DIY projects can seem daunting, but there are easy long weekend updates that can transform your home, writes Nathalie Marquez Courtney
Many of us have grappled with romantic notions of 'quick and easy' DIY jobs only to be faced with projects that turn into terrifying time-sinks before our very eyes. But there is a lot you can do in a weekend (and even more on a Bank Holiday) to make a big style statement in your home, you just have to be smart about what projects you choose.
"Some of the best projects to tackle over a long weekend are anything paint related," says blogger Alex Carberry, who regularly shares her own DIY projects on her site, theinteriordiyer.com.
"I always find projects that involve paint - for example, painting a wall, an entire room or a piece of furniture - make the biggest impact with the least amount of effort."
Clever projects to tackle include adding a runner-style pop of colour to a staircase, giving old chairs a new lease of life, brightening up a room by painting your window frames in a fun hue or even giving your front door a makeover.
If you're looking to focus on a specific area of your home this long weekend, Alex recommends giving your hallway some TLC.
"Your hallway is the first room you step into after a long day so if you're greeted with a welcoming and uncluttered space, it will help you to wind-down and relax at the end of a day," she says.
For a quick and easy refresh, consider looking for places to add more houseplants, which will instantly add colour, texture and interest to a room. Succulents and cacti are still firm favourites, though vibrant, patterned foliage is a huge trend for the year, as are hanging plants.
While not as exciting, decluttering and creating additional storage space are also ideal Bank Holiday jobs. Scan your home for any dead space that could be turned into handy storage - adding shelving over a doorway, creating a mini wardrobe out of an unused alcove, adding under bed storage, or finally clearing the clutter from your desk or kitchen table and finding a home for all those random odds and ends.
Creating ways to corral clutter is key to a sleek space, so look for stylish storage solutions like baskets in hip metallic or wicker finishes, drawer organisers and stylish hooks.
Upcycling existing tired and scuffed pieces with some on-trend touches is another quick win. "One of my favourite projects was working on updating a pair of secondhand bedside tables with a hand-painted faux marble treatment on the tops," recalls Alex.
"In the space of a weekend I took two old and yellowed bedside tables, repainted them, added new hardware and gave them a completely different look. They gave our bedroom a sophisticated feel and every time I see them I'm proud of the work that went into updating them."
Designer and restoration expert Gerard Griffin of Rediscover Furniture at the Rediscovery Centre runs courses in upcycling and restoration, and remarks that interest in reviving old pieces is on the up.
"There really is nothing better," he says, "than taking an old or damaged piece of furniture that was destined for landfill and creating something functional and beautiful from it."
Gerard will be teaming up with paint expert Annie Sloan at house 2018, the annual interiors event at Dublin's RDS (see details above), to show would-be restorers how to upcycle faded and jaded pieces.
The long weekend is the perfect time to tackle that project you've wanted to do for a long time but haven't gotten around to doing.
"Set aside a few hours for yourself and make a start on it," says Alex. "The toughest part of a project can sometimes just be starting it."
- Give yourself plenty of time, especially for any projects that involve clear outs or decluttering.
- Don’t start a project until you have all the necessary tools, materials and equipment. “There’s nothing that will make you run out of creative
- steam faster than starting a project, not having everything you need and then said project sits in a corner for three weeks gathering dust,” laughs Alex. “You’ll work faster if you have everything at hand and you’ll feel more confident in what you’re doing.”
- When painting, make sure your surface is clean, dry and prepped.
- No matter how big or small the project, you’ll inevitably need these essentials, so have them handy: Measuring tape, pencil and paper, a paint brush, a hammer, a screwdriver and a roll of masking or duct tape. “These are the basics and you can get a lot of simple home improvement projects done with just that handful of items,” says Alex. As you take on more projects you’ll pick up more tools and develop a more versatile multi-purpose kit.
- Tight on time? Look for quick wins that will give you maximum return for your investment. Think things like updating drawer handles, swapping out lamp shades, or tidying and restyling book shelves.
- For a quick decluttering fix, go around your home and donate anything you have multiples of or haven’t used in over a year (overstuffed pen and cutlery drawers are good places to hit).