10 DIY Projects to Add Character to Your Home

Almost two months have passed since I last shared an update on the house renovation, but to say that I am eager for the process to be over isn't entirely true.

Right about now you may be thinking that I have completely and irreversibly lost my mind.

You just may be right, but allow me to explain.

The thought of having to choose from limitless options of room styles, paint colors, furniture, etc. is a bit daunting, to say the least. I can pin ideas all day, every day, but just thinking that I will soon have to make final decisions fills me with so much anxiety that the only plausible solution is to pin more ideas. (You see where I'm going with this?) One day I'm admiring midcentury modern living rooms, the next – I'm dreaming of industrial chic. One day I'm researching farmhouse-style decor, the next – it's contemporary glam. And don't even get me started on colors and textures and finishes and features – or the dreaded "b" word (budgets)!

Yet at the same time, I am frustrated at how slow the renovation process sometimes feels. Despite spending every free minute working on the house and even hiring help, the progress of the last two months isn't something to take a "before" and "after" photo of. The inability to document the progress is what, I think, frustrates me the most, because it tends to feel like not much is being done.

So as much as I wish I could show you more progress photos, today's post is another roundup of projects – DIY projects, to be exact, that will help add character to your home. I figure with all of my recent anxiety, I may as well try a somewhat backward approach to discovering my decorating style. Instead of immediately choosing the style of each room, I'm hoping to make a list of defining characteristics of each room and base the rest of the decor around that one main feature.

Why DIY, you ask?

If you've ever renovated, you know that any sort of personalization can eat away at the budget in a flash, which is why most starter homes all look identical. So my attempt to customize a cookie-cutter home is through lots and lots of DIY projects.

DIY Barn Door 

A sliding barn door not only adds rustic glam character, it's also a great option if you're low on space.

The master bedroom in our bungalow is a bit narrow, so to make up for this, I hope to install a barn door on the wall leading to the master bathroom and closet. I just love the hotel-like vibe it gives off and think it will add the perfect dose of visual interest to our master suite.


DIY Privacy Wall 

Several of you have already asked me why I keep referring to the house as "the bungalow." Well, for starters, a bungalow is a type of a house characterized by its simple, boxy shape and one-story floor plan. When we first bought the house, I wasn't too thrilled with its simple shape, but the more we work on it, the more I realize that its simple shape is exactly what allows us to experiment with a more contemporary house design.

A great way to modernize a bungalow – and to add privacy in the process – is to build an exterior privacy wall, sometimes referred to as a screen or even a fence. Because our front yard is so close to a rather busy road, I hope to do just that, possibly connecting it to a side deck in the future.



DIY Textured Statement Wall 

A quick and budget-friendly way to add visual interest to any room is with a textured statement wall. Sure, wallpaper is also a fun option, but nothing beats a 3D texture that brings the room to life. I'm hoping to purchase 3D wall panels and install them in our master bedroom, on the wall behind the bed. From mirrors to textured wallpaper to crown molding and so on and so forth – there are a million and one ideas to choose from if you're looking to add a DIY statement wall.


DIY Tufted Headboard 

Nothing says "master retreat" quite like a velvet headboard – especially one in a luxurious color like dove grey – infinitely better than a typical, store-bought headboard – or, in our current case, no headboard at all! With a statement piece like this one, it's easy to choose the rest of the room decor to fit around the sophisticated theme.


DIY Built-ins 

Built-in bookshelves go hand-in-hand with beautiful crown molding – both of which are typically found in older homes. Unfortunately, it wasn't the case for our bungalow, where anything of any value had long been taken in the 20 years it has stood abandoned. Any sort of built-in – whether a bookcase or a nook in the bathroom – is a great way to add character to your space in that it allows you to customize space to how you use it. 


DIY Living Wall or Vertical Garden 

You already know my love of a beautiful outdoor living space, as evidenced by an earlier post. Dedicating time and resources towards customizing your outdoor space is a great way to not only add character, but also increase the value of your house. And I can't say enough about the importance of having a cozy space for entertaining! 


DIY Etched Mirror 

The minute I laid my eyes on this mirror, I was in love. The hefty size, the opulent frame, the dreamy French quote all speak to my love for all things pretty. Mirrors in general are a great way to decorate, especially if your space is small. Of course, if you were to purchase a custom mirror straight from the store, you could spend hundreds, if not thousands, on it. That is why the DIY option is far more appealing. I personally plan to either order a custom vinyl inscription of a Bible verse and apply it, or hand letter the verse myself. 


DIY Panelled Furniture 

Long gone are the days of boring, boxy furniture! With brands like O'verlay, you can personalize practically any piece of furniture to look like it was custom-made just for you. 

As much as I wish otherwise, I know it won't be possible to purchase all new furniture for our new home, so I'm excited at the possibility of updating our current bedroom suite with overlay panels like these. With a few stops at IKEA and this new overlay craze, there's no reason why you can't design something one-of-a-kind and budget-friendly.


DIY Fireplace Mantel 

Is it any wonder that one of my favorite features of our bungalow is the standalone fireplace, which you can see in an earlier post. It's not the most appealing thing in its current state, that's for sure, so I've got to figure out how to improve it on a budget. A fireplace mantel is a wonderful way to add character to the space – especially if you make it yourself. I can already imagine hanging the stockings on it next holiday season!


DIY Marbled Art 

The minute I saw this piece of marbled art in Aimee Song's apartment, I knew I had to have one. If you've ever stepped foot in our house, you know I'm all about DIY art – not only for the personalization element (literally one-of-a-kind piece) but also because have you seen the prices of art lately?!


What do you think? Do any of these DIY projects look attainable and, most importantly, worth the effort? 

Whether you're currently renting or you own your own place, what are some ways you've chosen to add character to your home? I'm always on the lookout for fun ideas, so please share yours; who knows, you just may see it come to life in the next installment of progress photos!

P.S. Feel free to browse the Home Renovation articles to catch up on our bungalow remodeling progress.



  1. Pingback: 12 Tips for Buying IKEA Kitchen Cabinets

  2. I love these ideas! I don’t currently own a home – I rent an apartment unit – but these are really creative and fun! Definitely going to pin these myself :p thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Ellen, Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your thoughts! I do agree on these projects being a bit optimistic – even for someone not living in a student house… :) I suspect that in my excitement over the renovation, I am a bit delusional in what I can and cannot actually accomplish… But right now everything seems attainable! We shall see… :)

      But the marble art is totally doable – even for a student house! Keep me in the loop if you do decide to attempt it! I would love to see the end results! XO

  3. This post is perfect! I recently moved into my own place and it’s hard to find cute decor that won’t break the bank. These DIYs are going to be so fun to do! I really love plants and mirrors, so I’ll have to figure out how to incorporate that into my space.

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