Home improvement gone wrong: how to fix DIY disasters in your home

Deciding to do it yourself with your home office decor or even refitting a whole room from scratch is ultimately a great idea. DIY gives you the opportunity to create a custom space that is suited to your personality as well as being functional for your needs.  Designing your own home interior is exciting, but it can also be challenging, especially when it comes to doing the work yourself.

More people are seeing the benefit of DIY nowadays as an enjoyable hobby, a way to truly personalise the home and also as a cost cutter when compared to hiring in the professionals.  Paying an interior designer and then the labourers to do the work can be extortionate.

Though there are plenty of benefits to designing your home yourself, and any room in the house, as an amateur it is highly likely you may make some mistakes (or many) as you go. That’s totally fine as it’s a learning curve, but you’ll want to ensure you don’t make any mistakes that are too costly! You may even have to begrudgingly call in the pros to put things right. The best thing you can do is research thoroughly and learn how to do everything properly the first time round.

One of my best pieces of advice is to measure twice and cut once. Or even measure four times and cut once, just to be extra sure!

Don’t panic, though. Disasters are likely to happen when you are an inexperienced crafter, but thankfully, there are still plenty of tips and tricks to fix the issues and save the day. Here is how to turn a DIY home decor disaster into a skillful home sweet home.  


You had a dream…

In many of your rooms at home you may keep things pretty simple – neutral walls and just some picture frames as decor.  Easy.  But the first room you will get to do from floor to ceiling without needing to compromise on your choices might be the home office. If you are a freelancer or a remote worker, you probably spend most of your day in a spare room at your desk. It’s easy to understand why you’d want to take over the decor and create a space that motivates and boosts you while you work.  This may be the first room where you let your imagination totally run wild!

Your dream home office project might start online with Pinterest boards, office tours on YouTube and even articles about how elegant interiors are some of the preferred sources of inspiration for home office improvements. But, they can also be the cause of dramatic decor mistakes! When the online world is filled with inspiration on Pinterest-worthy office goals and exquisite colour palettes, it’s easy to forget about your limits.

You may also not be an expert at colour schemes.  Just because a dark blue office suits a picture you’ve seen on Pinterest, it doesn’t mean the reality will be the same in your space.  If you’ve a small north facing room then too dark decor could make the space feel ever so enclosed and dingy.  Similarly, though light colours can make a space feel larger in a shadowy north facing space the whitewashed walls could make a space feel too shadowy and uninspiring. 

How to fix DIY disasters

Once the colours are decided then it’s time for the work to begin.  This can be where disaster really begins to strike if you are not careful!  Here are some common DIY disasters and how to fix them:

The window broke

If you’ve decided to upgrade your furniture, you might find yourself piling up pieces of wood and metal in a corner, ready to be built when you’re done painting the wall. You might even need to move the furniture through the room as you move from a wall to another until suddenly a metal pole that was designed to be a table foot falls and hits the window.


First of all, you need to clear out the debris, especially if you have pets or children who are likely to wander across the room. Put the large pieces in a plastic bag carefully, and make sure to vacuum the room to remove every little piece. You should also clear your garden or patio if debris fell outside. You can call an expert about professional glass repair which will be fitted to safety standards. There is no need to panic.  Everything can be fixed. Protect the broken area with cardboard until it’s been repaired and don’t let the incident stop you! However, to avoid further issues in future, you might want to keep unstable items away from your windows while you are in the process of decorating.

My laptop fell

I’m a big fan of home built furniture but suppose you forgot to tighten a couple of screws. It collapsed as soon as you placed the laptop on the surface. As a modern millennium it’s fair to say that when the laptop is damaged, you are left without essential equipment, which can be stressful. However, you might want to check the content of your home insurance. Some covers include accidental damages for your electronic equipment, meaning that you could claim and get your laptop fixed through your insurer. Additionally, most computer manufacturers provide a repair service for your gadgets.

For a MacBook, you could get the laptop checked through an appointment with Apple customer services. In fact, depending on the damages, your laptop could be restored to its former glory in a matter of hours! Admittedly, you might also find out that your tech equipment is beyond repair. While this can be distressing, you can sometimes use your home or business cover to replace the laptop. However, to avoid any issues, it’s best to keep a backup of your work.

The paint looks wrong

So what happens when you’ve decided on the right paint for the room but, now that the work is done, it doesn’t look as inviting as you thought it would? Or, it even looks a little messy. Don’t worry, mistakes happen, especially if you’ve never painted a wall before. But with the right techniques, you can fix most paint issues. For instance, if the walls look patchy, it’s because you didn’t apply enough layers. Let the paint dry fully and add a second coat. Some paints might need a third coat for a nice even finish.

Paint blisters are a standard issue in a moist room. If you notice them, you need to find the source of moisture or temperature difference. Once this has been addressed, you can scrape the bubbles and repaint over. Drip stains can happen when you leave too much paint on the brush. To remove these, wait until the paint has dried to scrape and sand the area. Then repaint the section. You might want to take a look at these professional tips to avoid future mistakes. You don’t need to call in a painter if you know what you’re doing. The secret is to take your time; don’t rush through steps as you’re more likely to get messy.


The furniture doesn’t fit

More often that not you will find the perfect piece of furniture but you’ve not considered the size and the access to the relevant room.  Many have purchased a sofa in the past with little thought to the size and whether it will fit up a staircase or through a front door, only to realise it doesn’t and must be returned to the store to find an alternative sofa.  It’s a valuable lesson which will save you valuable time and money.  So, if it doesn’t fit through the door then first of all, don’t panic. You will find a solution. In fact, there are plenty of things you could do. If the item doesn’t fit straight through the door, you can try different angles before giving up. If you remember Ross in Friends, the pivot can be a useful tool if applied wisely!  I even had a friend who had to remove a large window to get a sofa through!

Try to maneuver the pieces through the door vertically or diagonally. You might also want to remove the furniture from its packaging, as this will save you a lot of room. If the item refuses to go through, you can partially disassemble it to help it pass through the door. Taking the legs off can avoid the obstacle completely. If you just need a tiny bit of extra space, try taking the door out of its hinges. It can give you up to ½ inch!

You simply don’t fall in love with your decor

The home office decor project is over and, as you sit at your desk in the morning, you realise with horror that you don’t like the result. The paintwork is ok. The furniture fits. Nothing broke during the process. But you hate your decor. One of the reasons why a brand new interior might fail is because you forgot to mood board it. Consider upcycling, chalk paint and Gumtree sales to redesign your space without breaking the bank.

The colour palette doesn’t work in the room

The colour palette looked terrific on Pinterest, but it doesn’t fit the room. Forget the inspiration you found from home interior boards and magazines and focus on your favourite colours. You’ll find it easier to work in a room that is suited to your tastes. Avoid dark tones for a small room, as it will create an impression of confined space.  For the impression of more space and an airy room then choose lighter palettes.

DIY home improvements are likely to run into obstacles when you first decide to decorate your home. Embrace these as a lesson to learn! You might not design your dream room overnight. But with time, you’ll create a space that is suited to your personality and is perfectly functioning.

Find more DIY related projects in these articles:

Build your own veranda

Under stair drawers

Bathroom sink refit

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