It’s not easy to get started on your first DIY project. However big the scope is – whether you’re renovating an entire room or just building a set of shelves – it can feel daunting to stare down the sheer amount of work you need to do and get disheartened. Don’t worry – this is a common experience, and every single person who wants to do DIY eventually goes through this. Immediate motivation often wanes, and the true mark of success is whether you can stick with a project all the way to its completion. Here’s our beginner’s guide on how to embark on your first interior DIY project.

Make sure you have the funding

There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through the planning stages of your project – or even halfway through the project itself – and then realising you don’t have the money to complete it. That’s why you need to make sure you shore up the necessary funds before you begin. If the project is big enough, you may wish to consider a second mortgage loan (if you’re a homeowner, of course) to help you fund it. This can be an excellent and very speedy way to get the cash you need.

Plan extensively beforehand

Even if the project you’re embarking on is a small and supposedly inconsequential one, you should still make sure you have a plan for it. Know exactly what you need to do, how long it’s going to take to do it, and what resources you’re going to require. Going into the project armed with this knowledge will be helpful because it means you won’t run into any unexpected snags. Keep referring to the plan throughout your project and you should be fine.

Buy tools, resources, and other things first

If you don’t have a fully stocked toolbox, then you’re not quite ready to embark on your first DIY project. You should have general tools like screwdrivers, tape, and a hammer and nails, but you should also research more specialised tools you may need for this specific project, such as screwdrivers with unconventional heads. Whatever you need, make sure you have it and that you’re carrying spares, too, just in case something happens to your main tools.

Think about your skill set

Everyone’s strengths lie in different places when it comes to DIY. Can you persevere through long, repetitive labour? If so, you might be best suited to painting a room or building a piece of furniture. Are you skilled with your hands and as a craftsman? In that case, you’d be better off with precision work such as sanding or building from scratch. However you decide to approach the problem, try to understand where your skills lie and how you can best use them for the project.

Don’t punish yourself for mistakes

Everybody makes mistakes, and nowhere is that more true than in the DIY space. You have to leave room for yourself to make mistakes and allow yourself to grow from the experience. Unfortunately, mistakes can often mean a ruined project when it comes to DIY, so try to surround yourself with independent observers (friends, family, et cetera) who can help prevent those mistakes. If they do happen, though, don’t beat yourself up – just move on and learn.

If you can, practice first

It’s not always easy to get practice in when it comes to DIY projects. Sometimes, there’s no real substitute for just getting stuck in. However, if you’re doing something that does allow you to put in practice – for example, if you’re sanding down furniture or building a new piece from scratch – it pays to get practice in. The more you know what you’re doing going into the DIY project, the better you’ll do and the fewer mistakes you’ll stand to make from your endeavours.

Call a professional if you need to

Don’t be ashamed to call in the services of a professional if you feel one is required. If you’re deep into your project and it looks like things are going pear-shaped, one of the best ways you can salvage your efforts is to call a pro to finish the job. In fact, depending on the scope of the project, you may actually wish to call a professional from the off and perhaps ask if they’re willing to collaborate with you. The end goal of the project is key, so getting a professional to help will engender a positive outcome quicker.

Don’t do anything important at first

If you’ve got things around the house that desperately need to be fixed or improved, don’t make these things your first DIY project. Start small – sanding, painting, dismantling furniture, or cleaning are all excellent beginner projects. It’s important to know your limitations and how much you can handle, because the easiest way for a project to spin out of control is to misjudge these factors. Talk to those around you and ask if there’s something easy you can start with.

Keep checking your handiwork

It might be tempting to simply sign off on the project once it’s done and call it a success, but there are a host of problems that could happen to many DIY projects after they’re completed. It’s a good idea to keep checking your work to make sure no problems are developing and that what you’ve done continues to hold together. This is especially important when it comes to wiring and electrical projects, because a fault can seriously impact your quality of life in these cases.