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Small Home Projects You Can Do Yourself

Some small home repairs can refresh the look of your home and don’t necessarily require the help of a professional.

For example, dressing up a window sill, changing baseboards, installing new casing, and changing the color of a room can be relatively simple DIY projects. Let’s look at how you can do them on your own.

Dressing Up Your Drywall-Wrapped Windows

Rosie Romero doing a quick upgrade to perk up an otherwise boring window frame
Rosie Romero doing a quick upgrade to perk up an otherwise boring window frame

Dress up a window frame that dinged, cracked or just plain drywall.

In the photo to the right, Rosie used a 1×6 and cut it to fit under the window. He added rosette and fluted trim to perk up an otherwise boring frame.

A project like this can be done in an afternoon.

Baseboards & Casings

If the baseboards have just a few scuffs, repaint only the dirty spots. With big messes, you may want to repaint all baseboards.

Homes older than 15 years probably have streamlined baseboards and door casings. Standard in many homes, these features can be boring and offer ripe opportunities to embellish them with new style moldings.

Freshly repaired/repainted baseboards
Freshly repaired/painted baseboards

If your home’s baseboards look beat up beyond repair, you may want to replace them. There are a few choices if you don’t have expensive high-end hardwood baseboards. If you plan to paint them, buy less-expensive pine or even cheaper, Medium-Density Fiberboard, also known as MDF.

MDF is an engineered product that is made by breaking down wood scraps into fibers and then using heat and pressure to turn them into baseboards and crown moldings. MDF holds paint better than many wood species. Once it’s painted, no one will know it’s MDF.

Trim pieces come in a variety of lengths, widths, and configurations. There are many support pieces that you may need. If you have bullnose corners in your home, preformed pieces will fit these outside corners, making installation easier.

For a dramatic effect, try using two different molding profiles together. If you don’t like shopping online, visit your local lumberyard for available profiles. Most moldings you see today are polymer-based materials that do not need priming before paint is applied.

Casing around doors; also known as molded trim pieces
Casing around doors; also known as molded trim pieces

Add interest and paint the baseboard a different color than the wall. Try applying subtle color changes from the wall to the baseboard. Bolder color variations can provide a different effect. The choice is yours!

Casing (molded trim pieces) around doors, can also be changed from the streamlined style most homes have to something more ornate. Fluted jamb molding with a rosette block at the top corners makes for an elegant frame around the door. There are several options to consider here. The door color can be different from the trim and the wall color. Use your creativity to mix and match. 

Caulking

The caulking around the kitchen and bathroom sinks, tubs, windows, and other fixtures might look a little worse for wear. Maybe it’s stained, cracked, peeling, or moldy. Freshening the caulk in those areas is generally a simple task.

There are so many brands and types of caulk. The best caulks for tubs, sinks, or shower stalls come in tubes labeled “Tub and Tile” or “Kitchen and Bath.” These will be acrylic latex or silicone that resist mildew and stick to smooth non-porous surfaces.

Caulking a glass shower door
Caulking a glass shower door

The kind of caulk you choose depends on the project.

Latex is best for windows, doors, and baseboards.

Pro Tip: Don’t use latex caulk to fill cracks in tiles or fill in missing grout. That will lead to a bigger problem down the road.

Silicone is best for large cracks or joints around bathroom and kitchen fixtures.

Click here for our step-by-step guide to caulking.

Changing the Color of a Room

Most of us have a home with variations of white paint — eggshell, ecru, Navajo white, and the like. Changing the wall color can set the mood for your space. Sherwin-Williams has more than 1,000 colors to choose from to suit any mood. We like these colors:

  • To brighten a room – think Sunflower Yellow
  • To create a place that soothes — think Robin Egg Blue
  • To find some tranquility — think Mist Green

Listen to this podcast regarding color selections.

Sherwin Williams ColorSnap Visualizer
Sherwin Williams ColorSnap Visualizer

Sherwin-Williams’ ColorSnap® App makes selecting colors, literally a snap! Visualize any of their 1,700 colors on walls in real time. Easily create custom palettes, save colors, try different color options and share results in a variety of ways.

You do not have to paint the room all one color. Make one wall a highlight or accent wall. An accent wall might feature artwork or special furniture, depending on your taste and the room configuration. Natural lighting can help augment the wall if you are using a darker color. While walls are the typical go-to for paint color, you can also paint the ceiling. If you have 8-foot or 9-foot-tall ceilings, you keep the color in a lighter shade, as darker shades can make the ceiling feel too low. If you have tall ceilings with many windows, go for the darker shades.

Rosie’s Painting Consumer Guide will help you choose a color and hire a contractor if this project is too big for you to do on your own.

Before painting a wall, patch any dings in the drywall first. Paint will not fill in cracks or holes.

You don’t even need to paint a whole wall. You can paint a piece of furniture or built-in wall shelves.

If painting is not an option, add new colors to the room with throw pillows, rugs, and blankets. Just a few eye-popping colors can refresh the look and feel of a space.

These small repairs can be done in a day or over a weekend. Spending a little time repairing and updating your home will pay dividends later.

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PODCAST

Small home repairs can refresh the look of your home and you can do them yourself! Dressing up drywall wrapped windows, baseboards, even a single accent wall can turn bland into beautiful. We go over some ideas to get your thoughts started.

Podcast Archive With Expanded Content and Resources

 

PHOTO CREDIT

  • Rosie on the House
  • Sherwin Williams
  • Shutterstock
  • iStock

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Comments (2)

  • Susan Holohan
    February 4, 2024 at 1:55 pm Reply

    Would you send me a calendar please? Or a link to the PDF download?
    Thanks

    • Jenifer Gura
      February 5, 2024 at 12:13 pm Reply

      Hello Susan, thank you for your interest in the Homeowner Handbook (calendar) we would be happy to send it to you for free. Please request one here: https://rosieonthehouse.com/handbook/ you can also get the PDF version on this page.

      Thanks for trusting Rosie on the House! Every Arizona homeowner’s best friend.

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