With everything going on in the world, most people are stuck at home with little to do — besides watching people work out on their Instagram stories, that is. And though taking the time to binge a show on Netflix, take extended bubble baths, or learn new recipes is definitely worth a try, you can also take on some DIY home projects to fill up your schedule a little bit.
Now don't get me wrong: If you don't want to be productive during these uncertain times, you absolutely don't have to. I'm totally guilty of plopping down in front of the TV with two pints of ice cream and vegging out for a few hours, but I've also really enjoyed using all of this newfound free time to take on projects that make my space a little more cozy.
I've always been pretty crafty and have loved DIY-ing any and all projects that can save me a bit of money (and keep me occupied in the process), so quarantine has actually been a gift of sorts. I have found time to pick up unfinished projects that I started over a year ago, and to take on new things to make my house feel way more homey and personalized. And since I just moved into a new place right before the lockdown started in LA, there's definitely a lot to do.
Below, check out some easy DIY projects for you to try while you're social distancing at home. They're all relatively simple, even if you're not crafty at all, and you'll be able to bring in some new, customized pieces into your home without working out your wallet.
Upcycle A Cheap Bookcase To Make It Match Your Vibes
While woodworking is incredibly intimidating, there are ways to customize your furniture without having to invest in a table saw. Taking an old bookshelf and refurbishing it is super easy and just a few simple steps. All you have to do is take the piece apart, sand down the old finishings, repaint it with your choice of colors, reassemble it, and you're ready to go.
Some pro tips: If it's a bigger item, an electric sander (specifically one with a built-in vacuum) will help the process go by faster, and only get small sample sizes of the paint from Home Depot because you won't need as much as you think you will. Here's a short video that will make it easier to visualize.
Update Your Dresser With Some Wallpaper & New Knobs
Tired of your old bedroom furniture? According to Etsy Trend Expert Dayna Isom Johnson, dressers are actually pretty easy to update with some paint or peel-and-stick wallpaper and new knobs. If you want to paint the entire thing a different color, you can follow the same instructions as the bookcase project above, or pick out a paint that doesn't require sanding or priming.
For the wallpaper update, take off the knobs so the surface is completely flat. Find your wallpaper of choice and simply smooth it onto the surface of each drawer. (Yes, it really is that easy!) Use a spatula to get rid of any bumps and air bubbles, poke holes in the paper where the knob holes are, and find new knobs to update the dresser. Johnson recommends checking out Purdy Goods Shoppe on Etsy for some unique options.
Take a peek at this video from Etsy's YouTube channel for an easy step-by-step of the wallpaper makeover.
Create An Accent Wall With Peel & Stick Wallpaper Or Vinyl Decals
You might not have had the bandwidth to take on a peel-and-stick wallpaper situation before, but now that you're stuck at home for the foreseeable future, it's definitely worth looking into.
Freelance editor and writer Caroline Mullen completed the above project in her NYC dining room and offered a few words of wisdom. "I ordered [this one] on Amazon, but I will say the material was relatively cheap and stretchy, which made it difficult to line the pieces up next to each other," she explains. "Next time, I would splurge for the quality stuff from Chasing Paper. My best tip: Don't get hung up on the little bubbles that form, [because] they can all be popped with a pin afterwards and smoothed right out."
And if you're not up for an entire wallpaper project, try out some vinyl decals like these ones from Etsy instead. These stickers make it easy to create faux terrazzo stone, tropical leaves, and other themes to fit your space.
Macrame Coasters Will Dress Up Any Happy Hour
I'm not going to lie: Coasters are often unattractive decorations, collected from touristy gift shops or stolen from bars over the years and never replaced. But Lee has a little DIY macrame project that makes coasters way more attractive for when you finally get to host a happy hour at your place again.
"Macrame coasters add such a fun, textured, bohemian vibe to any coffee table or conversation nook," she says. "I find macrame projects to be calming and meditative through the repetitive knot patterns — I can let my mind wander while creating something special. Once you get the hang of macrame you're going to want to macrame everything."
To complete the project, you'll need 4-millimeter macrame cord, scissors, measuring tape, and a fine-toothed comb. Take a look at the step-by-step video on Lee's YouTube channel so you can create a few of these at home.
Paint Canvases To Customize Your Gallery Wall
Gallery walls are nothing new when it comes to decor, but how you go about achieving your ideal aesthetic can be easily personalized if you get a little creative. It can be hard — not to mention expensive — to find all of the pieces you need to fill an entire wall full of photos, paintings, or other art that really match the vibe of your room, but if you're handy with a paintbrush, you can just create your own.
The biggest trick for achieving a beautiful gallery wall is making sure everything looks cohesive, but not too cohesive. For example, in the wall above, I kept the color palette consistent throughout (warm neutral and pink tones with pops of orange, yellow, and green), as well as the general themes, like natural elements, abstract shapes, and simple line work. There's enough variance in how each of the pieces look, but you can look at all of them together and see the familial connection.
Spray Paint Geometric Throw Pillows For Your Couch Or Bed
Geometric throw pillows have been on the rise recently, and while you could easily drop upwards of $40 at a home furnishings store for one, you can create a few of your own at home for way cheaper. Mullen recommends this project because it's super easy, even for beginner DIY-ers, and only requires a few materials.
Buy a plain pillowcase and insert from any store to get started. Remove the pillow insert and put a piece of cardboard in the middle to protect the pillowcase. Use painters tape to block out the shapes you want and spray paint the exposed parts with your preferred color. Lift up the tape, and voila! You have a fun, one-of-a-kind pillow that you can add to any room.
Check out Mullen's short TikTok video to see the step-by-step process in action.
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