The Handbook
The Handbook

Instagram is the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to DIY interior hacks. Wannabe Kelly Hoppens and Tricia Guilds are flocking in their masses to show off their homes. And lockdown has made it possible for everyone to make their living rooms look like Regency mansions with just a bit of glue and some pine sticks.

In fact, a new study conducted by MyJobQuote.co.uk, found that 67% of Brits are now assembling new household items without the help of a professional. But how? How do you make radiator covers and assemble furniture without slicing off a finger in a power tool? Where do you find Pigeon paint and shades of Elephant Breath? How do you make your bathroom look like a Soho House spa? We turn to Instagram and the stars of home renovation for some insider tips (and we recommend checking out their reels and videos to see the work in action).

1. Sharpie Shiplap

Lockdown is a time for escapism. Dreaming of being by the sea or escaping to the beach for some sunshine? If you want to make that feeling a tiny bit more real, try transforming a wall of one room into chic panelling… with just a sharpie.

The real wooden stuff can be too pricey and time consuming to put together, so @broadwayhomespace_ has used a spirit level, measuring tape and permanent pen to recreate the affect of a rustic beachside getaway. Lauren  has implemented the makeover on her workspace and added in shelving and soothing accessories. The result? A WFH area with super chilled vibes.

Try transforming a wall of one room into chic panelling... with just a sharpie.

Over on the profile page for @crack_the_shutters, Jen has been at it as well. This time she purchased an Ikea Besta TV unit. For she used a jigsaw tool (a powerful cutter for those not into DIY) to cut the pieces, some paint to prime the cupboards with, and then added her final colour choice (a bluey grey Pigeon from Farrow & Ball). For the final stage she added the cane mesh and there you have it! You’ll be dubbed Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen before you know it.

You'll be dubbed Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen before you know it.

2. Revamped Radiators

Nothing ruins a room quite like an unsightly radiator, but @harrietlucyhome has the know-how we need to redress the balance. She bought a console to cover the radiator in question, and then employed a friend/carpenter who prepped the beige doors and cut out the hole. She then primed, painted and stapled the rattan for a lovely muted affect. The main body is painted in Slaked Lime Deep (Intelligent Eggshell) from Little Greene and the legs in Loof from Frenchic Paint.

3. The Crittall Effect

Something that has been all the rage across social media is DIY Crittall. Real-life Crittall involves steel sections in a window, but if you can’t afford this expensive glass solution, you can look to @broadleafclose for some inspo.

First, you need to tape up the areas you want to protect from paint, then apply a dark colour around the shower frame and handle. Next, pick up some vinyl tape and measure across your panes of glass to find out where you want the tape to go. Then start sticking it down. The tape is fairly pliable, so if you go wrong, you can just peel it off and start again. A quick Google search will deliver up some options for tape, such as this blackout tape from Active Window Films. 

4. Colour-blocking Techniques

Make your wall look super fancy with minimum effort by adding a block of colour. Literally slap on some paint and you’ll have chic Soho House vibes in your living room. Nadine over at @broadleafclose has paired her prints from Juniqe with a block of Dulux’s caramel latte. Measuring and spacing is key here. Buy some frogtape to measure the area and layout your perimeter with a spirit level. Then paint the edges, fill in the middle and you’re done. It’s like Blue Peter but for adults.

It's like Blue Peter but for adults.

5. Patches of Paint

Sometimes it’s as simple as applying a bit of paint. Take a look at @woodpecker.court, for example. Proud homeowner Anne-Marie has added in a V-shape of white paint to a chest of drawers to give it some fancy flare not dissimilar to a new Anthropologie purchase. Half the fun of this is, of course, looking at the before and after pictures – there goes another 2 hours of Instagram scrolling.

Add to your scrolling time with a peek at @interiorantidote. Claire transformed this Ikea Rast chest of drawers (yes, it’s genuinely an Ikea cabinet) with Frenchic paint in hues of Nougat and Scotch Mist, and Make It Yours Rust-oleum metallic spray for the handles.

6. Faux Panelling

It might help to have high ceilings if you’re going to attempt this one, but @negi.at.home reveals how to add some fake panelling to your walls.

First step, buy some wooden sticks. You can opt for some flat strips, or use decorative mouldings for a more traditional touch (like these pine pieces of wood from Wickes). Then pick up your spirit level, and pencil out the areas you want to add the panelling to. Then stick the panels on and paint over. That’s literally it. Now you’re the proud owner of a period property in Kensington & Chelsea… or so it seems.

Now you're the proud owner of a period property in Kensington & Chelsea... or so it seems.

7. Signature Wall

This one’s for a steady hand. Full-time nurse and passionate DIYer, Jaymae has hand-painted an entire wall to dramatic effect. Instead of flicking through the Graham Brown wallpaper catalogue, which is sure to set you back a few quid, you can attempt to paint your own on the cheap.

It sounds difficult, but it’s all in the planning. Grab a ruler and pencil and divide your wall into vertical stripes, add in a herringbone criss-cross along the wall and that’s your base to paint over. Then hand-paint the lines in a muted grey. By doing it free-hand it will add a nice uneven rustic finish – just be sure to pick a small brush so you don’t end up with unsightly blobs in the middle.

8. A Drinks Stand Of Dreams

It may be dry January (seriously, well done if you’ve made it this far), but that shouldn’t stop you from creating a stylish bar cart to hold your litre bottles of spirits.

Over on @littleterraceonvioletstreet, Leanne has transformed an old TV stand into a drinks trolley. She’s added some metal hoops for dramatic effect and installed a wooden pallet shelf to match her dining room table. The latter part involves some serious machinery, but if there’s a will there’s a way.

9. Up-cycle Your Lampshades

Back to @woodpecker.court again, and Anne-Marie has some tips on how to create a chic rustic look for your lampshade… with string. That’s all you need. Isn’t that wonderful? This is like when we used to create toys out of used lollipops. But better. Obviously much better.

Order some jute twine (Anne-Marie bought 108 metres), pop on Netflix and while away an evening wrapping string around your lampshade. Just make sure to glue the ends of the string before you finish.

10. Rustle Up Some Trinket Trays

If these bigger makeovers are making you feel a little sweaty on the palms, then don’t stress: start with something a little smaller. Back at @broadwayhomespace_ the focus has been on trinket trays. Start by finding yourself some oven bake clay (Lauren used white and tan). Roll it out into the shape you want, add some pepper for texture then whack it in the oven for 20 minutes at 135°C.

For the final flourish, add some gold paint to the edges and a few neat squiggles in the centre and there you have it! Plus they double up nicely as gifts.


Want to receive more great articles like this every day: sign up here