Bank holiday DIY tips

With a bank holiday just round the corner and the DIY frenzy that will ensue, Declan Curran, entrepreneur and founder of property maintenance company, HomeFix Direct, offers his top tips for getting home DIY right.


All too often DIYers want to stream straight in and get stuck into the juicy bits of a job, but unless you’re looking to waste more of your free time then coming up with a good plan to begin with will definitely help you out later. Because no matter how much you might be looking forward to knocking that wall down or tearing that hideous old wallpaper off, after a few hours you’ll be getting bored and looking for an excuse to do something else. Having a plan will help you focus on the next bit you have to deal with, and you’ll be glad you spent a little time on the planning stage when your enthusiasm is running low and you realise that all the tricky decisions have already been taken and all you have to do now is follow the steps you wrote down before.

Counting the pennies

Planning and budgeting go hand in hand, so pay as much attention as you can before starting your DIY project to how much you want to spend, and where you want to spend it. If, for example, the difference between simply painting a room or wallpapering it is a lot, and you realise that this cost could be better spent elsewhere, then that’s all part of what you need to factor in before you even open your toolbox. Equally if you’re thinking of something more ambitious like changing the carpets to wooden flooring, the curtains to blinds and the ‘70s lights to ambient LEDs, then the decisions you make at the start will give you a roadmap to follow later that’ll make sure you stick to your budget.

Start a scrapbook

It sounds odd, but unless you’re planning to have a bare white cube with just a mattress on the floor, then you’re going to be considering various aspects like materials, colours, wallpapers, perhaps even fabrics. Will oak flooring look better than beech? Will grey walls suit your home better than magnolia? Will an exposed brick wall look better than tiles? How are you meant to just imagine this kind of thing if you don’t collect some pictures of each example to compare? And it couldn’t be easier these days with the likes of Pinterest and Instagram; forget glue and scissors, just search, click and collect as many pics as you like of the sort of finish you want to see after your DIY job; that way you’ll have the perfect plan before you start based on exactly the kind of jobs you want to copy.


Always top off your planning by investing a little bit of time learning about what it is you’re going to be doing, and organising yourself appropriately. For example, if you’re painting a room, chances are that you’ll need to do some decent preparation beforehand, like removing everything from the walls, washing down the surfaces, clearing away all the furniture, filling and sanding any wall damage, covering the flooring etc, and that will all take a little organising. But unless you figure this all out at the outset then you’ll just be cracking on and skipping over the vital bits of prep work.
  Similarly, if you’re looking to makeover your tired old bathroom then it could involve either tiling over all the old walls tiles or (better still for a proper job) removing them all and re-tiling the walls, before painting the ceiling, woodwork, replacing the flooring etc. But you need to work out in advance not only what the various bits of the job will entail, but also in what order you’ll be doing them, when you’ll need to get each of the materials, how much of everything you’ll require, whether the bathroom will be unusable during certain stages, whether you’ll need to hire or buy any kit etc.
So get all of this worked out NOW so that you’ll be better able to figure out what order to start and finish everything and when to organise your trips to the hardware stores. (Incidentally if you are revamping your bathroom then you ought to tackle the tiling first, as it’s always the messiest job! Then sort the painting and last of all do the flooring, because by leaving it until last it doesn’t matter if you spill anything during the rest of it!).


All too many projects around the home run out of steam because people misjudge beforehand how much time they are willing or able to devote to the job, so don’t be another statistic whose shelves are hanging off lopsidedly or whose grouting never quite got finished. Instead work out exactly how much of your time will be needed for the job you’re planning, and don’t be tricked into underestimating how long it might take. In fact be generous, because nothing is more demoralising that planning 3 hours for something like preparing a room for redecorating and then wondering why you’re still only halfway done five hours later!

With that in mind then, give yourself a good couple of days to repaint a room properly, and more if you’re laying some flooring or doing some tiling (grouting can take an age to get right). It’s always better to be realistic than to kid yourself and find that things are dragging on far longer than you realised.

With plenty of planning and realistic goals, your DIY efforts may even raise the value of your property! For a free estimate of what your home is currently worth, use our free valuation tool today.