Few things are as satisfying as living among beautiful things you’ve created yourself. Some individuals shy away from DIY, however, it is great fun and is a way to boost your practical skills. If you don’t feel very confident about tackling a task, there are many tutorial videos on the internet you can view to learn different techniques. You’ll improve as you go along and if things don’t work out the way you hoped the first time, you can always try again. These simple projects are a great way to get started.
Put up some shelves
One of the easiest ways to get to grips with DIY is to start with shelves. You could build a whole bookcase or simply fit odd shelves into little gaps around your walls wherever they would come in useful. Putting shelves above radiators is a good trick, especially if you paint the underside silver, as this will reflect heat downwards and keep your rooms warmer.
Shelves look straightforward but there are things you’ll need to bear in mind. Firstly, choose material strong enough to bear the weight of what you want to keep on it. Secondly, fit proper supporting brackets using plastic plugs and screws – not nails. Bookcases should be fixed to the wall to prevent them falling forwards. When cutting lengths of wood for shelves, make them slightly longer than you need so you can sand down the ends to make them smooth. Ready made shelves can also be purchased and are easy to fit using the supplied fixings.
Fit window shutters
Shutters are a great way to insulate your home and make it more secure. You can buy café shutters or tiered shutters to fit yourself, and they’re easy to paint so that you can get exactly the look you want You’ll probably need a stepladder and another person to hold the shutter whilst you attach it.
Fitting shutters in older homes can sometimes be problematic due to deterioration of the wood in the window frame. If you think this might apply to you, check before you begin the project. You may need to repair part of the frame before you begin work. In most homes, however, the process is very straightforward.
Liven up your staircase
Staircases tend to be a neglected part of the home. If yours are made of plain wood, why not give them a boost by staining, varnishing or painting? There are many ways you can make this look good, using colours that complement your general décor or by using a different colour on each step to create a rainbow effect.
Some people are very creative with their stairs, painting them to look like stacked books or even putting mirrors on them (though this should only be done with plastic ones because they will sometimes be accidentally kicked). If you have kids, this can be a great DIY project for them to engage with.
Build a bottle wall
Glass walls can be a great way to divide spaces because they look beautiful and let the light through, but glass bricks can cost quite a bit. Building a wall from glass bottles is a great way to do this on a budget. You can use any type or colour of bottles – a mixture can look great – as long as they’re roughly the same size. Bamboo canes, easy to find in garden centres, can form your central poles.
To build your wall, fit the canes vertically – you can fit them with a wooden base and top piece if you don’t want to drill into the floor – then drill the bases of the bottles (it’s best to wrap them in cloth to do this safely – wear eye protection) and slide them onto the poles so that they overlap. The result can look stunning.
Try some tile painting
Why do tiled bathrooms and kitchens always have to be bland? They often are, but you can brighten them up. Use an alkyd or oil based paint to create your own beautiful tile designs and fit those tiles onto your walls. You don’t need to paint every tile on your wall to make an impression. Creating a tile fringe generally looks more impressive, and individual tiles that fit a theme such as flowers or sea creatures can look good if arranged semi-randomly. This is another great project for kids to join in with.
By using these simple techniques, and equipping your living spaces with attractive accessories, you can add real character to your home. You’ll enjoy doing the work and later you can sit back and feel very proud of the result.