Whether you’re decorating to get your home ready to sell or doing it for your own benefit, nobody wants DIY muddles to hang around for longer than necessary.
If it’s your first time tackling straightforward home improvements, these tips should help you whizz through the job, from the best way to use self storage for efficiency to doing things in the right order.
Know Your Space
Spend lots of time scouring magazines, TV programmes, the internet, social media, local shops… everywhere, for ideas and inspiration. Save sketches or photos of styles, items, fabrics, or accessories you love so you can fully understand what you like and what you don’t like. At the same time, recognise the limitations of the room or house you want to improve. You might love the look of kitchen islands, but if you have a narrow galley kitchen it’s probably not going to work.
If you just want to brighten up a room, it’s relatively easy. All you have to do is choose your paint colour, right? Not quite, because colours look different depending on the light, so even there you need to take care. Get hold of some tester pots and try it out before you commit to the full expense.
Slow and steady, knowing exactly what sort of effect you’re hoping to create, is the way to make your dream decor a reality.
Budget-wise, DIY projects can easily get a lot more costly than you thought they’d be. As far as possible, try to get a close idea of how much your dream project will cost, then search for compromises if it’s out of budget. Making lists helps, because then you’re less likely to forget all the added extras such as brushes, paint thinners, wallpaper paste, tools both large and small. Will your small step ladder reach as high as you need it to, for instance?
Timewise, always add a bit extra for how long you expect the job to take. Obviously, the larger the job the more time you need. Timings can be especially tricky if you need expert help such as plumbers or electricians as you’ll be constrained to their availability. It might help to take time off work rather than trying to find the energy in the evening. And if you have kids, try and get help with childcare for a few hours so you can crack on.
Gather all your materials before you start. If you can’t store everything at home, rent a self storage room for a while so you have a bespoke DIY storage space. It really helps to focus the mind when you can see all your decorating tools, paints, and papers in one place. It gives a better idea of the scale of the project, and if you work from lists when you’re buying, it’s easy to double check everything is present and correct.
Once you start, you can use the same storage room to safely stow furnishings and accessories while you work. DIY is much easier when you’re not constantly moving stuff around to make space, and you can get on without worrying about paint spatters on expensive furniture.
You might feel like you’re making progress if you just start slapping paint on the wall, but you’ll work more efficiently if you complete tasks in a logical order.
Start from the top, so ceilings first. If you’re painting walls, do these next, working high to low. If you’re wallpapering, leave that till last after all the door frames, windows or skirtings are complete. It’s easier to wipe wet paste off paint than it is to clean paint off wallpaper.
Don’t forget to put protective sheets down beneath areas you’re painting. You can use old bed sheets if you don’t have purpose made ones, but the plastic sheets you can buy prevent any paint spillages seeping through. It’s also a good idea to cover any furnishings you didn’t put into self storage.
For a final tip, it can be helpful to do some meal planning and pre-cooking. Failing that, decide which take-away you’ll order from. Decorating can be surprisingly energetic and physical, and it’s exhausting if you then have to start cooking once you’ve cleaned the final brush of the day.
Home improvements can be fun and very rewarding, but there are ways to make the job easier and get finished faster. Have fun and enjoy your new space.