Finally Getting My DIY Done

We moved into our house when I was 38 weeks pregnant so my urge to nest competed with the limitations of my heavily pregnant body. The most urgent work got done and everything else we learnt to live with helped by the distraction of a newborn baby. My newborn is now an energetic 2 year old and I have started to look around my house with fresh eyes. My to do list has grown and I just need to find the motivation, time and money to work through it. 

A mother and daughter in pale blue shirts painting a wall with white paint

While some work will need the help of experts much of it I can do myself, but the days of leisurely wandering around a DIY store deciding what I need to buy are long gone. Shopping trips generally involve grabbing the first item I find before running after my toddler who can’t wait to see what is in the next aisle.

Top of my list for improvements had to be my kitchen wall; it was partially replastered after damp work nearly 2 years and the plaster was still au natural. Painting it even made my top 5 personal goals for 2018 so I knew it would be great to get it done. Next I decided I should tackle the cupboard under our kitchen sink. Everyone has one of these cupboards, it’s the one with all the cleaning products in, the one which my youngest daughter makes a beeline for if left alone in the kitchen and the one which we couldn’t put a safety lock on because it was falling apart. 

Choosing Paint And Making My Kitchen Wall Look Great

In my naivety I thought buying paint would be as simple as choosing the colour I wanted, but it turns out that was the easy bit. I always knew I would go for white because as I approach middle age I have become a big fan of white walls and furniture, besides our kitchen has no windows so we need it to be as light as possible. I soon found out there are approximately 100 million types of paint available, ok that is possibly an exaggeration, but only a very small one. Handily ManoMano has guides written by their advisors to help you choose what you need so I promptly read the Interior wall and ceiling paint buying guide. With a new understanding of everything from alkyd paint to egg shell and VOCs I browsed the selection of more than 1500 products in the ManoMano section called Paint for smooth finishes on floors, walls and ceilings . I decided to go with Polycell Crack Free Ceilings because a review said it worked well on walls and there were cracks in the plaster from when it was drying. 

To go with the paint I got a Stanley Tools decorating Set (which included 2 rollers and trays, 3 paint brushes and a large dust sheet), some masking tape, and some quick drying filler to fill in a few chips on the corner. I wiped the wall down and cleaned the skirting board to remove any dust ready for everything to arrive. Fortunately the wall is normally behind a sofa so it doesn't have to be perfect which gave me the confidence to give it a try. When I was ready to start I got out the dust sheet and attached it to the skirting board with masking tape.

So far I have only applied one layer of paint with the “help” of Little who discovered the smaller roller which came with the set and decided it was the perfect size for her. The paint went on easily and filled most of the cracks, although I did use a brush to apply more to the largest crack. The Crack Free Ceilings Paint provided a good level of cover, but will need another layer to make it perfect I think. I decided just to paint over the plaster and not the rest of the wall in the initial layer as the same wall goes over the top of an arch and along the whole kitchen which was a bigger job than I could do with Little around. The paint is water based so it was easy enough to wash off ourselves and the brushes when fresh. It’s also low in VOC, but we still made sure to air the house well after painting to avoid breathing too much in.

The whole kitchen looks so much fresher now without the brown plaster showing and it makes me smile whenever I go in the kitchen. I love that it was a joint effort with my daughter too. The next bit of painting will need to be the skirting boards because they now look a bit tired next to the fresh wall. I want to avoid  getting paint on the wall when painting the skirting boards though because I don't want to undo our hard work. 

A before and after photograph of a wall with bare plaster at the bottom and all painted white

Fixing Our Kitchen Cupboard

Most of our kitchen cupboards are in an ok condition, but the one under the sink had seen better days. The sides had partially fallen off and one of the doors was falling apart so on several occasions we had opened the door only to find the panel with the handle completely came off in our hands. The biggest problem was this made it impossible to attach any child locks and given the cupboard contains bleach, oven cleaner and other poisons I would love to make it harder for little people to get into it.

I decided to use a combination of wood glue to fix the door and corner brackets to keep the cupboard sides on. I have an electric drill and screwdriver already so it was a fairly quick job (the right machine tools can make all the difference), at least it was quick after I had piled up the contents of what turned out to be a Tardis of a cupboard on the other side of the kitchen. 

I applied the wood glue directly to one side of the panel where it had come away including on the dowel. I then pushed it together and held it for a minute. There is no pressure on the door when not in use so it didn’t need to be clamped together while drying.

Close up of a hand using an electric drill to screw in a corner bracket

Reattaching the sides was harder work. I had to lift up the bottom of the cupboard slightly and push on the side so I could put the bracket in place and mark where the holes needed drilling. I then let the cupboard separate again so I could drill holes slightly narrower that the screws. I’ll be honest I actually tried just to screw them into place first, but despite the screws having a sharp end they struggled to make a hole in the chipboard. There were 4 brackets in the set I bought as well as 16 screws, but I decided only to use half initially. If the cupboard shows any weakness in the future I will add more support, but I think it will be fine now. The final job was tightening the screws on the drawer front so it stayed in place and I was all done. 

The whole project took less time than I would have had to spend going to the DIY store to get the necessary parts. It looks so much smarter now and it’s nice not to have the cupboard fall apart every time I open the door. 

Before and After photographs of a pale wood kitchen cupboard. In the before photo the side is falling off and the door panel is falling off. In the second it is all fixed

Both jobs were pretty simple to do, but I feel so proud when I go in my kitchen and see it all looking good. It’s great to cross two things off my to do list that have needed to be done for such a long time. I rather enjoyed using the electric drill too and I’m wondering what I can do next!

Selection of DIY products from ManoMano including paint tray and rollers, stanley paint brushes, masking tape, crack-free ceiling paint, smooth finish filler, wood clue and screws

***Disclosure: This post is a collaborative post***


  1. I’ve not heard of ManoMano before but it looks great! I’ll show my OH because it will probably become his new favourite x

  2. I've never heard of ManoMano brfore but it sounds really useful!

  3. House looking good! I can't imagine moving house at 38 weeks pregnant, you absolute hero! x

  4. Looking fabulous I need to get motivated and sort my own kitchen out!!

  5. I must admit I haven't heard of Manomano until now, but it sounds great. I moved house at 7 months pregnant and it was a nightmare! I couldn't imagine doing it any later. Well done you!

  6. You've done so very well. We've lived here four years and none of the DIY is done. I have no excuse either as back in the 1990s I was a DIY Manager. A week ago I did build a wardrobe though and in November a 5x5 Kallax, because flatpack I can do. You must be thrilled with yourself and the photos are lush. I love the one on Instagram x

  7. I've not come across Manomano before, but this is exactly what we need. We moved house just over a year ago and are slowly turning it onto a home. The to do list never ends!

  8. I've not heard of this site before. Your kitchen is looking fab.

  9. This has spurred me into action to sort out some DIY jobs around our own home this Easter!

  10. I haven't heard of ManoMano but it sounds like a great idea. Fancy coming to do my DIY?!

    Cat x

  11. I've not heard of ManoMano before, but how handy are they? I'm at that stage of spotting things I want to do around the house, so I will take a look, thanks.

  12. You do look like you are an expert in DIY and a lovely finished effect #TriedTested

  13. I haven't heard of this company before but will check them out. We are renovating and always need supplies!It is satisfying to fix things yourself, you did a great job #triedtested

  14. I love doing a few DIY jobs around the house. It's never ending. My next project for Spring is to turn the shed in to a beach house. #triedtested


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