Before and After – DIY projects around the house

Some before and after pictures of projects within the garden or around the house. Seeing the results make it all seem worthwhile. They say you should record the outcomes as this motivates you to reach whatever goal you set out to achieve.

Project 1 – Repainting the fence, painting the retainer wall, reconditioning the soil and planting.

Unpainted fence and retainer walls, dead garden bed

Before - In Spring

Fence painted in Dulux Trespass, retainer wall in 1/2 strength porpoise

Shot taken in late Summer

Many people don’t give much thought to colour. As you can see colour makes a huge difference and can enhance how you plants look.

Tip: To take attention away from the fence use a dark colour so you are not drawing attention to it. This also allows your plants to shine and in a small garden the space feels more spacious as your attention is not drawn to the border.

Before - Light colour makes shed stand out.

Attention is taken from shed. Painted the same colour as the fence. Dulux Trepass

After - Shed blends in with background

Before - Colourbond light colour

Before - Attention taken to the fence due to the light colour

After - Fence less noticeable. Attention given to plants

Project 2 – Sourcing and renewing

Last year I was into looking for an old armchair. I love the OLD mix with NEW look and have to say that they do not make furniture they way they use to. Maybe it’s also because I’m getting old and “classic” rather than “funky” is much more appealing. Something that can last for decades and not feel dated in a few years time. A friend I was speaking to knew I was looking and recommended Gamla lan in Waterloo.  The challenge is seeing past the old dated look of the fabric, and to the character and structure of the item. Here is what I found.

1920s Emma Chair

1920s Emma Chair side profile

Tip: If you have 2 chairs and am using the same fabric, mix and match the patterns a bit so that the chairs are similar but not exactly the same. this makes it much more interesting and does not require as much fabric since you do you need to worry about the pattern repeats. Boundary street Rushcutter Bay is filled with fabric stores. Unfortunately most are only open in weekdays.

Project 4 – Staining floorboard

Blackbutt and Jarrah Wood

Stained a Walnut/Black colour

Tip: Stains look different when applied to different woods. To get the black/walnut stain the same on the jarrah and cypress we had to trial a few mixes. We used the floorboard under the fridge as our testing ground. Due to the redness of jarrah more black had to be added.

Important Note: Before you decide to sand and polish jarrah wood – think twice! Jarrah ages over time changing the colour from a mahogany red to a nice caramel brown. Sanding back the wood will get you back to mahogany red. Unless this is what you want OR you will be staining the wood keep this in mind.

Project 5 – Front Garden Bed

Our front garden bed was pretty bare. There was 2 dying gardenia and one of those trees you usually see pruned into a ball. Unfortunately it hasn’t been given TLC and looks a bit scrawny and disproportional. Hence my boyfriend and I decide to remove these sad plants from their misery. I gave the tree to my parent and the gardenia…. well they weren’t looking too good so it got recycled and returned to mother nature into the vegetation bin. Whilst preparing the soil, we realised why the plants struggling. They’ve been competing with our neighbour’s maple tree roots and the soil was very compacted and full of clay.

Tip: In such situations, looks for plants that are either very hardy and can compete with tree roots OR select plants with shallow roots.

Front garden bed with dying gardenia. Pretty bare.

Poor soil. Very compacted with neighbouring tree's roots

After - Oyster Plant, Plectranthus Nico, Liriope Muscari 'Royal purple' in pot, Korean buxus

Tip: Pots in garden bed can add interest and varying height/dimensions.

Project 6 – Lounge Room – Colour and furnishing makes a huge difference!

Another proof that colour and furnishing makes a huge difference. My mum’s old saying is 50% character/substance, the other 50% is how you dress it up. We stained the cypress wooden floor, painted the walls and fireplace and selected furniture that was modern, yet classic.

Before - Previous owner's furnishing. Burgundy creates a "dated" look. Floor and fireplace both had burgundy/red tones.

After - Floor stained walnut black, feature wall is Wattyl 'English castle', other walls are Porter 'Rubble' in Wattyl base, trimming and fireplace is the whitest you can get.

After - ceiling intricacies is emphasised by the dark feature wall.

These samples helped us customise our rug

Mixing with swatches and fabric samples to see which paint colour is the best. We did not go with this combo.


  • Don’t be afraid to use dark colours as long as you complement them with light colours (eg. dark feature wall is complemented with light sofa and chairs, dark floor is complemented with the light rug). I tend to prefer having a monotone colour range as this is more peaceful and the colours you do end up using is emphasised (eg. I used varying tones of brown and creme. The only colours were the green and blue on the chairs).
  • Ensure your rug is generous enough to cater for the sofa and the chairs.
  • When thinking of the whole colour scheme it is important to take into account the overall look. Items should not be selected on how they look individually (eg. the rug we custom made may not be too exciting on it’s own however when placed in the room, the brown border with blue piping matched with both the wall and the chairs. We deliberately selected these colours). It helps to take samples (eg. material of the sofa, wood of floor etc) when you are shopping for furniture or paint colours so you can see how they can complement. My theory is, if 2 people in a room are trying to get attention, this will lead to conflict. It’s the same with interior design. When you select too many ‘feature’ items people get confused and do not know what to look at. Opposites do attract.

Project 7 – Other rooms

Before painting

After Painting - Wattyl 'Wild Yukon'. Darker walls makes the room more intimate and emphasises the lead window and intricate ceilings.


Before painting

After painting - Dulux 'Sea note' in Wattyl base

Before - Dull room, yellow trimming, grey/muddy walls

After - Fresher and brighter colour combinations.

Before painting – Plain white

After - Dulux 'Rattle snake' walls with changed toilet seats

Project 7 – Making the backyard more interesting

Before – Garden bed next to shed
Before – new curved borders and pots

After Shots

Curved border makes the garden less structured creating better flow