April is Home Improvement Month! While it’s great to feel empowered by finishing up a big project at home—whether it’s putting up bookshelves or redecorating the living room—don’t make these common mistakes that can have even the craftiest, most competent DIYers wishing they’d never picked up that power saw.
1. I’ll Do It In My Spare Time
Working on needlepoint or reading a bestseller are two things you can do when you have a little time to yourself. Painting a house (even a small one) or other large projects are best done in a block of time that’s been put aside especially for a big undertaking. Deciding you’ll do something piecemeal is a recipe for living with it in various stages of completion for the next ten years.
Read Related: 6 Tips for Home Improvement on a Budget
2. DIY Means Paying Less Money
Doing a project yourself seems like a budget-savvy judgment call, but give your DIY aspirations some serious thought. Don’t forget that an expert comes equipped with the tools for a project, whereas you might have to rent or even buy them yourself. Is it worth it to buy a circuit tester that you might never use again? Also, if things go wrong, calling in a pro to fix your mistakes might cost more than if you had just called one to do the project in the first place.
3. I Don’t Need the Instructions
Yes, you do. It may be daunting to open up that drab looking manual, with the tiny print and impossible to decipher diagrams. But you’ll save yourself a whole lot of time and heartache later on by reading the instructions instead of improvising or “feeling your way through,” whether it’s putting together a new dresser or installing a kitchen sink.
4. Home Improvement Projects Aren’t Dangerous
There are some home improvement projects that can be considered pretty safe. Putting up a few decals in your kids’ room isn’t going to result in much more than a paper cut, and wrangling an IKEA table may give you a serious case of frustration, but nothing that will warrant a trip to the E.R. When taking on bigger projects, think about the potential risks very, very carefully. What do you really know about gas furnaces, or electric wiring, or using a power saw?
5. I Can Do It By Myself
Big home improvement projects are not necessarily meant to be tackled solo. Sure, you love the empowering feeling of strapping on a tool belt and hitting the basement to lay down some linoleum. That’s fine—but consider having friends over for a painting party, or having time as a couple with your partner as the two of you paint the nursery.
6. It’s Okay to Cut Corners
It can be very tempting, after you’ve taken on a big project, to take a few shortcuts here and there. Running out of paint? No one will see if that little corner on the living room ceiling doesn’t get filled in. And a few bubbles in the wallpaper won’t ever be noticed, will it? The truth is, you’re the one who will have to look at the end result of your impatience for years or decades to come. So if you’re feeling worn out and want to hurry up and finish whatever you’re doing, take a deep breath, take a break, and then complete the task at hand as thoroughly as you can. You’ll be glad you did.