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In light of lockdown, those neglected homeware projects may have finally moved up on your to-do list, so what better way to use this extra time on your hands as an excuse to do a spot of DIY?
As we remain indoors for the foreseeable future, it’s worth investing some effort into giving your home a little TLC. Knowing that your home is tidy, clutter-free, and spruced up can aid a calmer mind, too. Good news: some home improvement stores have started to reopen their doors with social distancing measures and a capped number of customers allowed in place. If you don’t fancy making the trip, most of them already have products available online, so you can order your tools to get started on simple decorating fixes around the house.
1. Create a gallery wall.
Get round to framing and hanging those prints you’ve had lying on the floor for ages. A statement gallery wall needn’t be a big faff, it’s a simple and cost-effective way to spruce up plain walls or add a bit of personality with photos.
“Always lay it out on the floor first and work out a configuration you’re happy with,” suggests interior designer and blogger Athina Bluff from Topology Interiors. “A general rule of thumb is that your artwork should be half to two thirds the size of the furniture below, so always have this at the back of your mind.”
2. Experiment with paint.
Add some colour in your life and brighten up your home with a lick of paint. It’s important to play around with different colours to see what works and what doesn’t work for the room – that’s why tester pots were invented.
“Instead of painting on the wall, simply paint the swatches on white pieces of paper. You can move the paper around the room and see how the colour changes in different spots due to where the light falls,” advises Bluff. “Once you’ve seen the colour in all different lights, you should be able to make a confident choice and be sure to leave samples to dry overnight to see the true colour.”
If you’re feeling bold and want a whole new look. Go for the full shebang and paint an entire room in one colour. “It will feel amazing to entertain there, moody and very atmospheric,” explains Aurore Martial, founder of interior design studio Domus Venus. “Bonus point: you won’t be scared about making a mess if you paint the entire room in one colour. I see it as a super big trend going forward.”
3. Put up wallpaper.
Wallpaper might seem like a daunting task, but don’t be afraid of patterned walls. Treat it as a canvas to work from and the finished look can have a striking effect.
“It’s a good point to start with a small space where you can afford to be bold,” recommends Martial.” Get an incredible wallpaper that you might not be able to afford (or live with) for a living room. Why not wallpaper the ceiling of that small space, too! Try wallpapering your downstairs toilet with extravagant paper or your home office to create a beautiful background.”
4. Hang curtains.
Curtains can sometimes be a little tricky to install because there are so many factors to get right. Designers often hang curtains higher than the window frame to add height to a room, but keep in mind the typical length should be 2cm off the floor.
“I think the look where they can be a bit long and trail on the floor can end up looking a bit messy and just collects dust,” Bluff says. “Fabric wise, I’d do something contrasting to other fabric elements in the room i.e cushions, headboard and sofa, so if you have a velvet sofa, why not go for linen curtains instead to create a visible difference in textures?”
5. Upcycle wooden furniture.
If you’ve got an old table or chair you were planning to throw away, why not repaint it instead? Give tired pieces a new lease of life with an updated look and it’s an environmentally friendly alternative to buying replacements, which stops waste materials going to the landfill. It’s a win, win.
“Start by laying down a cloth to catch any excess paint and sand down your furniture using a flexible foam sanding sponge or thick sanding paper,” Mark Lamb, PR executive of bathroom retailer Victorian Plumbing suggests. “Once sanded down, seal the wood with a primer and leave to dry for an hour. Paint in your colour of choice and remember you’ll need two coats. Repainting or even refinishing wooden furniture is a fantastic way to revitalise worn items.”
6. Resealing baths and showers.
Sure, it sounds like a rather unsexy and mundane job, but don’t ruin your bathtime bliss with unsightly sealant every time you’re soaking in the tub. Need another reason? Leaving silicone sealant left unattended it can rot away over time and will lead to leaks, which is probably the last thing you want. Luckily, replacing it is a quick and easy job, and provides both a practical and aesthetic fix that’ll restore bathrooms to its glory.
“Firstly, you’ll need to remove the old sealant with a Stanley knife. Slice through the top and bottom edges of the sealant at one end, dig a little out, and pull. It should slide out gently. Wash down with white spirit, and scrape off any excess,” explains Lamb. “Before resealing, fill your bath with water so it’s as heavy as it can be. This means that the gap between tile and bath is as wide as possible. Then, with a cartridge gun, aim to keep a consistent path around the bath edge to refill the sealant.
7. Tile a splashback in the kitchen or bathroom.
Protect the wall behind a sink or oven with a newly tiled splashback. You can give a kitchen, bathroom or cloakroom a whole new look in just an afternoon.
“Ensure the tiles are good quality to prevent cracking and I’d always suggest a darker grout as it hides a multitude of sins as your new updated kitchen or bathroom gets older,” Bluff advises. “If you are considering going for a herringbone pattern – which is very on-trend at the moment – bear in mind that this will likely cost extra to install, as it’s a lot more laborious to lay down due to the amount of cutting required.”
8. Install new handles and cabinets.
Redoing the kitchen doesn’t mean stripping it out from top to bottom. Changing small accents and details such as handles and cabinets can really change the whole mood of the room.
“Revamping your kitchen with new handles and painting your cabinets. It’s quite a job as you need to sand everything down properly, but if you have time it’s a total game-changer for your house,” recommends Martial. “Check Etsy for affordable and stylish handles.”
9. Update a light fixture.
Light up a room by changing the lights. Lighting plays a big part in changing the look and feel of a room. Invest in a new lamp, decorative bulb, or lampshade, which can instantly add ambience and a warming glow.
“One of my favourite tips for renters is to include smart light bulbs into the home. They essentially allow you to have a dimmer system without the need for an electrician as smart bulbs can be controlled via an app on your phone or a portable switch,” Bluff says. “You can make them brighter or dimmer, change the colour to suit your mood and you can even buy sensors, so they turn on as you enter a room.”