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Readers Respond: Tell Us Your DIY Decorating Disasters

Responses: 9


Almost all of us have had at least one decorating or do-it-yourself disaster. It's not us, I know. The real reason is because the instructions don't make sense. Or the glue top wasn't screwed on correctly. Or a gust of wind popped up right as you pressed the button to the paint sprayer.

But some days, I will confess, it really is just me. I've shared my top mistakes, now share yours with me!

Oh, What a Night!

Trying to restore our 1910 farmhouse provided numerous DIY disasters. . .but one sunny afternoon with a 0% chance of rain, my husband removed the shingles and decking---down to the rafters---on the roof above the partly remodeled bathroom. About midnight a terrific thunderstorm hit. After I put out every bucket, trash can, pot and bowl on the new bathroom subfloor in a vain attempt to catch the flood from above, my husband climbed the ladder and knelt on the wooden beams, stapling black tar paper to the rafters as I stood on the deck below, holding a mechanic's lamp above my head as lighting flashed overhead. When in place, the tar paper immediately stopped the indoor deluge. So we mopped the water from the floor and fell into bed 50 minutes before the alarm sounded. (Our 8year old daughter's friend who happened to be spending the night and told her mother that she would never stay at our house again, that we were crazy and up running around all night!)
—Guest Sharon

Leftover paint

I always loved DIY jobs and on one boring Saturday morning I got the urge to paint the guest toilet using all the small bits of left over paint that my husband used for other small jobs around the house. I was left with some red, green and light brown paint and thought I could do a kind of sponge technique on the walls using all three colors. What a disaster! The room looked like it was used in an army camouflage movie! It was revolting and my children could not stop laughing.
—Guest Karli


My contractor painted my kitchen walls yellow, my cabinets taupe, and my ceiling beige. I wanted linen walls, cream ceiling & taupe cabinets.
—Guest Gerri

Sand-dune is really peach

We painted the boys room what I thought was going to be a nice sandy color, I am horrible with those 1" square color swatches, after the first coat we soon realized that "Sand-Dune" was really just peach. Not ideal for boys. Lesson learned, always get a sample to paint on walls first.
—Guest Mishka Cole

Self Stick Tiles

Tried to use self stick floor tiles once years ago. They were on clearance so they didn't come with instructions so I just cleaned the floor, peeled off the paper, and stuck them down over the linoleum. The didn't stay in place and made an awful mess when I tried to remove them.
—Guest Liz

Cat Leaves Rustic Decorating in Tatters

I've always liked the "country look" that comes from hanging up bundles of dried herbs in the home. Problem is, our indoor cat is very much attracted to any kind of vegetation we bring inside (dried or otherwise). Once, I failed to take that into account when I hung up some dried herbs. I hung them from a mantle to which the cat -- if she really tries -- has access. Well, we came home from a weekend drive to find the dried herbs shredded up, all over the floor! The cat had had a field day tearing the bundles apart. A decorating idea quickly turned into a vacuuming chore.
—Guest David Beaulieu

Lavendar Walls

My parents let me choose my own theme for my bedroom when they did a whole house redecorating (I was 12). I chose blue and lavendar floral curtains and bedskirts, and lavendar walls. I hated the color as soon as it was done - somehow it made the light ranch oak woodwork look orange and just clashed horribly. Worse yet, those bedskirts, curtains and lavendar walls stayed there through YEARS of my adult life, mocking me whenever I visited. To this day I don't like purple and can't stand the supposedly complementary combination of purple/lavendar and orange.

RED bathroom

When my daughter moved home in 2000, we painted the guest bathroom red...yuck red! Not only was it yuck red, it was flat paint yuck red. I've lived with this mistake for ten years before all my kids came to me rescue and painted it a nice "Cricket" eggshell green! Now I walk in just to enjoy the color and finish!
—Guest nancy

purple puppy prints

When my husband and I were newlyweds, some friends had let us borrow their awesome sofa until we could purchase our own. I had a brilliant idea to paint our apartment walls deep purple, and while I was out of the room, our dog walked through the paint tray, all around the room and all across the sofa. I panicked and tried to take the cushion covers off and wash them. They shrunk so badly that I couldn't get the cushions back in them. Thankfully, our friends were very understanding, but still ... I have never left another unattended paint tray while the animals or children are around.
—Guest melanie

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