6 home improvement projects you can still do before summer ends

Hilary Giorgi, CNN Underscored
Tue August 20, 2019

When Memorial Day rolls around every May, everyone talks about their big plans to make the most out of their summer Fridays, long weekends and vacation time. Then, come August, most people are left asking, "Where'd my summer go?", as they stare at a list of unfinished projects.

Well, it's not too late! The season may be winding down, but the daylight still lasts long enough to get in a few cool projects that will spruce up your life and home.

Below, we put together some ideas you can work on in the last few weeks of summer so that by the time Labor Day hits, you can be among the proud few who actually achieved their summer DIY and home improvement goals.

1. Install shiplap backsplash

Are the walls between your cabinets and countertops bare and bland? You can easily spruce up that space with vinyl wood planks that adhere to the wall to create a shiplap finish Joanna Gains would flip over. Find inspiration here or take a slightly easier route and buy shiplap wall decal and install that as your backsplash instead!

Supplies needed:

2. Paint the tile you hate

Most of us have that one room that is desperate for some love but constantly neglected. Often, it's a bathroom because tile is a pain in the neck to rip out and fixtures are costly to replace (not to mention all those plumbing issues). But there is a simple way to give your old bathroom a light freshening up with a little bit of oil-based primer and paint. Just scrub the old tile to remove dirt and loose grout. Then, with some basic, inexpensive paint brushes, slap on a couple of coats of the primer, and after it dries, cover it with high-gloss paint. It'll come out looking fresh and clean, almost like you did a full renovation.

Supplies needed:

3. Get your garden ready for fall

This technically isn't a project for this summer, but it will save you a lot of hassle come springtime and give you a head start on next year's summer projects.

Clearing out this season's plantings and creating a new, fresh patch of dirt will keep your soil healthy and prepped for when spring has sprung. The herb garden you've spent time tending only has a precious little while left to thrive anyway, so pick what you can and then remove the rest. Cut those pretty flowers, put them in a vase, and hoe the dirt they were growing in. Then cover all that soil with some compost and a layer of mulch, and just let it be. You'll be sitting pretty when the April showers come rolling in next year.

Supplies needed:

4. Replace those worn-down outdoor cushions

Maybe it's just one summer of heavy use, or maybe you've been sitting on the same dank outdoor cushions for years. Regardless, if what you've got in the way of outdoor seating has seen a lot of wear and tear, you're due for an upgrade.

If you're craftsy and want to create your own custom look, you can absolutely make them yourself. There are a few different traditional shapes for outdoor cushions — rectangle, trapezoid, circle, etc. — so sometimes measuring is a pain. Home Depot has a great guide to follow here, but the basics are as follows: measure for height, width and depth of either your current cushions or the furniture you have. Then all you need is a fabric you love, some flat board, and foam and you'll be sitting pretty in no time!

And of course, you can always just buy new cushions in the appropriate size and call it a season.

Supplies needed:

5. Organize your closet

Has that closet been giving you anxiety? Have you been putting off organizing it because you thought it was pointless to invest in such a small space? Have no fear. There are affordable and easy ways to get that closet organized and looking fine. Start by clearing out anything unnecessary. Then create dedicated places by installing shoe racks and clothing rods, or just get a closet organizer kit and get to work.

Supplies needed:

6. Replace a regular door with a barn door

Traditional doors are just so ... traditional. Want to liven things up? Install a barn door! It's easier than you think — follow the helpful guide here — and takes only a couple days' time. First, remove the old door, then measure the opening, cut your lumber, create a pattern, paint and install. Just like that, you're Farmer Chic.

Supplies needed:

Note: The prices above reflects the retailers' listed prices at the time of publication.