Home Improvements: The Little Things

It isn’t always possible to do a major house project because either the time or the money (or both) are simply not there.  But you might still want to do a bunch of little projects over time.  Here are a few ideas for minor projects that you may want to do that won’t cost an arm and a leg and that will spruce up your home quite a bit.

The Front Door

Replacing the front door is one of the most-often recommended remodeling tips.  But the $3,000 price tag may not be in everyone’s budget.  That does not mean you can’t do anything at all.

First of all you can paint it.  We did and I was amazed at how good our door looked afterwards.  Second, you can install an electronic lock.  That will certainly spruce things up a bit.  It will also make living in your home a lot easier.  We got our electronic locks after we locked ourselves out of our house and then had the memorable experience of dealing with after-hours locksmiths.  The day after, we went out and bought our first smart or electronic lock.  We never used keys since because the keys are (for all intents and purposes) stored in our head.

These locks are also quite useful to have when you have company coming in from out of town.  You can just program their code into the lock and, all of a sudden, they too have a key.  (Whether you de-program the code after they leave is entirely up to you).  And, if that wasn’t enough, it turns out that the electronic locks are actually harder to hack than it is to pick a traditional lock.  Some of the digital locks even have key fobs and will enable you to open your house door the same way you open your car door.  So you don’t have to put down that bag of groceries to punch in your code; just press a button and you can go inside.  So, a digital lock is definitely worth getting.  All the more so since you will be able to re-install it on the brand new door should you ever decide to do that at some point.


A full-on landscape job may not be in you budget.  (Or if it is in your budget, you may not be the gardening type and so it may not be a priority for you.) Again, that does not mean you should do nothing.  You could (for example) re-seed your lawn and organize things a little with a new hose hanger.  Neither the seeds nor the hose hanger will take up a lot of time, both can be done by someone who knows absolutely nothing about gardening or landscaping and both make the backyard look so much greener and tidier.


There are many little things you can do to spruce up the inside of your home too.  So I’ll mention just a few.  You can, for example, change the light switches.  If you have the traditional single-pole light switches, you could change them for the decorative Leviton switches.  And in the living room you could install a dimmer switch with a motion detector.

While you’re at it, you might want to consider changing the thermostat as well.  Thermostats tend to be located in the living room and, if you are in a small home as we are, that is often one of the first things you see when you walk in.  And if the thermostat has not been changed in a while, it is probably old-fashioned and not the prettiest of specimens.  Changing it to something a bit more modern can give your whole living room a different look.


None of these minor projects will eat up a big chunk of change, all of them are little projects you can do yourself and, quite crucially, they can be spaced out over a long period of time.  So you could, for example, re-seed your yard one month and change (some) of the light switches the next.  And that means you have the time to look around for a great deal and wait for things to go on sale.  That too will make them more doable.  And when you do them, not only are you adding value to your home, you are making your home a more pleasant place to live in.

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