There are many different levels to a home improvement project. Either way, below are some tips that'll help take the headache out of home improvement work.
You may need to repaint a porch. Make sure to use quality outdoor paint. You want to make sure you use paint that will work over the old paint. Use oil paints over oil paints and water-based paints over old water-based paints. Trim is usually well served by oil-based paint because it lasts longer; however, oil paint is not good for exterior floors or decks since it can be slippery in rain and snow.
Anything simple, like a lampshade, can look and be boring. You could easily create an original lamp sage with some acrylic paint