Something about warm weather just makes you want to dust off your tool box and take care of some projects around the house. But not every upgrade or repair is appropriate for a DIYer — even an experienced one who’s tackled dozens of projects since COVID started.
“When it comes to projects that can be DIY-ed versus left to professionals, the first thing to always question is personal skill,” say the experts at Blackhawk Hardware. “YouTube can be a great place to learn the steps to a project; but if you ever feel unsure and not 100% confident, it’s probably best to leave it to a professional.”
Here’s what we found out from some of our local partners about which projects we should attempt on the weekend (and when to call in a pro).
OK to DIY
These projects may take some time, but they’re all likely fine to take on yourself.
Hang a gallery wall
Add a personal touch to an empty wall with a gallery wall — a collection of framed photos and other pieces that will brighten a room.
“A gallery wall should tell a story as your eye travels from one piece to the next. Whether the storyline is a synchronized color pallet, photography, or wall décor, each item should be thoughtfully chosen,” says Anne Buresh of Anne Buresh Interior Design.
Gallery walls are one of Anne’s signature design touches and unlike a large piece of artwork, they can work for every size, style and budget. Here are Anne’s tips:
- Lay and scale out the entire gallery wall before you start hanging.
- Begin with a larger frame as an “anchor” point on the wall and work outward from there.
- Include different sized frames and textures on the wall to add interest.
- Ensure all gallery wall elements are in sync with one another but stay away from a “matchy-matchy” look where everything matches perfectly.
- Small mirror details are a great way to add interest to a gallery wall.
- Add something personal or meaningful — Anne always incorporates an item from her travels in her gallery walls.
- Mix and match frames, like gold and silver for example
Change out cabinet knobs and pulls
Got a screwdriver? Then you probably have enough to completely change the look of your kitchen or bathroom in just one weekend.
The pros at Blackhawk Hardware say changing out knobs and pulls on cabinets and drawers is a simple, foolproof way to make a big impact.
Some of the current trends for hardware include matte and satin black finishes, latches instead of knobs, mixing and matching knobs and pulls and opting for square bars rather than tubular.
Need more inspo? Head to Blackhawk Hardware where their knowledgeable staff can help you pick the best knobs and pulls for your space.
Convert your recessed “can” lights to LED
While most electrical projects should definitely be left to the pros, some simple swaps are safe to DIY, like changing your recessed lighting (or “can” lights) to an energy-efficient LED kit.
The benefits of LED lighting are numerous: the bulbs last longer (we’re talking years longer), they use less energy and some kits may even look more attractive than the average builder-grade can light.
Most LED conversion kits come with detailed instructions and are fairly simple to install.
Advice from the pros at Blackhawk Hardware: with this (and any DIY project) be as patient and detail-oriented as possible.
Leave it to the pros
Some projects can be difficult, time-consuming and downright dangerous. Here’s what you should leave to the professionals.
Taking down or opening a wall
“As fun as taking a sledgehammer to your wall may be, you need to know what is behind the wall,” says Jodi Brickley, General Manager of Andrew Roby‘s Roby Handyman. “There could be electrical wires, HVAC equipment or plumbing running through the wall. There are so many unknowns with this type of project that hiring a professional is highly recommended.”
Jodi says the amount of planning, caution, and care that a professional would take on this type of project would be well worth the cost.
“They may even let you sling the hammer when it is time!” she says.
When it comes to painting we all know there are two types of people: the ones who don their paint-covered overalls, grab a brush and get to work, and the ones who have their professional painter on speed dial.
Similarly, our experts were split on this topic. The pros from Blackhawk Hardware said painting walls and trim is a great project to DIY because you can typically fix your mistakes.
But the experts at Andrew Roby offered the caveat that professional painters will take time for proper setup, furniture covering and painter’s tape application.
“Professional painters are able to paint corner to corner on a wall in the same timeframe a DIYer would tape or spot-paint a small patch,” Jodi says.
The pros can also help you choose the right paint type and sheen.
“If you have young children that love to touch everything, using the right type of paint will make all the difference,” Jodi says.
Our verdict? It all depends how willing you are to get your hands (and your clothes) dirty.
Swapping out light fixtures
This may sound easy, but there are lots of small problems that might come up once you’re on the ladder.
“If the new base is slightly smaller than the old base, drywall repairs and paint will be needed. And if the new fixture is heavier than the old fixture, you will need blocking to support the weight or the fixture will shift, slip or fall,” Jodi says. “It may take five trips to (the hardware store) to find the correct length screws to find the right fit.”
If you want to skip the drama, call a handyman who specializes in fixture installation from the start.
Makeover for closet, attic or other small space
If you’re trying to turn a small space into something functional for your family, consider contacting a professional like Closets By Design.
Custom built-ins, whether in the living room, closet or another nook of the house, offer a huge return on investment when it’s time to sell.
Need another place for guests to sleep? A Murphy Bed is a great option but it’s not something you can easily DIY. Professionals can help figure out the perfect way to camouflage the bed into your decor.
What are some of your favorite projects to DIY and what have you left to the pros? Tell us in the comments!
Blackhawk Hardware has been a family-owned and “mismanaged” hardware store in Charlotte’s Park Road Shopping Center since 1977. Blackhawk is known for its wide array of housewares, lawn and garden supplies, hardware, seasonal merchandise, paint, electric and plumbing products. Recently completing a two-story expansion to offer even more products, Blackhawk Hardware is a one-stop-shop for customers looking for unique items and essentials for their home and garden needs.
Phone: 704-525-2682 | Get Social: Instagram
Anne Buresh Interior Design is an award-winning, full- service interior design firm that brings a passion for defining her clients’ unique tastes to every project and transform homes into beautiful sanctuaries.
Phone:704-241-7072 | Email: [email protected] | Get Social: Instagram
Closets by Design’s goal is to bring organization and peace of mind to people’s lives. In addition to customized closets, their experienced designers excel in providing creative solutions in limited or awkward spaces such as Murphy beds, window seats, attic spaces and more.