Learn from others’ past experiences to overcome frequent home improvement hurdles.
The do-it-yourself movement is on the rise, and while revamping your home’s interior without professional assistance is a financially savvy move, it’s also one full of potential roadblocks.
To help you stay on the right path, we’ve asked 12 DIY writers for their been-there, done-that advice for completing a project without becoming discouraged.
1. Settle on a theme
“When tackling home design my biggest problem is trying to keep it cohesive and flowing from room to room.” – Danielle Leonard of The Frugal Navy Wife
Solution? Go eclectic. While cohesive style is classic, assorted designs are trending. Mix and match without going overboard by combining large, traditional living spaces with small, bright and bold powder rooms or entryways.
2. Prepare ahead of time
“Planning is the biggest challenge: gathering supplies, blocking off time, getting up the guts to start and then doing all the prep work.” – Jessica Davis of Nest Studio
“There are so many times I’ve rushed through a project because I was so excited to get to the end result, but then had to start all over because it didn’t turn out as well as I anticipated.” – Katie Nathey of Upcycled Treasures
You need to prepare for your project, both mentally and physically. Purchase a DIY day planner to keep track of timelines, to-do lists, materials and reminders. You’ll likely fall slightly behind – or skip ahead – but a written plan is a helpful guide.
3. Stick to the budget
“We did anticipate finding several problems in a 112-year-old house, so we budgeted a good amount for miscellaneous. But we still went over budget!” – Sarah Gaylor of 702 Park Project
“It’s a great feeling when a project is successfully completed and for a fraction of the costs of hiring a professional.” – Audrey Kuether of Oh So Lovely.
Most homeowners attest to spending more on their remodels than initially planned. Unfortunately, there’s no way to combat unanticipated, yet necessary, expenses. Make fixing structural problems a priority, even if it decreases the budget for aesthetic trimmings.
4. Remain flexible
“If you are renovating an old home, sometimes you just have to go with the flow. There isn’t much you can do about the uneven floors and crooked walls in a historic home.” – Kelly Raether of Corner of Main
“I’ve learned to expect something to go wrong and now nothing ever does. That may sound cynical, but I swear it helps things to go more smoothly.” – Jourdan Mclaws of Little Yellow Barn
Keep optimistic, and consider yourself lucky if you only hit minor roadblocks, such as purchasing the wrong paint colors or misplacing necessary tools.
5. Project a realistic timeline
“We thought we’d have the house completed a couple of months after moving in. Four years later we are about half way done!” – Amanda Bassetti of Simply Maggie
“Two to three hours of work daily in the evenings seemed exhausting after a whole day of work, and the time to finish the project was prolonged.” – Beauty Harmony Life
Don’t expect results to happen overnight. Many homeowners choose to delay their plans until their busy lifestyles can accommodate demanding projects.
6. Take advantage of resources
“Tackle the project with a friend or spouse. Having someone help you will ensure you double-check each step so it is correctly done, but it is also more fun to do a new project with someone you enjoy working/talking with.” – Rachel Pereira of Shades of Blue Interiors
“If you’re really stuck, call a friend or hit up Google. Chances are, someone else ran into the same problem as you.” – Bre Bertolini of Brepurposed
“We are so fortunate in having the Internet as a resource. It has given us encyclopedia of knowledge at our fingertips.” – Anne Davis of DesignDreams by Anne
Don’t underestimate the power of collaboration. Even seasoned professionals consult friends and colleagues from time to time.