ORC Week Eight: Laundry Room Reveal!

We made it to the end of the laundry room renovation and I am so thrilled with how this room came together!

It might be little more than a laundry hallway, but the view sure has changed from eight weeks ago. I can’t believe how dark and dingy it felt looking back!

I’ve said it multiple times throughout this process, but many of my decisions were based on keeping this project very budget-friendly since this renovation is somewhat temporary. Justin and I still plan to eventually gut the adjacent bathroom and expand the laundry room, which will also create a true mudroom space. Since that remodel is still a couple years down the road, I wanted to find inexpensive ways to update the existing space in the meantime, making it more functional and beautiful.

I loved the look of wallpaper but found that a gallon of paint and a couple $12 stencils gave me the look of wallpaper for much less. You can read the full tutorial here.

I took down the cabinet + rod combination that previously hung above the washer and dryer and replaced with some simple shelves. I cut down, stained, and sealed two 1 x 8’s and Justin installed them on top of simple black brackets. A mix of baskets + decanted jars and bottles keep all my laundry supplies looking chic while staying within easy reach.

I felt pure joy in taking down the two ugly boob lights and replacing them. The hallway light got replaced with a simple low profile mount and the light above the laundry was a simple DIY dupe. An inexpensive white shade got a couple coats of spray paint and elevated the look for less! You can read more about that process, and the process of making and installing shelves, in this post.

The mudroom nook also got a few simple upgrades. An accordion rack gives me extra hooks for all the jackets and coats my kids have and a shoe bench with built-in storage provides plenty of space for shoes, gloves, and hats.

Since that bathroom is rarely used, I am borrowing the hooks in there for some extra bag storage (you can see a tiny glimpse in the mirror!) It also helped that I cleared out the adjacent closet to create space for the dog food and purged all the shoes we weren’t using! And speaking of the closet, all the doors and trim got painted SW Blonde in a satin finish and I upgraded all the hinges and levers to matte black. Justin also swapped out all the receptacles and switches for white ones and I replaced all the switch and outlet covers with painted wooden ones. Little details make a big difference!

I know there are likely some people who would make the argument “Why go to all this trouble if you’re just going to redo the laundry room in two years? Why not just live with it the way it was?” And on the one hand, I get it. But on the other hand, two years is a long time to live in a space that doesn’t work well for us and I don’t even like to look at. We use the mudroom portion daily and the laundry portion at least once a week, often more. Over the course of two years, 100+ uses as a laundry room plus 700+ uses as a mudroom . . . that’s well worth the time, effort, and approximately $400 I spent on this entire reno. I could’ve spent less and chosen fewer things to update (the most expensive part was actually new door levers!) and it still would have felt fresh. It’s also worth saying: a lot can happen in a year or two and who knows if we’ll be able to proceed with our plans in the future. The good news is, a full remodel doesn’t feel urgent now. If the two year plan for the laundry room becomes a five year (or longer, or never!) plan, I’m now okay just living with the room I have.

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I’m thankful to the One Room Challenge for the motivation to push through and get this room finished! If you’re interested in checking out all the other guest participants, you can do so here.

Sources

Wall Color, Trim, & Door Color: Sherwin Williams Blonde (eggshell on walls, satin on trim and doors)

Stencil Color: Sherwin Williams Alabaster

Stencil

Shelf Brackets

Accordion Rack

Bench

Rug

Low Profile Flush Mount

Semi-Flush Mount (shade is spray painted Krylon Fusion Matte Pale Sage)

Art: Flower Print, Abstract Print, Do Less Print

Clear Jar

Gray Ceramic Box

A look back on our DIY journey

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen my stories yesterday and how I took a little trip down memory lane. It all started when I packed up my fall decorations and decided to finally clean out the very bottom of the bin.

I found some paper decorations I made for a Halloween party Justin and I hosted back in 2013. I had created cute little black and orange pennants with construction paper, ribbon, tape, and a marker. I also created little construction paper food labels and spray painted a mason jar orange and filled it with dried plants from our yard. They were simple and most importantly: very very inexpensive. I saved them and used them for three straight years!

It might seem silly, but this discovery really got me reflecting back on our marriage and specifically our DIY journey. When we first got married, Justin was in school and did not have an income and I was supporting us both on a very humble teaching salary and picking up extra childcare jobs to pay for our needs. We were renting a house, trying to pay off a ton of student loans, and didn’t have extra money for home decor. All that being said, I was still passionate about creating a nice, cozy, comfortable home for us however I could and for us at the time, that meant inexpensive DIY.

Today I wanted to reflect back on some of our DIY journey and the projects that Justin and I have done along the way. Sometimes people ask me how we know how to do things and the answer is: we learn as we go! We started out knowing very very little and have learned so much through trial and error. We started with very small projects and went bigger and bigger as we gained confidence. It’s been a journey, one that started out of necessity and now is more of a passion.

Just a quick note: these pictures are not good. Haha! I took them with crappy cell phone cameras, bad lighting, strange angles, and no staging. I wasn’t trying to make them look blog-worthy, I was just documenting our life! So…apologies in advance. šŸ˜‰

Pallet Flower Boxes (2014)

Justin would drive around and find old, abandoned pallets, bring them home, dismantle them, and use the scrap wood for projects. In fact, this Flower Pallet Box from seven years ago might have been the very first DIY tutorial on the blog!

DIY Pallet Flower Boxes :: simplifythechaos.com

I wish I would have blogged about more of our projects back then, but I’m glad I at least have this one to look back on! At the time I had no idea that I’d eventually be sharing so many other home projects on this blog.

Kitchen Island (2015)

In our rental house, we had a big open space in the middle of our kitchen that just begged for extra workspace. Justin collected a bunch of pallet wood, splurged on one nice edge-glued piece for the top, and created this awesome working island for me. This was one of my favorite pieces he made – I loved it so much!

Bathroom Counter Storage Jars (2014)

I needed a storage solution for the bathroom counter and got creative with canning jars and some discounted drawer pulls. I actually think I must have been planning to do a blog post about these, because I had taken pictures of each one of the steps. I’ll spare you that and just show you the first and last picture of this little DIY.

Side Table + Wooden Tray (2015)

When we were first married we did not have the money for any new furniture so every single piece of furniture in our first home was either a hand-me-down (and usually it had been through multiple people before us) or made by us. Every single thing! We didn’t have any side tables for our living room, so Justin made one out of wood he salvaged from old pallets. He also made a cute wooden tray for us to corral things on our little ottoman. I wish I had a better picture, but at least you can get the idea here.

Wine Racks (circa 2015)

One of Justin’s favorite things to make back in our rental house were wine racks out of pallets. He made several of these (and even sold a few!) We still have ours, although we haven’t determined a good spot for it in our current house. A friend just sent me this picture though – they still have theirs up after 5+ years!

Dining Chairs (2016)

A couple cans of some spray paint and discounted fabric from a going-out-of-business sale allowed me to finally update these hand-me-down chairs!

Necklace Holder (2016)

I really wanted this necklace holder I saw on Anthropologie, but it was $40. Justin made me a gorgeous dupe that honestly looked the same for a tiny fraction of the price!

First House Kitchen Renovation (2016-2018)

fter three years of renting, we were able to buy our first home. We were so excited! We finally had the ability to make some changes to the actual home we lived in, and we had some (still small) means to make some updates.

This kitchen renovation process was slow and steady. We waited for sales and replaced appliances one at a time. We painted the walls. After about a year, Justin borrowed a friend’s tile saw and learned how to install a backsplash. We had the cabinets painted. We took our time, budgeted carefully, and were happy with the end result (although I still wish we had been able to replace the fluorescent light – now we know how easy that would have been!)

Shower Upgrade (2016)

The first house had a sliding shower door that we didn’t like. After watching a YouTube video, Justin felt confident with how to remove it and just went for it. We caulked the holes, added a shower curtain, and loved the space so much more! In this bathroom we also painted the vanity and updated hardware. It was my first venture into choosing a dark color for cabinets and I think this vanity is what started my love affair with moody colors!

Painted Buffet (2016)

This used to be in my grandparents’ home growing up and when they moved, asked if I could have it. The piece looks cool, but wasn’t in very good shape so I had the confidence to try going bold with a color. It made for such a fun TV stand + toy storage!

Playroom toy storage 1

Nursery Furniture (2017)

LJ’s first nursery included a thrifted midcentury dresser. We bought it for $30 and I painted everything but the legs and spray painted the handles. Justin made the triangle shelf hanging on the wall!

Updating with flooring + paint (2016-2017)

We painted every surface in this home – walls, trim, baseboards, doors, most cabinets, even the stair railing! We also updated a lot of the flooring and removed all the wallpaper. It was done slowly over time and I started to gain more confidence making decisions and honing in on what I liked. This was a process and a true labor of love and it really made me become passionate about starting to document our renovations.

There’s so much more that I could share, but I think that gives you a good idea of our DIY journey. Looking back, I’m so glad we decided to have the courage to try new things! We honestly did not always know what we were doing and we’ve had so much trial and error along the way. There were just things in our homes that we wanted to add/change/remove/etc and we came up with plans to tackle whatever those things were. Every single project taught us something and our skills and confidence have built up over the years.

Nowadays, Justin can easily swap out all different kinds of light fixtures and build a full dining table. We know how to plank an entire room, install crown molding, and update window trim. We made an entire wall-to-wall builtin bookcase! We’ve wallpapered when we had the budget and I’ve stenciled when we haven’t. We’ve installed butcherblock and I learned how to paint laminate and tile. Our DIYs have certainly scaled up, but I’m also still in awe of how much a simple can of spray paint or a few pieces of scrap wood can do. DIY has been a part of our home-making journey from the beginning and honestly, I don’t see that changing any time. There is still much more to come!

ORC Week Six: Laundry Room Shelving, Lighting, and More!

This week was a big week for progress in the laundry room! Shelving was built, lighting was installed, doors were finished – the room is really coming together and I am loving it.

And because it’s always fun to look back on how far we’ve come, here’s where that same view was six weeks ago:

Originally, I envisioned creating floating shelves from wall to wall, but as it came time to work on the shelves, I decided to pivot a bit.

Floating shelves are pretty time-consuming to make from scratch and I haven’t had as much time as I had hoped to work on this room lately. Plus, the more I thought about it, I realized that since this is just a phase one renovation (we still plan to fully gut and renovate this room and the adjacent bathroom to create a bigger laundry + mudroom in a few years), shelves with brackets would be easier, quicker, and less expensive. It just made more sense to keep this project simple!

Justin had a few extra 1 x 8 oak boards leftover from a previous project and they were the perfect width to create two shelves. Using our miter saw, I cut two boards down to fit wall to wall and then gave them a light sand with our orbital sander + 120 grit sandpaper.

I wiped them down with a tack cloth and stained them with a stain we already had. Once the stain dried, I used a foam brush to apply a layer of this polyurethane and boom – shelves were ready for install!

I purchased these black brackets and Justin installed them after work using his new laser level (this thing was SO handy and I know we’ll be using it many times in the future!) The whole project took maybe 3-4 hours of active work time start to finish. Simple, easy, and inexpensive – win, win, win. I am so thankful to have functional storage that looks great!

A few other things that happened this week: I finished painting all the doors and trim and Justin installed new matte black door hardware. It’s always surprising to me how small details like door hinges and levers can pack such a big punch!

We also finally updated the two boob lights. I wanted a recessed light for the ceiling above the hallway portion but the type of junction box that had been installed prevented my first two choices from working. I settled on this low profile light and we’re happy with it – it is inconspicuous enough that it sort of just fades into the ceiling and doesn’t take visual attention away from other elements of the room.

I mentioned last week that the initial light I wanted for above the washer and dryer was out of stock or backordered on several different sites, so I once again decided to pivot a bit. I really liked this light from Rejuvenation but I struggled to pick a color. It’s just so hard to know if the color you see on screen will translate to real life like you expect! At $229 . . . I wanted to be very sure I liked the light. Then yesterday evening, I was walking through Lowe’s and happened to see this light out of the corner of my eye. I was immediately inspired to do a little DIY upgrade and create the look I wanted for less.

I purchased the light and a can of this spray paint. I use painter’s tape to block off the lightbulb hole of the dome and set it down flat on a large piece of cardboard. I sprayed several light coats of the spray paint until I had even coverage and let it dry. Justin installed the mount and I screwed on the dome.

The Rejuvenation light was $229 and this one was $59. Add in tax and the cost of spray paint, and this light ended up costing me around $70. A big savings and I think it’s a pretty good dupe! This also served as a reminder that a little creativity and bravery can go a long way. Justin couldn’t believe I would spray paint a brand new light, but I knew the look I was going for and just went for it. I’m so glad I did – I’m thrilled with the light and the way it fits the space!

We’ve got two weeks left in the challenge and I’m just about finished with my to-do list. I still have some tweaking to do – for now I just shopped my house and pulled some art, a rug, and a few little decor pieces to get a feel for what works in the space. I also still need to create some hanging storage for coats above the shoe bench to finish off the little mudroom corner. The end is in sight!

Be sure to check out all the other ORC participants here!

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Tutorial: Creating the Look of Wallpaper with a Stencil!

The laundry room “wallpaper” is finished and I’m in love!

For this small but mighty room, I wanted the look of wallpaper but without the price tag. I was especially inspired by these wallpapers:

Source: Spoonflower

I found this stencil at Hobby Lobby and knew it would give just the look I was looking for! I decided to do the entire room instead of just an accent wall and I love the impact that it made. Today I’m sharing the process I used to create this look (for less than the cost of one roll of wallpaper!)

Materials

-stencil (I bought three of this one)

foam paint roller

-paint tray

painter’s tape

repositionable spray adhesive

small foam brush

-small level

-scissors

-paint

-drop cloth to cover furniture from adhesive overspray

latex paint remover + soft cloth

An important note: I have tried using painter’s tape to keep the stencil in place and for me, the inside of the stencil still shifted too much and created messy lines. I now use repositionable spray adhesive, but the caveat is there is a lot of overspray! If you use the spray adhesive, you will want drop cloths on everything before you start, particularly furniture. Luckily my flooring was vinyl and the spray residue could be easily cleaned up, but if your floor is really nice wood or carpet, you will want to cover your floors as well.

Starting in the top left corner of a wall, I sprayed approximately 3-4 small bursts of the spray adhesive directly on the wall and pressed down my stencil in place (since it was the basis the entire pattern, I did use a small level to make sure the first stencil was perfectly level). To line up all subsequent stencils, the edges of the stencil had little leaves that were meant to match with the next pattern.

In other words, when I lined up the next stencil, a few of the cut outs would line up with leaves that were already painted. All I had to do was make sure those were aligned and I knew my stencil was in place.

I poured a small amount of paint (I used Sherwin Williams Alabaster in Eggshell finish) into a paint tray and rolled a six inch foam paint roller in it. I then rolled it over the ridges in the paint tray several times to make sure it was evenly coated without excess paint.

I rolled the roller lightly over the stencil several times until the wall color disappeared and the insides of all the cut outs were white. It’s better to have less paint and roll over the stencil several times than to have excess paint and roll once – it helps keep lines nice and crisp!

Once the stencil was completely painted, I peeled it off the wall from top to bottom and started the process again for the next stencil. I did not wait for the paint to dry before laying the next one – the paint didn’t smudge because I just pressed straight down and didn’t slide the stencil around.

I worked my way across the wall in columns, working from top to bottom and moving from left to right across the wall.

I had three identical stencils and my process was to use the same stencil 10 or so times in a row, then clean it and while that one was drying, use a fresh one for the next 10 or so stencils. The key is: you must clean your stencils as the paint builds up! I learned this the hard way, but without cleaning them, paint slowly builds up more and more, making the cut outs slightly smaller each time until it gets to a point where paint can’t even get through anymore. I cleaned mine after 10-12 uses but you’ll have to judge based on how much paint buildup you’re noticing on your stencil.

I used latex paint remover spray and sprayed it all over the coated stencil. I just sprayed it directly on my floor since it was vinyl, but you might want to do this on another surface or put down a protective layer over your flooring.

After letting the spray soak in a bit, I very carefully dabbed up the paint with a cloth. Because it was latex paint, I could also gently use my fingernails to clean out the paint built up in the cut outs. I tried to be as gentle as possible – aggressive rubbing will bend or even potentially break the more fragile cut outs. It was a little tedious to get clean, but a necessary step to prolong the life of the stencils and keep the pattern size consistent throughout the room.

Once the stencil was clean, I just let it dry completely and then could use it again!

When it came to corners and edges, I followed the same process as much as I could. For an outward corner, the process was fairly straightforward. I just lined up the stencil on the wall, left the overhang alone, and carefully rolled over the wall portion.

I’ll admit, the corners didn’t always get lined up absolutely perfectly but overall I’m really happy with how they turned out! The pattern is busy enough that mistakes just blend right in.

For working around inside corners, trim, ceilings, and baseboards, I used the roller to get as close to the trim work and edges as possible, but there was always a small gap left behind.

Once I had worked my wall entirely around the room and all the full stencils were complete, I started cutting up the stencils to finish the edges. I attached it to the wall with the spray adhesive like before, but instead of the roller I used a small round foam brush to dab paint lightly all the way to the edge.

I had to be strategic about cutting the stencil up, making sure the places that needed the biggest section of stencil went first, then I went in order from biggest amount of stencil needed to smallest. I did not worry about taping the trim, because once the walls were finished I was going to paint over the trim anyways.

I did use painters tape in the inner corners – I placed tape in the very corner on the wall perpendicular to the one I would be painting so that I could get paint all the way to the very corner without painting the other wall. I unfortunately forgot to take pictures of that step but just imagine in the picture above, if the trim was actually another wall making a corner. By taping it off, I would have had a nice crisp corner instead of the smudged paint that you see on the trim.

I did have to use a tiny paint brush to do a bit of freehand work to connect the pattern in some corners, particularly the final corner pictured below where there wasn’t enough wall left for a full stencil to make the pattern complete. Luckily it’s such a busy pattern that I don’t think you can tell at all!

Overall I am SO happy with how this wallpaper turned out. The lighting in the space isn’t great for photographing, but here’s a few pictures in both natural and artificial light to give you an idea of how it looks now:

There is still SO much to do in the room, but just having the walls completely done makes it feel so much better! Still to come: painting all the doors, swapping out knobs, replacing the light fixtures, and building shelves above the washer and dryer. Slowly but surely this room is coming together!

I’m working on this room as part of the Fall 2021 One Room Challenge. To see all the other participants, click here.

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Fall 2021 One Room Challenge: Laundry Room + Mood Board!

It’s that time of year again – the Fall One Room Challenge is starting!

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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.

More Storage

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:

Spring 2020: Basement Kitchen

Fall 2020: Home Office

Spring 2021: Primary Bedroom

Guest Room Debate: Accent Wall or Entire Room?

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!

Eclectic, Retro Green Kitchen Cabinets!

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.

Weekend Project Alert: A Quick Kitchen Update!

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!

Progress on the Guest Bedroom “Wallpaper”

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!

Easy DIY: Thrifted Frames + Printed Artwork

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:

Digital Download: $18 (I got a small discount!)

Mpix Printing: $0.89 for a 4×6

Thrift Store Frame: $3.99

I already had the spray paint and painters tape (they’re staples I always stay stocked up on for projects) so my total cost was around $23 for this print.

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!