Published on July 18, 2018

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Photography by Aaron Bengochea
In the age of Pinterest and the plethora of blogs out there, it’s safe to say that DIY has become an integral component of our daily lives. Where else can one find a solution for elevating a basic shelving unitupscaling a bobby pin, or making a headboard from scratch, all in one spot?
But as the old saying goes, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” and that certainly extends to DIYs as well. So, before you brace yourself to move forward with that one project you have had on the docket for months, allow us to indulge you with some unsolicited advice. Read on to see the DIY projects you should probably (read: definitely) be retiring.
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Sure, the idea of building a dining table or bathroom vanity may seem like a good one (how hard can it actually be?) but once you get to the execution, you may find yourself with a little too much on your plate. For the crafty-enthusiasts who may seem keen on tackling such a large undertaking we, unfortunately, are here to dissuade you from making such a mistake. With the time, money, and effort spent, you may as well just buy the table and save yourself the headache that will surely ensue.


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Bath & Beauty DIYs

With the wide variety of beauty buys out there, there really isn’t an excuse for forgoing them in favor of something you DIY-ed—especially the water-based variety, talk about a bacteria-fest. Bath bombs, facial mists, eyeshadow palettes…the list of no-nos can go on and on. While it may seem like a more holistic (not to mention affordable) approach to the alternative of purchasing said items, it can backfire all the same. There are plenty of natural and organic beauty buys you can get in on instead.


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Turning Anything Into a Headboard

Headboard DIYs have been VERY popular for awhile now, using everything from shipping pallets to recycled shutters and window frames. Many of the finished projects are seriously cute, but with something as important as the headboard—the focal point of the bedroom—it’s best to opt for something that you’ll still love next year and not the latest passing trend.  If you crave character on a budget, shop local thrift stores and flea markets for antique beds and unique pieces that may only need a touch of TLC. Remember: It’s amazing what a coat of paint can do.


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DIY-ing Your Own Countertops

File this under projects that are best left to the professionals.  If you regularly search Pinterest for kitchen reno DIYs, you’re probably familiar with a host of projects that claim to be simple and worry-free.  The latest trend is covering existing countertops with a concrete overlay. Professionals who work with concrete will tell you that concrete, in particular, is finicky and true artisans have spent many years perfecting their trade.

And, with a project as major as your kitchen countertops, this is definitely a DIY that you want to get right the first time. Still not convinced? Consider this: Kitchen countertops regularly come in contact with food, making it that much more important to ensure that every material and chemical used is appropriate for such an application. Bottom line, let the pros handle this one.


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Using Mason Jars For Everything

This one is simple: because it’s been done. Don’t get us wrong—we love mason jars, we really do! It’s just time to seek out a new DIY crave. Repurpose your jars as glasses or vases, or hey, why not just use them as storage jars?


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Every Ikea Hack

We love a good Ikea hack. Who doesn’t? But variety is key to a rich, curated design so shake things up! And if this idea is stress-inducing, start small. There are plenty of awesome Target hacks out there, too.


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(Some) Real Marble DIYs

There are many gorgeous tutorials out there for using up any leftover marble. You can even purchase small pieces of white marble online for various DIYs or crafts. But be warned: Marble is especially porous and prone to staining. Some fabrication shops even require homeowners to sign waivers stating that they understand this before installing white marble into their kitchens.

For this reason, unless you are prepared to seal the finished product well and often, avoid any DIYs that would introduce your DIY to substances highly saturated in color, like red wine. Coasters, coffee tables, and breakfast trays are popular right now. Instead, consider a chic faux version, like this amazingly realistic breakfast tray created with high-quality contact paper.

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An Accent Wall in Every Room

The beauty of an accent wall is that it imparts an unexpected pop of color within a space. But, when there’s an accent wall in every room of the home, the look tends to lose its unexpected appeal. Instead, opt for a decorative accent or focal point in the room.

Think along the lines of an eye-catching rug clad in a vibrant colorway or a pendant that draws the eyes up. Play with the intended palette of your space by experimenting with contrasting hues by way of the furnishings. If you must have a feature wall, switch things up—rather than having a painted accent wall in every room, try wallpaper or tile in another. (And, can we talk about how amazing this dark teal color is in this bedroom?)


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DIY Concrete Floors

Because concrete is much more complicated than it sounds. Self-leveling, staining, etching, polishing, honing—who knew there were so many options? Professional installers practice for years to hone their craft and consider concrete an art form. Achieving the desirable finish, color, and texture takes a well-trained eye and is definitely not for first-timers.

Need more convincing? The professional equipment required to properly prep and install a concrete floor is expensive and generally rented by the day, meaning there’s no room for trial and error. And, once the concrete has set, correcting or removing any mistakes is difficult at best.


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Michael Wiltbank

Anything Related To Electrical Or Plumbing

This should be obvious, but it can be tempting to tackle these kinds of jobs with so many encouraging internet tutorials out there. Just remember that there are two very good reasons for leaving these projects to professionals: safety and residential building codes. You don’t want to be surprised by a list of costly not-to-code repairs upon inspection if you put your house up for sale.


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DIY Sunscreen

Yes, DIY sunscreen recipes are out there. And to this, we say: Just don’t. Skin cancer is a serious issue, and it’s important to know that your sunscreen actually works. Save the DIY remedies for masks and oils when SPF isn’t an issue.


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Repurposing Everything

Repurposed goods are great! They reduce waste and lend a personal touch to your home and decor. But you don’t want your space to shift from creative to kitschy. Upcycling wine or beer bottles definitely falls under this category, especially if it is a wedding we’re talking about. Sure, spray-painting a bottle of wine and allowing it to double as a vessel for florals is one way to save on a vase or centerpiece but, it might just be time to retire said craft and move towards something a little bit more elevated.

Our suggestion? Opting for an eclectic slew of vases (they don’t all have to match) or various other vessels you may find around the home. Fill them with an abundant slew of flowers and it’ll be difficult to even distinguish what is underneath them. Pick and choose the repurpose DIYs that speak to your most—like this genius way of using a cake stand for organizing perfume and cosmetics.


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Projects Involving Reclaimed Painted Wood

Unless you know the exact origins of the wood, there is a good chance that any wood painted before 1978 contains lead, which we all know to be highly toxic. Never take chances with lead paint, especially when kids and pets are present. It’s also important to note that these pieces should never be burned, either. Contact local authorities to determine how to properly dispose of such wood in your area safely.


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Anything You Haven’t Price Checked

Most of us DIY to save money, but you should never assume that a DIY will be the least expensive option.  ALWAYS run the numbers before beginning any project.  Have you also factored in shipping costs, availability of materials, whether items must be special ordered, and the value of your own time?  You may find that the finished product is the better buy.  Just-for-fun DIYs (like this flameless fire pit) do not apply, obvs.


See more DIY inspiration:
Make Your Own Masterpiece With This Easy Paper Art DIY
Designer-Approved DIYs That Are Actually Worth a Try
These Colorful Target Hacks Are Actually Brilliant