When You Shouldn’t DIY

Take Charge on 01.24.13
Contributor bio | twitter

Photo: Ali Edwards/Creative Commons

I have taken on a lot of DIY projects in my lifetime. I am not an especially crafty person, but I am extremely frugal. It’s my desire to save money that has had me Googling everything from homemade beauty products to DIY furniture. Unfortunately, I’ve learned from experience that not every Internet tutorial should be attempted at home.

Many times, my attempts to tackle a project on my own instead of purchase a pre-made item has actually cost me more money in the end. The materials for the platform bed my husband built were about twice the cost of a similar bed on Craigslist. With the money I’ve spent on trying to paint and then reupholster a used set of mid-century chairs, I could have hired a master furniture builder to create a custom pair of wingbacks. Before you begin a DIY project, estimate the cost of all the materials you’ll need and compare it to the cost of just going to IKEA and buying what you actually want.

I’ve also learned that most DIY projects won’t turn out the way they look in the after pictures on the craft blogs. With this mind, make sure you can live with less than perfect results before you begin. A do-it-yourself, upcycled wedding dress, for example, may not be the best idea. And you might want to send the antique dresser that was your great-grandmother’s to a professional instead of breaking out the sand block yourself.

The final factor that should determine whether a weekend warrior should attempt a task is the degree of difficulty of said task. Home improvement shows hosted by professionals are great for inspiration, but we should never forget that Ty Pennington was an expert. Swapping out the fabric on the seat of a dining room chair is doable for most DIYers, but doing a custom upholstery job on a couch and loveseat is not a good idea if you’ve never wielded a staple gun and don’t own a sewing machine.

By all means, go forth and Pinterest, my friends. Then do a web search for a professional in your area who can bring that pin to life.

Top Articles on DIY Projects
5 DIY Home Décor Projects Your Kids Can Tackle
5 Projects that Will Make You Buy a Glue Gun
5 Ways to Use Pinterest to Be Happier