Housing

Tips and Tricks to Making Your DIY Home Makeover a Success

Calculator, Notepad And Pencil Arranged On House Plans

Last week, Cathy Derus, the Mint.com Home Economics Sweepstakes winner, shared her before and after pictures of her TV room makeover. Today, Cathy is back with her favorite tips and tricks to making your DIY home makeover a success.

A big thank you to Cathy for sharing her photos and tips with MintLife!

Back in July, MintLife hosted its Home Economics sweepstakes. As the lucky winner, I received a $400 gift card to West Elm and 1-hour phone consultation with designer Tracy Hutson. I was beyond excited to win and couldn’t wait to start decorating!

Tracy had some great design advice for us and we are so happy with how our TV room turned out. In addition to Tracy’s decorating tips, we learned a few other things in the process:

Be patient

You might think a $400 gift card and professional help would guarantee immediate design success, but decorating takes time! It takes time to pull together inspiration and then even more time to turn your ideas into a reality.

If you’re looking for something on Craigslist, be prepared to wait even longer. I love West Elm, but I didn’t want our room to look like a carbon copy page from their catalog — I wanted to put my own touches on the design.

Plus, I didn’t want to settle on something that was just “good enough.” We’ve learned to be patient and wait until we find the right item for our space.

Live with your room

My husband and I are “have to see it” people. Yes, looking at magazines or Pinterest helps, but actually seeing an item in person and in our space is much more helpful.

For example, while shopping at West Elm, I thought their bone inlay Parsons mirror would be perfect for the bathroom adjoining the back room. When I brought the mirror home, it looked good in the back room, but seeing the mirror in the space made me realize it was destined for a completely different room.

Also, when we first talked with Tracy, we thought we would rather have side tables over a coffee table. But as we lived with our room, we realized we needed a place to put a drink and kick up our feet. So, a coffee table or ottoman went back on the list.

Get creative

A great way to (sometimes) save money and decorate with a custom piece is to create it yourself. After looking at several stores and websites, we decided to build our own upholstered coffee table. That’s an adventure in and of itself, but when it’s complete, I’ll be happy knowing it’s one of a kind.

DIY takes time

Our back room is actually home to several DIY projects: the TV unit and shelves, entry table, art, and coffee table. But unlike Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, our home makeover is being completed by an army of just two weekend warriors.

There were times when Mother Nature put a damper on our plans to spray paint, or we had to endure downtime while waiting for something to dry. So unless you’re willing to put in the extra effort, sometimes it’s worth it to outsource.

Cathy Derus is a Chicago CPA and lover of cupcakes, craft beer, running, nesting, and her hubs. She can be found writing about all of these things and personal finance at Fiscally Chic.