When we announced our pregnancy with our firstborn my Dad gave us some very good advice.

Do any decorating and home improvements before the baby comes, because after the baby comes you will not have the time, the money, or the inclination.

My Dad was right.  And we did follow his advice.  So much so that my ‘nesting’ was more ‘re-decorating’ and involved an impulse paint and re-carpet of our bedroom at 40 weeks pregnant.

The problem is that 6 and a half years later I’m getting bored with the decor and some rooms could do with a refresh.  Hence why I thought it would be a good idea to decorate our bedroom. I mean how long can it take to do a lick of paint?

Before I outline the decorating before and after kids differences, let me give you two bits of background information.


The husband and I are complete opposites, and generally our differences compliment each other.  We are Yin to the others yang.  Except when it comes to DIY.  If I ever have any kitchen Ideas, remind me that The Great Kitchen Tile of 2003 nearly ended in us getting divorced before we were actually married.


When we moved into our house 10 years ago, the bedroom had magnolia walls.  But beneath the surface there lurked a terrifying secret.  Fleur-de-lis.


The previous owners had stenciled Fleur-de-lis all over the bedroom walls, and although they had been painted over you could still see the shadow of them on the walls.  We re-decorated shortly after moving in to get rid of the Fleur-de-lis, however two weeks after painting they started appearing again.  I make no exaggeration when I say there are 107 of them.  I counted.

We chose to ignore them until the next time we decided to decorate.  The 40 weeks pregnant redecorating.  Another two coats of paint and a 6 pound baby later they started appearing again.  So here we are 10 years later still living with Fleur-de-bastard-lis.

DIY Decorating a bedroom


Before Kids… You wore scruffy DIY clothes and maybe put your hair in pigtails and wore a bandanna to look ‘cute’.

After Kids… You are alarmed to discover that your once worn out DIY clothes look positively smart compared to your normal day wear.  Your husband compliments you on your clothes. Although you don’t remember them being so snug last time.  You vow to buy new clothes and start a diet.


Before Kids… You spent a long weekend decorating and got the job done with time to go out for dinner.  No dramas.

After Kids… Decorating is only possible when the kids are asleep.  You paint one wall before falling into bed exhausted.  What once took a weekend now takes three weeks and in the meantime the laundry pile gets ignored and you can’t remember the last time you ate a dinner that wasn’t cheese on toast.


Before Kids… You had at least one spare room for storing furniture whilst you decorated the bedroom, giving you space to decorate and have impromptu dance offs whilst the paint dried. And you could sleep in the spare room.

After Kids… The spare rooms are now kids bedrooms.  There is nowhere to put the furniture. You push everything to one side of the room and squeeze past each other stubbing your toe on the step-ladder every single bloody time.  You have to climb over your other half to get into bed and you can no longer get to your underwear drawer.  You are freezing cold all night because the windows are open so you don’t get intoxicated my the paint smell.


Before Kids… You could have a screaming match and everything would restore to normal harmony by the second coat of paint.  And if it wasn’t one of you could sleep in the spare room.

After Kids… You whisper-shout at each other because you don’t want to wake the kids and you have to make up because there is no spare room.  You cry snotty tears* when after the second coat of paint you can still see the patches of stain block that you used to cover the Fleur-de-bastard-lis.

*In hindsight decorating when you’ve got the painters and decorators in yourself (sorry, couldn’t resist) is not the best idea.  DIY and hormones are not the best mix.


Before Kids… What’s that?

After Kids… Just to add to the bucketful of parenting guilt you already carry, you can now add failing to organise anything fun to do in the Easter Holidays because every spare moment you have you are painting.  Then there’s the guilt that the big one has watched back to back movies whilst the little one played with the remote control and may have licked a battery, just so you could meet your work deadline.  There’s also the fact that the little one wore his pajama bottoms all day because he had no clean trousers.  Or that you built a trip to B&Q up to be a fun and exciting outing.  No one had fun and it wasn’t exciting.

So the moral of this story is to listen to my dads advice.  Do all the DIY before you have kids. Then leave it for at least 15 years, after which they would have totally destroyed the place and you can start again.

Just in case you are interested, two coats of stain block and three coats of emulsion and we are Fleur-de-bastard-lis free!  It was worth it for that alone.

Have you had any DIY disasters?

If you want to be nosy and have a snoop around out finished bedroom click here.

This is a collaborative post.

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Claire Kirby

44 Comments on DIY Before Kids VS DIY After Kids

  1. Ok…I have some similar experience with the bleed through…chances are the pattern was done with a oil-based paint and your cover-up is water-based…oil floats…here’s how us rednecks solve this problem: we get CLEAR spray paint and use it on the trouble area…in this case it might be cheaper to find a lighter color OIL-BASED paint…then paint it with the water-based finish color….or just re-rock the room…if it’s only one room

  2. Hahaha. My mum actually was partial to some Fleur-de-bastard-lis on the walls when I was wee! I feel your pain on the painting when the kids are asleep; almost divorced my husband by the end of it! Loved this post! #ablogginggoodtime

  3. This sounds familiar! We are currently trying to redecorate and have relocated our bed to the lounge! The kids think this is great and it has become their new play area! The guilt of not doing anything at the weekends is what really gets me- I too have built up a trip to B&Q to be a bit more fun than it actually was 😉 xx #BlogStars

  4. We have decided that DIY is Ikea only until we can afford to hire someone. We are still waiting. Thanks for the advice. Too bad it came 15 years too late 🙂
    Found you on #BlogStars with me courtesy of Prabs.

  5. Exactly this! Before our twins we would ALWAYS be decorating or renovating a house and loved it (sort of) but our new home is a brand new build that needs no work. I am now so happy because there is no time, money or inclination to do anything!!! Thanks for linking up and sharing, love jess xx


  6. Hahahaha!! YES to all of this!! My boy and I have always been serial decorators — ever since we’ve been together — and have renovated 4 houses. But that was pre-kids.

    Even painting a wall these days is fraught with agitation and stress. Something that used to take half a day now takes 4 weeks, as we can only do a few minutes over a span of weekends. Gah. At least we don;t have fleur-de-lis to contend with. That. Would. Tip. Me. Over. The Edge.

    Thanks ever so much for sharing with #HomeEtc — Caro xx

  7. Love this post and feel guiltily amused by the idea of being haunted by fleur-de-bastard-lis like a really low budget Amityville Horror where the ghost is still in training.

    DIY is the never ending nightmare on the ever increasing to do list of things to get annoyed about. I feel your pain especially on being too tired to actually do it when the opportunity does come (“LEAVE THE FROG TAPE ALONE!”).


  8. Haha – I hate decorating & it is much worse with kids around! Funnily enough, I was reading this & wondering if stain block would work on fleur de lis! #fridayfrolics

  9. Haha Fleur-de-bastard-leis . Very funny. DIY with kids is just murder … We started renovating our house when I was pregnant with our first and then finished just before the third baby arrived. It was horrendous. The third baby is now 19 months and we need to repaint the whole effing house…but I get sweats just thinking about attempting to do it. Your dad is a very wise and clever man x #TheList

  10. Well I’m pleased to know this is what our life will be this year! With our first home we decorated every inch and even fitted a new kitchen with our second we’ve lived here a year and although it’s nicely decorated it’s not our decor you know? So like you I’ve got the decorating itch!! I hope you at least managed to cover that bastard print! Thanks for hosting x

  11. Ahhhh the whisper shout. The backbone of every good argument post children. See also, mouthing “f*ck off” with a bit of a snarl. I do find though that because you then have to get over it in front of the children, we sort of actually do just get over it, rather than holding a grudge for hours like we used to. I haven’t done any DIY since ours were born and the very thought of it fills my heart with sadness. Your bedroom looks lovely though, and mine looks like a giant pile of arse so maybe I should give it a go….. or maybe I might need to wait another couple of years….#fridayfrolics

  12. Eurgh. Decorating is a nightmare. I hate it. I’ll have to do it again soon though because the little one has started stripping wallpaper off the chimney breast. Gah! #BrilliantBlogPosts

  13. Personally, I have given all DIY a wide berth since an ill-advised dark purple paint job on my bedroom door as a teenager, but one thing that did alarm me whilst reading this was that I think I may actually wear DIY clothes on a daily basis, being quite partial to dungarees and even the odd bandana. And before I chopped all my hair off last week, I did wear it in the occasional plait. Perhaps I should advertise my services as a decorator. Or maybe not….#FridayFrolics

  14. V funny and true! Although we have opted for let’s not decorate until the kids are older so if they trash the place it doesn’t matter too much! Hence we have old scuzzy carpets, scribbled on walls and dodgy old curtains! (sigh) xx #FridayFrolics

  15. Oh god, oh god, this is US. (Except we don’t have fleur-de-lys). Stencilled ones is just insult to injury … I would actually feel a little bit guilty painting over them if I knew someone had painstakingly STENCILLED them! I got my decorating jeans out the other day as had to cover up some nasty stains NL’s lead had left on the wall and I then wore them for the following 3 days as they are so much nicer than my ‘normal’ ones. Sigh. Need to go shopping. Hilarious post – thanks for hosting fab #FridayFrolics – glad I made it this weekend!

  16. my biggest problem with projects like these now is my “little helper” She needs to be involved with everything and not only doubles the time, but often leads to new projects that are suddenly neccessary

  17. Ha! Can totally relate to this as we moved house in October and I went on a mad painting mission before Xmas. I’m a bit of a cowboy so it was a slap dash job and I find bits I haven’t done on the occasion and when no one is looking a pull the left over paint out and touch it up. This touching up has been going on since November. We’re having our kitchen ripped out next month so that should make for an interesting read

  18. Lol. Very wise man your dad. We put up a stud wall in our kids room to divide it into two. This was back in November and although the wall is all up we still haven’t put the door on or painted the wall. Therefore five months on its still a work in progress *sigh*

    Thanks for hosting #friday-frolics 🙂

  19. I am super impressed you actually know what a fleur-de-freakin-lis is!!! Here are mine ; Before kids : pay someone else to do it. After kids : naught. #fridayfrolics

  20. Oh this made me laugh although I really felt your pain over those fleur-de-lis! Those sound horrifying so well done on finally banishing them! 🙂 #thelist

  21. This is a great post. Decorating always seems like great idea until halfway through when you wonder what the hell you were thinking of! Of course it always is worth it but the prep and mess drives me crazy. I remember hastily painting the kitchen when Ella was 6 weeks old and her waking before I was finished so spattered in paint I had to feed her and then try pacify her with Baby TV so I could quickly finish!! #effitfridays

  22. As always, you couldn’t have said it better (or more humorously), Claire! Laughed out loud at the DIY clothes being smarter than your regular clothes (almost woke up sleeping baby!!!). Awesome post, with some wise words to remember, courtesy your dad:)

  23. I honestly don’t know how you do it. That ability to write something funny about ANY topic. Such a talent. “Your husband compliments you on your clothes’….PISSED myself laughing. OMG. I don’t normally use bad language on blog comments but you did say fleur de bastard lys. I was on even numbers duty with the linky so I nearly fist-pumped the air when I got yours to comment on. Thanks for joining us on #passthesauce love

  24. Oh and I checked out the finished room, ( because who doesn’t love snooping round other people’s houses?) and it looks so nice – love your wall of prints and the little feet image from your blog, lovely touch x #brillblogposts

  25. Oh God, I just moved all our bedroom furniture around today (I only intended to vacuum behind he headboard!) and told my husband when he got home that we need to paint our room – now I’m thinking maybe not 🙂 Great post funny lady – I feel you need to throw a party or something to celebrate finally ridding yourself of the fleur-de-bastard-lit, so funny!! 🙂 #brillblogposts

  26. That’s exactly why we never get anything done around here – 5 kids! Our house is fine, but I really do wish we had time to finish the basement and our deck could really use some work. At least we don’t have the fleur-de-lis problem, though!

  27. Oh this actually made me laugh out loud so thank you for that – is there anything better than a good old belly laugh?! Your DIY clothes – inspired! #passthesauce

  28. love this post! We have a 9 week old so I am sure all my Kids and DIY disasters will be right around the corner!

  29. Ha ha this did make me laugh, especially the bit about DIY clothes! Your dad’s advice was definitely right. I have accepted that any re-decorating will now have to wait several years.. even if the hallway walls are looking pretty grim up to about 1m off the floor…

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