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7 DIY Home Improvement Projects To Tackle Over A Long Weekend

By Rachel Wallace

A long weekend is looming and it’s tempting to put your feet up for an indulgent break. Why not take the time instead to give your house a little glow up or get cracking on that pesky repair you’ve been putting off?

If you’re at a loss about where to start, these projects should give you inspiration. They’re within reach of the average handyperson, can be easily achieved in a few days and will make a big difference to your home’s look and liveability.

Paint a room

Liam Clark from Tint Paint explains that for a quick paint job, it’s best to focus on a small, contained space and to buddy up. “Teamwork is key,” he says. “If you have one person ‘cut in’ (see below) while the other person rolls, you’ll get the job done twice as fast.”

Tools and supplies:

For a standard bedroom, you’ll need up to four litres of paint with a low-sheen, low-odour and low-VOC formulation. Plus sugar soap (to prep walls), paint brushes, rollers and an extension pole.

Here’s how:

Clean walls and fill any holes. Apply masking tape around skirting boards, ceilings and door frames for protection. “Cut in” first with a brush by painting around edges and corners that are too tight for rollers. Before fully dry, use rollers to fill in walls in a “V” shape pattern, using the extension pole to help. Apply a second coat after two hours and remove your tape within half an hour of your last coat for a lovely crisp edge.

“Bedrooms are allowed to reflect your personality and style more than communal spaces. Don’t be afraid to be bold with your favourite colours where you might not dare elsewhere,” Clark says.

Replace handles on kitchen or bathroom cabinets

One small change can make a big impact.

Installing a new set of hardware for your kitchen or bathroom cabinets is a classic low-effort, high-impact home improvement job you can perform in a few hours.

Bunnings Workshop DIY expert Mitch Mclean suggests that, “When updating your handles, similar-sized replacements that use existing screw holes are best. Although holes can always be moved and filled with putty, the process will add time and cost.”

Tools and supplies:

Phillips-head screwdriver, power drill and handles.

Here’s how:

Remove old handles with a drill or screwdriver. Once you’ve checked that your new handles align with existing holes, simply screw them in.

Consider functionality like ergonomics and ease of cleaning and don’t let aesthetics alone guide the handles you choose.

Create a mudroom or entry storage space

All you need is some sturdy hooks and baskets to turn your entryway into an organised hub.

Mud rooms are having a moment and, if you have a few hours to spare, creating one is easy, says home organisation and spatial planning expert Sally Hart. “They’re buffer zones between the outdoors and the rest of the home. They provide storage and also a place to charge devices,” she adds. “If you don’t have a dedicated room, a hallway or other nook works just as well.”

What you’ll need:

You can buy purpose-built units but a basic mudroom requires only shelving, a series of hooks and possibly a seat or bench. You can also use vertical wall-mounted shoe holders to save space. Don’t forget to choose easy-cleaning materials to make dirt, dampness and mould easier to deal with.

Here’s how:

Make a plan for allocating shoes, jackets, hats, umbrellas, school and shopping bags to your shelves and hooks. Install per instructions making sure to stagger them to make the most of wall height and width.

Hart advises to “Choose larger, sturdier hooks to ensure they’ll hold the weight of coats and jackets.”

Organise the laundry

Rods, hooks and hampers will minimise clutter.

According to Hart, optimising the space in your laundry is a great job to tackle in a limited amount of time. “Some well-placed hooks, rods and hampers can cut through the clutter and make all the difference,” she says. Count on an hour of planning time and two to four hours work time.

Tools and supplies:

Purchase hooks, a rod or rail and a simple floating shelf unit from your local hardware store. Invest in multiple hampers to separate whites, colours and particularly dirty items.

Here’s how:

Do a stock take of your laundry essentials. Work out what doesn’t fit in cupboards and install a row of hooks and/or shelves to get as many items off the floor and benchtops as possible. Clothes drying racks, hampers, brooms and ironing boards can all be hung on sturdy wall-mounted hooks. Smaller items like cleaning products, pegs and tools can be placed on shelves.

A rod or rail on the wall or over the sink can be a great place to air or dry clothes.

Declutter the garage

Get your tools off the ground, organised, and in sight.

Hart recommends you set aside at least four hours for planning and reorganising your garage depending on the extent of your equipment and tools.

Tools and supplies:

Either free-standing or wall-mounted shelves that will fit the available space. Plastic containers for small items.

Here’s how:

Aim to get everything off the floor and to label all shelves and containers. Group objects by size or purpose and put the largest ones furthest from door openings and access points. Small tools and supplies are most visible between 1 and 1.8-metres high. Make sure mould-prone objects are somewhere well ventilated.

As an alternative (or an addition) to shelves and containers, try a peg or shadow board to hang your most used tools and supplies.

Refresh and reseal the deck

Do a water-bead test to see if your deck needs re-oiling.

According to Mclean, “With regular maintenance resealing a deck is a simple process anyone can do, requiring just a thorough clean and yearly re-oil. In the long term, an annual re-oiling is a much less time-consuming process than sanding back and restoring a deck that has been neglected.”

Tools and supplies:

Deck cleaning product, stiff-bristled brush, woodcare brush and decking oil. A specialised decking oil will protect your timber from weathering, UV damage and decay. It also nourishes the wood and brings out its natural grain.

Here’s how:

Apply deck cleaning product with a stiff-bristled brush, scrub the deck thoroughly, leave for 20 minutes and rinse off with a hose. Use a woodcare brush to apply the first coat of stain to the edges and along the gaps between boards. Allow it to dry fully before applying two coats of decking oil to the entire upper surface of the boards.

If you’re unsure whether your deck is due for a reseal, do a water-bead test: apply a few drops of water to your decking boards and if they’re readily absorbed, it’s time for a re-oil.

Redesign your living space

Could an unused guest bedroom be better utilised?

According to Hart, “A well organised home involves having a helicopter view of what goes on in each room and adapting the space accordingly. A long weekend could be the perfect time to make a logical assessment of where things are and if they could be relocated for better flow, aesthetics and ergonomics.”

Here’s how:

Make a room-by-room inventory, being realistic about which activities occur in each space. Consider if storage is being used for its best purpose. Has a space become redundant? For example, could the guest room be better used as a home office? Is there a cupboard full of hobby or sport equipment or linen that’s never used? Set a specific time frame for decluttering, relocating and reorganising items over the next few months.


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