Want to know a secret? It’s like when Carrie goes to see an old flame on Sex and the City, he invites her on a hike and she says, “I don’t hike.” His response: “I learned something. Hiking is walking.”
Here’s what I’ve learned: DIY is walking, too. It might seem intimidating, like climbing a mountain. But it’s a lot closer to strolling up a hill. The best part? You can start with baby steps.
Taking only baby steps, we transformed our master bathroom.
You can do it, too, with some planning. Just follow these baby steps:
1. Think function. What do you need the space to do? (We wanted two sinks instead of one.) Then ask yourself if that’s realistic – in the space, and your budget.
2. Think form. How do you want it to look? (We wanted a modern, minimalist vibe.)
3. Ask yourself what can be updated or re-purposed. (We were able to update the shower tile instead of replacing it.)
4. Choose the products and materials you need, and don’t forget the little things. (We bought big items like the vanity and shower doors, but also factored in tile spacers, light switch covers, etc.) Figure out – before you buy anything! – how much everything will cost, including tax and shipping.
5. Do some online research about how to tackle projects, like tiling or replacing a countertop. Figure out which ones you’re willing to try, and what tools and materials you’ll need. (We learned how to cut floor tile and install shower doors this way.) Hint: for anything requiring cutting, make practice cuts first!
6. Decide what projects to outsource, and get bids. Ask contractors if they would give you a discount if you help. At the least, watch what they’re doing, so you can do it next time. (We brought in pros to re-glaze the shower tile and hook up the sink drain.)
7. Set your budget. You could do this first. But I think it’s smart to do research first, and then decide if it’s worth what it will cost to bring your vision to life. If not, make some compromises.
8. If your budget allows, buy all materials before you begin. When you have everything at hand, the project goes faster, and you save yourself a million runs to the hardware store. When in doubt, buy extra, and save your receipt.
9. Decide what order you need to do things, and take on one thing at a time until you’re done. Baby steps! (First we removed the old fixtures. Then we painted. Then we had the shower re-glazed. Then we put in the floor tile, the toilet and vanity, etc.)
10. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying your beautiful new space.
I hope I’ve inspired you to take on your own DIY project, no matter how small. With a little practice, DIY not only becomes do-able, it becomes fun. And nothing beats that “I made this!” feeling.
Tanja Hester blogs about home design, renovation, cooking and entertaining at Postmodern Hostess.