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40 Show-Stopping Home Projects You’ll Want to DIY

These stunning projects may look a little intimidating, but they are actually easy to DIY with our step-by-step plans. Which one will you take on next?

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after deck makeover

Refreshed Decking Looks Brand New

If your existing deck is old, shabby and a maintenance nightmare, you don’t have to tear it all down and start over. Chances are that the structural parts are still in good shape. If so, you can simply remodel it with new decking, rails and stairs, and save tons of money over the cost of a complete rebuild.

In this story, we’ll show you how to replace worn decking, railings, stairs and several other features. We won’t tear out the basic deck framing—instead we’ll describe how to tell if your deck is in good structural shape. We’ll show you how to replace old decking with low-maintenance composite materials and build a new “floating” landing at yard level that expands the deck in an attractive, practical way.

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no-rot deck after

Amazing, Maintenance-Free Deck

Build this spacious, semi-private deck, which features planters, a handsome railing, low-voltage lighting and a wide range of low-maintenance, durable materials. It’s a big project, but our photos and drawings show you all you need to know to assemble it successfully. Get the full step-by-step plans here.

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full deck after

Space to Relax and Entertain

This deck isn’t huge—about 16 ft. wide x 18 ft. deep plus bays and stairs—but it’s big on features. The upper deck is just the right size for entertaining small groups—spacious but intimate. It has cantilevered nooks on both sides that provide space for seating and barbecue storage. The pergola shades the upper deck and the home’s interior from the sun, and it offers a space for hanging or climbing plants. The lower deck is a great place to hang out in the sun, while the cascading stairs flow into the yard and provide lots of space for planters and pots. Get the full how-to plans for this project here.

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deck pond afterFamily Handyman

Zen Space, And Less to Mow!

Let us show you how to add this easy-to-build pond and easy-care deck to your garden. This serene retreat can be built by a novice and doesn’t require a lot of expensive tools, yet it offers a unique design. In this article, we’ll show you the plans and techniques needed to construct the pond and deck. All it takes is some digging, simple assembly and this easy-to-follow DIY advice.

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stone patio finished

Natural Stone Patio

Add a welcoming feature to your backyard with this attractive, long-lasting brick and stone patio. Our design easily adapts to fit your yard. Choose from a wide variety of stone types and brick styles. The result will be permanent and maintenance-free. Here’s the step-by-step, so you can install it in your backyard.

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backyard stairs finished

Natural, Stepping Stone Stairs

Our steps are built on a gradual slope, but by changing the riser and tread sizes you can build them on slopes as steep as about 40 degrees. Rustic steps like these are well suited for informal garden paths like ours, but we wouldn’t recommend them for entry or other steps that get heavy daily use.

In addition to the basic gardening tools, leather gloves and carpenter’s level, you’ll need a few special tools for breaking and moving stone. Buy a 4-lb. maul to chip and break stone. If you have to cut a few stones, buy a dry-cut diamond blade, available at home centers. To move the stone, rent or buy a two-wheeled dolly with large wheels. Get the full how-to plans for this project here.

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backyard focal point

Fantastic Focal Point

Make a simple garden path from recycled pavers or cobblestones set on a sand bed. Learn all the details of path building, from breaking cobblestones to easy, fast leveling using plastic landscape edging. Plus: Check out our 40 favorite outdoor woodworking projects for beginners.

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track lighting in kitchen

Strategic Illumination

Our favorite part of this redo is the new lighting because, well, every kitchen needs good lighting! We’ll show you how to use one of your weekends to install a low-voltage track lighting system to brighten dimly lit countertops.

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Bathroom remodel pedestal sink

Powder Room

Replacing your old vanity cabinet with a pedestal sink is one of the quickest and easiest ways to remodel a bathroom. And the pedestal sink makes a bathroom feel bigger. To complement the new sink, you can add new lights and mirror for even greater impact. Check out these 14 bathroom vanities that will blow your mind.

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bathroom vanity upgrade after

Bathroom Vanity Facelift

Give your bathroom a dramatic makeover in one long weekend by replacing the vanity cabinet, sink and faucets. Changing a vanity is relatively easy. All you need are basic carpentry and plumbing skills. And if you paint the walls at the same time, you can achieve a stunning transformation.

We’ll show you how to remove the old cabinet and plumbing, choose and install a new vanity, sink, faucets and countertop.

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before and after bathroom vessel sink remodel

Vessel Sink Bathroom Refresh


This is a surefire way to give your half bath a dramatic new look. Combine your choice of furniture with one of these basin-type sinks for a unique, custom-styled bath redo. This modern version of your great-grandma’s wash basin creates an eclectic style that looks great in contemporary or traditional settings. We replaced all the fixtures, put down a new wood floor and tiled behind the sink, from floor to ceiling. We show you how to plumb and install a vessel sink.

Just because you have a small bathroom doesn’t mean you can’t be creative and smart! Learn how to make a small bathroom look bigger.

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closet organization storage after

Closet Storage Maximized

Here’s what we’ve added to maximize a standard 8-ft. long by 30-in. deep closet storage space: cabinet module to keep folded clothes, two tiered shoe shelves to tame shoe scatter, double stacked clothes rods for shorter clothes and single rod on the other side of the closet for slacks and dresses. You can organize your existing closet to make every cubic inch count and get more dresser space to boot.

Is your closet still overflowing? Never fear—follow our 15 top tips for reclaiming closet space and you’ll have all the space you need.

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after bedroom makeover paneled wall

Classic Paneled Wall

Creating a new look for one wall or a whole room is as easy as nailing boards over the drywall. Lay out an attractive grid pattern and go to work. You’ll be done in a weekend. With a little perseverance, you can nail up the strips on Saturday, leaving Sunday to sand and paint. You’ll need a basic set of hand tools, a circular saw, a power miter saw, a sander and a finish nailer to complete the job.  If you don’t have a finish nailer, consider renting one for a day. There’s a lot of nailing to do and it will speed up the job considerably. For little money you can completely transform the appearance of your bedroom.

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after wainscoted wall

Elegant Wainscoted Wall

At first glance, this panel design may look too complex for your average do-it-yourselfer, but it’s not. The panels are made from three horizontal 1×6 bands that run around the room, with narrower vertical boards spaced every 30 in. or so. The panels are the wall itself. Once you nail on filler pieces and trim, the project takes on a traditional wainscot panel look. We’ll show you how to plan your layout and cut, fit and finish the wood for any room in your house.

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Family Handyman

Gorgeous Bookshelf

Molded millwork, off-the-shelf cabinets and inexpensive MDF make these classic-looking bookshelves a snap. Be sure to check out 33 other gorgeous bookshelf plans we’ve created.

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Knocked Down Wall

The drywall got ripped out in this home and columns were installed. The carpeted floor was replaced with pre-finished maple flooring, all for around $2,500. Check out what prefinished flooring can look like and how easy it is to install.

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Breathable Bump-Out

There’s no need to pour concrete. Get off the ground with a simple treated-wood foundation. Build it just like a deck platform. You’ll enjoy the additional space. Here’s how to get started.

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Something to See

These glass in cabinet doors are showpieces that break up the monotony of wood panels. There are a couple of ways to do this, see one way here.

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Expressive Entryway

A tumbled marble medallion adds a distinctive tile feature to any room. The medallion is preassembled, so it’s easy to install and makes a tile floor that’s durable and beautiful. This story shows tiling an entryway, but you can use the same techniques in a bathroom or kitchen with equally dramatic results.

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Family Handyman

Comfortable Sunning

We built our pergola from standard construction cedar because it’s weather resistant and accepts stain well. Other rot-resistant wood would work as well.

A pergola like this looks best on a larger deck, one at least twice the size of the pergola. See what went into designing this one.

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Stunning Stone Garden

Retaining walls were built to bring the stone patio up to the height of a deck. Pea gravel got spread over fabric, tilestone was used for the wall and flagstone was used for the steps and patio area. Discover more perfect patio designs to upgrade your home.

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Backyard Screen Porch

However much you love your patio, there may be just too many days when it’s not fit to live on. Our enclosure turns a patio—or a deck—into a space as comfortable as another room of your house. Check out how we did it.

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Low Maintenance Deck

Planters make a striking addition to any deck, and also create more privacy, making the outdoor space feel almost like a separate room. Get full plans for building these amazing deck planters here.

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Outdoor Living Room

There’s nothing quite like kicking back on your own patio—until the sun starts cooking you or the rain begins to fall. But you can easily double your time in the great outdoors with this beautiful pavilion. Just think—no more rainouts during your next barbecue! And with a roof, you can relax on dry, clean, comfortable, padded furniture, which just can’t stand up to the elements on an open patio. All in all, you can give your patio the feel and function of an outdoor living room. But the best part is, this pavilion will add real beauty and value to your home by dressing up that lonely, underused space. See how you can add it here.

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Family Handyman

Cottage Getaway

Whether it’s the commotion of the house or the buzz of the bugs that’s driving you crazy, this airy retreat is the perfect place to get away from it all. See the step by step of how it all came together.

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Family Handyman

Elegant Guest Space

This deluxe Murphy bed morphed together with a bookcase and provides elegant lighting. The whole setup will make guests enjoy the arrangement. See how we put this extravagant Murphy bed together.

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Family Handyman

Glorious Garage

Organize your clutter, tools and toys. Customize this French cleat system to fit any wall width and height. A variety of easy to assemble hangers will hold just about everything in your garage. Check out how we did it.

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Family Handyman

Stunning Stone Wall

You can transform any room with a stunning stone accent wall like this. Modern materials and methods allow you to create the look of a traditional stone wall with a fraction of the work. An intermediate DIYer could easily master the techniques. In just a weekend, you can have a dramatic new accent wall. See what it takes and how to do it here.

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Family Handyman

Concrete Patio Coverup

Even if your patio is in terrible shape, you can deck over it. Cracks, craters and seasonal movement along cracks are no problem, but be aware of the instances where it can’t be fixed and how we fixed this patio.

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Family Handyman

An Under-Deck Hangout

Convert the space under a second-story deck into a dry, spacious patio by installing this simple, under-the-deck roof and gutter system. See how to turn the space under the deck into a place to enjoy the summer during sun or rain.

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Family Handyman

Beautiful Babbling Brook

There are a thousand ways to build a backyard waterfall. But if you’re looking for simplicity, you can’t beat this approach. You basically dig a hole in the ground, line it with rubber membrane and cover it with a stack of rocks. The backyard waterfall looks beautiful, but the best part is the sound. If you close your eyes, it’s easy to imagine yourself sitting next to a gurgling creek in the middle of the woods. See how it got done.

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Family Handyman

Splendid Steps

This project looks complicated but if you keep a level head you can get through it fine. The complete project using modular stones took several days to complete.

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Family Handyman

Clean and Organized

This garage makeover took advantage of a shelving system that relies on organization. Every bin has a place based on its size, which makes it tough to put something out of place. Check out how it got done and how it only took a day.

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Family Handyman

Beautiful Boardwalk

This boardwalk requires some planning and can dress up a yard. Check out the materials you need and how to do it in a weekend.

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rustic DIY barn doorFamily Handyman

Rustic Barn Door

Rustic barn doors have become popular recently and we’ve got the plans to create your own rustic barn door. Getting that distressed look is one of those DIY home projects that can be done without spending a lot of money and still looks great.

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Family Handyman

Living Wall

If you have a ground-level deck or patio and would like a bit of privacy, consider building a living wall. It can shield you from the neighbors, surround you with flowers and provide fresh herbs just steps away from your kitchen or grill. The planter boxes are easy to build, and a drip irrigation system provides automatic watering all summer long—no worries about missing a day of watering or losing all your plants when you go on vacation. See how a living wall can be built.

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Family Handyman

Game Day Shed

The large door opening on this shed gives you expandable indoor-outdoor space. Just open the overhead door so your party can spread onto the patio. Or roll your workbench outside during dusty jobs. And if storage is what you need, you can’t beat the easy-access convenience of a big door. Check out the complete project details.

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Family Handyman

Showcase Shelves: DIY Bed Built-ins

Nightstands are just not big enough for everything: lamp, alarm clock, phone, photos of your kids … so books, magazines, your tablet or your cup of tea ends up on the floor.

This shelf unit gives you about 10 times more space for decorative and essential stuff. And its dazzling design will transform your room. Best of all, it’s easy to build with basic tools.

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Family Handyman

IKEA Kallax hack

With this IKEA Kallax hack, mimic a mid-century modern classic by turning a simple shelving unit on its side, wrapping it with plywood inside and out, and attaching legs. Our materials cost was about $250.

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Family Handyman

One-Day DIY Patio Garden Pond

Get the scoop on a patio pond in a wooden container that holds both water plants and regular plants.