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DIY Home Decor Ideas You Can Actually Do Yourself

Morgan McBride8-Minute Read
May 12, 2020

Most people want a beautiful home. However, the process of making your home beautiful can often feel overwhelming and intimidating. If you don’t have the budget to hire a team to redecorate and renovate your whole house, you’re going to have to get comfortable trying some DIY.

But don’t let that worry you. With some thrifty tricks, elbow grease, a little design research, and a passion to make your home feel more nested and reflective of you, anyone can create and implement their own home decor. Here are some tips to get you started.

First Things First: Stay Safe

Woman sanding wood plank with safety glasses.

The most important thing to remember when planning and completing a DIY project is to stay safe. A safety-first mindset is the most important part of any DIY project. If you aren’t experienced with DIY, you can be more prone to mistakes, so use these tips to stay safe.

Appropriate Clothing

There are a few major do’s and don'ts for clothing while doing DIY projects.

Don’t have anything dangling that could get caught, like loose clothing, jewelry, or even hair.

Do always wear safety gear such as goggles, a face mask or gloves. Closed-toed shoes and long pants are best when doing any project that involves flying debris or where something could fall.

Awareness Of The Environment

Be aware of your surroundings – look out for things that might become hazards and take the extra time to clean them up in advance. Better safe than sorry! Make sure everyone working on the project is aware of where certain things like trip hazards are.

Proper Tool Use

Power tools make projects go quickly, but they also have the potential to cause injury. If you are unsure of how to use a tool, read the manual first and then head over to YouTube to watch a few demonstrations from trusted resources.

Preparedness With First-Aid Kits

No matter how careful you are, accidents do happen. Be sure to have a fully stocked first-aid kit and fire extinguisher nearby. Also, never do anything risky – such as using a table saw or wiring a light for the first time – when home alone.

Thrifty DIY Home Decor Ideas

Doing home projects yourself is a great way to be thrifty and get a high-end look on a budget. While professionals may cost thousands of dollars, a high-quality DIY project can stay within the hundreds.

If you’re diving into DIY for the first time, you’ll likely need some tools. However, you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money – there are lots of ways to get tools for free or cheap.

In general, it’s best to approach DIY with a mindset of wanting to learn new skills and techniques and putting those skills to use in beautifying your home.

Neighborhood trends at your fingertips.

Check your local market.

Flooring Projects

Flooring is one of those unexpected areas where people can accomplish more on their own than they think. Even if laying new hardwood floors feels beyond your skill set, there are a few projects that are easy for even a novice DIYer.

Layered Rugs

Terrace furniture: pouf used as a table, wicker couch and chair.

Want to make a big impact without making any permanent changes to your flooring? Layered rugs are a really easy way to do that! Look for one rug with an interesting texture – such as seagrass or sisal – and a top rug with fun colors or patterns.

Tile Stencils

Luxury outdoor bathtub with tile stenciling.

If you are feeling a bit more brave, you can paint stencils on your floors. You can purchase stencils specifically sized to paint tiles, making this a great option for bathrooms or kitchens. Just be sure that you use a paint that was designed for flooring, so it can stand up to the wear and tear of being walked on.

Carpet Tile Flooring

Carpeted living room with fireplace.

Laying wall-to-wall carpet is a job best left to professionals, but carpet tiles make it super easy for any homeowner to get the same look without the professional installation. Plus, carpet tiles are easy to pull out and replace if they get damaged, making them perfect for people with messy pets or kids.

Staining Concrete Flooring

Modern entryway with concrete floors.

If you have concrete flooring in a room in your home, you can easily upgrade the look by applying an acid stain. This is an easy process, but you have to follow the instructions on the can of the product precisely to get the best results. This is a great way to change the look of your space without doing much physical labor.

Interior Painting Tips

Young couple painting a wall together.

Painting the walls or ceiling of a room is the easiest way to make a huge impact without spending much money or needing any special skills or tools. In general, all you need is painter’s tape, paint rollers, a dropcloth and paint.

Here are some tips and hacks to make your DIY home painting projects even easier.

Use A Paint Stirrer With Holes

It’s very important to thoroughly shake and stir your paint before using it. Color pigment can sink to the bottom of the can and paint can separate over time. If it has been a little while since you used the paint, you should shake your paint cans before opening them. But you always need to stir your paint before each application. A paint stirrer with holes in it is easier on the wrist and allows you to stir faster.

Microwave Painter’s Tape For Greater Malleability

If your painter’s tape feels stiff to the touch, pop it in the microwave for 10 seconds. This will soften the glue and revive the tape for a short period of time.

Mix Your Cans Together

If you are using multiple paint cans of the same color, pour them all into one container for consistent colors without minor pigment variations. Even if you get all of the cans mixed at the same time, even one drop of dye’s difference can change the coloring of the paint.

Mixing your paint – or purchasing one 5-gallon bucket instead of multiple 1-gallon buckets – is your best bet for consistent coverage.

Know What Type Of Paint You’re Working With

Determine the type of any preexisting paint before purchasing new paint. Soak a cotton ball or cloth with alcohol and rub it on the old paint. If paint comes off, it’s latex-based. If not, it’s oil-based. You can paint over either – but might want to use special primers on a case-by-case basis.

Wall Decor Ideas

DIY wall decor is an excellent way to personalize your home on a budget. Wall decor is probably the most versatile way to personalize your home, and when you DIY it, the possibilities are literally endless.

Here are some ideas for DIY wall art you can make:

Wall Art

Handmade craft wall hanging.

Anything that hangs on your wall can be wall art. This could be paintings, framed posters, macrame, or even a rug. It’s best to pick a consistent theme – whether it is a decor style, color scheme, or even just a feeling, and repeat that in the wall art throughout your home.

You don’t have to create art from scratch for it to be DIY. Check thrift stores or secondhand websites for large wall hangings such as frames or canvasses that you can customize to fit your decor style. Customizing something to your exact tastes will give you the ultimate personalized decor.

Light Fixtures

Black and white bedroom.

Light fixtures can also serve as wall art. Wall sconces, for example, are extremely trendy right now. They might hang over a bedside table or beside a desktop computer on a desk. Lighting has the double feature of the light adding to your space, as well as the light fixture itself serving as a piece of decor.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing wiring, simply look for a plug-in style sconce. Or, you can add a tap light over the light bulb socket and just click to put it on. No electrician required!

Wall Murals

Geometric pattern painted onto wall.

If you really want to bust out your DIY skills, consider painting a mural. You can paint freehand or use a projector to put up a design and trace that. A mural will be a totally unique look for your home and is very inexpensive to do!

Furniture Projects

Furniture is one of the most interactive aspects of any home, so it's important that the layout, individual look, and comfort of each piece are more than just agreeable. They should be inviting and positioned in a way that inspires use.

Here are some DIY furniture ideas to consider:

Paint Or Refinish An Existing Piece Of Furniture

Blue bathroom vanity.

If you have a piece of furniture that still works well but you are sick of the look, paint is going to be your best friend. Paint is super inexpensive, and you don’t need any fancy tools!

Take your time prepping your piece for best results. Sand it to remove any existing protective coat or your new paint may not stick well. Repair any damaged spots with wood filler for an even finish. Paint using a few light coats until you are satisfied with the coverage, and then finish with a protective topcoat.

If you have smaller accessories that you want to paint, spray paint is almost always the best way to go. Wipe it clean, then apply several light coats to avoid drips. That’s it – most spray paints do not require a topcoat!

While you’re at it, add some fun touches! Swap out the knobs, add fun contact paper to drawers, or add wheels to the bottoms of the legs for an extra special, custom touch.

Build Furniture From Scratch

Person adding new hardware to cabinets and drawers.

Woodworking sounds scary and intimidating. but it doesn’t have to be! In the spirit of learning a new DIY skill, learning to build a piece of furniture is one of the most satisfying things that you can do.

With the use of a pocket hole jig, joining boards together is as easy as drilling a few holes and adding screws. You can find many free plans for simple projects online. Building furniture can be much cheaper than purchasing, even over a used piece. For example, you can build this platform bed for less than $50. Once you start building your own furniture, you won’t be able to stop!

Add A Sliding Door

Dining room with sliding barn doors.

Sliding barn doors are extremely trendy – for a reason. Not only do they serve as a giant piece of wall art, but they are also super functional. Sliding doors add the privacy of a door without needing the space to swing. They allow for easier foot traffic between rooms and work well in small, cramped spaces.

You can build a simple barn door yourself without any special tools or turn an existing door into a sliding barn door. You don’t need many special tools to hang a sliding door – though it is helpful to have a second set of hands.

When To Let Professionals Handle It

While many home projects can be DIYed, there are some instances when it’s best advised to hire a professional.

If a task is truly beyond your skills or requires an expensive tool that you don’t own and can’t borrow or rent, you might hire a professional.

If a project is potentially dangerous and is completely out of your general experience, you should consider hiring a professional.

For example, installing hardwood floors is a task that you could DIY. But there is a significant financial cost to the materials and fixing any installation errors. The project is very tedious and manually intensive and skill-based. This might be a task to hire out.

Replacing windows is another task you might hire out. Windows come in a huge variety of nonstandard sizes, and are very high cost. Additionally, professional insulation can save money on utilities in the winter.

Replacing a sink, bathtub, or shower has a very high upfront cost. Potential mistakes are also highly costly, and this project requires plumbing knowledge. If you aren’t comfortable, hire it out.

Installing a deck requires significant carpentry knowledge for both the build and types of wood. Professionals have knowledge of how to help it survive against the elements. This is another project that you could consider hiring out.

A Final Word

There is no better feeling than having a friend compliment something in your home and being able to say, “I did that myself!” You can do so much more than you think that you can do. If this article inspired you, check out more great homeowner tips. Time to start those DIY projects.

Neighborhood trends at your fingertips.

Check your local market.

Get the right home loan for you.

Morgan McBride

Morgan McBride is a DIY-lover and home decor enthusiast living in Charleston, South Carolina. She has been blogging at CharlestonCrafted.com alongside her husband since 2012, where they empower their readers to craft their current home into their dream home through the power of DIY.