Living Space: 5 DIY home improvement projects to try this summer
Summer is a great time for home improvement projects and DIY updates around the house. Set some time (and money) aside this summer to give your home some TLC. Not only will it increase the overall value of your home, but little upgrades here and there can also save you a lot of money down the line.
While some home improvements can be expensive, such as adding central air conditioning or remodeling an entire room of your house, there are more affordable projects that can give you the same effect for a much lower cost. Lumber costs are skyrocketing right now, so if your project calls for it, you’re going to want to plan ahead. Here are some simple, affordable home improvement projects to try this summer that won’t break the bank.
1. Declutter your home.
Organize your entire house if you really want to go all out, or pick a place in your home that needs it most and get to work. Decluttering doesn’t cost anything, and you can earn some money by selling items you no longer use. Plus, you can use your earnings toward other home repairs. “It costs nothing except a week or two of your time, and the ability to let go and part ways with unneeded clutter that no longer brings you or your home joy,” says Emilie Dulles, a lifestyle design expert and founder of Dulles Designs.
Your clutter is actually costing you money, and getting rid of things you don’t use can make a lot of room in your house and even give you ideas for other improvements. Because of the warm weather, summer is a good time to declutter and air out those oft-forgotten areas, like the garage, an outdoor shed or the basement, that tend to be used less during colder months.
2. Refresh your house with paint.
Summer is the perfect season for bigger paint projects. If you have areas in your home that you’ve been meaning to repaint, such as entire rooms or the exterior, summer is the time to do it—and a little paint could go a long way in transforming your space. The warm weather lets the paint cure properly and ensures that it will last longer. “I think painting is one of the best DIY projects because it can be easily corrected if you make any mistakes,” says Chicago-based real estate developer Bill Samuel. “It really has a huge impact on the overall space when you take your time to repair any blemishes and do a quality job.” Dulles recommends painting parts of your home (or all of it) white to make it look bigger and brighter.
3. Check gutters.
This might not be the most fun or creative home improvement project, but it’s an important one to protect your home for the winter months ahead and against summer storms. “Winter, followed by a rainy spring, can take a toll on your gutters and downspouts,” says Bailey Carson, a home expert at Angi. “If they’re ignored, you could end up needing to replace them altogether or, worse, dealing with foundation damage, interior flooding, driveway cracks or landscape erosion.” The damage would end up costing you way more than cleaning your gutters. All you need (if you don’t have this equipment already) is a gutter-cleaning attachment for your garden hose, a ladder, a bucket, a gutter scoop and heavy-duty gloves. You could also buy a gutter guard to protect your gutters and prevent leaves from gathering in them.
4. Spruce up outdoor areas.
Give your yard some attention too — chances are, you’re probably spending a lot more time in it to enjoy the beautiful summer weather. While the cost of renovating your outdoor space varies depending on the project, there are simple DIY improvements you can make to elevate your backyard or front yard for a lot less. Maria Vaamonde, a commercial real estate investor and founder of Property Cashin, suggests landscaping your front yard. “Gardens make homes more aesthetically pleasing, and they also can add to the property value. Summertime is the perfect time to plant perennials, a variety of beautiful-looking flowers that are low maintenance,” says Vaamonde. She also suggests lupines and hydrangeas as other beautiful (and low-maintenance) additions to your garden.
Adding plants or flowers leading up the walkway to your front door can get you some instant curb appeal and liven up your front yard, says money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. You can do the same kind of sprucing up in your backyard to get rid of any overgrown or dead plants, trees or shrubs, and add some patio furniture. You could also paint your patio furniture and make it look good as new.
5. Clean or replace AC filters.
Another not-so-fun but very important summer home improvement — cleaning or replacing the filters on your HVAC unit. Don’t worry: this one is quick and won’t take up as much time as cleaning your gutters. “Filters get dirty, especially if they haven’t been changed in six months,” says Rick Hoskins, a home DIY expert and founder of FilterKing. Dirty filters can cause allergies by circulating dust, mold and other allergens throughout your home when you have the AC on during the summer. All you have to do is find your AC and furnace vents, unscrew it, and clean or replace the filters. Hoskins suggests looking for filters with a MERV rating between 8 and 13 for optimal protection.
(Better Homes and Gardens is a magazine and website devoted to ideas and improvement projects for your home and garden, plus recipes and entertaining ideas. Online at www.bhg.com.)
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