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DIY Projects the Average Homeowner Can Actually Do

There’s lots of information out there about doing DIY projects at home. You can find everything from full furniture building plans to bathroom remodeling tutorials and even tutorials for building entire decks and staircases. But let’s be honest. The average homeowner would have a hard time with projects of this size and intensity without the help of professionals. As much as I wish I could build a beautiful deck in my backyard with stairs up to a second platform, I know well enough to stay in my lane and stick to what I can handle.

Here are a few DIY projects you might actually be able to do that will have an amazing impact on your home if done right:

1. Painting

This is the project that can have the most impact with the least amount of required skill or money. With less than $100, you can completely change the look of a room. Go from boring eggshell to bright turquoise, moody navy or sophisticated gray. Paint an accent wall in a different color, or tape off some wide stripes or fancier shapes, if you’re feeling ambitious. The only limit here is your imagination. Just stick to low-VOC or no-VOC paint to avoid toxic fumes, and be sure to invest in some good drop cloths, rollers and brushes. And if you don’t like the change, all you have to do is paint over it.

2. Refinishing Furniture

While there’s no way I’m ready to tackle a project as complex as building a piece of furniture from scratch — mostly because we lack a workshop, power tools and patience — I am more than willing to refinish a piece of furniture to make it feel like new. This can mean stripping paint to return it to natural wood glory, refinishing with stain in a new color, or sanding and painting a piece in a dramatic color or pattern. It can mean re-upholstering a chair you find on Craigslist or Freecycle, or adding finishing touches like nailheads or other trim. In any case, if you start with a decent piece of furniture, putting your own custom touches on it is infinitely easier than starting with a pile of wood, nails, screws, dowels, adhesives, paint, stain, varnish, et. al, and hoping you can turn it into something that you can actually use that isn’t a death trap.

3. Making Window Treatments

If your first instinct is to think that you can’t — or won’t — sew, think again. These days, you can make curtains and drapes without a needle and thread. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again. All you need is a gorgeous home decor weight fabric, iron-on hem tape, and the ability to cut in a straight line. Be sure to measure the height of your room before you purchase your fabric to make sure it’s long enough. And when you measure, take into account an old decorator’s trick, if you want the room to look and feel taller than it is. Instead of planning to hang your curtain rod just above the window frame, measure 2-3 inches from the ceiling and hang it there instead. This may mean that instead of 80″ curtains, you’ll need 96″. But those extra inches are worth it for the drama they’ll add to your room.

What about you? What DIY projects have you taken on that you later regretted? What projects have you done that were so doable that you were actually surprised? Share your DIY stories in the comments!

About Author

I am a graphic designer by trade who has a strong passion for interior design and doing what we can to protect the environment. This blog and my other site, Green & Gorgeous, are my ways of giving back to the Earth.

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