If there’s one hobby that was reignited during multiple national lockdowns, it was DIY. Many of us were confined to our homes, with our usual outdoor or out-of-home activities unavailable. At the highest point, almost 9 million UK workers were furloughed, giving them more free time than ever before.
We all turned to DIY to keep ourselves entertained; for many of us, it was something we never had the time to do previously. Sales of DIY and household goods shot up in the first national lockdown, with the ONS commenting that “consumers appeared to be carrying out home improvements while spending more time than usual in their homes.”
Thanks to the internet, it’s never been easier to DIY. We can take inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest and learn how to DIY from videos on YouTube and TikTok. We can even follow step-by-step guides on our favourite interior design blogs. Skills that were once passed down through generations are now available at the press of a button.
If you weren’t able to take advantage of last year’s DIY boom, don’t worry – there’s still time! The gradual easing – and eventual elimination – of lockdown rules means you might have less time on your hands. But you can still turn your home into a place you love with some quick, simple changes. So, if you want to transform your living space and get it ready for the end of lockdown, but you don’t know where to start, here are two easy and fun ideas.
Add a lick of paint
We know – it can be super overwhelming to paint an entire room. You might be looking around and wondering where to start. Do you jump straight in with abandon, roller in hand? We love your enthusiasm, but let’s take a look at some suggested preparation first.
Just like every task, planning is key. There are a number of things to consider before starting, including:
- Your colour palette. Sure, you can change your home’s entire colour palette, but that might require all-new furniture and standout features. If you’re not ready for an entire home revamp, stick to a shade that matches your existing palette.
- Your wall texture. Different textures require different tools. You can buy paint tailored to standard wall textures, including kitchen and bathroom-specific paint. Different rollers are designed with texture in mind, so if you have an orange peel wall, don’t use a paintbrush.
- The finish you want. There are so many finishes available. High gloss finishes are the most durable, but this light-reflecting finish might be overwhelming. Eggshell is the perfect compromise for your living room – matte enough to fit, but still durable.
Now onto the task itself. Rather than relying on the paint to cover those cracks and holes in the wall, fill them correctly – it’s worth it in the long run. Then, don’t forget to sand down any uneven patches of your walls and prime them thoroughly. The last thing you want is random lumps and bumps ruining your stunning new hue!
Make sure you’ve prepped your room correctly, too. Move large furniture out of the way and cover with dust sheets, and use tape to protect your ceilings, skirting boards, and doors. There’s nothing more frustrating than ruining your hard work by splattering paint on the ceiling.
When it comes to the actual painting, take your time. You don’t want to rush it; especially if you’re doing it for the first time. For most walls, two coats will suffice – and make sure you’re sanding your walls down between each coat. Once you’re finished, step back and admire your work!
Upcycle your furniture
Sometimes, our homes need a refresh. But we might not have the time or budget to totally redecorate. We believe it’s the finishing touches and standout pieces that really take your home to the next level. So why not refresh a piece of your existing furniture?
The opportunities are endless. You could revive a table with a splash of paint or give it a new glossy finish. Perhaps you have a worn-out armchair that needs an upholstery spruce-up. We particularly love this project by @85_wf, who used a set of stunning brass handles gifted by home décor specialists Dowsing & Reynolds to transform an old set of drawers and make them her own.
Katie shared her process with us, and she even said it was easier than she thought it would be! Here are her top tips:
- Choose the right handles. Katie used handles with a backplate, so she didn’t need to fill in the unnecessary holes from the previous handles. This is a great option for beginners who want the job to be as straightforward as possible.
- Re-use the original holes where possible. These handles are completely different lengths to the originals, but if you use one of the existing holes for each one, this cuts the amount of drilling you need to do in half.
- drilling slowly. For DIY jobs like this, precision is important. Katie recommends marking where your holes need to be, making a small incision with the drill, then stepping back and making sure it’s in the right place before going all the way through.
- Clean as you go. To make jobs like this easier, lay down a dust sheet to protect your floors, and clean up dust as you go. This will make it much easier to see where you’ve been drilling and makes the final clean-up much easier!
Small changes can have such a huge visual impact. If you don’t have any furniture to upcycle, why not refresh the existing small details in your home like replacing your off-white sockets with some classy black plug sockets?
Over the past year, many of us have truly caught the DIY bug. But refreshing your home décor doesn’t need to be a project confined to lockdown. With a wealth of tutorials online, even first-time DIYers can do it. We think these areas are the best places to start. They’re beginner-friendly, affordable, and fun ways to create a home you love.