Seven easy DIY home projects you can complete during lockdown

It’s January, it’s cold, and we’re back in lockdown – for at least six weeks.

It sucks. But this period doesn’t have to be a complete waste of time. You could use the weeks at home to transform your living space with some simple DIY jobs.

All those clever tricks and hacks that you see on Instagram and Pinterest, now you’ve finally got the time to try them for yourself.

Don’t worry if you’re a complete DIY novice, we have asked industry experts for their top tips for interior transformations. So read on to feel inspired, and get your tool box ready.

The experts at Made.com have shared their tips to ensure you get it right and create a feature you are happy to look at day in and day out.

Pick a theme for your gallery wall to tie it together and start collecting pieces. For example, pick a colour palette and choose pieces with that in mind or perhaps a subject matter such as nature, music or family memories.

Don’t think your gallery wall needs to only consist of framed prints. Combine different styles of art, such as photography, typography and abstract prints.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Try mixing up the frame colours, sizes and materials for variety. Mirrors are a great way to add depth and create the illusion of space, and if you want to break up an otherwise boxy display, opt for an organic, round design instead.

Lay your pieces out on the floor to find your ultimate arrangement, do you want uniformed prints in a grid-style format, or scattered and relaxed? Once you have decided on a shape and arrangement, take a picture to reference when hanging the real thing.

Choose a piece to be your central, focal print. It doesn’t need to be the biggest, you just need one as a jumping off point.

Measure 145cm from the floor – this is where the middle of your focal print should sit.

Position your first print marking the corners to allow you to find where to position the nails/ picture hooks.

Hang your focal print first, ensuring that the frame is straight, one wonky frame can have a domino effect on the rest. Check with a spirit level.

Hang the rest of your art from the middle, out – leaving roughly 5cm between each piece of wall art, and balancing the others around your focal print. Remember to mark the corners of each piece before committing to putting a hole in the wall. Check each with a spirit level and adjust accordingly.

Top takeaway tip: Imagine your gallery wall as one big piece artwork – the central piece will be your focal point, and should sit 145cm from the floor. A 5cm space between each frame is the general rule here, but it’ll depend on your wall space and frame size too. If you’re not sure, stick to 5cm.

The experts at Made.com have also put together a simple guide on hanging wallpaper – opt for something bold and unique to brighten up a hallway or for a feature wall in the bedroom.

First, you will need to cut your wallpaper to size. There’s nothing worse than finding it comes up short. Start at the top corner of the wall you are covering, measure the height, and add 1cm as a buffer. Measure a few times to triple check, it is better to take your time measuring than make a cut that cannot be reversed.

Lay your wallpaper section flat on the floor, or on a pasting table. Hold down any unruly edges with something weighty, like your paste tin or a spare brush. Next, it’s time to cut your paper to the correct measurement.

Lightly mark this with a pencil to ensure you get it right, then cut along from this point with your scissors. Try and cut as straight as possible.

Brush a light layer of paste onto the wall, starting at one corner. Too little and it won’t stick, too much and it’ll be harder to control where your paper goes. We recommend using a handled brush for this part.

Line up the edge of your paper to the edge of your wall, pressing gently onto the paste. Here’s why it’s important to start in the top corner – you’re lining it up perfectly from here on out.

Continue pressing onto the wall lightly, until you reach the floor. If you venture off course, gently wiggle your paper to straighten it up, be sure not to use too much force as this could rip the paper.

Using a spare dry brush, sweep over the paper brushing down and out towards the edges, all the way to the floor. Do this until the whole section’s flush with the wall, with no air bubbles.

If you need to go over sockets, first switch off the electricity to the room you are in, then go over the socket with the wallpaper and carefully cut an X with your retractable blade, press the wallpaper in at the edges of the socket. You will tidy the excess in the next step.

Use the retractable knife to remove any excess paper from the bottom of the wall. Here’s where you’ll neaten up around those sockets, too. Finish by wiping the surface with a damp, clean cloth, to get rid of any pesky paste marks.

Repeat each step until your wall or section is fully covered. If you are using a patterned wallpaper line your paper up to the section you just did so that the pattern matches.

Make a pencil mark where this new section should start, then use your wall height measurement from step 1 from this point. You might have more excess at the top this time – don’t forget that extra 1cm at the bottom.

Leah Miller is a property developer founder of LCM Home. she has shared how she created her perfect home office – even though she didn’t have a separate room.

‘For a share-lived space I renovated, I allocated a small area in the kitchen and installed a neon sign on the wall that says “Let’s Stay Home”,’ says Leah.

‘Even labelling an area in a room – a corner, table in the hallway or reading nook – can be a good way of keeping creative, professional and personal boundaries in place within small or open planned spaces. Neon is such a good way of adding simple but striking visual features to a wall.

‘I painted a wall in the kitchen with black chalk board paint; it complements the illumination of the neon sign but you can also write with chalk on the walls and use the surface for brainstorming.

‘The dining table in the kitchen has a rough industrial texture to it and is marred by multi-coloured paint, as if an artist has forgotten to layer newspaper over the surface whilst creating the latest masterpiece.

‘But the irregularity of the pattern is something I like; anti-conformist and nudges to the fact that this area is a creative workspace in the room – it’s not just for eating, but for sharing of minds and stories.’

Seema Almansoury, founder of Eva Interiors, has shared her top tips for creating a stylish and productive home office space:

The best type of lighting is natural daylight. The desk should be located near a natural light source, if available, to help increase efficiency and focus.

Choosing pendant lights, ceiling lights, as well as desk lamp lighting will help to illuminate the room and provide the necessary lighting to get the work done. It is very important to choose a bulb that has a soft color and low wattage so that it is not very bright so as not to tire the eyes.

The study space should also be arranged in such a way as to allow for free movement. Working in a chaotic environment can make it difficult to sort things out. Storage unit or shelves can help in organising and storing things while taking only a little space.

For small rooms, a corner desk can be a great solution because it uses up space in the corner and leaves the rest of the room for other uses.

Also another bedroom design idea to save space is building a second floor for the bed. It is a great way to accomplish a lot in a small area while providing a kind of division between study, bed, and other functions that an individual would need.

Experts and doctors recommend the use of a chair that keeps a person sitting in an upright position where the arms are not bent or extended over the shoulders. Also, your feet should be lying on the floor or in a footstool.

Both the desk and the chair should allow for a good posture, so that when you are seated, the top of your desk should rest somewhere between your chest and your rib cage. This way, you’ll be able to rest your elbows on the desktop without having to bend your shoulders forward.

A home office space is a room for work and focus. It has been advised by experts to choose neutral colours such as white, beige and gray.

As for the secondary colors in the room, it is possible to use more than one colour if the person desires, but you should not use more than three colors as a maximum to avoid creating a feeling of confusion in the room.

This is a fantastically simple DIY project for lockdown – suggested by Leah Miller. This kind of mirror ‘window’ is the perfect way to make small spaces feel bigger.

‘One of my own person lockdown projects was refurbishing a plain black mirror and turning it into an industrial “window” of sorts,’ says Leah.

‘It sits behind my desk in my flat and gives the illusion of more light and space, bringing more of the outdoors in.

‘I simply bought some MDF wood and used a simple handsaw, after measuring and dividing up equal sections, to create the window “panes”.

‘I then painted the wood black and used a heavy duty glue to affix the wood onto the surface.’

If you want to organise your kitchen and create the feeling of more space, open shelving could be just the thing.

William Durrant, director and founder of Herringbone Kitchens says an open shelf can bring a new, decorative lease of life to the kitchen along with some additional practical storage.

Here are William’s top tips for creating an open shelf:

It sounds straightforward, but think carefully about what you’re going to put on the shelf – especially how heavy things like cookbooks and precious dinner sets might be.

The weight of the items will determine the type of shelf you can use. Floating shelves don’t always hold much weight and a shelf with additional brackets may be better.

Positioning – over an existing work top is often best to especially avoid walking into a shelf if it has nothing under it. Again, it probably goes without saying, but be sure the wall the shelf is going onto is a good, solid one.

Maintenance – dust can be a bit of a nightmare on open shelving but if you’re putting things on the shelf that get frequently used – plates used for weeknight dinners as well as special occasions and favourite recipe books – you’re going to have less dusting to do.’

Little touch-ups to existing pieces of furniture can make a space feel refreshed and revitalised.

Rebecca Snowden, Interior Style Advisor at FurnitureChoice.co.uk suggests adding a dash of Art Deco to a plain sideboard by introducing colour and pattern that are characteristic to the style.

You will need:

* Gold spray paint or gold paint: We recommend spray paint for an even application.

* Furniture or wood paint: We went with an off-white hue to contrast against the gold.

* Stencils of your chosen design: We went with scallops for a classic Art Deco touch.

Carefully detach the doors and the feet, and start painting your sideboard. We advise using a paint roller instead of a brush to achieve an even finish.

On to the doors. Paint them in the same colour as the sideboard.

Time to work your Midas touch. Remove the handles before aligning the stencil on the surface of the door. Once that’s done, take your can of spray paint and spray away.

Carefully line your stencil against the edge of a completed pattern as you work your way through – this ensures a consistent texture across the doors..

Tip: Set the stencil with a spray mount before laying it on the door. The spray mount keeps your stencil in place without leaving any residue or marks behind once it is removed.

Coat the feet with the same gold paint. This step only applies if your sideboard comes with raised or visible legs.

Once you’re satisfied with the overall look, set your handiwork with a coat of varnish to protect against surface damage.

Optional step: You can attach different door handles or knobs for a fun twist, or cover the existing ones in gold paint to match the print.

Attach the doors and feet back to your sideboard, and your statement piece is all set to wow. The sideboard’s eye-catching gold details will pair up well with other brass accessories.

The experts at Made.com share their tips to help you declutter and organise your bedroom, helping you take control of your space in 2021.

The Netflix star and organising guru, Marie Kondo, has helped countless people transform their homes, and now is the time to apply these methods in your bedroom.

Her key tip is to rethink what you own, and let go of anything you no longer love or regularly use. Too many of us are guilty of hoarding things for the sake of it.

Try to sell or give away your stuff rather than simply throwing it away – you may make some extra pocket money and it’s kinder to the planet.

Hang on in there

Your new best friends: hooks.

Are you guilty of throwing clothes, coats and accessories on the floor or leaving them in piles on chairs, ottomans- anywhere you can fit them? Instead, put hooks in an unused corner, or create an interesting arrangement above your dressing table/chest of drawers.

Get into a habit of hanging accessories from these hooks, you may even rediscover a love for an old bag or scarf that, until now, had been inaccessibly buried somewhere.

If your wardrobe is full to the brim and you need more hanging space – or if you are renting and don’t want to commit to putting hooks on the wall – garment racks are a great way to display your favourite clothes and accessories.

Why not utilise the walls even more? After you’ve hung up your clothes, it’s time for some personal touches.

Not only are shelves a great storage solution, they also double as a display area – pop your jewellery, perfume, books, houseplants on shelves to add character to your room and give everything a space.

If your bedroom has to double as a boardroom for the foreseeable future, just slide a chair under some wall-mounted shelves to create a desk. Test the strength of this shelf before committing to putting your expensive electronics on it though.

Create a little more breathing space with a set of drawers. If your bedroom is on the compact side opt for a design with elegant hair-pin legs to make your room appear more spacious and airy. Next, use dividers to organise smaller items such as socks and undies.

Make sure to fold everything neatly. Check out YouTube for some folding tutorials and become a true pro. After all, this is the perfect time to learn a new skill, and that doesn’t have to mean crocheting or cutting your own hair.

Do you have a DIY tip to share?

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