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DIY Home Improvements to do During COVID-19- or Anytime, Really!

Most of us have been home for almost 3 months now in New Jersey and although many stores and activities are opening up, many still are not. Some of these projects might require getting supplies from a home improvement store which are already open, at least major chain stores are. You can socially distance and go shopping with your mask on or do curbside pickups at most. You can always have supplies delivered too. Just plan ahead! 

Ok- So Here’s our list of the best home improvement projects that can make your home feel refreshed while also adding some extra value to it as well. Another perk, it'll give you something to keep your mind busy on a day you're feeling quarantined fatigued and over it! I know I'm constantly searching for projects to keep me and even the kids busy. It's going to be a long summer, folks!

1- Paint a room- any room!

This is probably a no brainier and the easiest way to refresh a room or even your entire home. It’s probably the most common and transformative home improvement project there is. Neutrals are the obvious safest choice if you’re looking to put your place on the market anytime soon, our go bold if you need to do something fun for a while. About a gallon of paint for a 400 square foot room should do it. You probably already have the supplies — paint rollers, drop cloth, painter’s tape — tucked away somewhere. Don’t forget some rags to clean up spills- or maybe a paint fight!

2- Update your hardware

When opening and closing kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers, we hardly notice the handles and pulls we’re handling and pulling. For this super simple makeover, grab antique glass knobs and flea market finds on eBay, or check out the fab options at Anthropologie online. Most cabinets have standard holes for installation, but be sure to measure before you buy. Have a screwdriver handy and get busy! 

3- Switch the switch plates

While you have your screwdriver handy, upgrade all the switch plates in etc house! Cracked or old switchplates are an eyesore and they’re dangerous too. Dust and debris can get trapped inside and cause an electrical fire. But even fully functional switchplates can be replaced if you’re looking for a low-cost upgrade. Modern switch plates and dimmers come in hundreds of styles and include safety covers for tiny fingers, cord connectors for cable hook-ups and even built-in USB chargers now.

4- Refresh your front door

Painting a front door is a great way to change your curb appeal and also get rid of leftover paint sitting in the garage. And you won’t need a lot. While you’re at it, if you have window trim or shutters that need a touch-up, go for it. If you feel really adventurous, paint your mailbox to tie it all together. Or go crazy and paint your black door red! Remember, water-based paint dries faster than oil-based paint, so we’d opt for water-based for outdoor projects.

5- Replace faucets 

Updating bathroom or kitchen sink fixtures is a pretty easy DIY project. In just a few hours, you can have a shiny, new faucet. Kitchen and bathroom fixtures run from $60 for basic designs to over $300 for touchless faucets (perfect for avoiding germs). Before diving in, watch a few DIY videos to make sure you have the tools required and know what you're getting yourself into!

6- Out with old grout

Grout is porous, which makes cleaning it difficult. Even attacking it with bleach and a toothbrush won’t get grimy grout looking as good as new. Replacing it is the way to go. Remove loose grout with a putty knife, squeeze in the new grout and sponge away excess. If you’re feeling bold, try a new color or texture to refresh tubs, tiles and backsplashes. 

7- DIY Under Cabinet Lighting

It only takes about 30 minutes to add under-cabinet lighting in your kitchen, pantry or laundry room. First, decide on how many lights you’ll need and where to place them to light up countertops and backsplashes. We like LED strip lights as the energy used goes toward illumination rather than producing heat. Warning: You’ll need a power drill for this one!

8- Spruce up the deck 

We’re not suggesting building a new deck, but refinishing one is manageable. To start, sand the surface and rails, taking care to remove flaking paint or stain. After giving it a good wash, it’s ready for a new coat of paint or penetrating stain, neither of which require future stripping like solid stains. Finish it off with new chair cushions and a matching umbrella to make your outside space ready for a party — when social distancing is lifted of course.

9- Branch management 

Landscaping can raise the value of a home, but it takes work. For big jobs, call a professional, but you can handle the small stuff. Keep gutters free of leaves, needles and twigs as they can cause drainage problems. Remove small branches from trees and shrubs brushing against exterior walls and windows. Do the same with climbing ivy. It looks nice, but it can gain a foothold in cracked mortar, loose bricks, wood shingles and vinyl siding. Once it takes root, it can lead to moisture, rot and insects. 

10- Amp up the curb appeal

Your driveway is the first thing visitors see, so keep it fresh. Driveway painting is a relatively easy DIY project and can be applied to both concrete or black-top drives. Paints come in a variety of colors, all available online and via delivery. Clean your driveway first, and patch any holes or cracks. One coat should do if you’re using 2-part epoxy. For other paints, you’ll need two. It should last about five years, though extreme climates and usage can wear it down sooner. Once you notice it peeling, it’s time to re-coat. 

11- Rugs capture pet and cigarette odor.

Bad smells can kill a potential sale, which is why old school realtors often suggest baking chocolate chip cookies before an open house. If you have pets, smokers or teenagers living in your home, it’s time for some deep cleaning. First, rent a carpet cleaner and get rid of area rugs. Wood floors and walls also absorb odors, so wash them down. Spray on upholstery cleaner can be a big help and Amazon has a ton of choices. Then change out your HVAC’s air filters and finish by replacing the grease filters above your stovetop. 

12- Entry mats 

The most straightforward upgrade is the doormat. Greeting friends and strangers with a clean and unfrayed doormat shows that you care about the home they’re about to enter. Options are pretty much endless, with many materials, shapes and colors to choose from. With monograms or seasonal sayings, it shouldn’t be that difficult to find one that suits your family. Plus, there’s no work involved. Just toss it in front of the door and you’re done! 

Have fun with your projects!

We hope you can have some fun using the time you’re spending at home to change things up and try to increase your home’s value. Most home improvement stores are regarded as essential during the lockdown, so for the most part, they’re open. That means you have no excuse not to tackle your to-do list any longer. Oh and I heard Home Goods is opening back up soon! I'll be first in line.

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