Whether you have just bought a new home or are renting a property on your own for the first time, chances are there will be a few DIY jobs on your to-do list. If you've never got stuck into DIY before, here are a few tips to help you get started.
Know your limits
If you haven't ever attempted anything more complicated than changing a light bulb, start with simple, straightforward tasks and build up to the bigger jobs. You will already know whether you're a practical person who loves problem solving, or someone who needs a step-by-step guide to take you through a project. Choose something you are comfortable with attempting on your own - like assembling a basic item of flat-packed furniture - and go from there.
Don't get carried away, either. Just because your initial projects are successful, it doesn't necessarily mean you're ready to tackle jobs that are a bit more ambitious.
Have the right tools
Having the right equipment to hand for certain DIY jobs is essential. For example, you may think one screwdriver is very much like the next, but you couldn't be more wrong. As well as coming in all manner of sizes, this particular tool is shaped differently depending on the model of screw it is designed to fit, so you have variations such as flat-head, Phillips-head and Frearson-head blades.
Then there are hammers, saws, drills, spirit levels and all manner of other items you may need, depending on the job in hand. Buying all these things can be expensive - especially if you want to go for quality - and if you have yet to work out whether you are a DIY master, it could end up being a waste of money. Hiring a tool set could be the answer, as you'll have all the equipment you need for a few days or a week, giving you plenty of time to decide whether DIY really is for you.
Ask for help
It might sound like cheating to ask someone else to help out with your first forays into DIY, but there's no better way to learn than by being shown by a person who knows what they're doing. By all means have a go on your own first, but if you get really stuck, don't feel as though you're admitting defeat by picking up the phone and getting a handy friend to pop by and give you some pointers.
Along the same lines, make sure you read instructions carefully (if there are any), as failing to do so is a sure-fire way to finish assembling a new table, for example, only to find you inexplicably have extra pieces left over!
Do some research
One of the best things about getting started in DIY is that you're never short of inspiration - or advice. There are hundreds of websites offering tips on everything from how to paint your walls to hanging a door, so see what tips you can pick up from the experts before you get started. Reading blogs is also a good way to learn more about particular DIY projects, as well as some of the problems you can encounter along the way.
The key with any DIY scheme is to know what you're doing from the outset and have a clear idea in your head about how you intend to approach the task. Take advantage of all the resources out there to help you get started and never be afraid to take a step back if things aren't going to plan. Remember, it's always better to call in a professional sooner rather than later if things do go wrong, as not only will the problem be fixed more quickly, but the amount of damage you do will also be minimised.