Easy DIY decor ideas to transform your home this weekend

Melanie Lissack with her upcycled IKEA cabinet
Melanie Lissack upcycled an old Ikea kitchen cabinet and turned it into a pretty linen cupboard - Andrew Crowley for the Telegraph

Easter weekend marks the beginning of DIY season. A couple of extra days off are the perfect opportunity to give your home a refresh, whether with small painting jobs, experimenting with wallpaper, or, for the adventurous, perhaps a spot of light tiling. If you have a little extra time on your hands with which to indulge in a bitesize decorating job this weekend, the following are seven relatively quick jobs that might offer some inspiration.

1. Upcycle an old cabinet

Stylist Melanie Lissack has gained a significant following on Instagram for her short videos demonstrating how to do a variety of decorating jobs, from painting furniture and putting up wall panelling to reupholstering a bed. Here, she upcycled an old Ikea kitchen cabinet and turned it into a pretty linen cupboard for storing towels in her bathroom.

See more of Melanie’s decorating ideas at melanielissackinteriors.com

2. Wallpaper a hall cupboard

“Wallpapering inside a cupboard is a fun way to use up leftover wallpaper and a relatively inexpensive way to make a difference,” says Alice Gaskell, founder of Alice Grace Interiors, who chose Morris & Co’s ‘Fruit’ wallpaper for her coat and shoe hall cupboard (£108 a roll, johnlewis.com). “It’s something a little bit unexpected when you open the door.” The process is much the same as wallpapering any room, except, “Typically, a cupboard will have neat walls so you won’t need to work around tricky corners or sockets, for example,” says Alice.

Alice Grace Interiors
Morris & Co wallpaper applied to a cupboard by Alice Grace - Alice Grace Interiors

First, measure the height of the walls, allowing a little extra at the top and bottom (if using  patterned wallpaper, cut each length longer and ensure that the pattern matches up). Paste either the wall or the paper, depending on the instructions on the roll. “Choosing wallpaper where you paste directly onto the wall is typically the easier option if you aren’t a seasoned decorator, and you can gently reposition it if you find it’s not in quite the right place,” says Alice. “If you’re pasting the paper itself, you need to allow for it to expand, and time to let the paste soak in, before hanging,” she adds. Start in the corner furthest from the door and, once you’ve hung each strip, apply a smoother from the centre to the edges to get rid of any air bubbles. With each drop, cross the paper slightly over the last so you get a neat edge, then use a wallpaper cutter to trim any excess at either end.

See more: @alicegrace_england; alicegrace.co.uk

3. Craft a fabric pinboard

“Pin boards are usually small, so they need to pack a punch,” says Harriette Cayzer, co-founder of interior design practice Taylor & Turner. “We prefer a patterned fabric with a large repeat. However, you can of course use a plain fabric for something more subtle.” She recommends a thick linen or cotton – something that doesn’t have too much stretch – and ordering pre-cut MDF board for the backing. “Our upholsterer uses white wadding, which is wrapped around the edges of the board and fastened using a staple gun. The padding makes the board soft to the touch and gives an upholstered effect; just remember that you’ve got to be able to get pins through the fabric, wadding and board when considering the thickness of the materials.”

Taylor & Turner
Pack a punch with patterns: a workspace design by Taylor & Turner - Taylor & Turner

Next, cut the fabric so that it’s larger than the board and you can wrap it around and secure it on the reverse. “It’s quite hard making sure the pattern is straight, so pin the fabric first before using a staple gun,” advises Cayzer. Typically, Taylor & Turner design pin boards to fit within a piece of joinery, so they must be a snug fit; commercial velcro tape is used to hold the boards on the wall, which means they can be removed, if needed, later on.

You can finish by adding a trim to the pinboard; the slim flat trim used here is held in place with antique brass upholstery nails, leaving the central part of the board open for pinning.

See more: taylorandturner.com

4. Paint the skirting boards

“Painting your skirting boards in a coordinating or contrasting colour to your walls is a nice way to bring extra depth to a scheme,” says Andy Greenall of paint brand Paint & Paper Library. “Think about the skirting boards and cornicing as a picture frame around the walls. The right colour on the frame can make the walls sing.”

Paint and Paper Library
Interior by Paint & Paper Library - Paint and Paper Library

He recommends using water-based paints, which are much quicker to dry than oil-based ones, so you can typically apply several coats in a day. If the surface you are painting onto is glossy, sand it back first so that the fresh paint has something to stick to. Paint & Paper Library’s Architects paints can be used on both woodwork and plaster and are self-priming, so the first coat of paint essentially acts as the primer. “Choose a 1–2 inch synthetic brush, rather than a roller or a natural bristle brush, which is more suited to oil paints, and paint horizontally,” he continues. “What you’re trying to achieve is a finish that is as even as possible, so avoid overloading the brush. Applying three thinner coats will result in a much better finish than two thick ones.”

Greenall’s final tip is to slide a piece of card under the bottom of the skirting board, or use masking tape, for a crisp line and to protect the floor. “If you’re worried about spillages on a wooden or stone floor, run a wet cloth over it before you start – it makes it easier to wipe off any stray specks of paint.”

See more: paintandpaperlibrary.com

5. Tile a bathroom splashback

Practical as well as decorative, a splashback behind a vanity unit can tie a bathroom scheme together. “Start by making sure the wall is dry and dust-free, then plan the tile layout. The middle of a tile should cover the central focal point,” says Emily Smoor, a former property developer who spent 15 years restoring period houses before setting up her Edinburgh-based interior design studio Fantoush. “Don’t forget to allow 2–3mm for each grout line.”

Bathroom splashback tiles
A splashback behind a vanity unit can tie a bathroom scheme together, as seen here in this design by Fantoush

Working from the middle outwards, she advises using a trowel to apply the adhesive to the wall, only applying enough for a couple of tiles at once. “Place the tile flat on the wall over the adhesive, then repeat, using a spacer in between each one, to ensure uniform grout lines. Wipe any excess adhesive off as you go and, once it has cured, you can remove the spacers.” If you’re tiling between cupboards, you may need to use a manual cutter to trim the end tiles so that they fit.

“The colour of the grout is another way to personalise your project,” says Smoor. “Make it up according to the instructions, and don’t mix too much at once so that it doesn’t dry out. Then, use a grout float to wipe it into the joint.” It should take around 15 minutes for the grout to dry; finish by giving the tiles a thorough clean, and apply a thin layer of silicone where the tiles meet the vanity unit.

See more: fantoush.com

6. Make an under-counter curtain

“An under-counter curtain is brilliant for adding texture to a utilitarian room,” says Nicole Salvesen, co-founder of interior-design practice Salvesen Graham. “You can pull a curtain across to hide a washing machine or use it instead of a cupboard door, with shelves behind, to create storage.” The key, she says, is choosing a fabric such as a light linen or cotton. “Because you don’t need a huge amount of meterage – measure the height and width of the space, then add another 25 per cent – it’s a good chance to use a favourite fabric.”

under-counter curtain
An under-counter curtain is brilliant for adding texture to a utilitarian room - Simon Upton

There are several methods to choose when making an under-counter curtain, but first, hem around the whole piece of fabric. “Once it’s hemmed, one of the simplest ways is to iron on gathering tape along the top, then pull the gather and add hooks,” says Salvesen. “The hooks then attach to the rings on a curtain rod, which can be fixed to the underside of a kitchen unit using eye hooks or finial ends.” Another option is to sew a channel to hold the pole, but Salvesen warns that this method makes it less easy to open and close the curtain. An alternative to using gathering tape, she suggests, is to attach clips directly from the fabric onto a café curtain rail.

See more: salvesengraham.com

7. Reupholster a headboard

“A headboard is a lovely opportunity to have fun with beautiful fabrics,” says Kit Kemp, founder of Firmdale Hotels, where boldly patterned bed heads are a signature design staple. When choosing a fabric, she recommends a good weave, and something that isn’t going to stretch. It’s also, she says, “a chance to show a large repeat that might not be seen so clearly in a curtain.

Reupholstering a bedhead by Kit Kemp.
A reupholstered headboard, like this one by Kit Kemp, is a lovely way to have fun with beautiful fabrics - Kit Kemp

“Use one piece of fabric for the front of the headboard, tighten and fasten it to the back using a staple gun,” says Kemp. “Then, stretch a second piece of fabric from the back so that it overlaps and creates a border. Fold the edge under itself, staple, and then where the two fabrics meet, push in a row of metal upholstery studs to hold it in place.”

See more: firmdalehotels.com

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