Elsie’s Favorite DIY Projects

We’ve lived in our home for more than three years now and I’m happy to finally be able to say that our renovation is totally complete (other than one outdoor project we have planned for 2019). When we first moved in, it was really my first time to fully renovate a home and I was very naive about the timelines, expenses and the overall “blood, sweat and tears” that go into a renovation of this magnitude. It was the learning experience of a lifetime. As soon as it started to wrap up, one part of me immediately wanted to move and start all over on a new renovation (the “blogger” part of me— LOL), but another part of me wanted so badly to stay put and enjoy the home we’ve created for as long as possible.

Well, we have decided to stay put for the foreseeable future, and I can’t tell you how GOOD IT FEELS to be settled and to spend my DIY hours and brainpower on things like cute holiday decor instead of picking out tile and choosing paint colors.

On that note, I thought it would be fun to share my TOP favorite DIY projects we’ve done in our current home.

1. The rainbow library wall. This is definitely one of my all-time favorite projects for so many reasons! It makes the room look WAY bigger (like, whoa, see the before pics here), collecting the books was so much fun (and yes—we use them and read them) and I really feel like this project MADE the room. It was always a great room, but something was missing before these shelves. Oh, and I love how the books look turned around for fall and holiday decor, too.

2. Painting our house white. I looked forward to this SO much and have loved it with zero regrets ever since we had the house painted. It’s truly the best money we spent renovating.

3. Reconfiguring closets and pantries. Yes, yes, yes. This may seem like a small one, but it has made a HUGE difference in our everyday lives. Before moving to this home, I had never really considered it an option to reconfigure a closet or pantry … I just worked with what our home came with. But doing these projects opened up a whole new perspective to me! Now I am all about making little functional tweaks and changes anytime I can.

Here’s my closet, Nova’s closet and our pantry. I wish you could have seen and used the pantry in real life—the difference is incredible!

4. The playhouses. We added an a-frame playhouse and a playset with a swing set and slide last year (right before we adopted Nova). These have both been used so much, treasured, and loved by our family in our first year together. It’s especially fun when kids come over to visit. We have a fairly big yard, but before we had these playhouses it was just kind of a big empty space. It’s so nice to add something that’s fun for kiddos.

5. Projector set up. This is one of our functional DIYs that has been the most loved and done by our readers, which makes me so happy because it really IS the best! Emma even did it too. I get quite a few questions about if it’s clear enough and whether I ever miss having a “real” TV (this is the only “TV” we have in our whole house). We don’t watch much TV during the day—maybe an occasional afternoon episode of Daniel Tiger and for that we pull back the curtains. We don’t have any blinds in this room, but if we added them it could become even darker for daytime viewing. We just don’t feel the need.

The quality is great, and for Nova’s low vision, I think the huge screen is a bonus. She would have to sit really close if we had a normal size TV. We didn’t know about Nova’s special needs when we set this up, we were just lucky!

In conclusion, I would totally do this again if we moved. We don’t miss having a flat screen at all and we LOVE rolling up our screen every morning and having it disappear until we need it again.

6. Bunk beds in kids guest room. Specifically, the full-size bed on the bottom with the twin bed on top. This has been so functional for us and we love it because a lot of times we have two adults staying (who aren’t going to share a room) and it’s nice to have a bed for them to use that’s not a twin. This bunk bed frame is probably the best Amazon find ever. It’s so affordable, really good quality and easy to paint. We actually just repainted it as we’ve been updating this room to make room for our second nursery (I’ll share pics soon).

7. DIY campaign dresser. We LOVE this dresser and I can’t believe how affordable and easy it was to DIY.

8. Cactus wallpaper. This project was time consuming, but super simple, and I’ve loved the result more than any other DIY wallpaper we’ve ever done.

9. DIY fiber art. This is another project that a LOT of readers have made (which is the ultimate validation for a DIY blogger because we want to share projects you will actually do!). It’s time consuming, but super easy and you don’t need any weaving skills.

10. Recolored appliances. Last, but not least, this is one of the projects I’m the most proud of because it took a good amount of problem solving and after a couple years they have held up flawlessly (whew!).

OK! So now I really want to know … what is YOUR favorite project? xx – Elsie

  • I really like the built in bookshelves after entering the living room. Plenty of space for books & even art, photos & ceramic & other decor pieces. That location is a great place for it, & it doesn’t take space away for other items, like lg. floor plants, a desk or other table, or a wall unit for the TV & electronics. I hope to either find this design or be able to replicate this someday.

  • The pictures are capturing the attention and I cannot able to scroll down. The project and innovative notion turned up really well. Each and every object making a deserving place to grab the attention. Even i have planned to make to some changed in my apartment in guduvanchery with the above ideas.

  • Elsie, I love how your favorites go all the range from big projects to super-fun small scale DIYs. Really inspiring to see how small changes can have such a positive impact. Thanks for sharing!

  • I don’t mind revisiting your amazing DIYs and getting inspired all over again!

  • I’m working on #9 right now! It is definitely a labor of love, especially since I just decided I don’t like the color tassels I made….so I need to re-make all of them!!

  • Will you be doing an “after” home your vid ? Loved your before !!!!

  • Beautiful!! I love the library wall!! It’s an awesome utilization of space I haven’t even thought to use before ????. I also really like the a-frame play house. I’m super inspired now!!

  • I love all your projects, almost cannot decide which one I like best! Definitely love the playhouse.

  • I LOVE these projects and am all over that wallpaper DIY approach in my office as a winter to-do! We like projects both big and small in scale, but our built in IKEA wardrobes are still one of our faves…I love waking up to them each morning!

  • I love the playhouse – it’s definitely my favourite DIY of yours, Elsie! I also love the idea of recolouring furniture. Such a simple move, but such a big difference after!! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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