Even though home improvement knowledge gets passed down from generation to generation, many of us still somehow manage to punch a dozen holes in the wall while looking for a stud, or screw up something as simple as painting the walls. And while many dream of being a DIY guru, it's not always clear where to begin. Fixing drywall holes, finding studs, unclogging a sink drain, reupholstering a chair and building an outdoor fire pit — the projects here will elevate your skills and help you save money, materials and, best of all, your walls.
Paint Your Walls
Knowing how to properly paint your walls is one of the most vital home remodeling skills you can have. And it's not as simple as it sounds. Do you know how many coats you should use for light colors and dark colors? What kind of finish? Here are some tips to get your started.
From the Pros: How to Paint Interior Walls
Find a Wall Stud
Despite failing every time, my go-to method for finding studs is measuring 16 inches from various points on my wall — the corner, the light socket — but nothing ever works, and my frustration leads to a string of holes along the wall. But Philip Tiffin seems to have it all figured out. All you need is a strong magnet.
Quick Fix: Find Wall Studs Without an Expensive Stud Finder
Paint Your Cabinets
Sure, many of us would like new cabinets in our kitchens and bathrooms. But the price tag often has us just dealing with what we have. That's why a less-expensive update with fresh paint makes sense.
From the Pros: How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets
Fix a Drywall Hole
I'll be the first to admit that underneath every framed photo and piece of art on the walls in my home is a hole of some kind in the drywall. With the knowledge in this ideabook, though, that's all going to change.
Quick Fix: How to Patch a Drywall Hole
Reuse a Fallen Tree
If a tree falls in a forest, who cares if it makes a sound? It can make all sorts of cool things, from landscaping steps to wall clocks.
7 Ways to Upcycle a Fallen Tree
Install a Toilet
We go to great lengths to spiff up our bathrooms with colors and textiles, only to have a bulky toilet throw off the mojo. Many believe replacing a toilet is a money and time suck. Not true. Here's how to do it in less than 60 minutes.
How to Install a Toilet in an Hour
Reupholster a Chair
Everyone has that friend they envy who finds a piece of furniture in a Dumpster and turns it into something cool. But there's really not much to it. Next time you see an old chair on the side of the road, stop and pick it up.
Quick Fix: Reupholster a Chair Seat
Make a Custom-Color Paint
With a little knowledge of the color wheel, you can put a stop to the growing paint-can collection in your garage by creating custom colors with what you already own.
Tint Your Own Paint for New-Looking Walls
Paint Brick Walls
Why can't brick get some love? Perhaps it's Crayola's fault for creating a crayon called Brick Red, thus misleading people to believe there's only one color for brick. In fact, using these tips, you can paint your brick walls or fireplace any color you want.
How to Paint Brick Like a Pro
Build a Deck
Say it out loud: a deck. In a weekend. Two days of work and you'll have an outdoor living space for the rest of the summer — and all seasons to come.
Build a Beautiful Platform Deck in a Weekend
Remove Water Rings From Your Coffee Table
I've lost friends over a poorly placed, sweating cocktail glass on a wood coffee table — 2 inches from a coaster! After six years and my learning this quick fix, maybe it's time to reconcile.
Quick Fix: Erase Water Rings
Replace Your Window Trim
I've had a puppy and a child completely destroy a window trim — two different windows, two different occasions; both involved teeth. While this project is a little more involved than others, installing new trim is less painful than staring at bite marks.
How to Replace Window Trim
Install Kitchen Backsplash Tile
Want a clean new subway tile backsplash? You'll need three days, $10 to $20 per square foot and a little elbow grease.
How to Install a Tile Backsplash
Make a Scrap-Wood Bench
No longer is a wooden bench just for sitting on in a park. Bring it inside and a bench becomes a hip decor piece all its own, or a cool display shelf — and, yes, a place for sitting too.
DIY Project: Artful Scrap-Wood Bench
Paint Your Hardwood Floor
Don't settle on wood-tone floors because you think the only other option is replacing them. Paint can work wonders underfoot.
How to Paint Your Hardwood Floors
Clean Your Butcher Block
Anyone looking at my cutting board will discern two things: I eat a lot of avocados, and I will probably get salmonella soon. But with these tips, I'll have a sanitized, stain-free board in no time.
How to Clean and Care for Your Butcher Block
Make a Cutting Board from Scrap Wood
And for those without a board to begin with, here's a cool way to make a high-quality one using leftover pieces of wood.
Fashion a High-Quality Cutting Board From Scrap Wood
Build a Stone Fire Pit
Ever since humans discovered fire and stonework, we've yet to tire of them. Here's everything you need to build a rustic outdoor fire pit just in time for cool summer nights.
How to Make a Stacked Stone Fire Pit
Unclog a Drain Without Chemicals
Time to chuck those eye-irritating chemicals. All you need for this drain-unclogging method is your hand and a wine cork.
The Easiest, Cheapest, Nontoxic Way to Unclog a Drain
Build a Storage Shelf
Almost everyone can use more storage space. This project uses galvanized pipes and wood for a cool industrial unit.
Storage Shortage? Make an Industrial-Style Shelving Unit
Make Your Own Chalkboard Paint
Sure, you can buy it. But at $25 a quart, chalkboard paint is expensive. Here's how to make your own with nonsanded grout and latex paint.
DIY: Make Your Own Chalkboard Paint
Fix a Wobbly Door
Got a shifty door? Chances are, the screws in the hinge are stripped. The fix? All you need is a hammer, utility knife and golf tee. Score!
Quick Tip: Use a Golf Tee to Fix a Door Hinge
Make Your Grout Spotless
Dirty grout can make even the cleanest tiles look drab. So grab some OxiClean, warm water, an old toothbrush and a lemon, and get to work.
Get Grout Magically Clean — Stains and All
Fix Cracked Grout
If your grout is beyond just dirty, there is still hope. A caulk gun and a scraping tool are all you need.
Quick Fix: Repair Cracked Bathroom Grout
Build a Simple Wood Stand
It's always nice to have one piece of furniture you've built yourself. This simple wooden stand is the perfect starter piece on your way to woodworking glory.
Neat Little Project: Make a Basic Wood Stand
Create a Play Kitchen for Your Kid
Kids love to mimic their parents doing simple household chores like cleaning, cooking and working in the yard. By building this beautiful play kitchen for your kids, you'll provide them with hours of entertainment — so you can have time to, you know, actually get some chores done.
How to Make an Enchanting Kids' Play Kitchen
Build Your Own Greenhouse
With $400, some vintage windows and a bit of time and effort, you can create your own 8- by 8-foot greenhouse.
Scope Out a Family Greenhouse Grown From Scraps
Replace a Button on a Tufted Chair
Missing buttons on a tufted piece of furniture are annoying. But with some careful DIY maneuvers, there will be no need to take the piece to an upholstery shop.
How to Replace a Button on a Tufted Chair
Create a Gravel Path in Your Backyard
The scale and scope of many landscaping projects can be daunting to homeowners. But this easy gravel path offers a big style punch with minimal effort.
DIY Pathway Puts Landscapes on the Right Track
Your turn: Share your best DIY project with us! We'd love to see your photo in the Comments.
Jeannie Balsam Interiors, original photo on Houzz