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3 Designers’ Best Tips for Getting Your DIY Over the Finish Line

updated Dec 1, 2022
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Credit: Courtesy of Tiffany Hahn

There’s a secret step hidden in every big DIY project: not quitting. The beginning and end are a blast, with their fresh energy and job-well-done satisfaction. It’s the middle — where your room is still a mess, and you’re not sure you chose the right furniture, and why did you start this project anyway? — that can get sticky. These three designers are in the middle right now.

Five weeks ago, Amber GuytonXin Lu, and Tiffany Hahn kicked off home renovation projects at the start of the One Room Challenge®, a biannual design event that encourages people to transform one room in eight weeks. When we met these three designers, they were planning their projects: Amber wanted to turn her loft storage space into a creative haven, Xin wanted to give her mudroom a functional and beautiful update, and Tiffany wanted to transform her living room into a refuge of rest and relaxation, all with the help of Spoonflower. Let’s see how it’s going!

Shop some of our favorite Spoonflower prints below!

Credit: Courtesy of Amber Guyton

Checking in: Amber’s Loft Transformation

Amber envisioned a vibrant kid-friendly space for her niece and nephews. When we last spoke, she was choosing a wallpaper to set the right mood: With more than 1 million designs by independent artists (who earn commission on each purchase), the Spoonflower Marketplace gave Amber plenty to choose from. And the winner is … Becca – soothing greens, pinks, peaches wallpaper by scarlette_soleil, a soothing botanical pattern.

“It has a moody vibe and a great balance of color,” Amber says of the design. “Knowing that the space’s purpose may evolve over time as the kids age, it was a happy medium between bold character and transitional flair that anyone can enjoy.” And because Spoonflower designs can be printed on wallpaper, fabric, and home decor, Amber got a throw pillow to match. Why not surround yourself with your favorite print?

Credit: Courtesy of Amber Guyton

Pro tip: Allow new ideas to present themselves as you go.

Amber is super prepared — with an extensive plan, beautiful mood boards, and a detailed shopping list — but she’s also allowed the design to surprise her and take its own shape. That agility is key when you’re in the thick of a project. For instance, though Amber had envisioned wallpapering the entire room, she ultimately decided to scale back to only the vertical walls. This decision led to two great new ideas: a mobile-friendly projector for the angled walls and a colorful semi-flush light fixture for the ceiling.

“Every challenge has turned into an opportunity,” she says. “The way this project has evolved has made me more optimistic by the week. I’m excited to see what becomes of the twists and turns to come.” So are we!

Credit: Courtesy of Xin Lu

Checking In: Xin’s Mudroom Update

Xin wanted to make her mudroom, currently a hectic pass-through for her family, a more organized and serene spot. She chose Playa Wildflower Wallpaper by holli_zollinger, a muted floral print from Spoonflower. “I love collecting and displaying dried florals, and this reminds me of a wall of dried florals,” she says. “I love how the background looks like it’s woven and gives the wallpaper so much interest.”

Credit: Courtesy of Xin Lu

Pro tip: You’ll make mistakes. Be kind to yourself, and just keep going.

The mudroom project has also proved the old carpenter’s adage: measure twice, cut once. Xin had to rebuild her shelving unit after miscalculating the height. But now it’s all coming together! “With every project, I can feel my DIY skills improving. It’s been very fulfilling to keep learning new skills.”

Credit: Courtesy of Tiffany Hahn

Checking In: Tiffany’s Living Room Makeover

Tiffany’s living room was lovely as-is, but she wanted to bring it more in line with her current style and increase its coziness quotient. Using design to tell a story is what makes your house feel like your home, and Tiffany is doing just that with the playful Spoonflower wallpaper she chose, A Rest in Nature Wallpaper by dasbrooklyn. “This pattern is a perfect representation of our family and the things that bring our days happiness: nature, ice cream, reading, and — of course — coffee for me,” she says.

Credit: Courtesy of Tiffany Hahn

Pro tip: You may surprise yourself with your own ingenuity.

Every DIY project has lessons to offer, and this one is teaching Tiffany how to work with what you’ve got. For instance, sanding the new fireplace kicked up a lot of cement dust, and Tiffany didn’t have a shop vac to attach to the sander. But with her regular vacuum — and some duct tape — she got the job done.

Those improv skills came in handy again when their new, super comfy couches arrived in an unexpected shade of blue. To cut down on fees and waste, Tiffany opted against returning or exchanging. “In the end, I made them work,” she said. “I changed out the legs and purchased pillows that added warmth.”

Watch this space to see how Amber, Xin, and Tiffany’s One Room Challenge® projects turn out. And when you’re inspired to start your own room redo, visit Spoonflower for wallpaper, fabric, and home decor to make your space shine!