A New Series: DIY On The Fly

If you’ve been around The DIY Playbook for some time now, then you’re probably familiar with my monthly Reader SOS series. A reader writes in their design dilemma and I help them come up with a full design plan to tackle their space and bring my vision to life. It’s a fun series and you can peruse all of my past dilemmas right here.

Sharing more about my functional medicine experience

I love doing that series, but because it’s so time-consuming, I can’t help everyone who reaches out. A follower recently recommended that I start another series that tackles quicker design questions.

Instead of providing a full-scale room design and mood board, I could offer a few suggestions or answer a quick question. I’m envisioning questions like, “Does this rug work in this space? What color dresser would you put here? Does this paint color work in this room?”

That way, I can help more people and also give readers a peek inside my brain as I work on a design problem. The quick design tips are designed to teach you and help the questioner all at the same time!

DIY On The Fly

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I floated the idea past my Instagram audience and you guys were totally on board, which made me very happy! But, I needed a name for this new series. What could it be? I got hundreds of suggestions and then we did a poll between the top contenders. It was between “What Would Casey Do?” and “DIY On The Fly.” In the end, DIY On The Fly got the top votes for the new series name!

Let’s Tackle A Few Today…

While this series will primarily take place over on my Instagram stories, I thought it would be fun to kick things off with a few questions and answers here in today’s blog post.

Empty Space Conundrum

DIY on the fly, what to do with this empty space

“How would you utilize this empty space at the top of the stairs? Would you add a console cabinet or plan for a built-in?” – Kaitlyn

It’s hard to tell what else is in this space and how much walkway area there is, but I like the idea of doing a wood sideboard. On top, I would lean a large mirror and place a large textured table lamp on the other side. The mirror would bounce some light around the room, while the lamp would add a nice soft glow to the upstairs at night.

This would also be a nice “trial run” before she would invest in something more permanent and expensive, like built-ins. Maybe this cabinet setup could work for a few years until she is ready for that commitment.

Here’s a quick mockup of what I would do for Kaitlyn’s hallway.

Quick design tips

Sideboard // Mirror // Lamp // Art // Gold Bowl

Bare Balcony

“What to do with this weird little balcony? We’re first-time homeowners outside of Chicago, slowly making this house our own. I kind of love this funky little alcove but have no idea what to do with it. It seems ideal for a plant except that it’s one of the darkest areas in the house! My mom said to put a DJ booth in…any more practical ideas?” -Kelly

I do love the sound of that DJ booth! Ha! Instead, I would opt for a round foyer table like this. On top, I would place a cozy table lamp, a few coffee table books, and maybe a little bowl. It would fill the space nicely and add some light to the dark hallway nook. Here are a couple of inspirational pictures of what it could look like…

What to add to a corner in a hallway
Inspiration via Pink Peppermint Design
Inspiration via House Seven Design
Inspiration via House Seven Design

Blank Kitchen Wall

“What do I do with this big blank wall in my kitchen?” – Laura

This is prime real estate and a great place to make a statement. I would go with a symmetrical gallery wall, similar to what my mom has in her bedroom.

Symmetrical gallery wall in a hallway

She could do a grid of nine frames (these are the best) and insert family photos into each of them. Or, since it’s a kitchen, she could opt for framed recipes in a grid. That could be a fun way to showcase some favorite family recipes in a creative way.

Watch For DIY On The Fly In Stories

How to add secret storage for a budget bedroom

My goal is to answer questions every two weeks on Instagram stories. I’m aiming for Friday mornings, but we’ll see what day and cadence ends up working out best. I’m actually answering a few more today on Instagram stories, so head over there to watch.

Every few months, I’ll compile some of my favorite questions/answers and turn them into a blog post too!

Submit Your Questions Here!

If you have a design question, fill out this form to submit it. Remember, these aren’t full-scale room designs, just smaller design questions that you might ask a friend or neighbor. Looking forward to helping as many of you as I can with these quick design tips! Thanks for your excitement over this new series.


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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