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DIY This Old House: 12 Projects and 350 How-To Videos

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Are you looking to revive the charm of your old house? Discover the beauty of historic homes with these 12 DIY projects and 350 how-to videos, perfect for DIY this old house enthusiasts. Create stunning focal points, enhance your staircase, and transform ordinary walls into extraordinary works of art. Get ready to breathe new life into your home while preserving its timeless appeal.

Key Takeaways

  • Revive the charm of your old house with DIY projects and 350 how-to videos from This Old House.
  • Create a coffered ceiling, add an ornate newel post to your staircase, transform walls with Lincrusta wainscoting & more.
  • Bring color to cabinets, upgrade window hardware & install a ceiling medallion for extra sophistication!

Reviving the Charm of Your Old House

An old house with plumbing problems

From handrails to radiators, and even floor heating, there’s a wealth of hidden charm waiting to be uncovered in your old house. Watch videos by house general contractor Tom Silva, at This Old House, and learn how to replace rain gutters, dress up an ugly radiator, or even install DIY radiant floor heating. Discover the intricacies of house plumbing and give your home the upgrade it deserves.

Embark on your restoration journey as we delve into the intriguing world of old house crafts, and don’t hesitate to ask this old house general contractor for guidance along the way.

Create a Coffered Ceiling

A coffered ceiling being created in an old house by general contractor Tom Silva

A coffered ceiling can transform any room into an elegant space, adding depth and character to your home. With expert guidance from Tom Silva and Kevin O’Connor, you can create a stunning coffered ceiling using U-shaped beams, cutting down on the work up top.

We will guide you through the process of building a coffered ceiling, from the initial gathering of materials to the application of the final touches.

Materials and Tools Needed

To create a coffered ceiling, you’ll need a few essential materials and tools:

  • Tape measure
  • Painter’s tape
  • Stud finder
  • Drill bit
  • Drill/driver
  • Miter saw
  • Pneumatic nailers
  • Chalk
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Nails
  • Wood filler
  • Wood glue
  • Pocket hole screws
  • Paintable wood filler
  • Spackling compound
  • Crown moldings

Once these items are assembled, the coffered ceiling project can commence.

Step-by-Step Guide

Start by locating and marking the joists on your ceiling using a stud finder. This will help you achieve a coffered look, similar to marking deck joists for outdoor projects.

Next, sketch out your desired coffered ceiling design, taking into consideration the size and style of your room.

Proceed to cut and install the beams. Use a miter saw to cut the beams to the desired length. Then use a nail gun to secure the beams along the marked joists on the ceiling. This Old House videos provide excellent guidance on cutting and placing beams, ensuring a professional and seamless finish.

Best Price Home Improvements

When it comes to enhancing your home, Best Price Home Improvements is your go-to partner for top-quality, affordable solutions. We understand that everyone wants their living space to be a reflection of their unique style and comfort, without breaking the bank. At Best Price Home Improvements, we specialize in delivering cost-effective renovation and improvement services that cater to your budget, without compromising on quality.

Our team of skilled professionals is committed to providing you with the best value for your investment, ensuring that your home improvement dreams become a reality. From kitchen and bathroom upgrades to roofing, flooring, and beyond, we offer a wide range of services tailored to meet your specific needs. With a focus on efficiency and affordability, we aim to exceed your expectations and leave you with a home that not only looks fantastic but also enhances your overall quality of life.

Finishing Touches

A coffered ceiling is a decorative feature that adds elegance to your indoor space, much like a well-designed patio. To complete your project, fill in any gaps between the beams and ceiling with wood filler.

Regular maintenance for your coffered ceiling includes:

  • Checking for signs of damage or wear and tear
  • Cleaning the ceiling regularly to remove dust and dirt
  • Touching up any chipped or peeling paint
  • Inspecting the ceiling for any cracks or structural issues

By taking these steps, you can ensure that your coffered ceiling remains in excellent condition and continues to be a stunning focal point in your home.

Enhance Your Staircase with an Ornate Newel Post

A newel post being installed in a staircase

A grand entrance is an essential element of any charming old house. Enhance your staircase by installing an ornate newel post, adding both style and functionality to your home. With the help of editor Jenn Largesse, you can find the perfect design to complement your house.

This section will guide you on selecting the ideal newel post, how to install it, and ways to preserve its beauty over the years.

Finding the Perfect Newel Post

A newel post is the support that holds up the handrail of a staircase. To find the perfect newel post for your home, consider checking out salvage yards where you can discover unique and ornate newels starting at around $150.

When selecting a newel post, consider its style, size, and compatibility with your staircase and overall home design.

Installation Process

Installing a new post is a straightforward process. Begin by measuring the area and cutting the post to size. Then attach the post to the staircase using a newel mounting plate, double-ended screws, or hex head lag or wood screws.

Ensure that the newel post is securely attached to the floor for stability.

Maintenance Tips

To keep your newel post in excellent condition, regularly check for loose screws and bolts, and make any necessary adjustments. Wiping the post down with a damp cloth will also help maintain its appearance.

With proper care, your new post will remain a beautiful and functional feature in your home.

Transform Your Walls with Lincrusta Wainscoting

A wall being transformed with Lincrusta wainscoting

Lincrusta wainscoting can give your walls a classic and elegant transformation. This durable wall covering, made from linseed oil, is perfect for busy foyers and stairways where style meets functionality.

Let us guide you through measuring, prepping, and installing Lincrusta panels to create a stunning and timeless look for your walls.

Measuring and Prepping the Area

Before installing Lincrusta wainscoting, measure the area where the panels will be placed, taking into account any bumps or imperfections in the wall.

Once you have your measurements, clear the area and clean the walls to ensure a smooth and successful installation.

Installing Lincrusta Panels

Trim your Lincrusta panels and soak them in water for a few minutes before wiping them off. Apply heavy-duty wallpaper paste to the walls, ensuring you use the right adhesive, such as Liquid Nails.

Attach the panels to the walls, pressing them firmly into the adhesive as you work your way down. For additional support, place brads strategically along the panels. Cross-lining non-porous surfaces with lining paper and ready-mixed adhesive will also help achieve perfect adhesion.

Adding Molding for a Finished Look

Complete your Lincrusta wainscoting transformation by adding molding to the edges of the panels. This finishing touch will give your walls a polished and cohesive look, enhancing the overall aesthetic of the room.

Your walls are now transformed into a classic and elegant backdrop for your treasured old house.

Outside Home Improvements

When it comes to enhancing your living space, considering outside home improvements is a wise decision. These improvements encompass a wide range of projects that can significantly enhance the curb appeal, functionality, and overall value of your home. From landscaping and hardscaping to exterior painting and the addition of outdoor amenities, there are countless ways to transform the appearance and utility of your property.

One of the key benefits of investing in outside home improvements is the immediate impact they can have on your home’s aesthetics. Whether you’re updating your garden with colorful flowers and well-manicured lawns or adding a stylish new patio for outdoor gatherings, these improvements not only make your home more inviting but also increase its resale value.

Build a Classic Pier Mirror

A classic pier mirror being built

A classic pier mirror can brighten up your space and add a touch of vintage charm. These tall mirrors, often placed between windows in front parlors, reflect natural light and create an inviting atmosphere.

This section will walk you through the steps of constructing a classic pier mirror, starting with the collection of materials, and concluding with the mirror installation and final touches.

Materials and Tools Needed

Building a pier mirror requires gilt wood for the frame, a mirror, and tools including a miter saw, circular saw, drill, jigsaw, and sandpaper. Having the right materials and tools on hand will make the process easier and more efficient.

Building the Frame

Construct the pier mirror’s back, frame, and bench supports out of 34-inch stain-grade veneer plywood, and use solid stock for decorative moldings, bench seats, and 1x stile-and-rail paneling.

This sturdy and visually appealing frame will provide the perfect foundation for your classic pier mirror.

Installing the Mirror and Finishing Touches

Once your frame is complete, attach the mirror to thin plywood using liquid nails. Then secure the mirror to the frame, ensuring it is level and properly aligned.

Add any desired decorative elements, such as crown molding or paneling, to enhance the mirror’s vintage appeal. Your classic pier mirror is now ready to bring light and charm to your old house.

Secure Stair Runners with Runner Rods

Stair runners being secured with runner rods

Stair runners not only protect your stairs, but also add a touch of style and elegance to your home. Secure your stair runners with runner rods to ensure they stay in place and maintain their polished appearance.

This section will cover the advantages of using runner rods and offer step-by-step instructions for their installation.

Give Doors a Vintage Sparkle

A door with a vintage sparkle

Infuse your doors with vintage charm by replacing metal knobs with salvaged glass ones. The unique and eye-catching design of glass knobs can bring a touch of sparkle to any room in your old house.

This section will provide tips on how to choose and install the ideal glass knobs for your doors.

Install a Faux Gaslight Sconce

A faux gaslight sconce being installed

A faux gaslight sconce can add a touch of old-world charm to any room in your home. These electric fixtures, designed to resemble wall-hung gaslights, provide both style and functionality.

This section will walk you through the steps of choosing and installing a faux gaslight sconce, which will amplify your home’s vintage appeal.

Replace Plastic Switch Plates with Metal Ones

Plastic switch plates being replaced with metal ones

Upgrade your home’s appearance by replacing plastic switch plates with metal ones. This simple change can instantly elevate the look of any room, providing a more refined and polished feel.

This section will provide advice on how to choose and install metal switch plates, thereby facilitating a seamless and elegant transformation.

Add Wooden Interior Shutters

Wooden interior shutters being added to a house

Wooden interior shutters can add a vintage touch to your home while providing light and air control. These functional and stylish window treatments, often made from scrap wood, can enhance the charm of your old house, complementing its existing furniture.

This section will highlight the advantages of wooden interior shutters and offer advice on choosing and fitting the ideal shutters for your home.

Bring Color to Your Cabinets

Cabinets being brought to life with color

Breathe new life into your cabinets with earthy and vintage-inspired paint palettes. A fresh coat of paint can transform your kitchen or bathroom cabinets, adding warmth and character to your old house.

This section will provide recommendations for choosing the ideal paint colors and offer helpful tips to ensure a beautiful and durable finish during the painting process.

Upgrade Window Hardware

Window hardware being upgraded

Add a touch of charm to your windows by upgrading the hardware with Victorian-era embossed latches. These decorative latches not only enhance the appearance of your windows, but also provide added security.

This section will outline the advantages of upgrading window hardware and offer advice on choosing and fitting the ideal latches for your old house.

Are Home Improvements Tax Deductible?

When it comes to the question of are home improvements tax deductible, it’s essential to understand that the tax implications can vary depending on the nature of the improvements and your specific circumstances. In general, most home improvements made for personal reasons, such as upgrading your kitchen or bathroom, are not tax deductible. These expenses are considered part of the cost of homeownership and do not provide any immediate tax benefits.

However, there are some situations in which home improvements can potentially be tax deductible. For instance, if you use a portion of your home for business purposes, you may be eligible for a home office deduction, which can include expenses related to improvements in that specific area. Additionally, certain energy-efficient home improvements may qualify for tax credits, reducing your overall tax liability.

Install a Ceiling Medallion

A step-by-step guide on how to DIY this old house by installing a beautiful ceiling medallion.

A ceiling medallion can create an elegant focal point in any room of your old house. These decorative elements, often placed around light fixtures, add a touch of sophistication and charm to your home.

This section will walk you through the steps of choosing and installing a ceiling medallion to boost your home’s aesthetic appeal.


Reviving the charm of your old house can be a rewarding and transformative experience. With these 12 DIY projects, you’ll be well on your way to creating a home that showcases the beauty of the past while embracing modern functionality. From coffered ceilings to vintage-inspired hardware, the possibilities are endless for restoring your old house’s charm and character.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do homeowners pay for everything on this old house?

Homeowners are responsible for covering the costs of any renovations done to their property, so make sure you have the necessary funds before applying for an episode of the show.

Before you start any renovations, it’s important to do your research and make sure you have a clear plan of action. Consider the cost of materials, labor, and any other expenses that may come up. Make sure you have a budget in place and stick to it.

What is the most popular DIY project?

The most popular DIY project among Americans is painting, followed by replacing shower heads and faucets, installing shelving and storage, and installing curtains.

Who pays for the renovations done by this old house?

When it comes to renovations done by “This Old House,” the homeowners are required to foot the bill. Subsidies may be available from the show, but in general, capital needs to come out of the homeowner’s pocket.

How does this old house pick their projects?

The Old House TV producers look for the most talented professionals across the country, but it’s ultimately the homeowners who get to decide which projects will go ahead.

What type of wood is best for wooden interior shutters?

Cedar, pine, and basswood are all great options for wooden interior shutters, so pick the one that suits your needs best!

Andrea Michelle Hunter
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