Whether you’re a DIY novice or already have several projects under your belt, it can sometimes be difficult to gauge what kinds of upgrades you can truly tackle on your own versus those that may require assistance from a professional.
To get the lowdown, we spoke with five avid DIYers who shared their tips on what you should—and shouldn’t—try at home.
Meet the Expert
- Heather Thibodeau is the blogger behind The Heathered Nest.
- Jessie Ruane is an avid DIYer and Instagrammer @JessieFinds.
- Jewel Marlowe is the blogger behind the interior design blog, Jeweled Interiors.
- Stefana Silber is a home blogger at her self-titled blog, Stefana Silber.
- Brittany Bailey is a DIY blogger at Pretty Handy Girl.
Go Ahead and Tackle These Projects Yourself
Update Your Brick
“There are lots of great, inexpensive ways to update brick, including painting it or doing one of my favorite updates, a German smear. Both are very simple once you build up the courage to actually put that first stroke of paint or mortar on your brick.” —Heather Thibodeau, blogger at The Heathered Nest
Revamp Your Headboard
“A DIY headboard is one of the easiest projects I’ve ever done. It's so straightforward. Combine wood, foam, batting, fabric in a sandwich, and staple it all together. I’ve done a bunch of DIYs, and my headboard has been by far my most asked about and recreated.” —Jessie Ruane, Instagrammer at @JessieFinds
Paint the Town
“Nothing is off the table here when it comes to painting. We've even painted hardwood flooring that had seen better days—and we even did it without sanding, which most would consider a big no-no, but we did it and never regretted it for a minute. Got some stairs you don't want to spend a fortune to overhaul? Paint them.” —Heather Thibodeau
Upgrades You Enjoy Making
“I only DIY what I find fun and rewarding. Personally, I enjoy the cosmetic type of DIY projects—think wallpaper, paint, molding, or switching out a chandelier. When it comes to more structural changes, I like to call in the experts. The stress of potentially causing long-term issues with my home makes more challenging projects less enjoyable for me.” —Jewel Marlowe, blogger at Jeweled Interiors
Call in a Pro for These Upgrades
“Don’t attempt involved electrical work for the first time. But, you can definitely change a light fixture after you have watched some YouTube videos and follow safety precautions.” —Stefana Silber, blogger at Stefana Silber
“Once you learn how to do these, it's not insanely difficult, but the problem is if it’s done wrong, you could be causing a lot of expensive damage inside your home because of water issues—or even just poor performance of the window because of a bad install. It’s best to leave windows to the pros.” —Heather Thibodeau
“When it comes to removing walls, widening doorways, or installing a new door or window, you’ll want to check with a structural engineer and hire a framer to support your house structure while removing any structure.” —Brittany Bailey, blogger at Pretty Handy Girl
“There are caveats on this one. Most people can probably learn to replace a toilet without much trouble, it’s really not that hard. Same goes for installing a new sink faucet, as long as you have easy access to the plumbing below the faucet. But, if you’re talking about repairing leaks, changing plumbing, or anything that has to do with plumbing that is difficult to access, I’d steer clear.” —Heather Thibodeau
Siber has some parting words. “When going into a project I’ve never done before, I like to ask myself what the worst-case scenario is and what my recourse would be if it gets to that point,” she adds. “Do I have someone I can ask for advice and is there a professional I can call on to come and help me out if I need it? Am I prepared to cover the cost of that eventuality?”