October 25, 2016

6 Tips for Using Pinterest for Your Historic Home Renovation

Toolkit Pinterest Construction Materials House Renovation

photo by: Exeter Anna/Flickr/CC BY NC ND 2.0

This room-in-progress won't intimidate you anymore after you use Pinterest to gather tips, tools, and inspiration.

I’ve been a fan of Pinterest from its earliest days, when the site was invitation-only and content was carefully monitored. Now, the platform has evolved, and you can log on and browse nearly anything you want to.

Ideas for bathroom organization? Check.

Gift ideas for your family? Pinterest has thousands.

Inspirational quotes? Hundreds of thousands.

The genius of the site is that it’s visually appealing and enticing, and brainstorming ideas is so simple. You can create a curated board of your picks on a topic that you can come back to again and again.

But what about using Pinterest when you’re embarking on a renovation? A real-life project is a bit more enduring than a disastrous attempt at bunny-shaped bread rolls. And as avid Pinterest users know, some pins lead to dead links, unhelpful content, or simply not what the pin depicted at all—not to mention that time once or twice (or more...) when you’ve been on Pinterest for six hours and realize you’ve forgotten to feed the dog or run your errands.

Below, we’ve curated six tips to help you navigate the infinite world of Pinterest when looking for inspiration and guidance for your historic home renovation. Go ahead, pin away!

Toolkit Pinterest Reading Materials

photo by: Patrick Makhoul/Flickr/CC BY NC ND 2.0

Don't get lost trying to organize all of the ideas from magazine pages; Pinterest makes it much easier.

1. Know its limits (and yours).

When you first start browsing, have in mind where you want to draw the line. A kitchen renovation project, for example, provides endless opportunities to create the most perfect domestic culinary experience you could ever dream of. But Pinterest doesn’t know your budget—you do. Be conscious of how far you want to go with your renovation.

2. Celebrate what Pinterest does best.

Rather than having a manila folder stuffed with magazine tear-outs and notes scribbled on napkins, Pinterest creates a clean, digital platform for organizing your ideas; take advantage of it

Think about the most efficient and effective way to organize your project. You can create one board for your reno or several for each element. That way you can quickly find what you’re looking for, saving you time and stress.

Toolkit Pinterest Apartment Therapy

photo by: Apartment Therapy

Create boards based on content-related themes, like Apartment Therapy does here.

3. Pin smart.

Make sure to look at pins from reputable sources, like architecture firms, interior design companies, or experts in historic rehabilitation. While DIY boards can be fun to look at, you should rely on experts for your renovation and stick to methods that work best.

In addition to looking at the content of the pins, make sure you see where they are coming from. Apartment Therapy, for example, actively pins links from their website that provide useful information on before-and-afters. Check out their board on renovations.

This Old House also has numerous Pinterest boards where you will find information chosen by the experts that includes recommended products, tools, and guidelines. Don’t forget to check out your local preservation group, too; you can find ideas on how to maintain your structure’s local character when doing your renovation and even discover local companies to check out.

Toolkit Pinterest Angle Grinder Tool

photo by: Old House Online

Resources like Old House Online have boards dedicated to the tools of the trade.

4. Look for infographics.

Because Pinterest is best used as a jumping-off point for putting your renovation into action, it will be most beneficial to accumulate pins that present relevant information in a clear (if simplified) manner. ArchDaily, for example, pins infographics that cover topics like building materials and architects in a clear, visual way.

5. Use Pinterest to build your confidence.

Pinterest has become a useful platform for preservation organizations, real estate companies, and licensed professionals to share resources. Because these people know what they’re doing, you can feel confident that you’re gleaning good information that won’t lead you down the wrong path.

After you’ve found a few good-quality boards from professionals, you’ll start to get an idea of well-recommended tips and where you should look for help. These will prove invaluable once you start your reno for real.

6. Know when to stop.

As wonderful and fun Pinterest is, it can sometimes turn into a rabbit-hole. You can spend all day on the site and the pins keep coming. Once you begin feeling comfortable with a direction to go and an idea of the people you need to talk to, log off. It’s time to bring your plans off the computer screen and into the real world.

Pinterest is useful because it presents a lot of information in a simplified format. Scouring its pins will help you establish your project’s direction, goals, and some helpful resources to get you going.

Meghan White is a historic preservationist and a former assistant editor for Preservation magazine. She has a penchant for historic stables, absorbing stories of the past, and one day rehabilitating a Charleston single house.


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