Your home, like life, is a series of evolutions and special moments. Tackle these mini projects yourself — and sometimes with help! — and you’ll create a space that’s truly your own. Flaunt your “after” pictures on Instagram by tagging #MyHouseBeautiful — we’ll publish our faves this spring!
1. Restyle your bookcase. Strip off those garish dust jackets, assemble an arsenal of pretty like-colored objets, and paint the back wall of the shelf a calm — or glamazonian — hue to make it all pop.
2. Wrap books in shimmery marbleized paper. Available at craft stores, it makes even the fluffiest beach read look smart. Luxe much?
3. Good lighting changes everything. This update doesn’t require an electrician: Mount a plug-in sconce to spotlight a painting or your nighttime reading. Illuminating! ($595, Serena & Lily)
4. Class up cabinets with knobs that wow you. You can swap out the pulls yourself in minutes.
5. Visual mishmash out, big beauty moment in! Take down all the pictures in a room and rehang them as one statement-making gallery wall.
6. Upgrade your shower nozzle. It’s not your water pressure, it’s your showerhead. Switch it out for Waterpik’s Torrent PowerSpray. It feels like a downpour. In the Maldives. ($35, Waterpik)
7. Paint the ceiling. A.k.a. the fifth wall. Blue is as calming as the sky, silver reflects light, jewel tones are bravely bold — and just might work.
8. Add a little bling. Have your framer gild a lamp, table, or chair in gold leaf (or silver, or copper, or metallic hot pink).
9. Restock your linen closet. If you wouldn’t show your current bath towels and bed linens to your visiting mother-in-law, ditch ’em and start anew. You deserve better.
10. Contain your kitchen. Under-counter swing-out corner storage helps organize a clutter zone — ideal for heavy, rarely used pots, or the collection of Tupperware we all inevitably amass. (Hardware Resources)
11. Invest in a great mattress. Something that gets to sleep with you for years should be worthy! Stearns & Foster’s Estate line is cashmere-wrapped for winter warmth and summer cool.
12. Make an opening statement. Buy house numbers with (ahem) character. ($25 each, Nak Nak Design)
13. Find your crowning glory. Hire a contractor to add crown molding, a chair rail, or wainscoting to a room or two — it’s a one-day job with architectural pow.
14. Dress your windows. The Shade Store can install anything from ripple-fold curtains to wood blinds just 10 days after you order.
15. Add tassels and tiebacks. Or glam up what you’ve got with silken accessories — tassels, once a talisman against evil spirits, are timeless and touchable.
16. Paint your muntins black. Or order Marvin Windows and Doors’ powder-coated beauties, which can match any color.
17. When in doubt, go for linen curtains. Restoration Hardware’s Belgian linen is beloved, thanks to sustainably grown flax woven at Belgium’s oldest (1858!) mill.
18. Switch up your switches. Screw on stylish new switch plates and you’ll lighten your mood every time you enter the room.
19. Revive a dated fireplace. Have the brick painted white, stack birch logs on the firebox floor, and purchase a hot new hearth-tool set.
20. Start fresh with new tableware. The Limoges porcelain set from Snowe includes 16 crisp pieces and will make you say “Ahhh” when you open your cabinet. ($240, Snowe)
21. Include a surprise in each room. It worked for Holly Golightly and her bathtub sofa.
22. Dine better. Replace a big dining table that you never use with a more intimate 36- to 48-inch round version. Have a giant chandelier overhead? Keep it — it’ll feel special, even if you’re just ordering Thai takeout.
23. Buy a new front door. It will say “welcome home!” for years. Measuring, furnishing, and installing costs around $850.
24. Update all your bathroom fixtures. Putting in new faucets, showerheads, lights, and towel bars takes about six hours and costs, on average, about $800 in labor. (Look for pros Porch.com!)
25. Add a pendant to the entryway. Try something eye-catching and cinematic. It should take less than an hour to replace the current fixture, to the tune of about $100 for installation.
26. Revive the humble pantry. Those cereal and cracker boxes are anything but appetizing. (from $13 each, The Container Store)
27. Place carpet tiles yourself. And go ahead and try white — if you spill the Syrah, swap in a new tile and recycle the mussed one. (from $20 each, FLOR)
28. Get a new TV. LG’s OLED is pencil thin, with picture quality that will astonish you.
29. Sharpen up. If you don’t love your everyday knife, get one you do — stat! Try an eight- to 10-inch chef’s knife from Wüsthof, Shun, or Zwilling to make prep work joyful for a lifetime.
30. Grow! Give purpose to a lonely spot with a houseplant. Some low-maintenance options: jade, which flourishes in sunny areas; delicate asparagus ferns for indirect lighting; and philodendrons and peace lilies for dimly lit nooks.
31. Add some knockers. If you’ve ever gaped in awe at the antique door knockers of Paris and Rome, we have great news: eBay is full of dead ringers, in cast iron and aged brass. Bid!
32. Bathe beautifully. Set a tiny table next to your tub for a trashy soaking read and a coupe of good Champagne.
33. Adorn your bed with a bedskirt. Dreamy offerings from Pine Cone Hill include blush pink linen and pleated gray matelassé.
34. Make a splash. One easy alternative to the conventional white subway-tile backsplash: a modern version made of glimmery glass. A must if sunlight hits your walls.
35. Add new family photos to your old ones. The kids aren’t two anymore.
36. Shazam: It’s glam! Paint a wayward piece of furniture with the glossiest enamel you can find.
37. Upgrade your cookware. Are your pans…fried? A few new nonstick Calphalons might just inspire a Sunday supper. (from $50 each, Williams-Sonoma)
38. It’s about time. Plug your living room lights into timers so it’s bright when you wake and return home.
39. Appliqués? Oui!Turn a basic chair or table frame into something heirloom-worthy with rubber cement and these latex ornaments of swags, pediments, rosettes, and more. Then paint and admire! (from $7, Efex)
40. Let your faucet flow. One of the fastest fixes starts in the kitchen and takes a plumber just a couple of hours: Replace that faucet! Tip: Those with high arcs make the basin feel roomier.
41. Perform a disappearing act. Hide an awkward corner with a folding screen.
42. Take on the junk drawer. “A junk drawer is an enabler, keeping items from their proper homes. Dividers help!” — Ashley Murphy, cofounder, Neat Method
43. Splurge in the bathroom. Treat yourself to pretty guest-size soaps, so your soap dish always looks fresh.
44. Call your electrician to add more outlets. Start with either side of your bed and wake up to a charged phone. Hurrah!
45. Shuffle your space. Remember how much fun you had rearranging your room as a teen? Do it again now, just for kicks.
46. Buy beautiful editions of your favorite books. They’ll always deserve a spot on your shelf.
47. Aim to love everything in your house, even the trash bin. This porcelain version is embossed like woven rattan. ($70, Kassatex)
48. Do a clean sweep. Hire a cleaning service for a deep clean and feel instantly amazing.
49. Out with the old! Thred UP will send you a prepaid bag for clothes and pay you for what sells; Gazelle does the same for tech. Or donate it: Schoola gives 40% of clothing proceeds to your favorite school.
50. Don’t forget your doorknobs. For the gal with everything: family-crest doorknobs. (from $379, Haute Deco)
51. Smartify your locks. Create a smart lock for your door, so you never have to leave keys for the housekeeper. Control it from your phone and assign access “keys” to anyone you please. (August)
52. Add dimmers to every lamp. Belkin has an app that lets you order the ambience from bed.
53. Change up your wall coverings. Get the high-gloss lacquered look fast with vinyl wall coverings.
54. Repurpose closet space. If you have one to spare, turn it into something you’ll use: a gift-wrapping space, a pantry, or even a home office (perk: closing the door when the work is done).
55. Find new homes for stuff during a reno. Donate luxury kitchen appliances, cabinetry, and bath fixtures to charity. Renovation Angel offers white-glove removal — plus you’ll get a nice tax deduction.
56. Invest in area rugs to make “rooms” in open spaces. They’re the quickest way to create cohesive areas for dining, lounging, etc.
57. Slip it on. Nothing says presto, change-o! like a slipcover — ideal for meh seats and that playroom sofa! ($20, Sure Fit)
58. You should wallpaper! If you’re a commitment-phobe, a removable one packs the same punch, and you can switch it out as often as you like. (From left: $35 per panel; Chasing Paper. $48 per roll; York Wall)
59. Clip on, plug in. Ever a dorm-land staple, the clip-on lamp has grown up. Use it to shine a soft light on your bookcase. ($59, Land of Nod)
60. Switch it up in the shower. Change your shower-curtain liner for a PVC-free, antimicrobial one.
61. Create order. Example: If you love coffee, dedicate a tray to all the fixings, including a mug of spoons and a sugar bowl at the ready.
62. Boost curb-appeal in one day. Invest in a garage door made from solid wood and decked in stunning hardware — especially if it sits at the front of your house. Don’t believe us? Check out the before-and-afters at Overhead Door.
63. Replace your surfaces. Swap your current tabletop with new glass or wood, or an ooh-la-la marble version (your local stone yard can cut it to fit for you).
64. Don’t let your headboard get tired. Have your upholsterer create a custom one, or better yet, a washable slipcover.
65. Corral forks and knives. Empty your tool or silverware drawer and then “shop it,” saving faves only.
66. Hack your closet. “Install towel bars in your closet as staging areas or scarf rods.” — Lisa Adams, L.A. Closet Design
67. Dress up your rods. If you never leave the house without earrings, we’ve got a question for you: Are your curtain rods naked? Don’t forget finials — they’re statement jewelry for your windows. (from $48 for set of two, Anthropologie)
68. Rethink your appliances. “If I could buy only one thing to improve my kitchen, it would have to be a convection steam oven. It’s the size of a microwave but cooks so much better.” — Jeffery Sears, CEO, Pirch
69. Warm up underfoot. Have your contractors retile your bathroom floors and add hydronic radiant heating (about $16 a square foot, not including labor).
70. Add natural light in a dark room or hallway with a skylight. Velux Sun Tunnels funnel a diffused glow into any space; it’s a day job for a pro.
71. Make the book of you. Get those vacation (or wedding, or baby) photos off your iPhone and onto the coffee table with Artifact Uprising’s fabric-bound Layflat tomes. (from $119, Artifact Uprising)
72. Shrink linens. Vacuum-pack seasonal items, like duvets, and win back major closet space.
73. Yay for pretty-smelling socks! The fragrance of the Laundress detergent lingers on linens and clothes.
74. Paint that blasé room already! Nothing transforms a space faster. And enlist a professional, please! They’re pros for good reason (average cost for the average room: $520, including materials).
75. Jazz up your curtains. A tailor can add instant, high-impact graphic interest with trim! Samuel & Sons’ selection of borders, tapes, and trims includes ombré fringe and velvet ribbons.
This article originally appeared in the February 2016 edition of House Beautiful.
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