One subject this blog has never really covered is the mysterious art of DIY. I’m more of a ASETDI (ask someone else to do to it) frankly and while I have done my share of DIY over the years I’m no expert. I mean I’ve sanded floors and, on one occasion, The Mad Husband and I decided to tile the kitchen after returning from the pub one night … all I’m going to say it that it was a small splashback, the tiles were, fortunately, rustic-shaped with slightly wavy edges and when the plumber turned up the next day he was only speechless for a couple of minutes. So we made the decision that if we were working full time it would be better for our home if we PSETDI (paid someone else to do it).
However, we’re all aware of the cost of living crisis and, leaving money aside, the difficulty of even finding someone to come and do a job this side of the next Jubilee. And yet there are several small jobs that, with the right instructions (not mine clearly) are perfectly possible to DY and which can make a huge difference and bring a lot of satisfaction as well as saving some money. So, throughout June I am going to introduce you to the experts to show you some simple ideas such as recovering a lampshade, painting a window, installing panelling and applying (and crucially removing) tile stickers so you can bring in some small changes that will have a big impact and save you money in the meantime. Do add you own requests in the comments and if I can find the right experts we can continue into July.
First up: PANELLING
Panelling is everywhere at the moment and it’s one of those design elements that is a classic that is having a moment. The key is to choose the right style for your home. If you live in a modern house then sticking Victorian or Georgian panels all over the walls won’t look right. Better to try simple tongue and groove – if you live in the country – it’s a more rustic look, or very simple box panelling if your house is in a more urban setting.
For advice on creating your own panelling I turned to Melanie Lissack, who is so clever at all forms of DIY and whose home has featured on these pages many times before. She also shared a great tip for making this easier and cheaper: one of the (other) side-effects of the cost of living is that the price of timber has shot up making many of these simple jobs even more expensive (all the more reason to try and learn to do some of them ourselves). So for these panels Mel used polymer which is lighter, easier to use and can be glued on rather than using tack nails. Sticking them on also removes one layer of work as the hole where the nails go in has to be filled and sanded before it can be painted.
You can read her instructions in full here but note that you will need either a mitre box and a handsaw (this is to cut the corners so they fit together) or, she suggests, investing in an electric mitre saw.
The reason she chose panelling in this room is that she felt when the walls were painted all in one colour the room felt a little bland, while wallpaper felt too “busy” in what should be a calming space. By choosing panelling, she hit upon a scheme that was subtle but also added interest.
I think it looks great and I could be tempted to have a go myself. What do you think?