Blog, Lifestyle & Home

When to DIY and When Not to DIY

We have just bought our own home and have taken on the mammoth task of putting our own stamp on our lovely all cream, new build house. It is the first time I have had a house to decorate and do up how I want and it is not something I have ever had to think about before. It is difficult sometimes to know when to DIY and when it is better to leave it to the professionals.

Doing it yourself is cheaper, sometimes quicker (we all know the waiting time for some tradesmen) and can teach you some excellent skills that will benefit you in each home you live in. Rolling up your sleeves and getting stuck in can keep you within the all-important renovation budget, so you can keep things under control.

However, attempting something that is way above your skill level and that could potentially damage your property or leave it looking like a half-arsed job is not worth the risk. Dust off the wallet and get spending some cash!

So, how do you know when to give DIY a go and when to leave well alone? Here’s a selection of tips to guide you on your renovation journey…

Renting, selling or living in?

This question will determine how much you are emotionally invested in your property. If you are renovating for rental then it becomes a case of getting the space up to a decent spec that is easy to maintain. There is little emotional involvement and you can make practical decisions about layout, interior and budget.

If you’re selling, then you need to appeal to your target market. Who will your likely buyer be? Do you need to impress them with high spec kitchens and bathrooms and do you need to decorate in a showroom-style to capture their attention?

If you are planning to live in your property, then you’ll need to be on board with every detail as you’ll be the one looking at it for the rest of the time you live there! Emotional involvement is high and your taste could push the project over its budget to accommodate for the nicer things.

Therefore, the scale of potential DIY experience to be gained will probably go in ascending order of renting, selling and living in.

Potential DIY projects

The great outdoors

The garden is an area that you can test your DIY skills to the max. Even in the smallest of spaces you can make a beautiful outdoor haven! Test your painting skills with the garden fence, get create with some old pallets for planters or outdoor seating and use a few rustic-looking mirrors to really open up the space.

One tile at a time

If you have the luxury of time, you can tackle even the most intricate of tiling in your bathroom or kitchen. Time is the key to flawless tiling along with a little know-how. Whether you’re looking for plain white tiles to give a clean and fresh look, or for something more detailed like a mosaic pattern there’s several really good DIY tutorials to take you from novice to expert. This tutorial from B&Q shows you the ropes in three short videos.

A beautiful surround

If you’re lucky enough to have an original fireplace in your home, then you can look into restoration and making the best of a feature that is attractive to renters and buyers, as well as an excellent addition to your home. Some surrounds just need some TLC and a bit of elbow grease, as demonstrated by this article from Period Living.

Others might be a bit garish or just need a touch of your interior good taste! A favourite by many is to use reclaimed wood or driftwood as the top of your surround to give a rustic look to your living room. This is simple enough to do and is an ideal situation to flex those DIY muscles!

The stroke of a brush

Grabbing a brush and going to town on a wall sounds pretty simple but it’s amazing how many people get it so wrong. Uneven brushstrokes, a dodgy colour choice and sloppy edges are all major risks. Watch a YouTube video before you get going, such as this one from The Home Depot.

Leave it to the professionals

While there is several projects in your home that can be tackled yourself, it is best to know when to get the professionals in. Unless you have completed a plumbing or electrician course, I would stay well clear of these areas, especially as they can be the most expensive areas of renovation! By all means, try to pick up some useful tips while the professionals are working hard so you can do a little bit more on your next project. The peace of mind knowing that someone with experience has taken charge of this will be worth the hit to your budget.

If you decide to go with bi-fold doors to open up your kitchen and garden, or your living room and study, this is another area that should be left to those in the know. Badly fitted doors will be more than a nuisance when you’re trying to show off your space!

And, although IKEA has made it look easy, a new kitchen shouldn’t really be a chance for you to test out your DIY skills. Soft-closing drawers and properly plumbed dishwashers are a must-have…
Last, but certainly not least, is plastering. Unless you are extremely confident in your plastering skills I would seriously consider getting a qualified plasterer in. A botch job on this will have you sighing every time you look at your uneven walls.


Please note, this is a sponsored post. All sponsored posts are carefully selected to appear on my blog if I feel they are of interest to myself and my followers. I hope you find it interesting and useful!


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  • Reply Karen

    The man of the house much do this I am no good

    20th February 2016 at 2:06 am
  • Reply Catherine mcgill

    Fantastic tips. I’m in middle of deciding where to attempt myself or not. My brain says “My purse is telling me to do it myself but my brain is telling me not to.

    20th February 2016 at 2:09 am
  • Reply sue Moore

    My advice is to take your time n decide exactly what you want

    20th February 2016 at 2:17 am
  • Reply Tina Carvill-Biggs

    Good luck with making your house your own!

    We have an ikea kitchen and it’s amazing! It was a lot of work compared to going to Magnet or one of the big suppliers but then it was a lot cheaper too.

    20th February 2016 at 7:08 am
  • Reply Jenna

    This was useful. Doing some decorating myself today. Hallway and landing area. Such a chore

    20th February 2016 at 8:04 am
  • Reply Jules eley

    Great advice I adore decorating my home myself and looking at colours and magazines for inspiration.

    20th February 2016 at 8:15 am
  • Reply Kalie-dee Jones

    It’s amazing how many people get this wrong and try to do everything themselves! It’s not worth the risk with some things at all.
    I’m the total opposite though, I’m scared to really touch anything in case I mess it up. Have to drag my mum into the mix so she can give me the confidence! Wouldn’t have thought of doing my own tiling ever or adding mirrors to a garden so really useful tips when I am looking at buying my own house =) thank you x

    20th February 2016 at 9:14 am
  • Reply Nikki carpenter

    We are starting to plaster our entire upstairs, luckily we have a good skilled friend to do it for us and for free!!! I can’t wait to have it how we want it although I hate the mess!

    20th February 2016 at 9:30 am
  • Reply Gemma Holland

    I love doing my own decorating & can never get over how much it costs to get the professionals in to do the electrics, plumbing etc I can’t do!

    20th February 2016 at 9:47 am
  • Reply Kirsty

    This is so helpful Thankyou xx

    20th February 2016 at 10:37 am
  • Reply Niki colby

    I always start diy and end up in a mess, wishing I hadn’t started.

    20th February 2016 at 10:51 am
  • Reply Denielle Nicol

    As someone’s who’s about to start completing doing over a new build house(I have lived here a while just not done anything to it yet!) I found this very handy esp the advice about starting on an outside area as I have which i was thinking about starting on 1st so think that’s the best idea.

    20th February 2016 at 2:27 pm
  • Reply Nicole bagley

    After recent events of me trying to simply hang a picture I have decided DIY is best left alone haha I put a nail straight through a water pipe in my house and flooded the place resulting in having to call the professionals so I have decided that I will now leave DIY to my partner I just create more mess haha

    20th February 2016 at 5:04 pm
  • Reply Rosemary Rowe

    What you’ve written makes perfect sense! However, I remember one house we rented where the landlady wanted to approve every paint choice we made – no room for individuality, sadly. I could understand it to a certain extent, but we just wanted to paint one feature wall to break up the overwhelming magnolia! needless to say, we didn’t bother and moved on…

    20th February 2016 at 5:08 pm
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