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DIY Inspiration

How-to projects, upgrades and repairs for hands-on home improvers from This Old House and Hometalk.

This would be useful for Labor Day gatherings. When the guests start arriving, fold down the cabinet door to create a neat and sturdy work surface. Made of naturally rot-resistant cedar, it also happens to be safe for food handling. | Photo: Laura Moss

The simple lines of a picnic table make this one of the easier projects to build yourself. This one was constructed in oak from plans bought online. And the traditional slatted tabletop was replaced with a solid wood slab better suited to indoor living. Light sanding, two coats of Minwax Wood Finish™ in Red Chestnut and three coats of Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane in satin sheen give the table a clear, durable finish that reflects the sparkling chandelier above. | Photo: Courtesy of Minwax

An 8-foot-wide pine or cedar fence panel set between two 6-foot-high fence posts (available at home centers) creates a dramatic backdrop for a country-style workspace. We added shelving and hooks, and positioned a small armoire and desk in unfinished wood in front. For the rich wood tone shown here, all pieces were stained with two coats of Minwax Gel Stain in Honey Maple followed by two coats of Minwax Helmsman® Spar Urethane in Semi-Gloss, as a protective layer. | Photo: Courtesy of Minwax

Steal a glance as you dash out the door or stash a reminder note with this handy entryway accessory | Photo: Andrew McCaul

The ceilings you can gaze at all day long! Check out 13 ideas>>

"This cabinet sparked an instant idea to create a 1950s martini bar that would make the cast of Mad Men proud!" - Hometalker Meagan. Check it out>>

A display case made by retrofitting a built-in ironing-board cubby with a glass door panel and shelves | Photo: David Penton

You'd be shocked to see what this old, outdated hardwood floor turned into! Check it out:

In less than a weekend, turn your blank ceiling into an architectural showpiece of pressed metal.

White cabinets, pale aqua walls, and horizontal batten detailing give a cave-like space a bright new look. All for about $87!

Pickling, bleaching, whitewash—they're all variations on the theme of treating light-colored woods, usually pine, oak, or ash, to make them appear even lighter, almost ethereal. | A rag and a bit of primer can give plain wood the whitewashed look of driftwood. | Photo: Wendell T. Webber

Turn an empty stair landing into a compact mudroom: Replace open railings with half walls and create a recess for a boot bench. Clad the half walls with beadboard to make them more durable than drywall. Coat them with glossy paint so they are easier to keep clean of scuff marks. | Photo: Tria Giovan

Hanging bed: It's like a porch swing only deeper and easier to stretch out on. Rather than buy a bed swing, available with or without a backrest, make a wood platform for a twin mattress and suspend it with chains. | Photo: Tria Giovan

Use cork-backed click-together squares to lay a floating floor in an endless array of colorful patterns like this eye-catching design | Photo: Ryan Benyi