Rosie the Riveter may not have been talking about home improvement projects when she touted, “We Can Do It!”—but her spirit is certainly palpable in the DIY era.
If you’re reading this story, chances are, you probably already have some projects swirling around your brain. (Blame the #diyhomeimprovement hashtag all over social media.) Don’t let a lack of confidence hold you back. Yes, you are ready to graduate from wall painting and curating a gallery wall. According to our experts, the main components to next-level home improvement projects are patience and the proverb, “Measure twice and cut once.” Your efforts will be rewarded: Not only can you potentially save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, but the pride that comes with it is priceless.
You’ve DIY’d the basics, now it’s time to step it up.
Install ceiling beams
Wood beams can seriously elevate a space, be it a hallway or living room. Turns out you don’t have to be a superhero to work with them, at least not if they come from Barron Designs. The faux beams are a cheeky swap for the real thing. “A ceiling is not a touchable surface,” says Mikel Welch, New York City interior designer and instructor on online-learning platform Skillshare. “When you are not so close, the more expensive and real [the beams] look.” Here, Welch mimicked the vintage teak of a salvaged door turned headboard with Rough Sawn Faux Wood Beams in a Caramel finish that look carved and weathered.
Installation is a cinch. The hardest part is making sure you measure right before cutting the foam with a hacksaw. “Cut them as tight as possible, almost squeezing a bit for a snug fit,” Welch says. Though the beams probably don’t weigh more than 10 pounds, a DIY buddy can help you maneuver and install the beam as you seal in the edge with Dap Alex Plus Paintable Latex Caulk. (Look, Ma, no screws!) Allow each beam to dry for about 20 minutes. It can take about half a day to install beams in a midsized room project. “Unless you can afford to restore or rip beams from an old barn, this will cost you a tenth of what you pay for the real thing,” Welch says, noting that reclaimed wood can run $80 per square foot, whereas the faux bois is around $200 for a 4-inch-by-10-foot beam.
A mudroom nook
The pocket of space by the door is prized territory. Libby Rawes, owner and principal designer of Sharp + Grey Interiors in Philadelphia, who helped a family revive the side entrance in a mudroom, knows this firsthand. “Clutter can have a huge effect on how you live in your home, especially at the door you come in every day,” she says. “Using every inch for thoughtful storage can give a small space lots of hidden organization, so that you feel calm when walking in or out.”