Owning your first condo is a special experience and you are eager to make the space your own. However, you might not have the money to invest in large-scale renovations. Thankfully, there are plenty of small projects – with big impact – that you can easily do yourself on a limited budget. (Just remember to skip these five that you should never try to DIY!)
The five DIY-friendly renovations below are fun and creative ways to personalize your condo and even increase its value when it comes time to sell. The best part: you can finish most of them in the span of a weekend.
- Install Wainscoting
While it may seem complicated, installing wainscoting to add a customized look to your home is a simple and relatively inexpensive upgrade. You can buy different types of wainscoting at any large hardware store. If you are new to wainscoting, I would avoid stairwells and just stick to a hallway or maybe dining area to make it easier on your first install. A very inexpensive and easy to install wainscoting solution is beadboard and the renovations experts at This Old House have instructions simple enough for a DIY first timer.
- Restore Your Kitchen Cabinets
The kitchen is one of the main features of your house, and the cabinetry is the icing on the cake. You can spice up your kitchen by using a few renovation tricks to make you cabinets look brand new. If your cabinets are wood, you can paint or refinish them. You can find detailed instruction online or ask for how-to advice from the knowledgeable staff at your local hardware store. If you plan to paint, stain or spray paint, remove the hardware first and, if possible, take the cabinets outside to paint. After the paint dries, add new hardware to your cabinets to give them a totally new look.
- Add a Fancy Backsplash
Another kitchen (or bathroom) renovation you can do yourself and increase the beauty of your condo is a backsplash. If you plan to use tiles watch this video to get detailed instructions. (Make sure to take notes before you head to the tile store, so you come home with all the necessary supplies.) However, you don’t need to buy expensive tile to make a good looking backsplash; you can use tin ceiling tiles or even wallpaper (though not as durable as tiles) to create a new look to your kitchen. Pro-tip: Before you nail or screw anything onto your kitchen walls, make sure you know where the electrical, gas and water lines are located.
- Add Some Shelves
Shelves are great because they can hold plenty of things for you — books, pictures, candles — and keep your home from getting too cluttered. While some ideas might require more than a basic DIY knowledge, they can at least give you some inspiration for your own shelves. You can use shelving to separate a room or add the shelves straight to the wall. Experiment with different colors or styles to reflect your personality.
- Upgrade Light Switch Covers
You use them every day but did you ever realize how ugly light switch covers usually are. Fix that with this easy DIY upgrade. You can buy inexpensive frames at the dollar store or Goodwill; bring your light switch cover to make sure it fits nicely inside the frame where the glass was. Next, hot glue the light switch cover to the frame as if you were putting a picture in the frame without the glass. Then spray paint the frame and attached light switch cover to your desired color (I just used the same color as my walls so they don’t stick out too much). Now you can screw in the light switch cover with the attached frame for a classy look.
When you have your own condo, you have the opportunity to get creative with the interior. The results of these type of DIY projects prove that a little effort goes a long way — adding little renovations in each room can help transform your first condo into the home you’ve always wanted.
Our contributor, James White, is a freelance construction worker and blogs in his free time at Homey Improvements He also enjoys hiking, photography, and improving his own home. Follow him on Twitter@DIYfolks.