10 simple DIY renovations you can complete in a weekend

By : Nick Marr

DIY repairs and renovations are part of the western culture. A lot of us love to spend time adding value to our homes without calling on local tradies. And even when we have to get a builder in, we sometimes like to finish up the work ourselves – maybe doing some plastering and painting, for example.

If you have an older home, you might have a long list of projects you want to knock off. Just be sure to check that your home insurance is up to date first. Visit State Insurance for more information on insurance when doing work on your home.

The hard thing is deciding what will give you the most value for your dollars. For inspiration, check out this list of project ideas:

1.Give the outside of your house a blast

Challenge: The outside of your home can start to look run-down if you don’t look after it. If your exterior cladding (weatherboard, brick or plaster) has mould, mildew or a build up of dust and dirt, it can really make the whole house look unloved.

Solution: Rent or borrow a water blaster and spend a weekend making your home look like new again. Concentrate under eaves and along the base of the house, where most of the dirt tends to stick. While you’re there, give the outdoor paths an instant facelift by blasting away the built up of dirt, slime and moss.

2.Repaint your front door

Challenge: Your front entrance has an important job to do. It has to make a good impression and look welcoming when people arrive at your home. A worn, unloved front door with chipped or peeling paint isn’t sending the right signals. Cracked glass panels can look pretty sad too. And what about the steps, garden and path that complete the front entrance to your home? Could they try a bit harder?

Solution: Choose a new front door colour, then get busy with the paint brush. Pop on some new house numbers and you’ve got yourself an attractive, fresh look that visitors will love. To complement the new-look door, wash down the front entrance area, then weed and trim any adjacent gardens.

3. Apply removable wallpaper

Challenge: A room that looks out-of-date and ordinary.

Solution: To quickly modernise an ageing room or space, add wallpaper and be amazed.  Wallpaper application brings to mind glue, long tables, fiddly corners and frustration. However, modern removeable wallpaper is affordable, stylish and easy to use – and it comes off easily if you want another update in the future.

4.Paint the walls

Challenge: Faded, peeling or scratched paintwork on the walls.

Solution: For a more permanent change of scenery, rather than removable wallpaper, you can paint. There’s a bit of prep required for this (sanding, undercoat, taping and then painting a few layers), but the results are worth it. Before you commit to a colour, use a test pot on a sheet on cardboard; look at the paint colour in different places and different light levels. A coat of white paint adds light and space, while colour gives a room interest and style.

5.Tidy up those kitchen cupboards

Challenge: You’d love a new kitchen, but you can’t afford a total reno right now.

Solution: For a quick and cheap kitchen makeover, paint the kitchen cupboards and buy new handles. Some cupboard surfaces aren’t paint-friendly, so a trip to your hardware store with a photo of the cupboards will ensure you use the right products in the right order. Most kitchen cupboard surfaces can be effectively repainted if you prepare carefully.

6. A new splash back to add a modern touch

Problem: Your splash back ages pretty quickly. It bears the brunt of tomato splatters and greasy spray. If cleaning no long makes it look clean, it’s time for an update.

Solution: While there are loads of amazing printed glass options, you can consider tiles for an immediate DIY option. Start it on Friday and your kitchen will look much cleaner and newer by Sunday.

7.A bathroom blitz

Challenge: Bathrooms are expensive to renovate because they involve so many trades people – builder, cabinet maker, waterproofer, plumber, electrician and a tiler! If you don’t have the funds for a complete renovation, changing a bunch of accessories will give you an immediate lift.

Solution: Replace drawer handles with new ones that have the screw holes in the same place. Replace the shower curtain or shower door, replace the shower fittings with a hand-held hose option, install a chrome heated towel rail and give the whole bathroom a top-to-toe scrub. Almost as good as new one!

8.New curtains or blinds

Challenge: Your curtains, blinds and shades are tired, faded and mouldy.

Solution: Replacing old window dressings with readymade blinds or new curtains will instantly update any room. A trip into Spotlight will give you a choice of window treatment options, including curtain fabric that already has the hook cloth attached. Just measure your windows first, so you know the width and drop you need.

9. Consider new floors

Challenge: Your hardwood floors have seen better days or the cat’s damaged the carpet (it’s just one giant scratching post!).

Solution: If you have timber floors, a sand and re-wax might be all that’s required to make them look like new again. Ripping up old carpet and putting manufactured timber floors that click together requires a bit of skill and time, but will make a big impact on the room. If carpet damage is limited to a few areas, you can get a carpet repairer to patch it using undamaged carpet from a wardrobe.

10.Hang new artwork

Challenge: You’re bored with your art or your walls are a relentless stretch of nothingness.

Solution: Browse your favourite holiday photos and find a few to reproduce as stretched canvases. Your walls will look brighter and your memories will live on. Check out self-stick wall art – there’s heaps available online. Also visit your local op shops – other people’s unwanted artworks could be your treasures. Or, and maybe this is the best idea of all, buy some blank canvases and paint, then become an artist!  YouTube how-to videos show you how to paint your own artworks.

Renovations don’t have to be expensive

With a few hundred dollars and a couple of weekends, you can give your home a gorgeous makeover. It doesn’t require a lot of skill, just a bit of inspiration, ingenuity and patience. Check out Pinterest for contemporary looks you could adapt to your home.