SPRING FORECAST: Increasing sun and warmth, no matter what’s happening in the news. And we also forecast that you’ll be spending a lot of time at home this season. That means now more than ever you want your home to be good-looking, inviting and safe.
Spring home improvement is always a spirit lifter. And since coronavirus-related social distancing and shelter in place began, Lowes has seen an increase in sales of home project supplies. But keep a few tips in mind if you’re considering do-it-yourself right now:
– Just say “no” to overly challenging DIY, especially involving electricity, plumbing, your roof or power tools. You do NOT want to land in a hospital emergency room at the moment. They’re hotbeds of infection, and brave medical personnel are already stretched way beyond their limits.
– Think twice about large scale projects that require pulling a permit and passing inspection. Local building authorities are working at less than full capacity and likely will be for a while.
– If you hire a contractor, try to focus on projects outside your main living area: lawn and garden, outdoor A/C unit, garage and basement. (When you do need to bring a service pro into your home – say your air conditioner goes kablooey – follow social distancing precautions.)
That being said, let’s look at seven home improvement projects, both DIY and pro, that will refresh your spirit this spring.
Renew art on front door, mantel and walls
Remove whatever currently adorns your mantel and front door (evergreen branches, pinecones, burlap, anything dark or heavy). Then refresh your space with bright, airy decor. The local dollar store isn’t a resource for craft materials this year, so shop your closet or junk drawer for silk flowers, bits of ribbon and so on (or your garden, if you’re lucky enough to have blooms by now).
For wall art, the sky (or should we say, “the ceiling”)’s the limit. Engage kids by collecting a collage of family photos. Encourage older offspring to embellish images with digital special effects and their younger siblings to cut pix (printed on inexpensive printer paper) into fun shapes. Then show off the results in a floor-to-ceiling display.
Kid friendly: Can be adapted for any age.
Now the weather’s warmer, get that long-delayed house painting done. A relatively fast and easy project is painting your entry door. If you’re more ambitious (and have someone to keep the children busy elsewhere while you work), redo the living room or a bedroom or two in an adventurous shade like rich gold or deep aqua.
Social distancing friendly: Hire a painter to update your home’s exterior.
Build a paver patio
Whether or not it’s still necessary to shelter in place come summer, a new patio is something the whole family will enjoy under any circumstances. And unlike a deck, a patio does not usually require pulling a permit because it’s built less than 30 inches above grade. A patio constructed of concrete pavers won’t need a pour permit either.
Social distancing friendly: Find a landscaper to build your paver patio.
Create an interactive garden
Even when you’re limiting your human visitors because of social distancing, you can still welcome butterflies to your garden. Choose flower species these winged creatures love, such as the aptly named butterfly bush, from an online plant supplier. Depending on how far spring’s come along where you live, this may be either a planting project or a planning project for now.
Kid friendly: Good for about age 7 and up.
Refresh your driveway
Have your driveway repaved or resealed for a harder-wearing and/or better-looking surface. Options range from concrete resurfacing for problems such as driveway spalling, all the way to elegant decorative techniques like stamped concrete.
Social distancing friendly: Look for a concrete pro with expertise in these specialized techniques. NOTE: To repave the part of your driveway on the municipal right-of-way, you may need a permit.
Upgrade your garage doors
When you have an attached garage out front, your garage doors are super visible, so it’s important to keep them looking their best. If your garage doors just need a slight touch of refreshment, you can apply some stain or add faux windows.
Social distancing friendly: For garage doors seriously past their prime (20 years old or more), hire a professional to replace them, for safety as well as aesthetic reasons.
Spring clean up
Spring cleaning does great things for your spirit once it’s finished, rather than while it’s a work in progress … but since you’re stuck at home anyway, why not go for it? Just take it easy on the decluttering this year, because selling or donating castoffs is not much of an option at the moment. Focus on the area of your choice – yard, gutters, indoors are all good.
Kid friendly: With some smooth talking, you may be able to convince younger kids that cleaning is fun. Once they get taller and/or smarter than you, all bets are off. However, they may be so bored by now that they’ll actually be willing to help.
Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.