A DIY Guide to Home Decor in New Zealand

Wooden frames to be used as a DIY project


Embarking on a journey to revitalise your living space through do-it-yourself (DIY) home decor in New Zealand is an adventure. Aotearoa’s rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes provide a unique backdrop for charm and personality within your home. This guide navigates the world of creative expression, cultural appreciation, and environmental mindfulness in the context of Kiwi living.

Starting with Simple Projects:

Commence your DIY odyssey with straightforward yet impactful projects that draw inspiration from New Zealand’s natural splendour. Craft custom photo frames using native woods such as Rimu or Kauri. This creates visual narratives of the lush forests that grace the islands. To elevate these frames into unique pieces of art, check out this guide on how to DIY photo frames.

Venture into the world of Maori-inspired decorative throw pillows. These infuse your space with cultural richness through vibrant patterns reflecting New Zealand’s indigenous heritage. For a touch of Kiwi elegance, consider a coffee table makeover incorporating elements like Paua shell inlays or intricate carvings.

In exploring simple projects, consider the essence of Kiwi living, where simplicity is intertwined with nature’s beauty. Create a rustic centrepiece using driftwood collected from the shores of New Zealand’s pristine beaches. This simple yet charming addition brings a touch of the coastal lifestyle into your home. For an eco-friendly touch, consider crafting your own reusable fabric shopping bags, inspired by New Zealand’s commitment to reducing plastic waste.

Gathering Essential Tools and Materials:

In your pursuit of DIY excellence, consider not only functionality but also sustainability. Align your toolkit with Kiwi environmental responsibility by incorporating locally sourced materials and eco-friendly alternatives. Explore a basic guide on essential tools for a solid foundation. Choose paintbrushes with natural fibres or recycled materials, reflecting your dedication to sustainability. Prioritise safety with locally available gear compliant with New Zealand’s stringent standards. Learn more about safety equipment. This is crucial to stay aligned with New Zealand’s commitment to a safe and sustainable lifestyle.

Consider the Kiwi mantra of “reduce, reuse, recycle” when selecting materials for your DIY projects. Utilise reclaimed wood from local salvage yards to build a unique bookshelf, contributing to both sustainability and a personalised touch to your space. Invest in energy-efficient tools, such as a solar-powered drill, aligning with New Zealand’s focus on renewable energy sources.

Exploring Different Styles and Themes:

Tailor your DIY home decor to New Zealand’s diverse aesthetics inspired by landscapes and cultural heritage. Infuse the rugged charm of farmhouse aesthetics with native woods and earthy tones. Embrace the simplicity of modern minimalism, mirroring the open and uncluttered feel inspired by New Zealand’s expansive landscapes. Dive into the colourful world of bohemian chic, weaving a tapestry of vibrant patterns and textures reflective of New Zealand’s artistic diversity.

Consider incorporating elements from the various Maori art forms into your decor. Use the intricate designs of Kowhaiwhai (rafter patterns) as inspiration for a feature wall in your living room, creating a visually striking homage to Maori culture. Explore the use of traditional Maori colours, such as red, black, and white, to infuse a sense of cultural authenticity into your space.

DIY Coconut that has been repurposed into a hanging planter

Repurposing and Upcycling:

Align your DIY projects with New Zealand’s commitment to sustainability by exploring the art of repurposing and upcycling. Transform old furniture into renewed pieces, contributing to the country’s eco-friendly ethos. Gain insights into furniture upcycling techniques, considering reclaimed timber or recycled materials sourced locally. Creativity knows no bounds when repurposing unused items for inventive storage solutions. Discover creative organisational ideas, ensuring your projects contribute to a sustainable home. Elevate the ambiance with candle holders crafted from repurposed glass jars, using eco-friendly materials.

Consider taking the upcycling approach outdoors. Convert an old wooden ladder into a charming plant stand, giving a second life to discarded items. Craft a garden bench from reclaimed pallets, adding both character and sustainability to your outdoor space. Embrace the Kiwi spirit of resourcefulness by turning discarded wine bottles into unique outdoor lanterns. These are perfect for illuminating your garden during cosy evenings.

Experimenting with Paint and Colours:

Enhance the transformative power of paint by capturing the nuanced hues inspired by local landscapes and cultural motifs. Accent walls take on new significance when painted in colours drawn from the turquoise waters of the Bay of Islands or the earthy tones of Fiordland National Park. Unlock the secrets of accent wall painting. Delve into the art of stencil designs, incorporating intricate patterns reminiscent of Maori art or native flora. Take your personal touch to new heights by creating a unique mural that encapsulates the essence of Aotearoa’s landscapes.

Experiment with a colour palette inspired by New Zealand’s natural wonders. Use shades of green, reminiscent of the lush native forests, to bring a sense of tranquillity to your space. Introduce pops of blue and white inspired by the country’s stunning coastal scenery, creating a connection between your interiors and the breathtaking outdoors. Consider using earthy tones like brown and beige to evoke the warmth of Kiwi hospitality.

Check out this guide to help ensure you get the best results from your painting. Please be aware that other guides will also work just as well. There is likely to be some variance in the name of products or brands available in New Zealand but you can easily find what it is and where you can get it.

Person completing a DIY mosaic craft and  cutting the tiles

Personalising with DIY Artwork:

Express your personality through abstract paintings infused with the vibrant energy of Kiwi creativity. Explore ideas from an expansive guide, incorporating elements inspired by traditional Maori art or local flora and fauna. Curate a gallery wall that showcases memories and pays homage to Aotearoa’s rich cultural heritage. Add a unique touch to your space with DIY wall decals inspired by Maori patterns or native flora, using insights from an informative guide.

In personalising your space with artwork, consider commissioning a local artist to create a bespoke piece that reflects your connection to New Zealand. Collaborate with the artist to incorporate elements from your favourite Kiwi landscapes or cultural symbols, ensuring a unique and meaningful addition to your home. Engage in DIY sculpture projects using materials found in your local environment, connecting your art to the natural beauty that surrounds you.

Taking Advantage of Online Tutorials:

Refine your DIY skills by exploring diverse video tutorials on YouTube, tailored to align with the Kiwi way of life. Discover recommended channels, seeking creators who incorporate local materials and showcase projects inspired by New Zealand’s cultural diversity: Utilise Pinterest, a treasure trove of creative ideas. Follow reputable DIY blogs that provide step-by-step guides and expert tips tailored to the Kiwi context.

Engage with the online DIY community, exchanging ideas and learning from fellow enthusiasts. Participate in virtual workshops or webinars hosted by local craftsmen, gaining insights into traditional Maori art techniques or sustainable building practices. Foster a sense of collaboration by sharing your projects online, inspiring others in the community to embark on their DIY journeys.

A DIY Bottle cap wreath on a door

Embracing Sustainable DIY Practices:

Infuse your DIY projects with eco-friendly practices, reflecting New Zealand’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Opt for low-VOC or natural paint options, explore sustainable alternatives for your projects, and incorporate energy-efficient lighting solutions like LED bulbs into your decor. Embrace upcycling and repurposing techniques to minimise waste and contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle.

Consider installing a rainwater harvesting system to water your indoor and outdoor plants, aligning with New Zealand’s focus on water conservation. Explore the possibilities of DIY solar panels to harness the abundant sunlight, contributing to both energy efficiency and cost savings. Implement smart home technologies to optimise energy usage, creating a modern and environmentally conscious living space.

Incorporating Maori Design Elements:

Celebrate New Zealand’s rich Maori heritage by incorporating traditional design elements into your DIY projects. Explore the art of whakairo (carving) and kowhaiwhai (rafter patterns) as inspiration for furniture detailing or wall decorations. Craft DIY art pieces that pay homage to Maori mythology or incorporate motifs inspired by ancestral Maori tattoos (moko). This not only adds cultural depth to your decor but also fosters a connection to the indigenous roots of the land.

Consider integrating Maori design elements into functional pieces, such as a hand-carved wooden bowl or a decorative room divider featuring traditional patterns. Collaborate with local Maori artisans to learn about the significance of specific motifs and incorporate them respectfully into your creations. Explore DIY projects that involve traditional Maori weaving techniques, creating unique baskets or wall hangings that showcase the beauty of this ancient craft.

With a single Google search you can see all sorts of craft and DIY ideas for you or to teach kids which will integrate different elements of the Maori culture that you can use to bring something unique to your house. You could even look and see if there are any classes or DIY events available in your area with one of these places being Bunnings which will regularly offer DIY workshops and guide you through anything you need help with.

A photo of a whitewashed planter pot sitting on top of a DIY wooden table

Exploring Outdoor DIY Projects:

Extend your DIY creativity into outdoor spaces, crafting personalised furniture, planters, or trellises inspired by New Zealand’s stunning landscapes. Use locally sourced materials like macrocarpa wood for outdoor furniture, creating pieces that seamlessly blend with the natural surroundings. Consider creating custom planters inspired by native flora or installing a DIY trellis adorned with Pohutukawa flowers to enhance your outdoor living space. Here is a guide to help you get started with your gardening. Embrace the beauty of outdoor living by incorporating DIY projects that allow you to enjoy the Kiwi outdoor lifestyle to the fullest.

Craft an outdoor dining table from reclaimed wood, hosting gatherings that celebrate the joy of communal living. Build a pergola adorned with native vines, providing a shaded retreat in your backyard. Experiment with DIY outdoor lighting projects, using materials like driftwood or recycled glass to create unique fixtures that illuminate your outdoor spaces. Consider constructing a DIY fire pit, providing warmth and a focal point for evening gatherings under the starlit New Zealand sky.

DIY Textile Crafts with Indigenous Fabrics:

Incorporate fabrics inspired by New Zealand’s indigenous culture into DIY textile crafts. creating custom curtains, throw blankets or pillow covers is one way to do this. Look for fabrics with Maori or Pacific Islander motifs, bringing a touch of cultural richness to your home. Engage in traditional weaving techniques or experiment with modern textile art forms. This will infuse your home with vibrant patterns and colours indicative of the diverse cultural influences present in New Zealand.

Explore DIY textile projects that involve creating custom linens inspired by traditional Maori weaving patterns. Design your Kiwi-themed quilt, using fabrics with prints of native birds, ferns, and landscapes. Experiment with Shibori dyeing techniques, incorporating colours that reflect the vibrant hues of New Zealand’s flora. Consider collaborating with local textile artists to learn about their craft and integrate indigenous fabrics into your DIY creations with cultural sensitivity.

An example of a DIY community garden as inspiration

Community DIY Projects:

Extend the joy of DIY to your local community by initiating or participating in collaborative projects. Organise a neighbourhood upcycling event where residents can exchange and repurpose items. Collaborate with local artists or craftsmen to create communal art installations that reflect the cultural diversity of your community. This not only enhances the sense of community spirit but also promotes the principles of sharing and sustainability that are integral to New Zealand’s social fabric.

Create a community garden where residents can collectively grow and harvest produce, fostering a sense of connection to the land. Organise DIY workshops in collaboration with local artisans, sharing skills and knowledge within the community. Undertake mural projects that beautify public spaces, with themes inspired by the natural beauty and cultural heritage of New Zealand. Consider initiating a neighbourhood tree-planting initiative, contributing to the country’s environmental conservation efforts.


Embarking on your DIY home decor journey in New Zealand is an exploration of creativity, cultural appreciation, and environmental consciousness. As you transform your living space, let the landscapes, traditions, and community spirit of Aotearoa guide your creative expression. Through sustainable practices, a celebration of Maori design elements, exploration of outdoor projects, and engagement in textile crafts with indigenous fabrics your house becomes a home. Participation in community initiatives, and the continuous evolution of your space, your home weaves together the influences that shape New Zealand’s identity. Embrace the journey of crafting a home that reflects your individuality and the unique essence of Kiwi living. Happy crafting!

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