Does your property need a new look? If the interiors aren’t as fresh and current as they once were, you may be considering a home improvement project. But how much do you take on yourself when it comes to DIY home décor, and what absolutely requires hiring a professional? Here’s what you need to know before you get started:
How Handy Are You?
Before tackling any DIY home décor project, honestly assess your level of technical skill when it comes to completing renovations. These are a few questions to consider:
- Do you have all the tools required?
- Do you have a good knowledge of your local building codes, and have you acquired the necessary permits?
- Are you confident that you can complete this project once you start it? What will you do if something goes wrong?
Then, consider how much time you’ll have available. Even if you’re confident you possess the skills to take on the task, do you have the time to do it right? If your work and/or family schedule are quite demanding, make sure a task that should take a day doesn’t stretch out for weeks. DIY home décor projects often take a lot more time than originally anticipated.
Are Permits Required?
Perhaps you’ve always wanted a spa in your master bath. Go for it—but have a plumber do the installation. As a basic rule of thumb, if it requires a permit, hire a professional. That’s true of any plumbing, gas or electrical installation, but it also involves any moving of interior walls. Regulations around permits differ by province:
No permits are needed for floor, cabinet and fixture replacement, or for painting. Keep in mind that if you’re purchasing high-end wood or stone flooring, it’s crucial to get it exactly right. While you should hire a professional for that job, there’s no reason you can’t install small areas of flooring or carpeting on your own, such as in a mud room, laundry room, back bedroom, or basement.
Painting and Wallpapering
Nothing brightens or changes a room like a new coat of paint. The question is whether to hire a professional painter or try your hand at it yourself. The same holds true for wallpapering.
Assuming you’ve painted rooms before, answer these questions: How tall is the room, and how formal? If your home sports high walls and ceilings, you should likely hire someone who has experience with similar projects. Besides the fact that you’d need to buy or rent ladders and other equipment, painting from heights is dangerous. Formal rooms with high-end furniture, art, and rugs need special treatment. Pros know how to do all the prep work necessary before starting the job. Bedrooms and less formal rooms are a better DIY painting project.
If you want to learn wallpapering, start in a small area. A half-bath makes a good first attempt. If it doesn’t succeed, go for paint or hire a professional to fix it. If you get the hang of it, embark on bedrooms and less public spaces before deciding to tackle a major living area.
Upgrading the Kitchen — What You Can Do
Kitchen upgrades add more value to your home than almost any other, but they also interfere more with daily life. Depending on the scope of the project, you and your family could eat take-out food for longer than you’d like. Doing some of the work on your own saves time and money.
You certainly aren’t going to install new steel appliances or granite countertops, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t smaller DIY kitchen upgrades you can handle. Changing or refinishing cupboard doors are good DIY undertakings. So is installing a backsplash, whether for the sink or counter.
Consider the Satisfaction of a Job Well Done
Even if a professional does the bulk of the work in your home makeover, it’s good to be involved throughout the process to ensure the result matches your vision for your home. Plus, there’s not only the satisfaction of a job well done, but also the knowledge gained while doing the work. There’s always another DIY home décor project down the line with more opportunities to acquire expertise.
Looking to refresh the look of a smaller space? Read our tips on Easy Upgrades That Maximize Your ROI and Simple Tips to Maximize Condo Space are another great way to add value to your home.
Whether you’re looking for a home you can add your own special touch to or a place that is move-in ready, a qualified REALTOR® can help. Get in touch today.
This article was originally published in February 2017 and has been updated on March 4, 2022.