How to Survive a DIY Renovation Stress Free

Our Forgotten Living Room: ORC Week 3

Walls have been demoed, new construction has been done, painting has started, tools are scattered everywhere and you can’t use the room you are renovating.  Laundry is piling up, the dog just wants to sit with you in your chair in the evening like normal and dinner is a hit or miss affair.  Your DIY renovation is going off the rails.

Sound familiar?  Sound like a nightmare you never want to contemplate?

It doesn’t have to be that way!  I am here to share with you my top 5 tips for surviving a DIY renovation and to share my One Room Challenge progress for week 3.

I can’t believe we are on week three already!  For those of you that may have missed them here is where you can catch up on Week 1 and Week 2.   The ORC is a bi-yearly design challenge organized and hosted by Linda from Calling it Home and media partner House Beautiful that includes 20 featured participants and 200+ guest participants who have 6 weeks to makeover the room of their choice.  This is my first time and I am excited to be a guest participant!   I have some progress pics for you, but first let’s talk about how to keep your reno stress free!

Don't stress yourself out, follow these 5 tips and enjoy a stress free diy renovation.


5 Tips to Survive a DIY Renovation

  1. Set your budget and stick to it.  A budget that blows up can cause a lot of stress.  Any budget should have a contingency built in for unexpected hiccups that might occur, but aside from that don’t go spending outside the budget.  Having a mood board or inspiration board to refer back to when feel yourself going off the deep spending end is a great way to curb the drain of money from your pocket.  Trust me!
  2. Plan your projects.  Know what is going to be done and get all supplies necessary to complete your projects.  Decide which projects you can do yourself and which ones you will hire done.  Know your limitations and you will eliminate a lot of stress!  Also, make sure to have a plan B in case something doesn’t go as planned.  Ask my how I know this….
  3. Set a timeline.  Do not let the reno drag on forever (talk about stressful!)  Set up a schedule of when each step will be complete.  Add in an extra couple of days in case something comes up to slow down your progress.
  4. Learn to call it a day.  No matter how much there is to do and now matter how determined you are to work as long and as hard as necessary to get it done, you have to know when to stop for the day.  When you are done for the day, clean up and put everything in a designated area to keep your sanity.  You will thank me for it later!
  5. Make time for self care and family.  Remember the pile of laundry and the hit and miss dinners?  Don’t let that happen.  See number 4.  Neglecting other tasks and family members can lead to a measure of resentment which will lead to stress for you.  So sit down and watch your favorite show, go out to eat, sit with your dog in your chair and get in some time for relaxation.

Put these tips into practice with your next renovation project and it will go much smoother.  Now…on to the progress pics for week three of the ORC.

ORC Week 3 progress

Remember that this what I started with.

5 tips for a stress free DIY renovation

When I say I, it is because I am doing this room makeover all by myself.  My hubby hates when my projects turn into his projects, so I am flying solo on this one and I have to say I am pretty proud of what I have accomplished!!

Week 3 has been all about adding architectural detail to the room.  I decided to add a board and batten look to the walls.  All. By. Myself.

Straight out of the gate, before any material was purchased, I hit a snag.  The wood I planned to use was going to stick way out past the existing baseboards and would have looked awful!  I had no choice, and after furiously messaging my friend Susie from the chelsea project blog, I calmed down and took to Pinterest looking for a solution.  See tip number 2 above.

There was no easy solution and I had to take out the existing baseboard (that had already been painted) and add new.  I chose to use furring strips to make my board and batten and I will share a full post on how I did it in a few days.

Here is what the room looks like now with the new architectural detail added to the walls (please ignore the nasty carpet, it is getting cleaned this weekend)

5 tips for a stress free DIY renovation

5 tips for a stress free DIY renovation

5 tips for a stress free DIY renovation

I even had some helpers with painting…they had a blast helping Nana.

5 tips for a stress free DIY renovation

The room looks so much brighter now!!  Although I am still toying with the idea of painting the batten a dark color for a more dramatic effect.  What do you think?

So here is the progress after week 3

  • paint the trim and doors white
  • paint the walls and add an architectural detail to the room
  • fix the carpet at the entry and replace tiles
  • clean the carpet
  • turn an old cedar chest into a cushioned bench
  • create a new media console for under the TV
  • create and purchase new wall art
  • replace vertical blind with new updated plantation style blind
  • source or make new throw pillows
  • refinish side table, and current console table
  • refurbish 2 chairs or reupholster 1 chair
  • purchase an area rug to tie the whole space together
  • pull it all together in a room with way too many openings and doors

The big jobs are done and checked off…right on schedule.

Please be sure to visit the featured participants and the other guest participants by clicking the links below.

Featured Participants

Guest Participants

Living room makeover, One Room Challenge week 1

Until next time,


5 tips for a stress free DIY renovation






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  1. I am so impressed that you did the walls all by yourself. I did the same thing in my bathroom and just like you, I promised my husband that he would not have to do a thing. I realized that I couldn’t even figure out the measurements without him. Your hubby should be proud of you. Great job!

  2. Oh Susanne, your new room is looking GREAT! You are totally rockin the solo gig! Keep going, girl. I’m already looking forward to seeing your room next week. Super congrats. Susie from The Chelsea Project

  3. Your walls look great! And what cutie pie helpers! I love working with my kids. 🙂 You’re doing fantastic!

  4. The wall treatment looks amazing! I love that you are doing this space yourself. 🙂 Looking forward to seeing the reveal.

  5. These are great tips! The wall turned out so good and I think you should keep it white!

    1. Thanks Mary!! I think I will, I would definitely get an eye roll from the hubby if I change it now, lol

  6. Wow, is all I have to say! Great job girl.

  7. These makeovers are intense~ that list is huge! I can’t wait to see the results.

  8. It is amazing to me how much wood trim can truly transition a space. I love that way your details are coming together. Plus…always fun to get the kiddos involved!

    1. It really makes the room look totally different!! They had a blast painting!! Thanks so much for stopping by Tammy!!

  9. The walls look great! I hear you about the hubby not wanting your projects to become his…lol. Same in my household. I usually do these challenges solo… It’s good for bragging rights, though! haha. Good luck!

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