Simple home improvement ideas to keep you busy during lockdown

When you spend more time at home, there’s a chance that the little bits that need fixing seem big and the paint on the wall feels stale. Here’s what you can do to fix that over the next few weeks: 

The next 48 hours

The closure of hardware superstores at the start of the first lockdown caught many would-be DIY-ers by surprise. But you won’t have to make do, redecorating the spare room in whatever leftover paint is in the loft, this time. Hardware shops are likely to stay open, so there is no rush to get decorating materials in before Thursday. However, be aware that paint companies struggled to meet demand first time round, when sales were up over 300 per cent on last year – so it might be worth getting your order in soonish.

One of the most transformative things you can do in a room, particularly during the winter months, is to get your lighting right. Although tradespeople will be allowed to enter your home during lockdown, there’s plenty you can do without having to call in an electrician, such as fitting dimmer switches, and ordering colour-changing light bulbs that allow you to transition from a bright light during the day to a warm glow in the evening. Buying table lamps to create pools of light in the corners of a room, rather than relying on overhead pendant lights or spotlights, also helps to create a cosy ambience.

Changing your accessories can also make a room feel completely different: buy sheepskins or blankets to cover armchairs, or try swapping in a few new cushion covers for a change of scene (H&M has a great range in lots of colours and patterns, from £2.99).

The next four weeks

With any luck, this lockdown will be shorter than the last one, so don’t be too ambitious with planning any decorating or DIY projects that you won’t get around to completing.

Painting is one of the cheapest ways to transform a room and you don’t need to cover all four walls: adding a mural or updating a piece of furniture will add impact and might only require a tester pot or two. For inspiration, take to Instagram and follow interiors bloggers Lisa Dawson, Melanie Lissack and Bianca Hall, all of whom have plenty of ideas for painting tricks, decor hacks and styling (and helpfully post tips and how-to videos). Check out influencer Lily Pebbles too, who recently posted a video showing how she painted a simple arch mural in the corner of her office – a neat trick for pepping up an uninspiring home workspace.

Painting a chair – or, perhaps, garden furniture, in readiness for when outdoor entertaining is back on – is another project that you can do in a day (if you’re one of the thousands who have bought up garden gazebos over the past few months, you could use it to set up a dedicated alfresco painting station). Farrow & Ball’s colour curator Joa Studholme suggests painting wooden indoor dining chairs the same colour as the walls for a sophisticated effect, or trying a bold colour on just the legs of your chairs or table. As she points out, strong colours are easier to live with when they are below the eyeline.

Finally, now is the time to organise a thorough clean of your home, whether you’re embarking on it yourself or booking a cleaner (also currently still permitted). Don’t forget your windows: making sure they are sparkling clean on the inside as well as the outside will help to maximise what natural light there is over the coming weeks, and cheer up your view of the outside world.

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