We’ve been chatting a lot this year about how we are trying to comb through our homes and get rid of items that are not “us”. Ya know, the items we bought because they were on sale, or maybe because we wanted to check them off our to-do list, or maybe those items we realized over time that just weren’t really our style.
Our goal in doing this is to pare down our homes and only fill them with pieces we LOVE and pieces that are “so us”. This exercise is exactly what led me to getting rid of my coffee table.
I bought this coffee table from world market when we first moved in. I bought it to match our dark kitchen…. and our dining room table… and our dining room chairs. But once I set it all up and lived with it for a little while, I realized
1. Dark brown is not my style 2. Matchy-matchy furniture is also not my style 3. The design of the coffee table was a little too farmhouse for my style
Three strikes and it had to go! It’s not that I don’t like the coffee table because I actually got a lot of compliments on it. I just knew it wasn’t my style. And if it’s not my style and if I don’t LOVE it, I realized that it’s taking up valuable space in my small home and should be replaced with something I do love.
So I sold it to a blog reader (hey Julia!) and have been coffee table-less ever since.
I’m trying to follow our own advice by not rushing into any decision or buying just to check it off the to-do list. Instead, I’m trying to do careful research and wait to purchase a table that I absolutely LOVE and one this is so me.
And that’s exactly where I am in the process today. I’ve been living without a coffee table for a little over a month now (sorry Matt!) and have been scouring the internet, social media, thrift stores, and even Craigslist to find the perfect coffee table for our space.
I know I want the table to be light (probably white or marble) and I know it has to be somewhat petite since our space is pretty small. I also want it to be light and airy and not as bold and chunky as our old one. Here are some of my favorites so far.
I haven’t decided yet and I’m trying to take my time to be as careful and intentional as possible. I love all of these tables but I think I’m leaning toward a round table to break up all of the straight edges in this space. However some of the round options I love (like #2!) are too large for this space so finding a petite, affordable round table that is “so me” has been more challenging than I thought it would be. I’ll keep you guys updated on my search and definitely let you know when I find one! In the meantime, do you have any favorites? Any other suggestions for me?! HELP!
It’s been a while since we shared a rookie mistake so we figured we’d jump right in this morning with another addition to one of our most popular series.
Remember the Rookie Mistakes series is a NO JUDGEMENT ZONE. We’ve both made ALL of these decorating mistakes in our own homes (evidenced by today’s post) and simply want you to learn from us so you can make your home look amazing without having to make the mistakes we did!
So let’s chat about this very common mistake and one I have been making up until very recently. Here’s what my office/getting ready room looked like up until a few weeks ago. Not bad, right? I really love this setup and spend a lot of time in here since I do my makeup at that vanity each morning. Plus, I use the closet in this room so I pretty much spend every morning right in here. Even in this space that I love (and use a lot), I was making a big rookie mistake. Notice the curtains.
It’s not their color or style, but actually the length of these curtains that is ALL WRONG. I bought these curtains and rod from HomeGoods awhile back and still love the color but didn’t realize that these XL curtains still weren’t long enough.
In all honesty, they don’t look awful (I’ve seen worse) but curtains can really help a window look and feel larger than it actually is and these curtains were not doing that at all. These old curtains were way too short and they weren’t hung wide or high enough on the window. #rookiemistake
I was embarrassed about them since I realized what I did wrong, which was pretty much immediately, and finally got around to swapping them out for curtains that were long enough and wide enough. And can you believe what a big difference that simple change made to this space?
Getting the right sized curtains makes the window look and feel a lot bigger than it did before, which makes the whole room feel bigger. Plus, the whole room is even brighter now since the open curtains don’t obstruct as much of the window as the old ones did.
How do I Hang Curtains?
We partnered with Zillow to create a detailed step-by-step tutorial on how to hang curtains here, but today on the DIY Playbook we wanted to discuss where to hang your curtains so they’re the right height… and so you can avoid the same rookie mistake I made.
Well first of all, you want to hang the curtains a lot wider and a lot higher than the actual window. This way the window will appear larger than it is and the ceiling will appear taller than it actually is.
How wide should the curtain rod be hung?
Before you even figure out how long the curtains should be, you’ll have to figure out where to hang the rod. We chose to hang this rod at least one foot, or 12 inches, outside of the window (on both sides). We recommend this number on pretty much any window because this will allow the curtains to drape down without interfering with the light of the window. And if you look back to my first set of curtains, you’ll notice that the curtains didn’t have enough room to expand on the rod and really stayed bunched up because the rod was not long enough. A longer rod will eliminate this problem and make your window appear larger.
Another thing to notice is where the mounting hardware is hung in relation to the rod/curtains. After your rod is mounted, add one curtain clip (we used these ones) to the outside of the hardware and have the remaining curtain clips on the inside (or window side) of this rod. This will prevent the curtain from being pulled all the way to the middle of the window, and will keep a nice even look when they’re drawn closed.
How high should the rod be?
The rod’s height is probably the best way to add visual height to your space and make the ceiling appear higher than it is. Instead of hanging the rod right above the window’s casing (like I did the first time), the rod should be hung much higher than the window… almost to the ceiling actually.
This rod can actually be hung even higher than this one if you wish. We measured about 6 inches from the ceiling but anywhere from 2-6 inches is perfect.
The higher and wider rod makes such a difference in this space and I’m so glad I changed it. And looking back, I should have chosen a black rod from the very beginning.
Fun Fact: Casey read somewhere that a curtain rod is the “eyeliner” of the room because it adds just a pop of black, which is just enough to highlight the window and everything else in the room. So even though I don’t have a ton of black in this room, I’m so happy I chose the black rod this time around. We went with this simple black rod from Lowe’s.
How long should the curtains be?
Once you hang your curtain rod, or at least figure out where it will be hung, then you can figure out how tall your curtains should be. Please learn from my rookie mistake and do not choose curtains that look like flood pants! We purchased these curtains from Ikea in 118″ so they were extra long. We love the “just kissing the floor” look, but some people prefer a little bit of a “puddling” on the floor. This means that they’re a bit long (1-2 inches) and hit the floor. Either way, you don’t want to be too short! This may mean that you need to get extra long curtains, but that’s okay because we have an easy way to hem them.
Which brings us to…
How Do I Hem Curtains?
Unfortunately not all curtains will come the exact length that you need them (boo!). So you may need to hem them so they are the perfect height for your space. If that’s the case, you can get them hemmed at a local cleaners OR DIY them… we’ve tried both options. A dry cleaner is obviously a lot more convenient but it can also be expensive AND having to figure out the length prior to hanging them can create a margin for error. The DIY option is time-consuming but it is a lot more cost-effective. The great news though is that you don’t need to know how to sew to hem your own curtains. Check out this tutorial for no-sew hemming!
Once you have your high and wide (black) curtain rod with the extra long curtains, your windows will magically appear much larger than they did before. In this graphic, the window sizes are actually the EXACT same. But isn’t it crazy that they appear to be different because of the rod/curtain placement?! It’s insane what a difference curtains can make… especially when you do it right. Hopefully you can learn from my mistake & do it the right way from the start.
P.S. If you are adding curtains along the sides of a sliding door, we advise you to follow these same rules… the higher and wider, the better!
Over the past 4 years, we’ve both documented just about everything that has happened within our homes. From DIY projects to new furniture purchases…you guys have seen it all!
But what happens long after we publish that blog post? How do we really like living with those projects & purchases 24/7/365? Today, we’re giving you updates on some of those popular posts and answering the question, “How do we like it now?”
Casey’s Nightstands (10 out of 10)
I’m so happy to report that I still love our campaign style nightstands from Megmade. First let’s chat function. These nightstands are really large and hold so much. I keep all of my socks, underwear, pajamas, and workout clothes in these 2 nightstands with room to spare! Plus there is lots of surface area for items on top. I always have our lamps and frames up there, but then enjoy changing out the other accessories on a regular basis.
Aesthetically I still love these pieces. The white and gold is a classic combo and they add a bit of glam to this space. I think these nightstands are definitely still my style and I’m excited to keep them for a long time!
Frames in B’s Hallway (9 out of 10)
It took me almost a whole year to get these picture frames hung. I always knew I wanted these frames lining our hallway but I didn’t hang them as quickly as I wanted because I wasn’t sure what pictures to put in them. Pages from a book? Family photos? Seasonal photos? I just couldn’t decide but eventually filled them with photos from our travels as a temporary solution that turned permanent because I LOVE them so much.
I thought about adding even more frames because it’s such a great daily reminder of our travels, but I recently found out that Michaels no longer carries this exact style frame! That’s the only reason why I gave this project a 9 out of 10.
Lesson learned: Buy extra frames next time just in case one breaks or you want to add to your collection.
Sidenote: I have Christmas photos under these travel pics that I display for the holidays and really love the subtle change (and extra cheer) around the holiday season!
Casey’s Dining Table & Chairs (10 out of 10)
Another 10 out of 10 for me with our dining room setup! I’m still so happy with our dining room table and chairs purchase for our condo. Because we lived without a table and chairs for so long, I was determined to really make a thoughtful purchase with these. I’m happy to report that we are still obsessed.
The marble tabletop is gorgeous and has held up perfectly. No stains or marks to be found (thanks to sealing it immediately!). I also use the marble as a background fairly often for blog photos, so it gets extra credit for convenience!
We still adore the dining chairs too. The white ones are surprisingly comfortable and still look pristine. Such great chairs for the price. And the gray ones are the most coveted seats in the house…seriously so cushy on the booty. All in all, glowing reviews for our entire dining room setup!
B’s Kitchen Faucet (7 out of 10)
I installed a touch-sensor kitchen faucet almost a year ago and really like it. This faucet was my first experience with touch-sensor technology so it definitely took some getting used to. Now I love using this faucet, but it is very confusing when we have people over and they’re trying to help in the kitchen. It’s not impossible but there’s definitely a learning curve.
If you do a lot of cooking and baking and have ingredients on your hands from all of your hard work, then you would probably LOVE this sink. But since I don’t do a lot of either of those things, I don’t appreciate the touch-sensor abilities nearly as much as I should… and I think that’s why I give it a 7 out of 10 instead of a 10 out of 10. If my next house had a touch-sensor faucet, I’d be excited about it, but I don’t know if I would go out of my way to install one.
Casey’s Letterfolk Sign (9 out of 10)
My Letterfolk sign gets 1 point off, but it’s not because of the product. The board itself is fantastic…such great quality and such a fun addition to our household. But I do have to dock 1 point because I don’t change-up the quotes on there as often as I thought I would. Coming up with a new quote and then physically changing it can sometimes seem like a lot of work for me, so it will often have the same quote on there for about 2 weeks.
But I still highly recommend this piece of decor and think that it would be a great addition to any household!
B’s Bedroom Headboard (6 out of 10)
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my headboard right now. I also really love our bedroom. Spending time in there drinking coffee in bed while watching the TODAY show (or Sunday morning on CBS) is by far one of my favorite parts of any weekend.
However, I’m going to give our headboard a 6 out of 10 NOT because it’s a faulty product, but because it has taught me that dark-colored furniture is not my forever style. For the actual piece of furniture, it deserves a very high score because the velvet navy is so soft and is holding up really well. BUT if I have to do it all over again I would probably stick to a more neutral headboard that would be more versatile for the long haul. I love the color navy but I’ve come to the conclusion that I love any room more when the large pieces of furniture are neutral and the accents are more bold (like the navy). <— am I so boring for admitting that!?
Casey’s Nest Thermostat (8 out of 10)
I’m still so happy that we installed a Nest thermostat in our home and I do believe it’s helped us save money and energy over the last year. Our old thermostat was pretty ancient, and this one is so high-tech. But I do have to take off points because I don’t utilize this device to its full potential. You can fully schedule out each and every day and change the thermostat based on your work days. However, we just have a pretty generic schedule set up.
I do love that you can access the thermostat from your phone, and I will often check to see the temp at home when I’m away, or to warm up our house before I get home! Sometimes when I’m in bed and it’s cold I’ll heat it up a few degrees before it’s time to hop in the shower. So there are some great features that I utilize, but as someone who isn’t super “techy” I can’t say that I use our Nest thermostat to its full potential.
B’s Bedroom Bench (10 out of 10)
I’m still obsessed with my bedroom bench! It’s sturdy, it was affordable and the look is “so me”. This bench has taught me that I need to hold out on buying anything until I find items that I LOVE and items that feel like they are “so me”.
Casey’s Hallway Board & Batten (10 out of 10)
I would give this project an 11 out of 10 if I could…that’s how much I love it! But how could I not? This was a blank wall before, and with some time & DIY muscle it is now a functional space! The board & batten adds so much interest to this otherwise boring space. We use the black hooks daily and I now always have a spot for my umbrella, purse, and pretty scarves. One of my favorite DIY projects that we’ve tackled in our home. If you’re considering doing this project, consider this your push to make it happen!
B’s Bathroom Shiplap + Dark Paint Combo (9 out of 10)
Casey inspired me to try a darker paint color in my bathroom, especially after she tackled her dark navy guest room. I LOVED the look of her bold guest room, but I was still nervous to try such a bold paint color in my own home. So instead of painting the entire bathroom dark, I added bright white shiplap next to the dark paint as a compromise… and I’m so glad that I did.
I love, love, love the shiplap paired with the darker paint (Behr’s Creek Bend) and feel like I’d be open to try dark paint again (probably not until the next house though). And spoiler alert: I love the shiplap so much (and love how easy it was!) that I have another shiplap project on my agenda soon. #makingchipandjoproud
It’s kinda fun to look back at all of the DIY’s and big purchases we made in our homes. It’s crazy how we put so much time and energy into something, and then once it’s done we really don’t think about it that often.
We really enjoyed taking a look back at some of the decisions we’ve made over the last few years in each of our spaces. If anything, this review will help guide our future design decisions and hopefully allow you guys to learn from our mistakes!
To read how we like even more products and projects in our homes (like B’s painted front door or her board and batten projects OR Casey’s black-out shades and built-ins) be sure to check out this How Do We Like it Now post.
P.S. If there’s a project, purchase, or decision that we made so far that you want us to dish about now, let us know! We loved writing this post and would love to answer your questions and provide an HONEST review of more of these projects, purchases, or decisions.
We’ve touched on the topic of minimalism briefly here on the blog, but we feel like this important subject deserves an entire blog post! We’re both really trying our hardest to only bring items into our homes that we absolutely love. Many of you have been vocal about your desire to do the same, so we wanted to open a discussion and share some of the things we’ve done to make this a reality in our spaces.
We’re certainly not experts on the topic, and you definitely won’t be seeing us moving into Tiny Homes with our capsule wardrobes anytime soon! But we both have eliminated plenty of the clutter from our lives, and by doing this have learned a lot about our style along the way! This has made us love our homes even more, and has made shopping for new items a heck of a lot easier.
So let’s get into some of the things we’ve done to take this step, along with tips to make the most out of being more minimalistic.
Walk around your Home
It may sound elementary, but it is crucial to walk around your home, room by room, and jot down items that you just don’t love. We all have those things that you walk by 10x a day and always think…I need to change that! It could be an accessory, a paint color, a piece of furniture. Whatever it is, write it down on your piece of paper and note WHY you don’t like it. Is it the color? Does it have no meaning to you? Does it take up crucial space? Whatever it is, put it on your piece of paper.
Now look at your list and get rid of any items that you can. We know that it may not be possible to get rid of some of the things on your list (getting rid of the couch you hate might not be an option right now!), but try to get rid of any small items that you really just don’t love. Why keep things in your home that don’t make you happy? Instead wouldn’t you rather get rid of them to make room for items that you do love? Items that are personal to you and help to tell your story!
We both went around and purged so many random accessories from our homes. So many items that we thought were “cute” at Target or were on super clearance, so we just had to bring them home. When buying those items we didn’t stop to think if they were “cute for us.” There are so many adorable home decor accessories out there that you might like, but they’re all not going to be right for you and your home.
We also got rid of a lot of items that just didn’t really mean anything to us. We try to avoid buying generic decor whenever possible, and instead look to incorporate meaningful pieces that help personalize our homes. Some items we purged included books we never read (or planned to ever read), old picture frames, vases (you certainly don’t need 15!), and colorful accessories that don’t go well with our current decor. We were both pretty ruthless when it came to this step…and it felt so darn good to get rid of items that we never really even liked that much.
Make a List of What you NEED
We all know the feeling of going to Target for a specific item, only to leave an hour later with a full cart and $200 missing from your checking account. #guilty
We did this quite often in the past, specifically because we would buy items not knowing if we really needed them or not. We suggest keeping a list of items on your phone that you need. It can be as large as furniture or rugs, or as small as specific accessories for your shelves. Walk around your home yet again (this time it should look a little lighter…) and make a list of items that you actually need and want to add to your home. Then when you go out shopping you can only buy items if they’re on the “need” list. This results in less impulse buys and more intentional purchases.
Finn & I did this with our closets and it has been a dramatic change for us both. We purged our closets and made a list of the items we both actually needed. A quality white button down, a black belt, a pair of brown boots…just some of the items on our lists. We’ve slowly crossed off items on this list as we’ve added quality pieces to our wardrobes. But when we go to the stores and see a nice sweater that’s on-sale, we don’t buy it unless it’s something we actually need (& it’s gotta be on the list!). Yes, it takes some willpower! But we promise that it’s much better for you and your bank account in the end!
Be Thoughtful & Intentional – Don’t Buy just to Buy
Speaking of being intentional, that is the key word when it comes to shopping. No more buying just to buy! No more buying items just because they’re “so cute”! No more buying items only because they’re on sale! Being thoughtful with each and every purchase you make for your home will result in fewer items you don’t love coming into your home. This means less design regret, and better purchases for your space.
We both hit up HomeGoods at least once, every 2 weeks. There’s a store A BLOCK away from Bridget’s house. No joke. Whenever we’re together at B’s house, we always take a blogging break and hit up HomeGoods to see what’s new in store. Often times we’re leaving empty-handed, or at most with 1 item that’s perfect for one of our homes. Of course there are tons of items we want to scoop into our carts, but we only bring home items that we need, items that we love, and items that go with our personal brands.
Which brings us to…
Figure out your Personal Brand
This idea has been a game changer for us both. In the past, we used to try to box our home styles into random words like “boho”, “modern”, or “shabby chic.” But to be perfectly honest, those words don’t mean anything to us. In fact, we’re probably a little bit of everything! So instead of buying items that fit a specific style category, we only buy items that fit our personal brand.
So what’s a personal brand? Well to us, it’s items that are “So Casey” or “So Bridget.” The best way to understand it is to take a look at your closet. We both took a peek inside our closets and noticed a few things. There was a lot of black, white, gray, and blue in there and those pieces were ones we would often reach for each and everyday. The pieces that barely ever got worn? Warm tones and busy patterns. The same things applied to our homes. We don’t necessarily love red and oranges in our homes (gorgeous in other spaces, but not in ours), so why would we even bring an orange vase into our space?
Figuring out what we like and naturally gravitate towards took a bit of time, and keen observation out while shopping. But we now have a much better sense of our personal brands and this has been so much easier when it comes time to shop for clothes or home decor.
As two girls living in homes that are about 1,200 square feet we know a thing or two about living with less. But we still have lots to learn and are excited to continue this journey towards minimalism. Okay, not super minimal. We still like our throw pillows, and blankets, and vases, and pictures frames, and…. <— see told you we still have a lot to learn!
Last week I told you guys why I’m in the process of swapping our guest room and office, and we briefly chatted about the major problems with the current space (you can catch up here). Today, I’m sharing the design plans for our “new office” with a mood board and a few notes about my plans.
I love putting together a mood board before I start painting, buying furniture, or making any changes in the space. It’s great to see a snapshot of the entire space before taking any action. Putting all of the pieces that I’m loving together gives me a clear direction and far more confidence to start the space. If you’re tackling a new space, I would HIGHLY recommend doing this if you’re having trouble visualizing the look. We shared this tutorial on making a mood board last year to help walk you through the process. <— The best part is that it’s super EASY and you don’t need to have any special software on your computer or any photoshop-like skills.
Once I had the mood board together (and I tested out a few different items), I was really loving the look and was super excited to get started. Here are my thoughts for this space:
White Paint: You guys know we’re all about neutral paint around here but I’ve never experimented with WHITE and I’m actually really excited to try. I’ve seen so many white rooms I’ve been loving lately and thought this bright space could be the perfect opportunity to test out the look for myself. (And see if I just love the look online or if I really love living with it too).
Neutral Decor: I really want to focus on neutral decor and incorporate some greenery as color. Since this is a place where I’ll be working, I want it to be calm and minimal. I don’t want a lot of clutter, but instead a space where all of our office essentials (including mail and paperwork) have a specific place to call home. When everything in our house has a place to call home, I find that I don’t feel like our space is cluttered… which really helps me feel calm and ready to work. via School House Electric
Meaningful Art: I’ve been eyeing this “WORK HARD & BE NICE TO PEOPLE” Art for YEARS… yes YEARS! It may be my all time favorite piece of art on the internet and I knew that it was finally time to splurge on it since I love it so much (and the message is so meaningful to me). The art is more than I usually spend but like I’ve been mentioning all year, I want quality over quantity and would rather spend more money on one thing I love than a lot of little pieces on sale.
Fauxdenza: I love both Casey’s fauxdenza and the fauxdenza we built for the Lowe’s Fall Makeover. Ever since Casey installed hers, I knew I wanted to try one in our home but wasn’t sure where to make it work. Now that this space is a blank slate, I think a fauxdenza will be the stylish storage we need. But I definitely want to put my own spin on this DIY, so it’s not exactly the same as the others.
Tall Desk for 2: I’ve been intrigued about a standing desk for a while. I have some neck problems (aka too much time on the computer not enough time at the gym) and thought that working towards a standing desk could be a fun… and a healthy challenge in 2017. Plus, I liked this taller table because it could fit both Matt and I (or me and Casey) so we can work together in the office without having a huge footprint in the room.
DIY Barn Door: This is the component of the room that I’m most excited about but also most nervous about. I have to do a lot of research before tackling this project but I do love the idea of getting rid of the two current doors and replacing them with one large sliding door. We have access to our crawl space in this closet and the current setup is not working out too well. I think the large door will look great while offering more room for access into this space.
Office Floor Plan
These are my ideas for now. Of course this room will definitely be a work in process but now that I have more of a plan, I’m excited to get started. First on the to-do list? Paint!! If all goes as planned, stay tuned some time next week with white paint updates!
The time has finally come to reveal our new couch and I couldn’t be more excited. This has been a looooong time in the making. In fact, I first chatted about our desire for a new couch back in this post from October.
Our old couch wasn’t bad (here’s a full review on it), but we had it for 6 years and wanted to change things up. It felt a bit too bulky for our home, we didn’t love the chaise because it cut off the room, and we felt like our style had evolved since purchasing this couch. We figured we could sell the white couch and put that money to a new one that we both absolutely loved (and that’s what we did)!
Our gameplan was to find a sleeker (but still comfortable!) gray sectional without a chaise. After looking at A LOT of options we took the plunge and bought a couch from Interior Define. Coincidentally we just happened to visit their show room during their yearly 20% off sale. After sitting on the Sloan, and hearing about the sale…we immediately bought it! (FYI: This post is not sponsored in any way. We paid for this couch all on our own. I’m just really excited to share all of the details with you guys!)
And then we waited…and waited. It took 3 MONTHS for our new couch to arrive and I was so eager to get the new one in our place and looking good. Their couches take quite awhile because each one is custom-made. You choose the length, fabric, and legs and then they make it after you order it. It’s nice because you then have a couch that is exactly what you want…but the waiting game can be tough!
We really liked the sleek look of the Sloan model, but before we sat on it in the store we thought it might not be super comfortable. Luckily, we were wrong. It’s really deep and incredibly comfortable. There’s nothing worse than having a nice looking couch that you don’t even want to sit on because it’s so firm and uncomfortable. After sitting on this one, we were pleasantly surprised at the comfort level and that’s what made us swipe our credit card really fast!
We went with the color “dove” in a pebble weave fabric. It’s got a nice texture and they assured us that it is very resistant to stains and dirt <— a must for us!
You can also choose the legs for your piece We went with tapered square wood ones in the color “oiled walnut.” You can actually buy multiple sets of legs if you want to change things up down the line. I like that there are options if we ever want to try out a new style in our home in the future, especially because swapping out the legs is much more affordable than purchasing a whole new couch.
In terms of positioning, we ended up opening up the “L” towards the rest of the room and ordered the couch with 2 even sides (100″ long). With our old couch, we had it flipped the other way and this divided our large room into 2 separate areas. It worked just fine, but we are loving this open setup much more!
Now that our new couch is in I’m eager to find a few other pieces for the living room.
To the left of the couch, I’d love to put a side table and a lamp. We have recessed lighting in this space, but I love having soft lights on at night to create a cozy atmosphere. We have just enough space for a small table and pretty lamp. I can’t wait to start looking.
We also desperately need a new coffee table. I love the shape and color of this one, but it has seen better days at this point. So many nicks, scratches, and marks on this thrift store piece I DIY’ed about 4 years ago. I’m not 100% sure what I want in terms of a new table (open to suggestions!), but I’m excited to start looking.
I’m also toying with the idea of adding a chair directly across from the couch. So if you look at the picture above it would go on the left side towards the built-ins. Do you think that would make it too crowded? I just think it would add more seating and would make the room feel even homier. I don’t want to block the built-ins too much, so the chair would have to be worth it!
I also want to thoughtfully choose pillows for this couch. Most of the pillows on my old couch were gray, and they definitely do not work on our new gray sectional. For now I took the navy pillows from our guest room and put them on the couch, but I want to choose some new ones that go well with the look, style, and feel of this new sectional.
Overall this couch is a game changer in our home! It fits with our current style much better and is a great sectional for city living. I cannot wait to find the other pieces to turn this room into the amazing space I know it can be!
[Disclaimer: Legrand sponsored this post, however all opinions and photography are our own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.]
When I “refreshed” my bathroom last year, I chatted a lot about how I’m using my current house as a place to experiment with home decor and design. Even though we’ve only been here for four years, I have learned SO much about my style. And I’ve really done that by bringing an item into my home and figuring out whether I like it or don’t like it.
Figuring it Out
We are all guilty of seeing things on Pinterest or the blogosphere and thinking that you should try that exact look in your own home. I’ve certainly done it before and most of the time I would end up with serious design regret.
I’ve gotten better over the past few years, but I certainly experience design regret every now and then. I’ve learned to accept it as a learning opportunity and a part of the journey of finding my own style.
It is my ultimate goal that when we find our next house (presumably our “forever house”), I will have my style pegged. I want to know what I love and don’t love without the influence of the overwhelming (yet amazing!) inspiration around me.
To do that, I have made a promise to myself that I will use this house as a chance to try different things in order to determine what I love and what I don’t. I see our house almost like a sampler platter. Or for my fellow ice cream lovers, it’s like when the ice cream shop gives you those tiny tastes of whatever ice cream you want before finally committing to the flavor that will fill up your cone. That’s me right now. Taking those tiny plastic spoons and dipping them into all kinds of different flavors so that when we find our forever house, I know EXACTLY what flavor I want to order.
So what does ice cream or pegging my design style have to do with outlets? Great question.
Trying New Things
Along with honing my design style, I also want to try new household products so I know what I love and what I don’t. For example, my current touch sensor kitchen faucet. I LOVE it and would have never been exposed to this technology without testing it out. But even though I love it, I don’t know if it’s a must-have in my next house. It’s very convenient and cool but it’s not significantly different from how I used to use a regular faucet (probably since I don’t do much cooking…). And when people come over and try to use the faucet, it becomes a bit inconvenient since others have a hard time working it. But I would have never gotten this information without living with it over the past year.
This is the exact type of experimenting I want to do while we live in this “sample platter” of a home. And here’s where the new outlets come in. When Legrand invited us to test out their products, I was excited to give them a try to see if what sounded like AMAZING technology would be worth the investment to install in an entire house someday.
Legrand offers tons of smart technology for homes, from home automation systems, sensor lights, USB ports, security cameras… they have it all. Checking out their site had me excited to test these waters because I’m very new to just about any smart home technology but I’m really interested in learning more about it.
Once I ordered them, I used this tutorial to switch out all of the outlets and the light switch in our office.
Outlets with USB ports
Even the outlet with the USB port was easy to install, which was a VERY pleasant surprise!
I chose to install all of the outlets in the office. I figured the USB technology would get the most use back there, especially for charging our devices (Matt’s FitBit seems to always be hanging off of my computer stealing a charge at all the wrong times). Matt really loves the USB addition and his mind was officially blown when I showed him our new outlet!
No Screw Cover Plates
Outside of the USB feature and the sleek look of these outlets and light switch, I am pretty obsessed with the no-screw switch plates. I couldn’t imagine how these no-screw plates would connect until I actually installed them.
Each plate comes with this black cover that attaches to the wall before the cover plate is attached. Once that is attached, all you have to do is snap on the cover plate. I was concerned how the plate would come off if I ever had to open up the outlet again and I was again pleasantly surprised to find that is was very easy to snap it off. All you have to do is squeeze both sides of the outlet and it snaps right off — genius!
So Far, So Good
So far we’re loving the new look of cover plates and REALLY love the new technology Legrand has brought into our office. Now I can charge my computer, camera battery AND phone all at the same time without one of those chunky adapters on the outlet. The first bite of this sampler was very delicious but I’ll keep you updated on how much it changes our lives for the better!
Psst… here’s a sneak peek at the current state of the “new office”. I can’t wait to dish all about the paint color and my first furniture purchase (this table!). More details next week!
Anyone else have experience incorporating smart technology into your home? We’d love to hear about it! How do you like it? Would you recommend it to others? Is it a forever home must-have?
Real Talk: I’ve been a bad blogger. It’s been over three years of having the blog and I’ve hardly ever taken you guys into our guest room. When we FIRST started the blog I snapped a few pics but honestly since then…nothing.
Since we moved in, this space has been a “catch-all”. I really haven’t invested any money into it except for a few IKEA pieces and a few thrift store finds. The rest of the furniture and accessories in this space are hand-me-downs or overflow from the rest of the house. Don’t get me wrong I’m SO grateful for hand-me-downs, especially since those precious pieces saved us a lot of money at the time AND allowed this room to function as a guest room for the past four years.
The Current Problems
It’s time overdue for a change. After lots of discussing, Matt & I have decided to make this room into our new office and our current office into the guest room. We think swapping these two rooms will make a lot more sense for our house while solving some of the current problems we’ve been facing in this space. Allow me to explain some of the current problems:
We gave away a lot of the furniture in this space to a new homeowner who was looking to fill his new house. It was a win-win because we were looking to start fresh and he was excited to give the dresser, nightstand, shelves and chair a new home. This isn’t necessarily a problem (it actually turned out to be a great thing) but the problem is that we don’t have anything left in the guest room, which means we HAVE to get going on this project soon! #yay
The guest room is the lightest room in the house (two windows that get lots of sunlight almost all day long) but since it’s a guest room, we hardly ever use it. In a 1,000 square foot house, it seems like such a waste to not use an ENTIRE room consistently… especially the one that’s the brightest all day long.
We have guests every once in a while (like Casey!) but 355 days of the year, the room sits pretty much unused. If I need a place to throw project materials or a place to hold holiday/birthday gifts until I wrap them, I’ll throw them on the bed in the guest room. But outside of those random times, we barely ever use this room, which again seemed like such a waste.
This room is small-ish — like 11×11. I always thought one day we would transition this room from a guest room to a nursery when the time came. But then I realized that our current office is quite a bit bigger than this room so why not use that as the nursery someday? Don’t get the wrong idea, THERE IS NOT A BUN IN THE OVEN… but it’s always good to have a tentative plan for the future, right?
Right now, I’m not in love with this colorful room. It’s full of random overflow items and not full of items I love or items that are meaningful to us. Plus my style has evolved a lot since we moved in and this catch-all space isn’t me. We always preach the importance of loving your home and making it reflect your style and your journey, and this bedroom is not doing any of that.
My Goals for this Space
So it’s FINALLY time to tackle this room and make it an office that we will use everyday and one that is a lot more me. Here are some of the priorities I’m keeping in mind as I plan:
Hidden storage: You guys know the drill, our small house needs all the hidden storage it can get. I definitely want to work in as much stylish storage into this space as possible to hide all of our office supplies (including our printer) like Casey did with this fauxdenza in her guest room.
Neutral colors: Nothing against bright colors, I LOVE them on Pinterest, the blogosphere, and at Target, BUT I’ve learned that I don’t love to live with them.
More my style: This colorful room has taught me a lot about my design style and has opened my eyes to one of the hardest parts of finding my style. I see so many amazing spaces that I love online, in magazines, or even in stores and it’s sometimes hard to decipher what I love and want to live with and what I just love to look at — there’s a huge difference but sometimes that line gets blurred. I think I’m slowly arriving at my style and I want to use this room as a canvas to continue to hone in on that.
Minimal: I’ve also learned that I don’t like seeing clutter. Maybe it’s the small house or maybe it’s just my organized nature, but when I see items out (even decor sometimes), I instantly feel like it’s a cluttered mess… which stresses me out! I’m hoping to make this space intentional, functional, and pretty minimal. The last thing I want to feel is overwhelmed and stressed in a place where I should be getting work done!
Easier access to our closet: Access to our crawl space is in this closet and right now the door situation is not working well. I’m trying to research options to open this space up so we can get in and out of the crawl space easily.
Try something new: Like I said before, I think I’m slowly but surely arriving at my style… mostly by learning “what not to do” thanks to a lot of trial and error. But I also want to use my current house as my chance to experiment before we buy our “forever house”. So with this space, I want to take a few chances and try a few new-to-me things to see how I like living with these looks. By doing this my hope is that I’ll have my style really nailed down by the time we move. Who knows if that plan will ever work, but it’s worth a shot, right?!
Time to get to work!
I hope you forgive me for being a really bad blogger and totally isolating this room of our house (so much so that I don’t even have photos of it!). Between hand-me-downs and being at a total crossroads, I never knew what to do with this spare room! But now that I have a plan, I can’t wait to get started transforming this space into our office so it gets A LOT more daily use. Once this room is transformed, I’m sure we’ll have to tweak the current office when it’s time to make it into a guest room so this project should definitely keep us busy… and of course we’ll keep you updated along the way. Next week I plan on checking in with design plans for this new office space.
[Disclaimer: We have partnered with Maytag to bring you this post. All opinions are our own and are not influenced by Maytag. Thanks for supporting the brands that support this blog!]
I’ve made some big progress on our “laundry room” to-do list! If you guys remember this post, then you know we’ve been meaning to make some upgrades to our small closet that holds our washer & dryer.
Let me give you a little refresher on how the space used to look…
Luckily, we quickly crossed the first item off our list and got rid of our old appliances. We replaced them with this new washer & dryer from Maytag that look so much better, but (more importantly) function much better!
Now that we’ve been using the washer & dryer for the past few months, I love them even more. The units are so much larger than our old ones, and I can get our laundry done so quickly. I used to have to do multiple loads of towels and bedding. Now I can throw them in and get them done in no time at all. The drums are big and hold so much all at once.
The Fresh Hold option (where the washer tumbles loads and circulates air with a built-in fan) has been a lifesaver too! Sometimes when I’m multi-tasking during the week, I throw in a load of laundry and then get wrapped up in other tasks and forget about it. Since the machine keeps my clothing fresh for up to 12 hours even after the wash cycle ends, I no longer feel like I need to re-wash when I inevitably forget I was in the middle of doing laundry. <— Please tell me I’m not alone in this?! I feel like it happens just about every single time #laundryfail
While the new appliances made a big difference in the look of the space, there was still work to be done.
From the start of this mini makeover, I knew I wanted to replace the doors. The louvered doors just weren’t cutting it and really took the entire look of the space down a notch. After seeing the dramatic transformation on the closet doors in our fall makeover, I knew that I wanted to do the same in this space.
And instead of just doing the laundry room doors, I decided to do all of the closet doors in this open space. Because as long as you’re getting all of the tools out, you might as well get ‘er all done at once!
Here’s how they looked before the DIY began…
And here they are now!
I’ll have the full tutorial on this DIY project tomorrow on the blog, but I couldn’t help but share the dramatic difference!
So much better, right?! It took the look of the entire main room up to the next level and I’m so happy I finally got this project off my to-do list.
Speaking of that laundry room to-do list…
Laundry Room To-Do List
New Washer & Dryer (You can read all about them right here)
Trim out Door (This is next on the to-do list. I’m planning to add molding around the perimeter of all of these doors. It’s going to be quite a DIY project as I’ll have to remove the baseboards and replace them)
Organize & Add Storage
Let’s talk about that final task on my list. I’m not really sure what I can do to make this space as functional as possible. My original thought was to put a slim cart on wheels right next to the washer, but now that it’s in there isn’t enough room for one. I also thought I might be able to put a basket on top, but since the dryer is tall it’s hard to fit one up there. Any ideas for me? I’m all ears!
We have a Monday treat for you guys! Remember this short trailer we shared last month showcasing our fall home makeover with Lowe’s Home Improvement?
Well today, we’re back with the full video. We love that we were able to capture the amazing homeowners on camera to tell their powerful (& emotional!) backstory. We hope you love this video as much as we do.
The Story Behind our Fall Home Makeover
That video makes us cry, laugh…and everything in between! Hope you love it as much as who do. *And if you’re new to the DIY Playbook, you can see the whole transformation here!
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