Summer is the season for entertaining friends, relaxing in your backyard and updating the house. With so many great ideas on Pinterest and Instagram, though, how do you choose which ones you want to add to your to-do list?
We did the work for you and found five of the best DIY home projects, from interior facelifts to exterior additions. Put in the work and then enjoy your work all summer and into the fall.
Update Outdoor Lighting
When hosting al fresco festivities, mood lighting is just what you need to put your guests in the right mood. Get creative and quirky with DIY lanterns, torches or luminaries made from repurposed kitchen objects. Turn empty Mason jars, wine bottles or tin cans into light fixtures that scream trendy and modern—but are simple and cost-effective to assemble. When the lights are complete, string them across tree branches, arrange them on tabletops, or mount them on your fence posts.
Replace the Fireplace Doors
Since you won't be using your fireplace for the next several months, now is the time to replace those outdated or run-down fireplace doors. The swap will reduce utility costs during the summer (ensuring your cold air stays in and doesn't flow out) and add to the aesthetics of the space. While it seems like a small change, your fireplace is the centerpiece of your home—new fireplace doors can make a surprising difference in the look and feel of the room.
You may be thinking this is a professional job, but it's actually a quick DIY project that can be completed in just a few minutes. "Installing fireplace doors is a very easy do-it-yourself project. It only requires a drill in screwdriver and tape measure," said Sam Wilhoit, of Brick-Anew.
To install your new doors, measure your fireplace to ensure you buy the right size. Wilhoit says size is critical, because they won't be workable if they're too big or too small. When the doors arrive, follow manufacturer instructions, which generally require only a few simple steps.
Build a Compost Receptacle
If you're planning to garden this summer, recycle leftover food scraps and other biodegradable products into an eco-friendly soil fertilizer. This practice is known as composting, and it reduces your household waste, lawn care costs and chemical exposure. You can then use the compost to fertilize your garden throughout the summer.
To store various compost materials in the backyard, construct a wooden bin out of weather-treated lumber planks, using these step-by-step instructions from This Old House. Stain the wood, paint it a fun color, or let the lumber shine on its own.
Check the Window Caulking
Another tactic for cutting down on utilities while keeping your home ventilated in these warmer months is to re-caulk the windowpanes. Cool air often escapes through unsealed cracks, forcing your A/C unit to work on overdrive—wasting energy in the process.
Experts from HGTV recommend first wiping down the area, then applying a silicone-based caulk to the interior side of a window and acrylic-based caulk to the exterior side. Let dry and touch up as necessary. Take it a step further and re-paint or stain the window panes when you're done calking.
Create a Patio Grill Station
As the quintessential barbecue season heats up, you'll need convenient and accessible storage for all those grilling tools. Convert old planters and metal wrapped plywood into a freestanding, portable unit with a flat surface to prepare food before it's ready to sizzle on the grill-top. This DIY project is both ambitious and time-consuming, but This Old House offers a user-friendly guide, so you can kick your summer grilling game up a notch.
Add these DIY home projects to your summer to-do list to turn your backyard into a grilling palace and make your home more energy-efficient. Add a little personal touch to each project to make it your own and then kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Written by Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer, a long-time health and lifestyle writer. She's a regular contributor for MindBodyGreen, and has written for the Huffington Post and Tiny Buddha. Follow her healthy musings and fun adventures on Instagram.