Want a more rewarding DIY? Start here. No matter your skill set or the project you tackle, there are certain tantamount DIY truths that we've learned and you need to know about.
• Be open to the fact that this project will take more time and money than you think — It just will. Accept it. Even "easy" projects are going to get worse before they get better. DIY is all about going with the flow — mistakes, detours and unexpected complications are part of the deal.
• Consider your "before" and remember that they are not created equal — Beyond the nice lines or great details, the most important factor in a potential DIY is what it's made of. Don't be fooled by particle board or veneer; solid wood is the real gold mine here. If it's plastic, metal or fabric, figure out if it can be properly cleaned up or if you can accept a lived-in look. Addressing these questions before you begin will manage your expectations and ensure your success down the road.
• Prepare all your tools and supplies — The last thing you want to do mid-project is root around in your garage for the right tool or, worse yet, realize you don't have what you need! Set everything out so it's accessible and ready to go.
• Take a picture before you start — Not only are you going to need proof of your dramatic transformation, but having a reference is always a good idea when you need to reassemble what you're about to take apart.
• Mine for parts — Don't like the entire dresser? What about the knobs? Maybe you could strip the tapered legs off that cheap table and include them in another project. DIYers know that cheap, thrifted pieces can be just as valuable for their parts as for the whole item.
• Get help if you need it — There's a middle ground between buying something new and a completely solo DIY endeavor. If you can't or don't want to take on a difficult DIY task, you can still spruce up an old, unloved item with your creative vision and someone else's expertise if you enlist the help of a professional.