13 Home Improvement Projects That Take Less Than an Hour

bright red door in front of blue house
  • 1 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-500

When you hear the phrase “Home Improvement” you might envision a kitchen overhaul or new addition, but there are myriad home upgrades you can knock out in a limited time window, without actually knocking anything out.

1. Paint the Front Door

Depending on whether your door is metal or wood, you may need to strip, sand, or otherwise prep it before painting. However, the painting part doesn’t take long. Be sure to tape off built-in windows for protection from paint, and ease of clean up.

2. Paint a Wall

Don’t rush the job to get it done in under an hour, but typically painting an accent wall in a room won’t eat up too much of your day. Grab a special tool in the paint aisle to make edging easier. Use a primer for dramatic color changes, and rely on a one-coat paint to make the task go faster.

2. Add Safety Handles

Gather your safety handles and install them inside and outside the shower, near the toilet, and on the downstairs side of all entryways into the home from the outside and the garage.

4. Change a Light Fixture

hanging light fixtures

Swapping out a light fixture for an upgraded model is a fairly straightforward task, as long as the current wiring is up to date and you’re not relocating the light. Make sure the main breaker is off to the fixture before beginning work. Then remove the old fixture and install the new one by matching up the wires in the same pattern.

If the fixture is a different shape at the base, you may need to touch up ceiling paint where the old fixture covered it.

5. Install a Ceiling Fan

Installing a ceiling fan isn’t very different from installing any other light fixture, as long as the fan is replacing another light in the same place.

6. Clean the Chimney

Maybe it’s more of a maintenance task than a home improvement, but cleaning the chimney is a must-do for homeowners with a wood stove or fireplace. While you’re cleaning, look for any areas where the masonry is cracked or crumbling and make immediate repairs before using the stove.

7. Upgrade Motion Lights with a Camera

camera and LED outdoor light on wall

While you’re in the groove of swapping out light fixtures, you can improve your arrival home on a dark night with motion-sensor lights. Choose a model that also has a camera built-in so you can watch animals or trespassers on your property through a smartphone app when at home or away.

8. Clean Dryer Vents

Cleaning out your dryer hose and vent is an important maintenance task to tackle a few times each year. If your dryer hose is torn, it’s probably time to replace it, which is quick and easy to do.

9. Change a Faucet

If you’ve got an hour, you can have a new faucet in your kitchen or bathroom. It may cost you a bit more time if you find frozen connections from corrosion or hard water, but the basic procedure is to remove the old and put the new one in its place. Make sure to select a faucet with the same mounting pattern.

10. Install a New Shower Head

shower head in gray shower

Whether it’s time to upgrade to a smart shower head, you want to finally enjoy a rain shower, or you just need to replace an old, leaky model, replacing a showerhead just takes a few basic tools and a bit of time.

11. Swap to a Programmable Thermostat

Not only does swapping out your thermostat for a programmable model provide better management of your heating and cooling, but if you go with a smart model you’ll have even more control over when the heat kicks on and gives you the option to adjust it even when you’re away from home.

12. Plant Flowers

Flowers bring joy. In baskets, in pots, in planters, in garden beds, or in the ground, spending an hour planting flowers is never a waste of time.

13. Upgrade to Keyless Entry

Make one aspect of your life a bit easier with a keyless entry to your home. This system can work on a smartphone app or can be a keypad style that allows easy entry for anyone with the code.