In the modern world of YouTube videos and ‘how-to’ websites, the DIY solution can be tempting. A two minute video can be all the inspiration needed to break out the welding torch and chainsaw. But should you? How do you know what’s within reach and what’s going to burn the house down or leave you knee-high in a basement full of water? You might be surprised to learn how much you can do in this ‘no guts, no glory’ game of home improvement.
Start with the easy stuff
Paint never knocked a house over. It’s something that, with the right amount of patience, anyone can attempt. Sometimes a good paint job is all a room needs. Consider bold, out-of-the-box colors done in a delicate way.
Shelves can drastically change the look of a room and declutter it in the process. Many home stores offer pre-built shelving, but you can also buy your own wood along with some sandpaper and a can of paint or Danish oil. Remember to go with reinforced shelf brackets to avoid eventual drooping, and never take shortcuts when it comes to stud finding and wall anchors.
Get under the sink
A bathroom or kitchen can achieve a new personality by simply adding a shiny new faucet. Set aside the bottles of bleach and boxes of Brillo pads under the sink and get to work. Step one for anything water related is to – you guessed it – turn off the water. Every sink has valves for the hot and cold water supply, so always start there. From that point, a couple of wrenches are all you’ll need to dismantle the old spout and faucets. To install the new one, simply reverse everything you did to disassemble the old one, and you’re all set.
Look around your house. Are there any tables or chairs that need a little love? It’s amazing what you can do with only a tack hammer, some wood glue and a little paint and polyurethane. A good palm sander is worth the investment on this, as are a couple of face masks. Strip down the outer layer of the piece, smooth out the blemishes, and apply some new color. You’ll be amazed at how easy and refreshing this process can be.
Be bold, but be smart
Home repair and renovation can be a rewarding experience. We only mentioned a few basic projects you can undertake, but this may inspire you to try a little more. Whether it’s tiling and flooring, cabinet replacements or something bigger, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself if you feel comfortable.
However, we also want to stress the idea of safety first. Don’t wade too deep into the DIY waters if you’re really unsure, and never substitute your own initiative for the expertise of a professional. DIY projects should be casual and fun, but for serious work there is no replacement for our local carpenters, handy people and builders who will do things correctly and safely
This article was published in the January/February 2023 print edition of Katonah Connect.
Justin is a designer and photographer. He creates the look of a company – designing logos, posters, color schemes, websites, and marketing materials. Sexy stuff like that. He wrote a book on design called, um, “On Design“. Justin is also a photographer of people, events, architecture, products, food, and cars he can’t afford.