace the drawer and cabinet pulls. Choose something unique and personal to make the kitchen feel more like yours.

Find cheap flooring remodel options

Floors put up with a healthy dose of abuse every day, and over a few years they begin to look worn and tired. Maybe you want to make things look new again. Or perhaps you just loathe the flooring that was in the home when you bought it. Either way, you might not have the budget to rip out the old flooring and replace it with something new. Fortunately, peel-and-stick tiles are an attractive and cheap alternative.

But remember, you do get what you pay for. So when it comes to tiles, go with thicker products, as well as those that have heavy-duty adhesive. Make sure the floor is completely clean, flat and smooth, and dry as a bone. Carefully lay the tiles so that they touch firmly; this is especially important in kitchens or bathrooms, where water might splash onto the tiles. Buy several more tiles than you actually need, as making a mistake along the way is inevitable!

Get your shine on with new faucets

Faucets are one of the first things to show their age. Whether in the bathroom or kitchen, faucets tend to get dingy, lose their luster, develop loose handles, and otherwise find ways to annoy you. The good news is that faucets are relatively inexpensive, and besides that, they make for an excellent DIY project that can be easily completed in the span of an afternoon.

A new faucet doesn't have to be fancy. It just needs to match the kitchen or bathroom, have an elegant profile, and work well. Finding something that meets those requirements is as simple as a trip to the local home improvement store, where you can find something nice for under $100. Installation is usually quite simple as well, as long as you remember to purchase a faucet that will fit into the holes that were drilled for the original piece.

Make a better grand entrance

If you have a bit of money to put toward one great DIY project, make a statement with your efforts. Sprucing up the entryway, and possibly even springing for a brand-new front door, does more than enhance curb appeal -- it also provides better security and peace of mind. Entry door replacement has long ranked in Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value report as a great return on investment, which means it's the DIY that keeps on giving.

Keep in mind, however, that this is one DIY project not for the faint of heart. You should have some minor construction experience under your belt before tackling it, and you should always have at least one extra set of hands to help you get it done. Not ready to jump into this one just yet? Spruce things up quickly with a nice coat of paint that makes your door really pop.

When it comes to creating the perfect home, the little things really do count. A few weekends of DIY and you just might start to feel entirely at home in your new abode.

About the Author

Shannon Lee is a freelance writer and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.