I’m an interiors expert – here are 9 classic DIY mistakes that make your home look cheap

FROM sprucing up your living room with a lick of fresh paint to retiling the bathroom – we all do DIY with the aim of making our home look more luxurious.

However, sometimes our efforts can backfire and do more harm than good, which is obviously the last thing you want after working so hard to improve your property.

Here interior design expert and home stylist Georgina Burnett, who has featured on This Morning and vlogs for The Home Genie, reveals the common DIY errors you're making that could actually cheapen your home.

Failing to prepare

As the old saying goes – failing to prepare is preparing to fail, and this is particularly true when it comes to DIY tasks.

Georgina says: "There is a YouTube video out there on just about any DIY task, so there is no excuse for jumping in without the know-how. 

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"Additionally, skipping the prep part of a job will ensure that the result is rubbish.

"It’s usually the most boring and lengthy bit of any home improvement project, but giving it the time it needs will pay dividends.

"For example, if you’re painting anything, you usually want to have sanded and filled beforehand.

"Otherwise the lumps and bumps will look like your surfaces have cellulite."

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No spark

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Cables. trailing wires and plugs everywhere can leave your house looking messy and clutteredCredit: Getty

Some jobs should always be left to the experts, and that includes electrical work.

This is for safety reasons, but messy exposed wires and cables can also ruin your aesthetic, too.

Georgina says: "Wires hanging out where they shouldn’t, sockets and switches hanging off walls – these are not just dangerous but will make the place look cheap and nasty.

"It can also bring down the value of your home when you come to sell.

"Cover up any wires on show which can really catch the eye for all the wrong reasons.

"Attach wires to the wall with discreet fixings and then paint the wires the same as the background to camouflage them.

"If they trail along the floor you can tuck them in under the carpet along the edge, or use painted kitchen roll tubes to hide a collection of wires."

Dodgy paint jobs

Georgina says: "Decorating is something I’d always say you could have a stab at but you need the right tools.

"You get what you pay for, so trying to save money on cheap brushes, rollers and even paint will lead to tacky décor.

"Ask an expert for advice on the best paint and corresponding tools for the job, and I’d always opt for trade paint – you’ll need fewer coats and it will give you a longer lasting finish."

One of the worst things you can do is to rush your colour choice.

Georgina adds: "Often the sample cards are slightly different to the actual colour, so you can’t just stick these on the wall and hope for the best.

"When you take home sample pots, paint them onto large pieces of lining paper and hang them around the room with masking tape.

"Look at these in all lights – it’s amazing how your perception of the colour will alter at different times of day."

Even if you have all the gear, you still need to put the effort in if you want a pro finish.

Georgina says: "Just slapping a load of paint on the walls and hoping for the best won’t work.

"You need to ‘cut in’ the paint with a brush around the edges, feathering so you don’t get a solid line on the inside.

"Then fill in the rest with a roller in the shape of a ‘W’ to prevent the tell-tale stripes of an amateur. 

"If you don’t have sharp lines, the room will look shabby, so invest in high quality masking tape."

Sort out those scuffs

Once you’ve painted, it’s not going to stay pristine for long – especially if you have a young family.

Georgina says: "It’s worth using a durable or scuff-resistant paint in the first place so you can just wipe away any marks.

"Whatever paint you use, always save some in a clean jam jar to do any necessary touch-ups along the way.

"If it was brushed on originally use a brush, or a mini roller if it was rollered, otherwise you will get a patchy finish."

Wonky fittings

Attention to detail is a must to achieve that luxury feel, and that includes ensuring everything is perfectly in place.

Georgina says: "Invest in a spirit level to get your curtain rails, pictures and mirrors straight.

"You can also use masking tape to line up corresponding marks before drilling.

"If everything is to stay put, you need to use the appropriate fixings, particularly when screwing into plasterboard."

Lay the flooring foundations

It's one of the most hard-working aspects of your home, so it's vital to get your flooring fitting perfectly – shoddy edges are a big no-no.

Georgina says: "When laying laminate, make sure you have decent underlay and cutting tools.

"Don’t rush the measuring and cutting of these boards, as rough edges will always look… well, rough!

"Always start at the furthest point of the room and work towards the door. 

"The same goes for carpet – the underlay is the key to making it look and feel plush.

"Lay the underlay down so it slightly overlaps the tack strips and then cut as close as you can to the inside edge.

"Staple it down in places to prevent any sliding, and tape any joins.

"Cut your carpet about six inches bigger than the room and lay it down on top so it can settle.

"It’s best to get a carpet fitting kit which will cost you under £50."

Cutting edge

Carpenters always make this job look easy, but if you think you can have a go at a wooden worktop yourself, you might want to think again.

Georgina says: "It’s not just the skills you need, but the tools as well, although these can be hired if you want to give it a go.

"Mis-measuring is one of the biggest mistakes people make so measure twice and cut once.

"Don’t forget to sand edges if you don’t want it to look cheap."

Coming up short

Decent curtains can be expensive, but get them wrong and the whole room will look low budget.

Georgina says: "To get the luxurious look, they need to be lined, filled and hems need to be straight.

"The last thing you want is curtains that are too short which look like trousers that have shrunk.

"Just remember the width of the curtain needs to be at least double the width of the window for them to gather, otherwise they will look skimpy."

Terrible tiling

Tiling is not as easy as a lot of people think, so if you’re doing it yourself, avoid these common mistakes.

Georgina says: "If you’re a novice then don’t go for glass mosaic tiles, which are some of the hardest to cut and fit.

"Instead, go for larger porcelain varieties, if these are appropriate for the area.

"Always order at least 10 per cent more tiles than you think you will need, to allow for miscuts or breakages.

"It’s crucial to lay the tiles out so you can see how it’s going to look – particularly if there is a pattern.

"Prepare the surface so it is totally smooth and flat and make sure you have the appropriate adhesive.

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"Another common mistake is not to remove excess adhesive and grout as you go, which you can do with a wet cloth.

"Use spacers to make sure the tiles are evenly spaced, and keep checking the positioning so you can adjust before the adhesive has set." 

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