Truth: I don’t always love my decor choices. To be perfectly honest, we’ve been in this house just under 2 years, and I often find myself making a list of things I want to go back & change (don’t tell Matt). Sometimes, I even kick myself for some of the decor choices I’ve made so far. Don’t get me wrong here, of course I’m extremely thankful for what I have, but I think it’s only natural to make mistakes in your first house, change styles half way through, or totally miss the mark. You live and you learn, right? Take my entryway for example…
This is what our entryway looked like when we finally got settled in. At that time I felt like the space needed something other than the 2 large coral frames above the couch to make the entry area its own entity. I chose to put framed photos of Matt’s childhood home, my childhood home and our first home together to make that separation.
At the time, I liked it…. but quickly realized it didn’t offer any function in a place that needed all the function it can get its little hands on. And to be perfectly honest, there was always this looming feeling that this threesome just didn’t “flow” with the room. For awhile I tried to sell myself that it was meaningful and simple, but a year later… I still wasn’t sold.
The space needed function and I needed to ditch the threesome (pretty standard life advice in general… not judging, just sayin’…). Hooks, a shelf, and a piece of art…that’s exactly what this space needed and got!
When this piece of art grabbed my attention in the clearance aisle of HomeGoods… I knew it was time to take action. For $22, how could I say no?! (This specific art took a tad of extra convincing to win over Matt). I sold Matt by convincing him that this piece’s patterns seemed to be the perfect accent to the large framed coral pieces we already had. We could either spend $22 on this piece or change up the large pieces. You can imagine the alternative sounded like a lot of extra work (and shopping!) for the Mr, so he was quickly sold on the charming vintage suit.
I picked up this IKEA shelf for $7.99 (regular price), but had to paint it white with some leftover paint I had at the house. I used the brackets to hang the shelf from on the top side, but you can also flip the shelf around and put the brackets on the bottom for a whole new look! Since the shelf comes in natural wood, the color options are endless! The three hooks are from HomeDepot; I think they were like $3-ish each.
The pillows and striped blanket are also IKEA steals- a fun way to add a little more color, texture and coziness.
Overall, I’m much more content with the new look. It offers A LOT more function (which I love above all), and also makes the whole space “flow” much better. I can’t believe how a tiny $7 shelf can make such a difference in organizing the clutter that comes through the front door. Mail, keys, sunglasses, jackets… everything has a place to call home.
Like I said, I never hated the old look, I just love this one a lot more. I’m glad I finally silenced that looming voice of “just okay” by making some inexpensive changes.
This isn’t my first re-decorating experience, and I can guarantee it won’t be my last. My style, ideas, and our home’s needs are always changing so I guess it’s okay to adjust the decor to reflect these changes. At least that’s what I’m telling myself to feel better!
But let’s be real here…is it just me or are you also feeling like some of your rookie decor decisions need a little extra attention these days? I need some support here!
Back to see where yesterday’s greeting card art ended up? Answer: Our new & improved GUEST ROOM! A few weeks ago, I shared this updated mirror in the guest room:
Thanks to Casey’s tutorial and inspiration, my work didn’t stop there. I hacked some of my very own IKEA Ekby Shelves to add even more color & personality to our guest room.
Remember the chair makeover we did using milk paint a few weeks ago? That FREE treasure ended up right here in our guest room too! Love the pop of color and loads of function it offers to the room… talk about a cozy reading nook that our guests (or me) can enjoy!
The shelves just by themselves are great. They are rustic and add a little more decor compromise to this otherwise kind of girly space. I bought the brackets at IKEA and bought some cheap wood at Home Depot (which they cut for FREE) to create the shelves. IKEA offers shelf material in gorgeous stainless steel, white and even wood, but I liked that if I bought my own wood, I could stain it to match the DIY mirror we recently added. Having the shelves match the mirror just allowed the whole room to flow better.
Now, let’s break down the treasures on these shelves.
The recently purchased the vase set at Target. The marble box is from HomeGoods’ clearance section.
The books I had laying around the house from various garage sales, estate sales, or even being sold for less at libraries in the area. You can read my tips on styling/buying books here. The whale was an old treasure from Kohl’s.
The blue tin was an old purchase from IKEA and the Chicago print was FREE from the waterlogue app. The watercolor print goes perfectly with the colors of the space while also adding some local Chicago pride. (We’ll have more details about that Chicago print coming real soon…along with a downloadable printable!)
This amazing nautical-inspired bookend was a HomeGoods purchase.
Behind this adorable Target turtle is one of my favorite bookshelf pieces. It’s another watercolor print from waterlogue. It’s a picture of our house and I love what the app did to it. I seriously can’t say enough about that amazing app. Plus, I printed both watercolors for FREE, which makes decorating with these images even better!
I like how the colors are relaxing yet still lively and “fun”. The pops of spring color on the chair bring in some of the accents on the shelf and tie the whole space together.
The globe is from a garage sale and the snail is another Target treasure.
Overall, the space has really come a long way! Casey’s IKEA hacked shelves totally inspired me to try some for myself and I’m so glad I did! I think the whopping total of the shelving came out to be under $45.
The guest room is finally off of the to-do list (well at least until I have a new idea). Here’s an up-to-date tour of the space…
For now, I’m moving on from the guest room and starting to tackle our not-so functional office. I’m challenging myself to step outside my comfort zone and try a new “look”. We’ll see how that goes…. Once I make some progress in that scary space, I’ll have all the details for you guys.
Remember when I moved into our new place and I told you guys about our scary triangle room? Well we chatted about it that one little time, and then I proceeded to ignore the room for 3 months. Ignoring it meant baaaad things for that little space. That room instantly became the catchall for clutter, mostly because A. I didn’t know what to do with the space and B. With no overhead lighting, it was incredibly dark in there!
So, I decided to find a remedy for the darkness….
…with a SWAG LAMP. Sounds pretty groovy, right?
I had no idea what the heck a swag lamp was until this project, but I’m ever so happy we’ve been introduced. A swag lamp is basically like a normal light fixture, but it is attached to the ceiling and has a cord that plugs into the wall. It’s perfect for a renter like me, because I didn’t need to call in an electrician and I will be able to easily remove it when we eventually move out.
I found the lampshade and cord kit at my favorite shopping spot, Ikea.
It came with 2 hooks that you screw into the ceiling. One I placed in the very far corner of the room, and the other I placed in the ceiling where I wanted my swag light to hang. Because the light was so…well light…I didn’t feel the need to put an anchor into the ceiling. If I was hanging a heavy chandelier, I would probably go that route. But this bad boy was going to hold without it.
I finally had light! But I also had an ugly, messy white cord hanging down my wall and over to my outlet. Not pretty.
One trip to Home Depot, and I had a solution for the mess…two 5 foot cord covers.
These plastic covers are very easy to use. You simply pop the cord into the cover, peel off the sticky backing, and adhere it to the wall.
I started my first one up high, and pressed it hard into the corner as I came down. The second cord was a little too long, so I cut it with scissors and lined it up at the bottom of the first cord.
You can probably tell that I accidentally purchased two different colored covers…one pure white, and one off-white. That was a-okay with me, because I had already planned to paint those bad boys to match our wall color.
It took no time at all to quickly paint 2 coats over the covers with a brush.
With my cord concealed, the attention is now right where I want it…on my light source!
I think it looks pretty amazing. I’m just not 100% happy with the spot where the 2 cord concealers meet. I suppose I could have just purchased a longer cover instead of buying two separate ones, but it will do for now!
I’m thrilled to finally have some light in this room, especially over my new little reading nook. It’s turning into a lovely little spot to blog and enjoy coffee (especially with my new thrift store chair and mini cart table…more on those finds next week, I promise!)
I think my new swag lamp will give me the confidence (& swagger!) to finally tackle the rest of this space. And, as always, I promise to keep you in the loop every step of the way…
How many of you are totally TV in the bedroom people? I’m talking that bad boy is on your dresser, you watch your favorite shows in bed, and you fall asleep to it on every night. (I’m guessing maybe a majority??)
Now, how many of you say “no way” to a television in the boudoir? Perhaps you’re more of a TV in the family room type group?
Well..we’ve recently switched over to the “no TV in the bedroom” camp. Yep. It happened, and we haven’t looked back.
See we were barely ever watching our television in the bedroom. The only time it was ever really used was when I would watch the news in the morning as I got ready for work. Seemed kinda silly to have a huuuge black box on our dresser, to be used only 30 minutes a day. So we sold that sucker and we were then left with a very bare, very sad looking bedroom dresser area.
I did my best to accessorize and stage the area, but it still needed a little somethin’ somethin’.
No matter what I put on the dresser, everything just looked puny on the big gray wall. I knew that I was in need of some serious height to draw the eye up and away from that large, dark, piece of furniture.
I didn’t want to create another gallery wall, because we have one we love in our hallway. Instead, I decided that I should use the same picture ledge frames that I used for my brother’s record wall. That way I could still incorporate some of our favorite pictures and “art” into our master bedroom, and I could easily change out each frame whenever I wanted.
Our New Picture Ledges
One quick trip to Ikea, (okay who am I kidding, it’s never quick. There’s just so much pretty stuff to gaze at…) and I was all set to tackle this project.
I picked up 2 white picture ledges and a wide variety of black and white frames. I hemmed and hawed over going all black, or going all white, but ultimately I decided to do the two-tone look. It worked out great and I was able to pull from a wide variety of frames that we already owned.
Just as I did for my brother’s record wall, I used wall anchors and screws to get these up and secure. It didn’t take me more than 30 minutes with my power drill. Honestly, the hardest part was figuring out how to arrange the frames, and then what to put inside each one!
I ended up filling each frame with an assortment of meaningful items. Above I have some cool vintage keys, a Chicago greeting card, and I also framed one of our save the dates (you can read more about those right here).
Here’s some scrabble wall art that I made a few years ago. It’s traveled along with us from place to place, and it somehow always finds a place in our home. We’re big gamers and this shows off our competitive spirit.
Now this is by far my favorite piece on the wall. It is actually an old letter written by my great-grandmother. This year for Christmas, my grandma made each of the grandchildren a book of letters from her mom. It’s over 50 pages long and it is all handwritten. In it, she outlines her entire life…from her childhood in the 1890’s, up until she wrote these letters in 1981. I read it cover to cover right away. I laughed, I cried, I loved every single minute of it. It is a gift I will treasure forever and I wanted to display one small piece of it in our home. So, I chose my favorite page and framed it for this wall.
I have a few other fun things up there and it is still constantly changing. I love that I can just change out a picture, a print, or an art piece, anytime inspiration strikes.
Even though our television is gone, this wall is still plenty entertaining. It’s filled with our favorite memories and some of the best times from our lives…and to us, it doesn’t get any better than that.
We have slowly been chucking away at our home to-do list and right now our family room is at the top of that list. This room is truly the “heart” of our home and we spend every single day enjoying it. Therefore, it’s the first space I want to finish up.
Next on the agenda…add some storage and style to the space!
You see that little corner to the right of the large art piece? Well, it was begging for a little “somethin’ somethin’.” I contemplated finding some more art for the wall, or perhaps hanging a few frames. But I ultimately wanted an area that I could style and constantly change.
I decided to go with some shelves!
I didn’t want anything too fancy, because I didn’t want to distract from the other cool pieces in the room. Instead I wanted something a bit streamlined and industrial, but perhaps with a rustic twist. I also didn’t want to spend very much money on these bad boys.
Hmmmm…inexpensive, contemporary, easily personalized….Ikea was going to be the place for me!
I found the above EKBY BJARNUM brackets and purchased 3 sets. I liked the silver color and contemporary look. I was prepared to head to a hardware store to find some wood, but lucky for me Ikea had untreated wood in the shelving department. Score! I picked up 3 pieces and called it a day. #onestopshopping
To get the rustic feel and incorporate some dark wood tones into the space, I stained the wood with Minwax using a clean rag. Once that dried I sealed the wood with wipe-on poly.
Honestly the hardest part about this project was installing the shelves. I shouldn’t say hard…I should say time consuming.
It was just a matter of measuring, leveling, drilling, repeat. I was able to get the three hung in about an hour. (Okay, maybe more like 2 hours…I was catching up on some of my favorite shows at the time, so that slowed things down a tad.)
Rookie Tip: If you’re not drilling directly into studs, make sure you use wall anchors. It’s just a matter of using your drill bit to create a hole, tapping an anchor in there with a hammer, and then using the drill to screw the bracket on. Time consuming…but worth it in the long run!
I really love how they turned out! It adds the right amount of style and personality to the corner.
I’m also really happy we went with three shelves instead of two. When it comes to decorating, always group in odd numbers. Think 3’s & 5’s, instead of 2’s and 4’s. Trust me on this one.
I have a feeling I will constantly be arranging and rearranging our new shelves. But that’s okay. I’m in love and our family room is really coming together!
Love these IKEA hacked shelves at Casey’s place? Check out Bridget’s spin on the same shelves….
Remember back in October when we took a plain doormat and gave it a serious upgrade?
Yeah, that project was pretty awesome and oh-so-easy. (If you need some holiday doormat inspiration, here’s a little more for ya…)
Well the herringbone doormat project gave me the courage and confidence to tackle a much larger painting project…
…my Ikea curtains!
I kept going back and forth about whether or not I should give them a teeny, tiny splash of color at the bottoms. Ultimately I decided, “why the heck not?!” If I screwed them up I could simply head back to Ikea and get some more inexpensive white ones. Life isn’t fun unless you’re trying something out of your comfort zone right? At least that’s what I kept telling myself during every step of this project.
Once my mind was made up, I got to work and gathered my supplies.
I knew I wanted to try out the herringbone pattern again. It wasn’t too difficult the first time and would only require painter’s tape to create the pattern. I also got some light blue paint, a sponge, drop cloth, pen, measuring tape, and a bottle of fabric medium.
I had absolutely no idea what fabric medium was until this project, but boy am I happy that I found out about this little bottle. Fabric medium reduces the stiffness that can often occur when you paint fabric. You mix a bit of fabric medium in with your paint, and the end result will be a flexible and washable fabric. Genius! I would have had some stiff looking curtains if it wasn’t for this stuff. This is a must buy for this tutorial!
Once I had all of my supplies raring to go, I set up shop in front of the TV and got to work while catching up on episodes of Scandal <—seriously amazing show!
Rookie Tip: Make sure you use a drop cloth underneath your fabric. The paint may seep through to the other side and no drop cloth would make for quite the mess….
Now the tricky part…figuring out how to measure the herringbone pattern. (Warning: things may get confusing up in here. Just grin and bear with me as we figure this one out together!)
I decided I wanted to paint 20 inches at the bottom of the curtains. That would make 4 5-inch sections of pattern. So I taped off 2 of the 5 inch sections and secured the tape horizontally.
Next, I created the diagonal sections with painter’s tape and taped it up from end to end.
I decided to go with 3 inches for each strip of color and measured as I taped it all down.
Rookie Tip: Make sure that the painter’s tape is very secure on the fabric. You don’t want any paint seeping under. Keep those lines looking crisp!
Once the number crunching was over, it was time for the fun part…painting. I simply went and painted the pattern in between the painter’s tape. I made sure that I covered each strip evenly and firmly pressed through so the paint soaked into the fabric.
I let the paint dry (about 30 minutes) and then held my breath as I peeled off the tape…
and it was a success!
After seeing my first pair of stripes, I was motivated to tackle the rest of the project.
I simply taped off the rest of the fabric to make the stripes go in the opposite direction. Then I got to work painting…again.
Boom…one curtain panel down, one more to go. #ugh
Trust me, I was very tempted to just paint one of the curtains because currently the other is hidden behind the back of our couch. My rookie counterpart (cough, cough Bridget) suggested I just do one of the curtains and someday paint the other panel. But I knew that I would never have the motivation to finish off the pair (and I might not remember all of the steps exactly), so I put in the hours and got.er.done! It took a long time (many episodes of Scandal), but I’m very pleased with the end result.
(Excuse the poor photography. It is incredibly difficult to photograph windows, so these pics may not seem quite as light and bright as our usual pictures.)
Here are the curtains behind the couch. I had to throw in a picture so you all keep me accountable for finishing up our projects every time!
I really don’t think the photos do them justice. They look awesome in person! They’re still very light and airy, but have a bit of sass at the bottom.
However, I may not be painting anything until after the new year. I’ve done my share for 2013…
We definitely had to downsize when we moved into our new place.
Goodbye, kitchen table!
See ya later, TV stand!
Adios, wooden hutch!
Even though we had to get rid of some really big pieces, we actually had to buy a few new pieces as well. After moving in, we quickly realized that we needed 2 bar stools for our kitchen island. With no room for a kitchen table, this would be our makeshift “dining” area. Not very romantic for those lovely home cooked meals with my man, but that’s city living for ya!
On one hand we didn’t want to spend a ton of money on new bar stools, specifically because we’re unsure if we’ll need them at our next place. On the other hand, we didn’t want stools so cheap that they fall apart by Christmas.
We decided to hit up Ikea and see if we could find 2 stools for about $200.
Luckily, we spotted these 2 stools for $119 a piece. Sure it was a little over our small budget, but they were just what we wanted!
My man got to work putting them together (ohhh Ikea, so many steps!) and they were both done in under an hour.
Now we have a nice comfy spot for our bums.
I really like the brown leather. Brings a very masculine vibe to our otherwise feminine kitchen. And the leather makes them wipe-able and easy to clean.
I also think these stools are very sturdy. No wobbling here…
I’ve found this kitchen island area to be a great blogging spot for me, as our office is currently “under construction.” I just set up shop right here at the counter, and can be in the same room as my man as he cooks or watches football.
So are you an Ikea fan? Or would you rather buy something that is already put together? I’m an Ikea girl all the way, you just can’t beat those prices!
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