5 Questions to Ask Before DIYing Furniture
Don’t you love the feeling of a completed project?? Well this little console has been in the works since January…Yep, two and a half months. (And that’s not even the longest some of our projects have taken; we still have one in our closet that has now been a year and a half in the making….just keeping it real. 😉 ) Anyways, the story behind this is that we had some of our good friends approach us about building them a custom TV console at a Christmas party in December. They had been looking around for a while, but hadn’t found exactly what they were looking for in their price range. So naturally, the adventurous DIY side of our personalities jumped at this opportunity! They had some pretty specific measurements and requests, so my hubby hit up the drawing board to begin the design process. The two of us agreed on a design that we believed would meet both their needs and their wishes. And thus the real work and adventure commenced!
Both Jon and I tend to have the same mentality when we shop. We see a sweet furniture piece, and talk about how “easy” it would be to DIY it. (Anyone else out there do the same? Some of those pieces look so simple, right?!) But yet, there is still that looming uncertainty of whether or not it will be within our range of ability and skill. So today, I am happy to say that we are on the other side of a DIY furniture piece! And we (and our marriage) survived! In this post, my goal is to both encourage you and hopefully give some insight and wisdom on doing it yourself from the perspective of someone who has created/built just a few pieces. I have compiled five questions to help you evaluate whether or not taking on a project will ultimately save you enough to make it worth the extra effort of taking it on yourself!
- What will the materials cost to build this piece? For us, this is the number one indicator of whether or not making something ourselves will be worth it in the end. In the case of furniture, most times you can make it for less than half of what you would pay for it at a store. For instance, the materials for console we built cost us about $110, where as buying something similar from Target would have cost $200-300. (#winning)
- Do I have access to the tools I will need? This is something that we failed to think about in the building of our first couple pieces. The farmhouse table we built cost about $100 in materials, but we spent around $300 on tools we needed to be able to build it ourselves. (#notwinning) If you are just doing a one time project, I would recommend trying to find a family member or friend that would loan you the use of their tools/shop for the day. (Unless you are planning on making a lot of things yourself, then the investment is worth it!)
- How much time will this take? This is a tricky one…What looks to be a simple DIY typically takes much longer to make than you would originally think. (To give you an idea, we probably spent somewhere around 20 hours on this console.) Whenever I think something will take a certain amount of time, I normally double that and that is about how long it ends up taking. I say this not to discourage you, but hopefully it will help you set realistic expectations and not get discouraged when a project takes you much longer than anticipated. Remember, that the more you do something, the easier it will be!
- Do I have access to a good blue-print or can I draw one up myself? Planning is key. I may be an organizational nut, but I am a firm believer that taking time on the front end to draw up and make a plan will save you time and hassle in the long run! Invest in some graph paper and don’t be afraid to ask for advice from an experienced builder if necessary! A few things to consider when drawing up your plans: How will I attach the various pieces? Where does it need support? How will it look aesthetically? What elements of character can I add?
- Am I willing to be committed to this project and follow it through? This may seem like an obvious question, but yet I think it is a crucial one to ask and be honest with yourself. Jon and I have been guilty on many occasion of not finishing what we start. If you are going to make the investment of your time and money, than you want to be able to glean from your efforts, and not have the stress of unfinished projects constantly bearing over you. Life will happen and you may put projects aside for a while, but don’t let that while turn into forever! 🙂 You got this! (#fistbump)
I plan to eventually upload and share the plans for our TV console with you! But until then, happy creating and doing it yourself! 😉 And don’t forget to enjoy the journey!