Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a little home improvement. Depending on how comfortable you are with tools – and your skill level – there are many simple DIY home improvement projects you can take on to upgrade the look of your house. Face it: Once the holiday decorations are safely stowed, you’ll be looking at your home differently. There are plenty of ways to bring back the cozy look and feel of your home and keep it from seeming empty post-holiday season. Read along for some inspiration and get started on easily refreshing just about any room in the house!
In the Kitchen
You don’t need to spend a fortune to change the look of your kitchen. From beginner to advanced, here are some DIY home improvement project ideas for a kitchen rejuvenation.
DIY Project #1 – New Hardware
Replace kitchen cabinet hardware for the easiest DIY project you’ll do all year long. Too often, kitchen cabinet hardware gets lost in the rush to choose the cabinet style, countertop material, and new appliances. By the time you realize you need knobs and pulls, you’re overwhelmed by making the really big decisions.
Changing cabinet knobs and pulls is an easy intro to home DIY. All you need is a screwdriver.
Watch this video and see how easy a simple hardware change project can be!
One of the hottest trends in cabinet hardware for 2021 is the use of living finish metals. Living metals wear with use. They develop a natural patina that is part of their charm. These include:
- Weathered nickel
- Weathered brass
- Oil rubbed bronze
Of course, you can never go wrong with a brushed nickel finish!
Other trends include hardware with exposed screws and oversized drawer pulls (6 – 18 inches long) are big too (pun intended) Just turn them vertical for cabinet handles.
DIY Project #2 – New Faucet
If you’ve conquered the fear of the screwdriver, you’re ready to step up to faucet replacement. The only “trick” you need to remember is matching a like faucet for a like faucet. What does this mean?
Open your cabinet doors and remove all that stuff you stashed under the kitchen sink. Gack! How does this stuff accumulate? Set it aside and make yourself a promise to cull the herd of cleaners and items stored under the sink when you are finished. Now, get on your back and look up at the bottom of the sink and count the number of holes your existing sink uses. You can always use fewer holes and cover the spares with a plate, but you can’t use more. So, if you see one hole, you need a one-hole faucet.
This beautiful Moen kitchen faucet is a one handle faucet with a pull-down sprayer. If you look at the product specifications on the Moen website, you see it requires one hole.
If you see three holes, then you need a three-hole faucet like this one (left).
The product specifications for these two handle Moen faucet (right) indicates it requires three holes. Now, an experienced plumber can make a three-hole faucet work with one hole, but you aren’t an experienced plumber, are you?
For DIY-ers, first, check out the number of holes and then limit your search to faucets that match. Most manufacturer and retailer websites allow you to search by the number of holes, so no excuse for getting the wrong faucet.
Kitchen faucet trends for 2021 include:
- Living finishes
- Pull-down spray heads
- Magnet assisted docking
The same living finishes used for cabinet hardware are popular with faucets too. And getting a little assist with a magnet makes docking those popular pull-down spray heads even easier.
This video from the folks over at This Old House takes you through the steps to replace your faucet:
DIY Project #3 – Add a Backsplash
Ready to trade that wrench and screwdriver in for some new tools? Add a backsplash to your kitchen.
Believe it or not, this can be a simple DIY project. Thanks to so many peel and stick choices, you can get almost any look you want.
If you’ve got a tile backsplash and want a refresh without taking down the tile, check out these tile stickers from Bleucoin.
Removable tile stickers are a great project for the renter too! They won’t damage the tile surface, and when you are ready to move out or get a new look, just peel off the stickers.
Another trend that’s a little more permanent is a faux stone backsplash.
Faux stone or AirStone is non-flammable so it’s safe to use in the kitchen. Install the material over the existing backsplash. Just make sure the surface is clean and in good condition.
Faux stone cuts easily with a hand saw and glues in place with an easy to use adhesive. There’s no grout to worry about this material. It’s easier than installing a tile backsplash but more advanced than applying decals.
The biggest trend in kitchen backsplashes is adding your own personality. Since the backsplash usually claims a small bit of real estate, it’s not an expensive update, and you should change it when you feel a need to express a new style
DIY Project #4 – New Flooring
Winter is a great time to tackle a new flooring project. If you’re new to this kind of DIY, stick with easy-to-install click lock bamboo flooring. Click-lock floors are among the simplest to install in your home and let you avoid messy glue or having to rent or buy a nail gun.
Don’t forget to properly acclimate your bamboo flooring before the install. If you’ve never worked with flooring before, click lock flooring is best for your first DIY install. Because you don’t worry about nailing or gluing the planks in place, you can focus on getting your flooring pattern perfect.
In the Bathroom
Bathrooms spark creativity. Indulge in the bathroom; the space is smaller so material costs are lower. DIY projects in the bathroom can be completed in a just a few hours or can fill up your entire weekend. From the simplest to the most complex, here are a few DIY bathroom projects to tackle this winter.
DIY Project #5 – Update Towel Racks & Other Accessories
Tired of looking at the same old towel racks, hooks, and toilet paper holders? Swapping out your bathroom accessories is an entry-level DIY project that rarely requires more than a pencil, a screwdriver (or electric drill), and a level.
The job is even easier if you are replacing towel bars of the same length. Just look under the plate for the set screw, turn left to loosen it, then remove the bracket. If you’re lucky, the mounting plate for the new towel bar is the same as the current bar. But you may not always be so lucky…
If the mounting plate is different, you’re starting from scratch. Follow this handyman’s advice for mounting the new towel bar.
DIY Project #6 – New Cabinet Hardware
If you can change cabinet hardware in the kitchen, you can change it in the bathroom, too! The latter is often an even easier DIY project, because you most likely have fewer cabinets in the bathroom.
This vanity sports the latest trend for bathrooms – black. Add visual interest by mixing shapes. The use of round knobs on the cabinets and rectangular pulls on the drawers keeps ‘boring’ at bay.
Another hot trend in bathroom hardware is gold metal. Decorators are using gold in the bathroom and the kitchen lately. But Architectural Digest warns that this is a decor trend you’ll regret in a year.
A nice compromise is this black hardware with gold accents. Amerock almost carries too many choices. But since cabinet hardware ranges from $2 to $10, it’s not a big investment. Go ahead, change your hardware as often as you like!
DIY Project #7 – Paint Cabinets
Painting cabinets is another simple and inexpensive DIY project for the bathroom. Get as creative as you want. Just make sure your cabinet surfaces are absolutely clean, prepped, and primed before the first coat goes down.
It’s tempting to just dive in and start painting, but for the paint to last in a bathroom, surface preparation is crucial.
This distressed finish starts with “Old White” chalk paint and then is dry brushed with blue paint. A small brush and turquoise paint finish the details and moldings.
This DIY project combined cabinet painting with new hardware. You can easily make this transformation in your own bathroom. All it takes is a little paint and hardware and the entire vanity looks different.
DIY Project #8 – Change the Bathroom Faucet
Swapping out the bathroom faucet follows the same procedure as changing the kitchen faucet. Before you shop, look underneath to see how many holes you have.
Black faucets that match your black cabinet hardware are stunning.
Combine a waterfall design with black matte and even when COVID is just a memory you’ll be looking for an excuse to wash your hands!
Waterfall faucets aren’t limited to a single handle design, either. This two-handle faucet perfectly fits a 3-hole installation.
New bathroom faucets are the type of DIY winter home improvement you’ll enjoy in any season.
Every time you walk in the bathroom, you’ll say “Hey, I did that! And it looks great!”
DIY Project #9 – New Showerhead
Not in love with your current showerhead? Swap it out for a new model. Old showerheads clog with the calcium and magnesium from hard water, which decreases water flow over time. You can take the showerhead off and clean it, but why not replace it while you’re up there?
This DIY task takes just a few minutes, a wrench, and some Teflon tape.
Replace your standard showerhead with a multifunction shower head for a relaxing massage.
Or upgrade to a handheld shower.
Most handheld showerheads attach to the shower arm. They are no harder to install than a traditional showerhead but can be super convenient when bathing infants or pets.
Because the detatchable/handheld showerhead makes washing the dog easier, who knows… Maybe bath time will be a more enjoyable occasion for both you and your furry friend!
DIY Home Improvement In Any Room
Don’t confine your DIY efforts to just the kitchen and bathroom. Spruce up any room in the house with a few supplies and some creativity.
DIY Project #10 – Paint Walls
Thousands and thousands of colors await you at the local paint or home improvement store. So many colors, the choice leaves you feeling overwhelmed. Your first order of business? Go home.
Come back with one of your favorite items from the room you are going to paint or one of your favorite pieces of clothing. Remember that even though there are tens of thousands of colors of paint, there are only 7 colors upon which all colors are based:
So take that treasured item and discover the colors to really show it off. Pay attention to the emotional connection you have to the colors. Pick 3 or 4 color strips and you’ve now narrowed the selection considerably.
Before you paint the entire room, buy a small test jar of the paint. Bring it home and test it on the wall. Live with it a day or two so you see it in all kinds of light. There’s nothing worse than buying gallons of paint that you end up disliking once you’ve seen it in a certain light. Test size jars are your friend. Even the most experienced do-it-yourself pro with many successful DIY home improvement projects completed knows to test paint first.
The goal is to get the paint on the walls, not everything else in the room (including you).
- Remove small pieces of furniture.
- Cover remaining furniture with drop cloths or sheets of plastic.
- Carefully tape off areas that will not be painted, such as baseboards and moldings.
- Use a 2″ or 3″ brush to cut in first. This means you paint corners and next to trim and baseboards first.
- Then you take the roller and roll your paint. Rolling wet next to the areas you cut in helps to blend the paint seamlessly.
- After all the wall paint is dry, then you can paint the trim, leaving the baseboards for last.
DIY Project #11 – Create an Accent Wall
Maybe you don’t want to paint an entire room. Creating an accent wall is a great DIY home improvement project that can usually be completed in one day (depending on how much time you spend drinking coffee in the morning).
The dark gray accent wall above draws your eye to the end of the room. It contrasts with the light-colored walls and complements the gray tones in the beautiful bamboo flooring.
This accent wall uses yellow tones to contrast with the green finish on the cabinets and the natural wood accents. Just the slight addition of color to this one wall pulls the whole room together and maintains the earthy feel.
DIY Project #12 – Add Moldings or Trim
For those more adventurous DIYers with access to a miter saw or miter box, adding moldings or trim to any room in the house is a great idea.
Moldings are like jewelry for walls:
Extra-large baseboards and quarter round trim tie walls to the floor in this entryway. Molding in the corner provides a sturdy base for coat hooks and when painted in the contrasting white, provides visual interest to what would otherwise be a small, boring space.
Molding takes the form of chair rail:
As crown molding, it tops walls and pulls ceiling and walls together for a finished look:
And provides a finishing touch to doorways.
Installing molding requires a brush-up on geometry to get corner angles right and you must be a stickler for measurements. But if you are a detail-oriented DIY-er, this project isn’t out of reach.
DIY Project #13 – Grow Plants or Start a Kitchen Herb Garden
When it comes to home improvement, the exterior matters too. Luckily, there is an outdoor project you can get a jump start on even in the colder months of the year. Plenty of garden plants and flowers grow best when they are started indoors in small pots. As long as the inside of your home isn’t as cold as it is outside during the winter, it’s the perfect time to begin your seedlings. All you’ll need to get started is some seeds, soil, and an egg carton. Easy, right?!
You can also liven up your home interior with some easy-to-care-for indoor plants. Succulents are a great choice, as are cacti. They require very little water and aren’t too picky about their sunlight.
Or you can grow a lucky bamboo plant. Everything is better with bamboo, and this plant doesn’t even require soil – or a green thumb. Indoor plants improve air quality and improve your mood. So go head and grow a little green this winter!
DIY home improvements are supposed to be fun.
Start small and make sure you have the tools and time to do the job right.
If you get frustrated, walk away. Watch a YouTube video or two, have a snack, then go back and try to tackle it again. There’s no shame in doing it yourself, and winter is the perfect time for home DIY adventures. See what wonders YOU can create this season!
About the Author
Cheryl is our go-to guru for all things sustainable living. She’s on a mission to make your family and our planet thrive! With a heart as big as her passion for sustainability, Cheryl brings you the freshest insights on eco-friendly building products and energy efficiency. 🌱💡
And hey, did you hear about the eco-friendly lightbulb that went to therapy? It finally found its inner “enlightenment”! 😄 Join Cheryl on this green journey, where she’ll tackle your concerns with a smile and a sprinkle of eco-humor!