Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

What kind of DIYer are you?

Writing this post brought to mind the saying - there are two kinds of people: those who put people into categories and those who don't. Not sure where that comes from, but in this post I'm the former!

With all the house shopping and planning we've been doing, I've been thinking about DIY projects and talking to friends who've done them. And I heard this podcast where Diane Sanfilippo explains why she decided to pipe the frosting on her special-ordered gluten free cupcakes on the day of her wedding... she explained it as, she's the kind of person who will cut herself slack if what she makes isn't perfect, but who would be disappointed if she spent more money to have it done and didn't like the result. I hadn't thought about that perspective before!

It got me to thinking, maybe some people don't feel that way. Maybe some people are super hard on their own projects, but more forgiving of others or store-bought items. Maybe some of us do DIY projects just for a creative outlet, whereas others really need or want the item either way, and count the cost difference as a significant savings and money that can go to other things.

So, I think I've identified three types of people who DIY (although maybe it's just three types of attitudes!)--what do you think??

3 types of DIY/DIYer

1. I want to save money.

I'll be honest, a LOT of the projects in my home were inspired by this reason. So often I get my inspirations from catalogs and home tours, and I probably could find the item for full price online! But I'd run out of money pretty fast if I did that. Also, a lot of times I don't want the item enough to pay the big bucks! Often I do DIY projects as a way to get a home decor or fashion trend, something I might not want for years and years to come, but I'm willing to spend a few bucks and some time on.

Examples include this starburst mirror, my recovered Louis XV chair, my nailhead dining chairs...

My tufted headboard is another great example! Padded headboards are so common now you can buy them for not a ton of money, but I had my dad help me build a padded frame years ago and I've done different things with it until I did this awesome tufting project. I really love it, and the total cost was WAY less than even the most affordable store-bought one.

2. I want it exactly how I want it.

Some people do DIY projects to get the most custom product imaginable--one conceived, designed, and created by you! It's so frustrating when you're ready to part with your money for something important for the home or your wardrobe, but you can't find the right thing. It can drive a lot of us to DIY! That's kind of how my huge zigzag ikat wall art came about, and I imagine why a lot of DIY statement pieces are made!

It's also the attitude that brings us DIYs that look (as well as are) totally unique, like this antique chair I made over with vintage chunky fabric. This project was a product of serendipity (buying the chair at the Restore), garage storage (it sat around for a loooong time), and more serendipity (I got inspired and happened to have the right fabric already). There's absolutely no way this chair could be store-bought, and it serves a different design purpose than a plain chair you could buy at IKEA or Target. You have to DIY if you want something unique like this!

You can also do so much with custom words and messages when you DIY. Coming up with a saying is actually the hardest part for me most of the time... I'd love to do more graphic print tees with my Silhouette... here's one of my fave wording projects--this saying was easy to come up with! I love this pillow!

I think the "I want to make something!" attitude also goes in this category. Sometimes the creative bug hits and you just want to make something from something else, even if you don't really need a new lampshade or potholder or whatever. Sometimes when I give in to this urge I end up with things I don't really need! Not always.

3. It either has to be perfect or done by me.

If I had to guess, I'd say most of us DIYers are perfectionists in some way or another... maybe not about everything. Some of us notice every time we walk past the bump in the paint or the mismatched stripes on the skirt we've made. Maybe you get a compliment on a DIY project and can't help but say, "Thanks, it was supposed to be longer..."

Others feel satisfied regardless of how it turns out because of the pride of making. I think that feeling ads to my enjoyment of my tufted headboard! It's not perfect (I can see where I didn't pull the fabric left or right enough, and a few of the covered buttons are a little funky), but it was a fun challenge and I'm so proud of it!

Then there's the Diane Sanfilippo wedding cupcake attitude: if I make a few mistakes, whatever; I did my best. If I pay the extra money and have a pro do it, and if it doesn't turn out perfect, I'll be disappointed.

The best example I could find from my DIY repertoire is this striped accent wall. I did it myself with masking tape, a level, and a yardstick, and because of our orange peel wall texture there are plenty of little blips and bumps if you look up close. But it does not bug me at all. I seriously don't care. If I had paid someone to do it or put up striped wallpaper instead, would I care??

I dunno. Maybe.

Which are you?

It occurs to me as I write this that most people probably fluctuate between groups... maybe these three categories are of attitudes, rather than people. But what do you think? If you're reading this you're probably an inspired, brave, creative DIYer with a few projects in mind! Are you always in one camp or another? Are different projects born from different reasons? Am I missing a big category??

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