Home Projects: When to Tackle it Yourself + When to Hire a Handyman

One of the most exciting parts of homeownership is the ability to transform the space to reflect you; your personality, your style, and your favorite things. Another perk of home improvements is that it can increase the value of your home. Oftentimes this leads new and existing homeowners to try their hand at home projects. As fun as it is to give your house a facelift, there is a fine line between what you can tackle on your own and when you should probably call in a professional. Keep in mind that everyone has their own skillset, so if you are qualified to perform some of these projects, more power to you!

Check out the below list for our recommendations on when to put down a drop cloth, and when to phone a pro.

Buckle Up the Overalls and Get Your Hands Dirty


Conveniently Refresh Your Kitchen Cabinets
Sometimes a little bit of elbow grease makes a massive difference. If you’re looking for a dramatic change in your kitchen that you can tackle on your own, consider painting your cabinets a fresh, new color. Taking on this job by yourself will not only save you money but give you a huge sense of accomplishment every time you opt for a can of soup over making a lasagna.

Add Luminous Under-Cabinet Lighting
The next time that you sneak into the kitchen for a midnight snack you won’t need to worry about getting caught by using a big overhead light. Under-cabinet lighting is a very inexpensive and simple way to upgrade your kitchen. You can purchase battery operated units (some even just stick on!), and many have built-in timers, so you only need to press once, grab your pint of ice cream, and split.

Install a Beautiful Backsplash
A very popular choice for replacing your kitchen backsplash and adding a pop of personality is to use an adhesive option like beadboard or peel-and-stick tile. These are often used because you don’t necessarily need to remove the existing backsplash – they are lightweight and can be installed with glue. If you want to go an even simpler route consider just painting over the backsplash that is already there.

Swap out Humdrum Cabinet Hardware
You may not realize what a statement your cabinet hardware makes until you replace it. This affordable upgrade can set an entirely new tone in your kitchen, whether you prefer farmhouse chic or sleek and modern, there are many options to choose from with different shapes, finishes, and styles.


Swap Out Your Shower Head
Turn bathing into an enjoyable and relaxing experience with a new shower head. They’re incredibly easy to install yourself, and come in many different models. Newer options for shower heads include water-saving heads, hand-held shower heads (super helpful after your pup takes a romp in the mud!), pulse and massager shower heads, flow restrictors, and more.

Screw on Some Slow-Close Toilet Seats
Once you’ve experienced the ease and silence of a slow-close toilet seat you’ll understand what all the rage is about. These toilet seats are almost impossible to slam, and often come with a quick-release button making for easy and quick cleaning. The only downside is that you’re guaranteed to slam the lid when you visit someone without one!

Add Comfort with a Curved Shower Rod
We can all agree that there is nothing worse than being attacked by the stiff, cold shower liner when you’re trying to shampoo. Aside from conquering that dilemma, a curved shower rod provides more real estate in the basin allowing for those elbows to really do their work.

Benefit from a Bidet
Although sometimes an uncomfortable conversation to start, bidets have been making the rounds as a common household luxury. Not only are they a cleaner and gentler option that traditional toilet paper, but they also are more eco-friendly. Why wouldn’t you want to save money and the environment? Plus, there are models that pull water directly from your toilet tank so no plumbing work is necessary.


Pump up the Power Washing
There is a dedicated group of perfectionists who sit and watch power washing videos for fun – and there’s a reason! The satisfaction of watching mold, mildew, weeds, and dirt fly off to reveal the forgotten magnificence of natural stone or brickwork is a thing of beauty. There are many budget-friendly models to buy, or you can often rent one from a hardware or home improvement store.

Bloom in the Backyard
Gardening is a hobby people enjoy for many reasons: the colorful flowers, the satisfaction of growing your own vegetables and herbs, and the sense of accomplishment you feel whenever you step outside. Whether you choose to add planters by the door, purchase or build a raised garden bed, or just grow tomatoes in a pot, gardening is a great way to spruce up your backyard.

Freshen the Front Door
The front door of your home sets the mood before entering and shows neighbors a little bit of your personality. Plus, it’s a simple project that you can change as often as you like! This is an easy afternoon adventure that can freshen up the look of the whole exterior, while having a little bit of expressive fun with it.

Forge Your Own Fire Pit
There are tons of fancy above ground firepits these days ranging from different shapes and sizes to gas-burning and even beautiful stones. However, there is something charming about gathering around a rustic fire, and it’s easy to make one in your own yard. Try your hand at this budget-friendly project!


Refresh Your Walls with Paint/Wallpaper
Yes, the old way of wallpapering is a pain to both install and remove, but peel-and-stick wallpaper is another story. It comes in tons of fun designs, and it is removable without leaving residue behind. If that’s not your thing, you can instantly brighten up a room by adding a fresh coat of paint!

Outfit Your Outlets
This five-minute fix will drastically upgrade your home. Outlet covers get dingy and dirty very quickly, and replacing them with fresh white or colorful plates will make a huge difference. Plus, it’s super easy!

Get Smart with Your Plugs
Smart plugs have tons of benefits such as convenience, energy savings, and security. Adding these to your home requires no electrical work – simply plug and play. They sync with your smartphone so you can control your lights and appliances from wherever you are, and you can set them on schedules for convenience and security while you’re out of town.

Benefit From New Blinds
Aside from the ease of installation, blinds make a big difference in a home. They provide privacy, block out sunlight when sleeping, and can maintain the temperature of the house. There are several different styles for each application, and you don’t need many tools to make install them.

Call in the Professionals for the Dirty Work


Scrub Out the Old Sink
Whether we enjoy it or not, many of us spend a lot of time in the kitchen. When you are choosing which style of sink to go with, take into consideration mounting style, material, color, number of bowls, and size. There are pros and cons to all sink styles, so be sure to do your research to determine what best suits your needs.

Change Up the Countertops
Many homeowners focus on looks alone when choosing new countertops, but there are many other things that need to be included while making your choice. Think about the maintenance necessary, the material’s durability, and be sure that you are not spending outside of your pre-determined budget.

Open Your Mind and Your Kitchen
Cooking is more fun with friends and family. Prevent yourself from feeling closed off when preparing dinner by considering removing a wall and creating an open concept kitchen to stay involved. Without narrow walkways and closed off entrances you can move freely around, and best of all – your dance moved won’t be hindered.

Put Away the Sponge and Install a Dishwasher
While it may be considered a luxury, a dishwasher can pay for itself simply by the time you save not having to scrub the grease yourself. The high temperatures kill germs effectively and help to keep your sink and countertops clean. As an added plus, many modern dishwashers are built to conserve water and electricity. Win win!


Time for a New Toilet?
Whether or not we want to talk about it (let’s not), the toilet plays a key role in our lives. There are many signs that it may be time to replace your commode, such as frequent clogging, leaks, or running water. If you’re not sure, call your local plumber and get a professional opinion.

Retile for a Shiny New Shower
A shower may not be the first area that comes to your mind when considering design trends, but there are many new ideas for sprucing up your spa. Many designers are putting accent walls in showers, using varied sizing for tile, and adding bright, colorful accents.

Revamp Your Vanity
Bathroom styles can vary greatly depending on personal preference. From contemporary and modern designs to rustic and country designs, the vanity plays a central role in the look of your bathroom. When you start researching types you will be surprised at the variety of vanities to choose from!

Fight Moisture and Add a Fan
Not only can a lack of ventilation in a bathroom cause odors to build up, but it prevents moisture from escaping the room. Humidity from showers fogs up the mirror and can seep into the walls leading to mold growth. Drywall is porous and paint is breathable, so it’s important to get the moisture out and keep your bathroom clean and safe.


Pave a Parking Pad
If you are an avid outdoorsman, have roommates, or just want some extra space for the basketball hoop, adding a parking pad to your home may be the ticket. A parking pad creates a durable, level, and flat surface to add extra parking for cars, trailers, RVs, and boats without being those neighbors that park cars in their yard.

Pump Up the Curb Appeal with Fresh Paint
Maybe you’ve moved into a new home and don’t care for the color the previous owners chose for the exterior of the home, or perhaps you’re just ready for a personal change. Hiring professionals to paint the outside of your house doesn’t just up the curb appeal, it raises the home value and protects the exterior from environmental elements such as snow, rain, and sun.

Deck (or Patio!) Out Your Backyard
When it comes to expense a patio will cost less than building a deck, but a deck adds more resale value to your home. Whichever you choose, creating a livable outdoor space to barbecue or enjoy a drink with friends transforms your backyard from an idle, open space into a destination for relaxation or fun.

Keep Your Trees in Tip Top Shape
Trees have the ability to make any landscape appear serene and beautiful. Some of the most beautiful trees in your neighborhood are that way because they are taken care of. Pruning your trees involves removing dead or diseased branches and buds and has many other benefits besides beauty.


Fall for Vinyl Plank Flooring
It’s no secret that hardwood floors are beautiful, but they are also very expensive and require a lot of upkeep. A very popular alternative is to install LVP flooring, otherwise known as Luxury Vinyl Plank. This type of flooring is much more durable and affordable than real wood, and maintenance is a breeze!

Keep Warm with Heated Floors
Not only do they provide the ultimate comfort living, but installing radiant floor heating is energy efficient too! This equipment is invisible – the only way you know it’s there is by feeling it. It’s a slick way to heat a home and increase coziness while reducing energy costs.

Boost Your Living Space with a Finished Basement
Many homeowners are missing out on extra living space by leaving their basement as a cold, damp, unfinished area. Typically, an unfinished basement doesn’t have sealing, so you save money on air conditioning and heating bills too!

Cool Down with Central Air
If you’re still relying on window units to cool your home you are missing out on huge savings. Central air conditioners are more efficient than room air conditioners. Central air is out of view, quiet, and very convenient to operate. Having an energy-efficient air conditioner will save you a lot of money, and a lot of hassle.

Final Thoughts

It’s clear that there are many projects to tackle as a homeowner. Some are fun and easy to handle yourself, while some are more involved and require bringing in the big guns. Don’t count out repurposing secondhand (and often new) items found at local stores like Habitat for Humanity Restore for your projects. Be thoughtful when deciding what projects to start, taking your budget and home value into account. As always, if a new home is what you’re looking for, GoPrime Mortgage has a local lender ready to help guide you on your road home.