DIY project: 15 easy upgrades to freshen up your home’s interior

Date:27 February 2013

Okay, so 2013 is well under way. Time to acknowledge that you never tackled half the projects from your 2012 New Year’s to-do list. Feel guilty? The best cure for that – and cabin fever – is to get busy. Here are the home-savvy shortcuts that’ll help. By Theresa Breen

A little bit of painting goes a long way.

(1) Clean up those scuffed walls in high-traffic areas, such as hallways and foyers, with a fresh coat of semigloss or satin finish. You can also (2) turn up the volume in a drab room by painting just one wall a different colour from the rest. Use a piece of artwork or upholstered furniture as a cue for which hue to choose. And who says that an overhead surface needs to be white? (3) Paint the ceiling a darker colour – again, co-ordinating with furniture or artwork – to provide contrast and cosy up the room.

We think wallpaper gets a bad rap as old-fashioned. (4) Give a room an updated look in a flash with temporary wallpaper. The peel-and-stick application makes it easy to put up (and take down, if you don’t like the effect). Use it to cover up a naked backsplash in the kitchen or give new life to bland entryways, or stick it above a shelf to draw attention to your great book collection (like you, we still believe in the printed word).

So you’ve been wanting to replace the kitchen floor for about a year now, but you can’t swing a big cash outlay. No problem. (5) Try laminate-plank flooring. The modular, snap-in-place veneer is easily installed right on top of your existing floor. We tried it and in a matter of hours had the warm look of a hardwood floor sans the cost or the labour of putting down a subfloor. We won’t criticise your taste – but we do recommend you take down that tired framed print of a fruit bowl and (6) amp up your kitchen storage by installing simple shelving. Put your plates and mugs on display; they’ll be useful and decorative.

The most visited rooms in the house deserve a tap-lift. (7) Replacing fixtures in the ol’ latrine or kitchen can add a much-needed reboot. If you doubt your set of skills or tools, find a friend who can show you the ropes, er, pipes. (8) A much simpler task – recaulking a bathtub or shower – will freshen up a bathroom fast. After removing the old stuff, use professional-quality silicone caulk, not a latex blend, which has a much shorter lifespan. Other quick bathroom brighteners: (9) Mount a wine crate on a wall for storing rolled towels. (10) Get an old five-rung ladder, paint or stain it, and lean it against an empty wall as a towel rack. (11) Install a glass shelf above the basin to hold your grooming goods – and a scented candle, too, which will add a zen-like ambience to your washroom.

(12) Swap out venetian blinds for a simple roman shade – and create an elegant look that Caesar himself would be proud of.

(13) For windows with curtains, install new rods for maximum impact with minimal labour. Extend the rod 7 to 15 cm beyond the frame to make the window look more expansive. To add a classic look to any room (14) install chair rails and mouldings around ceilings and doors. Prime the materials before installation, then add a coat of paint to finish the job. Last but not least, put a handle – or a knob – on it: (15) Adding fresh hardware to drawers and cabinets makes ’em look like new.

Latest Issue :

May-June 2022