DIY Home Projects: Manage on Your Own or Go Pro?

One of the traits I've found most common in DIY-type homeowners is a little voice whispering in their ear, "You can do that!" And often, seasoned weekend warriors can do much of their DIY home projects themselves. This is a great cost saver and adds significantly to your enjoyment of the completed remodel, as there is nothing like the feeling of a job well done. However, some jobs do require professional guidance – by an interior designer or an experienced remodeling contractor. Bypassing that step may cost more than just money down the road; it might cost your ultimate enjoyment as well. 

Are you trying to decide whether to bring in a professional interior design consultant or go it alone? Start by asking yourself these questions: 

  • Have I done this before?
  • Do I have time to learn what I need to learn and do what needs to be done?
  • Do I have the right industry connections?
  • How much do I expect to spend?
  • What’s my Plan B if I get it wrong?

Careful with Your Kitchen Remodel

One of the biggest DIY mistakes that homeowners make is not bringing in a specialized kitchen designer when planning a gut remodel. A major kitchen remodel definitely does not fall into the category of DIY home projects. Even many interior designers are not fully qualified to do a kitchen remodel plan. Since this is likely the most money you will spend on a single room in your home, and the technical requirements of space planning, cabinetry specifications and appliance purchasing are so vast, it's a wonder anyone would ever consider doing it alone.

Role of a Kitchen Designer

Contrary to popular belief, kitchen designers are not interested in just separating you from your money; they truly want your kitchen to be functional, beautiful, and worth every dollar you spend. Save money – not to mention your sanity – by working with someone who knows, through education and experience, the best choices for your particular kitchen and the best way to create a design that a builder can actually build.

DIY Kitchen Facelift

Of course, if you are not planning a gut remodel but more of a facelift of your existing kitchen, then it is certainly possible to DIY it. A professional interior design consultant is still a great option if you're looking to create a whole new look for yourself, or you don't have the time to manage the process. But if you’ve researched DIY ideas and are clear about what you like and don't like, a surface redecoration is highly doable.

Bathroom Remodel Basics

Similar to the kitchen, it may be worth bringing in a professional interior design consultant to help out with a bathroom remodel. There are so many beautiful products on the market -- from faucets and fixtures to stone and ceramic to steam or rain shower features -- that you will want the help of someone who is up on the latest design trends and safety features.

There are many code issues involved in a bathroom, such the location of light fixtures relative to the shower and tub and what kinds of surfaces are too slippery for wet, bare feet. The average person has no way to know all that goes into a complicated makeover like a bathroom remodel. A remodeling professional will guide you through the best available choices.

Embrace Your Basement Renovation

Are you contemplating a basement renovation? Among DIY home projects, this is an excellent place to put your talents to work. Hire a general contractor to handle the technical aspects of outfitting a basement space, such as:

  • pulling permits
  • protection against moisture penetration and flooding
  • electrical wiring and lighting
  • plumbing for an additional bath or powder room
  • sump pump installation
  • egress window or door

Then feel free to do the rest yourself (think painting walls, adding bookshelves, and so on), without sacrificing looks or safety. 

Ultimately, home projects are about knowledge and time, plus money. If you don't have the knowledge or the time to adequately oversee a project, then don't risk wasting your money on costly mistakes or less than perfect results.

This article was updated November 20, 2017.

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