Fixing up your house needn’t be a chore. Claire Spreadbury seeks out some expert advice

LONGER days are here to stay - at least for now - so it's the perfect time for a spot of DIY. And, according to high-street retailer Robert Dyas (, even the most basic bit of DIY can add value to your home.

But if you're a novice fixer-upper, a lot of jobs can seem daunting. "DIY is really about the basics," says Robert Dyas' buying manager and DIY champion Andrew Georgiou. "Get these essentials right and you'll be hanging pictures, putting up shelves and fixing cracked tiles in no time."

To help you on your way, Georgiou and his team have compiled a list of DIY essentials - from some fail-safe basics and top hacks, to indispensable tools and professional advice - to suit all budgets.

Plan everything

Plan. And then plan some more. If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Think the job through and ensure you have all the right tools to complete the task before you start any project. A lack of prior preparation is probably accountable for most DIY disasters. A whopping 48% of the 18-34 year-old age group admit to making DIY mistakes in the past. And we suspect a lack of planning might well be the main cause.

Stay safe

The Eyecare Trust estimates that 30,000 eye injuries every year are a result of DIY. These can be avoided. Always ensure you wear adequate protection for your eyes and hands before taking on any DIY project.

Use the right drill bit

When using a drill, always ensure you use the correct drill bit. The charity Electrical Safety First urges those drilling to begin by applying light, steady pressure to push the bit into the material. If you have to press hard, you're probably using the wrong bit. When you're drilling into a wall, always make sure you check for any pipes or wires first.

Use cling film on your paintbrushes

Between coats of paint, don't wash the brushes and rollers - just wrap them tightly in cling film, and they will stay moist and ready for the next coat.

Freshen up, rather than replace

You don't always need to replace old radiators - freshen them up at a fraction of the cost of buying a new one, with a coat of heatproof paint or radiator paint. Ensure the radiator is completely cold before starting and clean it thoroughly to remove all dust and grease. And don't forget to lay down dust sheets!

Always use a spirit level

To get a straight line, always use a spirit level or digital laser level. After all, no one wants that priceless wedding photo/graduation certificate/antique vase sliding off a wonky shelf.

Get a professional in when you need to

If in doubt, always seek help from a qualified professional. It's estimated that professionals put right £3.3m-worth of botched DIY jobs every year.