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8 DIY Projects You Really Should Know How to Do Yourself

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You don’t have to be an expert or even close to one to tackle basic home improvements yourself. In fact, there are several that even the most unhandy people can become pros at and should.

“There is a range of projects and tasks that you can do on your own to keep your home maintained and running,” says David Steckel, director of strategic partnerships at the home services site Thumbtack. However, Steckel cautions that when it comes to more technical or larger scale projects, homeowners should consider hiring a professional, at least for parts of it, to save themselves aggravation and the added expense of calling an expert to fix a failed DIY attempt.

Below, Steckel and Angela Cacace, a designer, contractor, and owner of A.Marie Design Build, share their advice on the home improvements that you should feel confident and ready to conquer on your own. Bring them on!

Cleaning your furnace, AC, or other systems

Steckel says that regularly changing the filters of your house’s furnace, AC, and plumbing systems helps avoid costly fixes in the future. Read the manufacturer’s specifications to figure out the right filter size and style, and buy the filters in bulk to save some money. When you do change them, look out for leaks, staining, or new rust. Call a pro if you see any.

Fixing loose cabinet doors

Cacace recommends learning how to fix loose cabinet doors—an all-too-common occurrence in any home. “You can tighten the fit with a screwdriver and toothpicks,” she says. Keeping the hinge on the door, unscrew the loose cabinet hinge from the base of the cabinet, and stick one toothpick at a time in the existing screw hole. Break the end of the toothpick off once it reaches the depth of the hole, and continue with as many toothpicks as possible until you can’t fit any more. Re-attach the cabinet hinge for a new snug fit.

Add open shelving to empty wall space

Who couldn’t do with a couple of extra open shelves at home? They’re a great way to display prettier mugs, tchotchkes such as pottery, and books.  

Pick up some ready-to-hang shelving, which usually comes with the brackets and screws you need. Home Depot’s video offers a step-by-step tutorial on correctly hanging the shelves.

Painting a room

Painting a room such as a bedroom or a bathroom is a great, cost-saving way to refresh a space for any DIY skill level.  Follow Steckel’s step-by-step instructions for a foolproof job: First, move anything small or fragile to somewhere safe, and move furniture out of the way or protect it with drop cloths and plastic. Cover floors as well. Then, scrape away any loose paint, patch or fill in any holes, sand the area you’re painting, prime, and sand again. Finally, paint two coats over the desired area.

Changing handles and hardware

Kitchen cabinet hardware, entry doorknobs, door stoppers, and hinges can add a luxurious feeling to your home, says Steckel, and upgrading your current hardware with a new look is an approachable project. This handy video shows you how to get the job done.

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