To DIY or not to DIY. Is it for you?

Posted on August 05 2022

To DIY or not to DIY. Is it for you?


In the last couple of years, I’ve really become hooked on watching YouTube videos. I even wrote a couple of blogs about it last year. Not surprisingly, my favorite content involves videos related to design and decorating. They’ve inspired me to become more creative, crafty and thrifty with my purchases. As much as I love a good DIY, these videos are emboldening their subscribers into believing that anyone can do it, and do it well enough to become Pinterest worthy. I’m sorry to say that some people will be sucked down that rabbit hole only to discover that DIY isn’t the right choice for them. But by then, it will be too late to turn back.

I love a good opportunity to be an outlier. So here are some great reasons why for some, DIY should mean Don’t Initiate Yourself.


Thrifting DIY


Many influencers extol the virtue of thrifting. I really dislike going into a thrift store. Whilst there are hard working people who keep these stores well stocked and organized to be pleasing to the eye, I still feel really grubby after handling the merchandise. Some household items are chipped and dusty and frankly should have never had the second chance to see the light of day. The clothing area usually has an unpleasant mix of body odor and mysterious stains I prefer not to tackle. I don’t feel the least bit creative nor inspired in these stores. My inside voice is usually screaming at me to get the heck out within minutes. If this sounds like you, don’t try to be brave. Get out and stay out.


During the pandemic, dollar stores’ profits have soured. That is understandable as in our neck of the woods, they were never ordered to be locked down, being deemed essential shopping. They’re a lot of fun to peruse to get the creative juices flowing. However, the mighty dollar doesn’t seem to get you much anymore as they’ve consistently hiked prices to $5.00 in some stores. By the time you fill up a cart, you’ve spent a ton of money. Also, some items are so poorly made, there is no point buying them and inevitably end up in landfills.  Paints and pens dry up almost as soon as I opened them for the first time.  Handy electronics burn out faster than they should and the rest end up in my junk drawer, forgotten. Go into these stores with a plan and a purpose and you may not become their latest financial victims.


By now, some of you must have figured out that some amazing social media videos that swear certain “hacks” and techniques work, don’t really work at all. I have yet to figure out why these videos get posted and what do these people gain from lying? Some will spend a lot of time and money following seemingly simple instructions only to find that it was all for naught. You’re left feeling confused and foolish and berating yourselves for being a creative failure.  Remind yourself that if it looks too easy to be true, than it isn’t true at all.


I’ve fallen for this one many times. Whilst gathering the supplies needed to do a bit of DIY, I end up with so much left over material never to be used again. Why, because that project did not turn out as well as I hoped so I didn’t want to try it again. Instructions always strongly recommend certain brands (likely because of secret deals made between influencers and product companies). They’re usually top shelf choices, which sting your bank accounts. Continue your research, ask real experts in the field for their advice for cheaper alternatives and hints on techniques before attempting a project.

Adley and Company Inc


Don’t paint furniture. Just don’t do it unless you’re already an expert. We once salvaged an old fireplace mantle from a friend. I loved it but wanted to lighten it up with white paint. Husband and I did so many coats I lost count in the end.  And no matter what we did, brush and roller lines would not become smooth.  Crevices and details looked gloppy from too much paint. In the end, we broke it up into small pieces and put it on the curb for trash pickup. I haven’t tried spraying, which is supposed to yield better results. But do I want to get a lot of pricey paint cans or worse, invest in a spraying machine?! No thanks. My warning also applies to painting kitchen cabinet doors. Get them professionally painted. Many people do it for decent prices. It’s just not worth it to try it yourself if you’re a novice. You will never be able to achieve that factory finish.


Many DIY projects involve expensive power tools. Unless you can actually see yourselves using them for years to come, try renting them to see how they handle. A day or two rental cost is far less painful than purchasing them only to lose a digit and your patience. That’s not to say you shouldn’t own a level, multi-head screwdriver, pliers, hammer etc. Those are essential tools everyone needs just to hang a picture. Ask a handy friend to give you some tutorials. I’m sure they’ll be happy to work for food or drinks!


Just don’t attempt to upholster anything. You might be a decent sewer, but that has little to no relevance when it comes to proper upholstery of furniture. That is a separate skill set best left to professionals. Yes, you’ll be shocked by how much it costs, but if your furniture piece is very sturdy and you are likely to keep it for years to come, upholstery is a good investment. It’s the best option. I’ve tried doing chair seats with pieces of fabric and a staple gun. It did not end well.  Amateur home projects will always look Boho in a bad way. It will look like you let your kids loose on your projects. 


Know when the right time is to hire an Interior Designer or Decorator. Their education and experience will save you time and money in the end. They can guide you in the beginning with strong and stable suggestions for furniture placement, space planning  and properly advise you on where your money should be spent. I’ve seen too many people with purchase remorse of furniture and larger ticket items such as entire renovations. A professional can give you a game plan from which you can work slowly over time. Having a solid plan at the beginning will give you the confidence and guidance you need to get you through the process.

I love a good DIY. In fact, husband and I are known for many wonderful creations scattered within our home. And we have made many mistakes along the way, some just cost us time while others cost us financially as well. We have learned a lot. The more we learn, the more we have realized that we need to keep learning.



Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing