DIY

5 simple home improvement projects

Each of these simple home improvement projects will take 60 minutes or less to complete and can add extra value to your home
5 simple home improvement projects to do in an hour

It may be hard to imagine that any home improvement project that takes less than an hour could even be noticeable, let alone significant, but it is possible. That’s good news for homeowners who want to add a bit of pizzazz to their current abode—and maybe even increase the home’s value with these simple home improvement projects.

The good news is that you don’t need to spend a lot of time or money on home improvements to make a big impact. Sometimes, starting small is best. It gives you the confidence to move onto bigger and more unusual remodelling ideas, and even small spends can turn into big value. A little change here and a little tweak may be all that’s needed to update a particular space and improve the appeal of your house.

To help, here are five home improvement projects that take less than an hour but will create a noticeable difference. Try any of these five amazingly simple home improvement projects, to boost your DIY confidence, add style and appeal to your home without killing the bank account.

No. 1:
Let your inner Picasso out

5 simple home improvement projects you can do in less than an hour
Paint a feature wall in 60 minutes or less

Get out your brush and beret, pick a wall and start painting.

Painting is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to update and refresh your home. While most people are taught to paint entire rooms a neutral colour, this advice only applies when you’re just about to put your home on the market. If you don’t intend to list your home anytime soon—or you really think a feature wall will sell a room, and your house—than it’s time to think bold and dramatic. All you need to do is pick a room, select a bold, contrasting colour and paint the wall.

By painting only one wall in one room, you’ll spend less money and you can finish the project in 60 minutes or less!

For those unsure about what colour to pick, remember that colours and hues can impact your mood. Try and match the room to the mood you want to set. To help, here’s a colour cheat sheet:

Red. This intense colour is perfect for the great room, family room or foyer. It can be stimulating, add a bit of drama or elicit some excitement. Better still, the colour red tends to draw people together, creates a great first impression and promotes chatter and engagement. With all this in mind, the colour red may be a bit too intense for a bedroom, where you typically want to encourage rest and relaxation.

Pink. Choose a deep shade of pink to infuse a fun, lively and positive feel to a room. IT’s one reason why this colour has been a popular choice for bedrooms and bathrooms!

Yellow. This colour is energizing and uplifting and is reminiscent of a bright, sunny day. It’s perfect for kitchens, dining rooms and bathrooms. As an accent wall colour, it’s perfect, particularly given that too much yellow in a room can arouse feelings of anger and frustration.

Orange. Perfect for an exercise or playroom this colour is one of the energetic in the spectrum. It instils excitement and increases energy levels and is a perfect as a feature wall in a room used to get up and shake out the wiggles.

Blue. Considered the most calming and relaxing of the colours, blue is often recommended for bedrooms, dens and bathrooms. For a twist, consider painting your ceiling a pale shade of blue instead of a feature wall or a white ceiling. This twist can add a dramatic change to your bedroom as well as an extra level of serenity for a peaceful slumber.

Green. This is an all-purpose room colour. It combines the best qualities of blue and yellow and encourages restful and comfortable emotions. Use it in the kitchen, living room or family room to promote bonding and a sense of togetherness. Add it to a wall in your bedroom as a stress relief, and surprisingly, as a fertility aid.

Purple. This colour oozes sophistication and adds a bit of luxury to any room. No wonder royalty across the globe has leaned on this colour as a staple shade. A purple feature wall gives a room depth and a sense of drama. Use darker purples in a formal dining room to create a rich, plush feeling, while lighter shades, like lilac and lavender, have a restful quality that works well in a bedroom or bathroom.

Budget estimate: $1.50 to $3.00 per square foot.
Plan to spend between $150 to $300 to prime, sand, prep and paint a 10-foot by 10-foot wall.

No. 2:
Add bling to your bathroom or kitchen

simple home improvement projects
Add a new faucet to update your kitchen or bathroom

Wouldn’t it be great to get rid of that old, leaky faucet? The advantage of swapping out a leaky faucet is you save money (no more extra water charges), you add to your own enjoyment of the room and it may even add appeal and value to your home.

Whether you want to replace the kitchen faucet or the tap in the bathroom, there are tonnes of options to choose from, and many are quick and easy to install by yourself.

One tip is to match the faucet finish to your cabinets and cabinet hardware. For instance, if you have matte-finish stainless steel appliances, consider a brushed chrome faucet rather than a brushed brass or shiny chrome option.

When it comes to picking your faucet, stay away from cheaper options. Richard Trethewey, plumbing and heating expert from ThisOldHouse.com, suggests buying “the best faucet you can afford.” His rationale is that an item that is used (and even abused) every day should be well-built, and you won’t always get a well-built item when you try to save a few bucks. He adds that faucets that come equipped with ceramic discs are best and, wherever possible, shop name brands, as it’s easier to find a replacement part for well-known brands down the road.

When installing the new faucet consider adding an aerator to reduce water flow and your utility bill, just don’t forget to turn off the water before starting your project or your 60-minute job will require hours of messy, wet clean-up.

Budget estimate: $80 +

No. 3:
Handle this and pull that

simple home improvement projects
Wikimedia Commons / Tomwsulcer

If you love or even like your kitchen cabinets, but the room still looks a bit old or dated, consider changing the hardware. A simple refresh of knobs and handles can add a bit of pizzazz to the room and it doesn’t have to break the budget.

Online selections are unlimited with a wide variety of finishes to match just about every decor and budget. Another option is to go to a big box store and check out the hardware display aisle.

Once you’ve found a few handles and knobs that you like, make sure the items will fit your current drawers and cupboards. To do this, measure the distance on your current cabinet handles from the centre to either side. Also, pay attention to how the current handles are mounted. For instance, some hardware requires only one screw and bolt for mounting, while others need two or more screws. Even better, create a hole template of your existing hardware and match it to the new hardware you want to purchase. If it matches, it will be an easy swap out that requires no drilling, sanding or painting.

To save money, look for styles that come in multi-packs. However, always do a spot check comparison. Some knobs are cheaper when bought individually if you only need a handful.

Budget estimate: $2.50 for one dark oil rubbed bronze knob
For a standard kitchen that requires 30 knobs, plan to pay $75 or more to replace with mid-range quality hardware.

No. 4:
For Your Eyes Only

simple home improvement projects
Use a cling to add instant protection or privacy to a window

Is your home on a busy street, or beside a commercial space, or do you have a window that’s just a bit too close to your neighbour’s house? You can easily fix that problem using either an adhesive or cling window film.

Window films are well-used in commercial applications, where after-market films are installed in an office or commercial spaces to help reduce glare, insulate interiors and provide privacy. These days, however, the commercial application is moving into residential sales with many big box stores now carrying a DIY-friendly version of these window clings.

What’s great is that window clings are no longer limited to the etched-glass look. Now, you can find decorative, yet functional clings that mimic mosaic tiles, bubbles, offer images or scenes or even look like mini-blinds.

When shopping for a window cling, pay attention to what it’s made of and how it should be installed. Most now come in transparent polyester and vinyl with UV-stabilizers to protect your furniture and carpeting from harmful ultraviolet rays. Stained and coloured films also come in solid, frosted and sand-blasted styles to protect privacy.
If you’re not ready to commit to a permanent, adhesive window film, try one a static cling style. The static cling window film fully removable (and technically reusable).

Budget estimate: $28 and up for a privacy film that measures 4 feet x 6.5 feet

No. 5:
Roll ’em out

simple home improvement projects
Updating the interior of a cabinet is a cheaper way to maximize cupboard space

Have you struggled to reach that big turkey roaster that’s stored way back in that bottom cabinet? Or do you spend too much of your cooking time pulling out every bottle and container from the mess in your cabinet? Would you love to find a solution that’s not only cost-effective but relatively easy to install? Think cabinet slide outs.

For a quick and easy retrofit, purchase rollout kits. Choose from light-duty wire baskets to mid-range wood drawers to heavy-duty chrome-plated steel frames and shelves. Regardless of what you decide to install, just make sure you pay particular attention to how the drawers or shelves slide. Slide-out kids that glide on plastic wheels and are rated to carry between 15 and 45 kilograms (or about 35 to 100 pounds). Also, plastic glides typically only extend out three-quarters of the way out (based on their length). Another option is to use ball-bearing slides. These are more expensive and a little trickier to install, but they extend completely for full access. They typically carry 34 to 45 kilograms (or about 75 to 100 pounds), although you can get heavier duty ball-bearing slide outs with 90 kilograms (or 200-pound) capacity.

If you decide to install slide outs, just make sure you measure your kitchen cabinet and choose a slide out kit that has drawer boxes about 1/32 of an inch smaller than the cabinet opening. Also, pay attention to obstructions, such as hinges that may stick out from the cabinet opening and prevent the slide out from extending out with ease.

Budget estimate: Start at $55 and up

Serge Bojinski
Serge Bojinski

Serge is the editor of Renohood.com, as well as a blogger and home improvement enthusiast. He lives by the motto: "eat clean, train dirty."