Why I am Post-DIY

Mural, Graham & Brown

The only answer is to BIY not DIY, says Lucy Dunn

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By Lucy Dunn on

While there are many things I love about Easter, there is one thing I’ve come to hate: the DIY advert. Easter Saturday may be one of the biggest home improvement days of the year for retail, but to me, the long weekend-a-thon of cheap laminate flooring deals, two-for-one Crown paint offers and macho, tartan-clad blokes trying to flog us stuff that “Does What It Says On The Tin” is nothing but noise. I like Easter for the opportunity to have four precious (and free) days off, while hopefully enjoying weather that's not too shit. I don’t like being guilted into doing something to my house.

Because there’s always something to be bloody done, isn’t there? And because everyone seems to do DIY at Easter (bar the sensible ones who get the hell out of the country), which makes me feel like I need to be doing it too. Also: I've successfully managed to put the window sills that need repainting out of my head for months, but some guy with a toolbelt on TV has just reminded me that I need to sort them out.

And now, if you believe a press release by Emo Oil heating that dropped in my inbox this week, we should also be rowing about it too. According to a survey they've commissioned about domestic disputes around the home, 22 per cent of all couples “argue over decorating decisions”.

Which means, amongst the hordes flocking to the paint aisles next bank holiday weekend, a quarter of couples will apparently be having some right old barneys. “I hate the Forest Green. It looks like puke. I much prefer Meadow Green. If you want puke green, I may have to leave you.”

I do agree that DIY is one of those things that is a) divisive and b) stressful and c) a complete and utter fag that takes up too much of everyone’s precious free time

Personally, I have never rowed over a paint colour or argued with my husband about decorating, but I do agree that DIY is one of those things that is a) divisive and b) stressful and c) a complete and utter fag that takes up too much of everyone’s precious free time.

It was different #backintheday of course. Back then, in the “heady” days of youth (note cynical use of “””), my husband and I bought our first dilapidated house and would happily spend blissful days stripping wallpaper and knocking down walls. Sure, there were times we disagreed over stuff, but those Saturday mornings in Screwfix weren’t reduce-you-to-tears boring, they were exciting and fun and romantic. God, love was blind.

But that was then and this is now – years on, kids, busy jobs, and a couple more property ruins later, the joy of DIY has worn thin; those chirpy adverts more of an irritant than a possibility. Added to this is the fact that once you've been through the eyewateringly-painful experience of shelling out thousands on a new boiler or windows, you start to realise that choosing paint and fannying around with wallpaper swatches is actually the only nice bit, and you really shouldn't be shouting at each other about that.

It's also exhausting, and messy and expensive, and it’s why In this age of Trump and post-truth politics, I am now declaring myself post-DIY. I am post sanding floors, post wallpaper steamers, post picking paint out of my hair, and I am never going to pick up a paintbrush on a bank holiday again. Instead I’m going to BIY rather than DIY because at the end of the day Buying it Yourself is infinitely more interesting. Choose the right pieces and you can cover up the multitude of niggles, delaying jobs until they really really need doing and you can finally afford to get someone in.

I also hardly need to point out that home shops are a lot more fun-er than DIY superstores too. Plus, if you are planning to have a row with a partner, it might as well be in one of these, rather than on the forest-green-puke-green paint aisle.



If you really can't be faffed to get out the paintbrush then it's all about big posters. They'll cover up a multitude of sins and feel much cooler than fiddly gallery walls. Underwater wall art, £125, Rockett St George.

Prop prints on tables, sideboards and floors rather than spend time hammering nails into walls. Monochrome art print, £38, BronnaghKennedyPrints via Etsy



Hang large pictures and posters on hangers if you're worried about a room looking too student-y. Magnetic poster frames, £22, Conran Shop

These By Wirth wall sticks, Skandivis will frame a picture instantly so you won't have to remember to take it to the framers.


Wall murals and stickers are also a good way to update a room quickly. Etsy has a huge selection. Treetops wall mural, £38 square metre, Happy Wall via Etsy


Pictoral wallpaper in panels will take an afternoon. Library wall mural, £60, Graham & Brown.


Shonky floors? Cover them up with a rug, H&M home is my favourite rug place for good-value rugs. Large jacquard-print rug, £149, H&M Home

Invest in a few different prints, stripes and patterns then layer together across the floor for a patchwork effect. Sonderod rug, £95, Ikea.

I am covering up my window sills with these lovely window boxes until I can face getting someone in to sort them out. Mixed artificial window box, £44.99, Blooming Artificial


If you cannot be faffed with watering then artificial is always the way to go. Artficial geranium window box, £97.50, Evergreen Direct


Tile stickers and floor transfers are great temporary solutions until you save up for new flooring. Floor stickers, HomeArtStickers, £8.18 via Etsy


Mural, Graham & Brown
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