Join me today for the best DIY home renovation tips. I’m sharing all the tips you didn’t know you needed based on my experience renovating our 1950s home. Read these for a smoother, easier renovation process.
Renovating a home can increase the value of a home, ensure the health and safety of its occupants, and give it a fresh facelift that makes it more enjoyable to spend time in. However, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be cheap or easy (most good things in life aren’t). I, for one, can say that looking back, I wish I’d had some of these home renovation tips I’m going to be discussing today. They would’ve saved us some time and money.
Of course, you can’t know what you don’t know… because why would if you’d never done something before?
Although I am the queen of research, being an avid information seeker, I definitely didn’t see some things coming during our renovation until we actually got to a certain point in a project.
You can only do so much research. Some things you simply have to learn firsthand.
If you’re about to start, or are in the middle of, a home renovation I have some home renovation tips to share with you today. These will be so helpful to someone out there, I’m sure of that.
So, get settled in, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get into my best home renovation tips for all the DIYers out there.
Top DIY Home Renovation Tips
Take the time to paint correctly | Top DIY Home Renovation Tips
Painting is a common, easy, affordable way to update a home. Practically anything can be painted, too. So let me elaborate more on this one because I actually have several painting tips.
- Invest in good brushes you can clean and reuse. Cheap disposable ones often shed brush hairs and get stuck in the paint. They make a huge difference once you start painting, are easy to clean, and will last many, many paint jobs. Spend a few bucks more initially and you’ll save money in the long run.
- If you choose to use paint tape to create crisp, clean edges be sure to remove it when it’s still wet. Not dripping wet, but damp. If you wait until it dries it will create a mess: uneven edges, stuck tape in corners, peeled paint. Trust me on this one.
- If you decide you don’t want to use paint tape, learn how to cut in. This is a technique to produce crisp, clean edges by hand. You have to have a steady hand and an artist’s touch, but it’s really simple to learn if you want to skip buying tape. You’ll need an angled sash brush to do this, but that’s about it. You could also invest in smaller artist brushes for really tight, tricky spaces.
- Also, get familiar with different types of paint sheens, testing paint first before tackling the entire project, and all the different tools. (I have a post HERE all about paint sheens and deciding which one is right for your project.)
Know when to hire out | Top DIY Home Renovation Tips
Here’s the thing I’ve noticed in DIY renovations. There are two types of people usually: those who are overly confident who think they can do it all and those who are scared of messing everything up and don’t trust their ability to learn new skills. The first type will refuse to hire out when help is truly needed because they’ve developed an ego that they’re too good for that and refuse to part with any money over labor costs. The second type will too readily fork over their money to have someone else do it because they don’t think it’s possible to do on their own since they’ve never done it before.
Strive to be somewhere in between.
Here’s my best advice. Learn how to do cosmetic changes yourself. I’d say 90-95% of them can be learned and DIYed with the help of a partner, friend, or family member. Utilize free sources like YouTube, blogs, and books at the library. Follow DIY accounts on social media platforms. You’ll get ideas and lots of free tips and tricks.
However, there are some specific projects you probably will need to hire out for. These tend to be the ones homeowners may even forget about because they’re so fixated on making their home look new and pretty. But the bones of the house must be maintained first and foremost. That includes plumbing, electricity, and the foundation or other structural elements. These all take very particular, expert skills. People go to school for years to gain these skills, so don’t fool yourself into thinking you can do it all. These are also more expensive projects, so you really want them done correctly the first time.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to ground an outlet or to fix a leaky faucet yourself. But the bulk of these types of projects are better left to professionals. DIYing these can create unnecessary safety hazards and exorbitant costs later when someone else has to go in to fix what you did wrong.
Be smart: If it’s not something you can learn how to do in a day or less or it will seriously put your health and safety in danger, you should probably hire out. (That doesn’t mean the project should be complete in a day, it just means if you can’t learn the skills necessary to complete a job in a matter of hours, it may be best to hire someone else.)
Healthy challenges are good, but don’t get in over your head.
Research & wait for the right additions | Top DIY Home Renovation Tips
Don’t jump into buying everything at once, all in one place, in one weekend. If you’re redoing a kitchen, for example, don’t buy the light fixtures, appliances, and tiles all at the same place and time just for convenience and to get the project done quickly.
You’re putting the time into redoing your home, so you need to do it the way you want it done. Not just what’s easy or cheap right now at the moment. You’ll end up with a builder grade home if you do that. Plain, uncustomized, and, frankly, cheap (which probably means it won’t last).
That means you may have to special order something and wait a few weeks for it to arrive instead of going with what’s in stock at the moment.
Take the time to research different light fixture styles and brands. Look around different home improvement stores for the exact appliances you want. Search online for retailers who specialize in different styles and materials of tiles. Subscribe to home/DIY magazines that showcase inspiration by professionals or experienced DIYers. Create mood boards to see what appliances look good with which stone and cabinet colors. Going the extra mile will be very obvious when your room finally is complete.
Put in the extra effort to make your home look beautiful, not just done.
Furthermore, I recommend custom making some pieces in your home, whether it’s decor, furniture, or even certain fixtures. This will really give your home a unique look and make it your own. Making custom pieces will give your home personality that no one else can replicate exactly. That is what will make the value of your home increase.
I know it is hard to wait it out sometimes, but I really think waiting for the perfect piece/material/color is worth it. You will regret rushing into it later. There are a few things we did when we first moved in that I don’t like now and will be redoing again because of it. Avoid this by doing it right the first time. If you make the right choices, you won’t need to renovate for years and years to come.
Consider weather before starting certain projects | Top DIY Home Renovation Tips
Weather can affect a number of different home projects. This is especially true for outdoor projects like decks, patios, walkways, and driveways. Weather should be dry and mild when attempting these, for the duration of the project. Even when painting the exterior of a home, you should be sure humidity levels aren’t too high to prevent paint from drying improperly–getting sticky and tacky.
However, this rule can also be very true even for many indoor projects. For example, if you don’t have any artificial lighting in a room, you’ll need to be sure you wait for a sunny day before painting the entire room so you can see what you’re actually doing. This requires a bit of planning ahead, but it’s practical and necessary.
If you’re refinishing floors, tile, or a tub these substances can be very noxious and require lots of airflow for health and safety. This means having open windows and fans running (yes, even if you’re wearing a respirator mask), which means you need to choose a day where weather is mild and there is low humidity.
Additionally, if you’re having appliances delivered and installed you should try for days where the weather is clear too. Sure, they can always be covered up before transporting, but I can’t imagine watching two men haul a new oven up our stairs and walkway in pouring rain or snow and then tracking it through the house as they lug it into the kitchen. Perfect weather is scarce here in the midwest, but I always try to use some common sense when planning for these types of situations.
Don’t skimp on the prep work | Top DIY Home Renovation Tips
Preparing for the project at hand is a crucial first step before beginning. If you fail to prep your room, you risk damaging decor, furniture, walls, or floors. If you don’t prep you’ll end up with much more of a mess to clean afterward, too.
- When painting, cover floors with plastic covers, tape connecting walls (if you won’t be “cutting in”), and remove all decor and furniture before beginning.
- When tiling, remove everything from the floor first, including nearby areas, to allow sufficient room to work and prevent mortar and grout from getting on anything else.
- When refinishing wood floors, do the same. Always prep fully without cutting corners. You typically get what you put into a project and cutting corners will set you up for future failure.
- Additionally, be sure to scrub everything clean before beginning a project. Paint, adhesives, and stains won’t adhere correctly or apply right if it’s not first free from debris.
Always buy more than what you need | Top DIY Home Renovation Tips
This one feels like common sense, but once you start getting into pricier projects it is tempting to try to save a few bucks by buying the bare minimum needed. You will almost always need more though. Here’s why.
You may make some mistakes in cutting something and need a larger piece than realized. Or you may break some tile by accident. Or maybe you completely miscalculated. Regardless, you will need more most of the time. If you don’t you can always return it later. No harm done.
But when you’re in the thick of a project, the last thing you want to do is to stop what you’re doing to make another trip to the hardware store. Or worse, you special ordered it and now have to wait another few days or weeks for it to arrive, putting a hold on the entire project. We only live 5 minutes from the hardware store and it still feels like such a hassle when we have to return 2-3 times in a day because we forgot something.
Set yourself up for success and buy 10% more than what you theoretically need. Follow this rule and I promise you you won’t be disappointed.
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