DIY (not so dirty) Dozen

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March 26, 2012
By: Jeremy Zoss
Jeremy Zoss
12 easy steps to a clean and simple home

It doesn’t take a skilled handyman to make a big difference in your home. With even a moderate amount of skill, you can make a major difference in your home. Here are 12 low-cost, low-skill ways you can upgrade your home, from decorations to repairs to easy improvements.

1. Frame
Want to add some color to a room without committing to a complete paint job? Frame a funky fabric or wallpaper. Simply mount your chosen fabric or wallpaper to some fiberboard, frame it and hang it on the wall. You can create some really interesting looks by mounting several framed fabric pieces in a series.

2. Hang
If you’re tight on storage space, you can maximize what you have with this simple trick. A properly built coat closet should allow jackets to hang a few inches away from the back wall. Mount a few coat hooks to the back wall for a place to hang purses, hats, courier bags or other smaller accessories. Make sure you use drywall anchors for the hooks, especially if you carry a heavy bag. You can also use the same style hooks right inside your front door for your keys.

3. Shelve
You have more storage space in your house than you think. It’s on your walls. Just about anyone with a level, drill and a hammer can install shelving. Anywhere you have a bare wall, you have a chance to add space for storage or decorative items. Moving decorative items from an end table to a wall-mounted shelf is an easy way to reduce cluter.

4. Organize
The mess of computer cables in your workspace can be tidied up for pennies with this simple trick. Bunch excess cords together and hold them against the underside or back of your desk, then lay an old business card across them. Stick a piece of tape on either end of the card and you’re done. You’ll keep your computer cords neat and find a use for old business cards at the same time!

5. Paint
It seems obvious, but a new coat of paint can work wonders. A drab room can instantly take on a whole new look with a new color. If you’re feeling fancy, try a paint treatment such as striping your walls — you can accomplish a lot with a few different colors and some painter’s tape.

6. Utilize
If you can install a shelf, you can install a closet system. While this is admittedly one of the trickiest projects on this list, most closet systems come with easy-to-follow instructions so practically anyone can install one. Set aside a weekend day and by the end of it you will have maximized the usable space in your closet. Most closet systems offer plenty of options, so you should be able to customize one to any storage space in your house.

7. Build
Projects don’t get much simpler than this. Find an old wooden pallet, repair any loose boards and tack some landscape fabric across one side. Lean it up against a wall and fill the spaces between boards with small plants for an easy, tiered garden! This works great for indoor herb gardens.

8. Install
These days most gadgets run on USB: smart phones, mp3 players, cameras, tablet computers, etc. You can reduce the need for an office-cluttering charging station by installing USB power outlets, which have USB slots as well as standard three-prong plugs. They cost between $10 and $30 and install the same way as a standard outlet. Adding them is an easy way to make your home more tech-friendly while reducing the amount of supporting gear you need for your gadgets.

9. Magnetize
Here’s an easy way to save counter or drawer space. Carve out a space in a thick piece of wood, glue a few heavy-duty magnets in the opening and mount the wood on the wall for a stylish magnetic knife block. There are easy-to-find plans for several variations of this project online.

10. Digitize
Clutter is a home problem that eventually affects everyone, but technology can help you tame the mess. You can reduce the amount of paper clutter in your home easily with a digital camera. Take photos of your children’s drawings and tests and store them on your computer so you can part with the original. To keep your digital mementos separate, store them on a specific external hard drive. You can currently find drives with one terabyte of storage for less than $100.

11. Stencil
Punch up a wall or a piece of furniture with a funky stencil. Whether you want some simple circles or some graffiti-inspired style, you can find stencils online that will add serious punch to a room. Head online, pick out some stencils, grab some paint and you’re practically done already.

12. Customize
If you’re feeling ambitious, this one is for you. There is a dedicated online community out there that takes IKEA’s low-cost furniture and customizes it for decorative or functional purposes. The company’s iconic Billy bookcase can become an easy built-in bookcase with the addition of crown molding around the top. Several IKEA benches have been reworked into discreet and stylish litter boxes. There are virtually endless ways to customize Ikea furniture for your home – visit for inspiration.