How to recover from a DIY disaster

The allure of DIY is strong: you save money, learn a new skill, and feel a sense of accomplishment.

However, it can go wrong.

Research from RISA, an independent inspection body, found that UK homeowners have spent £6.6billion on fixing DIY disasters – as one in five have encountered problems while doing DIY projects.

According to the data, the average resolution costs £5,896.

But, it’s not too late to fix something if it does go wrong – sometimes you can salvage it.

Samantha Jayne Agbontaen, founder of House Designer, says: ‘Everyone makes mistakes and we’ve all had our fair share of “oh no” moments of DIY interior design projects gone wrong.

‘From choosing bad lighting to not working with measurements, not budgeting before starting, using redundant curtains, buying wrong sized furniture, and choosing wrong colour schemes, we’ve done things that make us question our capabilities.

‘The good news is that there is a way to recover from this.’

Figure out the mistakes

Before panicking, Samantha says first to calmly pin down: What went wrong? Was it multiple things?

‘Asses what went wrong with the project to ensure that you don’t make the same mistake,’ she says.

Re-plan the space

Samantha says: ‘If your living room is way off, for example, you should consider re-planning the space to cover up the failed DIY project. 

‘Sometimes, we don’t need to add more furniture, we just need to re-organise.’

If it’s a mistake that won’t compromise the safety of the house, it might be something you can simply hide away with a few smart moves.  

Poor lighting

Lighting affects the ambience of a room, and it will highlight your DIY mistakes. 

Samantha suggests: ‘Change the lighting to soft lighting in the evening, and allow natural light to flow during the day. 

‘Natural light in the day will drown out any mistakes effortlessly.’

Consider your focal point

Samantha says: ‘If there are too many focal points, nothing will draw your eyes.

‘If you have a large room, you can break it up using a combination of smaller accent walls, playing with the focal point.’

Sometimes adding more can take away from a disaster.

Dropping paint

Dom Lees-Bell, DIY expert at Drench, says this is a common error.

‘Dropping paint onto surfaces is a common DIY disaster that many people face.

‘If this happens to you, you can use white vinegar or rubbing alcohol to naturally remove the paint and dissolve any paint traces from wooden and ceramic surfaces.

‘You can also use vinegar to remove paint from clothing – all you need to do is soak the paint in vinegar and leave it for a few hours before washing.’

Think about the room function

Lots of people think about how the place will look once pristine – not how it’s likely to look day-to-day.

Dom says: ‘When measuring furniture, you need to ensure that you have enough space for cupboard doors to open fully, and enough floor space to walk around your furniture.

‘Use masking tape over the measurements of all your furniture before you fit them, so you can ensure that it’s not too crowded and double check how much space you have to play with.’

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