You’re listening to a co-worker describe tiling their own kitchen backsplash last weekend. “That doesn’t sound so hard,” you think to yourself. “I could do that!”
And sure, you could—but should you?
Some projects, like renovating your entire kitchen or turning a closet into a full bathroom, are too ambitious for most beginners. But even if you’re a DIY newbie, there are plenty of projects you can tackle without specialized expertise or experience. Plus, becoming more handy around the house is empowering. You’ll make mistakes along the way, but figuring out how to correct those mistakes will teach you as much or more as if you’d gotten it right the first time.
You don’t need to be an art school grad to paint a room. Beginners will love the fact that painting is an inexpensive, low-risk job that offers instant gratification. Just by painting your walls, you’ll uplift the look of your home in an instant. It is also a great way to get practice and learn how paint flows, dries, and hides.
Not ready to commit to that big of a change? Start smaller, by painting a nightstand or an old piece of furniture that could use an update. A word of warning: If you’ve never painted before, giving your kitchen cabinets a face-lift might be too risky for your first DIY project.
The best DIY projects for newbies are the ones that make the biggest impact for the least amount of money and effort. Swapping out your cabinet and door handle fits this bill. All you need is a screwdriver and a free afternoon.
If you want to up the DIY ante and save some money, keep your existing knobs and give it a makeover with spray paint. After removing your knobs, lay it down on an old sheet or on cardboard in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside. A few light coats of spray paint can breathe new life and personality into rusty old knobs.
We’ve all probably hung a framed painting at one point or another. But to graduate from Wall Art 101 to 201, try your hand at assembling a perfectly curated gallery wall. It’s an extra challenge, but nothing a newbie can’t master.
For this project, you’ll need a tape measure, picture hangers, and a level. A gallery wall requires plenty of measuring to determine where each piece should go, and the level will help you hang everything evenly. If you’re hanging heavier pieces, use a stud finder to locate the sturdiest part of the wall that can support the most weight—or, in lieu of picture hangers, use drywall anchors and screws.
The good news: A gallery wall is forgiving if you make a few mistakes here and there.
Routine home maintenance doesn’t offer the satisfaction of a dramatic before-and-after photo for the ’Gram. But it’s one of the most important tasks you can learn to handle on your own.
To get started, break up your maintenance to-do list into two columns, for indoors and outdoors. Go for a walk around the exterior of your house and take inventory of what needs attention now and what you’ll need to address in the future.
Take note of tree limbs that need trimming, siding on the home in need of repair, and make sure that downspouts and gutters are moving water away from your home.
Then, do the same for the interior.
Create or use an online inspection checklist to remind yourself of routine maintenance, like testing sump pumps and replacing HVAC filters, as well as visual inspections of water line connections to toilets, refrigerators, and washers.
At the end of the day, learning how to handle routine maintenance will give you the insight into identifying issues before they get out of hand, which can save you money and hassle in the long run.