10 DIY updates that anyone can achieve

Revive your home in 48 hours, whatever your DIY skill level, with these simple and effective decorating projects

Is your home looking tired and dated? Why not make the most of a long weekend – bank holiday or otherwise – and breathe new life into your surroundings with one of these DIY updates. They’re simple enough to complete in a couple of days (or less) and mean that trip to the pub is guilt-free – you’ve earnt it!

1. Step up: paint the banisters

Painting the banisters instantly refreshes a hallway. But, you can create an even more eye-catching finish by taking your easy update a tiny step further and painting the rails different colours. Choose shades that harmonise, such as greens and blues, and work an ombre effect by gradually moving from the pale end of the spectrum to darker tones as you move up the staircase, working away from the light source. Alternatively, you can create funky stripes.

TIP You won’t need much paint, so it’s also a good way of using up all those sampler pots you’ve acquired. For eggshell paints like the ones above, take a look at the Mylands of London range at designerpaint.com.

2. Spice up your woodwork

Painting a door in a vibrant shade is a great way of introducing colour without changing the rest of the décor. Edge the door in a contrasting shade, so the colour flashes out when it’s open.

TIP: To give a gloss surface a fine, smooth finish, use the best quality brushes you can afford. Purdy is a brand often used by professional decorators.

3. Wallpaper to wow

It is possible to do a good wallpaper job in a weekend… just consider using it in an unusual way. A horizontal frieze is easily achieved, either at ceiling or skirting level. Keep the rest of the wall neutral for contrast and pick out the colours of the print in accessories and fittings.

Paste-the-wall wallpaper is a good way to re-create this look: Graham & Brown has a large range of paste-the-wall prints.

4. Make over your mirror

Stencil a favourite poem, quote or lyric on to a mirror surface to transform a simple accessory into a stunning artwork. This DIY update will be done by lunchtime, meaning you can spend the rest of the weekend having fun. Win-win.


For a vast selection of letter stencils in many unusual fonts, check out The Stencil Library.

5. Create a

statement splashback

Give your bathroom a boost with a colourful splashback. Consider a panel of stripe-painted Perspex; it’s a quick and easy way to emulate the style of treated glass. And it’s simple to do.

Just mark off a strip of the panel using masking tape and use matt emulsion to paint a stripe. Allow the section to dry, and repeat the process to create a series of stripes. Once complete, fix the painted side to the wall using a strong adhesive and seal all around with clear silicone for a watertight finish.

The Plastic Shop sells clear, cast Perspex; while Screwfix supplies suitable adhesive, silicone and masking tape.

6. Elevate a doorway

Add impact to an architrave with a frame of bold colour. You don’t have to be a skilled DIYer to produce a finish like this – simply mark out your design with masking tape, then paint with emulsion. To add a similar scrolled detail to the top, fix the wall decoration in place with adhesive, then paint to match the frame and skirting. Instant interior revamp!


Reproduction plaster mouldings are readily available online – Miles & Wilde has a fine selection.

7. Re-mount your artwork

Love your artwork, but want to do something out of the ordinary with it? Here’s a simple and effective solution: put modern prints in trad, decorative frames, or mounted on bright backgrounds for a fresh look. Alternatively, mount treasured but formal family portraits in something super-modern, just to throw things off kilter nicely.


Specialist supplier Daler-Rowney sells picture mounts in a rainbow of colours.

8. Be influenced by bistro blackboards

Give your dining area a bistro vibe by transforming an existing chalkboard wall (previously used for shopping lists and kids’ scribbles) with beautiful typographical descriptions of your favourite meals or ingredients.

If you’re starting fresh, an alcove in the kitchen makes an ideal location for a blackboard-paint wall. Mark out sections and use chalk pens to a fill in the gaps. You can even leave a space free for the weekely groceries list if you like.


B&Q
sells blackboard paint.

9. Fab window film

To add a subtle element of privacy, use a decorative window film to cover bathroom windows. Available in myriad designs and simple to install, this easy fix can radically transform a room.

TIP To prevent air bubbles forming under the film (which are a nightmare to get rid of), before you apply the film spray your window with a light coating of water and detergent.


To find window films featuring street maps,
above, see the selection available at Surface View.

10. Punk up your lighting

Got a friend with a penchant for pink who’s staying over for a weekend? Then give them an unexpected treat in the guest room (and sort yourself out with an instant interior revamp at the same time) by hanging fabric strands from a classic, cut-glass pendant. Complete in mere minutes.


For vivacious fabric-covered furnishings and accessories, check out the stock at Squint.

For more decorating inspiration, craft ideas and cleaning hacks don’t miss our dedicated DIY guide.

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