Many of us have spent more time at home than ever before over the past few months – making us more aware of what we love about it, and what’s less appealing.
This has spurred some people into action, tapping into a new-found passion for DIY.
According to Barclays Mortgages, over half (54%) of us have been using the extra time at home as an opportunity to tackle jobs that had previously been put off for months, or even years.
But, before you grab your paintbrush or drill, interiors expert Kate Watson-Smyth, who has teamed up with Barclays Mortgages, says there’s no point starting projects you’ll become fed up with and give up halfway through. "Instead, pick smaller jobs that will have bigger impact and you are certain to complete: painting a ceiling, redoing the woodwork, making some new cushion covers or blinds," she suggests.
Keeping things small and simple helps keep costs down too – and nobody wants to be making any expensive mistakes right now.
Curious? Here, Watson-Smyth shares eight tips for small and simple DIY projects on a budget…
1. Paint that cheap table you bought
Many of the best DIY tips involve paint, as it’s an affordable way to make a difference. If you have a table that you bought a while ago at a junk shop or car boot sale, now’s the time to create something bespoke and individual with a tin of chalk paint. Or you could simply paint the legs of your kitchen table.
2. Re-make blinds using the old parts
Window dressings are often expensive, as so many of us have windows that aren’t standard sizes. If you have a blind that you no longer like, or that doesn’t go with the decor, try taking it apart and re-using the mechanisms so that all you have to do is re-make the material part.
3. Make cushion covers with remnants
You can also have the back and front in a different fabric so it’s as if you have twice as many cushions. If you don’t have a fabric remnant that is large enough, try sewing a few together to create a colour block or patchwork effect. If you aren’t confident sewing a zip, make an envelope cover like a pillowcase, or use a couple of large buttons. Again, you can buttonhole by hand if you don’t have the right attachment on your sewing machine.
4. Recover a simple drum lampshade
You can buy lampshade kits but if you have a simple drum shade that, again, you would like to refresh, then you can simply glue some different material over the top and attach with pegs while it dries. Bear in mind it might not give out as much light as before, so choose a light fabric. But it will still give direct light from the top and bottom, rather than a gentle ambient and diffused glow.
5. Paint those tiles you always hated or redo the splashback
Tiles can be expensive and messy to replace and you will probably need a skilled tradesperson to help you. But you can paint tiles yourself using simple bowls or a ruler to create a new pattern. You may need at least two coats and allow them to dry fully. To protect the tiles afterward, add a layer of lacquer.
6. Create a gallery wall by printing photos from your phone
How many of us have phones crammed with photos? Print a few and create a gallery wall. A staircase is a great place to start, as you don’t have to worry about straight lines. You could either match all the frames and have different sizes, or choose a variety of colours. Try laying them out on the floor first to get a feel for the overall look.
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7. Change your cupboard handles
Refreshing handles is an effective way to update kitchen cupboards or drawers. The easy way is to choose handles that are the same size as the existing ones. If you want something different, be prepared to fill the old holes, sand them down, and paint over before drilling new holes.
8. Paint the edges of the doors to create interest
You don’t have to pay for lots of tins of paint to give a room a new look. Painting the edges of doors can add interest. Carefully tape the edges of the door on both sides and paint the edge in a bold colour, so that you only see it when the door is open. Match the colour of the room the door opens into – or try adding a bright totally contrasting shade for fun.