Do it right from the start: We all love the “after” part of do-it-yourself, but it’s actually the “before” that counts most: the material a table or dresser is made from will influence the final product, so make sure you've factored that into your design. And, as our renovation columnist, who did a two-year renovation of her Harlem co-op, has noted, it may save time to cut corners—skipping the research or a couple of steps in the process—but the shortcuts will show in your results.
Prepare your tools: Before you pick up that drill, make sure you’ve got all the supplies you need to get the job done. We’d add that it’s worth investing in quality as much as you can, or at least borrowing from a neighbor if new equipment isn’t in the budget. Our columnist learned the hard way how time-consuming and laborious it was to use a handsaw to replace moldings, and laid out $120 for an electric saw. Bonus: if you don’t plan to use the tools again, you can sell them online and recoup some of the cost.
Get Zen: Nothing groundbreaking here, but worth repeating: your project will take longer and cost more money than you expect. It’s just part of the game, so when obstacles crop up, relax. As Apartment Therapy notes, “DIY is all about going with the flow—mistakes, detours and unexpected complications are part of the deal.”
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