29 easy DIY projects to update your home over the weekend

Upgrade your home without spending too much time or money

terracotta painted wall effect in bedroom with hanging pendant light
(Image credit: Future PLC/Carolyn Barber)

Social media is awash with easy DIY projects to tackle, but if you're a bit of a novice it can to daunting still. That's why we've rounded up a few paint ideas, a couple of IKEA hacks and other projects that you can tackle over a long weekend and build up your confidence. 

Once you've nailed the basics, even home repairs can be tackled yourself so it's worth brushing up on your DIY skills to avoid having to get the professionals in for jobs you can take on yourself.

Easy DIY projects to update your home 

We generally spend more time thinking about doing easy DIY projects than the time it actually takes to get them done. And whether it's putting up shelves or giving the garden gate a fresh lick of paint, ticking these home improvement jobs off our lists is very satisfying. 

As long as you've got the essential tools, these DIY ideas are relatively easy and can be achieved on a budget.

The good news is, they won't take too long to complete. Below we've rounded up loads of simple projects that will allow you to give any room of the home a fresh new look, so you can really put your stamp on your space.

1. Tile a splashback

Lisa Dawson utility room with Ca Pietra pink tiles

(Image credit: Lisa Dawson)

Protect the wall behind a sink or oven with a newly tiled splashback. You can give a kitchen, bathroom or cloakroom a whole new look in just an afternoon! 

Watch a few tutorials on how to tile a splashback so you can approach the task with confidence. A backsplash will protect walls and add a splash of style to your decor scheme.

2. Go big with indoor greenery

An olive tree sits in the corner of a dining room, with a corner sofa and wooden chairs

(Image credit: Heather Young/Future Owns)

Tackle a tired living room with an easy project that you can get done in an afternoon. If there’s an area of empty wall space that you can’t decide what to do with, how about installing an indoor living wall? A winning idea for decorating the wall behind the sofa. Adding living, breathing greenery to your space will instantly revitalise it and having greenery indoors is a fabulous way of boosting mindfulness and well-being.

Install wall planters in multiples, with rows positioned on the wall above a sofa or sideboard to create symmetry and a stunning alternative to a regular picture wall. Fill with easy-care ferns and trailing plants that will pop against a plain colour.

These clever eco-wall planters by Wallygrow incorporate hidden watering channels so that water hits the roots directly, with perforated holes that allow plants to breathe. Otherwise, La Redoute's Ikebana Wall-mounted Flower Pots piece is super stylish and practical. It's also ideal for minimalist or modern decor schemes.

3. Build a mini outdoor kitchen

Crates stacked to create an outdoor kitchen

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Stuck with a bijou balcony, cosy courtyard or petite patio? Don't let your lack of external space deter you from creating a mini outdoor kitchen. This one has a mini footprint that can squeeze into the smallest of spaces. 

Start by taking a single wooden trellis panel and painting it in a colour of your choice. Next, take four wooden crates of the same size, and paint the outside surfaces of these too. Once dry, turn them onto their side, stack them together and secure them with fixings, then attach them to the bottom of the trellis panel using screws. Then simply position against a wall and adorn with all your outdoor cooking kit.

4. Make a sink curtain

Yellow kitchen with curtain

(Image credit: Future PLC)

The current fascination with traditional kitchen ideas and cottage kitchen ideas has seen the return of the cupboard curtain. This is the perfect budget hack for anyone looking to hide part of an unsightly kitchen, it can easily work for renters too. 

Start by selecting a piece of fabric, you can repurpose some old curtains, or even an old tablecloth will work. Cut it down to size and hem the edges, then create a loop at the top to thread either a thin curtain rail or a tension rod through like this one from Dunelm. If sewing isn't your strong point, you can skip the sewing machine by hemming with hemming tape and attaching clip-on curtain rings.

5. Take a painted headboard up over the ceiling

terracotta painted wall effect in bedroom with hanging pendant light

(Image credit: Future PLC / Dominic Blackmore)

Use a leftover tin of paint to transform your bedroom with an imaginative DIY headboard idea. This instant four-poster paint trick brings drama and a cocooning feel to your sleep space. Choose a rich, deep tone to contrast against the rest of the wall and extend it out onto the ceiling. 

Or, you could create an arch-shaped painted headboard: 'Creating a perfect semi-circle with paint is easier than you think,' says Judy Smith, Crown Paints Colour Consultant. 'First of all, measure the length of your wall and mark its centre, or wherever you want the centre of your semi-circle to be.'

'Hammer a nail into the spot you’ve just marked, just above the skirting board. Depending on how wide you want your semi-circle to be, measure out some string and cut to size. The longer the string, the bigger the semi-circle. Tie one end of the string to a pencil and the other end to the nail. If you’re not allowed to use nails on your wall, extra strong tape will hold the string in place.'

'Once you’re all set, start tracing out your semi-circle on the wall from one way to the other. Making sure you’re pulling the pencil tight on the string. Once you’ve drawn the outline, use a small paintbrush to create a precise edge at the top of your semi-circle. You can then go in with a paint roller or larger brush to fill in the rest of the shape.'

6. Upholster a footstool

White stool in pink room

(Image credit: eBay)

If you're looking for a satisfying but incredibly easy DIY project then have ago as reupholstering a footstool. All you need is a footstool, if you don't have one you can easily pick one up using home decor discount codes, or even second-hand on eBay. You'll also need some fabric and a staple gun. 

'Before buying your fabric, check the measurements of your footstool so you can make sure that it will cover the top and sides with some extra fabric leftover to conceal any mistakes,' recommends Ideal Home's Deputy Digital Editor (and DIY enthusiast) Rebecca Knight. 

'If your footstool is already in good condition, I'd recommend saving your time and wrapping your new fabric on top. However, you can strip it back for a completely new start and add in some extra padding for a proper revamp.'

7. Tile a coffee table

Blue tiled coffee table

(Image credit: Future / Rebecca Knight)

Give an old coffee table a bold and on-trend refresh by tiling the top and repainting it. This project is best saved for a bank holiday as you'll need time for the grout to dry. 

Our Deputy Digital Editor, Rebecca Knight, tried this project out recently with a secondhand table and tiles all sourced from eBay. 'What I learnt from the project is that preparation is key, and you should double and triple check that the tiles are going to fit before you start laying any of them.

'Overall, I was shocked at how easy it was to do, all my friends were really impressed and couldn't believe that I'd made it myself. However, my top tip is to use a pre-mixed tile adhesive and grout to keep mess to a minimum and speed up the make.'

8. Paint a nautical-stripe feature wall

Blue and white stripe feature wall with bar table and colourful chairs in dining room

(Image credit: Furniture Village)

If you're looking for how to paint a room, an easy yet effective way to add some character and whimsical pattern to your space is with paint, in these neat, floor-to-ceiling stripes. Keep it classic with white and navy or if you’re feeling braver, pick two contrasting shades like pink and red.

Start by painting the whole wall in your base colour, in this instance, crisp white. Next, using wide decorator tape or masking tape, apply to the wall in stripes, from floor to ceiling, leaving the same width as the tape between each stripe. Once you're happy that the stripes are straight and in the right place, use a roller to apply your second colour, in this instance, navy, over the entire wall, covering the tape as well as the gaps in between.

Leave the first coat to dry, then apply a second, but before it dries completely, remove the tape to reveal your neat striped wall.  

9. Make a simple pillow headboard

Pillows hung on the wall to make a headboard

(Image credit: Future Plc/Carolyn Barber)

An easy bedroom idea, update a simple divan bed base and take your headboard style up a notch, with this super-simple, super-cost effective, pillow-hanging-hack. 

First, work out where you’d like your pillow headboard to hang- how high above your bed and what distance apart- then mark this in pencil on the wall. Next measure four lengths of slim leather straps around 150cm each and attach in place on the wall using metal tacks. You want to make sure the loops you make can snugly hold your pillows so they don’t fall out easily but still keep their shape. Slide your pillows into the loops and make sure they are supported evenly.

Use basic pillowcases (rather than fancy silk ones) so it means washing your headboard is a breeze.

10. Create a panelled feature wall

Mural wall with painted wooden panels over the top to create feature wall

(Image credit: Future Plc/Carolyn Barber)

Create a living room feature wall idea with a difference with this clever wallpaper hack. Choose a mural wallpaper that depicts a view or scene rather than an all-over pattern. Start by choosing a full-scale, floor-to-ceiling mural that you love and paste to the wall. Murals often come in 3-4 large panels rather than rolls but adhere to the wall in the same way. Next cut strips of MDF approximately 10 cm wide to create panelling and fix in place over the top of the mural, using nails. Use filler to fill the dents and holes made by the nails, then sand until smooth, before painting all the wood in the same shade. You might need two coats to cover it perfectly.

To give it a twist, paint the panelling a darker shade of grey or black, to give the illusion of a view through black steel-framed windows. 

11. Makeover a kids bed with wallpaper

Kids bedroom with bunk bed decorated with wallpaper and scalloped decorated wall behind

(Image credit: Future Plc/Carolyn Barber)

Upgrade a simple Kura bunk bed, £189, Ikea, with a fun, jungle-print wallpaper. Simply measure and cut your paper to size, then paste the surface of the bed’s front and end panels and fix the wallpaper in place. You could even paint the frame too, but do this before you add your chosen wallpaper. Add cushions, fairy lights and books to the bottom bunk to make a hideaway reading nook. 

Add a decorative layer to your kids' bedroom by painting a scalloped wall too.

12. Wallpaper a kitchen island

Kitchen island covered in patterned wallpaper with black accessories in room

(Image credit: Future Plc/Carolyn Barber)

Hit refresh in your kitchen and wallpaper one side of a kitchen island to add a touch of pattern to a pared-back scheme. Start by measuring the surface area of the island so you know how much wallpaper you’ll need. You might be able to get away with leftovers from a previous project, or just buying a single roll.

Next, ensure the surface of the island side is dust and dirt-free. Give it a wash with a cream cleaner, then wipe again with a damp cloth. Leave to dry. Using a strong adhesive, (which one you use will depend on the material of the island- a permanent spray mount, strong wallpaper paste or multi-surface glue are all options) carefully attach your chosen wallpaper, smoothing out any air bubbles or lumps as you go.

Use a clear varnish to seal and protect, or cover it in a sheet of coloured Perspex for a modern, practical feel. 

13. Elevate drawer fronts with dowelling

white chest of drawers with white fluted detailing and lamp

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Give an old set of drawers a brand new look with this simple IKEA hack, that will take as little as an afternoon but will create a show-stopping transformation. Start by choosing a width of dowelling you like, to create this designer-look, fluted front. 

The slimmer the dowels, the fiddler the hack but it will still create a pleasing update. Next measure the height of each drawer and then cut the dowels to size. Attach the dowels in vertical strips to the drawer fronts with strong wood glue, or alternatively, tiny tacks to secure them into place.

Once dry, paint the dowels to match the colour of the unit. To give it a twist, paint the whole cabinet a bold, stand-out colour by using furniture chalk paint, or matt eggshell paint.

14. Jazz up a pinboard with statement paper

home office with navy wall and patterned pinboard

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Pick up a basic cork pin board, £11.99,  Amazon and cover in a bold patterned wallpaper to create a practical feature for the home office, kitchen or kids' bedroom. Pick an impactful print with nods to the room’s colour scheme to break up a wall and keep paper in one place, from tickets and postcards to bills and memos.

15. Paint inside shelving nooks in a tonal palette

boxy shelving with painted interior recesses with everyday objects inside

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Stack together inexpensive bookcases and paint the inside recesses to create a dramatic backdrop for styling everyday objects, from bowls and mugs to glass storage jars.

Safety first: ensure the bookcases are secured to the wall when stacking. Alternatively, you could use leftover wallpaper instead of paint for the interior of the shelves.

16. Transform windows and doors with film

Glass fronted display cabinet covered with reeded window film in a living room

(Image credit: Future Plc/Tim Young)

Window film is available to buy online, but you can also buy designs at the likes of B&Q and Screwfix. Use it to create an on-trend fluted pattern on plain glass doors, or to give yourself more privacy by covering the bottom half of windows. Browse all of the window film, at Amazon.

17. Create a breakfast nook

Kitchen with fluted pendant lights over table.

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Carve out a corner seating area that's perfect for a family breakfast nook idea. Take an IKEA shelving unit as the base and combine with an upholstered headboard attached to the wall to make a backrest. 

Place your dining table next to it and nestle dining chairs around it for extra seating. Add cushions and blankets to cosy up the look and store baskets beneath to curb clutter.

18. Create an ‘easy-change’ gallery wall

couch with cushion

(Image credit: Neptune)

Got lots of pictures and prints that you haven’t got around to putting up yet? This easy display idea can be sorted in less than a day and makes an alternative to a fixed gallery wall as pictures can be moved around or added to if you fancy a change later down the line.

You’ll need two or three narrow wooden picture ledges to create this effect. Either make your own using a couple of lengths of timber or buy ready-made ledges – IKEA’s Mosslanda ledges start at just £5 each and are ideal. Otherwise, these Amazon picture ledges come highly recommended by reviewers and they come in a pack of 3. Arrange the ledges in rows on your wall, using a spirit level to make sure that they are straight. The gap between each ledge should depend on the height of the tallest item you’ll be displaying.

Ledges can be painted to match the wall for a seamless look or opt for a contrasting colour that will stand out against the backdrop. Once up, simply prop pictures against the wall and fill in any gaps with small ornaments.

19. Try a two-tone paint treatment

dining table with chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/Annie Sloan)

If you’ve a plain white room that’s lacking a little oomph, try this easy but effective paint idea that can be completed in just a day, rather than tackling a full room redo. Half-painted walls are super on trend at the moment and are a clever way of giving tired rooms new focus with a bold shot of colour.

Starting off with a white or pale-coloured wall is the simplest option. Apply a band of masking tape to the wall where you want your dividing line to be – the tape will help create a crisp edge – then fill in with darker-coloured paint. Using a dark colour on the bottom section of walls and skirting helps a room to feel more grounded and gives a darker backdrop to showcase furniture and accessories. A lighter colour at the top will make a room feel more lofty.

20. Add a pop of unexpected colour


(Image credit: Eurostove)

Try this quick trick to brighten up a tired room – it’ll cost the price of a tin of paint and won’t take longer than a couple of hours to do.

Perfect for a neutral living room that lacks energy, simply paint the fireplace or a large piece of furniture in a statement shade that will grab the attention and give the room a focal point. Bring in extra touches of colour here and there to give the room symmetry and balance, but take care not to overdo it or you’ll ruin the effect.

21. Give an old piece of furniture a colourful makeover

Annie Sloan pink bedroom with woodwork painted in same colour.

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Do you have an old piece of wooden furniture such as a chest of drawers, sideboard or wardrobe that is looking dated and in need of a new look? A simple coat of furniture paint goes a long way to make something old feel brand new. Let this fine example inspire your own DIY project. 

This wardrobe transformation is the work of Ideal Home's Editor Heather Young who has upcycled an old family heirloom for her young daughter's room. See Heather's upcycled wardrobe transformation for yourself.

22. Give your shower door a steel-framed makeover

bathroom with bathtub and wash basin

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jasmine Gurney)

Next up, we've taken a tip from savvy DIYer Jasmine of Instagram’s @_OhAbode. She gave her shower screen this cool Crittall-style finish using black electrical tape.

The crittall effect shower door hack hack cost a grand total of £2, but looks super stylish. You can source your electrical tape from Amazon, otherwise, you can use window lead adhesive for a similar effect.

23. Panel your walls

room chair with armchair with cushion

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Dominic Blackmore)

Another big trend going nowhere is wall panelling. We promise it's easy as it's now readily available in DIY stores as primed-to-paint, stick-to-the-wall panels. But you can also have a go creating a bespoke look with MDF batons or strips. 

There are lots of wall panelling ideas out there, and the fact you can now buy a wall panelling kit from Homebase complete with cut-to-size FSC-certified wood, it's easier than ever. You simply stick them onto your wall and paint.

24. Paint the stairs

hallway with staircase

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

Sick of the sight of that stained old stair carpet? Tear it up and replace with a gorgeous paint job. You could try a graduated ombré effect using a range of tester pots on the risers, keeping to one colour on treads, or alternate colours.

Learn how to paint a staircase and you'll be able to dramatically transform your hallway without spending much money.

25. Hang your photos

wooden console table underneath gallery of prints

(Image credit: Future)

It's one of those jobs we never get around to doing, so why not dedicate a morning to auditing all the photos on your phone, then print a few out and create a wall of photos?

Play with composition – especially in areas like stairways or hallways, where walls are often bare and uninspired. For a smarter look, stick to photo frames of the same colour, and print all photos in either colour or black and white, rather than mixing and matching.

26. Fake a marble side table

brown sofa with marble wrap side table and vase with black coffee table

(Image credit: Future PLC)

You could revamp a side table or DIY coffee table with an easy-to-use marble effect film. The adhesive film simple sticks to your existing work surface to provide a new look in an instant.

Browse a whole selection of worktop vinyl at Amazon. If you have a small old storage unit knocking around that could easily be updated as shown above - you'd never know this elegant platform was a basic display plinth covered in marble wrap.

27. Build a living plant wall

plant wall

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Go green indoors or out with the ultimate plant wall. Our friends at Dobbies have explained exactly how to get wall of fabulous foliage. Embrace the biophilic trend in your outdoor seating area or kitchen and make a living plant wall that will bring all the happy vibes and make a talking point.

28. Upcycle a bathroom vanity unit

bathroom with white wall designed floor and white wash bain

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

Be super resourceful and give an old table or chest a second chance, and potentially create more storage in the bathroom. Discover how to upcycle a vanity unit and create a super-stylish piece of furniture.

29. Make your own 'stoneware' vases with spray paint

Rust-Oleum Stone Spray Paint

(Image credit: Rust-Oleum)

Become a craft potter without the mess of moulding clay. Learn how to create a stunning stone-effect vase for just £6 using a can of spray paint and give your living room shelves a stylish update. You can buy this Rust-Oleum spray paint at Amazon for £10.69.


How to upcycle furniture

If you're on the hunt for a simple DIY project that you can achieve in an evening or a weekend, then upcycling is the way forward. Whether you choose to upcycle a piece of furniture that you already own or you source something secondhand, it's a great way of breathing new life into something for very little money.

You can even upcycle for money by reselling your upgraded items. It's super simple to spruce up an old chest of drawers, table or dressing table with some innovative painting or even an IKEA hack that makes the furniture look brand new and bang on trend.

There are even ways to complete an easy DIY project entirely for free. 'Gumtree’s Freebies category is full to the brim of great items that others in your community no longer need – and are happy to give away for nothing,' says secondhand expert Hannah from Gumtree. 

'Giving walls a lick of paint is a quick and simple way to update a room, but often there’s surplus paint that can be hard to dispose of. On Gumtree you’ll find free full tins of paints from all the major brands – and being open to the colours you might find could make you more adventurous with your design choices.'

Which weekend project takes your fancy?

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike. 

With contributions from