6 DIY Myths You Need to Stop Believing Immediately

If hours upon hours of HGTV binge-watching has taught us anything, it’s that pretty much anything can be DIY’d. New deck? Go for it. Updated bathroom? You could have the walk-in shower of your dreams in a weekend’s time.

What’s more, those TV pros make it look so easy. So if you have a big renovation on the horizon, we can understand the temptation to ditch the general contractor and tackle the job yourself.

And on the one hand, we don’t want to squash your ambition. Believe in yourself and anything’s possible, right? But on the other hand, overblown ambition—fueled by more than a few myths about what it really takes to DIY a home renovation—can lead to an expensive disaster.

Have you caught yourself making these assumptions about your DIY project? Set yourself straight before you start swinging the sledgehammer.

Myth No. 1: Home improvement shows are adequate DIY tutorials

Watch Jonathan and Drew Scott rip out a kitchen wall, and you’d be forgiven for thinking you can DIY an open-plan layout, too. All you need to do is Hulk-smash your drywall! You might even picture getting the kids involved (with proper safety gear, of course).

It’ll take more than watching these guys for 22 minutes to master DIY remodeling.


But take it from us: Set down the sledgehammer. Step away from the wall.

“Remodeling has become so ubiquitous through various media like television shows that many homeowners view it too casually, sometimes treating it more like a hobby than an expertise,” says Jason Biddle, who runs aging-in-place home resource The Helping Home and has managed multiple major renovations in his own home.

“It’s increasingly common to naively jump into a renovation, lacking the necessary level of respect for the task at hand,” adds Biddle

To give your project the respect it deserves, take the time to thoroughly research it in advance. Biddle recommends reading construction resources like “The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling,” to familiarize yourself with all the crucial details you’ll need to know.

And when in doubt, call for help.

“Know your experience level and have the wisdom to know when you can handle a project yourself and when you should seek the help of an expert,” says Tonya Bruin, CEO of To Do-Done Renovations.

Myth No. 2: Buying materials online saves time

Assembling the materials for your DIY renovation from the couch can seem fun and easy, but think twice before you click “add to cart.” Whenever possible, it’s better to buy materials in person. At a store, you can check quality (is that tile prone to cracking?) and make sure you’re getting what you pay for.

When you buy online, “you take on all the risk and can’t verify details for things,” says Matthew Breyer, the president and lead designer at Breyer Construction & Landscape.

Imagine that enormous cabinetry order you placed finally arriving—only to realize the hardware wasn’t included, the shelves are the wrong size, or the construction is poor.

If you’re set on purchasing online, check your order thoroughly to ensure every piece you need is included—and build in time for returns or exchanges.

Myth No. 3: Painter’s tape is for rookies

The tape is your friend


We’ll admit painting is one of the simplest DIY jobs. But that doesn’t give you license to skip the painter’s tape.

Many DIYers paint without tape “because it takes time and effort to apply, or they feel like they’re painting experts and don’t need it,” Bruin says. “However, it’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make. The only way, as a DIYer, to get sharp, clean lines is to use tape around your edges.”

Myth No. 4: DIY projects are cheap

Sure, when you do projects yourself, your labor costs will be less—but materials still cost money (and there’s also the value of your time).

“The costs will still most likely cause some sticker shock,” Biddle says.

Once again, we’ve got television to blame. Just because Chip and Joanna Gaines knock out a whole-house renovation for $70,000 doesn’t mean you’ll do the same.

“The unrealistically low budgets on HGTV shows mislead viewers into thinking that their own remodeling efforts won’t be very expensive,” Biddle says.

And don’t forget to budget for the inevitable screw-up.

“Some renovation projects are simple enough in theory, but they can quickly turn into a headache and end up costing you a lot of money having to fix mistakes,” Bruin says.

Myth No. 5: You can knock out your DIY project in a weekend

“The term ‘DIY’ has a connotation of brevity,” Biddle says. “Watching a four-minute online tutorial or reading a one-page magazine article can lead homeowners to believe that the project will be a breeze. If there are only five steps involved, then surely it can’t take too long, right?”

But even small projects can be a big deal. Shatter a box of tiles? That’s a trip to the hardware store. Take a break to watch a few episodes of “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”? Before you know it, that’s a weekend lost.

“Even relatively simple endeavors can easily turn into a time suck,” Biddle says. “Add in that many DIYers are weekend warriors with full-time jobs, and it becomes obvious why the ‘little’ project takes three months to finish.”

Myth No. 6: All your mistakes can be covered with paint

No one’s expecting your work to be perfect. Installing cabinetry is hard; hanging shelves requires masterful precision; and getting all the decking boards aligned … well, good luck with that.

But don’t think no one will be the wiser if you cover up your inexperience with a thick coat of paint. Paint can’t hide that the cabinets are uneven. And when it comes to your deck, paint can actually make the problem worse. (Make sure to choose a type of paint designed for decking, otherwise there’s disaster ahead.)

“We look at dozens of decks that were just painted with a product that did not adhere to the wood,” Breyer says. “Now the entire deck is peeling and unusable.”

Myth No. 7: Cleanup is easy

It will hopefully be no surprise that renovations can be messy. A big dumpster can eliminate some of the pain—but not everything can be disposed of that easily.

“Many building materials are actually considered hazardous,” Breyer says. Your old flooring could have asbestos, and the drywall you tore down might be covered with lead paint. Governments have specific regulations about how these materials must be disposed.

Research everything you throw in that dumpster, otherwise you might get slapped with a fine. Hooray—another unexpected expense!

Hot Decor for Winter 2019 Will Give Your Home a Cool Refresh

Just like fashion, decor trends change from season to season. And the cooler light of winter demands a different look—a space where you’ll happily hunker down, comfy and snug until the ground thaws. (Those palm leaf–print linen throw pillows scattered around your living room aren’t exactly cozying up the joint up, are they?)

So you should treat your home to the same eye you give your wardrobe when the weather forecast shifts. It’s time to revamp with the coldest season’s hottest home trends. After all, you’re going to be stuck inside anyway—so you might as well get to work redecorating, right?

Dusty pink

Photo by Sims Hilditch
Call it (if you must) the “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” effect: Vintage dusty pink will be huge in the home decor world this winter, experts predict.

It “conjures up thoughts of being soft, yet strong,” says Paula Taylor, lead designer at Graham & Brown, a wallpaper design and manufacturing company. “It has a duality to its personality and is sophisticated, yet fun. You may see dusty pink upholstery lightening up dark dining chairs, for example, or even to create an accent wall with a wall covering that will bring some character to a lifeless room.”

The move toward pink isn’t a winter fling, either. Our 2019 decor forecastsays all shades of the rosy hue will continue to reign supreme in the coming year.

What to buy:


Dark wall colors

Photo by Branca, Inc.
While designers might be turning to light pink for furniture and accessories, they’re going to a dark place for paint colors.

Despite conventional wisdom, a dark wall looks chic—and not at all depressing, insists Marina Case, principal designer at The Red Shutters. In fact, dark colors such as black and navy can make your furniture and art really pop.

But take note: This trend looks best in interior spaces—such as hallways and powder rooms—rather than in a large living space that has a lot of natural light.

“You would think [dark colors] make a room look smaller, but they actually make the room look larger,” Case says. “For example, an entry foyer or a bedroom vestibule is a great place to do a dark wall. And as for how to accessorize, white moldings look great against this look.”

What to buy: Racoon Fur 2126-20, Benjamin Moore


Grass-cloth furniture

Photo by Elms Interior Design
Grass cloth—that handwoven stuff that was all the rage in the ’60s and ’70s—is making a comeback in a big way. Typically used for wallpaper, grass cloth today is found on coffee tables, benches, mirror frames, and more. It might seem strange to incorporate such a summery trend during this particular season, but adding a low-key tropical feel during winter’s most frigid months can really cheer things up.

“Grass cloth is trending because it adds a whole other texture to the room, and manufacturers have figured out how to do it successfully with furniture,” Case says.

But budget buyers, beware: This look might not be for you.

“Making grass cloth is not an easy process, so you can expect to pay a higher price for this type of furniture,” Case says.

Indeed, grass-cloth furniture on Etsy can easily run upward of $1,000. True grass cloth is handwoven, so if you stumble upon something that looks like a steal, it’s probably not the real deal.

What to buy: Custom grass-cloth mirror, Etsy, $300


Maximalist fabrics and prints

Photo by Studio G Interior Design Ltd
This season, expect to see our living spaces embrace the maximalist trend. (The Romanoffs would surely approve.)

“This winter will be a celebration of luxurious fabrics like brocade, silk, damask, and velvet,” says Emily McCrary, a home decor expert at House Method. “Find these in rich colors—like magenta, chartreuse, emerald, crimson, tangerine, and inky black—and loud patterns that announce themselves proudly.”

It’s a decor scheme that might seem excessive, McCrary says, but trust us—it has a natural fit in your home in the gloomy wintertime.

“We see luxurious fabrics, wild patterns, and maximalism rise in popularity during winter, because we crave the warm jewel boxes of our homes, we love throwing parties, we love celebrating the excess of the holidays,” McCrary says. “It lays the perfect palette for the spirit of the season—even after the holidays are over.”

What to buy:


White-painted floors

Photo by Johann Grobler Architects
You wouldn’t dare mess with your beautiful, natural wooden floors, right? Well, design experts suggest you might want to consider painting hardwood floors (and wood-paneled walls) white.

It’s a decor choice that’s certainly not for the faint of heart. But it’s a “big risk, big reward” scenario, promises Gillian Grefé, a design expert at Havenly.com.

“These days, risk-taking is being seen in more permanent places like floors and countertops,” she says. “The application of white instead of ‘natural’ colors is bolder than you’d think, and it is an easy, quick, and affordable update.”

Grefé says her clients may be skeptical at first, but love the look in the end.

“People are enjoying the delight in taking a risk,” she says.

By  | Dec 21, 2018