Author Topic: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?  (Read 4070 times)

jeromedawg

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I'm talking about the more involved projects beyond swapping incandescent for LED bulbs, painting, etc... so more of the 'major' remodel types of things... well, I guess if you're doing a TON of painting and or painting exteriors then that's different and you could include that ;)

Maybe things like putting on backsplash, laying hardwood flooring, installing new toilets, etc...

Please especially feel free to include those projects you thought were going to be really difficult that ended up being a 'piece of cake'

Have more than 5? Feel free to include those too!

Just curious to hear about what others are doing here :)

On the flip-side, I'd also love to know some of the projects you took on that you wish you maybe shouldn't have or that were much harder than you anticipated where it might have been better to hire someone or just hold off on doing it all together.


Mgmny

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2017, 05:51:11 PM »
1. Laminate flooring is pretty easy, and end result looks good.
2. Installing WiFi enabled thermostat
3. Replacing old outlets/light switches
4. Replacing light fixtures
5. Installing  new cabinetry
« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 06:08:35 PM by Mgmny »

GuitarStv

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2017, 06:06:42 PM »
Most projects are easy, some are just more time consuming.

- Replacing toilets
- Cutting out the old one and replacing our front door
- Installing laminate flooring
- Framing
- Installing drywall on walls
- Mudding drywall
- Painting
- Landscaping (digging up flower beds, building block walls, planting trees and bushes)
- Running new electrical boxes and lights


It's easier to list things that I found difficult:
- Installing drywall on the ceiling (physically quite taxing to do on your own)
- Sanding drywall mud from the ceiling (physically taxing and miserable - crap falling on your face/getting in your eyes even with protective goggles, a hat, and a mask)
- Doing just about anything in the attic (itchy, dirty, cramped, and hot)

Mgmny

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2017, 06:11:36 PM »
- Doing just about anything in the attic (itchy, dirty, cramped, and hot)

So true. Just went up in mine two days ago to change out the bathroom fan (worthless, loud 50 CFM to whisper quiet 110 CFM). No more foggy bathroom mirror!

It was probably over 110° up there, got tons of insulation in my eyes, mouth, very dark, and had to crouch/kneel on boards 24" apart. Not fun

Al1961

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2017, 08:10:09 PM »
We just removed conditions on our permanent retirement home today, so I have an extensive list of upcoming DIY projects. I won't finish it all this year.

1. Install hardwood flooring in most of house
2. Tile Flooring in kitchen and bathrooms.
3. Reface brick gas fireplace with slate, add oak mantle.
4. Tile back splash - just did this on a condo we're selling, will need to do it again on the new to us place.
5. Install pot lights in kitchen and living room, ceiling fans in two bedrooms. Son in law is a licensed electrician, so maybe he'll help if I'm not done before the kids come to visit.

Not so easy
6. Build and replace kitchen cabinets. Last time I built the cabinets, but bought unfinished doors and drawer fronts. This time I'll build some shaker style ones out of maple.
7. Building a master suite on the lower level of the house, including an ensuite. Will sub out the concrete cutting and plumbing rough in.
8. Build greenhouse, and relocate hot tub to greenhouse. That will probably do most of the greenhouse heating in the winter on Vancouver Island.


The walls in the new place are a bit rough, and painted hideous, bold, clashing colours. I'll probably hire a plastering crew to skim coat the entire house. I know I won't be able to take this one on myself.

Al

« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 08:13:14 PM by Al1961 »
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ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2017, 05:28:05 AM »
Installing a backsplash is super easy with SimpleMat. Replacing light fixtures, adding a fan box where the light box wasn't connected to any joists, click flooring, outlets/switches would fill out my top 5.

intellectsucks

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2017, 09:43:19 AM »
As others have said, installing laminate/engineered flooring is crazy easy and offers a big “bang for the buck” improvement.  I haven’t physically done it (so others may correct me), but installing tongue in groove hardwood flooring seems to be nearly as easy too.
I don’t know what you mean by easy, but most concrete work isn’t complex, so it’s not too difficult to get it to look good.  It’s very physically demanding though.
Replacing light fixtures/outlets/switches.
Repairing tile grout
Installing ceiling fans
A hell of a lot of car repairs are pretty easy and can save you a TON of money.  Most can be done with a simple ratchet wrench and socket set.  Youtube how to replace the part you need on your cars model year to see the difficulty level.

More difficult projects (I’m not saying these should be hired out, just that you may need special tools or expertise):
Replacing windows.  You don’t know the conditions of the framing, insulation, capping, etc until you rip the old one out.  If you’re going to do this, be prepared to completely reframe and recap the whole window.
Hanging new interior doors.  You need to be fairly precise when cutting to size and when cutting out the mortises(indents) for the hinges and lock/handle set.
Replacing “sections” of walls, rooms, etc.  I put this for a couple of reasons, mostly because when you rip out one part of a wall or room, you never know what’s behind what you’re ripping out.  There are likely to be unforeseen complications.  The other reason is project creep.  If you decide to replace a bathtub with a shower stall, you may decide that you “need” new tile flooring; then a new sink; then a new cabinet; etc, etc, etc.

BackNColo

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2017, 12:59:09 PM »
For me:
 1. light switches and plugs
 2. Ceiling fans (if already wired and boxed for a fan)
 3. sweating pipes (one of the few plumbing things I don't hate)
 4. Raised garden beds
 5. cat5/wireless

Worst/ at:
1. finishing drywall
2. plumbing

HipGnosis

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2017, 08:01:27 PM »
We just removed conditions on our permanent retirement home today, so...
I've never heard this term before.  What does it mean??

Al1961

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2017, 02:05:38 PM »
We just removed conditions on our permanent retirement home today, so...
I've never heard this term before.  What does it mean??

We submitted a conditional offer on the house. Conditions included, among other things, a home inspection. We actually renegotiated the price down due to a defect found by the inspection.

All conditions must be formally removed by a specific date written into the offer, or the offer to purchase lapses. We removed conditions as all conditional items were resolved to our satisfaction. We have been the owners of the place since June 23.

Al

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dess1313

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2017, 03:04:51 AM »
things that made my place look totally refreshed and generally are easier DIY

new light fixtures, that old dingy brass had to go
new door knobs, (and door bumpers in needed areas)
fresh paint (including the stipple ceiling)
laminate flooring
You can keep an old sink if its decent, scrub it down good and put new taps on it.  you would never know the difference, esp if its stainless steel

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gooki

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2017, 03:20:54 AM »
Paint
Light switches
Door knobs/handles
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gardeningandgreen

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2017, 07:20:30 AM »
We are doing a full remodel on our house ourselves so many things have come up!
The easy list.
1. Vinyl siding-Easy to put up and looks really nice now!
2. Installing new drywall
3. Mudding and taping drywall-This surprised me because so many people have said not to do it yourself and that it is just too difficult. If you have patience and an eye for detail it isn't too bad. It does take quite a bit of time though.
4. Running new electrical-Another one of those things that people say not to do but wasn't actually that hard. We had everything inspected and it is all up to code. The hardest part was drilling through some of our studs due to the fact that the house is over 100 years old and had some funky framing.
5. Installing new appliances.

Things that were much harder than we thought they would be.
1. Removing Plaster! For the love of god this was awful. Its dirty and its hard and its heavy.
2. Reframing in windows in a 100 year old house-Nothing is level and nothing is how it is built today. Fun fact 2X4's used to actually be 2" by 4" it makes things look silly
3. Installing doors-This just made me angry because it all has to be perfect to fit in the frame and our house doesn't have a square or level spot anywhere.

Most everything else has been about how we expected. Coming from 2 millennials in their 20s who are remodeling their first house I feel like most any project can be undertaken with a bit of youtube and knowing that its not going to be perfect. The only project so far that we have decided was beyond our skills has been pouring the foundation for our garage.

DangleStash

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2017, 08:54:40 AM »
1. Deep cleaning - you'd be amazed at how good a house can look once everything has been scrubbed
2. Repaint the faces of your trim, and touch up any chips.  If you use a mini roller then brush it in, this can be done really quickly
3. Replace or clean light switches and switchplates
4. LED bulbs everywhere.  No more waiting for CFLs to heat up, and you'll finally be able to see into the dark corners of the basement.
5. Landscaping.  Just about anyone can do it.
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fixie

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2017, 06:29:16 PM »
I've found over the years that the hardest parts to any project are 1. Starting and 2. Fully completing to the very end!
1.  Replacing outlets and light fixtures.
2.  Tiling a fireplace, kitchen floor.
3.  Hardwood floor install.  Subfloor doesn't have to be level, but it helps if it is flat.  ;)
4.  New base moulding/trim after HW floor install.
5.  Installing a toilet is very easy and the "rewards" are instantaneous...especially if you have a ladyfriend.
6.  Rainwater catchment system with solar powered pumped drip irrigation to raised beds.

Worst projects over the last 7 years in no particular order:
1.  Re-insulating the entire attic under a hip roof.  Picture yourself masked up in a tyvek suit and goggles and gloves inching your way across boards on your belly laid out over the ceiling joists and contorting yourself into tight spaces all while trying to pull large batts of insulation along.  Seriously, just hire someone.
2.  Tiling a tiny bathroom floor in 2 inch hexagonal tile.
3.  All plumbing...just something I hate about replacing old plumbing and adapting new to old.  PEX makes life much easier.
**4.  Perhaps the worst project was almost single-handedly cleaning up 40 years of detritus on a short sale, amounting to 2 10 yard dumpsters of junk, old carpet, rotting clothing...you name it.  Memorable items discovered were:
  a.  A stalactite of animal urine hanging from a ceiling joist in the basement.
  b.  A triangular dust bunny the size of a medium sized dog behind a door in a creepy room full of old dolls that seemed to stare at you no matter where you were in the room.
  c.  A 30+ year old half-gallon of milk put into a freezer 1 week before Mt. Saint Helens blew up...along with a bluish gray chicken carcass.  All this frozen into a giant ice block.

Not sure where this one is yet but I have a full bath/laundry to build out which I have just completed the purchase of all the materials and fixtures for.  Think I've gotten all the horror stories into my past now though...hahaha
On a happy note the home has almost tripled in value in Seattle kraykray real estate town.
-fixie

Bracken_Joy

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2017, 06:39:52 PM »
One project that ended up being WAY harder than I expected was replacing the $(*#& weather stripping on the front door. You know that little vinyl sweep that helps keep cold air out? First: couldn't find the right stuff to replace it with. Found new whole "door shoes" for sale, but we just needed the vinyl! The universal ones were too deep, or the wrong width. When we finally contacted the manufacturer to get the new vinyl (which they said they didn't have and didn't make, but included two strips in with the note saying that?!), then we couldn't get it in to save our damn lives. Had to take the (massive, heavy, glass inset) door completely off the hinges and bend metal and remove a screw to be able to get the new one in. JFC, we lost like 3 weekends to that goddamn tiny strip of vinyl.

Easy:
-Replacing outlets
-Replacing light fixtures (including chandeliers)
-Recaulking showers and sink rim
Easier than expected:
-Replacing sink faucets
-Replacing shower cartridge
-Installing dishwasher

Harder than expected: installing a built in microwave. Shit be heavy, template sucks, it ended up being trial and error adjusting tiny spacer blocks less than 1/4" this way or that >.<
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GuitarStv

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2017, 08:03:13 AM »
  c.  A 30+ year old half-gallon of milk put into a freezer 1 week before Mt. Saint Helens blew up...along with a bluish gray chicken carcass.  All this frozen into a giant ice block.

Did the milk still taste OK?

jax8

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2017, 10:55:23 AM »
Surprisingly Easy:

1. Patching fairly large holes in the wall. I found metal patches pre-attached to sticky mesh in lots of sizes at the hardware store. It goes on like a sticker, then you can smear the compound over top. Sand, prime, paint. 

2. Refinishing painted furniture.  I've mastered the heat gun (the key is to have sturdy cardboard boxes to scrape the paint globs into) followed by paint stripper. Minwax makes are great stain/poly all-in-one that is super easy to paint on.  No more painting on, rubbing off the excess for stain. 

3. Installing a new toilet. You-Tube has so many tutorials on this.  We were terrified, but it turned out to be the #1 easiest part of our powder room remodel.

NEVER AGAIN:

1. Installing vinyl plank snap in "wood" flooring in the bathroom.  The whole "just score and break over your knee!" hype only works if you're breaking a fairly significant chunk of the board off.  If you need to trim off 3" or less, or cut out the multiple trim details around door jambs, or cut a 1-1/2" diameter hole in the board for a pipe--GOOD FREAKING LUCK.  We used every type of saw, knife, and even drill that we owned trying to get it to work. To top it off, I'm not even that thrilled with the finished look.  It's okay.  I wanted more than okay.


2. Refinishing hardwood floors - It isn't so much about the dust and the work (which was bad) but it's the stain and poly fumes.  They lingered in the house for over a week and made it unlivable.  The finished floors look amazing, but I would only do this on a house I haven't moved in yet!

jax8

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2017, 11:36:48 AM »
1 more easy project - wall paper removal!  All you need is a scorer tool, a scraper, a wall paper steamer, and patience.  Skip the chemical sprays.  The overspray ate through the finish on my hardwood floor, and the steamer was way more powerful and faster than any spray.

CptCool

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2017, 01:43:28 PM »
Surprisingly Easy:

1. Patching fairly large holes in the wall. I found metal patches pre-attached to sticky mesh in lots of sizes at the hardware store. It goes on like a sticker, then you can smear the compound over top. Sand, prime, paint. 

2. Refinishing painted furniture.  I've mastered the heat gun (the key is to have sturdy cardboard boxes to scrape the paint globs into) followed by paint stripper. Minwax makes are great stain/poly all-in-one that is super easy to paint on.  No more painting on, rubbing off the excess for stain. 

3. Installing a new toilet. You-Tube has so many tutorials on this.  We were terrified, but it turned out to be the #1 easiest part of our powder room remodel.

NEVER AGAIN:

1. Installing vinyl plank snap in "wood" flooring in the bathroom.  The whole "just score and break over your knee!" hype only works if you're breaking a fairly significant chunk of the board off.  If you need to trim off 3" or less, or cut out the multiple trim details around door jambs, or cut a 1-1/2" diameter hole in the board for a pipe--GOOD FREAKING LUCK.  We used every type of saw, knife, and even drill that we owned trying to get it to work. To top it off, I'm not even that thrilled with the finished look.  It's okay.  I wanted more than okay.


2. Refinishing hardwood floors - It isn't so much about the dust and the work (which was bad) but it's the stain and poly fumes.  They lingered in the house for over a week and made it unlivable.  The finished floors look amazing, but I would only do this on a house I haven't moved in yet!

Just in case anyone else is trying the vinyl plank flooring - it's easy to make the small pieces and intricate cuts by scoring with a utility knife, then use a pliers break off the unused portion. Depending on how much you're taking off, you might have to do it a little bit at a time, but it's all relatively painless and easy this way

Mgmny

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2017, 10:05:14 AM »
Surprisingly Easy:

1. Patching fairly large holes in the wall. I found metal patches pre-attached to sticky mesh in lots of sizes at the hardware store. It goes on like a sticker, then you can smear the compound over top. Sand, prime, paint. 

2. Refinishing painted furniture.  I've mastered the heat gun (the key is to have sturdy cardboard boxes to scrape the paint globs into) followed by paint stripper. Minwax makes are great stain/poly all-in-one that is super easy to paint on.  No more painting on, rubbing off the excess for stain. 

3. Installing a new toilet. You-Tube has so many tutorials on this.  We were terrified, but it turned out to be the #1 easiest part of our powder room remodel.

NEVER AGAIN:

1. Installing vinyl plank snap in "wood" flooring in the bathroom.  The whole "just score and break over your knee!" hype only works if you're breaking a fairly significant chunk of the board off.  If you need to trim off 3" or less, or cut out the multiple trim details around door jambs, or cut a 1-1/2" diameter hole in the board for a pipe--GOOD FREAKING LUCK.  We used every type of saw, knife, and even drill that we owned trying to get it to work. To top it off, I'm not even that thrilled with the finished look.  It's okay.  I wanted more than okay.


2. Refinishing hardwood floors - It isn't so much about the dust and the work (which was bad) but it's the stain and poly fumes.  They lingered in the house for over a week and made it unlivable.  The finished floors look amazing, but I would only do this on a house I haven't moved in yet!

Just in case anyone else is trying the vinyl plank flooring - it's easy to make the small pieces and intricate cuts by scoring with a utility knife, then use a pliers break off the unused portion. Depending on how much you're taking off, you might have to do it a little bit at a time, but it's all relatively painless and easy this way

Just finished installing vinyl plank flooring in my basement utility/laundry room this past weekend, and second that. At first, it was frustrating, but if you get a good utility knife, and score it deeply, you should be fine. Because it was a utility room, i had to go around a bunch of nonsense in the floor (pipes, 2 sewers, sump pump hole, furnace, water heater, circular steel frame, ground wires) and i did it with "relative ease." That said, the stuff i used was quite brittle (Shaw Resilient), so i had to be careful about not hitting it wrong when installing and accidentally breaking off a corner. It turned out pretty good, and for the application (room most likely to flood), i would do it again and rate it "easy" to do.

JustNeedsPaint

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2017, 08:25:25 AM »
Replacing fluorescent light fixtures--get right out of the 80’s without even putting anything back up the instant you take those big boxes down off your ceiling.  It is glorious!
Replacing normal brass light fixtures.
Replacing door knobs with door levers.
New baseboard. Removing was pretty quick. Replacing it with bigger and fancier baseboard is like the fancy icing on the edge of a cake and you don’t have to worry about little dents from removal since you cover it all up.
Replacing sink faucets and bathroom hardware accessories. New fluffy bath mats and towels instantly glam it up too.
Tiling window sills. More eye candy.

Hard work, but lots of fun:
Venetian plaster in the can from Home Depot. I knew filling in the orange peel texture would take some elbow grease, but I did not realize how fun it was to shiny up a wall which is the last step of many. It took years to stop touching the silky smooth walls.
Taping and floating drywall--as others mentioned tedious and detailed with multiple layers. I like this one just because each layer goes pretty quick once you get the hang of it. Maybe it is because others I know despise it so much. ;-)

Would not hire out, but definitely at the bottom of my list:
Anything electrical.  I always end up with extra runs to Home Depot because something else needs to be replaced or I buy the wrong face plate or…
Painting walls. Super boring in my book, but a necessary evil.

jax8

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2017, 01:13:49 PM »
Window film!  I just used it this weekend to turn an old bathroom window to a satin-obscured window, and I love it.  Just cut to size with a utility knife, apply with water and a squeegee. Super easy.  We'll see how it holds up over time...

For $20, it was cheaper than a blind and turned a gross-original-to-the-house sash window into a beautiful focal point.  I'd definitely recommend it for any window that needs privacy or just looks out on an ugly view.  The window kits are sold near the blinds at Lowes/Home Depot.

bmelissa545

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2017, 01:16:55 PM »
The easiest and cheapest renovation project I've come across that makes the BIGGEST difference is faux marble countertops. There is marble colored laminated paper that you can cut and adhere to your current counters. A roll costs like $30 as opposed to thousands you would spend on marble. There are several youtube videos with step by step instructions if you need help!

aperture

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #24 on: August 26, 2017, 05:19:16 AM »
(1) Paint the walls something other then white (or putty)
(2) Tile bathroom floor
(3) 3/4" T+G flooring (huge bang small buck)
(4) Replace window coverings (Ikea has pretty cheap premade curtains that you can cut to length and use fabric tape to finish)
(5) Landscaping
(6) Electrical outlets, ceiling fans, strip lights, can lights - all pretty easy once you figure out how not to electrocute yourself.  Light is one of the most transformative elements in an interior, so worth putting resources into (tip: 4" cans look way better then 6" cans)

PITA: replaced all the wood trim in the house - a never ending nightmare.

miniturtle

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #25 on: August 29, 2017, 11:01:32 PM »
1. Laminate flooring is pretty easy, and end result looks good.
2. Installing WiFi enabled thermostat
3. Replacing old outlets/light switches
4. Replacing light fixtures
5. Installing  new cabinetry

Thats cool. You did 5 DIY. I have only done the 2nd one. Thanks for sharing.

GreenSheep

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #26 on: August 31, 2017, 09:41:26 PM »
Easy for me:
Tile (floors, backsplash)
Applying textured paint to the deck, painting inside in general
Changing hardware, electrical outlets, light fixtures, etc.
Curtains (Yes! I second the above comment about IKEA and fabric tape!)
Repainting yard sale furniture and adding new knobs/handles

Easy for my husband:
Wood flooring
Greenhouse built from scratch (not a kit) -- finished it, complete with plants, in the week and a half I was away!
Setting up an irrigation system for a whole-backyard garden of raised beds

Harder than I expected:
Removing popcorn ceiling. (Looked a lot better when I did it, but after I hired a professional, it looked magnificently better. And what a giant pain in the ass. All those chipper, cheerful YouTube videos lie!)

Harder than my husband expected:
Tiling bathroom walls (tidbit I picked up last week, way too late for him... leave some space at the bottom and start with a level line a few inches up rather than relying on your floor to be completely level and then carrying its un-level-ness all the way up the wall and exaggerating it with each tile)

jeromedawg

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #27 on: October 13, 2017, 12:35:24 PM »
Replacing fluorescent light fixtures--get right out of the 80’s without even putting anything back up the instant you take those big boxes down off your ceiling.  It is glorious!

So what did you actually replace the fixtures with?

teddyjimbo

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Re: What are your top 5 "easiest" DIY home improvement projects?
« Reply #28 on: October 14, 2017, 03:07:39 AM »
What I think is easy:

Laminate flooring as long you have the right tools (jig saw and if available table saw)
Running cat6 cable
Sticker like back splash for kitchen
Painting
Installing ceiling fan