Best Home Improvement Projects for the New DIYer

by Emily LongSeptember 28, 2017

There’s nothing like a DIY home improvement project to make you feel like a real homeowner. If you’ve never tackled a DIY project before, though, it can seem pretty overwhelming. Don’t sweat it! Your first projects don’t have to be anything fancy and time-consuming. These five projects are perfect for first-timers.

  1. Turn a Drawer into an Electronics Docking Station

    This project is a clever way to add some usable space to your home. You probably have a ton of electronic devices lying around, many of which need to be charged nightly and take up precious counter space. You probably also have a drawer that either isn’t used for much or is filled with junk. Let’s kill two birds with one stone.

    First, go through the junk drawer, empty it out, and get rid of whatever you don’t need. Next, you’ll want to put some divided storage in the drawer. You can get fancy and build your own or purchase premade tray storage that is often used in kitchen drawers or office desks. This divided storage is perfect for phones, wallets, keys, iPods, and whatever else you may have lying around that needs to be stored and charged.

    Drill a hole in the back of the drawer for cords, and put a power strip in the drawer next to the storage. Plug in your chargers and rope up the cords with a zip tie, and you’re done. Now you can plug your devices in, close the drawer, and enjoy a clutter-free night table or dresser.

smart-bulb

  1. Switch to Smart Lighting

    If you want to start with something a little simpler, this might be the easiest DIY project of all time. Smart lighting seems expensive on the surface, but if you take a look at the rated life spans of the bulbs, you’ll see it’s actually pretty economical. Many of these bulbs will last fifteen years or longer, and the convenience (and cool factor) of being able to turn on or adjust your lights with your phone can’t be beat. The most common systems can also be hooked up to Amazon Echo for voice control, which takes the convenience to a whole new level.

    Philips Hue is definitely the most popular brand, but there are other choices if you aren’t a Philips fan. LIFX, GE, and even IKEA all have options for a variety of needs and budgets.

  2. Install a Security System

    This upgrade can add both safety and convenience to your home. Because many home security systems come with smart home features like connected lighting, smart door locks, and wireless cameras, they can control and keep tabs on your home no matter where you are.

    There are two routes you can go with a security system—professionally monitored and self-monitored. Professionally monitored systems can be a little pricey, but you get the benefit of someone keeping an eye on your home 24/7 from a staffed monitoring center. Self-monitored systems are usually cheaper, but you don’t get the benefit of someone receiving an alarm signal and calling the authorities for you.

    Systems can be as simple as a few wireless cameras that send alerts to your phone or as complex as a whole-home alarm and automation system. That means the first step is deciding what features you want. Once that’s done, you can purchase the components separately or as part of a kit. These days, thanks to wireless technology, installation is often as simple as sticking cameras and sensors on the wall, but the kits all come with detailed instructions if you need additional guidance.

  3. Convert a Closet into an Office

    Re-purposing storage spaces can give you a little more usable space. Of course, your results here depend on the size of your closet, but even the tiniest nook can give you room for a laptop and space to write.

    The simplest way to turn a closet into an office is to remove the door and install a shelf at desk height. Put your laptop on the desk and pull up a chair, and you have an instant desk! You’ll want the shelf to be deep enough to accommodate your computer and other materials, and you probably want it to be a solid surface so that you can write on it. If you want more storage space, you can add some smaller shelving above the main “desk.” And if your closet is a big walk-in type, you can go all out, with L-shaped shelving and storage bins to provide plenty of work space.

garden-beds

  1. Build Raised Garden Beds

    Raised garden beds don’t just look nice—they actually help solve a number of challenges gardeners can face when growing their produce. Raised beds can help keep bad soil out, prevent erosion, increase drainage, and give your plants more sun exposure. This project is truly as functional as it is nice to look at.

    Building a raised garden bed sounds complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. One of the simplest ways is to lay logs in a rectangular shape in the area you want to plant and then fill the area with soil. You can use pre-cut firewood to help make things even easier. The same thing can be done with bricks or cinderblocks, depending on what you have available and the sort of look you’re going for. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

These simple projects should get you off to a great start in the world of home improvement. With a little creativity and elbow grease, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

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About The Author
Emily Long
Emily Long is a home safety and automation expert for SafeWise.com. She loves to geek out on new tech gadgets. When she isn’t writing about smart home tech or home safety and security, she can be found teaching yoga, road tripping, or hiking in the mountains.

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