One-Day Home Improvement Projects Just in Time for Mother's Day

by Jessica Brita-Segyde

It’s Mother’s Day again. Mom gets flowers, maybe you put them in a vase, maybe in a planter. A store-bought greeting card and some chocolates. Why does it seem that Mother’s Day celebrations are the same old thing every year? Why not “wow” mom with a new kind of gift?

We have the perfect idea for Mother’s Day this year!

Following is a list of four home improvement projects that can be completed in less than a day. Total cost ranges from $25 - $100, and could be split among more than one gifter. Home improvements work great as “from all of us” gifts! Your time commitment is under eight hours, but mom can enjoy your gift for years to come.

Replace the Window Treatment above the Kitchen Sink

When we look at something every day, we may not realize how much it’s changed over time. One way to cure this lack of vision is with a photograph. Snap a quick photo of the window treatment above mom’s kitchen sink. Is it outdated? Do you see fading or grease stains?

If you answered “yes” to any of the preceding questions, consider upgrading her kitchen window treatment. Blinds.com will send free samples so mom can choose the shade and style. Shipping on the samples is also free and Blinds.com offers tutorials on how to measure for your custom job.

If the window you’re outfitting is standard size, or very close to standard size, check out the window treatment options at HomeDeopt. Their staff will cut your new blind in-store for free. And if you’re skilled enough to create your own, Michael’s has patterns and MANY fabric choices for curtains.

Cost: About $25 ($50 for a custom cut)

Upgrade the Thermostat

Nothing says “I love you” like a nice, warm hug. Keep mom warm in the winter and cool in the summer with an upgraded thermostat. Newer thermostats are easier to read and come with programmable for energy efficiency, saving mom on heating and cooling costs.

This writer can vouch for the Honeywell Programmable Thermostat with Backlight (around $50) but there are plenty of other options out there. For around $100 you can purchase a thermostat with Wi-Fi technology for offsite control.

You’ll need some electrical know-how for this upgrade, as installation requires that you shut down electricity at the main and connect the unit to the home’s existing wires. The entire process should take less than an hour.

Cost: About $50 ($100 with optional upgrades)

Paint the Front Door

This is an often-cited trick for promoting curb appeal, and for good reason. A beautifully repainted front door gives the whole house a facelift. Repainting the front door, when done right, is also an opportunity to repair cracks and increase the energy efficiency of mom’s home. You can purchase the paint, brush, tape, sand paper, wood fill, and weather stripping for about $75.

Click on this DIY Network tutorial for a step-by-step guide on painting a wooden front door. Remember to use wood fill in any cracks before you paint. (This may necessitate some additional sanding once the fill dries.)

Home improvement blog MyColortopia has advice for painting a metal exterior door. Information on weather stripping can be found at MeetPenny.com.

Pro tip: Make sure to buy exterior paint so your paint job can weather the elements.

Cost: About $75

Build a Raised Flower Bed

If flowers are a must-do Mother’s Day tradition in your family, put a new spin on things. This year, give mom a place to plant them instead! Raised flower beds are a growing and aesthetically pleasing trend in home landscaping.

A raised bed is a great gift for mom if you want to make gardening easier for her. Raised flower beds require less weeding and less bending-down in general. Also, raised beds warm quickly in the spring sunshine and drain quickly after a heavy rain.

You can purchase the lumber and soil for a 6-foot by 4-foot raised bed for around $100. Raised flower beds come in many shapes and sizes, so it’s important to have a plan before you buy or cut your lumber. Home improvement site Lowes.com has a handy step-by-step guide. You can also build a raised garden using reclaimed materials. Check out Rodale’s Organic Life for some great ideas.

And if you want to make mom feel extra-special, plant some perennials in her new bed before you leave. A visit to your local nursery or home improvement store will yield many beautiful options this time of year.

Mother’s Day only comes once a year, but you can give mom a gift that will last until next year and beyond. Ditch the same old gifts and treat your special lady to a home improvement!

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