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Begin with small simple projects, maybe on one item you love, or a just a little nook

EXPERTS: Sherry and John Petersik, The couple behind the DIY blog Young House Love (YoungHouseLove.cpm) (YOUNGHOUSELOVE.COM)

Q I’m not a DIYer at all, but I would love to gain some skills to work on my home. Where’s the best place to start?

A We would recommend finding a low-risk project that doesn’t seem too daunting (and won’t break the bank – or your house). Sometimes finding a cheap piece of furniture can be a great way to learn how to sand, stain and seal (or sand, prime and paint) something new. Once you hone that skill, it can add up to more updates you can tackle, such as repainting kitchen cabinets.

Q We have a toddler and a newborn and work full time as well. We love to do home projects, but we’ve found it to be tough with two little ones around, especially if it’s something like painting or doing anything requiring power tools. Any tips on how you’ve made it work?

A We generally tackle most of our major updates after bedtime or during the weekend when the kids are with their grandparents. Sometimes we squeeze in some outdoor work with them nearby, but anything more than that could be frustrating at best – and dangerous at worst.

Q I just bought a home, as part investment, part weekend getaway and part fun project. I’ve got a pretty blank canvas. I’m replacing the bathroom and going classic, because the house is old, but otherwise I’m sort of floundering about decisions on furniture, bedding, paint colours etc. Where on earth do I start?

A That’s something we can relate to. The times we have been the most successful at diving into a project and loving the result have been when we found something – whether it’s art, a pillow or a room in a magazine – that inspired us. If you love a particular thing, start the room there. It can be a springboard that leads you somewhere naturally.

For example, if you find a rug you love, pull out colours from that item to use in other accents around the room and perhaps choose the most soft or subdued colour on the walls or sofa.

Sometimes seeing specific colours and textures that “work” on an inspiration item makes it easier to picture them together.

Q We are about to redo our small kitchen and are debating white versus grey cabinets. We want something that will stand the test of time. Any advice on ways to ensure that our kitchen is more classic than trendy?

A Personally, we think white is one of the most classic cabinet choices. Although cooler tones, such as grey, are trending now, sometimes warmer tones, like tan, swing back into favour.

At the end of the day, it’s all about what you love. You can also work grey into the room in other ways, like a few grey planters under the window or some grey stools at the counter. We love how versatile a white kitchen can be. You can add tons of natural wood elements and then a decade later get a completely different look with the same white cabinets as the backdrop, if you add colourful stools and a bold fabric valance. Soft grey is super neutral, too, so that could produce a similar effect that’s easy to change up for the long haul.

Q I have a smallish, square room that I am turning into a reading nook and den. It is painted a dark beige colour with white trim and white French doors, which lead to a patio and screened porch. We’re planning on adding white leaning bookcases (with a built-in desk for a little home office area), and I would like to add two armchairs with some colour but nothing too wild. Any suggestions for colours, as well as great places to get reasonably priced but good-quality chairs online?

A Your room sounds like it’s shaping up nicely. It’s definitely not always easy to pull the trigger on an affordable chair – especially without sitting in it. Sometimes getting them from a place with a great return policy takes the fear out of things.

Colour-wise, chairs are a great place to add an accent colour and don’t necessarily have to match a ton of other things in the room. You could do some shopping and see what grabs your attention instead of limiting yourself to a specific colour beforehand. Although, off the top of our heads, we think anything from a rich brown leather tone to a moody slate blue twill or even a navy velvet could be awesome.

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