1.  Ikea Hack Transforms Basement

DIY basement built-ins

Image: No. 29 Design

Christina Katos, of the blog No. 29 Design, wanted to convert her dreary unfinished basement into a bright and cheerful family room that included 17 feet of built-in storage. Hiring someone to create her dream built-in would have cost up to $8,000. So she constructed one herself using furniture from Ikea’s Hemnes living room collection.

See how she created her built-in.

Estimated costs:

  • 2 Ikea glass-door cabinets with 3 drawers: $365 each
  • 2 Ikea bookcases: $120 each
  • 1 Ikea TV Unit: $229
  • Wood: $150
  • Paint, sealer, and painting supplies: $75

Total: $1,424

ROI: You can recoup close to 78% of your costs on a major basement remodel, according to “Remodeling” magazine’s “2014 Cost vs Value Report.”

2.  Simple Hack Lights Up Landscaping

DIY landscape lighting

Image: Gina of TheShabbyCreekCottage.com

Gina, who writes The Shabby Creek Cottage blog, devised a concrete pillar light to illuminate her walkway without expensive hardwiring. In fact, her project is solar powered, so this DIY won’t run up the utility bill.

Plus outdoor lighting is a rock-solid way to enhance security and curb appeal.

See Gina’s tutorial for lights that, she says, would look great brightening up a yard, patio, or swimming pool.

Estimated costs:

  • A solar light on a removable stake: $5 each
  • A package of quick-setting concrete: $5 (It’ll make 50 pounds, enough to create around 20 pillar lights.)
  • Food container: $3

Total: $13 each

ROI: Outdoor lighting along with trees and native plants are an essential part of a gorgeous and value-adding landscape. And good landscaping can amount to as much as 28% of a home’s overall value, according to landscape economist John Harris.

3. Paint, Light, and Faux Stone Entryway Says ‘Welcome’

DIY entryway

Image: Christine at First Home Love Life

When Christine, of First Home Love Life blog, moved into her home, the entryway was less than inviting. It lacked light. The paint on the front door was chipped. The concrete walkway was cracked.

And any REALTOR® will tell you, first impressions count.

To revamp her entryway, she gave the front door a fresh coat of paint and installed a new pendant lamp. A year later she had a light-bulb-over-her-head moment while walking down the spray paint aisle at Home Depot. The result: Her faux stone walkway — created with a surprising technique.

To see how she took her concrete slab from drab to fab, check out Christine’s tutorial.

Estimated costs:

  • Paint for front door: $23 (with coupon)
  • Light fixture: $39
  • Supplies for walkway: $60 (Details at the tutorial above.)

Total: $122

ROI: A new front door is one of the best value-adding upgrades you can do. In fact, a new steel entry door can recoup almost 100% at resale, according to the “2014 Cost vs Value Report.”

4.  Patio Pavers Rescue This Backyard

DIY patio pavers

Image: Taryn of DesignDiningandDiapers.com

DIY can get messy. Ask Taryn of the blog Design, Dining, and Diapers, whose patio upgrade resulted in two shattered iPhones, left her with aching muscles, and took five times longer than the 8 to 10 hours she estimated from her online research. (Keep in mind, she and her husband were both patio-installing newbies. They’re also self-confessed perfectionists.)

Any regrets? Nope, she loves her new 230-square-foot stone patio. See how she and her hubby did it, and get her lessons-learned tips for saving time.

Estimated costs:

  • Paver stone tiles: $570 (She bought them on sale.)
  • Supplies, including gravel, polymeric joining sand, new tools, and a truck rental: around $1,000

Total: $1,570

ROI: A patio expands your living space. Plus, terraces, patios, and decks topped the list of most-popular outdoor structures (at almost 98%), according to the American Society of Landscape Artists 2014 survey.

Related: The 8 Most Financially Savvy Home Improvements You Can Make

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