I've decided to start a dining room project I've been putting off for a while now: painting all the trim. The only costs involved are some paint and primer, but I've struggled with the idea of spending time on something that is temporary -- even though the job is primarily labor, in my house grand plan I'm going to remove some doorways (eliminating lots of the trim I'm about to paint) and replace the trim around the 5 windows to tie them all together and make the windows a single focal point in the room (there goes the rest of the painted trim).
So is it worth it?
If you had asked me 6 months ago I would definitely have said no (I do have lots of other things to do), but I think I'm changing my mind. I'm still totally against temporary projects that are large, expensive or massively time consuming, and I'm sure I'd pass on this paint job if I was planning on making the more permanent changes to my dining room in the next year or so... but I'm not. So how much cost or labor is acceptable to make your space better in the interim?
(See you later, orange ceiling)
I think we all probably have a different answer to that question, but I think it's one we need to make sure we're asking. It's so easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new project or the idea of making progress in a room that you aren't happy with, that we end up losing sight of the big picture (or even our budgets).
There are several things I consider when deciding whether or not to pursue a "for now" project:
- Cost - everyone's budget is different
- Time/Labor - please don't undervalue your time, this is important!
- Impact - is it going to create more work for you down the line to work around it or remove it when the time comes?
- Timeline - is "for now" 3 years or 3 months?For example, a quickie temporary $53 slate backsplash was acceptable to me -- but I worked really hard to keep the cost down (and cut some traditional corners to save money that I wouldn't have if it was a permanent installation). Slate isn't what I would choose for my permanent kitchen's backsplash, but it's nice looking and the price was right so it works in my "for now" kitchen beautifully.
Spending a long weekend prepping, priming, and painting what feels like miles of dark stained dining room trim is acceptable to me (barely), but spending the money and time to replace that trim for a style I like more (even with pre-primed material that would allow me to skip the stinky, stain-blocking oil-based primer) was not acceptable. Budget plays a big role for my "for now" decisions.
Today I'm sanding the trim before I hopefully get some taping and priming done... I'm trying to aim high and be optimistic but the realist in me says I won't be done with priming today if I want to serve my family something other than cream of cinnamon toast crunch soup for dinner.
What about you? Do you do "for now" projects? Are you working on any of them right now?