Hey friends. Hope you all had a great 4th! We ended up having no sports whatsoever (we’re those crazy parents who let their kids play summer baseball and lacrosse) and were so happy to have absolutely nothing on the agenda, it.was.heavenly. When you actually look forward to staying home and pulling weeds, your life is ridiculously busy and it’s time to take it down a notch!
Today I’m back from my exciting staycation to join my friends Pam of Simple Details, Jennifer of Dimples & Tangles and Kris of Driven By Decor for our monthly series where we dish about a different topic. This month is my very favorite one yet, DO IT YOURSELF PROJECTS!! And as the cherry on top, we are thrilled to have the fabulous Cyndy of The Creativity Exchange guest host along with us!!! Cyndy is not only one of the sweetest bloggers out there, she’s also an insanely talented artist, author, and clever DIYer. Check out how she made a knock-off version of a gorgeous but super expensive chandelier for her little girl’s room, it’s a showstopper!
I love all scopes of DIY because doing the labor myself affords me the look I want on a budget, but also, it’s SO gratifying to figure out how to make or beautify or fix something myself!!! I am definitely getting more courageous with the depth of DIY projects with every one that I do, and I hope you find something here that encourages or interests you too!
Here are a few of my favorite DIY projects that make a big impact on a home.
ADDING BOARD & BATTEN
This was the first pretty major carpentry project I did on my own and it’s still one of my favorites because it gave our boring, basic house some visual interest. My version of board and batten is actually only batten, no “board” is necessary if you have smooth walls and are painting the end result. This is a great project for a newbie, especially if you stick to walls that need only straight cuts and space out the boards around outlets and light switches. Caulking fixes all sorts of amateur carpenter mishaps!
(Now I need to tackle crown moulding in this room, but that DIY is definitely not one of my favorites!!!)
Nothing brings a pretty entry down faster than orange oak and stained, nasty old carpet on stairs. Restaining or painting risers and treads makes a world of difference, and adding a fun or textural stair runner is a great way to bring some personality to your space.
Our seagrass stair runner has been on for three years and shows no signs of wear and tear, I love it.
Here’s what these stairs used to look like. Did you know that having your steps re-done by professionals can be kind of pricey? We got a quote just to have the stair runner pulled up and replaced (not even repainting/staining) when we were getting our upstairs wall-to-wall replaced, and it was totally cost-prohibitive (I think it was $900 just for the stairs!). When the installers were here ripping out the upstairs carpet, I got all fired up and ripped off the stairs myself. I felt so liberated as soon as it was off – worth every staple that needs to be pulled out!!!!
UPDATING A FIREPLACE
We couldn’t swing the $10K a contractor quoted us to have our fireplace and built-ins restyled (welcome to Massachusetts!), so after 5 years of making it over in my head, I took the plunge and did it myself after I got Mark to do some demo with me (sometimes I must admit I need a little help 🙂 ).
A rented wet saw is not really hard to use for a first-timer. Tiling over the existing surround and hearth were complete game-changers for our house!
CREATING PERSONAL AND UNIQUE ART
DIYing your own art is an amazing way to personalize a space and satisfy your creative desires in an afternoon!!
Create a vintage-looking sign of a place you love.
Clockwise, starting top left: mount a favorite photo onto wood; paint a “destinations” sign with places that are special to you along with the mileage from your home; use the Waterlogue or Brushstroke iPhone app to turn a photo into art that you can frame; mount a nautical map onto inexpensive foam board insulation. Visit my WALL ART gallery for these and other art projects.
BUILDING A FIREPIT
You regulars knew this one would show up here didn’t you, since I have basically not talked about anything else for a month straight? Well guess what, the fire pit and pea stone patio are DONE!! We still need to landscape around the patio but the fire pit had it’s inaugural lighting this weekend and sitting out there with my family really was a dream come true.
This DIY is 98% about quality of life (2% just realllllly wanting to try a masonry project!!!) A fire pit just invites socializing, connecting, slowing down and being together, and the older my kids get the more I value these simple pleasures with them. I’ll be sharing more of this project soon but here’s a sneak peek.
After a long day of yard work, getting cleaned up and sitting out here at dusk with my honey, some Zac Brown and a little summer cocktail was so therapeutic! On the 4th we had small crowd out there and love that we can squeeze a lot around this space. Definitely my all time favorite DIY (so far!)
If you’re thinking about taking on a major DIY that you have never tackled before, do a ton of research online, and ask professionals for their advice. I am always amazed at how generous the pros are with their knowledge and how many people will happily chat with you about their trade for a few minutes!
So tell me, what’s your favorite DIY project that you’ve done??
And don’t miss all that awaits you over at
In case you missed them…..