06/05 Life / Real Talk

Real Talk: DIY or BUY?


I have no idea if there’s interest in discussing this topic, but it’s something I think about often because it’s what I ask myself a lot and maybe something that probably goes through the thoughts of someone considering taking up a DIY project.

I saw a comment on a large public forum for DIY (ok it was Buzzfeed) that I see on almost every DIY roundup of this nature, and that is something along the lines of why don’t you just buy it because a) it’s cheaper than sourcing materials b) takes less time/less stressful c) will hold up better.

I don’t disagree with all that.  I do believe there’s a time and place for DIY and that it’s not always the number one option, and if it’s something that’s going to stress you out a lot and not be fun, then of course, don’t do it!  Please!!  I totally have my moments where I just think yea I’d rather buy this than spend xx hours on making one.  I also believe some jobs to be generally best left to professionals, like a complicated upholstery project, or major renovations, but that brings up the question of why someone DIYs…

There are purely practical reasons, maybe it’s saving money (DIYs CAN be cheaper) or creating a custom design you can’t find anywhere, and then there are reasons of pure interest and passion.  Both lines of reasoning apply to me.  For my DIYs, I try as best as I can to keep it to a standard of “would I buy this?” and if not, I’ll tweak the design or idea until I think yea, I totally would.  Other times, I just make because I need to.  The joy of making, the pride that comes with creation from your own two hands, it’s a thrill I consider necessary for my happiness and something I truly believe everyone innately craves to feel in some way, whether or not it’s something you would actually “buy”.

I’d love to have you guys weigh in on why you DIY, or what might keep you from doing a project.  When do you DIY and when do you say screw it?  Hoping this will help me cater ideas to you guys better, but also I’m just curious to hear about what motivates you.  Whatever thoughts or stories you have to share, I want to hear them!

Image is from my white and copper succulent planters DIY.

21 comments on “Real Talk: DIY or BUY?”

  1. The only reason I took on the hardest projects j did was to put a little more life into pieces that have been in the family. It’s fun for people to see my nice chairs and then tell them “they were my great grandmothers”.

    1. Must feel even more sentimental to have restored the pieces yourself! Beautiful story, thanks for sharing Anna.

    1. Haha yes, it’s pretty nice to have people acknowledge your creativity :) Thanks for chiming in Lila&Sirena!

    1. Yea, definitely the customization aspect is what really puts the edge on DIY for me. And yes, it’s so satisfying to create/build with your hands!

  2. I DIY because I want to tweak things just how I want them! It gives you the freedom to tweak pieces you like a lot to pieces you love and are fit just for you! :) Thank you for the inspiration you share on here!

    1. Tweaking is a good term to bring up, because DIY doesn’t always mean completely building something from scratch. I find I like DIY tweaks the most! Thank YOU Caitlin for being here and taking a sec to chat with me <3

  3. Hm.. why I DIY? For one I want to do something all the time, just for the pure happiness. Making something with my own hands and then see it around, it is kind of stress buster, keeps the spirit high. Second I like to entertain my little girl who loves helping me – Ok I pretend she is helping me , but still it is a good time spend together. Third, I have this itch to tweak things around me, so why not make it and tweak it? why to ruin someone else’s hard work :-)

    But I opt to buy when I see something I really love and am sure I can’t create a knock off that is even close.Or if it involves work that needs professional knowledge like installing a drywall :-)

    Does this make sense? I hope it does :-)

    1. Makes perfect sense, and I have to agree with everything. I also know the feeling of finding something so perfect that trying to DIY it myself just wouldn’t make sense- gotta support artists as well! I love that you use DIY as time to bond with your little girl. That’s something I hope to do as well when I have one of my own :) Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. DIYing makes the items feel more personal. I’d rather be surrounded by a few, loved items (very few expensive items that I love and another few I took the time to make it exactly how I wanted) than a lot of generic, less-loved items. It makes everything more “homey” which just so happens to fit perfectly with your blog. :)


    1. I’m definitely moving a lot more towards living the mantra of fewer, better things. You’re so right about the personal touch, too, and it’s a lot of what brings personality to a home :) Thanks for weighing in, Laura!

  5. I make because I get very fidgety if I haven’t got something on the go, sure to buy cushions readymade in the shop might workout cheaper but the joy of making stuff for your home, making it truly your own is unrivalled isn’t it? I also see making as a therapy I’m just not me unless I have a thousand projects on the go!

    1. Yup, exactly. I often get stressed out with the list of projects I need to tackle, but then I think about how if I didn’t have that list I would probably be going crazy from the lack of fulfillment I get from creating. I guess that’s what makes us makers :) Really glad you can relate, Hazel!

  6. This is such a great topic! To be honest, I’m in the “DIY if it’s cheaper” camp…and only if it’s significantly cheaper. Time is precious after all, so if I can find something just as good that costs about the same (or less), I’m gonna go with that. That’s why I’ve never bothered learning to sew clothes. I just don’t think it’s worth it, since fabric is pretty pricey and I can usually find clothes on sale for less.

    The other reason I DIY is if I can’t find what I want in a store. But I guess I don’t DIY purely for the joy of crafting…does that make me a bad blogger?? Haha.

    1. Bad blogger, no!! I totally feel you on the sewing thing… I’ve been saying since day one I gotta get a sewing machine, but then I thought about these exact things you listed and I’ve reasoned in the same way that maybe I won’t ever get really into that. AND, especially with trying to live with less and choose better, it makes sense to push for things that are really needed, or are REALLY going to save money. I’m with you on everything!

  7. I’m very switchable when it comes to these things– I have to weigh up the cost involvement, effort involved, the time it will take, and whether or not I’ll get a result I’m happy with when choosing to DIY something.I don’t know what my exact tipping point is, but when I reach it I DIY it! I think cost might be my biggest factor at the moment– I just posted a DIY marble clock on my blog because I wanted one I saw at Target, but knew I could easily make it for over $50 less than what they were charging. It’s not identical but it’s really really close, and I’m really happy with the balance I struck between all my DIY considerations.

    1. True, there are multiple things to consider, and I like that you touched on whether or not you’ll get the result you want. That reminds me that I’ve had moments thinking that I COULD DIY something, but it wouldn’t look as good as what could be purchased in store, and if the price difference isn’t too steep then buying makes a lot of sense.
      Your marble clock makeover is GENIUS! And you totally achieved the look- well worth it, agreed!!

      1. Right?? As fun and rewarding as DIY is, if you don’t get your desired result (or a different but equally awesome one) then it’s a bit more disappointing than worthwhile.

        Thank you so much for the compliment! I’m very pleased with how the clock turned out :)

  8. Interesting topic! A lot of the times I DIY I just really want to make whatever it is I’m going to make. I think it’s actually about the process more than the finished product. I rarely can afford to just buy the things I really want so I end up DIYing to save money, too.

    1. The process is the fun part, definitely. It’s essentially meditation! I know particularly painting is something I really enjoy doing regardless of the end product and I regularly crave doing it. it’s also probably my favorite way of saving money.

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