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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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. :-)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?