As we step into 2024, home improvement projects are not just about beautifying spaces but also about integrating efficiency and smart technology into our daily lives. From efficient smart home technology to eco-friendly garden practices, this guide brings you the top 12 easy home improvement projects that combine convenience, sustainability, and style.
According to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, “Home improvements also tend to raise neighborhood standards and, as a result, property values. From an economic standpoint, home improvements mean higher employment, increased markets for materials and home products-and therefore a more flourishing community.”
Imagine walking up to your door and it unlocks automatically, no fumbling for keys. That’s the convenience smart locks bring to your everyday life.
Types of Smart Locks
Keypad Locks: Perfect for those who appreciate the simplicity of a code. Just a few taps and you’re in, with no keys to weigh you down.
Biometric Locks: For the tech enthusiasts, these locks read your fingerprint, offering personalized security that feels like it’s straight out of a spy movie.
Smartphone-Controlled Locks: For those who love control at their fingertips, these locks sync with your phone, giving you the power to secure your home from anywhere.
Installing smart locks is a straightforward process. Most smart locks come with detailed installation instructions and can be installed using basic tools. You can also find many step-by-step video guides to help you set up your new lock easily.
Install Energy Efficient Features
Upgrading your home with energy-efficient features is a practical step towards lower utility bills and a smaller environmental footprint.
Energy-efficient improvements like double-glazed windows work wonders in maintaining your home’s temperature, reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling. Switching to eco-friendly insulation materials like sheep’s wool or recycled denim can further boost your home’s energy efficiency. These upgrades not only save you money but also support a healthier environment.
In addition to insulation and windows, consider upgrading to energy-efficient appliances. Appliances like ENERGY STAR-rated refrigerators, washing machines, and HVAC systems are designed to operate efficiently, conserving energy and reducing your environmental impact.
Boost Curb Appeal
Boosting curb appeal often begins with the garden. Opt for low-maintenance, perennial plants that offer lasting beauty with minimal upkeep. These resilient plants return each year, sparing you the effort of annual replanting. Complement your garden beds with mulch for a polished look that also nurtures the soil beneath.
However, enhancing the entrance of your home is equally essential. It’s more than just a doorway; it’s a statement of welcome and style. A simple refresh of the front door with vibrant paint, modern hardware, and tasteful plant arrangements can dramatically transform its appeal.
Remember, boosting curb appeal doesn’t demand extensive changes. Minor updates like new outdoor lighting fixtures or charming window boxes can significantly enhance the appearance of your home.
Install a Smart Irrigation Controller
Imagine a system that intuitively knows just when and how much to water your garden. That’s the brilliance of a smart irrigation controller. These devices go far beyond traditional watering systems, using smart technology to tailor water usage to the specific needs of your plants, based on factors like weather conditions, soil moisture, and plant type.
Setting up a smart irrigation controller is usually a simple task. Most come with comprehensive guides and can be installed with basic DIY tools. The installation process typically involves removing your old controller, connecting the new device, and establishing a stable Wi-Fi connection. After installing, take the time to customize settings and get acquainted with the controls, ensuring your garden gets precisely what it needs.
Freshen Up an Old Room with Paint
Updating a room with a fresh coat of paint is more than a weekend project; it’s an opportunity to breathe new life into your space.
The secret to a successful painting job lies in choosing the right paint. Eco-friendly options, low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), offers a healthier indoor environment and is kinder to the planet. Consider the paint’s durability and finish – be it glossy, matte, or satin – to match the room’s function and your style vision.
When painting walls, a roller is best for wide, flat surfaces, while brushes are ideal for getting into edges and corners. Start from the top and work your way down to avoid drips. For woodwork or furniture, light sanding before painting ensures better adhesion. Apply paint in even strokes and avoid overloading the brush to keep drips at bay. And for ceilings, an extension pole can be a lifesaver, making the job easier and more even.
Start a Compost Pile
Composting is an efficient way to repurpose kitchen scraps and yard debris into nourishing soil for your garden. This process not only reduces household waste but also enriches your garden soil, reducing the reliance on chemical fertilizers and helping retain soil moisture.
Beginning your composting is straightforward. Select a spot in your yard that is dry and shaded, preferably near a water source for convenience. Whether you choose a structured compost bin or a simple open pile, ensure there’s adequate space for turning the compost, which is vital for efficient decomposition.
A successful compost pile requires a balance of ‘green’ nitrogen-rich materials like vegetable peels and grass clippings, and ‘brown’ carbon-rich materials such as dry leaves and shredded paper. Avoid adding materials like meat or dairy products to prevent attracting pests and producing unpleasant odors.
Maintain your compost pile by turning it regularly to aerate it, which speeds up the composting process and prevents foul smells. The compost should be kept moist, but not overly wet. When the material at the bottom of the pile becomes dark, crumbly, and earthy in smell, it’s ready to be used.
Add a Smart Thermostat and Smart Lights
Imagine adjusting the temperature and lighting in your home with just a simple tap on your smartphone or a voice command. Smart thermostats and lights bring this convenience into your daily life. These devices are designed not only to enhance comfort but also to significantly reduce energy usage, blending ease of use with eco-friendly living.
Smart thermostats learn your temperature preferences, automatically adjusting to keep you comfortable while saving energy. Smart lights add to this convenience, letting you control brightness and color, and even schedule when they turn on and off, perfect for both mood-setting and security.
One of the great advantages of these smart devices is their ease of installation. Upgrading to a smart thermostat typically involves a straightforward process of removing your old unit, connecting a few wires, and completing setup through an app. Similarly, installing smart lights often requires nothing more than changing a lightbulb and connecting it to your Wi-Fi network. Just follow the provided instructions, and you’ll quickly enjoy the benefits of a smarter, more responsive home.
Add Ceiling Fans for Comfort and Savings
Ceiling fans are exceptionally versatile, providing cooling in the summer and aiding in heating during winter. In summer, set them to run counterclockwise for a cool breeze, helping you use less air conditioning. In winter, change the direction to clockwise. The fan will push warm air down, evenly heating the room and reducing your heating needs.
While installing a ceiling fan is generally a manageable DIY project, remember that it is important to securely mount the fan and make sure that the electrical box can support its weight.
Add a Water Filter to Your Sink
A sink water filter does more than just provide clean drinking water. It reduces the need for bottled water, cutting down on plastic waste. By filtering out harmful contaminants like chlorine, lead, and pesticides, it ensures your water is not only better tasting but also safer for consumption.
The range of under-sink water filters includes simple carbon filters, ideal for enhancing taste and odor, to more advanced reverse osmosis systems that tackle a wide array of contaminants. Consider additional features like change indicator lights, which remind you when it’s time to replace the filter.
Installing an under-sink water filter is typically a doable DIY task. Begin by turning off your sink’s cold-water supply. Attach the filter’s adapter to the water line, then connect the filter to this adapter. Mount the filter unit inside your cabinet and attach its faucet to your sink or countertop. Once installed, turn the water back on and check for leaks.
Update Window Treatments
Modern window treatments, such as smart blinds and energy-efficient curtains, offer more than just visual appeal.
Smart blinds are a game-changer, allowing you to adjust light and privacy easily through a button, an app, or voice commands. They can be programmed to open and close at certain times, aiding in energy efficiency. Energy-efficient curtains are another smart choice; they’re designed to insulate your home, keeping it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, and can help reduce energy bills.
Accurate measurement is crucial for the perfect fit of your new window treatments. Decide on whether to mount them inside the frame for a neat, contained look, or outside for added drama and the illusion of larger windows. If you’re not experienced in DIY installations, professional installation might be a better idea, especially for more complex setups.
Create a Dedicated Home Office Space
With more people working from home than ever before, creating a dedicated home office space has become essential. A well-designed home office not only boosts productivity but also helps maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Start with selecting the right furniture. An ergonomic chair that supports your back and encourages good posture is crucial. Pair it with a desk at a comfortable height, ideally with enough space for your computer, documents, and any other necessary tools. Consider a standing desk or an adjustable desk converter to alternate between sitting and standing.
Good lighting is vital in a home office. Natural light is ideal, so try to position your desk near a window. However, ensure that the setup doesn’t cause glare on your screen. Supplement with task lighting, like a desk lamp, to reduce eye strain. Choose bulbs that offer bright, clear light to keep you alert and focused.
Finally, make your home office a space where you enjoy spending time. Whether it’s through color choices, décor, or layout, ensure it reflects your personal style and enhances your work mood.
Build a Vegetable Garden
Building a vegetable garden in your backyard is a rewarding experience that benefits both your health and the environment.
The first step in creating a vegetable garden is selecting an appropriate location. Look for a spot that receives at least six hours of sunlight daily, as most vegetables need ample sunlight to thrive. Also, ensure the area has good drainage and is not prone to standing water, which can harm plant roots.
Soil preparation plays a crucial role in your garden’s success. Begin by clearing the area of weeds and debris. Then, enrich the soil with compost or well-rotted manure to provide nutrients for the plants. If your soil is too clayey or sandy, consider raised beds or containers, which allow better control over soil quality.
When deciding what to plant, consider your local climate and the vegetables you enjoy eating. Start with easy-to-grow vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers. If you’re a beginner, you might want to start with seedlings rather than seeds, as they are easier to establish. Plant your vegetables at the recommended spacing to ensure they have enough room to grow.
Regular watering is essential, especially during dry spells. However, be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot. Mulching around the plants can help retain soil moisture and suppress weeds. As your vegetables grow, keep an eye out for pests and diseases, addressing them promptly.