20 Weekend Projects Under $20

These 20 improvements may not cost a lot, but they'll make a big difference in how your home functions. Complete one or more of these projects this weekend.

Add a Lower Bar

Adding a lower bar to a closet lets you hang tops above and bottoms below and can effectively double your closet space. You might need to move the existing rod up a bit to accommodate the new arrangement.

Increase Lighting

Install a fixture to shed additional light on a dim area. Think about dark closets or corners where you sit and read and decide if you need more illumination.

Update with Paint

Breathe new life into an old piece of furniture with a fresh coat of paint. For wood pieces, remove dirt or wax buildup with a household cleaner and rinse. Sand rough areas and wipe away dust. Apply two coats of stain-blocking primer and allow it to dry between coats. Roll or brush on two coats of latex paint in the direction of the wood grain, and use a brush to finish the surface with smooth strokes.

Tackle Trim Work

Replace mismatched, missing, or damaged moldings, end caps, baseboard, or quarter rounds. Curved areas may require a special piece or trim made of an alternate material.

Add a Divider

Drawer and cabinet dividers are a must when it comes to keeping pans, lids, spatulas, and chip clips in their respective places. Some units match your cabinetry for a completely integrated and customized look.

Improve Air Flow

Replace a standard floor grate with a more impressive -- and possibly more efficient -- wood or metal register grille. An inferior grate might not channel air in the best direction for optimum flow.

Transition Floors

Make sure you have the correct threshold strip at room entrances where flooring changes. Some moldings adjust to various floor heights and have hidden fasteners.

Recycle Aluminum Rods

Swap flimsy metal curtain rods for a hearty wooden dowel or a rich cast finial-and-ball unit. Match the rod to your wood trim or design elements such as your door hardware.

Replace Switchplates

Replace a plastic switchplate with a wood, metal, or ceramic cover. Some are even textured to blend in with marble, tile, or stone surfaces. Do this for light switches, electrical outlets, and phone and cable jacks.

Update with Hardware

Update your cabinetry by replacing the pulls and knobs on all your drawers and doors. They'll keep your cabinets free of messy fingerprints and add a finished look to your kitchen or bathroom.

Put Towels Within Reach

Don't walk across the room to grab a towel. Add towel bars where you need them, or move the bars you have to make them more accessible. Hunt for bars that complement existing hardware in your kitchen or bath.

Replace Window Shades

Have the window shades in your kitchen been marred by repeated exposure to splashes and cooking liquids? Replace stained window coverings and see your kitchen in a whole new light.

Add Extra Storage

Create a between-the-studs shelf or cubbyhole where you need a little extra storage, especially in a bathroom. Use the space as a magazine rack or to house towels.

Streamline Your Sink

Add an integrated soap or lotion dispenser to your kitchen or bathroom sink to eliminate the clutter of a freestanding bottle. Mount the unit on your existing faucet deck or sink following the directions that accompany the pump.

Get Filtered Water

With a few twists and turns of the spout, you can install a water-filtration system on your kitchen faucet. Most units include a means of bypassing when you need regular tap water for washing hands and dishes.

Organize Your Entryway

Hang a hook for each family member near the door where belongings get tossed upon entry. When coats and totes have a home, you'll feel super organized as you grab and go each day.

Add an Outdoor Path

Consider adding stepping-stones where people walk across the grass each day. It's a simple job, but it requires digging for the pavers, so make sure to have your utility lines marked first.

Install a Window Box

Dress up your windows with an herb or flower garden. Terra-cotta units are an affordable option or construct one from cedar planks. Attach your planter with brackets below a window.

Prep for Surround Sound

You might not be able to buy outdoor speakers for less than $20, but you can lay the groundwork. Consult a local electronics store to determine what wire and connectors you'll need to hook into your existing entertainment system.

Update Door Hardware

All it takes is a screwdriver and few minutes to change clashing or poorly operating door hardware.

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