My 10 All-Time Favorite DIY Projects

Remember back in 2009, when I decided that I was the kind of person who should write a website about cooking, DIY, and home decor, and that it should be called “Domestic Bliss”?

Yeah, I have no idea what I was thinking either – other than, perhaps, “fake it ’til you make it” – because for the first few years, “faking it” is exactly what I did. At the time, my idea of a homemade meal was store-bought pasta with jarred tomato sauce (to which I’d added onions and mushrooms – you know, to make it fancy), and was wildly impressed with myself for completing “DIYs” such as…swapping out drawer pulls. Putting up a sticker decal was a feat worthy of a full video tutorial (OMG WE WERE BABIES), and I thought that my idea of using teacups to serve soup during parties was the height of inspired entertaining.

I still think that serving soup in teacups is pretty neat, but a lot has changed since the halcyon days of wallpaper-wrapped lampshades and green chalkboard refrigerators. I’m still no Ty Pennington, but after renovating two homes and working on a home construction and design show, I now know about 20,000 times more than I ever thought I’d know about all things DIY. Below are ten of my all-time favorite projects, all of which I promise you are more than capable of taking on yourself.

Related Read: How To Renovate Your House (Without Having Loads Of Extra Cash Laying Around)


Mortar Wash (Or "German Smear")

To me, “German Smear” sounded like a porn that I didn’t want to see (or maybe that I really, really did, depending on my mood and whether I’d eaten recently). Or maybe an extremely delicious sandwich. But probably not something I’d want to have happen to my house.

Turns out a German Smear is sort of a whitewashing/distressing combination approach to making over ugly brick. And the results were insane. 


Faux Reclaimed Barn Wood (With Paint!)

From far away, there is no way you’d be able to tell that this is hand-painted wood, as opposed to the authentic reclaimed stuff.

Even close up: you can’t tell.

I’m obsessed.


Yarn-Wrapped Lucky Horseshoe

As crafts go, these are super easy (once you get your hands on a horseshoe, which actually aren’t all that hard to find – try Etsy or Amazon), really inexpensive, and make for the sweetest handmade housewarming gift I can personally think of.


Bathroom Tile Refresh...With Paint!

I’d basically put my plan to retile our hideous master bathroom on the back-burner, but when my friend Elise came over to help me paint the walls, I mentioned my ugly shower tiles and she said, “Oh, you can just paint over those!” Apparently she’d had the same dark and 70s-ish grout situation in her own foyer, and to spruce it up she had used…

Ba da daaaa…..



Mason Jar Hanging Planter

Even if you’re an apartment-dweller with no nearby grass or yard or outdoor space to plant in, no fear: you too can have fresh herbs at your fingertips.


Side Yard Makeover

It turns out that side yards can be incredibly useful storage spaces, as opposed to wastelands of “shit you don’t know where else to put” – you just have to make them so.


Spectacularly Cool-Looking Wine Chiller

I couldn’t believe how easy this was, or how pretty the finished product looked (trust, I was not anticipating success when I started this little project).


Full Bathroom Renovation...For Less Than $700

I know: This doesn’t sound possible. So let me walk you through what we did.


Wood Furniture Refresh

Have outdoor furniture?

Have weather?

You need this tutorial.


All the Fancy Cakes

Omg so many cakes. So much fanciness.

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