Go Scandinavian with a modern pendant light and industrial windows. Let light in without losing privacy with an elongated door slit. On the side, a place for firewood adds woodsy charm to the ultra modern home.

More: See the rest of this family-friendly home

Thomas J. Story

Add these seven done-in-a-day DIY projects to your list of resolutions for 2017

Caitlin Murphree Miller

The start of a new year is an obvious opportunity to rethink your diet and workout routines—but it’s also a great time to consider fresh possibilities for your home. Try one of these seven easy, great-for-beginners DIY projects this year.

Replace outdated hardware 

The brass trend isn’t going anywhere in 2017—so, make a relatively low-cost and low-effort investment by replacing your old kitchen, bathroom, or pantry hardware with something that you truly love. First, be sure to measure the existing holes in your cabinets or drawers carefully, so that you can quickly swap each piece of hardware out with the help of a basic screwdriver; then, shop online or check local hardware stores to find the perfect new pieces. You’ll be surprised at the impact that such a small change can make.

Revamp tired furniture

Every homeowner has at least one furniture item that they can’t stand, but still need (and can’t afford to replace). Often, it’s something boring, like a threadbare side chair, a rickety bookcase, or a dated dresser. This year, pick one of your least favorite pieces and give it some love—for example, sanding, priming, and adding a glossy coat of lacquer to a dated dresser (click here for a DIY video). After a few hours of elbow grease, you’ll have a whole new piece.

Go greener

Let’s be clear: If you haven’t already taken steps to make your home more energy efficient, 2017 is the year to upgrade your old thermostat. A new digital thermostat will allow you to automatically vary the temperature in your home throughout the day—particularly when you’re not there to enjoy that pricey heat or air conditioning. Plus, they're easy to install and relatively affordable. These units come ready to install, with easy DIY instructions in the box; all you need is a screwdriver and a drill.

Upgrade faucets and showerheads

A new kitchen or bathroom fixture can add style and function for very little cash—and the whole project can be completed in just a few hours. Measure existing fixture holes carefully (selecting the right size for your sink or shower is key) before purchasing new fixtures; also be sure to shut off water valves and follow the provided directions. Tip: If you choose an energy-efficient model for your sink or shower, you'll get better water pressure than your old unit, while still saving money on your water bill.

Rent a pressure washer

Get major gunk off your home’s exterior siding, sidewalks, patio, or deck with the help of powerful and easy-to-use pressure washer. While smaller models can be purchased for less than $200, big-box home improvement stores also rent pressure washers out by the day at an affordable rate. Simply take it home, hook it up to an outdoor water spigot, and amp up your abode’s curb appeal in a single afternoon.

Ditch ugly door hardware

Scuffed locks, handles, kick plates, and deadbolts in a dated finish can ruin the look of a front door—not to mention a guest’s first impression of your home. To give your front door a facelift, remove the hardware, and first give it a fresh coat of paint. Then, head to the store and pick up new door hardware (go ahead and replace the hardware on all your doors if you want to avoid re-keying). Pop in the new system (you’ll just need a screwdriver), make sure it locks securely, and admire your updated entryway.

Transform with tile

OK, it’s true—this one isn’t for the faint of heart. While DIY tiling can be tricky, remember that half the battle is having patience, time, and a solid attention to detail. First, consider springing for a tiling class (local stores like Home Depot offer DIY courses that last just a few hours); if you can’t make that commitment, at least dive into YouTube’s world of free tiling tutorials and take copious notes along the way. Then, start small, like sprucing up the top of an outdoor table with decorative tile work. Once you’ve gained a little practical know-how, take on a weekend project like a backsplash in the kitchen or laundry room.

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