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10 Do-It-Yourself Home Projects Under $100

Attempting to bolster the look of your home or even increase its value doesn’t mean you need to hire a contractor and spend thousands of dollars gut renovating the home.  All you need is a budget of no more than $100 and a few hours on the weekend. Experts reveal their top “do-it-yourself” home design projects that won’t break the bank.  Everything from backyard design to projects to update your kitchen, bedrooms and closets – MainStreet uncovers ten design ideas for your home.

[Related: 7 better ideas for your basement]

Paint

Giving the rooms a fresh coat of paint is a common DIY project that is especially important if you plan to sell your home over the next few months. Jackie Jordan, the Sherwin-Williams Director of Color Marketing offers the following tips for the perfect paint job:

  • Prep the room: Clear out as much furniture as possible to ensure full access to the walls and ceilings.  Use plastic or a drop cloth to protect the furniture and floors. You also want to use painter's tape to line the trim in addition to outlining any light fixtures that can't be removed.

  • Use the right tools: Use a sturdy paint roller with an extension handle to get to the hard-to-reach spots like the ceiling.

  • Application: Paint the ceiling first. For larger areas of the ceiling or walls, paint in a "W" formation in order to avoid lap lines.

Accent Walls

When painting, no one ever said you have to paint the entire room one color.  With an accent wall, the four walls in the room wouldn’t be the same color. “Accent walls can be used to show off favorite pieces of furniture and provide an opportunity to complement your overall design plans,” says Shannon Kaye, a color expert and consultant for CertaPro Painters. You can even add creative designs to the walls using stencils. “For a baseball bedroom, paint wide vertical stripes adding a baseball stitch pattern on the edges. Draw simple home plates above the bed and add your child's letters,” she suggests.

And as for creating pattern designs on your walls, Kaye says, "Dinner plates make for perfect polka dot patterns and posterboard can be used to create your own custom stencils.”

Wallpaper

Hanging wallpaper can be just as painful as trying to remove older, existing wallpaper.  However, Janet Lee, author of "Living in a Nutshell,"  offers a unique technique when it comes to wallpaper: “Since I am in a rental, I hang wallpaper rolls high on the wall from inexpensive large bulldog clips (about 75 cents each) and let the rolls drop. You can use ribbons to keep a few of the ends wrapped and tucked at different lengths as you would a fabric curtain panel.”

She also recommends looking for wallpaper at local paint and wallpaper stores:  “I’ve seen single rolls (36 square feet) from $5-$10.”

[Related: 6 Worst Home Fixes for the Money]

Your Garden

It’s almost time to start planting flowers in your yard. A cost-effective garden DIY project is planting lilies. “You just need a shovel, some dirt and bulbs, but no fertilizer needed,” says Amy Dube, flower bulb expert for Dig.Drop.Done. Dube says $75 will net you 100 lily bulbs and she offers the following planting tips:

  • Make sure your planting spot receives full sun.

  • Dig a hole, 4-6 in. deep.

  • Drop the lily bulb in the hole, pointed side up.

  • Cover with dirt.

  • Water it and once planted, regularly to keep the soil moist.

Tree Landscaping


You may have some beautiful trees in your yard.  But what if you could spruce up the landscaping around those trees for under $8?  That’s exactly what homeowner Brian D. Decorah did and he shares with MainStreet the steps he took to complete this project:

  • Pick up rocks around the property using a wheelbarrow and dump them about 7 feet from the tree.

  • Rake around the tree.

  • Empty two bags of mulch into a wheelbarrow.

  • Using a knife or pair of scissors, cut the mulch bags along the seems to make a large, single layer piece of plastic.

  • Lay the plastic around the tree where you plan to place the mulch.

  • Place the rocks from Step 1 around the perimeter of the base of the tree on the edges of the plastic that you just laid down.

  • Dump and spread the mulch inside the rock walls that circle around the base of the tree.

“We turned an awkward tree and an abundance of rocks into a conversation piece in our front yard,” Decorah says.

Kitchen Faucet

Even if your kitchen hasn’t been renovated in decades, having a new faucet is a noticeable and inexpensive update. Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance, offers the following instructions on replacing your kitchen faucet:

Tools Needed: Adjustable wrench, basin wrench, putty knife

Instructions:

  • Turn Off the Water: There should be two valves directly under the sink - one for hot water and one for cold water. After it's been turned off, run the tap to drain any excess water from the pipes.

  • Remove Existing Faucet: Inspect it before you start - you might find that you need to replace more than just the faucet. First, if you have a garbage disposal, you’ll want to disconnect that so you’ve got room to work.  Next, disconnect the hot and cold water lines from their respective supply tubes and place a towel underneath to catch any runoff. Reach behind the sink and disconnect the faucet. If this is difficult to get to, a basin wrench will help out tremendously. The faucet should then easily lift out. Use a putty knife to scrape away any old silicone caulk or putty so your new faucet will install easily.

  • Install The New Faucet:  Now you essentially take the reverse steps you took to remove the faucet. The mounting plate of the new faucet should cover all existing mounting holes, so after assembly, place the new faucet mounting plate over these holes. Make sure the faucet tailpiece and water lines are correctly inserted into the center hole.  Then connect underneath, using the basin wrench if needed.  Reconnect the water lines with the supply tubes, tighten all nuts as needed and run the tap to check for leaks.  If your new faucet did not come with a gasket, you’ll want to seal the faucet up top with putty or silicone caulk.

Custom Frames

The most beautiful painting can be ruined with an ugly frame.  Janet Lee offers even more suggestions on making the perfect frames: “I like using metal doorjamb weather stripping available in a variety of finishes: gold, nickel, black and white for gallery frames.  The rubber side of the stripping safely holds art securely in place,” she says.

“Hardware stores are happy to cut weather stripping to the size you need for a small fee. Expect to pay about $1.50 per foot. I used 24 feet for my frame in the foyer for a total cost of $36,” she adds.

Caulking

Caulk costs under $10 – and while caulking is typically a job for more experienced DIY-ers, here are some tips to caulk the joint between your kitchen countertop and the backsplash, from Dean Bennett, President of Dean Bennett Design and Construction, Inc.:

  • Purchase new caulk that matches the grout in the backsplash. The caulk can be purchased sanded or unsanded, depending on the kind of grout you have. If you have a granite countertop and granite backsplash, it is best to use clear caulk.

  • Remove the old caulk by cutting it with a utility knife – slice it in both a horizontal and vertical direction. Grab and pull out with your fingers. It will come out in several long pieces.

  • Clean out space with soap and water. Let dry completely.

  • Use painter’s tape to make a straight line on both the countertop and backsplash so that it rests about 3/16-inch away from each side of the joint.

  • Using a caulking gun, run a bead of caulk along the open space between the pieces of tape (with a little excess). With your finger or a wet sponge, run along the bead of caulk to smooth out.

  • Remove tape while caulk is still wet. This is important! If you allow the caulk to dry first, it will pull off with the tape, leaving a ragged edge.

  • Let dry 24 hours before getting any water on it.

[Related: 5 Tips to Cut Costs on Your Home]

Storage

Ever wish you had just one more closet or just another shelf for storage in your home? “Industrial C-clamps in vibrant orange can double the storage and style potential of a simple shelf,” according to author Janet Lee.   “The clamps are strong enough to hold umbrellas, coats and backpacks. Mini-felt furniture pads placed in between the clamp and the shelf will protect the shelf from dents and scratches,” she adds.  Lee says the cost of each clamp is around $4.

Pillows

Interior designer S.A. "Sam" Jernigan shares some instructions on how to spruce up and re-cover the decorative pillows in your home with some new fabric:

  • Measure your pillow form and add approximately 1 inch to both the width and height of the pillow's dimension.

  • Lay your fabric flat and cut out a simple square or rectangle adding in additional dimension to allow for seams.

  • With the right sides together, sew three sides. Snip off the corners closer to the stitching to prevent bunching.

  • Fold raw edges in and close with a “whip stitch” by hand or use straight pins to close securely.  Next, stitch closed by machine.

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