How to Re-Do a Half Bath on a Budget

How to Re-Do a Half Bath on a Budget

With some paint and a carefully chosen storage solution, you can beautify a half bath on a tight budget!

The half bath is often the most forgotten part of the home. A room the homeowner themselves rarely ventures into, the half bath is often overlooked when other, more central rooms, are redecorated. In some circumstances, however, the half bath gets too much use, normally when it becomes the children’s bathroom. This designation usually results in a cluttered mess that features Barbie dolls and shampoo bottles covered in cartoon characters—not exactly a room to showcase to visitors!

How can you control this chaos and make it a more attractive space should guests stumble upon it? Storage! Even if you have a cupboard or shelf in your half bathroom, putting more storage in is never a bad idea, especially something that can become a focal point of this small room and help you dress it up in a few minutes before guests come to visit. Here we look at how with some paint and a carefully chosen storage solution, you can beautify a half bath on a tight budget.

When we moved into our 1960s home, we had a half bath that boasted a retro brownish-greenish-yellowish laminate countertop, white floor and wall tile, some under sink storage and a bathtub.Without a complete refurb, there wasn’t a lot we could do to the space to update it, and as it was situated between two upstairs bedrooms, it made the perfect children’s bathroom.

This designation meant it quickly descended into unorganized chaos. The tipping point for me was the multiple bottles teetering on the back of the toilet seat. I realized we needed storage that was open, easy to access and attractive. We also needed a new countertop—that retro mish-mash of colors didn’t look like it was coming back into style anytime soon.

After considering a complete vanity overhaul, we decided to try simply repainting the laminate. Using two coats of Rustoleum Countertop Coating ($20), we gave the room an instant facelift. The light grey color we choose complements the variety of different toned metal fixtures in the room and is a lot cleaner and brighter than the original color.

Next, we installed a simple chrome and glass wall shelf ($45) above the toilet. This fixture works perfectly for corralling the multiple bottles required to keep our children clean during everyday life but is also simple to dress up when guests come to stay.

So, don’t just shut the door on your chaotic half bath until you can afford to gut it. Consider some quick, inexpensive upgrades, such as paint and new storage, that will make it a more pleasant space to live with—or an easy update if you’re getting ready to sell.

How to Partially Finish Your Basement on a Budget

How to Partially Finish Your Basement on a Budget

Transform your basement into a living area, laundry, bathroom or workspace you can use now — without a full renovation.

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Houzz Contributor, Nicole Jacobs

We’re always looking for more space in our homes, it seems, whether for extra storage, an additional living zone or a new spot to decorate. Often, valuable space can be found in the basement, but fully developing this square footage can be expensive. Add up the costs of framing, flooring, drywall, electrical and finishes,and your project may run into the thousands of dollars. Introduce new decor, and you’ve got an even pricier endeavor.

But there are ways to enjoy that below-grade space while avoiding the hefty price tag of a full remodel. Partially finishing your basement can offer warmth, style and comfort, as well as that extra space you’re craving. Here is how to get the most out of an unfinished basement without breaking the bank.

Create an Industrial-Style Living Room

1. Keep the ceiling exposed. This smart basement renovation reveals a key secret to enjoying a partially finished basement: Keep the ceiling open. We don’t all have the advantage of deep basements with high ceilings, and we need all the help we can get, height-wise. While there are some stylish drop-ceiling panels now available, keeping the ceiling joists open and painting them a bold color, such as black, creates the illusion of depth, helping the ceiling to recede and become less noticeable. The added advantage is that your wiring is available to you without having to cut into drywall.

2. Ditch the drywall. Paint is quite often the quickest and least expensive way to freshen and update a room.

Another tip is to drywall only some areas of the room. A limited use of drywall can demarcate spaces, add interest and keep costs down.

Another unexpected and low-cost alternative wall material is an engineered lumber such as oriented strand board. OSB, which is typically used for subfloors or sheathing in construction — making it an unconventional choice for walls — is acreative, less expensive way to cover your concrete walls and divide living zones. The key to using a material like this is to apply it to a large area so that it’s clear that using it was an intentional design choice.

3. Capture the power of white. This basement obviously gets a lot of natural light, thanks to the fact that it is a walk-out basement-style space. But a great way to provide the illusion of light and to add ceiling height is to paint everything white. In this room, with the exposed ceilings and walls painted a crisp white, it’s hard to tell where the walls end and the ceilings begin.

4. Establish a focal point. Go ahead and furnish your unfinished below-grade space as cozily as you would your upstairs, finished rooms. A great way to do this is to furnish around a focal point. Here, the designer created a focal point for the room by adding a bar and a shelving area with space for a TV, books and games. Graphic rugs and large, soft furniture and lighting bring warmth and life to the space.

Note that this basement is, like the other examples, mostly unfinished. The ceilings are open, the concrete block wall is painted, and it appears the concrete floor is as well. Finally, the owner chose white wall paint. This room shows how this simple formula for a basement can form the backdrop for a cozy living space. The finished decorative and soft furnishing elements add the comforts that make the space feel homey.

Outfit a Laundry Room

For many of us, basement laundry means a dark and dank place to toss the clothes in, pull them out and quickly run back upstairs. But this doesn’t have to be the way we choose to live. A little effort can convert an ugly space to one where you’ll want to spend time.

1. Get creative with paint and decor. This basement laundry is left nearly entirely unfinished, but with some creativity it’s become a clean and bright corner nonetheless. The exposed ceiling joists are painted a deep charcoal, the concrete floor is a fun red, and wood shelving and furniture add interest and utility. A throw rug warms up the floor, and what appears to be reclaimed wood boards frame off a private bath.

2. Install cabinetry. The money saved on finishing flooring, walls and ceiling can often be better spent on cabinets in your basement laundry area. Additional cabinetry can be used for a variety of things, like storing dry goods, linens or out-of-season clothing.

Build a Bathroom

Adding a bathroom to your basement can be a worthwhile venture. In addition to being functional, it adds a lot of value to your home. But basement bathroom additions are costly, especially if you don’t already have the plumbing and drains roughed in. If you’re lucky enough to have this option, finishing it on a budget will be rewarding.

1. Just do the basics. This bathroom, which abuts one of the laundry rooms I’ve featured, is mostly unfinished. Creatively sectioned off with wood planks and paint, it proves that a bathroom need not have marble and high-end finishing to be warm, cute and functional.

2. Dress up with shine. Another otherwise unfinished space with exposed ceiling joists and concrete walls and floor, this bathroom has all the components to be completely functional, yet also sharp. Stock cabinetry is added for necessary storage, and the mirror, lighting and accessories provide some glitz. Mirrors and other shiny accessories can be found at a variety of price points, helping you to stick with your budget.

3. Leave it open. Another way to save some money in your basement bathroom is to skip the walls altogether. Here, a section of the basement is used for the bathroom, which is open concept. The shower is made out of a tiled curb with a curtain bar, giving it a modern look when privacy is not a concern. The toilet, not seen in this photo, is in a separate, walled-off enclosure behind the wall with the towel bar.

Workspace

Workspaces are often hard to come by, and if you can designate a corner for one in your basement, you’ll be glad for it. Surprisingly, it doesn’t take much to create a bright and functional zone out of, well, nothing.

1. Furnish and decorate. This basement office room works so well because it really has everything you need. Again, this is essentially a raw basement that has been cleaned up with paint. Two collapsible tables are tucked into a corner to create ample desk space. An antique-style armoire and side table add hefty traditional elements that dress up the zone and offer storage. An area rug warms the painted concrete floor, and the bright task track lighting is layered with the warm glow of a table lamp. The pretty butterfly mobile finishes this space.

2. Make a rug statement. Carpet tiles are a cost-effective option for basement flooring as they can be purchased by the box and laid out to separate a zone or add warmth to a bare concrete floor.

3. Make a spot for the kids. Kids come with a lot of stuff, from toys to books and crafts, and a neat little work area in your basement is the perfect spot to organize it all.

Related Reads

Green Remodeling Projects With Major Aesthetic Appeal

Green Remodeling Projects With Major Aesthetic Appeal

These green home renovations have big design potential!

The following is a guest post by Erin Vaughan with Modernize.com


Let’s face it: some remodeling projects are a lot more fun than others. Rearranging the living room? Count me in! But blowing in insulation in the attic? Meh, I’ll pass. And unfortunately, the home projects that have the most environmental impact usually don’t exactly let you bust out the Pinterest boards and interior design magazines. There’s nothing exciting about air sealing, after all.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any green renovations with big design potential. Upcycled and reclaimed goods especially can add a certain editorial panache to your home—while diverting cast-off materials destined for landfills. Or you can go for a new lighting feature, landscaping design, or window treatment that will help you reduce your water and electricity use. Take a look at these five remodeling projects that are all super eco-friendly and pretty easy on the eyes, too!

modernize1

Redo the Kitchen Countertops in Terrazzo
Every week, US residents throw away enough glass bottles and jars to fill a 1,350 square foot building. Terrazzo, a countertop material made from crushed glass suspended in concrete, helps give some of that glass a purpose—and it has a unique, glittery look, as well. The majority of terrazzo countertops come from post-consumer products, like wine bottles or car windshields. For an extra modern edge in your kitchen, go for sharp, clean lines and install a tiled backsplash in an unexpected pattern behind it for extra oomph.

Terrazzo Floor texture background pattern and color

Install a Solar Tube in Place of Recessed Can Lights in the Hallway
As experts have begun to study the effect that light has on our productivity, alertness, and overall well-being, they’ve noticed that interior lighting that more closely matches the intensity and hue of natural daylight consistently demonstrates the best responses from study participants. A solar tube is what it sounds like—a small, rounded tube cut into the ceiling that reflects natural light from the outdoors into your home’s interiors. Use them in place of recessed lights in a sunroom, hallway, or powder room, and enjoy the positive affect they have on your circadian rhythm—and the electric light they offset, as well!

Repaint Your Furniture with Homemade Milk Paint
Milk paint is exactly what it sounds like—an ancient surface covering mixed from lemon juice, color pigment, and of course, milk. Painted on furniture, it gives pieces an edgy, distressed feel. And it doesn’t contain harmful fumes, like VOCs, that can affect the air quality throughout your home. You can buy milk paint ready-made, or make it yourself using this recipe. Try it on an aging bureau, dresser, or on a side table that could use a lift—and pat yourself on the back for not adding to our landfill footprint!

Install a Solar Shade to Ward Off the Heat
If you live in a warm climate, you may already be aware of how excess solar radiation can affect your cooling bills. The sun raises the interior temperature of your home, meaning your AC has to work harder to keep things cool. And if you have old or outdated windows, the environmental toll may be even greater. While eco-friendly frames and glazings do exist, if you aren’t ready to spring for new windows for your whole home, you can at least protect your HVAC and furniture from solar heat by installing a solar shade over your most sun-prone areas. These green window treatments use specialized materials to block excess light and heat from entering your home. And they come in a variety of styles and colors as well!

Real young girl in casual wear illuminated by the setting sun near the sea with her hand covering her face from sun light. black and white

Replant a Patch of Lawn with Native Grasses
Here’s one just for you, green thumbs! Every year, thirsty lawns pull billions upon billions of gallons off the water table. In fact, the EPA estimates that lawn irrigation accounts for 30 percent of residential water use—or 9 billion gallons per day. That’s a shocking statistic, and it means that our outdoor spaces could really use some help when it comes to cutting back on the sprinklers. Ornamental native grasses add an eclectic verve to your landscape design—and go well with other water efficient features, like hardscaping or manmade dry creek beds. What’s native will differ according to your area, of course, but reedgrass, oatgrass, and maiden grass are all popular choices—and grow without too much encouragement in many climates. They make the perfect accent next to a line of bushes or along pathways. After all, why shouldn’t green look good?

Genius Tricks That Make Your Home Look Bigger

Genius Tricks That Make Your Home Look Bigger

While the go-to trick might be to cover your walls with mirrors, try these lesser-known designer ideas to leave your space feeling wide open.

 

Perhaps your minimal lifestyle has led you to a small living space, or you’re on a tight, I-can-only-afford-a-studio budget. Maybe you just have that one cramped room you don’t know what to do with. In any case, there are a multitude of ways to create the illusion of spaciousness through decor. While the go-to trick might be to cover your walls with mirrors, try these lesser-known designer ideas to leave your space feeling wide open.

Adopt a Monochromatic Color Scheme

Painting your walls, molding and window trim in the same neutral shade will allow for a smooth line of vision from floor to ceiling, eliminating any choppiness. Similarly, using multiple shades of one color for your furniture, throw pillows and other decorative pieces will create cohesion throughout the room and give the illusion of space.

Get Furniture That Does Twice the Work

To get rid of superfluous furniture and clutter, incorporate extra storage in every possible aspect of the room. Invest in a coffee table that opens up to store blankets and magazines. Side tables with drawers or cabinets are a good place to stick remotes and media. When it comes to furniture in a small space, functionality is key—and this includes larger pieces, too.

Bring the Eye Up

Don’t sell your space short by ending the room at the top of your furniture. Take advantage of that wall space! This might mean installing floor to ceiling bookshelves, hanging artwork vertically or placing curtain rods all the way up to the crown molding. Much like in fashion, anything vertical is elongating. Use that philosophy for your home decor.

Open the Space with Tile Flooring

Laying large tile flooring with narrow grout lines tricks the brain into seeing a larger space, adding to the illusion of an open and airy room. Also, consider the placement and pattern during install. Square tiles set at a 45-degree angle or rectangular tiles installed perpendicular to you as you enter the room force the widest part to get noticed first, thus allowing the eye to follow to the back of the room. Go for a light shade if your style is modern and sleek, or explore a simple, dark pattern that will add contrast to a neutral wall.

Create Seamless Room Transitions

Avoid choppy sightlines between rooms in your home by considering all the ways you can blend the spaces together. Sticking with the same color story on the walls and continuing the same flooring instantly connects rooms, giving the impression of one large space rather than two or three smaller ones. Laying down a rug between rooms serves a similar purpose without the commitment of a total flooring change.

Give Up Your Window Treatments

While hanging floor-to-ceiling curtains adds to the appearance of vertical lines, skipping out on window coverings completely can dramatically lighten a room by removing excess fabric weighing down the space and allowing for more natural light. You’d be surprised how much bigger your windows and walls will feel.

Give Each Piece Breathing Room

An old standby rule is to use small furniture in a small space, but you don’t need to throw out your favorite statement piece just to please the design gods. Oversized furniture can still work as long as it doesn’t have to compete with other bulky items. Try placing furniture at an angle and using pieces that have exposed arms and legs. Both options help to create a sense of air around each piece, making the room feel more spacious.

Focus On Streamlining

Even if you want to break every design rule in the book, the key to faking a bigger room in a smaller space is to give in to decluttering—at least where the eye is concerned. Whether you accomplish this by grouping like items together using a single color scheme or actually removing items altogether, each trick is designed to help the eye see the space as a whole and not the tiny details that break it apart.

Sarah Fogle of UglyDucklingHouse.com is a self-professed power tool addict with a passion for all things do-it-yourself and decor. If you are researching some new projects for your own home, and are considering floor tiles in the planning, you can find a wide selection of tiles on the Home Depot website.

7 Amazing Garage Remodel Ideas

7 Amazing Garage Remodel Ideas to Make it More than a Storage Space

Not parking your car in the garage? Then consider transforming it with one of these garage remodel ideas!

Guest Post by HomeAdvisor

Americans have been building home garages since dawn of the 20th century. Originally known as “auto houses”, garages were first designed to shelter automobiles from the elements. In fact, the word garage derives from the French “garer,” meaning “to shelter.”

In 21st century America, garages do much more than house cars. As growing families have a need for additional living space, garage conversion has become an attractive and cost-effective solution. Here are some ideas for making the most of your garage:

One-Car Garage Makeovers

  • Laundry room: Using your garage space as a laundry room allows you to use the interior spaces in your home more effectively. Many homeowners find that by moving their laundry room to a garage, they can remove non-load-bearing walls inside their homes to create larger living spaces. An additional benefit to a garage laundry room is that the noise generated by washing machines and dryers is farther removed from the living areas of the home. Since a washer and dryer do not take up the entire garage space, there is still plenty of room for storage with this solution. The cost for relocating your laundry to your garage is typically around $5,000 for plumbing installation, dryer venting and electrical work.
  • Personal gym: Converting your garage space into a personal gym allows you to eliminate the need for a monthly gym membership. With no more need to travel elsewhere to get in a good workout, you can exercise when and how you want. The cost to convert your garage into a working gym is $5,000 to $10,000 for installing proper flooring, walls, ventilation and a small HVAC unit.
  • Home office: If you need a little extra space for a home office, look no further than your garage. For $5,000 to $15,000, you can hang drywall, install flooring, wire your office and install a small HVAC system to cool or heat as needed. Having your office away from the busiest areas of your home can increase your productivity and restore order to former chaos.

Two-Car Garage Makeovers

  • Family rec room/home theater: Do you need a place for the family to gather for a fun night? Your garage can be converted into an entertainment oasis with minimal effort. Depending on the extent of your imagination, a family rec room conversion can be accomplished for $5,000 to $20,000. For a home theater fully stocked with state-of-the-art electronic equipment, expect to add an additional $10,000 to get the job done right.
  • Artist studio: For those with an artistic side, converting a garage into a working artist’s studio can be a dream come true. For $18,000 to $38,000, you can hang drywall, add flooring, install cabinetry to hold your art supplies, install windows to catch the light, and add a small HVAC system to keep your creations at a reasonable temperature.
  • Garage band studio: Develop your musical side by using your garage as a band studio. For $10,000 to $20,000, you can install walls, floors, HVAC, electrical and soundproofing for your musical endeavors. And with your studio outside the busiest living areas of your home, you can practice in peace while your family enjoys a quiet evening at home.
  • Granny suite/efficiency apartment: If you need a place for Grandma to stay, or for your older teenager to experience life a little apart from the rest of the family, you can convert your garage into a fully functional apartment. Expect costs of $22,000 to $63,000 for a one bedroom, one bathroom efficiency apartment. While this may seem like a large investment, it will increase your home’s value as well. Since it requires additional plumbing, electrical work, a separate HVAC system, flooring, drywall installation and decorating, the larger price tag is both understandable and reasonable.

Things to Consider

Building codes differ by location. It’s important to find out about necessary permits and licenses before embarking on any garage conversion project to avoid potential fines and penalties. Because skills in plumbing, carpentry, drywall, HVAC and electrical trades are needed, many homeowners find it easier to hire a contractor to convert their garages. A contractor can work with you to maximize your space, and he or she can also provide you with a cost estimate for your proposed project. Working with the right professionals, you can use your garage to its fullest potential, increase the value of your home, and create an inviting and comfortable living space for your family to enjoy.

4 Tips for Designing a Bathroom that Will Grow with Your Child

4 Tips for Designing a Bathroom that Will Grow with Your Child

Our friends at Home Depot share decor tips for your little one’s bathroom.

Kids love change when it comes to decor. The bathroom is one of those rooms in our homes where kids spend a lot of time doing things they’re often not particularly interested in doing. If you can create a look for the bathroom that will make your kids feel energized about their hygiene routine, it’s a win-win for both you and your kids. The real trick is realizing that your child’s taste is likely to change frequently. It’s important for you to utilize some elements in the bathroom that are easy to change up and others that can stand the test of time. Follow these tips to help you create a space that both you and your child will love.

Neutral Paint

A neutral paint palette can adapt with your child over the years. Pick tones that will coordinate with many different accent colors so that your bathroom accessories are never limited to matching with the color on your walls.

Cool neutrals in green, blue and purple hues are a great option for bathrooms because they are soothing and allow you to use warmer or brighter colors in your accent pieces. If you stick to cool neutrals, you also have a lot of flexibility if your child is interested in adding an accent wall to the bathroom. A little color theory research can help you make the right choice when it comes to paint colors and accent pieces.

Unique Art

Art pieces and bathroom accessories are a great way for your child to insert his or her own personality into the room. Whether your child prefers to feature his or her own artwork or follow a theme, you can find many affordable pieces to add to the room that can bring a unique, fun feel to the bathroom.

Wall decals are another element you can add to the bathroom that will dress up the walls and easily come off when your child is ready for a change.

Timeless Bath Fixtures

 

It can be tempting to select bath fixtures that match the current trend of your child’s bathroom, but timeless faucets and bathtub fixtures are a guaranteed way to ensure that a bathroom update doesn’t become costly time and time again.

Faucets like American Standard’s Kempton line provide a classic, vintage-inspired design with clean lines and oval shapes giving it that timelessness that will grow with your child’s changing taste in decor. Styles that are classic rather than overly trendy will help your fixtures meld with any bathroom theme.

Fun Linens

From shower curtains to bath towels, the linens in your child’s bathroom can and should be replaced fairly regularly, so why not make them an essential part of the decor too?

You can often find shower curtains that match exactly with your towels, but it’s also easy to mix and match based on the color scheme your child is most interested in at the moment. If your child isn’t set on a specific bathroom theme you can use linens and rugs to add pops of your child’s favorite color to the bathroom.

Growing children have growing tastes and opinions about how their own space should look – even their bathroom. You can keep up if you determine what elements of their rooms should be more permanent fixtures and what items can be affordably updated and changed out over time to accommodate their many interests.

What ideas for renovating spaces for kids have you tried?

Grilles: The Perfect Finishing Touch to Any Home Style

Grilles: The Perfect Finishing Touch to Any Home Style

Planning a renovation or building new? Andersen Windows explains how window grilles can amplify your home’s style and highlight the best features of a home.

Brought to you by Andersen Windows

When it comes to the finishing touches on a home’s exterior, window grilles can amplify your home’s style and highlight the best features of a home. From stately colonials to quaint cottages, classic farmhouses to craftsman bungalows, grilles help frame views, inside and out.

400 Series Woodwright Double-Hung Windows, Custom Grilles   Prairie Home Style

Whether building new or replacing old windows, today’s grilles offer significant advantages over the traditional grille construction methods – meaning homeowners don’t have to sacrifice energy performance or simplified maintenance to achieve the look they want for their homes. Here’s a quick overview of the different grille construction methods used today:

Full divided light grilles: This style gives your window an authentic look with full divided light grilles that are permanently applied to the interior and exterior of the window with a spacer between the glass, giving the look of the classic grille window construction.
Simulated divided light grilles: Simulated divided light features permanent grilles on the exterior but for Andersen window styles, homeowners can choose between permanent or removable interior grilles. There is no spacer between the panes of glass.
Interior removable grilles: The grilles are only on the interior of the pane, and are removable for easy cleaning.
Between-the-panes: The style that perhaps makes cleaning and maintenance the easiest, Andersen® Finelight grilles are installed between the glass panes and feature a contoured profile.

Depending on the window, it may be possible to add grilles to an existing window, bringing even more value to a style upgrade that can be accomplished quickly and at minimal cost.

While the construction methods may be thoroughly modern, grille patterns can be ordered to match any style of a home—in fact, Andersen can create custom grille patterns for unique architectural projects or historic restoration work. An overview of the most popular grille patterns related to home styles across the country can be found in the Andersen Home Style Library.

Living in Style

Living in Style: Queen Anne

Love Victorian homes? Learn what makes the Queen Anne style predictably unpredictable.

Brought to you by Andersen Windows

From 1880 to 1910, the Queen Anne style so completely dominated Victorian residential architecture that it has become synonymous with the word “Victorian” for so many people.

Queen Anne architecture displays a taste for all things current and fashionable. This desire led people to embrace the possibilities of mass production that made design elements more affordable and more obtainable. As such, the wall surfaces in Queen Anne style homes became primary decorative elements by incorporating gables, bay windows, towers, overhangs, wall projections, trim and multiple cladding materials of various textures.

This beautiful New Orleans property is listed by Irene Lutkewitte with Coldwell Banker TEC Realtors for $2,875,000.

This “more is more” mindset is well represented in the many style elements found in Queen Ann architecture, such as:

• Textured surfaces, decorative patterns of wood or stone, various colors of shingles and slate
• Elaborate decorative trim, stained glass and an array of colors
• Towers, turrets, porches, balconies, and bay windows
• Tall, double-hung windows, with the upper sash decorated with art glass or with a decorative grille pattern

This stunning Queen Anne home located in Oak Bluff, MA is listed by Theresa Geary with Coldwell Banker Landmarks Real Estate for $3,650,000.

The result is an exuberant collection of eclectic details combined in delightful and unexpected ways. It’s this predictable unpredictability that makes Queen Anne one of our favorite styles at Andersen and explains the enduring charm and draw of this particular home style.

Learn more about the Queen Anne style at Andersen Windows’ online Home Style Library.

When DIY turns into DI – Why??

What Was I Thinking? DIYers Talk About Their Worst Decisions

  • Source:  Homelogic

Sometimes what seems like a good idea at the time just isn’t. Get tips from these DIY projects that didn’t go so well.

Finishing a DIY project feels amazing: Not only can you impress your friends, but you can spend every day walking by your masterpiece, gleaming with pride.

Unless DIY becomes DI-why?, that is. Even the most practiced do-it-yourselfers sometimes find themselves in the middle of projects that aren’t going according to plan. Don’t feel badly about the organizational system that fell over in your garage or the crooked tiling in the basement. It happens to everyone. Here’s proof.

Misunderstanding the Project Scope

Washington, D.C., homeowner Dave Coulon took on the task of making his own kitchen cabinets against the advice of his contractor friend, who told Coulon, “I’ll see you in two years.”

Coulon’s no DIY novice — he’s a shop teacher and has worked on his home’s dishwashers and toilets. Still, his friend’s words proved prophetic. The project was more than Coulon bargained for in more ways than one: Not only did it require a technical know-how beyond his ability, it required more physical space than was available in his home.

So while he was aiming to create a kitchen full of fancy, self-closing cabinets, he ended up with a crowded maze of poorly engineered, half-completed ones in his basement.

“I did the cabinets because I wanted to do it, but I would definitely not bother to make them again,” he says.

DIY high-end kitchen cabinetsImage: Ingrid Bush

Related:
How Hard is It to Install IKEA Cabinets?

Allowing a Renovation to Snowball

When a small project grows bigger and bolder, it can be painful to your budget and your schedule. Blogger Tanya of “Dans le Lakehouse” says most often, when her projects go awry, it’s due to snowballing beyond her original plans.

That’s what happened when she was changing the closet doors in her bedroom.

Old closet doors in a bedroomImage: “Dans le Lakehouse”

It was a presumably simple project that led to removing a closet organizer, then replacing newly discovered damaged flooring, then painting the entire closet bright orange — and ended with Tanya dropping $800 on new doors.

“We did run out of funds, energy, and time, so we patiently waited a year to save up for new closet doors,” she says. Eventually, they splurged on pretty white glass sliding doors, “so I can’t complain.”

How can you avoid a DIY project that soaks up more time, energy, and resources than intended? “Start with a lot of work reflection,” Tanya says.

Though the closet project was more than she bargained for, it was important to take the time to do it right once the additional issues were discovered.

“It’s best not to run away from the problem,” she says.

Skipping the Research

See a project on Pinterest or a blog that looks tempting? Don’t dive right in without researching the materials and how-to. Kerry Bindernagel, one half of the husband-and-wife DIY duo behind “Burritos and Bubbly,” learned this lesson the hard way.

Like many homes built in 1890, the Bindernagel home featured painted wooden floors. Unhappy with the color — not to mention the chipped paint — they decided to go bold and paint their hardwood office floors pink. But they skipped a key step: They didn’t research anything about how to paint wood floors.

“And we did a horrible job,” Bindernagel says.

Assuming painting a floor was just like painting a wall, they purchased a cheap can of white floor paint and mixed it — by hand — with pink. After a quick sweep of the broom and swipe of the paint roller, they were done.

Until it chipped.

Before the painted floor was repaintedImage: “Burritos and Bubbly”

“Every time we’d move a piece of furniture or even push a chair back from the desk, the paint would stick to the furniture and peel,” Bindernagel says. “It turns out painting a wood floor isn’t the same as painting a wall.”

Their second try — four years later — was more successful.

“We read every single thing we could find about how to paint wood floors,” she says. “We sanded and vacuumed and washed and primed and painted by hand.” The paint was more expensive; they used three coats both of primer and color, waiting 24 hours for it to dry between each.

Results of properly painting a floorImage: “Burritos and Bubbly”

“It was annoying and difficult and a giant pain, but we learned that investing more time and effort and research made all the difference,” Bindernagel says.

Discovering the Devil in the Details

DIY is hard work. While some people have endless patience for tedious projects, sometimes it’s best to recognize when the drudgery isn’t for you.

Chelsea Mohrman of “Farm Fresh Therapy” recalls such an ambitious project: hand-stamping — with a potato.

“It was a very easy, yet tedious project,” Mohrman says. It becomes boring fast, and every repetitive motion you make is an opportunity to screw up. The project required cutting a slippery potato into small triangles, dipping them in paint, and carefully stamping them onto a shower curtain — again and again and again.

The end result might be stunning, but Mohrman isn’t sure it was worth all the work. Luckily, her project was just a shower curtain, but the hard-learned lesson can translate to bigger projects. If you’re considering hand-stamping a wall — or even taking on another project that requires repetitive steps, like tiling a floor or refinishing a kitchen full of cabinet doors — be prepared to be meticulous and dogged, and consider if such a detailed DIY is worth the mind-numbing effort.

“I dropped my potato more times than I can count and failed to keep my cat out of the studio,” Mohrman says. “Never again!”