If you find yourself with a spare weekend, and let's face it, that doesn't happen too often. Why not give your home a chic update with our favorite DIY projects that can be tackled in a matter of hours or even a weekend?
Below, we've highlighted the top 10 DIY projects we've tackled in the past. Each one is easy but really impactful – and above all, beautiful. So, if you have time on your hands and are in need of inspiration, keep scrolling...
See: Home makeover ideas – more stunning, simple ways to transform your home
DIY projects – the H&G way
From simple tricks with paint to DIY projects that require a needle and length of thread, these are our top ways to lift a room – or two.
1. Fashion a display
If your best china is too good to eat off, or perhaps you have decorative antique plates hidden away in a cupboard, make a gallery wall display with them.
Select a few of varying sizes and patterns and measure up the placement of each piece on the wall before you go in with a hammer and nails, to make sure you get the spacing right.
Once you’re happy, attach the plates to hanging wires – you can get ones especially designed for plates that will hold them firmly without damage – and hook onto the walls.
See interior designer Emma Sims-Hilditch's 7 expert tips for hanging plates on a wall – perfectly.
2. Use paint colors to show off a display
Think about a fresh lick of paint, but in small doses.
‘Most of us have an old chest, chair or table that has seen better days,’ says Helen Shaw, director of Benjamin Moore. ‘Painting the inside or the legs in an eye-catching color can make it feel like you have a brand-new piece at a fraction of the cost of buying new furniture.’
Of course, if the outside of a glazed piece like this one is in good shape, simply painting the inside in a contrasting shade can be – and it's the perfect way to show off its contents.
Remember to clean down the surface before you begin, followed by a smooth sanding and repair any cracks before going in with your paintbrush. ‘We recommend two coats for a flawless finish,’ adds Helen.
See: 5 tips for displaying china – for more inspiring ideas for showing yours off
3. Add trimmings for beautiful detail
Swapping out your soft furnishings is a quick and easy way to keep rooms feeling refreshed season to season. But how about going one step further and adding a little extra detail to your cushions with new trimmings?
If you have a sewing machine, then it’s a relatively simple look to achieve. Pick up your beading, braids, piping and tassels – we love Samuel & Sons – and then pick out a color that matches the fabric for a sophisticated finish or opt for a contrasting tone for a contemporary twist.
4. Highlight an alcove
Painting an alcove in a very slightly darker or lighter shade than the one on the main walls will go some way to highlighting a delightful architectural feature, but edging it with a trim will make it into a fabulous focal feature.
You can create the look above by simply creating a design to trace around and then painting the contrasting shade by hand; or, have the design cut from MDF and paint that before fixing it to the wall; or, edge the alcove with a wallpaper frieze or border.
See: Wallpaper ideas – gorgeous decor for every room
5. Give staircases a decorative edge
Stencilling or even tiling the side of each step on a staircase will bring an unsuspecting splash of pattern.
Look to use similar colors or shapes found elsewhere on your landing or hallway to create cohesion. You may even want to introduce wallpaper for extra impact.
‘Wallpaper is seeing another renaissance, as people seek out colour and pattern that injects joy and energy into an interior,’ explains Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene and Paint & Paper Library. ‘Green and blue tones as well as warm neutrals becoming increasingly popular,’ she adds.
See: Hallway ideas – stylish ways to create a welcoming first impression
6. Bring in the green
‘Spring is a great time to get into house plants,’ says Dr Katie Cooper, founder of online indoor plant store Bloombox Club. ‘As the weather gets warmer and daylight hours increase, houseplants enter their active growing phase and come out in full force.’
Previously a practising therapist and psychology lecturer, Katie explains it is important to research your plants to ensure they sit in the best light. ‘It’s nice to bring together plants of varying shapes and sizes, but maintain a theme throughout, whether that’s jungly and rugged or neat and ornamental,’ she adds.
7. Give your bedroom a boutique look
An upholstered headboard idea with a matching footboard may sound like a luxurious hotel-chic look, but is actually quite easy to achieve.
You’ll need plywood for the board, wadding to pad the piece outs, fabric of your choice, as well as trim or edging – plus a staple gun to bring it all together. Small panels with patterned fabric add a subtle amount of detail, such as in this framed bed, but it can be fun to play around with dimensions too.
Consider creating an extra wide or tall headboard for dramatic effect, as it’ll bring the focus on the room straight to the bed.
8. Hang a decorative mural
You don’t have to put your artistic nature to the test when it comes to picture walls. There are plenty of wallpapers that are designed to do just that with trompe l'oeil illustrations that can quickly add an extra dimension even in small spaces.
For a relaxing bedroom scheme, turn to images of escapism, like this tropical pictorial Tana Grisaille wallpaper that evokes the memory of faraway shores. Complete the look by choosing furniture, bedding and cushions in earthy ochre and a pinch of ginger for a fully immersive design.
See: Bedroom ideas – designs and inspiration for beautiful bedrooms
9. Design a desk
Whether we are working from home or the kids need to do their schoolwork, these days there’s always a need for a dedicated workspace. It needn’t be imposing, so it’s a good idea to make the most of an unused corner.
We love how this floating desk doubles as a dressing table with a sleek round mirror, and the design doesn’t take up any unnecessary floorspace while still providing plenty of room to work. Soften up the space with a lamp, flowers and a suitable chair or stool that fits in with the rest of your room’s existing décor.
See: Ingenious hidden desks – small home office ideas meet clever, creative thinking
10. Revitalise a wooden floor
See: Bathroom ideas – stylish decor ideas for all bathrooms
If revamping your wooden floors is on your to-do list this year, this transformation is one to consider. The floor has been stripped back, then painted with a chequerboard pattern before being given two to three coats of a tough clear varnish. The result is a warm, characterful look that appeals to those who love a vintage feel.
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Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, Channel4.com/4homes. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for Realhomes.com, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she has also taken on the editorship of the magazine.
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