Are DIY shutters really DIY?

I’ve always loved the look of plantation shutters, there’s something so sophisticated about them, yet they are also casual and classic. They complement nearly every home style and are very practical.

I knew I wanted shutters in my office space for a few reasons.

Firstly, our office is right at the front of our home, it is visible from the street and I knew shutters would compliment the curb appeal, they look just as beautiful from the outside as they do inside. I would eventually like to match the entire front elevation of  our house with the same plantation shutters.

Secondly, the office is a bit of a dumping ground in our house, if someone doesn’t know where to put something, – in the office, anything that needs to be retuned to a store or someone else – in the office, half done projects – in the office, leftover decor that I haven’t found a spot for yet – in the office …. you get the idea. So, I wanted something very clean in the office, clean looking to reduce the visual clutter and easy to keep clean. Shutters tick all the boxes.

Lastly, the office faces west and has 3 huge windows, the afternoon sun can be awfully hot in summer and absolutely gorgeous in winter. I like being able to control the light by tilting the slats to an angle that blocks the light or lets it stream in, while the bifold design makes them easy to open to access the windows.

So, they say DIY … how easy is the DIY and can you do it?

If you can measure your window, drill a hole, read a spirit level and screw in a screw – YOU CAN DO IT!

If you said no to any of those things, keep reading and I’ll show you how easy it really is.

I’m going to give you the quick version of how they arrive and what you need to do to put them together and install them. Please don’t use this as your instructions if you order your own shutters, it’s just meant to show you the process so you can see how simple it is.

Depending on what fitting option you choose your installation may be slightly different. The fitting guide from Tuiss Blinds Online gives you step by step instructions that are simple to understand and easy to follow. We have the ‘Recess with Sill’ option to fit on the inside of our sill, at the same projection as the architraves.

You shutters will arrive in separate parcels with the framing in one package and the shutter panels in another. Unpack everything before you start, lay your components out on the ground and familiarise yourself with the tools in the fitting kit.

The fitting instruction from Tuiss Blinds Online tell you to assemble your frame first, then drill your fixing holes, but we found it easier to drill the holes first as our frames were so big and it was much easier to manoeuvre the frame lengths before they were assembled.

I know this bit sounds scary, but if you have basic knowledge of how to use a drill, it really is very easy. We drilled one hole 10cm in from the top and bottom of the ends on all 4 sides and also another hole in line with the centre of each hinge on the side pieces. We measured and marked our holes with a pencil first, my tip is to measure twice and drill once!

To assemble your frame you just need to push the hoffman keys into the holes, you might need to give them a little hammer into place.

Now you are ready to install the frame into your sill, or whatever fitting option you chose. Use a spirit level to make sure it is sitting level and straight in all directions. You can use the ‘shims’ or ‘packers’ provided to adjust it horizontally or vertically.
Drill your pilot holes through the holes you made in the frame and into your sill or wall. A pilot hole is small hole that is used to guide the threaded screw, it reduces the risk of the wood splitting and makes it much easier to drive the screw in.

Once all the pilot holes are drilled, use the long screws from your kit to secure the frame to your opening. We put the screws in loosely at first then checked the frame with the spirit level again to make any small small adjustments before tightening up all the screws.

It is worth taking your time through the frame installation step to make sure everything is level as your shutters will hang straighter and operate smoothly.

Now you are ready to hang the shutters.

If you loosen the hinges just a little it will give you some movement and flexibility which makes popping the pins in much easier. This is the only part of the process where I found it helpful to have someone else help me, the panels are not heavy, but the extra hand is helpful, one person to hold the shutter steady in place while the other person pops the pins in. They just push in, but they are made to fit snug and may need a little tap from your hammer.

You shutters are now installed.

If they are not perfectly level or sitting slightly off centre, you can adjust them. The fitting guide shows you the best way to adjust them depending on where they are uneven.

See, it’s really not hard at all!

And your next question – Why would you WANT to install your own shutters.
Two reasons, convenience and money.

I find it much more convenient to measure up myself, order online and fit my shutters at my own convenience instead of having pushy salespeople coming to my home and having to wait all day for them to turn up when they feel like it. I’m not saying all tradies are bad (I married one) but I have had a few that walk dirt through the house, bump into walls and the worst – use your loo for number two, ew!

And money … do you have any idea how much money you can save by doing this yourself? You’re basically doing the labour yourself, and we all know that the labour costs is quite often the most expensive part of any home renovation. Obviously I can’t tell you exactly how much you’ll save as prices differ from business to business, but to give you an idea – we ordered shutters from a local business at our last house, we looked at their invoices and worked out a rough meterage price, then we did the same with our quotes from Tuiss Blinds Online. The DIY shutters were LESS THAN HALF the price of what we paid last time.
Seriously!

We chose the Sherbrooke Egg Shell shutters from Tuiss Blinds Online and we couldn’t be happier.

Here’s a few before and afters.
The first ‘before’ is when we first moved in, the windows had greenish-grey sheers over the blinds. We removed them pretty quickly. The second picture shows the blinds just before we removed them.
I’m thrilled with the transformation in this space!

What do you think?
Leave me your thoughts or questions here or on IG here.

Happy DIY’ing!

Hayley x

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Dining Room – before & after

Hello lovely friends!

Firstly, before I show you what we did in the dining room, which really wasn’t much at all, I want to answer a question a few of you asked after my ‘winter room’ reveal. Lots of you were surprised that my sofa is from ikea and that I buy things from Facebook marketplace. I had lots of comments from you guys wondering how I ‘make it look fancy’ and why my house doesn’t look like a flea market when so many of my pieces are second hand or from budget friendly stores.

I definitely believe there are places you can save money and places where you need to spend a little more, but that doesn’t mean that it has to cost a fortune, you’ve just got to be smart and know where to spend and where to splurge.

I have young kids and pets, we don’t have adults only zones and our home is pretty relaxed, I don’t like to spend a lot of money of sofas because I know they are going to get jumped on, have food spilt on them and who knows what else! I look for an affordable option with covers that can be removed and machine washed.

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Where do I splurge?
I’m happy to spend money on quality house fixtures like taps, hardware, lighting and custom made window treatments. These are things that you don’t want to get wrong. They form the foundation for all the layers of furniture and home decor. If you get them wrong nothing will flow harmoniously.

Lets talk about window treatments today as that is what has made a huge impact in my dining room make-over.

My dining room has grey tinted glass and lots of it, the grey glass reflects a dark hue throughout the dining room. I wanted to use white sheers to change that to a bright, white light radiating in the room.

There is 2 glass doors and one window in this space, they are all different heights and widths, I’ll tell you more about this later, but their varying sizes made it impossible to get a cohesive look without having them custom made.

This is where you splurge.
When I say splurge it doesn’t actually mean you need to spend a lot of money. There are ways to get custom made, professionally finished curtains, crafted from quality materials at a fraction of the price you would pay an Interior Decorator. It just means you need to measure them and hang them yourself.
I talked about choosing your window treatments here and installing them here.
It really is very easy, promise!

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Back to my dining room sheer curtains, you’d think choosing would be pretty easy, right?

I went to Blinds Online to order my sheer curtains and discovered there were quite a few to choose from. I decided to order samples just to make sure I got exactly what I wanted. You can order up to 10 samples free of charge!

I have a little trick that I use to help me choose my sheer curtain fabric. I sticky tape all my samples to the window where the curtains are going and observe them in different lighting. It’s the best way to see how your curtain fabric will look in the room and against the window.

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I chose TAHITI VOILE SNOW with a Pinch Pleat head and centre parting panels.

There wasn’t much to do in the dining room. It is in an open living area with the ‘winter room’, the two rooms are separated by one of the bench seats that we did while we were doing that living space. The living space is ‘sunken’, 2 steps lower than the dining room. I love how cosy it feels in there.

The only real change we made to the room was to refresh the paint, add pendant lights and curtains.

We patched all the holes in ceiling and the walls, my husband started out in the building industry as a plasterer, it’s very handy! Then we gave everything a fresh coat of paint.

I chose two oversized rattan pendants, they have a beautiful aged patina and even though I thought they were going to be too big when they arrived, once we got them up they looked perfect.

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The real hero in this room is the new curtains, they’ve made a huge impact and they make the room so bright and light. They way they dance in the breeze is dreamy, it’s like something from a beautiful movie. It’s worth putting sheer curtains in your house just to get your movie moment.

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 There are three windows/sliding doors in this area, two are in the actual dining room and one is on the adjoining wall. They can all be seen at the same time from multiple views, but they are different heights which is not pleasing to the eye and disrupts the harmony. Both the sliding doors also lead out to a central courtyard area which I am planning on making into a seating area, so I thought it was important to make them feel cohesive.

I decided to hang them all at the height of the highest door which was just under the cornice, and to be honest I probably would have chosen to hang them there regardless because the added height makes the windows feel larger.

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It’s important to measure all your windows, don’t just assume they are all the same height. I thought my ceiling to floor measurements was the same throughout this area, but there’s a 15mm difference from one side of the room to the other. This is very common, especially in older homes, so check your measurements.

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I chose the same curtain rods I used in the living room, firstly for continuity and secondly because I like being able to pull the curtains completely to one side or the other of the rod without a centre support interrupting them. The rod system is simple and unobtrusive which lets the curtains steal all the attention.

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As for the furniture in this space, there’s a mixture of old and new. I’ve had the chairs for about 10 years, they are a classic French Provincial design, they’ve been moved to and from 4 houses, they’ve been tipped over by kids, they’ve been broken and repaired … but I still love them.

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I bought the table 3 houses ago, again it’s a timeless design, very simple in a warm timber with a parquetry top. It’s a long table at 270cm, almost impossible to find tablecloths, but I like that I can fit 4 chairs each side. I love a beautiful carver chair at the end of a table, but sometimes I don’t want to block the view down the table to what’s at the other end. This is one of those times …

I bought the huge cabinet especially for this room. I wanted somewhere special to display all my collected and sentimental china and all the shelves and glass doors in this cabinet was perfect. The cabinet gives me the ability to add personality to an otherwise very simple room.

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Eventually we will remove the carpet from this room and do either timber or stone floors. I personally don’t like carpet in dining rooms, especially when you have kids, they are feral creatures and spaghetti bolognese doesn’t mix well with wool carpet! The floors are always the last thing we do in a house, we’ve learnt from experience that flooring can get damaged during a renovation and it’s best to leave it till last unless you need to do it due to a change in floor plan.

Thats about it in this space, lets have a quick look at the before and after to see what a huge difference a few small changes can make.

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Before we moved in.
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During, progress.
AFTER!
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Before we moved in and AFTER
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Before we moved in.
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AFTER

As always, I’m happy to answer questions, e-mail me or find me on IG anytime.

What do you think?

Happy Decorating!

Hayley x

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