When it comes to Boston area home improvement ideas, the list of potential projects can get lengthy – and expensive. If you’re like most homeowners, you’re probably only interested in those improvements that won’t cost much money and that can pay for themselves or add to your home’s value. Usually, the key to keeping the costs down is being able to perform many of the home improvements yourself. Let’s look into several do-it-yourself (DIY) projects that won’t break the bank and may just add value to your home in the long run.
Add backsplash tiles in the kitchen
Self-adhesive backsplash tiles come in an array of styles and colors designed to fit most everyone’s tastes. Probably the biggest advantages to undertaking a DIY kitchen backsplash tile project are the relatively low cost, the simplicity of installation and the ease of post-project clean-up.
Step one is to clean the walls where the tiles will go. Use a mixture of warm water and soap, and clean the walls with a soft sponge. Adhesive tiles will stick best if the surface is free of dust, grease, grime or dirt. Dry the area with a clean, dry cloth and wait a few minutes before you begin the application. Remove any outlet or switch plates and make sure you leave enough space when you get ready to place the tiles around the outlet edges so you can replace them easily.
Next, follow the instructions recommended for the adhesive tiles you purchased – each manufacturer’s suggestions vary slightly. As a general rule, the instructions will call for installation from left to right, starting with the bottom row. If you need to cut any of the adhesive tiles, a sharp razor knife will usually work very well. Remember, you’re working with adhesive tiles, so if you need to remove or reposition one, just heat the adhesive with a hair dryer and peel the tile off the wall.
Install crown moulding in the bedroom
Another popular DIY job on the list of Boston area home improvement ideas is adding crown moulding to your bedrooms. It’s amazing the transformation a few pieces of decorative wood trim can make to bedrooms – or any room. While woodworking may sound a little intimidating, you don’t have to be a professional carpenter to pull this project off. First, carefully measure each wall – from corner to corner – on which you plan to install the moulding. Then, measure it again. (We suggest following the old rule of “Measure twice, cut once.”) Select the moulding you like best from your favorite home improvement store, give them the measurements and they should be able to cut it to those specifications. While you’re at the home improvement store, don’t forget to buy some wood filler, wood putty or caulk for a seamless installation. Here’s a helpful tip from a home improvement specialist: Paint the crown moulding after it’s cut and before you install it. You can always paint the touch-up places and fill the nail holes later. That will be a much easier project than painting it once it’s installed. Plan to use a nail gun to nail the moulding to the tops of the walls.
Clean and paint the floor in the garage
It doesn’t take very long for the garage floor in any home to accumulate grease, grime and oil stains. Here’s what the experts recommend to give your home’s garage floor a clean, new look – with very little expense. It’s one of several often-overlooked DIY Boston area home improvement ideas you can do in just a few hours over a weekend. First, take old newspapers and blot the stains to remove as much of the excess oil or other residue as possible. Then, follow up with a mixture of hot water and liquid dishwashing soap – add a drop or two of degreaser if you’d like – and use a scrub brush to clean the floor. When you’ve finished scrubbing, you can pour a little kitty litter – yes, kitty litter, or a granular oil absorbent if you have it – on the tougher stains. When the absorbent has done all it can do, sweep the floor thoroughly and prepare it for painting. If you’d like, you can fill any minor cracks in the concrete floor with crack filler. Lastly, apply a coat of garage paint designed to guard against oil, grime and mildew. The home improvement experts recommend rolling the paint on with a specially made, long-handled paint roller. Take precaution not to paint yourself into a corner!
Upgrade the landscaping
Among the easiest DIY Boston area home improvement ideas a homeowner can accomplish is improving the landscaping around your home. Simple additions of low-maintenance greenery along sidewalks, walkways and porches can improve a home’s curb appeal. In addition, you can use fresh sod to patch any worn or bald spots in your lawn. You may also choose to use grass sprigs that may not take long to cover dead or sparse areas. Often, the addition of decorative landscape “stepping stones” can be a nice touch. Use them as a secondary walkway to a popular section of your backyard, or to enhance the area around your mailbox, driveway or lamp post. Adding fresh mulch or compost material in flower beds is not only a visual improvement, but it’s good for the soil and the plants growing there. Lastly, trim the shrubbery, hedges and excess tree limbs around your home. Usually you can get some great ideas by going online and matching your trees and plants with those shown in online photos. Don’t be afraid to experiment with adding perennials or other types of flowers and plants. A dash of color is always a welcome addition to a landscaping upgrade.
These are but a few Boston area home improvement ideas that may add value to your home – without putting a huge dent in your budget.
You can find more articles pertaining to home improvements in the Boston Home Improvements section of our site below Boston Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.We also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook and would love for you to follow us there as well.