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The do's and don'ts of do-it-yourself

There's a plethora of benefits that come with a good do-it-yourself activity, but sometimes those projects you find online just never come out how you imagine them. Whether it's a problem with functionality, the look of the design or even the step-by-step procedure, some of the ideas are just plain bad. Here are some tips and tricks to keep you from wasting your time on a DIY nightmare.

Does it fit?
One of the most common DIY faux pas occurs when the project just won't fit the theme of a room. Sure, that beer bottle chandelier is eco-friendly and may look interesting on its own, but where does it go? Unless your den doubles as a sports bar, you may have trouble finding the correct place for it. Combining the elegant chic of a chandelier with the rugged imagery of bottled beer makes for a truly difficult placement dilemma. Here's a tip: Stay away from projects that attract too much attention and clash with the theme of a room. Stick to items that fit and add something to the decor.

Is it functional?
Lots of DIY projects aim to make your life easier or give a common decoration some interesting flair, but sometimes your end product isn't all it's cracked up to be. A perfect example would be a Lego switch plate. On the surface, creating a little Lego landscape for your wall switch plate may seem like a cute idea for a child's bedroom, but the maintenance is a nightmare. You and your child's hands are constantly swiping at a room's light switch - that's what they're made for - and the delicate Lego design makes certain that your new DIY project will be in pieces in no time. Always think about the functionality of a new project first. DIY activities are supposed to make your life easier, and if you find yourself constantly fixing your new creation, it wasn't worth your time.  Materials like granite and slate ensure style with durability that exceeds any DIY project.

Why DIY?
Think about the reason why you want to commit to a DIY project before you start. Mark Fraunfelder, the editor-in-chief of Make magazine, said DIY projects are good for you because they're about "using your hands and brain" and they provide "a path to freedom," among other things. Are you building something you can't find at a store? Are you trying to learn about how something works or fueling a new hobby? Or are you just saving money? All are valid reasons to take up a DIY project, but knowing why you're committing your time is key. It will make you feel more fulfilled at completion and inspire you to do more DIY projects in the future if you have more reasons for committing in the first place.

Ultimately, DIY projects can add a lot to any room you're trying to spruce up, but have a clear idea of everything before you get into the thick of it. Asking yourself those three questions can save a lot of time and frustration.

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