With the continued popularity of HGTV and DIY-Network, combined with the ever rising interest in Pinterest, it’s no surprise that more and more of us are becoming DIY-ers. Before you tackle that next basement-to-man-cave makeover or that desk-into-nightstands project, keeping a few simple reminders in mind can help ensure you Nailed It! instead of Failed It!

Be honest

If you have never used a power tool or tape measure in your life, a major renovation project might not be for you. If you only have one day free to tackle your kitchen overhaul, you may need to reevaluate. Basically, be honest with yourself about your level of experience, and the time you have to spend on the project (trust me when I say it will always take longer to complete than you anticipate.) The good news is that with all of today’s resources at your fingertips, you can watch how-to videos until you probably actually can.  

Beware of going over-budget 

Remember what I said about projects always taking longer to complete than you anticipate? Yeah, it’s pretty much the same thing with the cost of the project, too. Whether it’s because of unexpected challenges that come up, or design changes, or overly optimistic budgeting on your part from the beginning, expect expenses to rise. You can try to compensate for this by figuring out what you think it will cost, then tacking on another 10-20%.

"You may begin sanding the top of that beautiful end table you plan to re-stain, only to discover that it’s not actually wood."

Stick to the vision (with a few changes)

There is nothing that will eat up budget and time more than design changes. Like Stephen Covey says, begin with the end in mind. Have a clear vision for what you want things to look like when finished, and as much as possible, stick to that goal. Know which materials and techniques will work in your space, and what you’d really like it to look like when it’s done. Be open to changes that improve the projects overall finished quality, but always keep an eye on the bottom line before committing to a change.

Prepare for the unexpected

I am a firm believer in Murphy’s Law, which says that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. You may begin sanding the top of that beautiful end table you plan to re-stain, only to discover that it’s not actually wood. You may remove a kitchen cabinet and discover mold. Whatever the project, learn to expect that the unexpected lurks around every corner. Once again, I recommend over budgeting your money, your time, and your patience.

Phone a friend

When the going gets tough, the tough phone a friend. Who do you know that is a painting machine? Who has experience with a tile saw? Trading favors with my possy of friends is how we have all managed to complete our home projects while keeping cost, time, and frustration to a minimum. Just remember- when you call them, you owe them, so be prepared to return the favor.

Go forth and nail it, DIY-nation!

Photo credit iStock

Originally published 10-26-2016