Hate How Your DIY Project Turned Out? What To Do

From on May 19, 2009 in Tools and Tips


After spending countless hours and dollars on a DIY project that you were just sure was going to turn out fabulous, it can be a huge disappointment when it doesn’t end up that way. Maybe you find yourself wondering how you could ever have thought that THAT would look good—and you wish you could make it disappear. What to do?

Well, for starters: Welcome to the world of the creative craftsman! Every artist, craftsman, or person involved in creative endeavors of any kind has “been there.” Finishing a project only to discover that you want to heave it in the trash heap is as common as can be. Especially when you’ve tried something new that you’ve never done before.

There’s almost always a gap between how you imagine a project will turn out and how it actually looks when it’s finished. The very essence of creative endeavors is that you’re making something from nothing, at least to some degree. And, with the creative process being that unique combination of ideas, materials, and skill that it is—you can see how the variables can end up in an almost limitless variety of end results.

Sometimes your DIY project turns out as well or even better than you expected. That’s what we all hope for, right? But what if it doesn’t go that way? You hate the color when it’s on the wall… the pedestal sink is a total inconvenience because there’s not enough surface space… the deck extension doesn’t blend with the original structure the way you hoped it would… etc. What to do?

Having experienced this kind of discouraging aftermath many times myself, I’ve come up with some simple ways to deal with it:

  • Take a deep breath and realize that it’s not the end of the world, no matter how far from your intended results the “actuality” appears. Repeat: It’s not the end of the world.
  • Live with it for a while. Rather than making instant plans to rip out or re-do, just chill. Let the results “be there” for a few days or weeks, and see if you can relax and let things be how they are, without going into “hate it” mode every time you look at or use the results of your project. Sometimes if you set a timeline for yourself, it helps. Agree that you’ll leave it alone for a specified time; then, if you still hate it, you can make plans to change things from a fresher perspective. Often what happens is that your project’s results will grow on you; you’ll come to like it after all.
  • Invite feedback from a few people whose opinions you value. Maybe there’s a close friend or family member you can count on to give you honest, practical input. Who knows? They might love the results and help you see benefits and beauty, even though your initial shock at how things turned out kept you from seeing anything good about it.

These simple methods help take the edge off your initial reaction and disappointment. Many times that’s all it takes. After giving them a fair shake, you’ll be surprised at how different your perspective will be. Even if you still hate the results, you can go about changing them having learned a lot in the process. And you’ll feel more up to the task after the break.