Projects & Room Makeovers

Large Master Bedroom Ideas for the One Room Challenge

I’m kicking off today as the official first day of the One Room Challenge! Years ago I did a few One Room Challenges, and I’m excited to be back. If you aren’t familiar, the One Room Challenge is where a group of bloggers tackle one room in their home and have 6 weeks to complete it, sharing weekly updates on progress.

It’s always so fun to see what other bloggers are working on, plus it’s great motivation (50+ accountability partners helps ha) to finish a project in your home you might other drag out. Because let’s be honest, it happens to all of us. The timeline definitely goes quick and can get a little stressful trying to finish decorating a room in just 6 weeks.

But, I figured what better time to tackle a project like this than after moving into our new home!

We’ve been in our home just over a week and things are far from settled. We have boxes and stuff laying around and lots of empty rooms and I’m itching to get organized. I’ve had ideas for our new home brewing in my brain practically since we walked into the house for the first time. Please tell me I am not the only one dreaming up plans wayyy in advance. Realistically, we have to take it room by room, one project at a time. So for the next 6 weeks our focus is our large master bedroom.

Here’s what the master looked like when the house was listed. Not exactly my style ;)

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And here’s what it looks like now after just moving in and using our existing furniture. This new bedroom is quite a bit larger than our previous room, so it feels pretty empty and bare right now and our furniture doesn’t quite go in this space. I also despise the bluish grey paint color on the walls.

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Large Master Bedroom Ideas

Because the rest of the house is out of sorts and we haven’t turned those into dream spaces quite yet, I wanted to finish our master bedroom so we at least had a place to relax and recharge that feels like us.

As soon as we put in an offer on this house (we had 60 days till our close date) I began pinning large master bedroom ideas and added them to our new home group board.

Looking at my inspiration photos below, you’ll definitely notice a common theme. I want to stick with neutral colors, a traditional meets modern vibe with some rustic elements.

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Our home has several arched doorways and a couple arched window cutouts as you can see that connects with our master bathroom. I’m researching some cute ways to dress it up with shutters or a a pretty window frame so it feels more intentional and a little less random.

Overall, I want our master bedroom to be a fairly simple, budget-friendly makeover that’s achievable.

First up on the list is the paint the walls! I’ll see you back here next week with progress. Make sure to check out all the amazing designers and other guest participants in the One Room Challenge! There’s a huge variety in rooms and styles so it’s fun to see everyone’s ideas.

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Built-In Bench Seat DIY Tutorial

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In our raised ranch there isn’t exactly a formal entryway. We always dumped our stuff on the kitchen table when we walked in the door since we didn’t have anywhere to set things in our entrance or have a proper coat rack to hang coats and jackets. It drove me crazy.

I dreamed of having a grand entry with space to drop keys and shoes and set my computer bag and purse so it didn’t end up on the table. Little did I know, I had just the space to create our own little entryway mudroom...

In the basement there’s a room off the garage that we use as our main entry every time we come home. The way our raised ranch is set up is you walk into the ground level door through the garage and then take a full flight of stairs up to the main area of the house, where the living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms are located.

Well, that room off the garage we always entered was kind of a waste of space. It’s a pretty large room, bigger than an average bedroom, but we never utilized the space. We hadn’t thought much about the space and what to do with it, since it’s not an area we spend time in – we just walk in the door and go up the stairs.

The extent of us “furnishing” it was getting a hutch to hide our desktop computer we rarely used and a bench and some hooks. The hooks were cheap and always fell off the wall if you hung anything on them, so it wasn’t super functional.

One day it dawned on me to turn the room into a mudroom entry. It’s the door we use every single time we come home or leave the house, so it’s time to turn it into a functional entryway and create a drop zone for coats and bags etc. that actually works for us. 

I have no idea why it took me so long to realize it just needed a little TLC to turn it into a useful, functional room. 

Once I get an idea in my head, I can’t stop until I figure it out and create a plan. 

So I sketched out a plan and we got to work.

Keep reading to see how we did it and get our built-in bench seat DIY tutorial. 



Our Entryway Before

First, let’s start from the beginning. Here’s what our entryway used to look like. 

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We weren’t utilizing the space to its capacity, and the hooks were a pain because they always got knocked down the moment you hung something on them. 

With such little natural light from the single tiny window in the basement room, and the bland beige carpet with harsh fluorescent lighting, the room looked and felt pretty drab. Not quite the site I want to see when I come home from work everyday. 

But with a little DIYing, now it looks like this!

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Beyond building a bench seat, we gave the rest of the room an update as well. 

We added a DIY desktop, ripped up the old carpet that was getting dirty from the constant traffic (and Bria who stayed down there when we’re not home), stained the concrete with a dye to change the color and make it look like a finished floor, and added baseboards along the bottom. But for today, we’re going to focus on how we made the DIY bench seat. 

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We used this tutorial from Little Red Brick House as a starting point for our bench seat plans, but we did make some adjustments to best suit our space. 


Materials Needed:


Built-In Bench Seat DIY Tutorial

Step 1.

I’m such a visual person that I need to draw out my plan and get on paper the idea I have in my head. This also helps when explaining my vision to Jordon, so he can understand what I’m going for. When drawing up our bench seat, I knew I wanted cubbies underneath for storage, hooks with an accent wall above the bench seat, and I wanted to add a desktop along the perpendicular wall so we had a nice workspace for our computer. It took a bit for us to figure out the exact layout we landed on, but I love it. We added a stock cabinet for some closed storage (to hide the printer, paper, etc.) that the butcher block desktop could sit on, and then we built some additional cubbies that fit in the corner. I had it all drawn out and Jordon helped bring it to life. 

Step 2.

First, we measured and figured out what size we needed to build the built-in bench seat. I wanted three cubbies underneath the bench, so we figured out what size to make them so they were even. Our bench seat length is 70.5 inches, 18.5 inches high, and the depth of the seat is 18.5 inches. Each cubby is 21.5 inches wide. I wanted a 2 inch trim between each cubby so we faced it with 2 inch boards. Your measurements will be different depending on your space.

 Step 3.

We started by making the frame and cubby dividers using ¾” thick sande plywood and 1x4 boards to connect them together. We chose to use sande plywood because it is really solid and sturdy plus it’s clean and has a smooth finish so you can paint it. Everything was connected using 1″ pocket hole screws which we did using our Kreg Jig. It’s one of the best tools because it’s fast and gives a tight bond and is easy for the everyday DIYer that we are, instead of doing a more complex joinery. We use this for lots of projects around the house, definitely recommend it if you do lots of projects yourself! It really simplifies the job. When you make your pocket holes, make sure the holes face toward the wall so they are hidden when everything is assembled.

We didn’t take any photos during this process and I wish we did, but this tutorial we followed from Little Red Brick House has helpful photos I’m including below to give you a visual since ours was very similar.

Step 4.

I also wanted our cubbies raised up so the baskets weren’t sitting on the ground. Before attaching the frame base to the wall, we added the bottom board that acts as the cubbies. They are attached 3 inches up from the ground using pocket hole screws. Then we added the top board using MDF that creates the top of the bench seat. We wanted it nice and sturdy so we used MDF and attached it using a brad nailer. 

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 Step 5.

Once the frame was built out, we painted it white. We just used a Behr white paint we had on hand and gave it a few coats.

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Step 6.

Then, it was time to connect it to the wall and secure it in place. Because we were also adding a built-in desk and cubbies on the perpendicular wall, we needed to make sure that the bench was installed in the correct place. We used a brad nailer to attach it to the wall. 

Step 7.

After it was secured in place, we finished it off by adding trim around the front and sides using wood glue and a brad nailer. We used 1x4 boards for trim along the bottom front and sides and then for the cubby dividers we used 1x2 boards. We also added 1x4 boards we painted white as trim around the rest of the room. A little tip if you don’t want to buy the more expensive actual baseboards, you can use 1x4 boards for a much cheaper price. 

Step 8.

Because we were adding hooks above our bench, we decided to do an accent rustic wood wall. To do this, we painted the wall black first (so any gaps between the boards wouldn’t be obvious) and then nailed down these reclaimed barn wood boards. We found them at Home Depot and they come pre-cut and stained so it’s super easy way to add some texture and rustic elements without a ton of work. One box costs about $28 and covers 10 square feet. All you do is nail them to the wall using a brad nailer. Then, we trimmed out the accent wall with 1x4 boards we painted white and added heavy duty black hooks.

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Step 9.

For the DIY desk, we used butcher block countertop as the desktop and gave it a coat of stain and topped it with poly. Then for extra storage, we made cubbies that we rested on the desktop in the corner. Jordon built those the same as he made the built-in bench seat, starting with the frame and then sliding it on the desktop and securing it to the wall. 

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Step 10.

To top off the bench and make it look finished and sit comfortably, we added a bench seat cushion. I got 3 inch foam sheet from Amazon, and then we had a custom Comfort Works bench cover made, in the same color as our living room sofa slipcover. I cut the piece of using a hacksaw (an electric carving knife for Thanksgiving turkey would work much better if you have one, seriously) to fit the top of our bench seat. I really love having the cushion and custom cover! It pulls it together and makes it look polished, plus it’s added comfort. The cover fits the foam perfectly and finishes off the bench seat. I’m so impressed with the quality of Comfort Works and can’t recommend them enough if you are looking to slipcover furniture.

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This was a decently easy project if you have the right tools, but it did take some time. It probably took us a couple of days to finish everything in the room, mostly because the floors took a while to dry between each coat of concrete stain. As long as you build a sturdy frame, you can’t mess it up because you can customize it to your space and size requirements. 

Overall, the whole mudroom cost us a little over $500 in materials, and just the built in bench seat cost around $200 in materials. Not bad for a whole updated mudroom! Even Bria approves :)

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I am so happy with how it looks! We love having a place to set our bags and hang our coats. The cubbies are so nice because I can stick my workout shoes in there and keep them out of the way so we don’t trip on shoes in the entryway.

Every time we finish a project, I kick myself wishing we had done it sooner!

IKEA Billy Bookcase Built-In Hack

DIY IKEA built-ins
DIY IKEA Hack Built-Ins

I've always loved built-ins and they popped up several times in my Dream Home pin board when analyzing my decorating style, so I knew they were always something I wanted to incorporate into our home. When we first moved in we made a quick TV stand from an IKEA Kallax shelf, but I was never 100% happy with it. Our living room is small, and it just didn't have a good focal point.

Good-bye old TV stand . . .

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Hellooooo pretty built-ins!

DIY IKEA Hack Built-Ins

I LOVE the way they turned out! We were able to finish them in a weekend for about $300.

DIY IKEA Hack Built-Ins

IKEA Billy Bookcase Built-In Hack

Here's the story...

There are all kinds of styles and ideas out there for built-ins. Originally, I was thinking we would just build them from scratch, making the shelves and cabinets ourselves. After more research and asking Jordon if he thought he could do it (he's not a professional builder and has limited time and tools), I decided to look into DIY versions that we could piece together to make things a little easier. I found several tutorials but none of them consisted of everything I wanted. I wanted our built-ins to have cabinets for the TV to sit on and for storage, plus open shelving on the sides, and a top shelf above the TV.

In the tutorials I found online many people used the IKEA Billy bookcases. There are a few different sizes of the Billy bookcase to choose from. Because our wall isn't huge and the built-ins couldn't extend from end to end (it would cut off part of the doorway) I thought 2 single Billy bookcases would fit nicely, I just needed to figure out how to create the cabinets. The Billy collection did have the option to buy doors to attach to the bookcases, however, the doors were $40 a piece which would get spendy fast. That same day I was browsing IKEA's site, I went to Home Depot for something else and ran into some pre-fabricated cabinets on sale. They were exactly what I was looking for and much more affordable than buying IKEA doors to create our own cabinets.

I drew up the design and Jordon liked the idea so we ordered the IKEA shelves and went back to Home Depot to pick up the cabinets. Just an FYI, the cabinets are 12 inches deep and the IKEA shelves are 11 inches deep but the difference didn't bother me.

Materials:

For installation, we loosely followed this tutorial by Centsational Girl, but had to make our own adjustments and used trial and error along the way.

First, we measured where the built-in would stand centered on the wall and marked the area off so we could cut out carpet and remove the baseboards along the wall. To remove the carpet we just it out with a utility knife.

Because we decided not to use the original baseboard along the front of our built-ins because we didn't have enough and I wanted it white, we didn't have to be super cautious about not damaging the trim. We used a 6 inch pry bar to loosen the baseboard, starting near a nail hole. Be careful not to pry the bar into the wall because it will damage the drywall (to prevent damage, slide a putty knife behind the trim as you wedge the pry bar).

DIY built-ins

We raised the cabinets about 3 inches using 2x4 boards to create an illusion of a built-in. Had we not raised it, we wouldn't have been able to run baseboards across the entire bottom because the cabinets sat lower than the bookcases.

We attached the frame into the wall studs and then screwed the cabinets into the frame.

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Then we assembled the IKEA bookcases and lined them up against the installed cabinets. We used a small L bracket to secure the bookcases to the wall so they won't tip. The bracket is small enough visually you can't see it unless you're standing back far in the room, but it can be painted white to disguise it.

DIY IKEA Hack Built-Ins

We used a 1x12x60" board and glued it on top of the cabinets for a nice platform for the TV, holding it with clamps until dry.

To create the floating shelf above the TV, we took 2 more 1x12x60" boards and made pocket holes using a kreg jig. Then we used pocket screws to screw them into the IKEA bookcases, lining then up so the shelves are straight across. Without pocket holes, we would have had to mount the shelf using brackets which wold have been visible.

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A little reminder to plug your TV in the wall and bring the cords around the back BEFORE you attach the 2 bookcases to the wall. We were all finished with the built-ins and went to plug in the TV when we realized we forgot to account for the cords. We ended up having to drill into the wall and shelf creating a crevice to run the cords.

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For the baseboard, we used the only 3 inch trim we could find in Home Depot and screwed them in using small screws. To cover the gap where the shelves meet the cabinets, we used an edging that concealed it perfectly, using caulk to fill any seams. Everything got a fresh coat of white paint by Behr (what we used on all the walls in our home). We didn't actually paint the IKEA shelves and found the whites to match almost identically.

Overall this project cost us around $300 in materials and we did it in one weekend. I'm soooo happy with the results! I can't believe how good it looks and we were able to do it on a pretty small budget. The built-ins create a nice focal point that our living room really needed.

DIY IKEA Hack Built-Ins
DIY IKEA Hack Built-Ins
DIY IKEA Hack Built-Ins
DIY IKEA Hack Built-Ins
DIY IKEA Hack Built-Ins
DIY IKEA Hack Built-Ins
DIY IKEA Hack Built-Ins
 

Small Kitchen Remodel Before and After

We're revealing our small kitchen renovation reveal that we did ourselves on a budget with grey cabinets, oak wood flooring, stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink and more. Click to see the before and after photos. You won't believe what it looked like before our remodel!

I can’t even tell you how excited we are about our kitchen renovation reveal and how well it turned out! And I’m even more excited to share our process and how we got here. Because it definitely didn’t always look this pretty. Our kitchen renovation was a long time in the making. So to say we finally have a fully functioning, updated, BEAUTIFUL kitchen is such a dream.

A small kitchen doesn’t have to mean you sacrifice style or function. If you are strategic with your decisions, you can make great use of the space that works for your family.

Without further adieu, let’s dive right in to our small kitchen remodel before and after and how we got here.

As a brief recap if you are new around here, we bought this home 4 years ago in Iowa. It is an older home that hadn’t been updated since the 70s we guess. Everything about the kitchen was out-dated. But the home had potential and it was a great price, so it made a good starter home.

Small Kitchen Remodel Before and After

Here’s what the kitchen looked like when we bought it. This was taken during the process of painting our cabinets, hence a few of the cabinet doors removed, which we did a few months after moving in. One great bonus is this kitchen actually has quite a bit of cabinets, which is not always the case with small kitchens.

Before

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After we painted and turned them into pretty blue kitchen cabinets using the color Northern Star by Pratt & Lambert, it looked like this. We painted to get rid of the terrible orangey cabinets and it looked better. But at this point we still had linoleum floors and counters and the old, original appliances.

While we knew we wanted to renovate the kitchen eventually, it wasn’t in the budget to do it right away. We lived with the painted cabinets and out-dated appliances and floors for a few years.

In the meantime, we talked about our plans and what we wanted to do with our kitchen eventually. Being a galley kitchen, we didn’t have the option to add an island so the floor plan would remain the same. Since we were doing the remodel ourselves and we don’t take on debt for projects, we waited until we had money saved up and we were comfortable enough taking on the work.

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The biggest issue with our kitchen is it just wasn’t an inspiring place to hang out. We cook a lot and hardly ever eat out, so we’re always in the kitchen. The oven was so small with only one rack, and the stove top was old and the knobs were wearing off so you couldn’t see the burner temperatures. It wasn’t that functional and certainly didn’t feel like “us.”

After 3 (!!!!) years of living in our home with an out-dated kitchen, we finally tackled the kitchen renovation the summer of 2018. It was kind of a last minute decision to do it, actually. We had talked about starting within the year, but to make it even more stressful, we decided to start the reno just a a couple months before our wedding! Because why not ha. Nothing like a hard deadline to get everything finished in time! Excited doesn’t even BEGIN to express how happy I was to rip out the out-dated kitchen.

But first, let’s talk design plans.



The Design Plan

As the type A planner that I am, I had our design plan figured out well before we actually started demo. We weren’t adding on or changing the footprint of our kitchen, but we were updating counters, floors, hardware, lighting, backsplash, appliances, window treatment and cabinets.

The overall vibe I wanted for the kitchen is the same as the rest of our house: light, airy, cozy with a mix of rustic + modern elements.

To figure out what we wanted for cabinets and counters and all the other details, I did some research, of course spent time on Pinterest pinning ideas, and then created a mood board so I had a visual of what all the elements looked like together, creating my design plan.

If you want a more in-depth look at how I research and create a room design plan, read this.

Related Post: How to Come Up with a Room Design Plan

Flooring

When we put in our wood floors in the living room over a year ago, we purchased enough for the kitchen, knowing we were updating those floors at some point too, so we had the flooring already figured out. Installing matching flooring that flows from room to room goes a long way in making the spaces feel cohesive and it makes rooms feel bigger and less choppy.

Related Post: How to Choose Wood Flooring: Laminate vs. Hardwood

Learn how to create a mood board here, like the one I made pictured above.

Backsplash + Countertops

We did white subway tile in our bathroom, so I wanted white subway tile backsplash in our kitchen to repeat the look and create cohesiveness. I’m a big fan of classic backsplash that you won’t tire of after a few years. Subway tile is always a practical yet beautiful option that’s pretty affordable.

For countertops, it was between white quartz or butcher block. Quartz counters were over double the cost of butcher block, so that’s ultimately why we chose wood counters. While I do love the look of butcher block, this isn’t our forever home so we didn’t want to spend more than what we’d actually get back when we decide to sell, so butcher block made sense. They do require a little more maintenance, so that’s something to keep in mind. I researched how to care for butcher block a ton and found that with a little extra care and some mineral oil, they will hold up for years.

Appliances

Taking out the old stove top and built-in wall oven meant we had to rework the location of the new appliances a bit. It’s actually more cost effective to have a combined range and oven, so we shifted it over slightly to add some extra counter space. We also were installing a dishwasher (finally!!), getting a new microwave that mounted above the range to allow for more counter space, and a new fridge. The dishwasher was the most exciting part of the new kitchen, I think. Washing dishes is my LEAST favorite chore. I like the look of stainless steel so that’s what we went with. for our appliances. Usually you can get a discount if you buy appliances in a bundle package which is what we did at Nebraska Furniture Mart.



On to kitchen cabinets…our biggest dilemma.

While I love the blue kitchen cabinets we had, I wanted our new cabinets to be more neutral.  We went back and forth on whether we’d keep the current cabinets and just paint them, or if we’d install all new cabinets.

Ideally, I wanted new cabinets. We’d have to rip out the whole wall of cabinets where the old oven and stovetop are to make room for the new range, which meant we’d have to install new cabinets on that wall to replace them anyway. I couldn’t find any stock cabinets available that matched our current size. I felt it would look odd to have mismatched cabinets on one side of the kitchen, so replacing them all sounded like the best option. The old cabinet shelves also weren’t adjustable and didn’t have a tall enough clearance for things like a canister of oatmeal, so that was another bonus of new cabinets. It’s all about the little things.

New cabinets also meant we’d spend more than if we repainted our existing and replaced just the one side of cabinets next to the range.

To see how much new cabinets would cost, we got a quote from a semi-custom cabinet company and were shocked at how much it cost. They always say new cabinets are expensive, and they aren’t kidding. And we don’t even have a ton of cabinets like larger kitchens! I tried to reach out to the cabinet company and see where we could make a few adjustments (I wanted some open shelving) to maybe lower the cost a bit, but they were horrible about getting back to me so after the bad customer service, we nixed that idea. They did provide a handy blueprint we were able to work off of and check prices for stock cabinets at Home Depot. Home Depot cabinets ended up being one fifth of the cost, plus there was no lead time (we only had to order a couple cabinets online, the rest were in stock in our local store).

The great thing about Home Depot stock cabinets is the variety of base and wall cabinet types. They offer a mix of wall and base cabinets, some with larger drawers that are great for storing pots and pans. You can really play with the assortment and pick cabinets based on your needs that fit your kitchen size.

The main concern we had with the Home Depot stock cabinets was quality. If you read the reviews online, they are not great. Most of the them said they were cheaply made and arrived broken in some way. Ugh. I went to our store to check them out myself first hand, and after looking, I thought they actually looked pretty nice and the quality seemed like it’d work fine for us. The quality isn’t top notch and they use a cheaper wood than custom cabinets, but for the price and for the average kitchen, they will work great.

They cabinets were available in either white or a light grey. The gray color came with a shaker door style which I loved, so we went with it!

Ultimately, Jordon and I decided these cabinets were the best solution for us. We picked up all the cabinets in-store, and only had to order 2 that weren’t in stock. These are the pre-assembled shaker cabinets at Home Depot we bought. My biggest suggestion if you are buying the cabinets is to buy them in store if possible. That way you can check over each cabinet to look for damage and get top pick. We ordered 2 cabinets online that weren’t available in-store, and one of the cabinets arrived damaged from shipping. This is where the bad reviews come from. If you can hand pick each cabinet in-store, do it.

At this point, we had a garage full of cabinets, appliances ordered, and all other design selections finalized.

We were ready for demo!

Demo Day

Jordon was eager to rip out cabinets, so I emptied them and packed everything up. He started ripping stuff out one day while I was at work. Nothing like getting texts of your newly gutted kitchen while you’re away! Not stressful at all. #kidding

We did keep the refrigerator as long as we could so we at least had some food for the time being, since the rest of our kitchen was out of use. We resorted to plugging in the microwave in the living room so we could still make oats and sandwiches during the 5 week kitchen renovation without a range.

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It’s always nerve-racking on demo day because you never know exactly what you’ll uncover. We lucked out and everything was pretty normal, except, after ripping out the stovetop and lower cabinets, we discovered there was a vent that came up from the furnace that out-jetted from the wall. Right where we planned on placing a 12 inch wide cabinet wasn’t going to work anymore, because we needed a wider cabinet to be able to cut the back of it in order to fit over the vent. We were forced to switch the cabinet layout a bit which was a bummer. I planned on adding open shelving above the range, but that had to change. It also meant we no could no longer have cabinets on both side of the range like we originally planned.

Switching around the cabinet layout a couple times caused us to have to return a couple cabinets and order a couple new ones. This ended up setting us back a couple days because we were waiting for the new cabinets to arrive. All of our cabinets were in good shape, but we did have one that arrived a little broken. Luckily, it was only broken in the back and we were able to salvage it, since we didn’t have time to wait a week for a new one to come in.

One other fix we had to do was add a different electrical plug to fit the new range and wire the microwave so it was on a different circuit line.

Installation

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Jordon was somehow able to install all the cabinets himself, leveling them and securing them to the wall. Once the cabinets were in, we could start on the wood flooring. Installing the wood floors took a few days with all the measuring and cutting. When the floors were in, we were ready for the appliances delivery. This was an exciting day! Our kitchen would finally be somewhat useable again and we could stop eating cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I was ready to have a stove back. Surprisingly, we didn’t eat out once during the work week in the 5 weeks without a stove.

However, we ran into an issue when the appliances arrived. When we picked out appliances, we made sure the size fit within the cabinet space we allotted, but we forgot to account for the doorway leading into the kitchen. Oops! The guys dropped off the appliances but the fridge didn’t fit through the living room/kitchen doorway. We ended up having to remove the doors from the new fridge, and even remove part of the molding on the door frame to just barely be able to squeeze the new fridge in place, with only centimeters to give.

DIY Wood Countertops

With the appliances finally installed, we could start on the DIY wood countertops. We bought slabs of birch butcher block countertops from Menard’s and cut them to fit. They were fairly straightforward to install using this tutorial.

I researched a ton on how to seal the wood and found two options. Use a food grade sealer or use natural with mineral oil. Using a heavy duty wood sealer would protect the wood better longer term, but the sealer also changed the color of the wood and made it much more orangey than I liked. So I decided that applying mineral oil every few months was the best option for us. I made an entire IGTV video on how we care for our butcher block DIY wood countertops you can watch here.

The Home Stretch

In between the big projects like installing the cabinets, countertops, and appliances, we also finished things like repainting the walls, painting all the kitchen trim, and I painted the side entrance door the same Northern Star blue color we had on our previous kitchen cabinets.

Once the counters were in, we were in the home stretch and could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! Up next was installing subway tile backsplash and the apron front farmhouse sink.

We went with classic white subway tile with light grey grout because it never goes out of style. Our farmhouse sink was a bit of a splurge and was the most expensive piece in our kitchen outside of appliances. But boy am I glad we got it! The large, single basin is convenient when washing pots and pans and it looks like a showstopper.

butcher block countertops
subway tile

The Reveal

After 5ish weeks of work, we finished the kitchen renovation! And with enough time to spare before our wedding :) It was definitely a long few weeks living in a construction zone and spending every available minute on the kitchen. It was a lot of work, but we’re so happy with how it turned out! Every time I walk in our kitchen I’m amazed we tackled all of it ourselves and how good it looks! It truly looks better than I had imagined.

If you are looking to refresh a room in your home, but you need a little help picking out furniture, colors, and decor, I can help! I offer room refresh services and can help design your room so you feel confident in your decisions. Click here for more info about how we can work together.

Our small kitchen remodel reveal on a budget with grey cabinets, oak wood flooring, stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink and more. Click to see the before and afters. You won't believe what it looked like before!
Our small kitchen remodel reveal on a budget with grey cabinets, oak wood flooring, stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink and more. Click to see the before and afters. You won't believe what it looked like before!

Incorporate Something Unique

To make your kitchen feel truly special and unique, incorporate a piece that’s custom or that has character to make it stand out.

One unique piece we had made for our kitchen is the black metal shelf. Since we were limited to floating kitchen shelving on just the one side of our galley kitchen due to the issue we discovered during demolition, I debated what I wanted to do for open shelving. At first, I was thinking open wood shelves, but I wanted to tie in the matte black accents from the chandelier. Then, I had the idea for a black metal shelf. I sketched it up and a local welder from my hometown brought my vision to life! I love that it’s different and unique yet ties together the space perfectly. Dress it up with pretty vases, a plant and cookbooks to bring in some personality and color!

We used our existing kitchen table and modern white chairs and installed a really fun mobile chandelier from West Elm which adds a nice modern touch. I think it compliments the rustic wood table nicely.

For the 4 windows surrounding our kitchen table, we went with white linen outside mount roman shades. I love cordless roman shades because they’re practical and super functional, but the white linen gives them a light, airy feel. Before our kitchen remodel we had blinds with cords, and I will never go back since installing these cordless shades! Cordless is the way to go.

Our small kitchen remodel reveal on a budget with grey cabinets, oak wood flooring, stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink and more. Click to see the before and afters. You won't believe what it looked like before!
Our small kitchen remodel reveal on a budget with grey cabinets, oak wood flooring, stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink and more. Click to see the before and afters. You won't believe what it looked like before!
Our small kitchen remodel reveal on a budget with grey cabinets, oak wood flooring, stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink and more. Click to see the before and afters. You won't believe what it looked like before!
Our small kitchen remodel reveal on a budget with grey cabinets, oak wood flooring, stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink and more. Click to see the before and afters. You won't believe what it looked like before!
Our small kitchen remodel reveal on a budget with grey cabinets, oak wood flooring, stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink and more. Click to see the before and afters. You won't believe what it looked like before!
Our small kitchen remodel reveal on a budget with grey cabinets, oak wood flooring, stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink and more. Click to see the before and afters. You won't believe what it looked like before!
Our small kitchen remodel reveal on a budget with grey cabinets, oak wood flooring, stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink and more. Click to see the before and afters. You won't believe what it looked like before!
Our small kitchen remodel reveal on a budget with grey cabinets, oak wood flooring, stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink and more. Click to see the before and afters. You won't believe what it looked like before!
Our small kitchen remodel reveal on a budget with grey cabinets, oak wood flooring, stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink and more. Click to see the before and afters. You won't believe what it looked like before!

We got our kitchen cabinet hardware off Amazon actually! They have tons of affordable options in large quantities. I decided to go with brushed nickel because I like the softness against our grey cabinets. The blue buffalo check shade above our apron sink makes me smile every time. It adds a fun twist, don’t you think?

If you decide on butcher block wood countertops for your home, I highly suggest using a little tray like the one we have to hold your soap and dish brush so they aren’t sitting directly on the wood. The bottles will leave water rings otherwise.

Our small kitchen remodel reveal on a budget with grey cabinets, oak wood flooring, stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink and more. Click to see the before and afters. You won't believe what it looked like before!
Our small kitchen remodel reveal on a budget with grey cabinets, oak wood flooring, stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink and more. Click to see the before and afters. You won't believe what it looked like before!
Our small kitchen remodel reveal on a budget with grey cabinets, oak wood flooring, stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink and more. Click to see the before and afters. You won't believe what it looked like before!

I hope you enjoyed our little kitchen tour! If I missed anything or if you have questions, ask away in the comments!

Shop Our Kitchen

Do you have a room in your home you want to refresh? I’ll work with you 1 on 1 to create a design plan you love and pick out colors, furniture, and decor for your room. It saves you hours of searching online and I’m there to help you make the right decisions (you won’t regret) so you can finally finish decorating! Click here to learn more about my services.

If you want to take a virtual tour of our kitchen and get a peek at it in real life, watch the video below :)


Modern Neutral Living Room Reveal

mid-century modern chic grey living room

My client came to me wanting help decorating her living room. Between her career and two young boys, she didn’t have the time or energy to spend decorating her home. Her family had lived there for 3 years, but she had to hang anything on the walls, their TV stand was 10 years old from college and their space didn’t reflect their style or personality at all and it was time to change that.

I worked with my client to find her style and get clear on what it was she liked. She described her style as modern, neutral, and airy and wanted her home to feel cozy and comfortable.

We kept her leather chair and couch, but everything else we brought in new to freshen up the space.

We lightened up the wall color so it felt brighter and added a couple accent chairs for additional seating. We incorporated black accents, some brass, and a patterned rug to add some interest. A fun piece of art above the mantle added a pop of color, and a black and white gallery wall in the entryway was the perfect way to include family photos.

Watch the video below to see all the before and after photos of the transformation.


Article Leather Chair Furniture Review

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I’ve been anxiously awaiting sharing this post since I first mentioned on Instagram we were finally getting some leather chairs! It’s been a long time coming and it feels like our living room has upgraded and become a true adult space now!

If you aren’t familiar with the whole story, let me back up for a second.

About 3 years ago we completely refreshed our living room. We added built-ins, got a new couch, rug, light fixture, flooring. The space got a complete overhaul because before it just did not reflect my style (which I had decorated prior to finding my decorating style) and it didn’t make me happy.

Well, with that refresh, I knew we eventually wanted to get leather chairs for some additional seating, but we just never got around to finding chairs I liked. They’re a big investment and I went back and forth on what I wanted, so I didn’t want to rush into a decision without being sure. So in the meantime, I actually stumbled across a super cute chair while in Goodwill for $30 that worked for our living room so we at least had one extra seat besides the couch until we found some new chairs.

Here we are 3 years later, and we finally got leather chairs! Another reminder that decorating is a process and takes TIME.

One of my favorite furniture companies, Article, wanted to partner on leather chairs. It couldn't have come at a more perfect time! I’m a huge fan of Article (we have their sofa, floor lamp, and a cozy throw and sheepskin) and everything is such high quality and beautiful, so I knew the leather chairs would be no different.

I’m doing a full review on the leather chairs and how I chose which chairs to get. To be completely candid, the chairs were gifted to me by Article, but I’m sharing my full, honest opinion on them and what I truly think.

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How I Decided Which Leather Chairs

This took some time and I even questioned my choices a couple times, to the point where the chair I was set on for a few a month or two, I ultimately ended up changing my mind.

Here’s what my process kind of looks like when I’m deciding on a piece of furniture for our home. Whenever I’m looking to get something new for our home, I always go back to my Dream Home Pinterest board to remind myself of the elements and styles of furniture I like. It’s my inspiration and how I pull ideas that align with my style and how I want my home to look and feel. Once I have some inspiration and an idea of what I’m looking for, I stalk the Internet, and in this case, Article. I can’t tell you how many times I looked at their leather chairs, analyzed them, read reviews, tried to find pictures of the chairs IRL on Instagram…for weeks. Let’s just say I am thorough in my research ha.

As I was looking at every leather chair option, I was looking obviously at the color and style, but also at the size of the chairs. Our living room is quite small and narrow, so we do not have a ton of room so I didn’t want a chair that would feel proportionately off scale with the rest of the furniture in our room.

I thought I had it narrowed down to this gorgeous leather chair. It fit with the style I see in many of my pins on my Dream Home board its small scale would fit nicely in our living room. It seemed perfect. But the more I envisioned us using the chairs, the more I felt like we needed something “cozier” and larger to snuggle up in. This chair with the wood arm rests just didn’t feel like it would be a chair you want to lounge in and read a book, you know?

The other thing is I want to be able to use the leather chairs in our future home. We’ve been in this house for 5 years now, so we are looking at other houses in the next year with a little more space, so I want chairs to be useful in our next house. While that gets tricky since you never know the space you’ll have in a future home, I do know that in our next living room I would love to have a larger sofa with a chaise and leather chairs. And when I envisioned the leather chairs, I pictured something cozy that people want to sit in, and I just wasn’t getting that vibe with the Denman chair.

So, back to the drawing board I went. I looked at allllll the leather chairs again, and again and again. Ultimately, I decided on the Burrard leather chair in Bella Tan. It checked all the boxes. I loved the roomy, boxy style that felt nice for curling up, I loved that the leather was slightly darker than most of Article’s other leather chairs (I didn’t want anything too “orange-y” looking), and the size was large enough to be comfortable while the modern low-profile style felt propionate to our couch.

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Article Burrard Chair Review

When the chairs arrived, I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the leather looked. It’s high quality with a slight variation to it, but the color is very true to color on site. I was slightly nervous about how large the chair would feel and that it would take up so much space in our living room with two chairs, but they actually fit great and we have more room than I was visualizing! I don’t feel like they’re oversized or anything for our room, they fit perfect.

It’s no surprise the chairs are super well-made with high quality Italian-tanned leather and down feather back cushions. It feels solid, sturdy and durable. The leather doesn’t feel delicate at all and should hold up nicely. The seat cushions aren’t super soft, but it’s still completely comfortable, just don’t expect something super plush. My one complaint is that the leather doesn’t go around all the way on the backside of the cushions. You can see on both cushions the backs are mostly covered in a black fabric, so if something were to happen to the front side of the leather, you can’t flip the cushions. While I’ve been told by Article that this is an intentional design decision both to keep the cushion in place (a leather on leather situation would probably mean more slipping of the cushion) as well as to allow proper aeration so that the pillow can be smushed during seating and then fluff back up easily.

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I wanted to use the chairs for a bit before I wrote a review so I could get a good feel for them. We’ve had them about 4 weeks now and have definitely put them to use, though I can’t speak to the durability directly just yet. So far, we love the chairs and they’ve been a great addition to our living room. It’s so nice to have some extra seats so both Jordon and I aren’t always sharing the couch. I find myself choosing the chair over the couch sometimes just because I love curling up in it and working on my computer or watching some March Madness basketball. I often find Jordon sitting in one of the chairs when he gets home in the morning from his 24 hour shift while he watches the morning news. Which is saying something if he likes them! His favorite part he says is that they are really wide, making them comfy.

As far as cleaning the chairs, I haven’t done anything yet, but the tag on the chair said wipe clean with a damp cloth. We’re careful to cut Bria’s nails a little shorter so she doesn’t scrape the leather, but so far so good!

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I love modern furniture and my style reflects that, but I was a little nervous how the super mid-century modern style chairs would look in our living room but I LOVE them. I’m still figuring out our coffee table situation, though. In the pictures you see the round wood coffee table that I originally ordered to replace the larger rectangle table we had before the chairs. We needed something smaller and round, and this one was my favorite I found. However, after having it in our home with the chairs and based on how we use the space, I think an ottoman or 2 poufs might work better. The table just seems a little in the way since we do lay on the ground and play with Bria (she loves when we chase her lol), so we’re always pushing it off to the side. I haven’t gotten anything different yet, so stay tuned on Insta for updates!

Overall, we are so happy with the chairs and feel the Burrard leather chairs were the perfect decision! I can’t recommend Article enough for their quality yet beautiful furniture and home decor, plus their customer service is amazing, they offer a 30 day return policy, and they offer free complimentary swatches to test their fabrics, which is important to note since you can’t see them in-person beforehand.

I created an IGTV video on the chairs as well if you want to see them up-close “in person” to get a better look at the quality of the leather.

How to Decorate a Cozy Mid-Century Modern Living Room - Reader Submission

Click to read how I created a design plan to transform one of my reader's grey toned living room into a cozy mid-century modern retreat. I cover everything about how to find ideas, decide on a layout, and more!

I always like seeing before and afters and real-life examples of blank rooms that are designed from scratch, so I thought it’d be fun today to show a reader’s home and how my e-design decorating process works to bring your ideas and dreams to life.

Thank you, Anna, who graciously sent photos of her home and was willing to share them with you on the Internet :)

She, her husband, and 3 young kids under 5 are renovating their home. So far, they’ve demoed their kitchen and took down the wall separating the kitchen from the living room so now it’s all open concept with a vaulted ceiling.  They are an active family with a ton going on, so they need durable, practical furniture and decor.

However, the open concept has made it difficult for Anna to know where to place furniture and how to create a floor plan that works for them along with the challenge of knowing what furniture to get. With one big room, the rooms all flow together so the furniture and decor need to work together and compliment each other so it feels like a cohesive space. Otherwise, your home will quickly turn into a hodgepodge of furniture that do not work well together and each room will feel disjointed, like it’s own individual space.

Anna also came to me wanting advice on lighting. Right now, her husband hates the “little balls” hanging down from the ceiling. They took down a couple of the ball light fixtures in the front entrance, but now they’re left with just the light bulbs and she is overwhelmed with picking out new lighting since she is unsure what size or style would work in the space.

Here is what Anna’s home looks like right now in the midst of their kitchen renovation. It’s a beautiful open blank slake with lots of natural night (you know that’s my favorite). I can totally relate to how she’s feeling as she is anxious to organize and furnish their living room so they can have some place to relax as a family with all that’s going on.

living room before
living room before 2
dining room before

Anna put in new wood-like floors in a stone grey color, they painted the kitchen cabinets dark grey, walls are white, and the wood railings and trim are dark wood. When it comes to her style, Anna doesn’t just like one thing or one particular style, but she loves all things shiny, metal, sparkly, fur and an overall light, airy and uncluttered space.

Here is a photo she sent as inspiration, so you can definitely see her love for white and airy. Definitely something we can achieve in her home!

inspiration boho living room

The Design Plan

As I began brainstorming ideas, the first thing I noticed when looking at photos of Anna’s home and the inspiration photos, is the amount of warm tones in the inspiration photo compared to her home. Anna has lots of grey in her home, from the kitchen cabinets to the accent chairs and the cool grey-tone floors. But the inspiration photo uses lots of warm tones like the warm wood floors, cream sofa, and brown leather accents.

In order to achieve a similar look as the inspo photo, we really want to make sure the selected furniture and accessories incorporate lots of texture and warmth along with warm toned colors that work with grey.

For Anna’s living room and dining room design plan, we’re tackling:

  • Layout

  • Lighting

  • Color palette

  • Furniture

  • Accessories

This is the design board rendering I created for Anna’s dining and living room. It really only takes a few key pieces to turn a space into a really fun, welcoming place you are excited to hang out in. It still reflects the open and airy vibe Anna was going for, while selecting pieces that tie in nicely with the grey floors ad dark wood accents.

Let’s jump into my thought process on my design selections and how I chose furniture and decor!

Click to read how I created a design plan to transform one of my reader's grey toned living room into a cozy mid-century modern retreat. I cover everything about how to find ideas, decide on a layout, and more!

Shop the Look:

seagrass rug, printed rug, sectional, gold side table, coffee table, faux fur pillows, tufted pillow, colorful pillow, media center



Floor Plan

First, let’s talk layout and developing a floor plan. The space needs to function as both a living room and dining room, so it’s important to define the two spaces. It’s easy for an open concept space to feel like just one oversized room, but it’s much harder to furnish a huge area and it functions better when there are smaller defined conversation areas. Because the rooms are connected, they need to play off each other so it feels cohesive and international, and not like a disruption when you go from the dining area to living area.

The couch is a good physical divider from the dining room and living room. I’d leave the dining table where Anna currently has it, and position the TV along the wall near the entrance, parallel to the couch. This layout breaks up the room into two conversation areas while still allowing for traffic flow.

Furniture

Anna was starting from scratch as she furnished her living room and was in the market for a new durable couch that can withstand 3 busy, young kids. A sectional is a great option not only because of the layout of her living room, but it also offers lots of seating for their family. As far as durability, leather is your best friend. I chose a large brown leather sectional because it’s big enough for family movie night and can easily be wiped clean and will last for years.

Then for a coffee table, I went with a round shape and open bottom so it doesn’t feel heavy and boxy since we want to keep a light and open feeling. The TV will sit along the wall opposite the couch, so I chose a dark wood media center that repeats the dark brown color of the couch and distributes it evenly throughout the room so it feels balanced.

Color Palette

There are a whole lot of cool greys going on right now in Anna’s home, but if you look at her inspiration picture, there are lots of warm colors. She wants the light and airy vibe so her white walls work, but we need to bring in some warmth using accessories so it feels warm and inviting, especially during the winter months when it’s freezing outside. The trick to adding warmth when sticking to a fairly neutral color palette is through texture. Lots of layers with things like pillows and even rugs with a variety of textures go a long way to add some interest and dimension.

Lighting

Lighting is overwhelming because it can be expensive and there are typically lots of light fixtures needed, especially in large open concept spaces. I wrote an entire blog post about how to pick the right light fixture size and style for your home. In an open concept area, you want lighting to flow and feel carefully selected, rather than totally mis-matched from the dining room to the living room. This was one of the topics that Anna struggled with most. Her husband disliked the hanging “balls” from the ceiling in the kitchen, but she was unsure what light fixture to get as replacement. In open concept spaces, I usually suggest recessed lighting and a combination of overhead lighting such as a chandelier or pendant and accent lights like a floor lamp. Recessed lights are commonly used in open concepts because they add light without requiring lots of pendants. All the hanging ball fixtures feel like overkill in the kitchen. I’d recommend Anna replace the hanging balls with recessed can lights in the kitchen, and then get a new chandelier to hang above the dining room table that fits her style a little better, an then use an arched lamp as accent lighting in the living area.



Accessories

The key here is lots of plants! Plants fill space and bring life and organic texture into the space, which is exactly what we need. I added a fiddle leaf fig tree next to the media center and a smaller plant to sit on the other side. Since layers are essential for a warm, initing space, I used faux fur pillows, a textured tassel pillow, a fur throw and layered 2 rugs. Anna has a pretty vintage style rug with a beige-y undertone already that would work great. I paired that with a natural seagrass rug and it instantly warms up the space without competing with the grey floors. With the TV sitting next to several windows, window treatments are a must to prevent glare and to also provide some privacy. I added floor to ceiling drapes in white on all the living room windows to stick with the light and airy vibe. The final layer of accessories I incorporated are things like vases, trays, and other objects. Anna loves all things sparkly and shiny, so I used brass metal accents to play it up and give the space a little something special.

Hopefully you liked this example of how to decorate a mid-century modern living room and turn it into a cozy, airy retreat!

What do you think of the before and after? What’s your biggest struggle with decorating your home right now?

Click to read how I created a design plan to transform one of my reader's grey toned living room into a cozy mid-century modern retreat. I cover everything about how to find ideas, decide on a layout, and more!

Guest Bedroom Makeover

A cozy rustic modern chic guest bedroom gets a whole new makeover. Learn how to redecorate your guest room so it feels welcoming and cozy for everyone who stays!

With our wedding in July and family and friends staying with us for the occasion, I figured it was time I finally give our guest room a little love. I hadn’t touched it since I moved in the house, so there was nothing cute about it. It was a bed in a room and that’s it. Not the most welcoming space, to say the least. 

With it being our guest room, I didn't want to spend a ton since it really only gets used a few times a year. Today, I'm going to show you how we decorated the space and gave it some life. It doesn’t have to take much to dress up a bedroom and make it look stylish and grown up. 

Our boring guest room gets a whole new modern cozy chic cabin look! Learn how to redecorate your guest room so it feels cozy and welcoming. A plaid lumbar pillow is the perfect finishing touch.


 

The Design Plans

Our guest room is in the lower level of our split level home, where the style is a little more rustic and outdoorsy compared to the upstairs half of our house (where the living room and kitchen are.) I knew I wanted to keep the guest room outdoorsy with a modern cabin vibe to tie into the rest of the basement.

Usually when designing a room I have a jumping off piece or something in the room that's my inspiration. For the guest room, my main inspiration piece was the classic Pendleton Glacier National Park blanket with yellow, blue, green and red stripes. The blanket has the perfect vintage modern rustic feel with the color scheme I was going for. Unfortunately, the wool Pendleton blanket is spendy and I wasn’t willing to make that investment, but I found a similar Pendleton blanket with the same colored stripes for $30! I used this blanket as my inspiration as I picked out all the other pieces for the room. 

For the overall design, I envisioned light birch wood, matte black accents with a touch of brass, fun art with a vintage fishing vibe (Jordon is a big outdoorsman), and cozy textiles to warm it up and add texture.

 

Our boring guest room gets a whole new modern cozy chic cabin look! Learn how to redecorate your guest room so it feels cozy and welcoming.

 

Repurposing Furniture 

For furniture, I had an old iron bed frame that was my grandpa's (he and his brothers slept in it when they were kids!) and my mom gave me an old dresser she had in her house growing up. The iron bed frame was rusting, so we give it a few coats of black spray paint and it completely elevated the looked. Looks good as new! For the dresser, I give it a fresh coat of white paint and swapped out the knobs for matte black hardware. I love how each piece turned out, and it's even better I didn't have to buy new!

Jordon already had the wood bench, so the only furniture I still needed to get for the space were two night stands to go on each side of the bed and a little accent chair.

Because the bed frame is taller than the average bed frame, it was tricky to find side tables that were the proper height for the bed and didn’t feel too low. After lots of scouring online I decided a stool would probably be the only side table that’s actually tall enough. I ended up finding a pair of IKEA stools on Facebook Marketplace that were the perfect height and had the light birch wood I wanted.

Our boring guest room gets a whole new modern cozy chic cabin look! Learn how to redecorate your guest room so it feels cozy and welcoming. Create a little reading nook with this cute rattan chair.
Our boring guest room gets a whole new modern cozy chic cabin look! Learn how to redecorate your guest room so it feels cozy and welcoming. Create a little reading nook with this cute rattan chair.

 

To fill the nook next to the dresser, I wanted an accent chair for guests to set stuff on or to just lounge in. I found this cute rattan daisy chair from Article and it was exactly what I was looking for! The chair is actually an outdoor chair but it works so well in the space and it doesn't look like a "cheap" flimsy outdoors piece. One of the great things about outdoor furniture is it's typically cheaper and made of durable of materials. The chair feels so sturdy and well-made, and it's actually really comfortable! Article is one of my favorite sources for quality, beautiful furniture and even their outdoor furniture is no exception.

 

Choosing Wall Art

My parents had an old wooden oar laying around their house and I decided that fit the outdoorsy cabin vibe perfectly. I had seen a few ideas on Pinterest that turned the oar into a functional piece by adding hooks and loved it. I got matte black hooks from Home Depot and attached them to the oar.

Our boring guest room gets a whole new modern cozy chic cabin look! Learn how to redecorate your guest room so it feels cozy and welcoming. This wooden oar hook and vintage fishing prints are a great touch.

 

Above the oar I wanted to hang three pieces of art. I was looking for affordable vintage fishing themed art. Etsy had a huge selection, many of which were instant downloadable PDFs that cost just a few bucks! I ended up going with this vintage fishing map, this fly fishing lures print, and this oar blueprint. Each print looks great and I love how they complement each other while sticking with the red, yellow, blue, green color palette. 

Above the bed I didn't have a whole lot of room to work with, so I decided another framed print was the best option. I found the pretty lake view print on Etsy for under $3!

Our boring guest room gets a whole new modern cozy chic cabin look! Learn how to redecorate your guest room so it feels cozy and welcoming.

 

On the wall parallel to the bed, I didn’t want to hang another print, so I thought hanging a basket with a little depth and texture would look nice. The basket from Article was exactly what I was looking for. When it arrived in the mail it was much bigger than I anticipated, but in a good way!

Since our guest room is in the basement with just one small window, natural light is pretty much nonexistent so adding accent lighting was a must. Even just capturing these photos was a challenge. I like wall-mounted sconces because they take up less room on the already small bedside stool surface and fill some visual wall space. The sconces were actually left over from our bedroom when the company sent us a new set because of a recall, but the original sconces we had still worked great so we were able to use the extra pair in our guest room.  

Our boring guest room gets a whole new modern cozy chic cabin look! Learn how to redecorate your guest room so it feels cozy and welcoming. Create a little reading nook with this cute rattan chair.

 

Cozy textiles

To warm up the space and make it feel cozy and inviting like a cabin should feel, I incorporated a couple luxurious textiles. The wool throw draped on the chair is SO soft and warm. Our basement gets pretty cool, so I wanted to have an extra blanket available for guests. Next, I added a sheepskin to the wood bench to soften it up and again, give it the warm rustic cozy vibe. The quality is amazing and it's thick and incredibly soft! It really adds a nice comfy touch that the space really needed. 

So that’s our guest room makeover! I’m super happy with how well it turned out. It’s the perfect balance of modern meets rustic cabin. I think the guests loved the updated space too :)

 

Guest Room Sources:

bed frame, vintage / white bedding / sheets / plaid pillow, similar / white stripe blanket / Sconces / Woven basket hung on wall / Wool throw / Rattan chair / dresser, vintage / black house lantern / sheepskin  / Wood bench, handmade / lake view print / vintage fishing map / fly fishing lures print / oar blueprint

 

Thank you to Article, a favorite brand I love and trust, for partnering on this post.

 

 

4 Tips To Decorate A Living Room + Our Makeover Revealed

4 tips to decorate a living room you love + our living room reveal

The past several months I've been busy working on a living room makeover.

It all started last year when I had a mindset shift regarding decorating.

We were about a year in our new home and I was tired of a lot of things. I was tired of spending hours decorating, trying to make it perfect and failing miserably. I was tired of spending lots of money of decor, only to have it shoved in a closet a few months later because I didn't like it. I was tired of not feeling happy or proud of our home and the way it looked.

So I decided to do something about it and I came up with my own take on capsule wardrobes after experimenting with them, except for the home. If you aren't familiar with capsules, the main principles are buying only select items you love that work well with your lifestyle and combine to create a cohesive wardrobe, or in this case, home. As a result, you spend less time and money and have a home you love.

It was just what I needed.

With my new outlook on decorating, I set out to redecorate our living room following this new capsule system that I created. The system consisted of finding your signature style first, and then putting together an entire plan decorating BEFORE buying anything.

The focused plan I put together was the winning difference between just another failed attempt at decorating our living room and actually creating a space I love that fits us.

Today, I'm sharing all the nitty gritty details of our living room evolution the past couple years and how we got to the beautiful living room you see today!

4 tips to decorate a living room you love + our living room reveal

4 Tips to Decorate a Living Room You Love

1. Find My Decorating Style

Before, my style was all over. I liked many different styles and couldn't decide on one, so it ended up being a random mix that didn't work well together. So, first thing I did was get clear on my signature decorating style. I settled on modern rustic cottage for my style. Here is what my Pinterest inspiration board looks like.

My style elements included:

  • light walls

  • blue and grey colors

  • warm wood tones

  • rustic wood accents

  • cognac leather

  • clean modern lines

  • black accents in small doses

  • nautical/rope decor

You guys, this was KEY in setting myself up for success later as I was selecting new furniture and decor. Finding your style is seriously the secret sauce behind a home you love and a step you can't skip.

I even created a whole course called Find Your Signature Decorating Style that makes it super simple and breaks it down step-by-step for you.

2. Declutter

Now that I knew my style and what items aligned with it, it was time to get rid of the extra stuff I no longer needed or used. I sold a few pieces of furniture on Craigslist and was able to repurpose a few things for different areas of the house. Our sectional moved to the basement family room which worked out perfectly since we did not have seating down there yet.

blogger stylin fall home tour

Our living room before was overcrowded with furniture we didn't use and with my new mindset, I only wanted the necessary pieces we actually used. The credenza/bar was simply taking up space, and the straw chair was an accent chair no one sat in.

3. New Living Room Plan

I went back to the drawing board and wrote a list of everything new I'd need. First, I settled on a layout that flowed much better (no more 2 sofas/sectional) and then decided on new furniture. Then, I decided on textiles and lighting, and finally decor. We had been wanting to replace the old carpet with hardwood flooring, so I added that to the list as well.

Here's everything I wrote down that I needed to get or make:

  • sofa

  • chair (borrowed from the office)

  • built-ins

  • rug

  • throw pillows

  • blinds

  • pendant light

  • leather pouf (borrowed from basement family room)

  • plant stand

  • coffee table decor

  • wall art

  • hardwood flooring

This was just a list at this point. I didn't have exact sources yet as I still had to do research and find them. Which leads me to the next tip...

4 tips to decorate a living room you love + our living room reveal

4. Research Products

This is where decorating can get complicated. How do you know what kind of sofa or rug to buy? Luckily, because I found my signature decorating style and set a clear plan for color palette, fabrics, patterns, textures, and styles, I knew exactly what I was looking for so shopping for furniture and decor was super simple.

In my Find Your Signature Decorating Style course, I teach you how to research furniture and decor and exactly what to look for based on your style, so you are never clueless what kind of couch to get or what rug would look best.

4 tips to decorate a living room you love + our living room reveal

The Living Room Updates

Built-Ins

We started our makeover with the built-ins and actually made them ourselves as an IKEA hack. I LOVE them.

Blinds

Next, I swapped out the cheap sheer curtain panels with something a little more natural and warm and with more privacy in the evening. I have Blinds.com wood blinds in our kitchen and love them for many reasons, so I knew they'd be great for our living room and they fit great with my style and overall plan. I love how the wood instantly warms up the room. You can read more about the wood blinds I chose and why I love them here.

4 tips to decorate a living room you love + our living room reveal

Pendant Light

Then, I finally got rid of the outdated ceiling fan and replaced it with a pretty star pendant light from ATG Stores. The pendant repeats the black lines in the coffee table. Remember the "black accents in small doses" from tip 1. finding my style above? It's all coming together...

Hardwood Flooring

For flooring, I chose warm matte oak engineered hardwood from BuildDirect.com. We have original hardwood in the bedroom and office, but there wasn't any under the carpet in the living room. The original hardwood is a very warm, almost orange-y color, much like the wood trim throughout the house. This orange-y color isn't my favorite (that's an understatement), and I contemplated painting the trim white for a while, so I ultimately decided not to try and match the wood trim or original hardwood with our new flooring. I'm not even sure if this is against some kind of interior design "rule", but I didn't want to be forced into choosing a hardwood color I didn't even like, just to try and match the original flooring and trim (that we might paint). So I chose a flooring that I really liked that still complimented the original floors and trim. Jordon did an awesome job installing it, and we even decided to paint the trim on the spur of the moment since we had to remove it anyway during installation, so I got my white trim! What a difference flooring makes. As I look back on old pictures, the new hardwoods instantly update the room. I'm so happy with our flooring choice and how beautiful it looks.

4 tips to decorate a living room you love + our living room reveal
4 tips to decorate a living room you love + our living room reveal

Sofa

Our new Sitka sofa from Article is one of my favorite things in the makeover. Its modern clean lines align with my style and it fits the space a thousand times better than the big bulky sectional. Plus it's soooo comfy. I wrote an entire post on how to buy a couch you can read here.

Rug

I loved our blue rug, but I wanted something a little more neutral to better fit my style. It also needed to hide dirty paw marks. I found this new Nourison Lunette rug from RugsDirect and love how cozy it is. The subtle pattern and texture is just enough to feel warm and inviting without being boring, and it has a slight mid-century modern vibe I like. Rugs Direct was kind enough to offer you 15% off your purchase so be sure to take advantage of that :)

4 tips to decorate a living room you love + our living room reveal

Throw Pillows

Pillows are such an easy way to add pops of color and pattern without a big commitment. To bring in more blues, I chose a couple blue printed pillows (blue stripe pillowblue patterned pillow) from Tonic Living, one of my favorite sources for quality pillows. I already had the tie-dye pillow and black pillows that helped tie in the black in the pendant and coffee table legs perfectly.

4 tips to decorate a living room you love + our living room reveal

Decor

I'm keeping decor minimal except for the built-ins. I did pick up my favorite plant stand from West Elm and got myself a fiddle leaf fig plant. Wish me luck keeping it alive! :/ Any tips are appreciated as I hear they are finicky plants.

The full length mirror was actually a DIY we did. The mirror magically makes the room feel bigger, plus it adds the perfect amount of rustic wood, another one of my style elements.

4 tips to decorate a living room you love + our living room reveal

Art

We don't have a ton of wall space for art, but I did want a large scale print above the couch. I like horses and saw someone on Instagram share a photo of this horse picture they had taken. She graciously gave me a copy of the picture and I had it printed and framed at Shutterfly. So easy!

4 tips to decorate a living room you love + our living room reveal

Other Furniture

I'm keeping the coffee table for now because I like it and it works perfectly. However, it's on my list to get a new one eventually that is round and solid wood, since our current one is not solid wood and is starting to peel.

I borrowed the leather pouf from the basement family room and the blue tufted chair is also borrowed from our office. I'm keeping the chair in the living room util we can get 2 cognac leather tufted chairs, but that may be in a year or so.

It seriously looks like a different room! It just goes to show that a few small changes make a world of a difference. Every time I walk in our living room it makes me happy. That's the power of decorating and how our homes should make us feel. Our living room turned out how I had imagined it would look and it was super streamlined to execute because I had my set plan that I followed. I knew exactly what was on my shopping list and what to look for, all because I found my signature style FIRST.

In my course, Find Your Signature Decorating Style, I will teach you the exact plan that I used to decorate my living room from start to finish. This system that I teach applies to any room on any budget.

If you have any questions at all about the room itself or the process, please ask away in the comments! I know this was a ton of information.

Do you have a room in your home you're struggling with like I was?

 

Lessons Learned + Living Room Updates

Have you ever worked really hard on something only to have it fall short? You put in plenty of time and money. You're super excited to get to the finish line and see your vision come to a reality. And then as the end nears you start to notice something doesn't feel right... That's how I felt as I was decorating our living room.

When we first moved into our home a year and a half ago (see early photos of the living room here), I scrambled to find furniture and get the room put together so it wasn't bare. I thought I knew my decorating style and vision so I started picking out a couch, a rug, a coffee table – which was all good and exciting.

However, as things slowly came together, I didn't like how it was turning out. The style felt off  and like it wasn't me, and furniture felt a little mis-matched and crowded. I was buying to fill the space in our living room without thinking about our lifestyle and how we actually used the room. One piece I bought was a credenza on Craigslist for super cheap that I thought would make a great buffet with a bar. We rarely drink cocktails at home (we're more beer drinkers :)) so the bar was completely useless and we never used it.

I was frustrated and didn't understand how I missed the mark when decorating. I was disappointed in myself and that it meant I'd have to start over. That's when I really started to analyze my decorating style and be intentional with what we used and needed. I thought if I could just master my decorating style, I'll be much more happy with our home and how it looks.

modern rustic cottage living room

Living Room Updates

So here we are several months later, I now know exactly what my decorating style looks like and how to achieve it, and we're slowly making some updates to our living room!

We moved the other half of our sectional to the basement family room since it was just way too big for the room and that opened up a  lot of space (let that be a lesson to you to always measure your room 3 times and include room for walk ways before shopping). I sold the credenza and our old coffee table.

modern rustic cottage living room

We built our IKEA hack built-ins a couple months ago which I absolutely love. They create the focal point our living room needed and are still functional.

Once discovering my decorating style, I knew exactly what changes I needed to make so I was no longer guessing. Things are starting to feel much better.

1. Add Warmth to a White Room with Textured Wood Shades

Next, we installed new woven wood shades from Blinds.com. We have these in our kitchen as well and let me tell you, they are AMAZING. I wanted shades that warmed up the living room a bit (because we have lots of white) so I chose the color rustic jute with some texture and the style fits our beachy cottage style perfectly. My favorite thing about these woven wood shades is they still let light in even if they are down, but if you want to completely block out it out, there are liners you can put down as well. This is a great feature in the evenings for more privacy. They have several color options to choose from (and free samples!) but I'm so glad I went with rustic jute. I had such a hard time deciding on a color but they provided a designer you work directly with and she was so helpful and made the process super easy. Can't recommend them enough!

modern rustic cottage living room
modern rustic cottage living room
modern rustic cottage living room

2. Lighting Gives a Room Personality

Another favorite update in our living room is the new star pendant light from ATG Stores. We finally replaced the ugly outdated ceiling fan!

Lighting is like shoes to an outfit. It pulls the whole room together. We never used the ceiling fan and I'm not a big fan of them anyway (ha! no pun intended), so I knew I wanted a pendant light instead. The star pendant is fairly popular and some of my favorite room designs on Pinterest had one, so I thought it would be a good option for our living room. It's a little traditional yet whimsy so I think it adds some personality to the space.

I found a star pendant at ATG Stores and it received great reviews so I decided to go for it. I chose the medium size in clear seedy glass (textured instead of transparent glass) and I'm so glad I did. It looks so good and is just as I pictured! It seriously makes me so happy every time I walk in the room.

modern rustic cottage living room
modern rustic cottage living room
modern rustic cottage living room

A little tip when you're shopping for lighting...I like looking online because there are so many more options than in-stores and you can measure your space to see how each light would hang. Pendants are great because you can adjust how low it hangs which was important for me since our light is in a traffic area and we don't have tall ceilings.

3. Art With Meaning

We have a long white wall in our living room that I've really struggled with decorating. It's so long that it's hard to fill the space properly. I didn't want to do a gallery wall because I want to keep the look fairly minimal and gallery walls tend to look busy. However, buying a piece of art that's big enough is very spendy. I was on Instagram one day and NicholeLynneDesigns posted a photo of this horse photograph her sister had taken. Horses are special to me because my grandpa had them when I was a kid and I enjoy riding them. I asked if she was willing to share the photo and she was!

I had the photo printed at Shutterfly and decied to also have them custom frame it. I looked around at prices for large frames to buy and they were expensive, so Shutterfly was the best option. They have sales often where you can get 40% off your order!

modern rustic cottage living room
modern rustic cottage living room
modern rustic cottage living room

I was a little nervous about the print quality on such a large photo, but when it arrived in the mail it was perfect and not a touch blurry or pixelated. I think it's the perfect piece for this wall. I'm really happy with how it looks.

Future Projects

We've made some serious progress and I'm already loving it so much more. On the list of future updates is a new couch with a lighter color (more inline with my decorating style) the end of August. We will move our current sofa to the basement family room which will be perfect down there. I'd like to get a couple chairs for some additional seating as well for the living room, a neutral rug, and eventually I'd like to remove the carpet and replace it with hardwood floors.

Have you had a similar experience as I have while decorating? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

3 simple living room updates + mistakes I made
 

DIY Rustic Wood Frame Mirror

DIY wood frame mirror

Today I'm sharing one of my favorite DIY projects I've made yet. This one is fairly simple to make and looks wayyyy more expensive than it really is.

We have a little window nook in our living room that I'm struggling to decorate. Previously, we had a credenza in the nook but we sold that, so next I positioned a chair and table in the nook (seen here) but wasn't happy with that either. I considered making a built-in bench to fill the nook, but I don't know if I want to commit to that since it won't be removable. The window is off-center in the nook so it's throwing me off. I thought a full length leaning mirror might fill the empty space next to the window nicely, and it would also help make our small living room seem bigger, thanks to the magic of mirrors.

However, mirrors are expensive. Like SUPER expensive. Specifically, this mirror at West Elm I liked that costs $500.

So I did what a cheap girl like me does best and came up with a DIY version for a fraction of the price.

Keep reading to see how I made my own DIY rustic wood frame mirror for only $45. Talk about a big bang for your buck!

Materials:

  • 1/8" plywood for backing, $12

  • 16 x 60" frameless mirror, $24

  • Mirror adhesive, $5

  • Liquid Nails Fuze It, provided but retails for $7

  • Reclaimed wood

I had our plywood cut into a 24 x 70" sheet at Home Depot. Originally I was planning on getting a 12 x 58" mirror but they didn't have one in-store so I got a slightly larger mirror and that just meant our wood frame edges would hang off slightly from the backing. Our reclaimed wood is 6 inches wide.

1. We started by measuring and marking where the mirror should be positioned in the center on the plywood backing.

DIY rustic wood frame mirror
DIY rustic wood frame mirror

2. Then, we applied mirror adhesive to the plywood...

DIY rustic wood frame mirror

3. and set the mirror in place, pressing firmly to secure.

DIY rustic wood frame mirror

4. Once we measured and cut the 4 reclaimed wood boards for the frame and made sure they were flush, we applied Liquid Nails Fuze It to the plywood, beginning with one single side...

DIY rustic wood frame mirror

5. and set the first wood board in place.

DIY rustic wood frame mirror

6. We clamped the board to make sure it bonded tightly. Unfortunately, we only have one clamp so we made due and had to move it from end to end after it dried for a few minutes. Not ideal but it works. Repeat the same gluing process on the other side.

DIY rustic wood frame mirror

7. After the 2 sides were glued in place, we moved to the top and bottom boards. Apply more Liquid Nails Fuze It and clamp them in place.

DIY rustic wood frame mirror

8. To ensure the wood adhered to the plywood backing, we set a few 80 pound bags of Quikrete we had laying around to hold everything down in place while it dried overnight.

DIY rustic wood frame mirror

The next day I checked it and everything was nice and secure so I brought it in our living room to use.

I absolutely love how well it turned out! This is such a simple DIY with a huge impact that would cost hundreds of dollars at any store. I'm already tempted to make another one for our bedroom because it looks so much nicer than those cheap $12 door mirrors we have right now.

Here you can see the mirror leaning perfectly in the little nook in our living room.

I've made a few more updates to our living room since you last saw it when I showed our IKEA hack built-ins, so I'm planning on sharing a reveal soon!

DIY rustic wood frame mirror
DIY rustic wood frame mirror
DIY rustic wood frame mirror
DIY rustic wood frame mirror
DIY rustic wood frame mirror
DIY rustic wood frame mirror
DIY rustic wood frame mirror
DIY rustic wood frame mirror

Thank you to Liquid Nails for partnering with me on this post. Liquid Nails is a regularly used product in our home and a brand I love and trust. 

 

 

How to Install a Stair Runner

how to install a stair runner
how to install a stair runner

I have a mental running list of projects for the house to tackle. Occasionally, I'll mention an idea to Jordon in conversation to see if he has any thoughts or ideas, but I usually get a, "that sounds good" reply.

A couple days after mentioning I wanted to rip out the current stair runner, paint the stairs, and install a new runner, I got this pic message while I was at work.

stiars-before

On his day off, Jordon had ripped off the old runner.

Seriously! He's a keeper. And I'm super lucky he loves projects as much as I do :)

The old runner was some kind of textured rubber. Apparently the previous owners only painted part of the stairs brown and the cream part was hidden by the rubber runner.

Because our house is a split level ranch, the entryway from the garage leads to the basement, so right when you walk in the door the first thing you see are those stairs leading up to the main living area, kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms. I hated the huge eyesore right when you walked in, so I give it a little update.

That weekend after Jordon ripped off the old runner, we painted the stairs white. Jordon started by priming them on Friday while I was at work. Then on Saturday when I could help, we used our HomeRight Max Pro paint sprayer and it worked like a charm for the stairs. It was super quick and covered well. For the second coat of paint we did use a brush though to make sure it was nice and even with no streaks.

While the paint dried, I contemplated what color of runner to get. I considered a black patterned one or a rugby stripe one, but ultimately decided to play it safe and chose a sisal rug with grey border. Sisal is not only durable and cleanable, (dirty shoes will be walking up and down the stairs constantly) but super affordable.

We lived with the painted stairs for a few days while we waited for the runners to arrive.

So...now to the good stuff. How to install a stair runner yourself. I looked up several tutorials online and then kind of just learned as we went. All of the tutorials I read used electric staple guns, but I was too cheap to buy one when we had a regular staple gun on hand (it was doable with a non-electric gun but it took lots of strength and occasional hand-cramping)

For staples, I picked up some 13mm staples that are made for upholstery and are much longer than a standard staple.

how to install a stair runner

We chose to use a rug pad as well to keep the runner from slipping. I picked up a 5x8 rug pad at Home Depot for about $20 and cut it into rectangles to fit each step. We didn't adhere them to the steps beforehand, knowing the staples would keep them in place.

stairs before

For installation, we started with the top of the stairs and worked our way down. Jordon pre-measured the stairs all the way down and marked on each step with a pencil where the rug should line up on each side so it was centered.

Then, we started by lining the top of the rug up with with the top of the first riser and stapled it across. We didn't staple on the grey border because the staples would be much more noticeable. Next, we pulled the runner tight and stapled along the bottom of the riser.

We also chose to staple under the nose so the runner was tight instead of creating a waterfall look.

Here is what our stapling process looked like.

how to install a stair runner

I was helping hold the runner in place while Jordon did the stapling. Since it wasn't an electric stapler, it required lots of power and pressure. When I attempted to staple it, the staple was sticking out a half inch since I couldn't press down hard enough.

how to install a stairs runner
how to install a stairs runner

It took a bit for us to get in a zone, but once we got going it went pretty fast.

One runner wasn't enough so we knew we'd have to join the second one seamlessly. To prevent any obvious transitions from the first to the second rug, we wanted them to meet under the nose of a stair. Once we reached the end of the first rug, we cut the rug so it was just long enough to staple under the nose. Then we cut the grey border off on the second rug and stapled that right under the nose as well.

how to install a stairs runner
how to install a stairs runner

It was hard to capture photos of it at the same time, but we followed the same stapling pattern through the entire project.

Unfortunately, we realized 2 rugs were not long enough so we had to order one more rug and finish that one a few weeks later. Our stairs weren't all the same size so it threw off my measuring when I was ordering rugs. Oops.

Once we reached the bottom of the stairs with our third rug in place, we cut off the excess rug. Because the third rug didn't end perfectly with the end of the stairs, we had to rejoin the bottom grey trim that we cut off earlier. We simply stapled the grey trim at the bottom of the stairs and that covered any unevenness from cutting off the excess rug.

If the light hits the staples just right you can see them a little, but it's not noticeable unless you look for them. On this tutorial from One House Love they actually colored the staples black with a Sharpie to match their runner, so I may see if I can find a similar brown to our sisal rug to color the staples.

how to install a stair runner
how to install a stair runner
how to install a stair runner

Overall, it was a fairly easy project that completely updated the stairs. I'm so happy we no longer have a huge eye sore right when you walk in the house!

As far as budget, we spent $185 for 3 rugs, $20 for the rug pad, and $3 in staples, for a total cost of $208 . Not too bad for a little weekend project that makes our stairs looks SOOO much better.

Eventually we plan on adding a pendant light at the top of the stairs (right now it's just a bulb) and a large piece of art on the blank white wall above that you see when walking down the stairs.

Let me know if you have any questions!

DIY Icicle Ornaments

You may have spotted my DIY icicle ornaments last week in my holiday home tour, and as promised, here is how I made them! There aren't many steps to this tutorial, but you will practice your patience while waiting for the crystals to form.

These icicles were inspired by the version I spotted at Pottery Barn, but I knew spending $5 per ornament was out of my budget. I remembered my mom making Borax snowflakes when I was a kid, and thought I'd give the old trick a shot myself.

This is a classic experiment that's been around for a long time, but this is the first time I've actually tried it! I don't know who discovered laundry detergent forms crystals, but it's kind of genius.

Christmas ornaments are expensive when you buy them at the store, but I'm happy to say I made 18 icicles from a $4 box of Borax and I still have a quarter of the box left. Seriously. 

When I first started I was leery they would turn out, but sure enough, after a few hours, you could see the crystals forming on the pipe cleaners!

Here's how I made them.

Materials:

  • Borax, $4 at Target

  • Pipe cleaners, $2 at Hobby Lobby

  • String

  • Twine string roll, $4 Home Depot

  • Hot glue gun

  • Large pot and glass jar

Step 1. 

Fill your pot with water and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, slowly stir in the Borax. For every 3 cups of water stir in 9 tbsp of Borax. Stir well until the Borax has completely dissolved, about a few minutes. Once it's crystal clear you're good to go.

While you're waiting for the water to boil, you can start prep work.

Cut pipe cleaners to the length you want your icicles to be. The pipe cleaners will become the icicles and you'll hang them in a pot of water. So make sure when you're cutting the pipe cleaners to allow at least a half inch from the bottom of the pot so they don't touch.

Step 2.

Find a knife or cooking utensil that lays across your pot or jar. Then, take some string and tie it around the top of the pipe cleaners and around the cooking utensil so the pipe cleaners floats in the pot without touching the bottom.

Step 3.

Once your mixture is dissolved, you can either leave it in the pot or pour it in a glass jar. I wanted to do multiple batches at a time, so I left some in the pot and poured some in the jar. Next, drop your pipe cleaners that are tied to a utensil in the water, making sure they aren't touching each other or the sides of your container. For a large pot that is about 12 inches in diameter, I put in 8 pipe cleaners, and the glass jar I put in 3.

I found that the fewer pipe cleaners per container, the more crystalized they get.

Set aside your container in a safe place so it can cool.

Now you practice your patience and wait for the crystals to form. I let mine set for a good 12 hours overnight, but I think 8 is sufficient.

When you wake up, they will look like this!

Step 4.

To add twine string, I cut the top part of the pipe cleaner where the string was tied and super glued one end of the twine string and then super glued the other end to another top of an icicle. If you don't want two icicles on a string, you can create a loop with the twine instead.

I took photos of this but when I went to edit them, I couldn't find them on my SD card so I'm  not sure what happened. I snapped some more pictures after they were all super glued, but you get the idea.

Clean Up:

Fill the pot again and bring it to a boil and all the crystals will disappear that were stuck on the side of the pot. A bonus with using a glass jar is it forms crystals too! I thought it looked cool so I added some LED candles and set it out for decoration. 

These icicles turned out great and are probably my favorite Christmas decoration! Nothing beats a good knock-off that costs a fraction of the store price.

 

Our Office Makeover

Modern Office Reveal
Modern Office Reveal

Hi again! We had our first real taste of fall this past weekend with cooler temps and crisp air. Jordon and I went to a wedding on Saturday and it was such a perfect day. The venue was in a glass chapel that overlooked the fields (literally corn fields ha) and the reception was in an old barn that was renovated. It was so pretty!

The past couple weeks I've been transitioning our decor and next week I'm sharing the full tour of our fall decorations. I have a few fall DIY projects that I'll post in the next few weeks as well so stay tuned!

To take a little break before all the upcoming fall posts, I wanted to share our office makeover. Since Jordon first bought the house a year and a half ago the office has been the "storage" room. I hadn't touched it yet because I was focused on finishing the living room, bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom first. Now that those rooms are basically complete, I was finally able to move on to the office.

First and foremost the office needed storage for my craft supplies, bills, and paperwork. I hunted for several weeks looking for the perfect shelves that fit the modern yet rustic feel I was going for. Most of the bookcases I found were great but the prices were so high, and when buying two I was not about to drop $400 or more.

I ended up finding these cute industrial shelves on sale at Target. They're really sturdy and were easy to assemble too. The parsons desk I got a couple years ago from Overstock and the Eames knockoff chair is from Amazon. The blue tufted chair was a thrift find. Isn't it gorgeous?! I wasn't planning on getting a new chair for the office but when I saw it sitting in Goodwill in my traditional blue color AND in great condition, I couldn't pass it up. I'm obsessed! It really makes the whole room come together don't you think?

For decor, I stocked up on storage baskets at Gordmans. Most of the other decor I already had except for the photo ledge shelf. Yes, those frames still have random families in them. I'm horrible about printing photos.

Aren't these plants pretty? Plants are often forgotten about but I love adding them as decor for some texture and color. The only problem is I know VERY little about plants and what kind are low maintenance/least likely to kill. These guys are exotic angel plants from Costa Farms (available at Lowes, Walmart, and Home Depot) and are characterized as "medium" for sunlight. I water them about once a week and they're doing great! I threw the tag away so I don't remember the name of this green one, but the pretty purple one on the bookcase is a rex begonia.

Be sure to stop by next week for the fall home tour series!

Modern Office Makeover
Modern Office Makeover
Modern Office Makeover
Modern Office Makeover
Modern Office Makeover
Modern Office Reveal
Modern Office Reveal

Bathroom Makeover: Vanity Details

white bathroom vanity

Yesterday I revealed our full bathroom makeover, if you missed it you can check it out here. We can all agree the bathroom is a well-used room in the house that deserves some lovin too. One of the key pieces of the bathroom design and functionality is the vanity. I was lucky enough to partner with Decor Planet for our bathroom renovation. Months back when I was deciding on vanities, I scoured their entire website before I landed on the Fresca Traditional Vanity in Antique White. They have SO MANY options that fit every size and style, but I finally decided on something traditional that reflected the style of our home in a pretty cream that would contrast nicely with the rest of the white bathroom. After you select the vanity and size, you choose the color, countertop, sink, and faucet from select options. Decor Planet makes it so easy so you don't have to mess around with finding sinks or faucets that fit your vanity. I chose the white quartz countertop, white under mount sink, and the Bevera faucet in chrome. I'm so impressed with the quality of everything I can't praise it enough. The vanity is hardwood (no particle board) and has my favorite feature of all, slow-closing hinges! It has plenty of room for storage underneath so I can keep our toiletries and my makeup in baskets that neatly keep things organized, which is key for me as I'm storage obsessed. With the vanity even comes a matching mirror, too, with easy to install backing.

vanity details 5
white bathroom vanity
white bathroom vanity
white bathroom vanity

Our lighting situation before was bad, and even though we have a window, it is currently covered on the outside by a car port the previous owner built (we are tearing it down this summer I hope) so we needed all the extra help we could get. Sconces are my favorite way to frame the mirror so I chose two Kichler Lacey Wall Sconces. They look so nice, give off plenty of light, and fit the rest of the design perfectly.

white and navy bathroom

I'm thrilled with the overall design and couldn't be more pleased with our product choices from Decor Planet. It is truly of the highest quality and looks so sharp in person. Make sure to pop on over to their site to see their great collection of bathroom decor. You might find yourself lost in the 30 pages of sconces like myself :)

See the full bathroom before and after reveal here.

Thank you to Decor Planet for making this post possible. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

 

Before and After: Bathroom Makeover

small nautical bathroom

If I knew what really went into a bathroom renovation before we started, I may not have so eagerly volunteered to help, let alone do it ourselves. I was imaging a smooth process spanning two weeks, and then I would have my perfect bathroom. I'm not sure why I didn't know better after watching many Property Brothers episodes. We ran into several hiccups along the way but lo and behold, we are finished!

Before we jump right in, let's back up for a second. My boyfriend Jordon bought his first home in March last year. I gradated college and moved to SF in May so we painted all the rooms before I left. A few months later we tore down the wallpaper, and did some other small updates here and there when I visited from SF. Then I moved back to Iowa with him in January and being the only bathroom in the house, I was in desperate need to update it. The bathroom was easily the worst room in the house, complete with cheap laminate floors, mismatched vanity and butterfly wallpaper. Cool.

Here's what the bathroom looked like before.

bathroom before

We kept putting off starting the bathroom renovation because neither Jordon or I had experience with it and it was intimidating. Jordon did lots of research so he knew what he was doing and we began renovation 5 weeks ago. It was a complete gut job and we put in all new everything without any hired help. So let's see what we did!

First we removed all the iridescent tile on the walls and took out the old shower walls, and removed the stainless steel tub. It sounds easy and quick but it wasn't. I won't go into details, but those tubs are HARD. It took almost a half hour of swinging a hammer and then even switching to a sledge hammer before the thing broke so they could carry it out of the house. Then Jordon installed the new tub. He did lots of stuff in between to prep for the shower obviously, but we'll focus on the fun stuff we can actually see :)

He ripped up the old floor and we started laying the new marble tile from Build.com. Isn't it gorgeous? It's technically a porcelain tile with a marble look, but it was absolutely the best priced "marble" I found, and when I received it in the mail not a single piece was broke! Actually laying the tile was not a fun experience and once you start, you have to finish before the thin set hardens. Also, I had no idea that laying tile and then grouting it was two separate things. Ha. After the floor was finished we started on the subway tile in the shower. We spent a Friday night and all day Saturday putting up the tiles. I'm so happy we decided to go with an accent tile in the shower for some added color. Once all the shower tiles were finished (which took forever), things started to come together and look like a functioning bathroom. Next we installed a new Kohler touch-free toilet and DecorPlanet vanity. I'm sharing more pictures of the vanity later this week. I was leery of the touch-free toilet but so far it works well and we haven't had any issues.

bathroom 4
small nautical bathroom

Instead of putting more tile on the walls where we took down the iridescent tile, we hung bead board and trim. It's so much cheaper than tile (about $40 instead of $200) and I like the cottagey look. Since the bathroom is tiny, I wanted to keep decor simple and clutter free. I found the ladder at Goodwill months back and was using it in our basement, but I wanted a cute way to hang our towels and it works perfect. The art above the toilet is an overhead beach shot I'm obsessed with.

small nautical bathroom
small nautical bathroom
overdyed rug
beach print art
bathroom reveal
bathroom reveal

Let's see...what did I miss? If you have more questions about the renovation process let me know and I'm happy to go into more detail. I can't tell you how good it feels to walk into a clean and bright bathroom! It makes getting ready more fun in the morning. Be sure to check out phase two of the bathroom reveal for all the vanity and lighting details here!