Home decor: When to buy and when to DIY

Household 3 min read

Sometimes it makes sense to DIY your home decor, while other times it’s best to buy. There are several factors to consider when deciding which is best.

Areas of expertise

One factor to take into consideration is your talent or know-how. I believe it’s important to pour your talents into areas where they are best utilized. For example, I am not an amazing upholsterer. While I can cover a basic chair seat just fine, I have found that I just don’t have the patience or ambition to do anything more involved than that. I focus on the projects I do well, and leave the upholstering to the professionals.

Wooden chair with blue and white cushion

One DIY project that is pretty doable regardless of your experience is painting. Paying for labor can get expensive, and painting is a relatively easy and inexpensive task. Walls and furniture can be painted easily, and if you mess it up, it can always be redone. Electrical work, on the other hand, can have much larger repercussions if it’s not done correctly, so I leave most of that to the professionals right along with the upholstery. I think you have to judge your own personal comfort level as to which types of projects you are up for trying yourself, and hire out the rest.

Person with angled paintbrush painting walls white

Consider money vs. time investment

In some cases, you may save money if you do it yourself, but your time has value too. It’s certainly important to consider how much time will be invested and weigh whether or not it’s worth the money you’ll be saving. Time is money, after all.

Is it really less expensive?

While I am a huge DIY fan and truly believe it’s an amazing way to save money while adding your own personal touch to your home, the truth is that it’s not always cheaper than buying. It often is, but sometimes, depending on the item, the mass-produced version actually costs less. However, not everyone wants something that is mass produced. I think that if you’re planning to┬ámake something identical to the mass-produced version, and you’re not going to save any money in the process, then buy the item from the store instead. If you’re creating a unique piece that you can’t buy in stores, or if you could save money by purchasing the materials and making it yourself, then DIY is definitely the way to go!


Patience is a major factor to consider when deciding whether to buy or DIY. It’s not just about the time spent on the project, but whether or not you are going to make yourself miserable doing a task that you just plain hate. I enjoy building and refinishing furniture, but it’s a lot of work, and it’s time consuming. For me, it’s worth it because I am able to save money while adding something handmade to our home. If you don’t have the patience for building or refinishing furniture, then buying might be the right choice for you. The same rule applies to any task. Stick with the projects that will add the least amount of stress to your life.

Person staining wood with rag

Ultimately there are many reasons that people DIY. They do it to save money, for the love of the process, for the creative outlet it provides, or because it allows them to have something unique and handmade. The amount of DIY you choose to incorporate into your home is a personal decision, and hopefully considering all of the factors mentioned above will help you determine which route you should take with that next home decor item.

Was this article helpful?

2 min
4 min
4 min
3 min
3 min