10 DIY Projects That Will Upgrade Your Home

ESTATENVY spoke with Stephen Fanuka of Fanuka, Inc. about inexpensive home upgrades

Upgrading your home doesn’t have to be a ridiculously expensive undertaking. In fact, you might already possess many of the tools you need in order to make enhancements that will make a big difference.

ESTATENVY spoke with Stephen Fanuka, the host of HGTV’s Million Dollar Contractor and owner of Fanuka, Inc. Here are 10 tips for DIY projects that can upgrade your home.


Installing beadboard panels in your home can freshen up many a room.

“If they’ve got a basic sense of tools and they know how to measure, and they’ve got the guts to do it, which you should if you’re going to DIY, try installing beadboard panels on walls,” Fanuka said. “It’s pretty easy, and it changes the whole look of the room.”


There are several small ways to enhance your kitchen.

“A couple of ways to do that would be swapping out cabinet knobs and getting new decorative knobs,” he said. “Maybe adding some lighting. Lights can change the look of a room. Maybe just throw on a nice fresh coat of paint or even put a coat of your favorite color on one wall. Add a pop to the wall. Things like that can enhance a room or a kitchen.”


Color can make a huge difference on a ceiling in any room, and people shouldn’t be afraid to use it, Fanuka said.

“I always tell people the ceiling is the fifth wall,” he said. “Why don’t you consider wallpaper on just the ceiling?”


Swapping out switches for dimmers can make a huge impact in any room, Fanuka said.

“Speaking of lighting, swapping out your switch for a dimmer will make a world of difference in the room because you can actually control the amount of light in the room and it’ll give you a different ambiance with each level of dimming,” he said.


Small touches to the front of your house can make a big difference. Fanuka suggested painting the front door and adding some greenery.

“It adds a pop to the home,” he said of painting the front door. “Now that it’s fall, putting some planters with some fall flowers, that could change it.”

In addition to painting the front door and adding potted plants, even adding some pebbles to the dirt in front of your home can make a huge difference.

“It’s going to change the look of the home as you drive up,” he said.


You can regrout the bathroom and maybe use an enhancer color for more contrast, or try to blend in the color with the colors of the tile you currently have, he said.

“Grouting is so much fun that sometimes you can bring your kids into it,” he said. “It’s safe and the kids will have a great time grouting and putting it in between the tiles.”

This may require removing some grout in order to put new grout in, but “it’ll make a big difference and it’s a lot cheaper than ripping out the bathroom and starting over again,” Fanuka said.

Also while you’re in the bathroom, you can also change up the faucets in the bathroom sink.

“You can change the plumbing fixtures in the bathroom without changing the tiles,” he said. “You still save money and it’ll give you a whole new look.”


Putting pavers in the backyard outside of the back door, and then adding a table and chairs, can extend the square footage of your home and the space you use.

“Put some pavers around the outside and chairs and a table and maybe a barbecue and you’ll use it a lot more, which will increase the square footage of use,” he said.


This would definitely be a larger undertaking, but finishing a basement can have major results for a home and family.

“Consider maybe finishing your basement depending on how far you want to go,” Fanuka said. “It’s more square footage to your home and a lot of people don’t have finished basements.”

A finished basement, he noted, could be turned into an office space or a play space.

And that’s not the only way to get a home office.

“I tell people if they don’t have a lot of room in their homes they can also build a desk inside a decent-sized closet,” he said. “If you want to give up a little bit of closet space you can put the desk inside the closet. You can close the two doors or the one door. All your clutter is still there, and you open the door and it’s yours.”


Reclaimed wood can be used to make new shelving, among other things.

“You can build little bookcases,” he said. “You can build little night tables. There’s plenty of information out there on the Internet if you know how to use a hammer and nails and if you know how to cut a piece of wood. You go buy some reclaimed used wood and they’re beautiful. Sometimes age can enhance the beauty of something.”


If you’re going to put anything up in your child’s bedroom, he said, make sure it’s secure.

“Whatever you do make sure there’s blocking inside the wall and that whatever you hang on a wall, especially over a kid’s bed, is sturdy and safe and has no chance of ever falling on someone,” he said.

And you can incorporate your child’s artwork.

“If you want to do something easy, save all the kids drawings that they draw and you know that we have a ton of them,” he said. “Frame them and put it on the wall in their room.”

Ultimately, you should consider giving kids one wall to play with. Whether you leave the wall bare, or paint it with magnetic paint, which would let them attach magnets to the wall, or paint it with chalkboard paint, which would allow them to draw on the wall using chalk, having one wall can spark creativity.

“Let them use their imagination,” Fanuka said. “Let them have one wall. Let them do whatever they want. And every year, paint it over and let them do it again. It’ll make them like being creative. It’ll develop their creative nature, and who knows? Maybe you’ll have a Picasso one day or a new architect. Or a new contractor that's better than me."