We’re another week in to the One Room Challenge and this week has seen a lot of changes in the laundry room.
For one, I chose a better shade of yellow paint for the walls (read about the Big Bird yellow mishap here). I still couldn’t get samples, but I used the small door to our little nook under the stairs as a starting point. I knew I liked that muted yellow (Sherwin Williams Mannered Gold), but it was too dark for the laundry room. I got out my Sherwin Williams swatch book, found Mannered Gold, and looked to the top of the swatch page for a similar, yet lighter shade. I was drawn to Blonde and decided to go for it in an eggshell finish. Thankfully, this time it worked out and it’s the perfect soft, muted yellow!
This room is small, so it felt like a good opportunity to add some fun details. I loved the idea of wallpaper, but didn’t want the expense since we’re likely going to completely gut and remodel this room and the adjacent bathroom in a couple years. A stencil was the perfect solution!
The laundry room is sandwiched between the office, which has planking on the walls and ceiling, and a full bathroom which has a two tone block print. Both rooms feel very linear and graphic, so I wanted to soften up the laundry room with a floral stencil. I found this one at Hobby Lobby and it was perfect!
I decided to do the entire stencil in one color, Sherwin Williams Alabaster, because the adjacent bathroom and the majority of our main floor are all painted that color. It brings a nice cohesive feel to the main floor! I’m rolling it on with a foam roller and it’s going so quickly! I’ve only devoted about 3.5 hours to stenciling and I’m over halfway done with the room. Maybe that seems like a long time to you, but it’s nothing compared to the time it took me to stencil one wall of the guest room so I’m a happy camper!
I did mess up though. After the first day of painting, I didn’t wipe off all the paint from the stencils. It caked on and dried, and essentially ruined the stencils. I spent a lot of time and energy trying to clean off the dried paint, but it ended up being pointless because all the work to get off the paint caused tiny pieces to get bent and the stencil was no longer producing the same crisp pattern. I was so disappointed and frustrated with myself! I ended up having to go get more stencils, and you can bet I’ll be cleaning them off frequently!
Once I’m totally done with the room I’ll share a tutorial of the process but for now, I’m just so so happy with the progress. The stencil detail adds so much interest to the room and really does look like wallpaper – I’m thrilled with it!
So much left to d0 – finish the stencil, paint the baseboards, trim, and doors, replace those boob lights, and install shelving. I’ll worry about all that another day though; today I’m just happy to celebrate progress!
Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Blonde in eggshell
Stencil Color: Sherwin Williams Alabaster in eggshell
Right now I’m in the midst of the laundry renovation and my house is, well, not at its finest. Ha! The laundry room itself is pure chaos, but it seems like the rest of the house is following suit. Whenever I’m mid renovation, it takes my time and energy and that gets reflected in other places – beds are unmade, laundry is overflowing, dishes pile up, and cleaning routines go out the window. And I have two small children living here too so add toys, books, and the random things they pull out of cabinets to the mix. I feel my mood start to dip – when the house feels chaotic, I start to become restless, irritable, and impatient. I need a reset!
A few months ago I read (and loved) the book Life’s Too Short by Abby Jiminez. There was a specific part of the book that I haven’t stopped thinking about since I read it – the main character Vanessa talks about the simple things in life that can make you unexpectedly happy, like the happiness boost you get from a new sponge. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that yeah, a new sponge does make me happy! Like, it’s just a $2 sponge so what’s the big deal…but also, it brings a feeling of a fresh new start and somehow makes me feel like I’ve got my life together. It’s weird but true!
I have found that there are several other things that, like the sponge, are simple, inexpensive ways to give me a major happiness boost. When my house feels chaotic, they’re life savers for turning things around and helping bring a sense of calm and control back to the home. My house may not be back to normal, but these things help me at least feel a little more put together. Today I thought I’d share some of my favorite little hacks that give me big happiness boosts. They’re all $10 or less (a few are free!) and they’re all incredibly easy. I’ll be relying on several of these to make it through this renovation!
Light a Seasonal Candle
There is something about lighting a candle that brings a touch of cozy luxury to a moment. It’s such a simple way to boost my mood! I particularly love to burn a seasonal scent – fresh scents in the spring and summer and savory scents in the fall and winter. I’m not exactly sure why, but a burning candle has a way of elevating a space and making it feel put together; even if the rest of my house is messy, if one room is clean with a candle burning, it feels good. Bonus points if I can light a candle and read a book at the same time!
Organize a Messy Drawer with Acrylic Containers
For just a couple dollars a piece, these clear acrylic containers brought instant organization to the inside of the antique library table I’m using as a vanity. It feels chic and makes my Type-A heart very happy. Opening the drawer and seeing everything in its place is so satisfying!
Make the Beds
I don’t always take the time to make my own bed, let alone my kids beds, but whenever I feel like my house is spiraling out of control, this is such an easy way to help things turn around. LJ’s floor might have books strewn about, but if the bed is made, it feels pretty calm. Making the bed feels like I’m starting the day off with a win and gives me a sense of control over my environment which is especially important when I’m mid-renovation somewhere else in the house!
Decant Hand Soap
While I do love a beautifully designed liquid hand soap label, sometimes soap smells great but comes in a container that leaves something to be desired. For about $10, I bought a simple clear glass dispenser that instantly elevated the look by the sink. I love that this dispenser also helps me reduce plastic usage – I can now buy liquid hand soap in a bulk refill bag and just pour it in! It’s a little thing that brings me an unusual amount of happiness every time I see it.
Print Out a Family Photo
I don’t know about you, but I have thousands of photos on my phone. They’re easy to take, but for some reason the extra step of printing them off so often doesn’t happen. I always feel so accomplished when I print out new photos though! They’re quick to upload to a printing service (I like Walgreens for pickup and Mpix for shipping) and cost like, 38 cents. Filling frames with both professional and candid family photos throughout my home is such a simple way to make this house feel more like us. And every single time I walk by these pictures, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. I love my people so much!
It seems like whenever I’m mid-renovation somewhere and things feel messy and cluttered, I get the itch to offset the chaos by getting hyper-organized somewhere else. It’s not always something huge like a whole closet purge or room cleanout; sometimes it’s as simple as picking one drawer or cabinet to comb through and eliminate the excess. This free activity comes with a big payoff and I don’t mean financially, although it’s true that sometimes I’m able to sell something I’ve purged. The payoff is the sense of calm that I feel by looking in the drawer or cabinet that I purged and seeing empty space again (or if not empty, at least it’s organized and less cluttered). It’s a calm in the middle of the storm!
Designate Time to Ignore the House and Play!
Don’t get me wrong, I play with my kids throughout the day everyday. And this isn’t an unexpected happiness hack, because I love my kids and spending time with them definitely makes me happy. But I often find myself distracted while playing – maybe I’m trying to clean up some toys while they play with others or maybe I’m physically building a block tower but mentally making to-do lists for getting my house back in order. It helps me to give myself a time limit to just ignore all house things and work and fully give my attention to my kids. Sometimes it’s as small as 10 or 15 minutes but I always feel so much better afterwards. It’s like a brain break for me and a good reminder to just enjoy this fleeting time with my babies and not worry about all the other things.
None of these things are groundbreaking ideas, but I’ve found that that’s the key. If it’s too big, expensive, or time-consuming, it feels like too much effort for my already stretched-thin self and it won’t happen. Small, simple, intentional things aren’t intimidating to implement and keep me going through the craziness of a renovation (or anytime that my house feels a little chaotic). I will be using these little hacks a lot over the next few weeks!
What simple little hacks give you an unexpected boost of happiness?
This past week we took a few steps forward in the laundry room and one unfortunate step back.
Justin spent time on Saturday morning patching all the dings, nicks, and imperfections on the walls…of which there were a lot.
I sanded all the patched areas down, wiped down the walls, and painted a layer of primer on the walls and trim.
I love the idea of doing a wallpaper in this space, but since it’s likely temporary (we plan to fully gut renovate this room and the adjacent bathroom in a couple years) I decided to stick with paint. I love yellow and while I probably wouldn’t choose it as a long term paint color for a room, I thought it’d be fun to have a cheery yellow laundry room for now.
On Tuesday morning, my kids were in preschool and I really wanted to get some painting done. I live about 20 minutes from the store and I didn’t want to drive in, get samples, drive home, paint the samples, wait for them to dry, select a paint color, drive back to the store, get the paint, drive home, and then start painting. That would’ve taken the entire morning! So instead, I decided to just pick a swatch that closely matched the wallpaper on my mood board and go for it.
If this taught me anything, it’s that I cannot skip the step of samples! I have painted enough rooms to know this, but I thought I could skip it this time and boy was I wrong. I need to see the color in the space on multiple walls and with varying light to decide on a color. I thought I was getting golden, but what I really got was Big Bird!
I didn’t do the entire room because it was obvious this color was not going to work. It’s hard to adequately describe just how bright and bold this color is. It feels jarring to walk into, particularly when it’s dark outside and you have to use the overhead lights.
One thing that is a big deal to me is cohesion throughout the home. I don’t need my rooms to match perfectly, but I do want the home to feel like it makes sense as a whole and the colors all work together. This room stands out way too much!
I went back to the store with a list of eight paint samples to get and try to fix my mistake. Unfortunately, there is currently a paint shortage for Base A paint (every color I wanted uses this base) and none of the area stores have it in stock. For right now, it seems like I’m stuck with Big Bird.
I do have a few ideas for ways I can determine a paint color that will work better in this space, so I’m going to spend some time this week trying them out. I’ve also left the wall above the washer and dryer alone so far because I was in debate about whether to leave the upper cabinets or not – I’ve decided I want to remove them and do floating shelves all the way across so that’s coming up this week too. Be sure to follow along on Instagram to see all the changes as they happen!
There is a room of my house that has been driving me bonkers since we first moved in. It’s a particular pain point in our days and it needs to function MUCH better for our family, especially with winter coming. I am finally ready to address: our laundry room!
Yikes. I didn’t clean up at all for this picture. The top of the dryer is a landing zone for things that need to go out to the garage and the kids shoes are always all over the place. It’s a mess!
It’s probably very obvious by just looking at the pictures, but the biggest pain point is: it is a very small space trying to do way too many things. It’s not even a true room! It’s basically just an oddly-shaped hallway and yet it’s trying to function as a laundry room, mudroom, and storage for things like cleaning supplies, all the food and other necessities for our dogs, and overflow household items like lightbulbs. Unfortunately, there isn’t a more convenient place to store all these items in our house, so I need to find a way to make this space work.
I’ve been putting off addressing the laundry room because it is high on the list of spaces we want to completely remodel. The biggest thing we want to do is eliminate the full bathroom next to it (it’s been used twice in the 2.5 years we’ve lived here) and create a larger laundry room + mudroom that works for our family. We are planning to get a contractor out here soon to talk about the work to be done and start budgeting for that project, but it will likely be late 2022 or 2023 before we are able to tackle it. Even though a gut remodel is on the horizon, I don’t want to spend another year or more in this space without making it more functional. Winter is coming and that means even more boots, shoes, coats, gear, etc – this is the time to make improvements!
I put together a little mood board of what I’m envisioning for the space – even though it’s a temporary fix to hold us over until the remodel, I’m still going to have some fun with it!
I do want to keep a fairly low budget since it’s not a long-term renovation, but there are several things I want to address:
More Organized shoe + coat storage
This was an extra shoe rack we had from a closet in our last home. it’s not really the right size for the space but it’s at least helped keep shoes (somewhat) corralled, although most of the time it looks like this with shoes on the ground. And the kids jackets and bags currently hang on some hooks that the previous owners left behind – they’re perfectly functional but my style. I want to come up with more organized storage that feels more my style.
We never use the rod to hang clothes, so I either want to take down the cabinet and add long floating shelves spanning the length of the wall or just remove the rod and have floating shelves between the cabinet and wall. Either way – I need to better utilize that wall above the washer and dryer.
Create Flat Work Space
This one is tricky, but I really need some flat work space for when I need to spray stain remover/scrub stains. With two little ones running around playing all day, nearly every piece of their clothing has some sort of dirt or stain to address before it goes in the washer. The only space I have to do this is on top of the dryer, which isn’t much. I have some ideas for ways to create a small work space and I’m excited to use my creativity on this one!
Better Functioning Closet
The closet in the hallway has very large, deep shelves, but I really feel like this space could be better utilized for maximum storage potential!
And of course – I’m also continuing with my 2021 goal of removing the boob lights from our house and will be replacing the two in this hallway. I’m excited to improve this space in ways that make more sense for our family and our needs! Make sure to follow along on Instagram, where I’ll be sharing more real time updates and a video walk through of the space. You can also follow the other ORC guest participants here.
And if you missed my previous One Room Challenges, you can find all the reveals here:
Over the weekend I was able to make major progress with the guest room stenciled wallpaper. I’m currently about 98% done with the first wall and I’m absolutely LOVING the way it looks (minus all the weird lighting shadows – basement bedrooms are so challenging to photograph!)
You’ll notice I have not finished off the very bottom or very top of the wall, and I also have not finished the edge of the wall on the left side of the door. Before I tackle these remaining areas, I need to make an important decision: should I keep this wall as an accent wall or should I continue all the way around the room?
The reason I wanted to do a wallpapered look in here is because the room had been feeling pretty boring with white walls. We needed some color and interest! But is an entire room of this stencil going to feel too busy? Will it feel like the pendulum swung too far the other way?
On the other hand, I’ve always planned on doing the entire room. I especially envisioned the wallpapered look above that board and batten half wall! The other walls, particularly the wall directly opposite the accent wall, feel underwhelming in comparison. There is no cost advantage to stopping now, as I still have plenty of paint and supplies to carry me through the rest of the room. The investment of time isn’t really a factor for me. Yes, it’s a time consuming process, but I truly have not minded and actually find it very therapeutic!
I guess at this point, the big question is: does an entire room of botanical wallpaper feel like overkill? Or will the multiple doors (bedroom door, bathroom door, furnace room door, closet door), board and batten half wall, window, and built in linen closet break up the pattern enough so it doesn’t feel like too much?
Until I decide this question, the project is at a standstill. The easiest way for me to finish off the top and bottom of the wall is to cut the stencil to fit exactly and just move it along down the wall, which I’m not going to do until I finish everything else. Speaking of the bottom – LJ saw me taking photos and wanted to take some of his own. I thought this one turned out quite well and gives a good example of how the wallpaper looks with the overhead light on!
What’s your vote: keep it an accent wall or continue throughout the whole room? Cost and time are not a factor so it’s really a matter of how busy it would or would not make the room feel. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Over the weekend, I drove out to Ohio to help my sister with some painting projects for her new house. Her house was originally built in 1900 but hasn’t been updated in years. She has a lot of things on her to-do list, but #1 on the list was updating her kitchen and main living space with some fresh paint!
Jenni has always wanted green kitchen cabinets and after trying out a few different options, she kept coming back to Sherwin Williams Palm Leaf. We described this to our other sister as “if an avocado and an olive had a baby.” It feels like a callback to the 70’s in a cool, eclectic way and brought a fun retro flair to the kitchen!
Unfortunately, we were so busy painting that we didn’t stop to take pictures along the way but I was able to grab a few blurry screenshots from a couple videos I took.
We followed the same process I used for painting my own kitchen cabinets and used two coats of the HGTV Showcase paint in a satin finish for the cabinets. Jenni isn’t crazy about the knobs on the cabinet doors and plans to eventually replace them, but we both agreed that spray painting them with a few coats of my favorite gold spray paint was a good budget-friendly way to make them work for the time being. She chose Sherwin Williams Ivory Lace for the rest of the space and we painted the walls in eggshell, the trim and window in semi-gloss, and the ceiling (including the trim around the tray ceiling) in flat.
I think it’s really easy to get caught up in wanting a “big reveal” with everything 100% updated and perfect, but the reality is most renovations aren’t like that. They are slow, with intentional choices plus budget and time factoring in. Jenni has a lot more plans for the space – she wants to rip out the old vinyl flooring and update it with a fresh pattern (she’s thinking of this one which I think would look so cute!) and possibly paint the backsplash too. She also plans to add floating shelves to the wall next to the microwave where they took down some hanging cabinets. But progress is progress and it’s my belief that we should celebrate the journey and transformations along the way! This space may not be “done” but it feels so much different than just a few days ago and that is worth celebrating.
My sister Jenni and her husband just closed on a house that has sooo much potential . . . it just needs a little TLC. They move in next weekend but before they move in she wants to tackle a quick, budget-friendly kitchen renovation. She came out to help me when I painted my kitchen cabinets and I’m more than happy to return the favor now. I’m heading out this afternoon for a weekend of painting!
Here’s where their kitchen started out:
Underneath the very dated styles, I see so much potential! There’s a lot they can (and likely will) do here for a bigger update down the road, but for now, our plan is just to help the space feel a lot more like them from the start.
They have already made one very impactful change by removing the kitchen cabinets above the island!
It takes away a bit of their storage, but it makes such a huge difference in the space! Jenni loves how open it feels now.
Our #1 goal this weekend is to get all the cabinets painted. Jenni and her husband are both creative and artistic with a really lively, kind of eclectic style – it’s going to be a lot of fun translating their unique style into this dated kitchen. Here’s some of the inspo Jenni has sent me – bring on all the green!
I’ll be sharing the finished project back here on the blog on Monday, but make sure to follow along on Instagram for real time updates throughout the weekend. I’m so excited to get this project started!
A few weeks ago, I shared how I wanted to update our guest bedroom by painting a “wallpaper” with stencil. I was pretty optimistic about the scope of the project and hoped to be done by the time our guests came for my birthday weekend (September 11). And now that my birthday weekend is over and our guests have come and gone, all I can say is HAHAHAHAHA to that wishful thinking!
Once I actually started, I realized how big of a project this is. Like, it’s a really big project. Because I’m using five different colors and have some tiny details to paint, it takes me about fifteen minutes to complete one stencil. At this point, I still plan to do the whole room, so this is a long haul project!
It took me a while to work out my techniques for the best results, and the top right corner of the wall is definitely going to need a LOT of touching up before I’m done, but I’m feeling really good about how the latest stencils have turned out and can’t wait to see the whole wall done.
Additional updates coming to the room:
1 – New ceiling light fixture. This room currently has an unattractive boob light (if you know you know,) and it’s one of my 2021 goals to replace all the boob lights in my house. The one tricky thing here is the ceiling tiles, which force the light to be off-center. It’s currently not that noticeable because the light is the same color as the ceiling, and I’m going to strive to find another light fixture that works with out drawing too much attention to the off-centeredness.
2 – Fresh bedding. The wall color palette doesn’t quite match the existing bedding anymore, plus I’d like to update it anyways. When we originally did the guest room renovation, I chose a comforter set with lots of pillows. While this looks nice on the bed, it’s just not a practical choice for guests. They have to remove six pillows just to sleep and then those pillows compete with their luggage for space on the floor or closet. I want to edit the pillows down to just what they need plus maybe one decorative option.
3 – Add a bench? I would really like to try to find a storage bench for the foot of the bed. There’s plenty of space for it and it would create a space to sit to put on shoes or elevate a suitcase, plus double as storage for extra blankets.
4 – Carpet (eventually). This so badly needs to happen, but it’s a big ticket budget item since we will be doing the entire basement at once. I’m really hoping we can replace it within the next year!
Now back to work – I’ve got some stenciling to do!
Way back at the beginning of May, I started the One Room Challenge with the goal of renovating Justin and my bedroom. It took a lot longer than I anticipated, but I’m actually really ok with that. A slow and steady pace helped me from feeling too overwhelmed and allowed me to make sure I loved every decision rather than make snap decisions just for the sake of a timeline. It was all worth it because I love the room so much now!
As a reminder, here’s where we started in early May:
And here’s where we are now:
I finished up the bed side of the room during the One Room Challenge, and my time since then has been spent on the other side. Our bedroom is very large and a bit of an awkward shape, so it took a little while for me to figure out a layout that worked and felt right.
My mom generously offered me this antique library table that has been in her family for years and years. Paired with an antique chair (it used to be my great-aunt’s sewing table chair!) it creates a nice little vanity area for me to do my makeup. I love the natural light streaming in while I sit there!
There is an awkward little corner in the room sandwiched in between a window and the door to our en suite bathroom. There was just enough room to fit a gorgeous rust chair and paired with a small black table and a soft throw blanket, it now is a cozy little reading spot!
The long stretch of wall between the bedroom door and the bathroom door was the perfect place to create some visual interest. I upgraded a simple Ikea dresser for a fun modern look and added a gallery wall above.
The gallery wall was the most recent project I tackled. I chose a mixture of digital downloads, professionally framed prints, and personal mementos to create a special wall that feels beautiful and uniquely us.
When I first started this project, Justin asked why I wanted to put effort into a space that “no one sees” verses a more public space (like, why put the time, money, and effort into a room that only the two of us use instead of a room that more people see and use, like our living room?) I do understand his logic, but my answer has always been “because I want us to have a little haven that feels rejuvenating and restful.” The whole house is for sharing with others, but this room is all ours. The fact that I renovated it just for our enjoyment actually makes it feel that much more special. And truly, starting and ending our days in this room has made a big difference. It makes us happy, it feels fresh and relaxing, and it functions so well for our specific needs now. I can confidently say the time, money, and effort was 100% worth it.
There is a DIY that I’ve done at least 10 times in the past two years and am currently doing once again as I tackle our bedroom gallery wall. It’s one of those projects that is so quick, simple, and easy that it almost doesn’t even feel like a project: printing digital downloads to use as artwork.
When it comes to making changes in your home, everyone has to start somewhere. If you’re new to DIY, this is a very straightforward and simple DIY that is perfect for beginners!
The first step is pretty obvious: choose artwork! I shared in this post some of my favorite places to find artwork and one of them was digital downloads. While it varies a bit depending on where you buy the print, in most cases once you purchase the print, you receive an email with instructions for downloading. I especially like that Juniper Print Shop gives you a few different ratio options so you can use the one best suited for the size print that you want!
Once I download the file, I’m able to upload it to whatever site I’m using to print it off. I’ve used both FedEx printing for large prints (bonus: I can do local pick-up within one day!) and Mpix for prints both large and small and have been really happy with the quality of both services. For this particular batch of prints, I chose Mpix and had everything printed on their Giclee Deep Matte Photographic paper.
While I have my fair share of frames from places like Target and TJ Maxx, one of my favorite things to do is find frames at thrift stores and use them in gallery walls. I can usually find frames between $1-$3 and that price is just hard to beat!
Sometimes I like the original finish of a frame, but in most cases, I rely on spray paint to upgrade the frame a bit. I remove the glass and the back first; if the back is hinged, I will use painters tape to tape it off so I don’t get spray paint on the back (which can make it tacky and stick to whatever is in the frame).
I love using Rustoleum spray paint and my go-to colors are matte black and Satin Bronze. I make sure to be in a well-ventilated area for spraying, and I’ll give the frame multiple rounds of light coats, making sure to keep the can moving while spraying so paint doesn’t pool in any one area.
Once the frame finished drying, I can pop in the print. I usually choose to remove the glass from the frame so there’s not a glare on the print.
That’s it! How easy is that? It honestly takes less than an hour of active work start-to-finish and the cost is usually pretty comparable to piece of mass-produced artwork from a place like Target. My budget breakdown was:
I love that this DIY allows me to fill my house with artwork that I really like in my choice of sizes, styles, and frames. While the prints aren’t originals or one-of-a-kind, they still feel personalized and unique and bring just the right touch finishing touch to whatever room I’m working on. If you’re looking for a way to elevate a space in your house, this is a great DIY to try!