Happy New Year everyone! We survived the holidays and now can turn our attention to the upcoming year and the things we want to accomplish. As you might imagine, many of my resolutions have to do with home improvement projects. Since we bought our home six months ago and it’s a mid-century home, built in 1960 or so, my list is looong (much to my hubby’s chagrin!).

I don’t know about you, but something always seems to get in the way of my home project goals…it’s called a budget. Yep, we all know it, and none of us like it. So, you might ask, what’s the best way to figure out what home projects to tackle this year? Here are a few pointers to help you balance your projects with your money so you can love where you live in 2015.


You should start by making a budget—doesn’t need to be fancy, but should be realistic and account for unexpected items. Plan for any windfalls (work bonuses, tax return money, etc.) you might have coming and determine if you can earmark that money for specific DIY projects—this will make the year go a little smoother and prevent over-spenders (me) from impacting the normal monthly budget. Tip: Record on your calendar when extra money is expected and plan toward those dates for specific projects. If you don’t have any or enough windfalls, the new year is a perfect time to plan how you might earn a little extra money to apply to home improvements.

Safety Issues

If you have things like loose tiles or carpet people trip on, or a leaky pipe that may be causing mold under your sink, these should go to the top of your list. They aren’t fun fixes, but they will certainly help you sleep better at night knowing you’ve prevented a potentially dangerous and/or expensive situation from occurring.

New Year's resolutions

Big-Ticket Items

Besides any safety-related items, maybe you have one or two (or if you’re like me, three or a dozen) big-ticket items on your wish-list. In my case, replacing flooring and replacing kitchen countertops are the biggies we hope to address in 2015. To determine your top items, first estimate what your budget will allow. Then ask which projects will really help improve your day-to-day life versus what might fit in the “wait ‘til next year” category. Knowing your overall costs will simplify these decisions and can be accomplished easily by getting online estimates.

And don’t forget to rely on redesign to stretch your budget. For instance, if you need a new table or desk, can you find something used and refurbish it to make it great and save yourself some big bucks in the process? Or, if you’re putting in flooring, is it a type you can install yourself? Thinking along these lines with your more expensive projects will help you save money and maybe even let you squeeze one more project out of your yearly budget.

Feed Your Passions

Another tactic to take is to ask yourself—and the other members of your household—to pick a home project that will feed one of your passions. It could be a passion you actively pursue or one you want to reconnect with. I know on top of my honey’s list would be getting his music room spiffed up with better storage and soundproofing solutions (he’s a drummer…and, yes, I have earplugs!). Since I work from home, getting my home office and crafting areas better organized will be top priorities. These projects may take more time and labor but they’re often less expensive—and you really feel a sense of accomplishment when they’re completed and you have the perfect space in your home just for you!

New Year's Eve 2015 with Fireworks

No matter which approach you take, start by sitting down with a pad and pencil to make a good, old-fashioned pros and cons list. Talk it out with your significant other. Be honest about what needs doing and what you want to do. Address both if you can. Think about what you can do yourself versus paying someone else to do. Finally, try to pick one or two projects that will take work more than money and will help make your home more efficient and enjoyable. It's time to get started on your 2015 home projects!

Now, what will you do next to love where you live?

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