6 advanced home improvement projects you can actually do yourself

Rosie the Riveter might not have been talking about DIY projects when she announced, “We Can Do It!” — but her spirit is certainly palpable in the DIY era.

If you’re reading this story, you probably already have a few projects in mind. (Blame the hashtag #diyhomeimprovement all over social media.) Don’t let a lack of confidence hold you back. Yes, you are ready to complete mural painting and curate a gallery wall. According to our experts, patience and the adage “measure twice, cut once” are the key components to next-level home improvement projects. 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 done the basics yourself, now it’s time to improve them.

Install ceiling joists

Wooden beams can seriously enhance a space, be it a hallway or a living room. Turns out you don’t have to be a superhero to work with them, at least not when they’re from Barron Designs. The faux beams are a cheeky swap for the real thing. “A ceiling is not a touchable surface,” says Mikel Welch, a New York-based interior designer and lecturer at online learning platform Skillshare. “If you’re not so close, all the more expensive and real [the beams] Here, Welch imitated the vintage teak of a salvaged inverted headboard with rough-sawn caramel-finish faux wood beams that look carved and weathered.

Installation is a breeze. The hardest part is making sure you measure with a hacksaw right before you cut the foam. “Cut them as tight as possible and almost pinch them a little bit so they’re snug,” says Welch. Although the joists are unlikely to weigh more than 10 pounds, a handyman can help you maneuver and install the joist while you seal the edge with Dap Alex Plus Paintable Latex Caulk. (Look Ma, no screws!) Let each beam dry for about 20 minutes. It can take about half a day to install joists in a medium sized room project. “If you can’t afford to restore or rip down beams from an old barn, it’ll cost you a tenth of what you pay for the original,” says Welch, noting that reclaimed lumber is $80 per square foot while the faux bois is around $200 for a 4-inch by 10-foot beam.

A mudroom corner

The space next to the door is coveted territory. Libby Rawes, owner and lead designer at Sharp + Gray Interiors in Philadelphia, who helped a family revitalize the side entry in a mudroom, knows this firsthand. “Clutter can have a huge impact on how you live in your home, especially the door you walk in every day,” she says. “Using every inch of thoughtful storage can add a lot of hidden organization to a small space, making it easy to get in and out of the car.”


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