As we pass the one-year anniversary since COVID-19 became a global pandemic, most people will have lived through extensive lockdowns and restrictions like they’ve never seen before, and many still are. The endless days of staying home have left many people looking for things to do that they otherwise wouldn’t have had the time or the motivation to do. For some people, cooking and/or baking has become their saving grace, whilst for others, finding a new crafty hobby has saved them from weeks of unbearable boredom, but for a select few, their ambitions have been a bit bigger in the way of home improvements.
Being in the house so much has forced people to observe their surroundings and has spurred many to finally get around to the home improvements they’ve been putting off for months – or even years. If seeing many Instagram posts of improvements your friends and family have made has encouraged you to make a change in your own four walls, but you’re not quite sure where to start, look no further.
Home improvements don’t have to be big, expensive extensions, new windows, white rendering or a new bathroom/kitchen; there are plenty of things you can do yourself whilst on a budget that will change the look and feel of your house. Below, we detail three ways you can make valuable DIY changes, all of which are particularly useful if you’re stuck on where to start but know you want to change things up. Just think about how good the house will look by the time we can welcome friends and family round once more.
1. A Lick of Paint/Wallpaper
The most basic do-it-yourself job that can instantly change the way your home looks is a lick of paint. If you’re guilty of painting your whole house magnolia (save for the bathroom which may well be blue), a fresh paint job is one of the best things you can do. Magnolia is a common off-white/yellow shade that provides a neutral palette to complement any and all furnishings, and as such, it’s a common color that features in most homes in some capacity. Yes, it’s clean and fresh, but it can instantly date your home and adds no real aesthetic value to it.
Offer up some more visual stimulation and paint over the magnolia. It might seem scary and like a drastic change, but trust us when we say your house will look all the better for it. If the idea of losing your beloved magnolia mildly scares you, there are ways you can slowly introduce color to your life. Keep three walls in any one room magnolia and paint one wall a different color. Navy blue offers up cosy living room vibes and goes well with magnolia, plus, it’s an extremely versatile color and complements almost all types of interior furnishings.
Alternatively, you could paint your hallway a soft pastel shade such as dusty pink or a light mint. These shades are just as brightening as magnolia, but they’re a good stepping stone to something a bit bolder and more vibrant. If you have a particularly dark area of your house, pastel shades are a colorful solution to neutral, light-reflecting paint. They’ll enhance the light in the area and brighten it up, but they’re slightly more interesting than magnolia and white.
Giving every room in your house a fresh coat of paint (including the ceiling) – even if it’s the same color you had before – will instantly breathe new life into your house. Best of all, it’s a very inexpensive project to undertake.
If you’re feeling up to it, add some patterned wallpaper for a completely new look.
2. Built-In Storage Solutions
A great way to rejuvenate your house and make the most of the space in a way that uniquely works for you and your family is to build some customized storage. Alcoves on either side of a chimney breast are a prime space for integrated storage, especially for televisions, DVDs and home entertainment systems. They give your home a more finished look and are great for keeping things tidy. You might be forgiven for thinking integrated home storage is expensive and needs to be done by a carpenter, but this isn’t necessarily the case. You can easily incorporate built-in storage into your home on a DIY basis using wood, various sizes of aluminium box sections and a power drill.
There are many guides online on how to make customized built-in storage solutions for all rooms in your house, so whatever space you’re working with, as long as you have the right materials, tools, patience and time, you could change the functionality of a room in your house.
If the idea of a customized storage unit seems like too big of a project to start with, you could always opt for something smaller whilst you get used to working with various types of materials and tools. You could make DIY floating shelves, a ladder bookcase or a side table. These are all items that look harder to make than they are, but if you succeed, you’ll have some truly unique storage and furniture that will add both convenience and style to your home and could be the facelift your lockdown house needs.
3. Reclaimed Floors
If you’re looking for a slightly longer-term project that will drastically change the look of your home, look no further than your floors – particularly if you have an older house. Most older properties will have original floorboards or tiles hiding underneath the carpet or linoleum, and with a bit of TLC, they can bring some of the original characters back to your house.
The first step to reclaiming your floors as a DIY lockdown project is to check what’s actually underneath your existing floors, and you can do this by simply peeling back the corner of your carpet or linoleum. If you’re happy with what’s underneath, you can pull up your whole carpet and inspect the condition of the floor. If it’s in a good state, you can sand and varnish it/restore it with some basic TLC, but if it’s not in such good shape, you can reclaim flooring from other places.
From bricks to ceramic tiles and floorboards, there are a lot of options out there for reclaimed flooring. It’s relatively time-consuming and a larger project, but it’s an eco-friendly (and cheaper) alternative to buying new. Plus, the project will give you something to focus on during your weekends trapped indoors, not the mention the feeling of fulfilment from doing something yourself.
Will you be trying any of these projects as we prepare to come out of lockdown?