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Design 101

DESIGN MISTAKE: When to Hire vs. DIY (With Lots of Commentary From Me Based on New Experiences/Mistakes/Horrors)

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photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: a refresh of the kid’s room in the mountain house

I get this question A LOT, mostly from friends and family who can’t afford (or don’t want to) hire a designer and contractor and feel like they want to tackle some remodeling projects themselves. Well, I found this in a book called STYLED (you should get it if you don’t have it) and I had totally forgotten about this section. The thing is five years later, with a lot more experience, I had so much to add (or negate) about what I originally said about whether you should hire or could DIY. So below you’ll find the original advice and my current 2020 commentary, with some helpful links to articles if you are doing said project.

Ahem. Here’s what she said…

“In the process of styling your home, you’re probably going to get inspired to tackle a heavy decorating or renovating project. There are some things anyone can do and some things I wouldn’t recommend unless you have plenty of time and are willing to fail a lot before you succeed. Here is a quick guide:”

DIY AWAY

Replacing Dimmers or Upgrading a Light Switch

Emily Henderson When To Hire A Professional Versus When To Diy 11
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: the reveal of the mountain house kitchen

Then: Definitely something you can do yourself, it’s just a Google search away.

Now: Brian just put in dimmers and replaced out kitchen outlets to add USB things. He’s truly never been more proud of himself for not having to hire a handyman. If he can do it, so can you.

Painting

Then: Do this yourself if you want to spend the time. If it’s just flat prepped walls without a lot of molding or ceiling, then no special skills are needed and any mess-ups are easy to fix. Keep in mind that one room normally takes one day.

Now: I actually LOVE a painting party and think that we should revive them, but for clients we obviously pay a professional. Speaking of painting, here are some of our favorite paint posts: Our Favorite Whites & Gray Paints, Our Go-To Neutral Paint Colors, Our Favorite Non-Neutral Paint Colors, Our Favorite Pastel Paint Colors For Grown-Ups, 12 Bold Blue & Green Paint Colors We’ve Tested, Design Mistake: Paint A Small, Dark Room White

Laying Flooring

Emily Henderson When To Hire vs DIY3
photo by tessa neustadt | from: our modern english tudor living room

Then: With a few folks to help, you can do this yourself, but the cuts are the trickiest part. If you have a more straight, square room, you have a better chance. As long as you are comfortable with a table saw and are good with measuring then go ahead. Installer charge anywhere from $1.50 to $3 per square foot, depending on experience and how licensed they are.

Now: OK, last weekend we attempted to lay flooring ourselves for a volunteer project and after 3 hours we had only accomplished one row, literally 12 feet of flooring. We chose the “click” vinyl wood flooring for how “easy” it is, but if your wall isn’t perfectly straight (which most aren’t) then it’s going to be exactly the opposite of easy. We gave up, returned it (thank you Linoleum City for being so kind to take it back) and are opting for either wall to wall carpet or carpet tiles.

That being said… Sara and her boyfriend, brother, and dad all laid the flooring for their house on their own. But her dad had laid flooring before (for his own house) and it still took about three days of nothing but flooring install, a few problem-solving breaks, and was very tedious. So yes, you can DIY but it will take a long time if you haven’t done it before and might be very frustrating.

We hired someone to lay down wood herringbone floors in our LA house and it took way more time than that (and therefore money), but I wrote a whole post about it if you are thinking about doing it yourself.

Staining or Painting Furniture

Emily Henderson When To Hire vs DIY4
after photo by veronica crawford | from: how we took a $20 thrifted chair & made it cool again

Then: Do it yourself, unless it’s a serious antique or mid-century gem. Refinishing furniture is just so satisfying; once you try it a few time you’ll master it quickly.

Now: I still totally agree with this. We recently updated this chair and had so much fun.

Painting Tile

Then: You can do it. This is especially successful if you just want a quick update. Don’t buy tile with the intent to paint it; painting is a good “we like the shape just not the color” solution.

Now: Yes, you can paint but definitely do some research (this post just came out and seems thorough, and a few of our readers pulled it off here), and know that walls will hold up better than flooring that scuffs.

DEFINITELY HIRE

Wallpapering

Emily Henderson When To Hire vs DIY5
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: a romantic glam bedroom makeover

Then: It’s not worth the risk and headache, so hire this out. I know people who have done this themselves and they have harrowing stories to tell for the first few times. It’s hard to succeed – there are patterns that need to be matched, seams that need to be cleaned and if you mess it up, it’s really difficult to repair. You might actually lose money on the paper itself. Pricing varies on the experience of the installer but I think you can budget $600 to $1000 a room, and one to two rooms a day depending on how fast he or she is.

Now: I agree, except we’ve done a decent amount of temporary wallpaper installation ourselves, and it’s totally doable. (Check out our romantic glam bedroom, a boho 70s inspired bedroom, this home office makeover, and this sweet nursery for examples of how we’ve used temporary wallpaper. But it will take time (at least a full day with two people). If you are looking for wallpaper we have one of the best online here out there, by the way.

Lacquering Furniture

Then: Now, this is a different beast from painting furniture. For lacquering, the piece has to be sprayed, it needs to be guarded from all dust (like in a tented room or booth), and it requires really long drying times. Hiring this out is expensive (a small side table costs around $100; budget $300-$400 for larger pieces), so make sure you really want that high-end lacquer look.

Now: 100% Still agree, check out why here.

HIRE OR DIY – IT’S A TOSS UP

Skim Coating Your Walls (or Getting Rid of a Texture)

Emily Henderson When To Hire vs DIY6
photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: portland reveal: light & bright home office

Then: You can do this yourself but it’s very laborious and messy and you need many special tools. The process involves a combination of plaster the walls and sanding them over and over again. But I know people who have done it themselves for the first time and it worked well. Hiring someone is expensive (because it’s so time-consuming); you can figure a room might cost around $1000.

Now: Please read this post about how we could have saved so much money in Portland by not obsessing with getting flat walls. At the mountain house we painted over the drywall with a spray, then went over it with a hand trowel to give it some texture which saved so much money on making sure that the walls were PERFECT. And it’s so pretty, so please do that.

Painting Cabinets

Emily Henderson When To Hire vs DIY7
photo by tessa neustadt | from: the final big kitchen makeover post

Then: This is not difficult, but it is a commitment. There are a few ways you can hire someone to do this. You can get a painter to spray it (not quite as durable but looks good, take only two days, and is a cheaper solution), or have someone properly lacquer, which can take four to five days with drying time (estimate between $1,800 to $3,000 for a kitchen). But if you set aside a few weekends, you can do it yourself. Watch tutorials to make sure that you use the right paint. Remember that you often have to paint the inside too, replace hardware (including hinges), and redrill new hardware, and normally that quote above covers those annoyances, too.

Now: I just want to reiterate how important it is to use high-end lacquer paint for cabinetry and have a professional do it, unless you are very experienced. Our paint is chipping so bad at our LA house and it’s only been 3 years. I have no idea why but yes, I’m frustrated because I thought we hired someone really high-end.

Replacing Light Fixtures

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photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: portland project: the living room reveal

Then: This depends. If it’s just swapping in a new fixture in a new-ish house, that is often pretty easy. Watch some tutorials online. At the same time, there have been so many times my electrician has told me that what he thought would be simple turned into something complicated because older houses sometimes have super-weird wiring. You can often find someone on TaskRabbit or Craigslist who can do this for $50 a fixture (for a simple flush mount). A properly licensed electrician can get expensive, but you’ll know it will get done right.

Now: I’d like to recommend the trade of electrician as a career for anyone that wants to make a lot of money, have very little overhead, work for themselves and not bring any stress home at night. I’m telling you, based on what we paid for the Portland project and the Mountain house, at $150 an hour (or more) and typically booked on one project for 8 hours a day, this can be seriously lucrative and has a great work/life balance. The electrician we hired in Portland owned 3 income properties and had bought his first one at 28. Also plumbers, though maybe not as glamorous. Or you can just hire Jess, the official EHD in-house electrician, who has installed light fixtures for just about everyone on the team at some point (usually 1am the night before a MOTO photoshoot).

Hanging Art

Emily Henderson When To Hire vs DIY9
photo by ryan liebe | from: cup of jo makeover: the living/dining room

Then: You can do this yourself, but if you have the resources (aka the dough), then having a handyman or art hanger install everything is a real treat because the heavier and more important the art, the more you want to make sure that it doesn’t come crashing down.

Now: For all you DIY-ers check out one of our many posts how on how to hang art: Affordable Large Scale Art, Design Mistakes: Generic Art, The 7 Things You Need To Know Before You Try To Hang A Gallery Wall, Think Outside The Frame: Wall Hangings Are The Cure For Your Boring Walls and 15 Ideas For Hanging Art

Upholstering Furniture

Emily Henderson When To Hire vs DIY10
photo by zeke ruelas | from: oh joy studio: the living room

Then: You can do dining chairs, benches, and stool types by yourself, but when it comes to anything more major, I’d say hire this out unless you know how to do it and like to take risks. Just like wallpaper, if you do it wrong, then you’ll have wasted too much money on the material.

Now: I wrote a big post about it in 2012 (woah), but more recently I wrote this post about our vintage sectional that was reupholstered.

Hanging Curtains

Emily Henderson When To Hire A Professional Versus When To Diy 09
illustration by jonna isaac | from: hanging curtains all wrong

Then: You can do it yourself, absolutely, but I often don’t because it’s just so strangely hard to get them perfect. Hanging curtains so that they just “kiss” the floor isn’t rocket science, but it is time-consuming and easy to mess up. You need to attach the curtains to the rod and lift it, mark it, and then take it down, take off the curtains, hang the rods, rehang the curtains, blah, blah, blah.

Now: If you want to know our #1 post of ALL TIME, it’s “Hanging Curtains All Wrong” with a how to do it right solutions.

Tiling

Then: You can do it, but I don’t, probably because I have little patience for small measurements. Tiling is tricky unless you have a really simple pattern with tile that doesn’t need to be cut.

Now: I really want to tile myself, and someday I will. But for now we wrote a recent “Tile 101” post and “Tile Rules – 4 things you should know before picking tile.

Adding Baseboard

Then: If you are comfortable with a table saw, love to measure, and have two weeks to spare, then by all means DIY. My husband, Brian, and his friend have been replacing ours for some time now. It doesn’t take a high level of skill necessarily, but is time-consuming and can be frustrating if the cuts aren’t perfect.

Now: I could never do this due to the importance of “details” and “measurements” but good news, it IS doable. Sara’s brother installed all the baseboards in her house having never done it before. It took a while, along with some plaster to fill in some un-perfect gaps, but it got done.

That concludes our trip down memory lane. I think in general I still feel pretty good about most of the recommendations I made in the book. What’s so great about this site vs. the book is that you all can actually comment and respond to all of these ideas. Please, if you have any personal experiences that can help us all in the “DIY vs. Hire” world then we’d love to read them in the comments.

 

In case you want to know what else we think everyone is doing wrong check out these design mistakes: The Generic Sofa Roundup | Rugs That Are Too Small | Painting A Small, Dark Room White | Bad Wood FinishesHow To Hang Curtains | How To Hang Art Correctly | Generic Art | Not Having A Plan | Who Pays For Design Mistakes | My Biggest Design Mistakes -And What You Can Learn From Them

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Rachel

Some good tips but be aware in some places any DIY electrical (beyond changing a lightbulb) is illegal and your insurance company might refuse to pay out if an accident is caused by unlicensed work, so probably worth a Google before attempting!

Very good point!

Alix

Yep, in Australia it’s illegal to do your own plumbing or electrical work.

Michelle Schreib

There are SO many electrical codes which prevent your house from spontaneously lighting fire when you flick a switch so it justify’s the $150/hr. Do you need one to change a fixture? No, not really. But the cost per hour if really justified with their code knowledge and you are literally putting your safety into their hands when they wire your house.

Charlie

My mum wallpapered every room in our house when we were growing up, by herself. She loves wallpaper! She taught me how to it. The calculations for how much you need taking into account repeat can be complicated but it’s actually not that difficult. There is a technique and you need patience and ideally some help. But totally diy-able.

Miker

Spot on for most everything. In most cases what takes the most time is the preparation necessary before start of the project.
Absolutely!! No matter what paper or wall, it always took me 15 minutes a strip. Finally learned the best way was to put paste on the wall, not the paper. Less messy and aggravating.

Cass

A relative has farrow and ball painted kitchen cabinets (done by a pro). They are lovely but have chipped so badly in 4 years. I think young kids, busy lives, and painted cabinets is just not a great combo.

Jenna

I did my painted cabinets myself. It was time consuming (mostly because we took them all down and replaced the hardware) but by no means complicated. They started to chip after a few years so every six months or so, I spend an hour painting the chips or giving them all a once over. Once they dry, they look great again. But, i would also never paint my cabinets again! haha.

Marie

I think a lot has to do with the prep work plus the surface you’re painting. In total contrast, we had a Plain English kitchen installed in our house in London 25 years ago with F&B Berrington Blue (discontinued now, but slightly darker than Oval Room Blue) inside the cabinets and and a custom mixed colour close to F&B Green Ground on the outside (to match tiles behind the navy Aga). Plain English obviously sprayed the cabinets before they installed. But we only completely painted the outside of the kitchen once and the inside never, in all that time. I did a few touch-ups on the cabinets we touched most frequently with wet hands when we sold the house a year ago. And that kitchen saw out 5 children, 3 dogs and one cat and was the big selling point… Plain English were the precursor to deVol by the way, still going strong but with way less marketing. Having said that, F&B has been bought out and runs on a different ethos, hence its introduction to North America and colours disappearing, so maybe the quality of the paint has changed?

Karen

We painted our last house’s kitchen cabinets with Benjamin Moore advance paint + primer following the Young House Love tutorial from their second house, and it lasted 5.5 years until we moved a month ago with just the tiniest little chip on the corner of one of the cabinet doors and no touch ups ever.

Kate

I used Benjamin Moore Advanced Paint and probably that same tutorial and 6 years later our cabinets still look gorgeous! No chipping! And they are hit with nerf darts, toy cars, balls, etc. constantly!

Alison

I used Benjamin Moore Advance Paint + Primer on the desk cabinets that I painted and the same! Took a bit to dry, but they hold up so well and have not chipped yet!

norine

Well, my husband is a pro (at painting and decorative finishes) so there is that. I can tell you that after 7 years, my kitchen cabinets white painted finish is still basically perfect. I have like three small dings. I scrub it regularly. Our cabinets were existing home depot stock cabinets and we got the paint at home depot too. It is a combination of prep, paint that is specifically made for cabinets and knowing how to use a professional grade sprayer.

I love everything my husband has done throughout our home, but it took a lot of hard work and time.

Melanie

At the moment I’m painting my doors with Mylands, Englands oldest paint company.
I already painted the kitchen with Mylands Wood&Metal paint (it is made with marble!) and I love it. No chips.

Rondie

I hired a company that paints cabinets only. They used a high end Italian paint. 3 years in and the are still perfect! Definitely worth the money.

Christine

Good tips! I was wondering what do you do for curtains, when you have heated baseboard. I am from Montreal, so it’s winter now, and covering the heated baseboards with curtains can be dangerous… Any good options?

Sylvie

Hi Christine! I am from from the Gaspé peninsula, so I know what you’re talking about! My mom has a kind of wire shape that fits directly on the electric baseboard and basically allows you to have long curtains but keeps them away from the heat source. You’ll see what I mean here: https://www.patrickmorin.com/fr/protege-rideaux-pour-plinthe-electrique-0414143

Diane MP

Hi! From northern Ontario here! 🙂 We have those heated baseboards as well. I have never used these (our curtains don’t get too hot), but I think it’s a great idea to use them as a precaution. Thanks for sharing.

patricia blaettler

The rooms used to illustrate this post are all SO BEAUTIFUL. That is all.

Mel

I used to be all DIY all the time but now that i’m older (and less poor) my time and sanity are worth more than my $. I still do all my painting (and my families painting, and my friends painting) and all my own furniture updates but anything electrical or involving a saw gets hired now.

Danielle

Thank you for acknowledging that your cabinet paint is chipping! We redid ours a few years ago with high quality paint made for cabinets, and it is chipping and discolored in some high use places. I was recently wondering to myself if all the bloggers that I see with painted cabinets have the same problem or if we just did something wrong. It’s so common to see beautiful pictures of kitchens and tutorials with no follow-up or mention of how it holds up. I was honestly relieved when I read that part of this post!

Patricia

I painted my old kitchen cabinets that we recycled to the basement when we remodeled. They became the cabinets and cupboard in my DIY laundry / craft room. They looked great when done but I noticed when the house sold again a couple years ago that some of the drawers had minor chips. But this was in the basement and didn’t get a lot of use. I painted them about six years ago with Behr paint with primer.

Jessica

Wallpaper. Ugh. Never again. We wallpapered on wall of our kids’ room -the wall with no doors or windows -and it was still a nightmare. And yes to losing money -we had to order one more roll of paper because we ran out with about 1 square foot to cover despite originally buying the right amount plus 20% extra. As a side note, if anyone decides to go for it, Wayfair has some really great patterns and they aren’t expensive.

[…] I get this question A LOT, mostly from friends and family who can’t afford (or don’t want to) hire a designer and contractor and feel like they want to tackle some remodeling projects themselves. Well, I found this in a book called STYLED (you should get it if you don’t have it) and I had… Read More … The post DESIGN MISTAKE: When to Hire vs. DIY (With Lots of Commentary From Me Based on New Experiences/Mistakes/Horrors) appeared first on Emily Henderson. Read More […]

Hannah Gokie

I honestly think of all the DIY stuff we’ve done, tiling is some of the easiest and most forgiving to do but seems like a “big” project (and has a big payout!). Yeah, it can be messy and the math isn’t amazing but it’s usually cheap, quick, and makes a big impact. My husband and I have done now 6 bathroom floors, 2 kitchen floors, 2 shower surrounds, 2 kitchen backsplashes, and they all look great (and just as good as if I go into a Starbucks bathroom and try to find flaws of stuff installed by professionals). I totally think it’s doable and I’d never hire someone for it at this point unless it was a very specific pattern or very expensive tile. 🙂

Diane

I recently painted my kitchen cabinets (I have a tutorial on my website), using Wise Owl one hour enamel. It’s a lovely product, you really need to use a primer when painting kitchen cabinets. The OHE really does dry in one hour, and it has a lovely sheen to it.

Roberta Davis

I have done some very simple DIYs in my day, and none turned out well. I like things to look great and not be dangerous, so I hire.

Kathy

So. I just renovated my whole house, me and my uncle and a rotating cast and crew of friends that had a couple of hours on the weekend to spare. We took the house down to the drywall, ripped out all the doors and blinds and baseboards, trashed the carpet and carpet pad because the woman that owned the house previously smoked everywhere in the house and it was disgusting. We put down new subfloor, laid new flooring, did some drywall work (complete with skim coating), painted, did baseboards, put in new doors, and then after my uncle deemed that I didn’t need his help anymore, I built a fireplace surround, ran network wire, replaced outlets and light switches and light fixtures, built a run of cabinets for a pantry, built closet systems, built tons of shelves, did door casings, installed curtain rods and curtains, and… probably some other stuff. I didn’t hire a single thing out. My take? I would 100% hire someone to do demo next time. Demo is fun but when you’re 100 lbs soaking wet, you cannot punch through drywall like the dudes on TV can, nor can you lift even the smallest sledgehammer at Home… Read more »

Katie

way to go, sister! Love your attitude about a daunting project.

Monique Wright Interior Design

When we painted our kitchen cabinets I got 5 quotes from professionals…starting at $2300 all the way up to $5300. The going rate in Portland is about $4000. $1300 seems like a steal! Our guy did a fabulous job but the reality is that nothing will ever be as good as a factory paint job. Repainting will eventually chip. But it’s still worth it!

Suzanne

I went back and read the 2012 post on upholstering furniture. I’d love to see an update on the topic. I’ve done chair seats before on standard rolling office chairs, but I’m debating doing my high end dining chairs myself. After 15 years, the fabric needs replacing. I’ve considered using a professional, because the foam may need replacing, too. How do I determine that? And dining chairs were the one thing you said is a possible diy. I’d love to save money, but I also want it done right.

The electrician part is so true! I want to add another light in my closet, and I’m dreading the cost, so I pick out clothes in a dimly lit room.

Caroline

I really think you can do this yourself. Just take the old fabric off and look at the foam—you’ll be able to decide if it looks in bad shape or not.

Suzanne

You’re right. I just need to start with one. I can probably even replace the foam myself, if needed. Time vs. money. 😉 Thanks the vote of confidence!

Elise

I do think DIY or Hire fully depends on the individual. My family is FULL of people in this industry and have all learned from each other as well so we DIY well but I think it could be a very different story for others who come from a long line of doctors and scholars 😂

Amy

Very unconventional but we used white chalk paint from the craft store to paint our small beach house kitchen cabinets a few years ago. No chipping, matte sheen, very easy to touch up any scuffs or stains that appear. I wouldn’t use it for my kitchen in our regular house, but it sure was simple and has held up well. We added new hardware and had a friend assist with installing a new laminate countertop and the kitchen was transformed from dark and dated to nice and light and modern.

Paige Cassandra Flamm

These are all such good suggestions!

Paige
http://thehappyflammily.com

Emma

Just recently had my kitchen cabinets painted a few months ago, and I will add that finding someone to do it professionally took me (no joke) 6 months of searching, tracking down references, following leads and having people come to my apt to look at the super-chipped cabinets in person. We assumed we would use the Benjamin Moore Advance paint that’s recommended by mostly everyone, but the cabinet painter who came highly recommended was trained in Fine Paints of Europe. Unfortunately, they’re not really popular in the US so figuring out the perfect color/getting samples was a nightmare (we did BM samples and then our painter color-matched it with FPE, but that was stressful..). Then the painting process ultimately took a month, with sanding, 2 coats of primer, 3 coats of paint, so much dry time in the August heat and install. Our kitchen has 19 cabinet fronts, 6 drawer fronts and 4 glass-cabinet fronts, and it cost approx $4600 for paint + labor, which seemed to be the going rate for the NYC-metro area (though we did get one quote for $19K…) Our cabinets look amazing, but if this paint chip in 3 years, I’ll probably just have to… Read more »

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Jennifer

What about picture frame molding and board and baton? I’ve been thinking about attempting but…

LA Lady

Great post! My difficulty is once I decide to hire out, how do I find someone? I have a patio set I want to lacquer and I can’t find any one who does that. And I’m in LA! Also, I have some nice but old leather dining chairs from Room & Board that need new cushioning. Where do I go for that? If they don’t offer the services at Home Depot, I don’t know where to start! Any suggestions?

We actually ran into the same issue when trying to find someone for the staircase in the Mountain House so we went to Yelp and found some one great. Just comb through those reviews!

Michele Mattea

Try Angie’s List or Thumbtack.com. I’ve used both and found good professionals.

Jordan G

My husband and I have been going through this debate a lot lately as we methodically fix up various parts of our house. We used to do so much DIY, but that was pre-kids. We were younger and forced to DIY out of necessity. Now that we have 3-year old twins and full time jobs, we are very careful about what we decide to DIY. We also have more money because we sold that house and are using the profits to fix up the next one. I think your life circumstances have a lot of weight in this decision. For our recent kitchen upgrade, he could have built cabinet fronts for me (I wanted to reface our dated cabinets). He has those carpentry skills but he doesn’t have the time, so it would have taken forever. Our compromise was to buy the cabinet fronts online in the exact sizes we needed, then have him install them – adding hinges, hardware and hanging them on our existing cabinets. For big projects like our upcoming dining room expansion, we weigh each task vs DIY. I price out the cost of materials and compare that to the bids we receive so we can… Read more »

Cris S.

Where did you end up buying your cabinet fronts from?

And yes, after a full house renovation where my husband spent almost all his time supervising the general contractor (after we’d paid him a huge chunk of money), we would do the GCing ourselves next time. Although my husband swears there will never be a next time.

Kari

Great info!!! Do you happen to have any more detailed information or tutorial for the “messy paint/plaster” finish you did at the Mountain House? Looking for less expensive alternatives to a full plaster job! Thanks so much!

Miker

Spot on for most everything. In most cases what takes the most time is the preparation necessary before start of the project.
Absolutely!! No matter what paper or wall, it always took me 15 minutes a strip. Finally learned the best way was to put paste on the wall, not the paper. Less messy and aggravating.

Awhile ago we had a disaster removing wallpaper in a large bathroom, the drywalls heavily scarred. We smoothed down and “plastered” as muchas possible but the walls sti) loked damaged and could not be wall papered. Took a 5 gallon can of premixed dry wall compound and a short handled sand painting brush and applied a swirl design. Then painted with a high nap roller. Came out spectacular with many compliments,

N
B

Loretta

I have painted two different sets of kitchen cabinets. Both time I used what the nice man at Sherwin-Williams advised me to use however I found out that different states have different environmental rules and the paint I used in Texas which was fantastic is not the same paint I got up north although it is labeled the same. Never any problems with chipping on either kitchen but the
more environmentally friendly paint took
longer to dry and needed more coats even though a primer was used.
So even if you use the exact same paint someone else had success with and you are in a different part of the country you may find it really isn’t the same paint and you get different results. I have also used chalk paint with a poly as last coat and had good success. However I do not have kids so I can’t say how this would wear for a busy family.

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DeniseGK

In addition to YouTube tutorials, I highly highly recommend signing up for the *handymanusa forums* online. These are actual professionals and other people’s knowledgeable dads/moms telling the rest of us how to do stuff. They love to help, and there is a subset of folks who especially love tricky stuff like “my house is 100+ years old and I don’t even know what this is” and “the house flipper did a terrible, dangerous, not code job, how do I fix it”. They helped me put in a dimmer switch which should have been easy, but when I opened the wall there was an extra wire (not connected to anything on the old switch AND not capped), and the rest of the wires had their colors reversed. Turns out the dining room used to have 2 switches for the light even though it is super small.

There’s other stuff too: lawn care and landscaping, what tools you really need, which brands were good when your dad was fixing stuff but are now cheap trash, etc.

Seriously, y’all, sign up with them.

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Blake

What cabinets did you paint at the LA house?

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GARETH D THOMPSON

What a load of old tosh

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