Home » Home Renovations: The Right Way to DIY

Home Renovations: The Right Way to DIY



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Buying a house is likely to be the largest investment an individual will ever make.  Because of that fact it is wise to continue making regular investments in the home to maintain and grow its value.  A home that is up to date in style and decoration is one that is worth more when the time comes to sell, and in addition it will improve the inhabitants’ quality of accommodation and lifestyle.


There are a number of improvements that can be made to a home, some of which are essential while others may simply boost value or appeal.  Whether a family has just moved in or the occupants want to give an old home a fresh, new look, home improvements don’t have to break the bank.  In fact, there are plenty of things a DIY enthusiast can do easily and quite affordably.


The trick to succeeding at DIY home renovations is to be smart about the project.  All too often, homeowners make the mistake of biting off more than they can chew when it comes to DIY renovations.  In an effort to make the renovations as enhancing and rewarding as possible, keep these simple guidelines in mind:


There are Some Things for Professionals Only


Sure, a DIY home renovation project can be a satisfying experience since it allows the homeowner to make improvements they want to their own liking, on their own schedule, and on budget, however, there are just some things that should be left to the professionals.  What one can do or what to avoid depends primarily on how safe the project is, the cost, and one’s experience.


For most homeowners, plumbing is not their profession so anything beyond unclogging a toilet or fixing a kitchen drain should be saved for the plumber.  Damaging the existing plumbing can lead to expensive repairs and a big mess.  Plumbing that isn’t properly tested can cause water damage that might even lead to health problems such as mildew and mold.


Electrical renovations should also be left to the professionals.  There are so many different electrical codes that even many electricians have a hard time keeping up.  Improperly installed electric fittings can cause a fire and might be dangerous to anyone in the home. An amateur should not attempt installation of electrical wiring.


DIY projects that require professional assistance aren’t only on the inside of the home; inexperienced homeowners should also avoid attempting repairs to a roof.  Aside from being very dangerous to the person climbing on the roof, improperly completed roof renovation projects can compromise the integrity of the building’s waterproofing.


DIY Home Renovations Anyone Can Do


While there are a number of home renovations that only professionals should handle, quite a few exist that almost anyone can do, regardless of experience.  It just takes a little preparation and some research.


Improving the flooring in a home can drastically improve the look, feel, and value of a residence.  Those who prefer carpet can easily pull up and replace it without the help of a professional team.  For homes already fitted with hardwood floors, a simple refinish may do a world of good.  ProSource floors are a great solution for those who want to refurbish their floors on their own.


Painting is another easy yet effective DIY home renovation.  A fresh coat of paint can give any room within the home a whole new look.  However, the key is to be careful with trendy or bright colors: if the house is going on the market, the best bet is to stick with neutrals.


Another way to freshen up the house is to replace the hardware throughout.  Consider modern new doorknobs, updated faucets, and chic handles for the cabinetry.  All of these can be traded out easily and without spending a significant amount of money.


Just remember, one of the biggest mistakes when embarking on a DIY home renovation project is to not have a plan.  Take some time to think about what needs to get done, if a professional is needed to do all or some of the work, and what the budget will be.  Having a solid plan before you start your renovations will help ensure that they bring you just as much enjoyment and financial return as you hope they will.

About today’s author: Dave Stephenson is a dedicated internet blogger that loves to write about lifestyle and the world, covering topics including family, health, and pets, all the way through to technology, media and travel.



  1. Pauline says:

    great tips. We are doing most of the renovation ourselves, or supervising people to do it our way. We learned a lot about electricity, plumbing… mostly for the lack of a nearby professional, sometimes it was scary to think of the potential mistakes we could make.

    • Laurie says:

      I can’t imagine how much money you’ve saved with your DIY stuff, Pauline. And a beautiful home to boot! Your example is the perfect example of the benefits of DIY.

    • Laurie says:

      I agree! We’ve seen those types of injuries personally, so the rule here is pretty much professionals only on the roof. Thanks for the wise advice!

  2. AverageJoe says:

    I agree with the last line of the piece, especially. When I was looking at homes to purchase it became clear quickly that many people had no plan when doing DIY and it didn’t mesh together well.

  3. Jose says:

    I am a DIY aficionado. Luckily, I understand and am comfortable with plumbing and electrical work so have done thos on my own in the past (with a building permit and follow up inspection). But I do know my limits. When I recently did a kitchen, I bought in a framer to install a new load bearing beam since we were taking down 70 percent of a load bearing wall. I didn’t even want to try that!

    • Laurie says:

      I think that’s the important part; knowing your limits. Smart move about the load bearing wall. That could be a scary mistake! 🙂

  4. Great tips! We aren’t very hands on, but have managed to teach ourselves a number of DIY things around the house. It feels good to get something done on your own plus the money savings. Having that plan, as you said is vital, as well as knowing what is beyond your knowledge and should be left to the experts.

    • Laurie says:

      Isn’t it fun to learn those things on your own, John? Rick is fast becoming good at the DIY, out of necessity. It can be stressful sometimes, but he feels great after he’s learned to conquer a new DIY project.

  5. I agree, I think it is important to stick with what you are good at and know when it is time to hire a professional. And yes, painting a room, when done well, can instantly make the room look new and nice again.

  6. I’m always amazed what a little paint will do. It certainly worked well when creating a princess room last week. You can also decorate on the cheap as well. A little chiffon material makes a great canopy. I also use cheap picture frames and characters from old books or gift bags to make wall art. I was watching House Hunters the other night and this couple paid $20K to have a landscaper plant trees and paint a garage basically. You can save so much with a little sweat and elbow grease. It gives you a good feeling too when you did it on your own.

    • Laurie says:

      Love the idea about the canopy! Amazing about the 20k landscaping job. Rick helped a buddy who owned a landscaping company when he was laid off a couple of years ago, and it always amazed me when Rick would tell me how much people were spending on landscaping. Tens of thousands of dollars was normal!

  7. I’m a DIY guy all the way but one thing I don’t do id pretend I’m a tradesman when I’m not. If there is something I can’t do I call in the professionals. I have quite a bit to get done this summer and although I’ll be doing most of the work which I find fun to do I’ll make sure I do it right the first time and save me money and time down the road. Great tips!

  8. Jim says:

    Great Post, I have done lots of DIY, love it, love to watch it on TV. Your points are great, its amazing how much value can be added by just updating the landscaping, paint, and hardware, all pretty inexpensive!

  9. When we moved into our condo I brought in a couple of painters for quotes. It was amazing how much their quotes varied (leading me to the conclusion that A-I’m cheap and B-some of them were trying to rip me off). I ended up buying the paint and doing the work myself. It took about 2 weeks to paint everything (painting after work and weekends), but I saved at least $2000 (depending on which quote I would have used).

    • Laurie says:

      Whew! Glad it worked out ok in the end, Glen. Can you imagine what would’ve happened if you’d attempted it yourself? You used some huge wisdom by calling in the professionals.

  10. I totally agree that some things are just for professionals. We own rental properties and Greg can do some basic plumbing and electrical but we always hire out bigger jobs. It’s not worth getting hurt or electrocuted!

  11. I will try everything once if I have the right tools. Usually I do, so why not give it a go. If it requires specialized tools, then I will pony up the cash for a professional. I love to DIY!

    • Laurie says:

      Rick’s the same way. :-). He’s learned so much in the past decade and a half just because he’s willing to give it a try. I can’t imagine how much more money we would’ve spent if we’d hired out for all those projects!

  12. Laurie says:

    What a great gift to be able to tag along with him! Now, that’s a valuable education! Funny about Home Depot: when our oldest was a toddler, she used to tell people that “my daddy lives at Home Depot”. 🙂

  13. Great point = “some things that should be left to the professionals”. We haven’t done any big home projects in awhile, but we’re not DIYers so we generally use professionals on big projects. It’s only saving money when you know what you’re doing!! For some reason, professionals seem to charge more when they have to clean up your mess. 🙂 And great tip on updating hardware on cabinets. It’s an easy job (yup, we did it ourselves) and makes a huge difference.

    • Laurie says:

      Isn’t it the truth?? And you’re right about the cabinet pulls too: we did ours ourselves too and it was easy and looks great!

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