Living space: 5 DIY home improvement projects to try this summer | Housing and living outdoors

Summer is a great time for home improvement projects and DIY updates around the home. Set aside some time (and money) this summer to give your home some TLC. Not only does it increase the overall value of your home, but small upgrades here and there can save you big bucks as well.

While some DIY jobs can be expensive, such as Whether it’s adding central air conditioning or remodeling an entire room in your home, there are more affordable projects that can give you the same effect at a much lower cost. Wood costs are skyrocketing right now, so if your project calls for it, plan ahead. Here are some easy, affordable home improvement projects to try this summer that won’t break the bank.

1. Clean up your home.

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Organize your entire house if you really want to go all out, or pick a spot in your home that needs it most and get to work. It costs nothing to declutter, and you can make some money by selling items you no longer use. Plus, you can use your earnings for other home repairs. “It doesn’t cost anything except a week or two of your time and the ability to let go and get rid of unnecessary stuff that no longer brings joy to you or your home,” says Emilie Dulles, lifestyle design expert and founder of Dulles Designs .

Your clutter is actually costing you money, and getting rid of things you don’t use can free up a lot of space in your home and even give you ideas for other improvements. Because of the warm weather, summer is a good time to declutter and air out those often-forgotten areas like the garage, an outside shed, or the basement that get less use during the colder months.

2. Freshen up your house with color.

Summer is the perfect season for larger color projects. If you have areas of your home that you’ve wanted to repaint, like entire rooms or the exterior, summer is the time – and a little color could go a long way in transforming your space. The warm weather allows the paint to properly cure and make it last longer. “I think painting is one of the best DIY projects because if you make a mistake, it’s easy to correct,” says Chicago-based real estate developer Bill Samuel. “It really has a tremendous impact on the entire space when you take the time to fix all the blemishes and do a quality job.” Dulles recommends painting parts of your home (or all of it) white to make it bigger and bigger looks brighter.

3. Check and clean gutters.

This might not be the funniest or most creative home improvement project, but it’s important for protecting your home for the coming winter months and against summer storms.

“Winter followed by a rainy spring can take a toll on your gutters and downspouts,” says Bailey Carson, a home expert at Angi. “If they are ignored, you may have to replace them entirely or, worse, deal with foundation damage, interior flooding, driveway cracks, or landscape erosion.”

The damage would end up costing you a lot more than cleaning your gutters. All you need (if you don’t already have this gear) is a gutter cleaning attachment for your garden hose, a ladder, a bucket, a gutter shovel, and heavy-duty gloves. You can also purchase a gutter guard to protect your gutters and prevent leaves from accumulating in them.

4. Beautify outdoor areas.

Give your garden some attention too – you probably spend a lot more time in it enjoying the nice summer weather. While the cost of renovating your outdoor space will vary depending on the project, there are simple DIY improvements you can make to enhance your backyard or front yard for a lot less. Maria Vaamonde, a commercial real estate investor and founder of Property Cashin, suggests designing your front yard.

“Gardens make homes more aesthetically pleasing and can also increase property value. Summertime is the perfect time to plant perennials, a variety of beautiful looking flowers that require little maintenance,” says Vaamonde.

She also suggests lupins and hydrangeas as other beautiful (and low-maintenance) additions to your garden.

Adding plants or flowers leading up the walkway to your front door can add instant appeal and liven up your front yard, says money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. You can do the same kind of refresh in your yard to get rid of overgrown or dead plants, trees or shrubs and add some patio furniture. You can also paint your patio furniture and make it look like it’s new.

5. Clean or replace AC filter.

Another not-so-fun, but very important, summertime handyman – cleaning or replacing the filters on your HVAC unit. Don’t worry: it’s quick and doesn’t take as much time as cleaning your gutters. “Filters get dirty, especially if they haven’t been changed in six months,” says Rick Hoskins, home improvement expert and founder of FilterKing. Dirty filters can cause allergies by allowing dust, mold, and other allergens to circulate throughout the home when you have the air conditioning on in the summer. All you have to do is find your air conditioner and furnace vents, unscrew them and clean or replace the filters. Hoskins recommends looking for filters with a MERV rating between 8 and 13 for optimal protection.

Better Homes and Gardens is a magazine and website dedicated to ideas and improvement projects for your home and garden, as well as recipes and fun ideas. Online at www.bhg.com.

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