6 Small Home Projects to Tackle Without Spending Money

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If being cooped up at home has you feeling antsy to take on new projects but social distancing and the need to stay home are keeping you from running out to the nearest hardware store or craft supply shop, fear not! There are plenty of small, DIY projects you can undertake right at home that will fill your creative void, scratch the proverbial handy-person's itch, and even reduce your stress levels — all using some basic items or tools that you probably already have at home. Get ready to feel productive — you can thank us later!


1. Rearrange your furniture.

What better way to give new life to an existing space without spending a single penny than by simply moving some furniture around? Rearranging your furniture, even if it's just a few pieces, can really refresh any room and allow you to appreciate your space in a new way and look at your furniture with new eyes. If you've already had to relocate a desk from one room to another to create a home office, consider that a head start on this project. There's no time like the present to finish it!

2. De-clutter your home.

Whether you're able to go outside and enjoy it or not, spring has sprung, and that means that the season for cleaning has officially started. Because you're spending more time at home than usual, you may find that it's even more critical to be in a neat and tidy space and that it's more cathartic than usual to get rid of things you've never used or are outdated. Letting go of things can be hard, but you'll be in a cleaner, better organized, and more manageable home.

3. Repaint your furniture.

If rearranging your furniture has inspired you to go one step further in your stay-at-home renovation, consider painting a few pieces of furniture that you already have. Chances are you have a few cans of paint and some painting supplies lying around from previous projects. If the leftovers are from when you painted a room or two in your home, the paint is probably a neutral color that will work well in a range of different spaces. Now might also be the time to experiment with paint as well — think about patterns, stripes, mixing colors, whatever your heart desires.


4. Take on the long-procrastinated project.

We all have those couple of projects that we always mean address on a Sunday afternoon when there's nothing better to do ... only to find that we're very good at finding better things to do! Whether it's fixing that broken shelf in the closet (you just scored extra closet space!), sorting through your sock drawer and discovering the ones that no longer have a match (how are there so many? Where do they go?), or installing the picture that's been sitting on your floor (it really does look better at eye level) for months, you'll feel a definite surge of accomplishment and satisfaction once you've knocked this little project out.

5. Treat yourself to some DIY aromatherapy.

The concept of aromatherapy is pretty straightforward: certain scents, usually in the form of essential oils and aromatics, can promote health and well-being both physically and emotionally. Just because you don't have a bottle of essential oil or a scented candle lying around doesn't mean you can't benefit, though. Try boiling some citrus peels with cinnamon and a few other pantry spices and you'll feel energized and invigorated, ready for whatever your day has in store for you (even if it's just working from home).

6. Work on your artful arranging.

If rearranging your furniture feels like too big of a task (or something you've already completed!), turn your attention — and your eye — to rearranging your shelves, coffee tables, credenza, or anywhere where you have stacks of books or items to display. Play around with the number of items (our eyes tend to prefer odd numbers rather than even, because they seek a center point), symmetry versus asymmetry, and varying heights of items. You may also want to think about with color versus monochrome, different textures and materials, and other visual characteristics before settling on your preferred scheme — which, of course, you can always update and change!


Kate Reggev, AIA, is New York-based architect, design writer, architectural historian, and educator with a love for buildings — old, new, and everything in between.

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