How’d That Hold Up?

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I was going to name this post, The DIY Projects I Would Do Again and a Few I Won’t, but it was too long. How’d That Hold Up, pretty much covers what I am sharing with you today.

I have completed hundreds of projects here on the blog. I enjoyed doing all of them, but for today’s post I am only going to cover the projects that readers have questioned me about right after I completed them, wondering how it would hold up since the method I used was perhaps a little unconventional or a new product was used.

DIY-Chalk-Painted-Furniture-recipes
Painted with DIY Chalk Paint 7 Years Ago

DIY Decorating Projects RE-Visted

In the DIY world, quality and longevity are important when decorating, especially after you are going to put time, money and effort into them, you want to make sure it works and will last.

In some HGTV shows and social media – it is well known that the WOW factor sells. It is all about getting the WOW reaction. I am sure you have seen the HGTV makeover shows that transform a room in a day.

I remember one where the wood floor in a dining room in a home was painted in the morning and had the furniture placed back in by dinnertime so they could get the reaction of the homeowner walking in after work and seeing their dining room transformed in a day.

Those poor homeowners, I am sure that floor looked awful the next morning when the TV crews were long gone and they would have to deal with doing it right all by themselves.

I don’t share anything like this and never will.

DIY blogger supplies

Every project that I have completed and posted about on the blog is for my own home or a family member. I want it to last. For every project I try to think and execute each one for not only style and to fit my budget, but for quality and longevity also.

Sometimes short-cuts become a problem, like when I hung a wall TV and placed the wires behind the wall to hide them without using a TV wiring kit.

Every electrician trolling the internet came after me. I took the post down, but then wired the TV with an in the wall wiring kit and reposted the post. That was 7 years ago. That post is my #1 post that brings me the most traffic every month. It might not be the post that my loyal readers go for, but Google and Pinterest searches bring new readers my way.

Other times a quick-fix becomes a permanent one and a very good solution. Like when we expanded a small one door closet in our previous home to a double door pantry closet.

We used doors we had, but one of the door knob catches got in the way. I used hot glue to keep it inside the door. It worked perfectly and did for years and still could be keeping the doors functioning well. I no longer live in the house to take a photo of it.

The general questions I have received about some projects usually goes something like this…

“OK, Love it! It looks good now, but how will it hold up with use?”

To come back around to answer some of the questions, I combed through my blog archives, comments and found the DIY projects that have lasted years and that I would do again.

I also looked for a few projects that didn’t hold up well. When I look back at the time, effort and money spent doing the project, I would not do it again or use a certain product again.

So here is my list of DO & DON’T DIY decor projects. I will start with the ones that have held up very well.


DIY Decor Projects That Have Held Up Well and I Would Do Again

IKEA BEKVAM Stool Makeover

This stool gets a lot of use. I keep it in my kitchen now. Right in front of the chalkboard wall.

The questions and comments I received about the stool were that the tape would not last and get sticky. 

I covered this stool with Houndstooth duct tape back in 2013. It is going on six years and is still going strong. No stickiness.

The tape has held up very well. It is tough. It has worn on one corner of the lower step and the white paint has gotten a few dings on the legs, but overall it is in very good shape.

I would cover a stool or flat surface with this tape again. The tape comes in many different colors and patterns and is one very inexpensive way to make over a piece of furniture with no special tools or skills needed. You can find many patterns – here.


Staircase Makeover

If a staircase in your home has carpet and you are not a fan and are dreaming of a stained step and painted riser staircase, then you should take a peek at what is under your carpet and get this project started. Completing the staircase in my previous house made such a BIG difference to the decor.

I was sold after doing it for the first time in my previous house that when we moved to the lake house, one of my first big projects was making over the foyer staircase. It is not an expensive project, but does take some time and effort, but once you are done, so worth it.


Spa like bathroom makeover for under $300

Bathroom Remodel for $265.00

Of all the home DIY decor projects I have taken on, this by far is one of my favorites. From the $10 vinyl floor color fix to the decorative tub front molding, I had fun giving this builder grade bath a colorful and very budget friendly makeover.

What Would I Do Differently Now ?: It has been 8 years since I transformed this bath. If I were to do it today, I would use all PVC boards around the tub. When I did this, there were only a few sizes of the boards available.


Custom made built-in banquette in kitchen

Kitchen Banquette

This banquette is one of two things I miss from my previous house. When we moved I wanted to take it with us, but since it was custom-made for the space and built-in, it had to stay. My dad built it with some help from me. After he passed away, it took on a whole new meaning for me and that his loving hands were still embracing every me time I sat on it. :-)

How to make a no sew pillow cover

It was so well built and “perfect” in every way. I would love to build one in my kitchen now, but there isn’t enough room to create the “L” shape that made the banquette perfect for cozy dinners as well as larger gatherings around the table.


Painting the metal details on furniture with brass paint

DIY Chalk Paint

When I first started making, using and posting about making my own chalk paint I had no idea how much I would begin to love it. Back in 2012 there was only Annie Sloan that was expensive and only came in a handful of colors. If you didn’t like the colors or price, you didn’t have an option. When I made my own chalk paint, it was very inexpensive and I could make any color I desired.

Nowadays, every paint brand under the sun has a line of chalk paint that comes in many colors and price points. I buy more of the ready made paint now because it is so readily available and affordable, but still make my own when I want a certain color.


DIY painted marble countertops with veining

Kitchen Counter Carrara Marble Painting

As you can probably imagine, this project is the one I receive the most questions about.

I painted my dark brown Formica kitchen counters using a Granite Countertop painting kit. I didn’t want a granite look and used the paint to create a Carrara Marble look instead. This was almost 2 years ago. Now they make a Carrara Marble kit.

I could not be happier with how well the paint not only looks, but has held up. This is not to say, the finish is perfect. Over time there are a few flaws.

The counter surfaces looks pretty much as nice as it did after I painted them, but there is some wear along the edge that has just begun to show up.

The biggest flaw is the seam in the Formica that is over the dishwasher. The heat from the dishwasher has raised the seam and the paint in the seam has cracked a bit. It is still adhered and is not peeling, but it is not smooth.

Painted counter showing exposed previous Formica after a new cooktop was installed.
NEW COOKTOP ADDED RECENTLY

Recently we got a new cooktop. The vintage JennAir had some electrical issues and had to be replaced. When the installer came to remove the old and install the new cooktop, he had to cut the hole in the counter larger and used a jigsaw to do it. This made marks in the paint as you can see from the photo above that the new cooktop did not cover.

I have a plan to fix this. Once I do, I will post about how I went about fixing the paint so that it blends in well with the existing paint.


Painting Upholstery

This little chair is the chair that could. A neighbor gave it to me, so it was a freebie. it rocks and swivels and is on the petite side, so it fits just about anywhere. I no longer have it. My daughter wanted a rocker for her apartment and this fit perfectly, so I gave it to her.

I used fabric medium and paint to paint the chair and would do it again if I ever came across an upholstered piece that was the right size for my needs, but not the right color.

Since painting this upholstered chair, I have seen upholstery painted with chalk paint and sealed with a light layer of clear wax. It looks and wears well, you would think it was leather.

When we moved to the lake, the chair took a beating and did get scuff marks on one of the front pleats. I was able to wash most of it off with a hot sudsy rag.


Dining Room Brass Chandelier

This is the other item I wanted to take with us when we moved, but I knew I wouldn’t have a room to use it in so it stayed with the house.

Making over the simple builder grade chandelier was an inexpensive project that I did over a few days time as I had to let each layer of paint dry before applying the next so it would take on an aged look.

What I Learned From This Project: Not to be afraid to paint something. Have the confidence to keep going. I had nothing to lose since I didn’t like the chandelier as it was. After the first few coats of paint, I still didn’t like it, but I kept adding more until I liked what I saw. Adding the crystals really made it have the style I was looking for.


Rolling Door

In my previous house, my studioffice was opened by a double wide doorway to the family room. We looked into getting bi-fold doors to hide my mess, but they would need a track installed and we didn’t want that. Two doors didn’t fit right.

When shopping at a local Habitat store I found 3 lightweight bifold doors for a few dollars a piece. I added wheels to the bottom of each door, hinged them together and painted them white. When I attached one side to the frame of the door and added a handle, I had a unique rolling door for about $25.

If I did this again, I would do it the exact same way.

The DIY Decorating Projects I Would NOT Do Again.

DIY Outdoor wall art on exterior wall of house along patio

How to Make Outdoor Wall Art

This was a fun project that I did for my sister, but it didn’t last very long – the wood frames warped in the humid air. :-(

Lesson Learned: When doing outdoor projects, realize the elements are going to take a toll on the items so don’t spend a lot of time or money on them. On the other hand, when I painted outdoor resin planters using DIY exterior chalk paint, they have held up for over 3 years now, even in the southern brutal summer heat and humidity.


Clock Tray

I love this tray, even though it looks like an antique one now. It fits perfectly on the little chest of drawers I use as a night table.

I lined the inside of the tray with black and white clock face scrapbook paper and used a product called EnviroTex to seal it. It is really thick and dries like a sheet of glass. It is a really cool product, but it does yellow over time, plus it was expensive and tricky to use.

The Fix: Try to find the same scrapbook paper and place it over the surface. Use Minwax Polycrylic in a gloss finish over the paper. Since it is water-based it will not yellow over time. The finish may not be as smooth and glass-like as the EnviroTex, but will give me the look I am after.

Lesson Learned: Don’t use oil-based sealers of any kind over white or light surfaces – they will show darkening or yellowing over time. They are only OK to use over dark colors.

I did use this same product on these drawer pulls and they have not yellowed as much.


How to paint a deck with Deck and Concrete Restore

Deck at My Previous House

This project was a HUGE mistake. We used a brand new product called Deck ReStore 10X to refinish the aging deck at our previous house. I followed the directions every step of the way. All looked great for about a year and then…. all went south with the paint coming up.

The Fix: We had to rent a drum sander with the roughest sandpaper imaginable and work for 2 days straight sanding and scraping the paint off so that we could then apply traditional stain over the newly sanded wood.

Lesson Learned: Never again will I ever use a brand new product on a big project. Test on a small project first.

With so many projects completed, it is normal that some didn’t come out as planned, but all in all I am pretty happy with my success rate.

I am not afraid of failure and will try just about anything after doing some research to gain the confidence to try something for the first time. I don’t dream… I do… DIY… so the house in my head doesn’t stay in my head, but comes to life!

Wondering about any other projects I have done? Like how I we mounted our flat screen TV to the wall and hid the cords. Just ask in the comments.

What projects have you done around your house that you would do again and what ones wouldn’t you do again?

 4 images of DIY projects that you should try.

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34 Comments

  1. That little white stool–I still love it. Saw one at IKEA and was going to get it. Sadly, I can’t find that hounds tooth duct tape, ANYWHERE….. To this day, I always look for it wherever I go. That, and the desk you painted white. Gorgeous!!! TFS

  2. I recycled my old kitchen cabinets into a new laundry / craft room. My sis and I painted them a warm blue and they looked terrific. But after we sold the house and moved on, I went back for a tour when the house was up for sale again. I noticed tiny chips along the drawer edges. I hadn’t known I should either A. prime first or B. use chalk paint; so I’d do that part differently in the future.
    But they still looked good and functioned just how I’d hoped. I think the craft / laundry helped sell our house for way over asking.

  3. Thanks for sharing a review of your various projects and the test of time. I am wondering how your woodwork project has held up. We are in the process of changing over all our woodwork and doors from stained to painted. Sand, wash, prime, 2 coats of semi-gloss… Repeat… We have one more room to go and then the hallway. After that I may tackle your staircase/bannister project. Decluttering and getting ready to put our house on the market.
    Thanks for sharing!!

  4. I’ve enjoyed your blog for years, although I can’t say I’ve done many of the projects. One project that I did try has a story to it—I tried painting a wing-back chair that I bought at a garage sale for less than $20. Used lots of medium and lots of paint over several months. One day I discovered my husband had taken it to Goodwill, thinking I didn’t want it—wrong! I think he just wanted it out of his work shop. Guess I’ll never know if it was a success or not. You have given me the confidence to try a few new things , and I appreciate your straight forward and honest approach as to what has worked and what hasn’t. You are so creative that you spur me on. Keep up the good work and wonderful blog!

    1. Hi Linda –

      If only your husband knew that it was a work in progress. :-) Sorry to hear that he took it to Goodwill. I bet someone scooped it right up.

      Thank you for reading my blog. It is nice to know that you enjoy reading it. With so many bloggers nowadays I truly appreciate hearing that. I hope to continue blogging and sharing my ideas for as long as I can.

  5. Thanks for the great post, Diane! I always enjoy your DIY projects and feel so inspired to try my own.

    I appreciate the honest feedback about what did/didn’t work so well. Keep them coming!

  6. Thanks, Diane for sharing what doesn’t work. With all the DIY shows making everything look so easy and quick, I really appreciate your input! One of the hints I learned from you is the no-sew outdoor cushion covers, which I have been doing every spring/summer since I read it. I sew a lot, but I also like to change my cushion covers frequently, and your method works great when cushions are on clearance, but the wrong colors/patterns. One of my biggest DIY-don’t-do-it-again projects (probably too many to mention) was installing pot lid racks on the end of my cabinet for storing my cookbooks. With everything going on in my well-used kitchen, the cookbooks all stuck to the paint on the cabinet so when I finally got the cookbooks out to try to use, every one of them pulled the paint off the cabinet. On the upside, we found some interesting paneling at Habitat for Humanity and covered the cabinet end with that, so it turned out to be a bonus in the long run. Always look forward to your posts. Thanks for everything!

    1. Hi Edith – Happy to read that you were able to remedy the cookbook rack with the paneling. Sometimes you have to take a few turns in the road before getting to your final destination. :-) Thanks for reading my blog.

  7. I remember every project you showed except one I’m not positive about. I have always loved your blog, and when I found it I read them all. Sometimes, I drift, but I always come back and catch up. I have learned a lot, but my house is due for a lot of work. It has been too long. I know this is one place I will come for help.

    1. Hi Ellen –

      Thanks for being a long time reader. Life gets busy and when you have a million things to do in all aspects of your life, I am happy to know that you still find the time to come back and catch up. I hope I can keep inspiring you for years to come. :-)

  8. Hi Diane!
    New subscriber here, and I’m obsessed with your blog! Although I haven’t gotten through all of them yet, I have a very basic question having moved into a new home a few months ago. What is your favorite white paint color for your walls? I’m really starting with the basics and am following the “decorate it slowly” advice from your mom (for the first time in the MANY houses I have lived in!) I am so overwhelmed with projects, and need to calm my head and just paint my canvas first and lighten up my house before I start on all my “projects’. You’ve given me so many ideas though, I hope I have your energy to carry them out (OMG-what is you secret?!) Thanks Diane -for your creative and inspirational DIY’s, sound advise, and honesty that comes through in every blog post I’ve read, kudos to you!

    1. Hi Kathi – Thanks for subscribing :-)

      White paint colors will look different depending on what way the room faces – West, East, South North and the amount of windows and light that get into the room. A white paint that looks great in one room, may not look the same in another.

      I would get a few paint chips and tape them to the wall to see what whites look the best overall in your home.

      Here are my faves to check out:

      Valspar Bistro White. It is a warm white-white. Not too blue and not too yellow or warm.
      Sherwin Williams Pure White – 7005. white-white with no blue undertone
      Sherwin Williams Creamy – this is a warmer white
      Sherwin Willliams Natural Choice – neutral white

      As far as energy and getting projects done. You are smart. I would do what you stated to stay calm and paint the canvas – base and then work out from there. Once you have the time to start on projects, just start with something small. Get it completed in your own time frame and then move on to another. Once you start seeing results you may find you enjoy the process more and won’t feel so overwhelmed. One step at a time will get you results.

      Thanks for reading.

  9. I’d like to know about your 3 D Mirror Gallery Wall? Would you do that agin? I adore everything about that guest room. Truly beautiful! By

    1. Hi Sheryll – The 3D gallery wall was one of my all time favorite projects. When we moved I was sad to have to take it down. I would do it again and still have all the mirrors. In the lake house, I wanted to do new decor ideas in the rooms, but may create it again in a hallway.

  10. Hi Diane.
    Love your blog for a long tume now.
    I also need to learn Guttenberg editor for WordPress. What online videos are you using?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Ana – Thanks for being a long time reader. :-)

      Sorry for my delayed reply to your question. I watched a few YouTube videos from Yoast and others, but they didn’t really help me understand how to use it. I found a Gutenberg course from Blogaid and it made the difference for me.

      It wasn’t too expensive and you can complete it in an evening. It is all visual and that is what I need to learn new things. She has videos and overviews after each section. It is a well done course that I did again after a week just so it would all sink in.

      I love using Gutenberg now. Once you get the hang of it – took me a few posts – I like it so much better than the previous Classic Editor. Here is my affiliate link to the course if you want to check it out: https://learn.blogaid.net?aff=DHenkler

  11. I love when you do these types of posts, Diane. This was so helpful! I’m wondering how your patio set that you repainted (I think last year?) is holding up. And, do you think it is worth the effort of doing that project if I have to scrape rust off of it first?

  12. Diane, while I’m thinking about it….I liked your pink color b!ock, but I almost skipped over it because at first glance it made me think it was an advertisement. I agree with the lady commenting on font sizes ?
    But everything was clear and readable for me on my Fire tablet. I also liked the way your email looked too!

  13. This was a great idea for a post! Loved going through memory lane with you and getting your current thoughts on each project. I love that little bathroom make over! When I saw the picture, I smiled and thought to myself how this was one of MY top favorites !!

    1. Thanks RS –

      I have been checking too. It comes up OK on all my devices and browsers. I know I am in the first wave of adapters to the new editor and there will be some bumps in the road as they configure it. The fun thing is that I am now able to present my posts in dozens of different ways if I want. I will probably stick to the basic, but I will enjoy being able to add color blocks, make galleries and more without the need of knowing any technical coding. :-)

  14. We own rental property in the city with 2 apartments in one very old house. We painted the Formica countertops in both places using the same product that you blogged about (before your post). Very happy with the initial results, however one counter has water rings and chipped areas which show the ugly Formica beneath. We think the renter had placed hot pans on it. There are touch up kits available, but will probably end up replacing it all with something that is more durable since it’s a rental.

  15. Really enjoyed reading this post. I remember all of these projects and I think my favorite is your “Bathroom Remodel for $265.00.” I wrote down your chalk paint recipe when you first posted about it and I run across that piece of paper once in a while as I rummage through my desk drawer. Guess I can just google it when I need it. I haven’t tried making any yet but one day! Hows that grandbaby doing? We need some new photos to ooh and ahh over.

  16. Good morning!
    I have enjoyed following a lot of your projects. Your post today is not readable as the pictures are directly over the print. I know you mentioned using a new system so I think you will appreciate the feedback.
    That being said, I would urge you to reconsider the multiple column layout. Other blogs use them and I will admit they look nice, however, for many of us they are just not readable. The print is too small, the color fonts just seem to fade. For those of us that need glasses the print is nearly impossible to see. While the single column format may be old fashioned, it’s disappointing to see that once again all anyone cares about is appealing to the younger crowd.

    1. Margo, I’m sorry your having trouble reading the post. Just so Diane will know I was able to read it with no problems and I’ll be 72 on Wednesday.

      1. Thanks for telling me Vikki – Every computer and device is configured differently so problems will arise. Happy Birthday – I hope you have a great day on Wednesday. 72 and going strong.. You go girl! :-) I turned 60 a week ago. XO

    2. Hi Margo –

      Thank you so much for telling me about the problem with text over the print in my post today. This is good to know since the editor is new and is still going through changes. Could you please tell me what device and browser you are using? Knowing this will help me be better able to pinpoint the problem you are having. Are you using a PC or MAC and what browser you are using – Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, Chrome on another browser? Thanks

      The layout I used today is just one of thousands. I am experimenting with the most basic options to see how they look. I can still layout a post the way I normally do, but now there are options – tons of them. The changes are to give site owners more creativity. I can make the fonts and copy any size and color I want or need, but I agree with you that in multiple columns – the copy can be hard to read.

      Since it is a new system that I have to learn, there will be some bumps in the road, but don’t fear, it will all work out and you will be able to read my posts. I will make sure to keep the fonts large and easy to read. :-)

  17. What a great post today! I remember most of these projects so it was fun to reminisce with you!

  18. Thanks for the updates, Diane. I love that so many of your projects can still be seen in your blog posts. It proves that you really create for your lifestyle and not just for the blog.