View from the Top
To create a memorable focal point in an otherwise forgettable bedroom, the DIY duo behind The Heathered Nest chose to put up a reclaimed wood ceiling. The salvaged wood of choice for this down-home yet sophisticated retreat: barn wood boards, installed against a freshly painted black ceiling, that instantly infused the room with rustic charm. Estimated cost: $150, plus the price of the reclaimed wood.
These bargain built-ins devised by Conan and Katherine at Keep Smiling Home give shelter to a growing collection of books and introduce a note of culture in an otherwise bland dining room. The couple started by fastening a pair of ordinary particleboard bookshelves to the wall about six inches above the floor on either side of the window. To achieve the look of a custom build, the savvy homeowners screwed together simple bases using scraps of wood, and embellished the tops of the bookcases with trim and molding. Estimated cost: $390.
Hang Out a Shingle
When you're weighing your options for an accent wall, you need not confine your imagination to paint. In fact, you can concoct a feast for the eyes with... shingles! This whimsical wall from Monica at East Coast Creative relies on cedar shingles and a crisp white shelf above for its organic appeal. Estimated cost: $20.
Enhance the Closet
If you’re still relying on flimsy wire racks in your pantry, take a cue from The Handmade Home and make the switch to a sturdier solution. First, get rid of the unsatisfactory storage system in a old, do-nothing closet, then patch and paint the walls, and put up braces and shelves using a combination of pine and melamine boards. The result of these efforts? A well-organized pantry that can stand up to bulky dry goods, heavy canisters, and more. Estimated cost: $375.
Related: 8 Other Uses for Closet Space
Two-Way Street to Style
How do you prevent a Jack-and-Jill bathroom from turning into a haphazard heap of clutter? For Ursula, the DIYer behind Homemade By Carmona, the answer lay in a variety of small-scale but space-smart upgrades. The addition of storage baskets, a gallery wall, and a splash of fresh paint make this shared space a success any way you look at it—and no matter which of its two doors you enter. Estimated cost: $83.
Off the Grid
Sarah at Life On Virginia Street gave her guest bedroom the royal treatment by mounting a board-and-batten grid on the wall behind the queen bed. The irresistible interlocking pattern came together with little more than eggshell baseboards and MDF planks, turning a blank wall into a grand statement. Estimated cost: $300.
All in a Day’s Work
Peeling wallpaper, large cracks, and water damage didn’t intimidate Daniel, the owner of this sharp-looking, space-smart office. Repairing the plaster and painting the baseboards, walls, and floors produced the clean canvas he needed to transform a ramshackle spare room into this organizational oasis. Estimated cost: $600.
Related: 7 Reasons to Reconsider Wallpaper
Into the Woods
Courtney at Golden Boys & Me gave her '50s-era dining room a rustic upgrade, mimicking the wildly popular effect of shiplap. In lieu of pricier shiplap, however, the couple used hardwood tempered paneling that they then cut into six-foot planks, painted, and nailed to the wall to lend it an upmarket look with a cozy, cottage-like feel. Estimated cost: $75.
Related: 11 Big Ideas for a Small Dining Room
A Sink with Depth
After converting an old dining room into a bedroom for her daughter, Kristin at Hunted Interior needed a space-efficient way to insert a door where none had been. While a traditional swinging door would have been awkward in the kitchen, a scene-stealing pocket door turned out to be just the ticket. Flush brass push plates make it easier to glide the door open and shut. Estimated cost: $175.
Related: 18 Tiny Kitchens We Love
Are you in desperate need of some counter space in a cramped laundry room? Follow the lead of Mandi at Vintage Revivals and construct this easy—and easy on the eyes—countertop over your front-load washer-dryer duo. Two plywood sheets are all it takes to copy the seamless look of this waterfall design. Estimated cost: $90.
Small Steps to Success
When Elsie at A Beautiful Mess tore away a shabby carpet, she was pleasantly surprised to find quality hardwood floors underneath—albeit in an unlovable shade of green. Repainted a perfect ivory, they make for a bright and cheerful jaunt up and down the steps. Estimated cost: less than $200.
Nestled in an empty closet, a pair of sconces, plush seating that doubles as storage, and wall-mounted bookshelves are all that's needed for a reading nook for the smaller set. The walls in this comfy corner, created by Jen at Fresh Crush, are painted to match the rest of the room for a seamless appearance whether the closet door is open or shut. Estimated cost: $350.
Hearth and Home
This fabulous fireplace facelift from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body proves that a former homeowner’s design decisions don't have to rule your life. The talented DIYer removed the hearth’s old-world stone cladding and replaced it with modern concrete, a rustic walnut mantel, and a barnyard-industrial fireplace screen that was upcycled from humble chicken wire. Though it came in at just over a grand, this DIY could be accomplished for less by opting for a simpler screen. Estimated cost: $1,100.
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!