Top 6 DIY Projects to Aim for Before the Year is Up
As the end of the year approaches, many of us find ourselves staring at our annual “to-do” list and wondering how none of it got done. Resolutions and to-dos have a funny way of building up at year-end like that, don’t they?
Luckily, there’s hope for us procrastinators. There is still plenty of time left in the year to take some action and feel accomplished by the ringing in of the new year. Cue the victory champagne (or hot chocolate, if that’s more your thing).
Below, we’ll cover some ideas for DIY projects for home that you can work on before the year comes to a close. Hopefully, this will help get the juices flowing on end-of-year projects so that you can finish the year on a high.
In addition to laying out some winter-inspired, easy DIY projects (and some not-so-easy), we will cover the estimated costs of each project, and discuss some different ways to fund your end of the year projects, whether large or small.
To make it easy, the projects below are broken down into the following categories: home, yard, auto, and electronic. Don’t forget to share your favorite DIY projects for home in the comments section, below.
DIY Projects for Home
1.Paint an Accent Wall
Colored accent walls are having a moment right now. Deep reds, blues, and greens on a well-chosen wall have been gracing the pages of interior design magazines, but don’t be intimidated—this is a home DIY project that’s affordable and easy to pull off, especially if you have a couple of friends that can help. (Tip: Bribe them with pizza.)
Choose a wall that is a centerpiece or a focal point in a room, such as the wall behind a bed. An accent wall often looks best when paired with artwork, a cool piece of furniture such as shelving or an accent table, or some live foliage. Where in your home do you already have these things? Or where could you easily arrange them together?
Once that’s decided, it’s time to bust out the painting supplies. Although you can get everything you need from the hardware store in one fell swoop, it’s a good idea to do a test sample on a wall before you buy the can of paint.
After the test sample(s) are dry, take a look at them during different times of the day and in different lighting. Next, it’s time to start painting. Don’t be surprised if a dark color requires three coats. And don’t forget the painter’s tape.
Cost: $100 and up. One gallon of paint, which ranges from $75 to $90 , covers 400 square feet or the equivalent of a small room, like a bathroom. Depending on the size of the wall, you might need one or two gallons of paint.
Dreaming of snuggling up against a fireplace in the cold winter months? Us too. Nothing is cozier than a home with a fire. Fortunately, they aren’t quite as impossible to install as you might think—although maybe not totally “DIY.”
Before you get started, you’ll want to check with your city or county building department to determine whether you can add a fireplace, and if there are specification requirements.
How much work a fireplace requires depends on the type of fireplace you want. The easiest fireplace type to install is a direct-vent gas fireplace. These mount directly to an exterior wall, venting out through the back of the house. A wood-burning fireplace is slightly more difficult, because it requires a vertical chimney, but is still doable.
Fireplace installation can be done alone, but you’ll likely want to hire a contractor, who can help you make sure that the unit is installed correctly. A good contractor or handyman could have the job done in a couple of days, especially if it’s a direct-vent gas fireplace.
Cost: $4,000 and up. A direct-vent gas fireplace unit can cost as little as $2,000, but expect another $2,000 in installation costs . Building a wood-burning fireplace with a chimney and proper venting will be more expensive .
Other (easier) DIY projects to “warm up” your home: Create a small, cozy reading nook to curl up in when it’s cold inside. Infuse your space with indoor greenery, since there won’t be much outside. Replace old blinds with beautiful curtains.
DIY Yard Projects
3. Winter Shed
Do you leave your yard tools outside to turn rusty during the damp winter weather? Or do you cram so many yard tools into your garage that you have to park your car on the street? Don’t worry—you’re not alone.
Building a shed to store tools, a lawnmower, and other yard equipment before the winter sets in could be the perfect end-of-year project. You’ll be so happy next spring once the weather clears and your stuff is in good shape.
First, check with your city or county to be sure that you can build a shed on your property. Next, assess what will be stored in your shed and determine your desired size. After these steps, you’ll need to decide how basic or complex of a shed that you want—which will likely determine whether or not you want to hire a handyman.
Cost: $2,000 and up. (The national average is around $2,997 ). A simple, modular construction using affordable materials doesn’t have to break the bank. But as with any project, the level of involvement—and therefore the cost—can have a direct effect on final product.
Other easy your-future-self-will-thank-you DIY projects: Clean or replace broken gutters. Organize seeds and make a plan for planting season in the spring. For a more advanced project, build an outdoor porch swing or chair.
DIY Auto Projects
4. Driver Safety Kit
Driving in the winter can be scary, period. Not only can roads become slick while inclement weather makes it difficult to see, but a breakdown or crash could mean being stranded in cold, snowy, and rainy weather for hours. It’s a dang good idea to prepare for the worst before it happens.
It is possible to buy a pre-packaged driver safety kit, but you might want to consider a more DIY approach. A DIY driver safety kit could save you money by using what you already have around the house, and you can tailor it to your needs. That way, you can include items such as a pair of tennis shoes and a warm and weatherproof jacket in your size.
Other items to include in your safety box: Flashlight, batteries, simple tool kit, extra antifreeze and oil, a first aid kit, rock salt (or kitty litter), a shovel, duct tape, jumper cables, tire sealant, a tire jack, water and energy bars, knife, gas can and a lighter, emergency contact information, flares, an ice scraper, rope or other tie-downs, a few extra rags.
Cost: $43-$75 . The cost of building a DIY driver safety kit depends on how much stuff you already have.
5. Servicing and Repairs
It’s never fun to hop into your car and watch the service light turn on. It’s a drag, but it is an unavoidable part of owning or leasing a car.
Although auto repairs and maintenance may not fall under the umbrella of DIY projects, the approaching winter weather is a great excuse to make sure that your vehicle is in good working order.
Replace your wiper blades and fluid , repair any cracks in the windshield, check your heating and cooling system and tire tread, and make sure that your transmission, battery, and hoses and belts are up to snuff.
This is something you can do on your own, or you may find a check-up with a trusted mechanic to be preferable.
Cost: Depends on how much work needs to be done on your car, but a standard servicing by a mechanic could cost anywhere from $100 and above , repair any cracks in the windshield, check your heating and cooling system and tire tread, and make sure that your transmission, battery, and hoses and belts are up to snuff. If you opt to go DIY, these small updates could cost less.
Other easy DIY projects: Detail your car. Put together a driver safety kit for a teenager in your life who might not have one or can’t afford it. Create DIY car air fresheners using essential oils. Sew a DIY car seat protector.
DIY Electronic Projects
6. Entertainment System Upgrade
It’s tough to avoid spending lots of time indoors during the winter months. Therefore, it’s probably best to accept that life will mostly happen indoors for a while and transform your home into a cozy place that you enjoy nesting in for the winter.
One way to do this is to upgrade your entertainment system. This DIY electronic project could be as simple as buying a new television or streaming device (such as an Apple TV or Roku), or as complex as buying and installing an entirely new system including speakers, mounting, and all of the appropriate cords to go with it.
If you’re going all-in on a new entertainment system, you may want to consider a home theater starter kit. While these don’t generally come with a TV, they do include a set of high-quality speakers that can deliver the necessary oomph without breaking the bank.
Cost: $2,000 and up , repair any cracks in the windshield, check your heating and cooling system and tire tread, and make sure that your transmission, battery, and hoses and belts are up to snuff. .
Other easy DIY projects: (Finally) back up all of your photos and important documents into cloud storage. Sync up all of your devices. Or even replace your phone battery.
Funding Your DIY Projects
A smart way to fund a big project is to save up for the project in advance. A great savings technique is to set up a separate savings account and have money from your checking account automatically sent there each month.
If you are unable to pay for your DIY project out-of-pocket as you decide to do it, there are other options. Instead of running up credit card debt, which can have an insanely high rate of interest, you may wish to consider taking out a personal loan from a trusted lender.
Online-only lenders such as SoFi offer loans at competitive rates—often with no hidden fees. Especially if your DIY project could provide a positive return on your investment, an affordable loan might be worth considering.
It’s not too late to make the most of this calendar year. Harness the energy and drive you have for the holidays and pour it into a DIY project that will leave you feeling proud and accomplished.
You can use your indoor days to do more than just veg out, hide from the rain, and watch Netflix—and get those creative DIY juices flowing.
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