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Quarantine DIY Home Projects – 10 Part Series

As many of us find ourselves quarantined during the Coronavirus pandemic, we’re all spending way more time staring at the same four walls we call our home. Whether you’re working from home, furloughed or laid off, this situation probably has you thinking “What cheap DIY home projects can I do while I’m quarantined?”

Man doing DIY during quarantine
Photo by Bidvine on Pexels.com

If money isn’t tight yet, you’re probably worried about it becoming tight in the future with record numbers of unemployment in many countries. Now probably isn’t the time to splurge $30,000 on that brand new kitchen you’ve been dreaming of.

There’s also the aspect of safety. Having multiple contractors in to your home means potentially more germs exposed to you and your family. So now is a good time to start learning some DIY skills yourself.

With all these challenges, you’re probably wondering what you can do for just a few $100 and basic DIY skills to make your house feel more like ‘home’. Luckily there are plenty of projects that you can tackle yourself with just basic DIY skills and some small change.

If this sounds like you, subscribe to my blog to receive 10 weeks of easy and affordable home projects, with a different theme each week. There should be plenty of ideas to keep you busy during quarantine, and as a bonus you’ll come out of it with better DIY skills and a refreshed home!

Here’s what you’ll get:

  • Week 1: Create a home office
  • Week 2: Create a home gym
  • Week 3: Paint transformations
  • Week 4: Cheap and easy feature walls
  • Week 5: Furniture makeovers
  • Week 6: Create an outdoor room
  • Week 7: Bedroom mini-makeover
  • Week 8: Rearrange your furniture
  • Week 9: De-clutter and re-style
  • Week 10: Kitchen mini-makeover

Happy DIY-ing!

Jo @britflipper

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Step by Step Guide To Plan a Home Gym

I’ve definitely learned from my Interior Design diploma, that a good design starts with thorough planning. Our home gym makeover was no exception. In this blog I’ll give you a step by step guide to plan your own home gym.

Step 1: Take Measurements

First start by taking all the measurements of the room. This is so you can accurately map out a 2D and 3D plan of your finished room.

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Before

Step 2: Evaluate Likes and Dislikes

Next I took note of what I liked about the room currently and what I disliked. The room felt cold and stark because of the white walls and off-white sheet vinyl floor. The spotlights made the low ceiling feel lower. However I did like the huge mirror wall on the back wall, this was perfect for a gym.

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Step 3: Think About How You’ll Use the Room

Next think about how you would use the room. We wanted two treadmills with a TV, because we both like to workout at the same time (and a TV keeps our minds off the workout!) We wanted a frame for pull-ups and banded work, and I really wanted a quiet comfortable space to do yoga. We also needed some form of storage to store all our equipment.

Step 4: Map Out the New Space

Once you know how you want to use the space, and what gym equipment you want to include, map it out as a 2D sketch, and ideally 3D to visualize how it’ll look. I like to use either Floorplanner or Planner 5D to do my designs. They’re both reasonably priced, have plenty of stock furniture choices, and with Planner 5D you can even change the color of the furniture. However, mapping out the room on a piece of paper is also fine.5f77a2ca498ad8ef0d332d4a4bdd19e3503ca285

Luckily everything we wanted to use the room for fitted perfectly. With the frame nicely tucked away in the corner, and a mini yoga studio in front of the mirror wall. I zoned the space for the yoga studio, so it didn’t feel like part of the bigger room, by painting a blue accent stripe, and following that color through with the rug and the storage unit on the opposite side. This created the illusion of a separate zoned area which was different to the rest of the gym.

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Step 5: Choose Colors

I decided to add accents of red to the room to really make it ‘pop’. It’s a contrasting color to the blues, and something that we had dotted around the room anyway through the equipment we have.

TIP: Always try to repeat a color throughout the room to tie it together better.

Our home gym is in a basement and only has one small window for natural light, so I kept the flooring light to keep the room bright. However I made the walls slightly darker than what they were using a soft cream to make the room feel cozier and warmer but still bright.

Step 6: Think About Lighting

After tackling the natural light issue with floor and wall colors, we then thought about artificial light. Think about how you will use the space and how that translates to the lighting you’ll need in the room. We wanted to use the space for cardio and weights workouts, but also as a yoga studio. We replaced the strip lights for new recessed can spotlights on a dimmer. This made the ceilings feel taller and added controllable lighting for added functionality as both a workout space, and relaxing yoga studio.

I hope you enjoyed reading this step by step guide on how to plan a home gym. To see the full before and after photos read my blog on the grand reveal.

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After – I added a picture ledge at the bottom of the wall to rest my tablet on to follow my yoga videos.

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HOME GYM (2)

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Thanks for reading!

Jo @britflipper

How to Create a Home Office for Under $500

This week’s theme has been all about home offices. Something many of us need right now is a healthy, happy space to work from home in. In this post I’ll show you how to create a home office space for under $500!

Spare bedroom before the home office makeover

We’re lucky to already have a home office, but since the Coronavirus lockdown both me and my husband have been working from home. Usually one of us will work on the kitchen island, which is fine for a day or two, but for a long period of time it just doesn’t work. I created a makeshift temporary home office in our downstairs bedroom / TV room for a while. But eventually we bit the bullet and decided to convert a spare bedroom into a multi-purpose bedroom / home office space, and here’s the result.

Multi-purpose bedroom / home office

Given that we weren’t sure how long we’d need a second home office, we didn’t want to spend a fortune doing it. So I’ll share my 3 top tips on how to create a home office for less than $500.

Tip 1: Recycle What You Already Have

We already had a spare desk stored in our basement from IKEA. It was pretty old and battered up, and the black didn’t really work with the light and airy look I was going for, so I sprayed the legs white. I used Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover Semi Gloss Spray Paint in White. I used about 2 cans on these legs to get a nice solid finish over the black. It cost me about $8 to complete this makeover.

Desk legs being sprayed white

Tip 2: Shop on Facebook Marketplace

We decided that a daybed would be the ideal solution to a multi-purpose bedroom / home office, as it takes up less room when folded away, but can open up to a full sized bed when needed. I loved the IKEA Hemnes daybed, but at $599 it was beyond our budget for this particular makeover. So I scoured Facebook Marketplace (you can also use other reseller websites like eBay or Craigslist) for a second-hand one. Second-hand they tend to sell for anywhere from $150-$300 depending on the condition. I managed to find one in great condition with one mattress for just $150! Remember no contact pick-up and wipe down with disinfectant afterwards.

We also managed to get a cane chair for $40. I’ve loved cane chairs for ages, and when I saw this one I couldn’t resist! I have zero upholstery skills, and right now I don’t even have a sewing machine. So this one with off-white cushion appealed to me as I could re-use the seat cushion without added expense of getting it reupholstered.

However after washing the cushion, and painting the chair, the cushion color just didn’t work. So I decided to find someone that could make me a new seat cushion cover. All in, the chair cost $110 – $40 for the chair, $20 for the fabric and $50 to get the chair cushion made. A little more than I wanted to pay, but it turned out so well I think it’s worth it. Stay tuned for a full step by step post on how to makeover your own cane chair in the coming weeks.

Tip 3: Get Your Paint Roller Out

Originally I wanted to do a whitewashed wood feature wall, similar to our master bedroom. But when I priced it up, it was going to cost around $400. So I searched for ideas for cheap feature walls and found ideas that cost nothing more than a bit a tape, paint and time.

You don’t need any artistic skills to do this easy DIY feature wall, you just use the painters tape to map out the trunks and branches. I’d recommend stepping back and looking at it from further away before you commit to painting, so you’re 100% happy with how it’ll look. I’d also recommend doing a few trunks at a time and peeling the tape off, as the tape makes the trunks look like they’ll be a lot thicker than they actually are, so evaluate them before doing more. I’ll be posting a full step by step guide on how to achieve this look in the coming weeks.

If you don’t want a birch tree mural, you could just paint a wall a different color to add some interest. Or try painting bold stripes using a level and painters tape, like this stunning design by LollyJane.com

Grey and white painted feature wall by LollyJane.com

I also decided to change the wood windows and trim for white to give it a more modern and fresh feel. I’ll be talking more about paint transformations in week 3 of the 10 week quarantine DIY home projects.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these three tips for creating a home office for under $500. You really don’t need a huge budget to create a nice room. You need to be savvy and roll your sleeves up! Happy decorating!

Thanks for reading!

Jo @britflipper

The Best Home Office Desks Under $1000

I’ve scoured the internet for what I think are the best home office desks under $1000 available online now. So what’s stopping you from graduating away from the kitchen table? Or even, ironing board!?

Under $250

The IKEA Finnvard / Linnmon is a versatile and affordable option for under $250 at just $129.99. You can mix and match your choice of table top and legs. The legs come in white or birch options, and the table tops come in multiple different color combinations and sizes. You can even choose a flat or tilted table top which is good for either laptops or drawing.

IKEA LINNMON / FINNVARD Table

The Nova Contemporary Industrial Computer Desk available at Walmart is a sophisticated option for under $250 at just $218.66. It’s clean lines, yet rustic feel are perfect to add a touch of class to any home office.

For something a little more glam, the Kason Desk by Joss & Main at $216.99 is a great affordable option in chrome and weathered grey manufactured wood.

Kason Desk

Under $500

The Mong Credenza desk from Wayfair is a stunning mix of rustic and modern for just over $250 at $259.99. Available in brown, taupe or grey wood.

Mong Credenza desk

The Driftwood and Gold Metal Cristela Desk by World Market is a vintage modern looking desk with gold legs and a driftwood grey finished wood top. It wouldn’t look out of place in a bedroom or living room, if you don’t have the benefit of a separate office space. Available for $399.99.

The Aldwin Home Office Lift Top Desk by Ashley Homestore is an aesthetically pleasing desk and practical all for under $500! At $349.99 the lift top design extends the desk surface to 41.5″ high, giving you the flexibility to sit or stand.

Under $1000

The Camden Writing Desk available at Target is a more refined architectural drawing style desk. With adjustable height from 28-38″, this sturdy desk made of pine solid wood and veneers will surely stand the test of time.

Camden Writing Desk - Distressed Brown  - Treasure Trove - image 1 of 4

The Morris 60″ Desk by Crate & Barrel is a beautiful pinewood desk made from reclaimed pallets. Available at $799 in Ash Grey or Chocolate Brown, it’s a great option for an authentic vintage look.

Morris 60" Chocolate Brown Desk | Decorist

The Printmaker’s 48″ Desk by Restoration Hardware is great for small spaces. Available in two finishes: Espresso Pine and Antiques Pine, this piece is crafted from distressed solid pine. With the RH Membership the desk just makes it into the best desks for under $1000 at $918.

Printmaker's 48" Desk

I hope you enjoyed reading this round up of the best home office desks under $1000. From rustic to modern and everything in between, there’s something here to please everyone. Thanks for reading!

Jo @britflipper

(Prices correct as at 10/5/20.)

5 Tips for Creating an Effective Work From Home Space

During the global pandemic, those of us who are fortunate enough to work from home have been thrust into a new situation that we now call our ‘new normal’. While many of us probably worked from home occasionally, we likely didn’t work from home full-time, while trying to home school kids and concentrate over our partner’s continuous teleconferences. With the ‘new normal’ likely here to stay for the foreseeable future, it’s time to create an effective work from home space with actual furniture! Here are my tips to create an effective space without breaking the budget.

Get the Right Furniture

I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories of people working from their sofas, kitchen islands and even ironing boards! While this may work temporarily, it’s not good for the long term. Slouching, hunching over or laying down to work can play havoc on your body. It’s important to have the correct position when working at a desk. This diagram below from the Mayo Clinic shows the correct position for optimal ergonomics while working at a desk.

Office ergonomics: Your how-to guide - Mayo Clinic
Image courtesy of Mayo Clinic

Noise

Ideally you should position your home office away from sources of noise and distraction. So if your kids are yelling and screaming in the living room all day, or your partner is talking loudly on teleconferences for 7 of the 8 hours, try to find a space away from these noise sources, ideally with a door that you can close.

While blocking out distracting noises, try to invite in welcoming noises that aid concentration, such as birds singing, or the wind gently rustling through the leaves. You can do this by positioning your home office by an open door or window, or better still in a garden room like this one by Backyard Room.

Wooden garden office
Image courtesy of Backyard Room

Light

Having the right amount of natural light is also important in creating an effective home office working environment. It’s also good for your overall health. This is one of the main reasons I enjoy working from home so much. In the office I have very little natural light, and I find it really drags my mood down and make me tired. At home I’ve positioned my desk in a room with plenty of natural light from large windows, which really lifts my mood.

However, you can have too much of a good thing. If your desk either faces a window or has a window behind it, you may find that at certain times of the day you may not be able to see your computer screen. If you can’t position your desk where the light doesn’t impact it, make sure to have blinds or curtains that you can close while the sun is affecting your view.

Image courtesy of Open Sourced Workplace

Organization

Have you ever heard the phrase “A cluttered space makes a cluttered mind?” Having good organization and storage solutions for your home office is not just important to help you find things more easily, but it can also help your mental health. Having a disorganized, cluttered environment can cause poor food choices, less effective thinking and generally poor mental health. So at the very least, clear the clutter off your work area, and ideally invest in a few simple storage solutions. Wall shelves, desk caddies, filing cabinets, or rolling carts can all help to clear up the clutter. Try IKEA for great cheap storage solutions.

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A tidy office with an affordable storage solution. Image courtesy of Gina Rachelle Design.

Make it inviting

Just because your home office should be practical, doesn’t mean it has to be ugly. Don’t forget to add some accessories or artwork to make it more inviting, and feel more like home. After all it is a ‘home’ office. Here are some of my favorite desk and home office accessories that are practical and also stylish.

  1. Codify Pencil Holder by Anthropologie, $48
  2. UBrands 150ct Wooden Push Pins with Jar available at Target, $5.49
  3. Marble And Gold Metal Maxwell Letter Holder by World Market, $24.99
  4. Lund London Nordic Modular Stacking Boxes Set of 3 available at The Container Store, $27.99 each
  5. Apothecary Black Wood Drawers by Kate & Laurel available at The Home Depot, $36.99
  6. Drona storage box by IKEA, $3.99
  7. Bigso Linen Marten Paper Drawers by The Container Store, $19.99
  8. White Marble Mix & Match Wall Shelves by World Market are available in 2ft or 3ft sizes, shelf brackets sold separately, $39.99-$59.99

I hope that with these tips you can set up an inviting, stylish and effective work from home space. Stay tuned for more posts this week on the theme of the home office.

Don’t forget to subscribe to stay up to date with these quarantine DIY home projects.

Thanks for reading,

Jo @britflipper