8 Home Upgrades You Can Do as a Beginning DIYer

hand applying protective stain to deck

The list of projects to do around the house may seem endless at times, but many of them are things you can do yourself. These are projects outside of regular maintenance, and ones that will improve the look and function of your home, while testing out your burgeoning skill set. Whether you're into the design aspect, or want to get your hands dirty, or both, here are a few home upgrades you can tackle as a beginning DIYer.

1. Improve Your Deck

Deck building from start to finish is not recommended for a novice carpenter, however, doing some small improvements like fixing any wobbly posts or rails can be a good way to get experience with saws, drills, levels, and the trusty tape measure. Small tasks like cutting a couple of new boards for steps or railings, or perhaps building a nice gate can be a win-win for you and your deck. Pressure-washing and re-staining is another way to improve the look of the wood and gain some expertise.

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2. Build a Fence

Building a fence is less intricate than deck building and doesn’t require a permit, so it's perfect for the amateur DIYer that wants to put their carpentry skills to the test. Digging the posts is labor-intensive, but not rocket-science, and measuring boards is fairly simple, as well. Plus, you’ll learn how to use a level and chalk line to get everything straight and plumb, which are necessary skills for the intrepid DIYer.

3. Re-fab Your Garage

Garages can quickly become haphazard storage spaces where old camping gear and sports equipment go to die. A proper clean-up is something anyone can do, but turning it into a storage project can be a great beginner DIY task. This job requires entry level design and organization skills to fully capitalize on the space, but won’t require any kind of major “finishing” skills like trim work or cabinetry. Pegboard, re-purposed shelves, and some cans of paint will be your friend.

4. Insulate Your Attic

gloved hand adding insulation to panel in attic ceiling

It’s not a fun job, but it can save you a ton of money on lost heating, and is relatively simple. You’ll need to measure the space and buy the proper amount of insulation batting to fill exposed ceiling cavities. Spray insulation is not recommended as a beginner task, but measuring and cutting batts is something anyone with a sharp knife and and a measuring tape can do. Be sure to cover exposed areas of skin, wear gloves, and put on goggles to protect yourself from the itchy fibers that go airborne.

5. Make a Feature Wall

For the DIYers that want to get into the design aspect of things while also using a few tools, creating a feature wall with either paint or wallpaper can be a fun way to test out your savvy. For this project, the DIY designer will have to approach color schemes or choose the right print for the space, while the DIY handy-person will get to use their paint brushes, or wallpapering tools. It's the perfect test for a beginner looking to modernize a room in their home from the dream stages to finish.

6. Update Laundry Room

This project can challenge a number of different beginner DIY skills: plumbing, carpentry, drywall, paint, etcetera—it just depends on how adventurous you are with your goals. Most laundry machines are stuck in a cold, dark basement space or unfinished room somewhere in the house. While it may function, it’s a clean slate to try out some of your tools and learn different trades along the way. Since these rooms are usually tucked away, it doesn’t disturb the household much, and you can learn about what it takes to do a full room renovation without too much pressure.

7. Transform Front Entrance

pretty blue door with molding on white house with rose bushes

This project is one of the best ways to increase your curb appeal with a small-to-medium amount of work. You can either replace or paint your front door – if it’s good quality, a paint job is recommended, and don’t be afraid to go with something bold - but hanging a new door is another beginner job you can tackle if the old one needs to go. If your steps are concrete, epoxy or roll-on finishes can upgrade their look, while also making them less slippery. Replacing old railings with something more modern can make the front entrance feel more inviting. When the weather is right, adding a simple bush or set of perennials can add color and beauty to your new space.

8. Refinish Driveway

This project can go hand in hand with updating your front entrance, or be a project on its own, especially if you have a lot of surface to cover. There are products at the hardware store specifically made for giving your asphalt a face-lift, and the results can really improve the look and feel of the surface. This fairly straight-forward DIY job will increase your home's curb appeal, which is great if you are thinking of selling, or just want to enjoy your outdoor space more.

Do-it-yourself projects may feel a bit daunting to someone who is just starting out with a new set of tools, but the trick is to continue to challenge yourself with various undertakings. It's important to start with things that won't deter you, but will push you enough to engage new skills. These home upgrades are a great way to start your adventure as a beginner DIY. Stick to it, and you'll be a pro in no time.

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