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TV Host Ward Schraeder Gives Tips for DIY Home Renovation

Photo: Courtesy of Rustic White

Ward Schraeder, host of HGTV’s “Bargain Mansions,” talks how to improve your home’s value and recommends easy DIY projects.

With more people at home than ever, what home projects do you find the biggest need for right now?  Do you have suggestions for a quick weekend DIY project?

With everyone working from home, one of the biggest things people are desiring is a home office. A good DIY weekend project would be to convert an unused bedroom, a space in the basement of your home, or maybe an unused formal dining space into a dedicated home office. A dining room table could be converted to a desk. An old door on a couple of homemade sawhorses would look pretty cool as well. 

No matter where they are working from, the first thing that everyone needs is a good internet connection. This can be achieved by relocating the router closer to your workspace. You might also need better lighting, which can be achieved by floor lights or, if you’re handy, maybe adding a few can lights in the ceiling. All of this can be achieved over a weekend with very little expense.

What are the most common missteps people take when completing DIY home projects?

Not doing the research of what is necessary prior to starting. Youtube is a great resource. Almost everything you are going to try has been videoed and placed on Youtube.  I started my Working With Ward Series to help individuals learn how to DIY. Do your research in advance, and make sure you get all of the supplies you need. I always get a surplus of materials just in case I make a mistake or change my mind on-site.

What advice can you give to people who are nervous to start DIY projects? 

I always tell people to just go for it. You should expect mistakes and sometimes have to do something two or even three times, but don’t let that deter you. Every project you do will give you that much more confidence to do the next. 

What is your personal design style and color palette? For people who are overwhelmed by “being creative” how would you recommend they start to figure out their own design/color interests?

If you’ve watched “Bargain Mansions” on HGTV, you’ll know that this is primarily Tamara’s domain, but in case you don’t have a daughter who is an interior designer, I like to use Pinterest to advise me on what colors go well together. Over several projects, you will decide what you like. Earth tones or pastels, they are all very attractive when properly mixed, and remember, you’re doing this to please you. 

What are the main ways to improve a home’s value?

We are asked this question a lot on “Bargain Mansions,” and it is somewhat individual to the homes. However, it is done in steps. 

  1. It is always critical to have good curb appeal, so do what you can to improve the grass and landscaping as well as exterior paint. Just like people leave a first impression, so do homes.
  2. Kitchens are critical and need a “wow factor.” Sometimes that means a complete makeover. Don’t make the mistake of putting down new laminate when granite is the popular ticket. Don’t bother repainting old cabinets. If they are in bad shape, everyone can see that so replace them. 
  3. The bedroom suite is probably as critical as the kitchen. Big closets, lots of tile, a comfortable shower space, and, if possible, a tub. These are areas that we never skimp on. 

When people leave our redone homes, they will remember the home for one or all of these items and know that they don’t have to go to the trouble to do it themselves. 

What is most satisfying about the work you do?

I love construction for such an obvious reason. At the end of every day, I can step back and receive immediate gratification that I have accomplished something. In business, a lot of times you sell something, but it takes months to deliver and make a profit. With construction, I always have the feeling of almost immediate gratification. There is just something comforting in that.

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