I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to stop trying to transform spaces with quick fixes as a home improvement strategy. Do you know how many bedspreads/comforters we’ve owned since we moved into this house because I wanted to ‘fix’ our bedroom? Tooooo many. If I had just gone ahead and set aside money to actually fix the glaring issues, I would have saved a ton of money in the long run, and felt much less guilt throughout the process.
Don’t Waste Your Money On Quick Fix Home Improvement
Let’s be real: here’s how a lot of us ‘renovate’ (and I’m totally guilty of it, too):
- ‘There are some things in here that I don’t love, but I can put up with them for now’
- ‘Okay…I can’t stand this anymore. I have to do something before I start spontaneously tearing down walls’
And then? Well, a lot of us run to Target/Lowes, looking for that ‘quick fix’ with the cheapest solution we can find, and then feel guilty when it doesn’t pay off. I think that ‘quick fix home improvement’ mentality is the reason that I’m so rarely satisfied with impulse buys in the long run…they are a band-aid, not the medicine the room actually needs.
How do I know quick fixes aren’t the answer? Because I’ve made those same mistakes in the past. I’d go to Target, buy another duvet cover because obviously, THAT will fix the ceiling fan (the thing I actually hated in the room), come home, make the bed, and surprise surprise…disappointment. I’d feel guilty for spending money on a purchase that didn’t solve anything, and defeated that I’d still have to stare at that ugly ceiling fan every night.
Quick fixes aren’t the answer to the issues in your room. If you have ugly green shag carpet, don’t buy a new lamp and expect to love your space again.
Chip Away At The Big Issues FIRST
While I sometimes do a ‘phase one’ renovation where I put band-aids on a problem area (and even then, only if they’re REALLY bad), I actually think waiting until you can properly fix the big issues is usually better. I’ve found that I tend to make silly compromises and spend too much energy when I try to find a way to fix things in the interim. I could be using that energy to drive a room’s momentum towards what I actually want in the end by fixing the big things first.
Take the ceiling fan in our master bedroom for example. It was gold, ornate, dusty, and b.r.o.k.e.n. It clicked at around 110 bpm, non-stop. And it didn’t jive with our style at all. It was the biggest issue in the room – I looked at it every time I walked in and out throughout the day, and every night while I fell asleep. It was the most distracting thing in the room and made it so that I couldn’t appreciate anything else around it.
So I finally came to my senses and decided to replace it – to chip away at the biggest issue in the room instead of looking for another quick fix. And then we repeated that process with replacing the floors. And again when I switched out our cloth drawer storage units for dressers with actual drawers and handles. Each big fix let me peel back a layer of the room, to see it’s potential beyond those distracting elements.
Get Your Space To Neutral
When I was staring at stained carpet, or a ceiling fan that belongs in Versailles, it was hard to imagine what the room would look like with those things gone. I had to chip away at the big issues in the room before I could actually see what it needed. In other words, you have to get your space to neutral before you can even think about designing it.
After a few rounds of fixing the major things, you’ll end up with a blank slate where you can actually think, be creative, and give the space what it needs to really shine. You still probably want to have a general sense of direction from the beginning, but let’s be real – ceiling fans and flooring choices are pretty neutral and will go with almost anything you choose down the road. Pick what you like, and move on.
Now that our bedroom is ‘neutral’, I can actually see where I want it to go. Some of the things I have planned now I never would have considered before I chipped away at the big issues, and having a blank slate to work from is so much easier than trying to see past stained carpet or an ugly ceiling fan.
So if you’re considering quick fix home improvement – maybe don’t do it. Put that money into a savings account instead, and use it to take on the most egregious offenders in your room first. You’ll be able to see the space’s true potential, and you won’t waste time or money in the interim trying to cover things up with a band-aid.