Thursday, May 3, 2012

Do You Do "For Now" Projects?

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?


  1. Honestly I hate "for now" projects up until recently. We rent now and I can't paint, change or transform anything so my "for now" is constant until we get enough money for a down payment here is my two cents, experiment, hate the orange ceiling-paint it-a fun color you wondered if it might look good up there, and if you hate it, you know it's gonna be gone in the next 5 yrs...not red or orange or anything crazy, but stripes going the opposite way of the pine boards...but painting the trim and such from dark to white, go for it! you will love the room so much better when it isn't so blocky and dark, and I think you will like it better until the "for now" becomes the "gonna fix" project of the month :)

  2. Yes! I am all for "for now" projects. I just blogged about one of mine today: I think we need to be honest about when exactly we are going to actually get to the big project (probably not anytime soon) and make our current surroundings look as lovely as possible. Paint away, girl!

  3. We're in the middle of one now. We ripped out an ugly Kelly green spa tub that was sitting about 5 feet from our bed in our master bath and putting in a walk in closet instead. However, we've still got the old bathroom 80's OAK bathroom mirror and bathroom sinks (pink countertop!!!) so we'll paint our bedroom, new closet and master bathroom, do as much as we can, but the mirror and sinks will stay because we know it would cost $1000 for new. :( I'll still hate it every day but hoping that the rest of the room will help balance the hate.

  4. Instead of sanding, wonder if you have ever tried steel wool and acetone? It leaves the natural stain, redistributes the 'varnish', yet removes the goo. Unless you are looking for the dent removal that sanding provides, I think you will be pretty happy with the effect. You use a lot of rags in constantly wiping, but leaves a great "for now" finish. Never be afraid to take a rag dipped in acetone and run over a newly scratched table to hide the blemish. Use real acetone, not fingernail polish remover.

  5. I don't usually do for now projects either, but I just did a small one in my kitchen and I'm happy with it. I'm saving for a kitchen re-do, so my windows have been bare for the last few months. Since I spend so much time in there I was tired of how dull and unfinished it looked, so I bought some cheap, colorful fabric and whipped up a few valances. It brightened things up immediately and it not longer looks like we just moved in. LOL

    I'm still on the hunt for the perfect fabric to make my "forever" curtains with... but these will do for now.

    I think painting all that wood is a great idea and you'll be happy you did it, even if it's just a for now solution.


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