Interior Designer Anne Tuohy shares inspiration with her Top 10 DIY projects.

Are you feeling a bit ‘meh’ about your home these days? Some very simple updates could be all you need to brighten things up – and you can do them yourself! Here, award-winning Interior Designer Anne Tuohy has 10 project ideas to refresh your rooms.

Upholster a chair

Take an old chair, and strip off the fabric. Keep the upholstery trim and tacks to reposition when you are finished. If you wish to repaint the chair, now is the best time to do it. Using the fabric that you have removed as a template, cut out your new fabric, and position it neatly. Now use a staple gun to fix it in place. Reapply the upholstery trim, and you are finished.

Remember this – If I managed to do this, so can you!

Paint old furniture

The cheapest and easiest way to revamp an old piece of furniture is by painting it. If you need to prime it first, my favourite primers are BIN and Bullseye 123, both made by Zinsser. Then add a coat or two of a satinwood or eggshell paint, you can use a small roller to speed things up. You can add decorative knobs like I did here. These were actually expensive enough, but a little trick is to buy cheap timber knobs, and spray them in silver or gold, or whatever colour you want.

Cover an old lampshade

This is a very easy thing to do. Just cut out some leftover wallpaper or a fabric remnant, and spray mount it in position. Use a scalpel knife to trim the edges, and turn the join to the back.

Paint over ugly tiles.

If you have inherited old fashioned, dated tiles, you can easily transform them with a paint like Ronseal One Coat Tile Paint.

There are plenty of colour options, although I would advise that you stick to neutrals, letting your accessories provide a colour splash.

The paint is waterproof and mould resistant too, so perfect for kitchens and bathrooms.

This is so much easier and cheaper than changing your tiles.

Blackboard / Chalk paint

You can have so much fun with blackboard paint or coloured chalk paint. use it to liven up your kitchen message boards, children’s bedrooms and playrooms, and home offices. You are only limited by your imagination. A little word of caution, I would not use it in an asthmatic child’s room, for very obvious reasons.


Use a stencil to add some interest to a blank wall. It’s a lot cheaper and easier from a DIY perspective. Decals are also a lovely, inexpensive way to dress your walls too. I particularly like the ones with inspirational quotes in lettering.

You can also use stencils to jazz up cushions, trays, coffee tables, or pretty much any flat surfaces.

Transform unattractive picture frames

Give dated old picture frames a new lease of life with a coat or two of paint. This is also a good trick to help unify different frames, when you are grouping pictures together.

Lengthen ready made curtains, the no – sew way

You can often pick up ready made curtains at a very good price. However if your ceilings are high they may not be long enough, and I advise you to always have your curtains at floor length. The look is so much more elegant and luxurious when you do so. Also, you can often pick up a real bargain in shorter length curtains.

If you need to lengthen ready made curtains, you can add some contrasting fabric, as in the photo above. You don’t even need to sew it, just use some Vilene Bondaweb to fix the two fabrics together, and then glue some decorative trim over the join if you wish.

Big mirrors will open up a small space

Never underestimate the power of a large mirror in opening up a small space. This tiny bathroom was transformed with the addition of a huge mirror over the bath. You only had to view the same bathroom in the house next door, which had no mirror, to appreciate the impact it made. When placing such a big mirror in a bathroom, I would place a de-mist mat behind it, to clear any condensation.

Wallpaper canvas art

Create your own inexpensive DIY art, by covering artists canvas with leftover wallpaper. You can attach it with spray mount, or wallpaper adhesive, whichever you prefer. I have changed the direction of the paper to add some extra interest.

No matter how tough your week is…..

Stay positive and never, ever give up!

Stay fabulous,
Anne xxx