Do it yourself home renovation. What does it mean and how to do it?

When it comes to “renovating the house” today it is often confused between the various ideas that this word (“renew” in fact) means.

It is a complex topic, but in this article we will try to make it fast and usable to those who have decided to try their hand at this operation.

Renovation can be understood as the classic renovation, but in reality they are two very different things.

The renovation of a house takes place through a real modification of structural elements, such as the addition or elimination of walls, the modification or updating of electrical and plumbing systems or the addition of additional systems to improve the efficiency of your own. dwelling. A renovation is often carried out with the help of specialized technicians, from the surveyor to the architect who develop the project from start to finish and rely on professionals in the sector who carry out and certify the various works. It is no coincidence that the restructuring also offers benefits of a fiscal nature, with deductions and incentives that are paid in the form of savings on personal taxes. There are also greater incentives such as that of 110%, specific only for certain types of renovations such as energy improvement or anti-seismic interventions that allow you to sell your tax credit and obtain even greater benefits.

In short, the renovation of a house involves a series of bureaucratic procedures, important costs and times that on average are around weeks or months.

On the other hand, when you decide to renew, we often talk about “do-it-yourself” interventions, without the need to request specific authorizations and with much shorter times.

If you want to opt for this solution you must understand that whatever you do you must not put your hand either to the systems (electrical or plumbing for example) or to the partitions (walls and other partitions) since these are operations to be entrusted only to professionals.

Here is a list of operations suitable for the “do it yourself” renovation:

  • internal whitening
  • change of household appliances (excluding those that involve changes to the systems)
  • change of furniture
  • replacements of internal doors and windows
  • replacement of chandeliers (excluding those that require changes to existing systems)
  • change of sofas, armchairs or seats in general
  • change of floors or walls.
  • adding paintings or prints to the walls
  • adding decorative elements

These listed are the main actions to be taken to change the appearance of the house without upsetting it.

House whitening is undoubtedly one of those actions that bring the greatest impact. It is an easy operation, not excessively expensive in terms of money but which involves a good amount of patience, especially if you have to cover the existing furniture and apply the paper tape everywhere .. these are the most boring things but they save you when the job is finished and avoid spending hours cleaning everything that the color has dirtied .. and believe us that if you are not a professional you will dirty .. Today, thanks to the help of specialized companies, it is possible to obtain any type of shade of your favorite color and using suitable tools you can have fresh and current walls in a short time. Another advantage of whitewashing the house is that in addition to the new color, the paint also has a sanitizing effect.


Another operation to change the appearance of the house, in particular the kitchen, is the change of appliances. Often it is done because the existing ones are starting to have problems or because you decide to renovate everything else and those old appliances clash with everything else. There are all types and for all budgets, lately the “connected” ones are the most requested because they can be managed via your smartphone and can even communicate with each other, they can recommend recipes in the case of ovens, they can do your shopping in the case of refrigerators and can be switched on and off with a remote or voice command as in the case of washing machines or dishwashers. By now almost all modern appliances are in class A or higher and guarantee low consumption and high level performance. Of course, if you are looking for high-end products, be prepared to put your hand in your wallet. Generally a good appliance ranges from 500 to 1000 €, these are the average figures for good quality products.

One of the things that transforms your home the most is undoubtedly the change of furniture. Replacing the furniture changes the look of any room and reflects the style of those who live there. Of course, the replacement is done when a wardrobe or a cupboard breaks or is no longer enough for the objects to be stored is useful, but much more often we resort to replacing the furniture even if these have not lost their functionality. Renewing furniture with replacement has several aspects to consider. Disassembly, transport to the garage (but often directly to the landfill), the choice of new furniture by calculating all the measurements, not just the expense for the purchase, the transport to the house and last but not least the assembly.

These are factors to consider if you think that about 50% of the furniture changed in your home is still fully functional !!

Why do you change the furniture? Often they are changed because the color or shape does not satisfy the fashions of the moment and does not reflect the taste of those who live in that environment. But not many know that there are alternatives to replacing their furniture.

The first alternative is the color change through paints. There are the classic colors for wood, both water-based and solvent-based impregnating agents which, given to several coats, change the color of the furniture and give it new life. Lately the soft colors, pastel colors and pinstripe colors are very popular. However, painting has less sympathetic sides. The result is not always as expected, many times in fact it is necessary to sand the old paint to make the new one adhere and at least two coats of color are needed to obtain acceptable results. Often the color “drips” and these imperfections remain when the work is finished. There is a risk of dirtying the surrounding environment and also from a cost point of view some paints have significant prices.

The second alternative for renovating home furniture is to use adhesive films. There are many variations, from solid colors to material films with wood effect that not only can be seen, but also felt to the touch! They have a surface with a roughness that changes according to the models and that makes the surface completely similar to the real material, whether it is a wood effect texture, a metallic effect or a concrete effect. They are applied without dirtying and with a little manual skills you can get surprising results. The adhesive films completely change the look of the furniture, just a little imagination. They are affordable and with the help of the many tutorials available it is easy to transform anything you want.

Another part of the house that can change appearance is that of the windows. In this case we are talking about internal doors and windows. Normally they are interior doors that together with the skirting boards create a significant detail inside the house. Replacing a door might seem a complex operation but, if you have good dexterity and some valid tools, you can do it without major problems. Of course, a door (which has no parts worn out by some infiltration) is unlikely to lose its functionality. It is almost always changed for an aesthetic question and when you aim for good quality windows, it must be considered that the investment becomes expensive. High-end doors can cost well over 500/600 € and for this reason we often look for doors and windows in DIY stores that offer solutions at lower prices but frankly it is not clear what is inside, if it is more the cardboard or wood .. generally a good interior door costs around € 200-300 and if you start calculating the number of doors in the house, the final figure affects the final budget for a renovation. Also in this case it is possible to opt for the replacement by repainting the doors or using the adhesive films for interiors and change the appearance in a short time and quickly. The handle is also a component not to be overlooked.

In addition to the doors, you should normally also change the color of the architraves (the frames around the doors) and the skirting boards to make everything as homogeneous as possible.

Lighting is another of the pieces that will change the look of the house. Here it is difficult to renovate a chandelier, but in some cases you can decide to make a DIY lamp using simple materials such as wood and paper and with the help of some tutorials available online you can create real illuminating works of art. . Of course, if you are not a DIY lover, you should go to specialized shops. You can decide to change the style of the lights depending on the environment but generally we tend to uniform the shapes and colors throughout the house so as not to weigh down too much. The larger the room, the larger the chandelier can be. It is useless to insert a large chandelier if the room is very small, it clashes with the whole and costs you a lot of money. Oh yes .. lighting is a sector that has significant costs, there are chandeliers for well over € 1000 if you aim for exclusive brands, but there are lesser known brands that offer good quality products at attractive prices.

Replacing the sofa is another of the choices you make if you want to modernize your home. Depending on your style, you can find modern or classic sofas. The choice of the sofa to buy depends a lot on its functionality (whether classic sofa or sofa bed) and depending on the space (2 seats, 3 seats, with peninsula). The upholstery plays an important role in its cost as a real leather sofa can cost twice as much as a fabric sofa. A fabric that has made a strong comeback in recent years and is trendy when combined with retro styles reminiscent of the 60s / 70s. The price of an average sofa is around € 1000, you will find cheaper solutions if you decide to buy a sofa in department stores or furniture chains but you know that you pay for quality even in these cases. Don’t expect to have a great sofa that will last for 20 years on a budget. Rather, if you don’t want to spend too much and your sofa is still in good condition, you can use a new upholstery. It is not necessary to buy those hideous Chinese-made coverings for a few euros that often make the eyes shiver .. you can think of having a tailor-made cover made by an upholsterer using quality materials. Sure, it probably costs you like a discount sofa, but even in this case the purpose is to safeguard an item that would otherwise be thrown away. In this way, you will have saved money compared to buying an average sofa but above all you will have saved it from the landfill.

A separate theme would have to be done for the floors and walls. There are many types, in most cases it is necessary to contact professionals in the sector because the laying of a new floor is a complex and delicate operation. It involves removing the existing flooring and in some cases if it is an old house it is almost always necessary to intervene on the screed to level the imperfections. It is an important choice that involves high costs and it can be said that in these cases we are talking about restructuring. However, there is the possibility of applying new floors on existing ones without having to remove anything. We are talking about floors with a minimum thickness, about 3 / 5mm such as laminates, PVC floors and linoleum. Excluding the latter for an aesthetic reason (normally they are used in public environments such as hospitals, gyms, kindergartens, etc.) those in laminate and PVC are the most used.

Of course, it is not an operation to improvise .. even if it is adhesive PVC floors, if you make a mistake with the cuts you risk making real disasters .. if you are not practical or do not have good dexterity we suggest you rely on a professional. The costs of these materials are quite low, buying from DIY chains you pay around € 10/20 per square meter. At this cost, however, the installation that normally costs around € 15/20 per square meter must be added. Obviously, prices go up if you decide to switch to high-end floors or walls. These have prices that are around € 30/40 per square meter but which can also reach over € 100 per square meter if you choose a real solid wood floor or a tile with exclusive details.

It is important to know immediately if you want to intervene in an important way by changing everything or if you just want to refresh the environment because this decision affects the total budget of the work to be carried out. An alternative, if it comes to updating the color of the tiles (not the floors) of the kitchen or bathroom, could also be the use of pre-cut adhesive films that are applied directly on the existing tiles. In this way, whether it is a small bathroom or a back of the kitchen, it is possible to change color at a low cost and with no discomfort due to breakage or removal.

Once the main parts of the house have been renovated, the details remain. This category includes those elements that have only an aesthetic purpose. Like paintings for example. Whether they are author’s or simple prints, they manage to give the right touch of color and make each room unique. They reflect the character of those who live in that house and there are many variations .. classic style, modern style, paintings with images of landscapes, abstracts, photographs, in color or in black and white. It is good to adapt the styles and colors according to everything around. When a piece of furniture is important it is a good idea to choose a more subdued painting while when an environment is minimal it could be a good choice to insert a very lively element to “detach” and give more personality. Of course they are almost always subjective decisions, writing suggestions is practically impossible, but we advise you to understand from the beginning the style you want to maintain because in this way all the works follow a single thread and once you have chosen which paintings to insert you will not remain displaced. Costs range from a few euros for prints purchased in shopping centers, up to thousands of euros for author prints. To you the choice..

The last item is dedicated to all the other decorative elements .. ornaments, vases, clocks, plants and everything that enriches every room of the house. This item could be chosen at the end of the work because they are not always necessary elements and in some cases they are the ones that can change the overall appearance .. if you understand that a room remains a bit too “anonymous” then these elements are those who could revive everything. This is why we suggest not to choose them until after all the main works have been completed.

As you can see when it comes to “Home renovation” the items to consider, costs and times are very important. We can often be able to do many jobs ourselves, just a little manual skills. In some cases we can opt to change the appearance of furniture or objects without having to change them as in the case of paints or adhesive films.

In any case, when we get to the end, the satisfaction, the compliments and that sense of knowing that you have done something with your own hands also overcomes the obstacles that are discovered along the way. And perhaps this is what drives many people to opt for DIY.

We hope these little tips and tricks have been helpful to you! See you next article!

01/07/2021 - Articles

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