How to Bounce Back Quickly From Design and DIY Project Failures

How to Bounce Back Quickly From Design and DIY Project Failures

Adrienne Breaux
Jun 15, 2014
(Image credit: Sibylle Roessler)

So you took a chance and tackled a home repair by yourself! Or you got bold and went with a wild decor element. Or you decided to refinish that old piece of furniture. And it went totally wrong. Like horribly, "what was I thinking" wrong. Costly design, repair and DIY mistakes are a disappointment, and unfortunately, the more chances you take, the more of an opportunity for failure there is. But failure doesn't have to be a bad thing. Here's how to bounce back quickly from any home-related failures that may happen.

Be realistic with what's happened — face reality.
Don't be in denial about a failure. That's not to say you shouldn't look on the bright side if there is any, but don't delude yourself into thinking there's not a problem if there is one. Be willing to admit that something's gone wrong. This goes for even before the mistake really sets in — if you catch something going wrong during a project (and your gut says it's going wrong), consider pausing to see if there's some step or action that can change instead of powering through and potentially setting yourself up for failure.

Step away and let yourself be bummed for a minute
Don't be in denial about your feelings, either. Don't get sucked into feeling negative about the failure all day, but let yourself really feel the disappointment for as much time as you need, using it as an opportunity to step away and clear your head.

Remind yourself that it's temporary
Though it can feel like your home design project is taking forever and you can't see the end of it, it will be finished someday. Like everything in life, this failure (and the bummed feelings it brings) is only temporary.

Get specific about what went wrong
Investigate what exactly went wrong so you can prevent such a mistake from going wrong again. Perhaps you didn't read the instructions on a material well enough. Maybe you just tried to do something yourself when you should have asked for help. Consider calling in a friend or expert if you're just really not sure what went wrong.

Cultivate the lessons
Make sure you really soak up the lessons there are to learn from the project mistakes so they don't happen again. (Though, they might, in which case you can run through this list again!)

Take the time to make a plan for fixing it
Don't make a bigger mess by letting emotions take over. When frustrations run high and you get exhausted, don't rush into trying to fix something without really knowing the problem or the correct fix, potentially making the problem even worse.

Remember that you're awesome for taking the chance
Corny, but true. Even if something goes horribly wrong, it was still awesome of you to take the chance on trying something new or tackling something you had never tried before. Consider any mistakes mere bumps in the road to that awesome home you've always dreamed of!

How do you get over mistakes you make when designing or DIYing your home? Share the tips and ideas that help you cope when things go wrong.

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