Rookie Mistakes from your Favorite Bloggers

We all make mistakes in life, right? I mean that’s just a normal part of being human. But imagine if lots of your everyday mistakes were documented on the internet for the world to see. Yikes, right?! Welcome to the wild, wild west of being a blogger.the_DIY_Playbook_Bridget_Casey_Headshot-4

It may seem like bloggers have picture perfect lives, especially when you view them one pretty square at a time on Instagram. Beautifully lit interiors, perfectly coiffed hair, spot-on makeup, and wrinkle-free wardrobes. We hate to break it to ya, but it’s all a BIG.FAT.LIE.

We Aren’t Perfect

We all fail. A lot. And many of these mistakes are viewed by hundreds of thousands of blog readers. And to prove it to you, we asked some of our blogging buddies to share their worst rookie mistakes right here on the blog today.

Rookie Mistakes From Our Favorite DIY BloggersFrom DIY projects gone awry to newbie blogging blunders…we’ve got lots of hilarious ROOKIE MISTAKES to share with all of you! And you’ll even hear some mistakes from yours truly. So let’s get to the good stuff.

Rookie Mistakes From Our Favorite Bloggers

Emily from Emily A. Clark

Emily_Clark_2014_025Finish your project or you will be found out! I thought it would be fun to do a little Sharpie art on a garden stool, but it was late and I was too tired to finish the other side, so I just did one side for the blog post photo. Fast forward several months later, and Style Me Pretty Living comes to my house to shoot a home tour. Wouldn’t you know they shot—and published—that half-done garden stool? #embarrassing – Emily

Carmel from Our Fifth House

Biggest rookie mistake?  Hmmm…’s hard to pick one.  I made so many mistakes in my early blogging days.  I took nighttime photos, not the best idea for an interior design blogger.  I also made some pretty major design mistakes  – hanging curtain panels too low, hanging art too high…..the list is long.  But you learn a lot from mistakes, so I don’t regret any of them.  I’d say the biggest mistake I made was in forcing myself to stick to a blogging schedule.  I looked around at what my peers were doing way too much in the early days.  If they were posting 5 days a week, I felt like I needed to follow suit.  But the truth is, readers stay in tune with quality not quantity.  So if a 5 day a week posting schedule doesn’t work for your life or your creativity, it’s okay to cut back.  You really have to find your own groove and go confidently in that direction.  These days, especially this summer with my kids being home, I post maybe 3 times a week.  When fall rolls around I’ll go back to 4 days.  Learning that I don’t have to “keep up with the Kardashians” so to speak 😉 was the best thing for both my blog and my life.  Because at the end of the day, I’m a wife, a mom, a friend, a daughter, a creative, a book clubber, a secret reality tv watcher, a netflix binge watcher, a beach girl, a yoga practicer, a sometimes runner, a healthy food advocate…….I’m a lot of things outside of being a blogger and while I love blogging I don’t want it to ever take over all the other parts of my life that are just as if not more important.  -Carmel

Katie from Bower Power Blog

hallwayI guess my rookie mistake was about eight years ago. We bought our first house and it was the first time I really got to pick out paint colors…but we were on a very limited DIY budget so I decided to give discounted paint a go. I went to Home Depot, asked for the discount/return paint, bought it and went home to roll my hallway. In my brain, I thought I had purchased a soothing beige color….even as I rolled the color onto the walls, I thought, “this will darken up. this will mellow out, it will dry differently.” Jeremy’s first words when he saw it was “OH IT BURNS!” and he ran out of the house. Not looking on the paint color was definitely one rookie mistake, but definitely not my last. – Katie

Cassie from Hi Sugarplum!

I started my blog six years ago, which was practically the dinosaur ages, and I knew absolutely nothing, except that I had a head-full of ideas I wanted to share. I made (and continue to make!) plenty of mistakes, but my biggest was not purchasing my actual domain name in the beginning, and unfortunately, when the blog started to grow beyond just my favorite hobby, a squatter owned my domain name. #insertweepyemoji It took two years of watching and waiting for it to come up for auction, but I’m finally the proud owner of the absurdly-overpriced…definitely an expensive mistake! – Cassie

Kim from Yellow Brick Homekitchen-baseboards-01

We have had to redo all of the trim in our home from the ground up, literally – think: baseboards, doors, windows. Our home was chopped up so many times throughout the years, and as we piece it all back together, we’ve ripped up the old builder grade trim work in favor of something more beefy and beautiful. Despite the fact that we are this close to completing every last bit, every single time we install trim in a new room, we always make a mitered cut on the wrong angle. Every time! When you’re going through as much trim as we do, it adds up quickly! We are not immune to mistakes, but you would think that hopping in the car to buy more trim, just to paint it again and cut it again, well, you’d think we’d learn our lesson. Nope. – Kim

Gwen from The Makerista

I would say my biggest mistake at first was thinking that everything had to be incredibly awesome and a standout. I quickly learned that in order for a room to feel balanced and comfortable you need some things in the space to be quiet and a few key pieces to be the showstopper. If everything is amazing than nothing is. – Gwen

Chelsea from Two Twenty One

green-kitchenThis particular decor fail occurred a year before I became a card-carrying blogger, but it was a rookie mistake nonetheless. The year was 2009, my then-boyfriend, now-husband and I had just bought our first house. To say I was excited was an understatement. Then entire house was painted boring beige, so I couldn’t wait to pick up my paint roller and get to work adding a little color to the joint. But in my elated state I didn’t take the time to really think about the decor direction I wanted to take– all I knew was that I wanted to paint the kitchen green. So I got some samples, put them on the wall, and chose, what I thought at the time, was the best option. The photo of the kitchen speaks for itself. And to think that we lived with that color for 3 years. But hey, it makes for great before photo now! – Chelsea

Kristin from Bliss at Home

I was vacuuming before a photo shoot and had accidentally left the vacuum in the shot. You could barely see it from the angle I was shooting from, but I could see the yellow handle pop out behind the desk. Always double-check your shot before you move on to the next! I didn’t catch it until I went to edit photos. – Kristin

Courtney from A Thoughtful Place

As far as mistakes go, I have had had my fair share and continue to make them on a weekly basis. I always tell my kiddos that failure is the path to success. Having said that I don’t think the French’s mustard yellow accent wall I painted in our first apartment led to much success. Just a ridiculous amount of primer to cover it back up. It was heinous. Sadly one of my biggest rookie mistakes was in filming a video for the blog. I had this bright idea to add video tutorials for entertaining posts that I create. Well, my sweet and very patient hubby did the camera work. I don’t blame him as I told him how to hold the iPhone. Needless to say. . . failure. We filmed the entire thing vertically. I should have reached out to Casey for her masterful video skills. Who knew the camera was to be turned sideways. Eek. And now thanks to Pinterest, our video lives on forever to really drive home the point that we make mistakes all the time. You can check out our sideways video here.  – Courtney

Sarah from Sarah M. Dorsey Designs

sarah-dorsey-rookie-mistake-table-beforeI distinctly remember the first time I painted a piece of furniture – it was horrible! It was a super cheap black Ikea side table and I wanted it to be white (big surprise!). I picked up a paint / primer combo and got straight to work. At first, it didn’t stick at all – it kinda streaked on – after SEVERAL coats, it was fairly even. I let it dry, but it never really fully cured – it was forever tacky. I actually ended up upholstering those tables! Since then, I’ve learned to do plenty of research before starting a project, use good quality materials and sand – you can check out all of my painting tips here. – Sarah

Summer from Simple Stylings

My rookie mistake was not getting more organized from the beginning, or at least from the point I realized I was going to turn my blog into a business. There is a ton of behind the scenes work that goes into blogging and if you don’t stay organized and on top of things you can easily get overwhelmed. I’m still working on putting systems in place to keep up with my finances, my props and projects, as well as my blogging and social media schedule. If you can get organized early on you may just be able to keep your sanity in tact (and will not freak out when tax time comes!) – Summer

Bridget from The DIY Playbook

I’m embarrassed to even share this because I think it may be WORSE than a rookie mistake and more like a “little league”/”you didn’t actually just do that” mistake. Here goes nothing….

When I first started the blog, I had ZERO experience with tools (like NONE). I forget exactly what project I was working on at the time but I needed to drill a pilot hole through a piece of wood. Typically you would use a pilot bit (like this one):04-drill-pilot-bit

…and drill through the wood with little to no effort. Easy enough, right?! WRONG! Instead of a pilot bit, I used a screwdriver drill bit (like this one):Screwdriver Bit on Drill

… but rather than using it to tighten a screw, I used it to drill that dang pilot hole. Notice I didn’t say “TRIED to use it to drill pilot hole” because I didn’t just TRY, I DID it.

Rookie Tip:

With enough muscle and perseverance, even a screwdriver bit will drill a pilot hole BUT beware because after about 3 minutes of serious muscle, the wood WILL start smoking from the friction. Literally — SMOKING!!

I thought it was weird that the wood started smoking (that should have been my first clue) but I didn’t know what I did wrong until after I questioned my dad about the whole experience. He never lets me play that down and quite honestly, I don’t blame him!! Haha holy embarrassing! On the bright side though, I’ll never make that mistake again and have come along way using a drill. I still laugh out loud thinking back to that day. #rookieprobs -Bridget

Claire from Claire Brody Designs

I can honestly count more DIY fails than DIY success stories of mine. I have come to accept the fact that I just am not a DIY person – I do it to achieve a look I want on the cheap, but it usually turns out a bit janky. That however hasn’t stopped me yet.

We rent our home, and when I was decorating our master bedroom I found this wallpaper pattern I HAD to have. The landlord said he was very hesitant to allow us to paint the walls and that we had to paint his original colors back when we move out, so the idea of adhering permanent wallpaper to his walls was out of the question. Yet I still bought the $200 roll of wallpaper. I told my husband I would figure it out but that we were going to have a wallpaper accent wall in our bedroom if it was the last thing I did.

I somehow dreamed up the idea of adhering the wallpaper to FOAM BOARD and then nailing the foam board to the wall. I thought I was going to be the next big DIY guru because the concept was nowhere on Pinterest yet. Well, it wasn’t on Pinterest for good reason. I had my husband slave over applying this wallpaper to foam board (using wallpaper adhesive) and then nailing it all to cover one wall. The foam board started to warp after one day of being nailed to wall. We never really talked about it but left it up for almost a year and acted like it looked great.

Lesson learned: Don’t apply wallpaper to foam board using wallpaper adhesive and then nail it to your wall. It will not work. -Claire

Casey from The DIY Playbook


You guys read about this rookie mistake a few months ago on the blog, but I’ll refresh your memory on this craft that turned out crappy. Having read about the magical qualities of the product “Rub ‘N Buff”, I decided to give it a try on hardware for our guest room fauxdenza. Long story short, I made a huuuuge mess trying to turn silver handles into gold & glam ones. And I also ended up having literal gold fingers for at least a day and a half #embarrassing – Casey

So there you have it…lots and lots of mistakes, blunders, slips, and errors. In fact, I think it’s safe to say we have a lot more fails than successes around these parts. And guess what…that’s a-okay with us! Life’s NOT perfect, neither are we, and it’s these silly mistakes that make life that much more fun. =)

And speaking of fun– we would LOVE to hear from you! Do any of you brave souls have a ROOKIE MISTAKE you’re willing to share with the group?! We’d love to hear them in the comments below.


  • This was such a fun post! Glad to know that even the “experts” are rookies like me 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Gretchen. Yep…none of us are experts at all! ha.

  • Terianne Muhl

    Ha, ha…love this post! Pretty much everything I do turns out to be a rookie mistake it seems, but I just keep on keepin’ on…rookies eventually make it to the big leagues, right? At least now I know how NOT to do quiet a few projects :/

    • Love that attitude Terrianne! Keep on keeping’ on!

  • Trang

    What’s the saying – ‘to err is human’? Yep, we all make mistakes. Whether we fess up to it and get ridiculed is another story right? 🙂
    My rookie mistake is relatable to Bridget’s. Many years ago, when I was first using power tools, I had a drill (the old kind with a cord) and wasn’t aware (or think about it) that when you use drill bits, they get hot. Duh! I quickly learned my lesson after my thumb and index finger got torched touching the drill bit when removing it from the drill.

  • Erin

    I have two big ones. the first one was when we first moved into our condo. we wanted to paint the one wall in the living room a burnt orange. that took 8! coats. Yes i still remember the number from 8 years ago. the guy at home depot recommended tinted primer then to paint with the burnt orange. Needless to say after 4 coats, we had to go back and get gray primer and then go over it with the paint. Much better. It looked great in the end but he also told us to get semi gloss – UHM NOOOOOO. so last year i painted over the wall in a navy blue and got flat paint, that took 2 coats. paint has come a LONG way since then.

    the other mistake was we decided to build our own wine/liquor cabinet. the design was thought all the way through, but executing was a whole nother ball game! we ended up having to DIY our own legs because what we found in the store was never gonna work. plus the door, OMG don’t even. we ended up creating our own “handle.” and the table top, was a major mismeasure but it turned out good cuz we ended up with a gorgeous piece of wood on top. we still love it to this day, one of these days we’ll probably buy a liquor/wine cabinet, but the size we needed was really weird, hence why we DIY’d our own.

    • These are both AMAZING Erin! The burnt orange wall…hahaha. Too funny. Happy to hear it’s a pretty navy now.

      And you guys have some major skills to build your own wine cabinet. Super impressive and awesome that you’ve been able to use it so much!

  • Loveland Lodge

    What a great read. I to am guilty of the same one as Brooke – I was so excited to get a drill as a wedding shower present, but neither my husband nor I knew how to use it. We only recently figured out the whole drill bit vs. screw driver bit. The good news is now that we know how easy it is to hang stuff, it doesn’t take much to get my husband to help me anymore!

    • Hahahaha #rookieprobs. At least we can laugh about it now, right?! And we are obsessed with your positive spin on this mistake because you are so right! Using a drill is so darn easy now that we kinda know what we’re doing. Thanks for sharing! =)

  • Carol Sesin

    LOL I’m cracking up at the wallpaper one. That’s something I would do.

  • Marty Oravetz (A Stroll Thru L

    Oh I’ve made a million. My latest was choosing the wrong color again and again and painting the bathroom 5 times.

    • We hate when that happens!! Thanks for sharing Marty =)

  • Rookie blogging mistake: editing the size of my images INSIDE the Blogger application instead of before I upload them. #rookie They looked terrible on mobile and now I am in the SLOW process of having to update my archives.

    • OMG… going back and updating archives is the WORST!! We totally feel your pain!

  • Abbie DeLaney Zinkan

    When we repainted our downstairs last year we decided we would do the ceilings as well (we didn’t do them the first time around, 1st mistake!). We figured painting ceilings was going to be just like painting walls, but we were very wrong! We bought the “special” ceiling paint and were told the amount we bought would do our entire downstairs. We had no idea that there are special ways to roll ceilings (if you don’t know either, I implore you to watch a Youtube video first, it’s very different) or that you absolutely cannot roll over an already painted spot. After using the entire purchase of paint on 1 room (yes, 1 room!) and seeing the resulting lines EVERYWHERE, we finally watched a Youtube video and figured it out. It was one of those special “if our marriage survives this it will survive anything” kind of moments!

    • We had no idea about this!! Thank YOU for saving us this rookie mistake. Whenever we have to paint ceilings, we will definitely do our research…. thank you so much for sharing!

  • My first two years of blogging we lived in a rental with these straw yellow walls that we weren’t allowed to paint. I did everything to make the space beautiful but my all of my pictures were turning out really yellow (worse than the wall color). I finally realized as we were packing up to move that may camera had a “sun” setting turned on that made the pictures appear warmer. I still have a lot of color correcting to do on old photos but our current rental is all white. Wahoo!

    • Oh my goodness, we can relate to camera-related rookie mistakes ALL too well! We feel your pain, Kathy — thank you so much for sharing!

      As for the white rental, we love the sound of that =) Good luck!!

  • Kara D

    Haha! Love reading through these, we’re all in the same rookie boat!

    My rookie mistake was forgetting to wash my newly bought curtain panels BEFORE hemming them. I realized my mistake within mere minutes after my friend and I had already painstakingly measured-measured-measured and fabric-tape-hemmed all of them. At that point, all I could do was cross my fingers on hoping I would never need to wash them. Well, I got away with it for about 1.5 years until I just had to wash them. They shrunk 2 inches! No more “kissing the floor” curtains. #doh

    • hahah that is an easy mistake to make! And it reminds me that I probably need to wash my curtains! ha!

  • Suzanne Melton

    Bridget, I hope this story makes you smile.

    Dave is a retired residential elevator constructor. When he was an apprentice, his mechanic (we’ll call him Dan) told him this story.

    Back in the day before there were battery-powered hand tools, everything plugged into a wall. With two prongs; no ground.

    Dan’s apprentice was supposed to drill a hole with, apparently, a drill he’d never seen before.

    He couldn’t get the drill to make the hole. He broke three drill bits.

    Finally, he called Dan over to let him know something was wrong with the drill. Dan figured out the problem right away.

    “Oh, you’ve plugged the cord into the wall upside down. Just go over there, unplug it, turn it around, and plug it back in.”

    The apprentice did it and, when he got back to Dan, the drill worked!

    Dave doesn’t know if the apprentice ever figured out that Dan flipped the switch from Reverse to Forward while the apprentice’s back was turned.

    • OMG…. this makes me feel A LOT better and has me literally laughing out loud. If an apprentice is making that rookie mistake with the drill, I guess I don’t feel as bad! hahaha what a great story, thank you!!!