When it comes to home updates, I like to consider Do-It-Yourself alternatives before I bring in the professionals to get the job done. DIY projects do more than help you stretch your budget. They provide you with the satisfaction of doing a job with your own hands, and the result is a customized solution perfectly suited to your space.
My husband and I are fairly handy with power tools which helps with our projects, but you don’t need to be a DIY whiz to achieve impressive results. The most important thing is that you know how to use tools safely and that you go in with a plan. Here are five DIY renovation ideas that are easier and cheaper than you think.
1. Create architectural interest with inexpensive moulding
When you think of moulding, trim or paneling, images of grand stately homes might come to mind. Yet this is a high-end look you can replicate in your own home at very little cost. Using 1/2” MDF (available from any home improvement store) cut into strips, wood glue, and a nail gun, you can add instant character to any wall in your home. Installation is quick and easy. Just apply wood glue to the back of the MDF strip, attach the MDF to the wall and reinforce it with brad nails. Add a coat of paint and in one afternoon you can take your walls from boring to architecturally stunning.
2. Maximize a small closet with off-the-shelf cabinets
One way to save money on home projects is to start with an off-the-shelf product and mix it with DIY customization. For our daughter’s bedroom closet, we wanted to maximize storage. An organizing tower fit nicely in the closet but left extra unused space. By adding a few simple shelves and rods (easy projects for even novice DIYers), we were able to create more storage options and have a fully functioning closet that looked like a custom product.
3. Create an outdoor oasis by building a DIY bench
With the short summer season, you’ll want to make the most of your outdoor space. Building an outdoor bench might sound like a difficult project but a bench’s simple construction makes it ideal for a beginner. Construct a rectangular frame out of 2 x 4’s. Clad the frame in plywood and add 1/4” plywood strips around the perimeter to give your bench a Shaker look. Top the bench with sturdy boards for the seat. Pro tip: use a piano hinge to join the boards and you’ll be able to open the seat and store your outdoor pillows and cushions inside the bench.
4. Use temporary wallpaper to update your space
Love the look of wallpaper but afraid of the commitment? Luckily, there are many products available which can give you the pattern you crave but are easy to install and remove. Temporary wallpaper has a self-adhesive (just remove the paper backing) and can be repositioned and removed without damaging your walls. It’s a great way to change up your decor seasonally or add instant colour and pattern to bland walls.
5. Get a built-in look with filler panels
Custom built-in cabinets might be out of the budget but you can achieve the same look with ease. In our guest bedroom, we combined a DIY bench and off-the-shelf closets to create room for storage and seating. To get the built-in look, we added filler panels around the sides and top of the freestanding closets. Simply take a strip of wood and set it back the depth of your filler panel. Glue the wood to your wall. This will act as a cleat or support to your filler panel. Put your filler panel in front and glue it to the cleat. Fill any gaps around the edges with silicone and then paint the panel the same colour as your walls for a seamless and custom look.
With a little ingenuity and basic DIY skills, you can have your home looking and feeling spectacular. What DIY renovation are you ready to tackle?