I have some dear friends whose motto regarding home projects is, “There’s a service for that.” If something needs painting, trimming, sprucing up–they’ve got somebody on speed dial to handle it. While that is convenient, it’s also expensive–and somehow, not nearly as satisfying as tackling a project yourself.
Today in The Motherhood, we talked about turning our DIY talents on our homes, with the help of talk host Kelli of Lolly Jane and guests Jaime of Crafty Scrappy Happy, Andrea of Queen B and Me, Tausha of Sassy Style, Maggie of Midwestern Girl DIY, and Aimee of It’s Overflowing. I’ll confess to being one of those people who always has a vision for a project, but who lacks the magic touch to make the reality line up with the vision. So I was especially eager to hear what everyone had to say.
Like, for instance…how to get started, especially if you’re not a natural DIY-er. Aimee’s sage advice: “Know your style.” If you’re not totally sure what your style is, the Internet, especially Pinterest, can help you figure it out. As Maggie points out, “as far as Pinterest goes…start pinning things you love…after a while you may see a pattern in what you like…the same color wall over and over, etc.” Kelli suggests that once you know what you like, you may be able to find instructional videos on YouTube. And it may be best not to start by biting off more than you can chew. Andrea suggests, “Pick something really easy at first, like painting a picture frame, or a shelf. Then try different techniques with it like distressing, or painting stripes! It will spark those juices and you will be unstoppable!”
Before a lot of us can get to “unstoppable,” though, we have to face the fears that are making us unstartable. (If that’s not a word, it should be, shouldn’t it?). Many of the less-experienced talk participants, me among them, have a fear of screwing up the project. But even those, like Maggie, with a lot of DIY decorating experience, will cop to the same fear. Jaime says, “I would have to say my biggest fear is re-doing something and liking it less after…. BUT I have yet to actually feel that way in the end.” It’s good to remember Maggie’s reassurance that “Unless you are doing a MAJOR overhaul, there’s really nothing that can’t be UNdone.” Andrea’s biggest fear had nothing to do with the decorating itself: “I never fear the decorating… I fear not having enough money!”
One thing some of us need to get over is the fear that others won’t love our pet projects. Of course it’s nice to have people ooh and ahh over what you’ve done, but keep in mind Kelli’s advice: “If you decorate for you, you’ll love it even more.”
Pinterest came up over and over as a source of inspiration, but by no means the only ones. Maggie and Jaime love poring over blogs, Kelli still gets lots of inspiration from magazines, and as Tausha says, “I love a good catalog and nothing beats a new, decorating magazine. Sorry pinterest…there is just something about touching the page.” So wherever you find your inspiration–just go for it!
“Go for it” seemed to be a theme of the conversation. Kelli encouraged us to not be afraid of color on our (till now) boring white or tan walls. If a whole room full of color is a bit too much to take, consider one bold accent wall. Tausha had some good advice as far as furnishings are concerned: “I love to do the big pieces in a neutral color than add pops of color with accessories, pillows and curtains. it’s much cheaper to change accessories than a couch.”
And speaking of furnishings, being a DIY-er means you can pick up items on the cheap, often for free, and make them fabulous. Kelli likes Goodwill, and Aimee’s had luck with Craigslist (Kelli says you can often talk a seller down on price, but don’t wait until you go to pick up the item). Jaime loves garage sales and estate sales. Tausha enjoys yard sales, too. In addition to garage and estate sales, Maggie has found some treasures out on the curb on trash day (guess it was only trash to the untrained eye).
Of course, transforming all these treasures into even-better treasures requires using some tools. Now, my mother didn’t let me cut my own meat at dinner until I was ten, so I may have an unreasonable fear of the pointy and sharp. But Kelli enthused, “I love my drill, my chop saw, my level and my brad nail gun. They’re easy to use, easy to learn and I’m not afraid I’ll cut myself.” Andrea says she loves her staple gun and finish nailer, both of which sound kind of pointy and sharp to me. So, if I want to become a serious DIY-er, I may have to put down the two-dollar hot glue gun and go get myself some big-girl tools.
And when I do, I suspect I’ll feel really good about using them to create my own idea of beautiful. As Jaime said, “Remember…your house should make YOU happy! It doesn’t matter what the neighbors think!” And even if the neighbors don’t like it…who’s going to say so to a girl with a staple gun in her hand?