Some DIY projects just seem to last a lot longer than others, either because my tastes change or our family’s needs change. Sometimes I’ll have an inkling that a project will probably have a short run in our home, but other times I’m absolutely convinced it’s the perfect addition to a space … until it isn’t.
From too-cluttered home decor decisions to furniture that was designed wrong from the get-go, here’s a peek at five DIY projects that didn’t last very long in our Handmade Home …
1. Our DIY board game wall
Remember the time we took every board game out of its box and hung them on the wall in our family room? We built simple wooden frames for some of them, so they could be hung, and stored the game pieces in baggies behind the boards. I kept adding it to the years, as our game collection grew, and by the end it also included a shelf for jars of dominios, extra dice and stacking games.
The board game wall was cool and we got a lot of compliments on it. It did encourage us to play more board games, too. If we’d kept the basement as a family room, we’d probably still have it up there today. (I’d have preferred a lighter wall colour behind it, though, as it was super dark and busy.)
But when we turned the room into my (larger) home office, the board games had to come down immediately. There was no way I was working with the chance of a Scrabble board toppling onto my head.
2. Our DIY grocery list
This is a perfect example of a badly-done DIY that was never built to last. I cobbled together a wooden grocery list for the wall that (barely) held up one of those miniature paper rolls, with the idea that we’d jot down grocery items as we thought of them.
It didn’t last long, since we’d never actually remember to rip off the paper list and bring it with us to the store. It was taken down and replaced with a shared Google grocery list, which was later replaced with a shared Amazon Alexa grocery list. Now we open the fridge and call “Hey, Alexa! Add eggs to the grocery list, please,” and my husband and I can immediately access the full list from our phones.
3. Our DIY sink caddy
Pinterest is great for DIY ideas, but sometimes it tempts you to create a real whopper. When everyone was making DIY sink caddies — a.k.a. cake stands and glasses and plates Krazy-Glued together — I thought it was brilliant. A pretty little tiered system for storing dish soap and sponges!
It didn’t take long for me to clue in that it just looked cluttered and ugly, not to mention totally unnecessary. Even the nicest dish soap isn’t pretty, sponges are gross and the drain stopper certainly isn’t worth putting on display. I’ve decided I prefer a clean, empty sink without a decorative stack of junk. (I’ve even taken to hiding the bottle of dish soap completely out of sight in between dish-washing sessions.)
4. Our DIY daybed
After we Kijiji-ed the old pull-out couch that had been in our basement family room, my handy husband and I bought a double mattress and built a daybed. It made so much sense at the time, because we’d have a nicer bed for our company but still have a couch-like surface for when we watched TV in the basement.
We didn’t realize until it was too late that a double mattress is too big for a daybed. It was too deep to be comfortable as a couch and we don’t have company very often, so it mostly sat unused — taking up a lot of space in our basement. And since it had a tall back and footboard, our guests probably felt like they were sleeping in an adult-sized crib.
We fixed this years later when we turned my old office into a tiny guest room, and reconfigured the daybed to be a regular double bed. Now it’s very comfortable for guests, but it’s also not trying to do double-duty as the world’s worst couch.
5. Our DIY family command centre
I really, really wanted this one to work. I’d spent a lot of time planning out the ideal DIY family command centre, and customized each detail so it would work perfectly for our family: a menu chalkboard to list dinners for the week, a large bulletin board for posting the (many) papers that come home from our kids’ school and a second chalkboard to jot down the week’s appointments and reminders, like gym days, hot lunch orders, ballet classes and my husband’s ever-changing work schedule.
While the finished command centre looked great in the after pictures, the trouble was it didn’t stay that way for long. The bulletin board was always cluttered with too many school newsletters, drawings, coupons and birthday party invitations — and the wind was constantly blowing papers across the kitchen. Weekly menus weren’t always perfectly planned and chalkboard-ready. The chalkboard that listed the week’s activities was handy when we had company who didn’t know our schedule, but not really necessary for just the four of us.
We took everything down and repainted the kitchen wall (again) but it’s still technically empty, although it’s been dressed up with our new, extra-long DIY recycling station that holds a lamp on either end. I’ve tried so many different configurations on that wall — the family command centre, a family art gallery, framed photos on a ledge — and nothing lasts long. Everything is either too busy or I just get tired of it. Who knows what will be there next, and how long it will last!
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