Home renovation. Home remodeling. Home updating. It doesn’t matter which buzz phrase you choose to use; it all amounts to the same thing. Sometimes, our home is in need of some TLC, and it’s up to us to do it.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be a matter of need. We all get bored of our decor or have little DIY issues that we want to fix. The wonky shelf that’s been bothering us for months; the window covering that no longer hangs straight. We push them aside in the bustle of everyday life, but eventually, we want to sort them out.

It’s only natural that we fall into one of the biggest mind traps imaginable at this point. We want things to look nice. If we have set aside the time and effort required to work on an area of our home, we want to feel it’s been worth it. We want an updated look, something attractive to enjoy, a smoothing away of those aesthetic concerns that have been bugging us.

When we do this, we set ourselves up for a future fall. By only focusing on the visual, we have a tendency to overlook the underlying issues. You can be annoyed by water spots on a ceiling and seek to fix them with a change of decor, but it’s tempting to ignore their cause. The cause is not exciting; it doesn’t feel like a valuable investment – it’s not even something tangible. It’s difficult to justify making something work as it should – to the point we don’t notice it – compared to making something look fantastic.

There’s nothing fundamentally wrong regarding this trap. Seeking attractiveness over function is a common enough issue – no judgment here. However, you could be setting yourself up for a fall of quite catastrophic proportions by neglecting the less glamorous jobs. To change how you do things, you need to adapt one of the below approaches.

Focus on Function Idea #1: Bribe yourself

Bribery is not necessarily a bad thing. Okay, it’s a bad thing – but if you’re the one doing it to yourself, no harm no foul. How does it work?

Let’s say you have two things that have been bothering you. The first is peeling paint in your bedroom; it looks awful, and it’s driving you mad. You hate it every time you look at it and are hankering after some new decor. The second is the more practical need, with a few roofing tiles on the exterior currently slipping from their moorings.

You set aside the time and budget, but you can only do one. The roof tiles don’t seem essential, and the paint really is wrong… so you should do the latter, right?

Wrong. It’s bribing time!

Bring in the experts! Use the advice you can read online at FergusonRoofing.com and do the roof. “You’re just telling me to do the practical things,” you sniff, “not balance them at all.” Before you flounce off, there is an upside to doing this.

1) Your home is more secure, and your roof is fixed

2) On the next occasion you have the time/budget, you go ahead and do the bedroom. Do it without thinking. Repaint that nightmare; you’ve earned it because you did the practical thing first.

Focus on Function Idea #2: Group The Boring Stuff Together

With the less attractive tasks, it can sometimes be difficult to find the motivation to do them. As a result, you defer them, try to forget their importance, and tackle the things that make a real (to your eye) difference.

Well, our second idea gives you total permission to do that. Yep, you can push everything to one side. You can focus on the things that bring out your creative, decorative side, and you can do it for months at a time. Your home is going to look better than ever!

The one caveat is that you have to set one season in which you will address the most practical tasks around your home. That might seem like an enormous amount of time – a whole quarter of a year, in fact – but look at it the other way. For three-quarters of the year – nine whole months! – you won’t have to think or spend on the practical needs.

Isn’t that an exchange worth making?

One sidenote: some practical issues should not be left for potentially nine months before dealing with them. Anything regarding the structure or general soundness of your home does need addressing urgently. You probably already knew that, but it’s worth mentioning.

Focus on Function Idea 3: Combine The Two Together

Let’s return to the idea of the broken roof tiles. That’s a functional thing, and it’s not very inspirational. But what if you can make it so? What if you pick something related to the roof, or the exterior of your home, to make you want to focus on it?

This can range for a full-scale house repaint down to putting up a few window boxes for display. The whole idea is to bring both together, seeing them as two sides of the same coin rather than competing needs. If you’re prettying up the exterior of your home anyway, of course you’re going to want to fix those annoying roof tiles. They’re spoiling the whole look!

This means you can busy yourself with the more pleasurable tasks while getting the needed done as well. It might take a little bit longer to get a budget together that can cover both needs at once, but then you can tackle the problems head on.


Renovating areas of your home is stressful and challenging – but ultimately, rewarding. It is possible to balance the things that you think you need along with the things you want; they don’t have to compete if you use one of the above tactics. Pick the one that suits your personality best, giving you the motivation you need to get the job done. You’ll feel better for it in the long run, so at the very least, you’re clearing up some mental stress. Good luck!