It’s the little things

10 easy, do-it-yourself projects to make your home your own.

Story by Michaela Satterfield

Anyone can pick a sofa out of a catalog or a light fixture out of a showroom. Filling a house with these things is all part of the process, but how do you take a house and turn it into a home? Row after row of cookie-cutter houses can be beautiful but still be missing an intangible quality that provides character and charm – a quality only you can bring to your own home. Do-it-yourself projects are one way to add this personal touch. All you’ll need is a spare weekend, a few supplies and plenty of creativity. Here are 10 ideas to add your own custom flair to your home:

1. Create a message board.

Loose items like invitations and business cards tend to pile up and get misplaced just when you need them. Grab some corkboard and fabric in your favorite color or pattern. Place the fabric over the front of the corkboard and glue it to the back. Add thumbtacks and a few fresh post-it notes for future messages. Place it in the kitchen, mud room or another common area everyone passes through so the whole family can stay in the loop. 

2. Build window boxes for your plants.

This project will take some work, but both your green thumb and the exterior of your house will thank you. You’ll need to head to the home improvement store for some wood boards, wood glue, a nail gun, and brackets to attach the box to your house. There are plenty of easy window box tutorials online, so quickly look one up for the specifics. After that, you’ll be off to the greenhouse so you can fill it with your favorite blooms.

3. Make a wall art collage with your old photos.

We know you probably have boxes and albums filled with old photos tucked away in the darkness of a garage or an attic. Why not put them on display? Mix and match black and white photos with color photos. You can frame some and leave others unframed. Every size is fair game. Before you hang them, play around with the layout to make sure the gallery is balanced. If you’re not a fan of asymmetrical arrangements, you can keep all your ducks in a row by choosing photos of the same size and lining up the frames neatly.

4. Put your collection on display.

Most people have a collection of some kind. Whether it’s postcards, mugs, or ships in bottles, consider putting them on display so everyone can enjoy your collection as much as you do. Floating shelves are a trendy and easy way to do this. They can be purchased or built. To keep it fresh, display a few items from your collection at a time and switch them out every once in a while.

5. Cover a wall with chalkboard paint.

When you’re a kid, walls can look a little too much like blank canvases. If your kids or grandkids have been guilty of coloring on the walls, there is a solution. Cover one wall or half of a wall with chalkboard paint. This will save both the walls and their creativity. Adults can benefit from chalkboard walls too. Paint an office wall for quick and easy brainstorming, or paint the side of a kitchen cabinet to use as a shopping list.

6. Make handwritten labels for your jars.

Another way to organize the kitchen is to place everything in jars. For example, dry pasta, flour, oats or sugar placed in jars can make for easier cooking and baking. Add chalkboard labels and use a chalk marker to customize the jars. There’s something charming about using your own handwriting to label your kitchen.

7. Show off your quilts and blankets on a blanket ladder.

Whether your linen closet is filled with heirloom quilts or simply cozy blankets for guests, get them out in the open for all to see. A blanket ladder is a creative accent piece that adds a touch of comfort to any space. As a bonus, it’s also functional – no one will have to waste time searching for a blanket when it gets chilly.

8. Organize with baskets.

A few baskets are an easy way to take the organization of your pantry or linen closet to another level. They’ll get a messy area in tip-top shape with little effort. You could buy a set of matching ones, or make it fun – go on a basket hunt at antique stores to curate your own personal basket collection.

9. Paint your front door.

We’ll admit, switching up the part of your house that is front and center takes some boldness. However, this is one of the easiest ways to let your personality shine through your home. No colors are off limits. Choose your favorite hue because bright and bold front doors are in. It may make a bold statement, but it doesn’t take a lot of commitment. If that bright yellow is too cheery or that deep blue too drab, just cover it up with a fresh coat.

10. Light up a space with string lights.

String lights may be trendy, but the creativity comes when choosing where you want to hang them. Porches and patios are obvious choices, but think outside the box. What about stringing them across your garage ceiling to make the walk from the car a new experience? Place them around your living room or wrap them around the banister of your stairs. The options are endless, and the choice is yours.

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