Spring Fever has hit our house once again! It has brought a renewed resolve to clean, organize and streamline the function of our kitchen and dining space. Since our kitchen, dining table, main entrance and basement access are all located within this 15’-6” x 10’-4” space, it has become imperative that this area gets some focused attention asap! Warmer weather means even more traipsing in and out of the sliding door to the back yard and garden, along with sandy shoes, wet swimming suits, and muddy hands. This is the first part of a small series I will be writing about ways to make the most of a small space. We will first discuss something that has become one of my favorite additions to our kitchen: the pot rack.
Yes, the pot rack. I know, you might be thinking what I often have thought…why in the world would I want my pots hanging overhead in plain sight? I typically have a small aversion to pot racks, but my husband loves them, and after tripping over pots that were strewn across the kitchen floor one too many times, I agreed to give it some consideration. You might now be wondering why I have pots all over my kitchen floor? I have a 2 and a half year old. That probably answers the question for many of you.
She loves to play in the cupboard, and since the cupboard that fits the pots and pans is also the only other lower cupboard in my kitchen, it was necessary for her to remove all the pots and pans before she could play in there. And, since she is very busy and gets into everything, I do like having her play in the kitchen while I am cooking or baking. See the dilemma?
Only a bit reluctantly, I started researching pot racks. I knew we didn’t have the space to hang one overhead in our kitchen, but I did have a bit of wall space that I could possibly sacrifice to save my toes from hitting pots and pans with every step. I found several interesting images online, and then proposed some ideas to my husband. The goal was to make something that fit our style, our budget and our most often used pots and pans. It had to be high enough that kids couldn’t reach it, which meant there could only be one row of pots and pans in our limited space. I also wanted to leave some room on the lower portion of the wall for another small-space solution I have brewing in my mind.
With our requirements fresh in mind, we made a trip to Lowes to see what we could come up with. We considered several options, such as copper tubing, aluminum pipe, towel bars, etc., before deciding we really liked the industrial look and interchangeable nature of a square steel perforated tube.
We chose the 1-1/4 inch x 3 foot tube, and added bolted J hooks in two different lengths. We capped the tops with (appropriately named) cap nuts to give it a more finished look. We anchored the tubing to the wall with an abundance of screws and spaced out our most commonly used pots and pans to fit the space.
And just like that, we had a pot rack!
After living with it for a few weeks, I must admit that I really love the pot rack. I do not miss tripping over pans on my floor, or bending down to search through the cupboard for the pot that I want (always the one on the bottom of the stack). Our little girl now has plenty of room in the cupboard to play, even with a crock pot and a pan or two left. In the spirit of cleaning and downsizing, a few of those will soon be eliminated, too. For now, we are enjoying the fun industrial modern look and love having our pots and pans free of grimy (but cute!) little fingerprints.
Lately I have been tossing around a few different ideas for how to make our plain interior doors a little more interesting and less nondescript. How about you? Have you been looking at your interior doors and thinking they could use a little pep? Maybe I can inspire you.
It all started when I decided to paint the interior front door the same bright blue color that I had painted the exterior. It was scuffed, a bit banged up, and just a boring white color. My first inclination was to paint a fresh coat of white on it, but then I started thinking about how cheerful it would look in blue, and how it would tie in with the rest of my entry and living room colors. So, I painted it, and I am so glad I did because it is one of the happiest looking spots in my home!
This is what the Front Entry looked like the day we moved in:
And after a few lovingly painted updates:
After living with (and loving) the painted interior front door, I began to look at all of the other doors. As tempting as it is to paint them all bright blue, I decided to start with something a little more neutral. Our upstairs hall has 4 doors within about 10 feet, so I also didn’t want it to be too busy looking. I have seen images where people paint the raised paneling on their doors a different color, or where they paint the lines of the paneling. We just have solid doors with no paneling, so I first decided to try a ‘faux paneling’ with two different colors of gray. I found a door style I liked by looking at paneled doors online. Then, I taped off the lines for the darker color, using blue painter’s tape.
I had some dark gray (Pewter) craft paint in my stash, and I painted on two thin coats with a small brush. When it was completely dry, I taped off my next color, which was a lighter gray sample pot that I had left over from testing colors in our living room. The lighter gray was intended to be a bit of a shadow of the darker, to make it look slightly 3-Dimensional. It doesn’t really look 3-D, but I do think it adds a lot of character and interest to a previously dull door. It looks like my trim could use some work, and a coat of paint…
Next, I have been dying to try painting a door black. I have been noticing glossy black doors (and trim!!) in magazines and design blogs, and I love the classic-yet-modern look of them. But, I didn’t know if four black doors right next to each other is really what I wanted, so I decided to try out the black on a door downstairs. I had some semi-gloss black paint (Black Suede) left over from painting my son’s bassinet, so I gave it a go. I was out of little foam rollers, so I used a brush and painted two thin and even coats.
Here is the door Before:
I know it would look better with a foam roller, so I will purchase more of those before I do the rest. Yep, I love it so much that I will be doing all of the doors downstairs. And maybe even the ones upstairs…
What do I do when I have searched and can’t find an inexpensive bedside lamp in my preferred color anywhere? I guess I could change my color choice, or spend a bit more money than I was planning, but neither one of those options worked for me. Instead, I found some simple black lamp bases at Target and spray painted them the color I wanted!
I have to admit, I was very tempted by some pretty fancy lamps in my search, but they also came with pretty fancy price tags. If you have been reading my articles for long, you know that I like to make things look awesome while spending as little as possible. And you may also know that I love what a huge impact a can of glossy spray paint can have on something that is boring, dated or in need of a little love. Instead of spending $50+ on each lamp, I found these for around $20 each.
They are the perfect size for our bedside tables, and the boxy shape of the shades help keep them from bumping the walls. But, as you can see from the ‘before’ picture, the black base just blends right in with the nightstand and looks a bit dull.
My hubby was a little sceptical when I told him I was going to paint the brand new lamp bases a yellow-orange color. He actually asked if I could leave his black! So I painted one of them just to show him how much better it could look. He was impressed enough with the pop of fun color that he conceded to his lamp being painted also (that was my plan all along).
I love how glossy and bright the bases are, and I am still contemplating whether or not to leave the shades as-is or to try something crazy with them, too. They are safe for now, but you never know when the shade altering impulse will strike!
Have you ever bought something new that you knew you were going to change right away? It can save you a lot of money if you are willing to put in a little time and effort.
I just taped off the top of the cord and put the rest of it in a baggie. I used blue painters tape and some plastic wrap on the top part of the lamp also. Then, I lightly sprayed the bases, following the drying time recommended between coats.
I probably sprayed about 10 coats, to give you an idea how lightly I sprayed. I have found that it works much better than accidently getting drips or uneven coverage from spraying too heavily.
Have you spray painted any lamps lately? Or maybe you decided it was worth it to spend a little more for that perfect color? Leave a comment and let me know what you’ve been up to!
If you live in the Pocatello area and are interested in taking some classes that can help you create interior spaces that work for the way you live, sign up today!
It is the first time these courses have been offered through ISU’s Workforce training, and I am excited to be working with them.
DIY Interior Updates
Want a change in your home, but don’t have a lot of money to spend? Learn simple tricks you can do yourself to update your home’s interior on a budget. We will discuss ways to replace or reuse what you already have, as well as ideas for repurposing thrifted items.
Environmentally Friendlier Products for Building or Remodeling
Environmentally responsible products can save you money, and are available for your home or building needs. We will review a wide range of products, from lighting and countertops to paint and flooring, helping you find the perfect fit for your situation.
Choosing Colors That Are Right for Your Rooms
Color affects mood, emotion, and possibly even behavior. While your home or office should represent you and the way you live, sometimes the colors in them don’t “feel right.” Discover simple ways to use color to make your spaces restful retreats or energizing environments.
Tips for Arranging Your Space
Are you feeling cramped, crowded or disorganized? Learn how to make the most of the space you have. We will review ways to choose and arrange furniture and accessories to create a functional and aesthetically pleasing space.
Introduction to Google SketchUp
Learn to use Google’s free software, SketchUp. This Gold-rated program can be used to create basic 3D models of simple furniture and a sample room floor plan.
It’s time to talk about lamp height. Choosing the right sized lamp can be difficult, because just like buying a sofa, when the lamp is set up in a huge store or seen from a picture on the internet, it can seem much smaller than when you get it home to your actual space. And again, just like when buying a sofa, it just makes sense to pay attention to the measurements.
Two years ago, I got a great deal on two boxed lamps at Lowes. They are the white lamp with the white shade that you see in a few of my nightstand pictures. I bought them for our living room, but they have ended up in our master bedroom as bedside lamps for the past year, mostly because we didn’t have anything else to put there. At first, they really didn’t bother me. I like the white against the blue wall, and I do like the contrast with the newly painted nightstands. But, they are WAY too big and out of proportion with the nightstands and the overall size of the room.
The lamp itself is 25 inches tall, and the nightstand is only two inches taller, at 27 inches tall. The depth of the nightstand is 12 inches, and the shade is 14 inches in diameter, so it touches the back wall and overhangs the front of the nightstand by 2 inches. Needless to say, a smaller-sized lamp is needed for our smaller-sized space. I am still searching for my ideal lamps, but to demonstrate some sizes that would work better, I pulled some lamps from around our house and photographed them on the nightstand.
Just from looking at the photo with the three very differently sized lamps, you can tell that the white one is out of proportion to the nightstand. With the white one out of the picture, take a look at three smaller sized lamps.
The turquoise lamp is still a little big for what I want, but it is definitely a workable size and much better proportioned to the space than the white one. When it is by itself on the nightstand, it has prominence without taking over the entire space.
If you look at the pink and green lamps, you can see that the height of either one would work well for the space and size of the nightstand. Depending on what else you were wanting to place on the top of the nightstand, you might decide on a larger shade for the pink lamp.
My personal favorite is the green lamp height and shade size. It is 18 inches high, which seems nicely proportionate with the height of the nightstand. The shade fits happily within the boundaries of the nightstand without hitting the wall or overhanging the front edge.
Maybe my little photo demonstration can help you choose lamps or accessories that are more in proportion with your space. I now have a much better idea of the lamp size I want to look for when I am browsing through stores or looking on the internet. Now if I could only find that perfect color.
A few days ago, I was looking through a Martha Stewart Living magazine from October 2010, and I came across this awesome wreath.
Since I happened to have a grapevine wreath from previous door decorating projects I decided to give it a try, with my own spin.
My grapevine wreath was currently red, from last Christmas and Valentine’s Day, so I decided to spray it orange. This gave it a splash of contrast on our bright blue door. I found the rubber snakes at WalMart for $1.00 each, and after getting them home I decided to leave them orange and black, instead of painting them solid black.
I really like how from far away it sort of looks like candy corn, and as you get closer you notice the snakes! So, what do you think? Creepy or cool? The UPS guy did ring the doorbell and run this afternoon…this can’t be the weirdest thing he has seen though, right?
Try, try again! Have you ever completed a project that just didn’t turn out quite like you had it pictured in your head? I have, too many times to count. My latest project that I just wasn’t completely happy with was the set of nightstands I bought from IKEA in January, stained, painted and wrote about for you to see. Remember these?
I am completely satisfied with the quality and size of the nightstands. They are a great height, and have the perfect amount of storage for us. What I did not like was the color of the drawers, especially after I painted the wall behind them a dark blue. I also wasn’t in love with the drawer pulls I had fashioned, and I still had not put polyurethane on the black stained exterior. In my post about the master bedroom idea board, I mentioned I was planning to repaint the drawers and make new drawer pulls.
One day last week, I got busy and moved the nightstands to my garage, where I removed the too-small drawer pulls, sanded the drawer faces, and rolled on 5-6 thin coats of glossy white paint! I was immediately much happier with how they looked.
Another huge improvement happened when I put 3 coats of my new favorite water-based, no-VOC polyurethane on the black-stained exteriors of the nightstands. They became glossy, smooth and so much easier to dust!
Inspired by the amazing creativity and thriftiness of Mandi from Vintage Revivals, I used some paint I already had and bought some leather belts at the thrift store. I painted one side of the belts with 2 coats of latex paint. When they were dry, I cut them to 5-1/2 inch lengths, asked my sweet husband to drill holes in them, and then attached them to the nightstands with hex screws and nuts. We used the existing hardware holes in the nightstands, but had to drill them a bit larger to accommodate the hex screws.
Are we happier with the finished product? We love it! The more modern look and nice contrast between the glossy white and shiny black is just perfect against the blue wall. We are making some great progress on the master bedroom, and hopefully I will have more to share with you very soon, along with some better photos of the finished nightstand.
How about you? Any project failures that you reworked and then ended up loving?
Before I redo the nightstands in our bedroom, I thought I should share what I did with them in the first round!
In mid-December, I was inspired by Aubrey+Lindsey’s blog post on a pair of nightstands that had been made from inexpensive IKEA dressers. Some of you may be familiar with IKEA’s RAST line of unpainted, and unfinished pine furniture. The individual pieces are nothing incredibly beautiful or creative, but they are small, simple and cheap.They also lend themselves perfectly to the DIYer who wants to create a unique piece of furniture.
Since we live a few hour’s drive from the nearest IKEA, it is a rare occasion when I get to go. But, we just happened to be driving through Salt Lake on our way home from Christmas at my brother’s in southern California. IKEA was a perfect stopping/resting point, so I hurried in and made my purchase of two RAST dressers for $35 a piece. There are actual nightstands in that line, but they are itsy bitsy, and I also wanted storage beside the bed. These little dressers have three drawers in them, and although I wouldn’t recommend them for heavy-duty clothes or book storage, they are perfect for miscellaneous bedside storage.
The first thing I had to do when I got these puppies home was to put them together. Luckily, I had the wonderful help of my little one year old to guarantee that I didn’t misplace a single nail or drawer pull.
Approximately three hours and a child in bed later, I had both of them assembled with all pieces in their assigned spots. Well, I left the drawer pulls off, since my plan was to paint the drawer fronts, but everything else was good to go.
My plan was to stain the outside of the dressers with some eco-friendly water-based black stain that I purchased three years ago for a project that I never did. But, as often happens when I know I ‘just’ saw it, I couldn’t find that stain anywhere. That also happens when you have moved three times since you purchased the stain. I found a similar product at Home Depot, and I was extremely happy with the coverage of the stain, and especially how it didn’t smell and wasn’t toxic.
I used a teal spray paint in satin finish for the front of the dresser drawers, which I don’t recommend. I think I would have been much happier with the finish if I would have used a glossy spray paint. I ended up buying a sample paint in a bit darker teal and doing a wash over the top of the spray paint, to tone down the brightness a bit. You live and learn.
Even though in my inspiration photo they had replaced all of the little wooden drawer pulls with gold metal rings, I decided to save a lot of money and hand-paint the wood knobs instead. I used my acrylic craft paints and some little gold filgaree jewelry pieces to mimic some $8 knobs from Anthropology. They didn’t turn out half bad, I got to pick my own colors, and I saved $96 on knobs!
Overall, I was happy with the finished results for awhile. I love the little drawers of extra storage, but I am not loving the drawer colors, and I think the drawer pulls are too small. I have big plans to paint the drawer fronts, make new drawer pulls and seal the entire dresser/nightstand with some water-based polyurethane. And I might decide to tile the tops eventually.
And on a side note, not even an hour after finishing with my new black stain, I found the stuff I already had. Seriously. It was right out in the open, where I couldn’t see it.
How is it that some of our most used rooms can also be the most neglected spaces in our homes? Maybe you don’t have this problem, but for my husband and I, our bedroom tends to be the catch-all space where we put things we don’t know what else to do with. Ideally, your bedroom should be a restful and calming place, where you go to get away from the stressors of daily life. Ours, unfortunately, is not, so I decided to get busy and do something about it!
I put together an Idea Board for our bedroom to help me focus and get a picture of how things might work together. In a few weeks, I hope to show you the finished product, but for now, here is what I am thinking about:
1. Repainting the drawers of the IKEA nightstands I stained and painted back in January. They are currently a deep turquoise, and I am thinking white will tie in the rest of the room a bit better. I will leave the outside the black stained wood, but might change the drawer pulls so they are similar to the example photo, inspired by Mandi at Vintage Revivals.
2. New bedside lamps. Our current ones are just too big for the nightstands, and I think the pop of yellow/gold along with the fun shape might be fun. This one is from Target for $26.99. I am not sure if we will go with these exact lamps, but the yellow/gold color will be something I am looking for.
3. Accent wall color. I have never been one to do accent walls, but I have been liking the look lately, especially for small rooms. I already painted one wall in our bedroom a deep blue color with Clark+Kensington paint from ACE Hardware, called Blueville A41-7. I love it with the remaining walls and ceiling bright white.
4. DIY upholstered headboard in black and white print. I will go with something similar to this one from JoAnn’s fabrics. I am looking for a nice modern graphic print in home decor or indoor/outdoor fabric. I will attach it to the platform bed my husband put together for us one weekend a few months ago.
5. Low profile bedframe. My husband made a simple platform for our mattress from some 2x4s and plywood, but this one from IKEA looks like it would be a nice fit for small spaces:
6. White bedding. I have never had white bedding before, and I am not sure it is a great idea with a toddler and one on the way, but I would love to have the crisp luxurious feeling of a fancy hotel. I love the ruching and stripes on this duvet from West Elm.
7. A cozy throw for naps in my chosen yellow/gold accent color. It is also from Target and is in a fun houndstooth pattern.
8. We already own this great IKEA dresser. It is a bit big for our current room, but we need the drawer space, and it fits well along one wall. I love the spacious drawers and they slide open and closed very well.
9. Accessories! One I love is this wooden globe from Target.
10. Bamboo blinds from Home Depot. I love the look of the bamboo against the dark blue wall. I am usually more a fan of drapes in the bedroom, but we have one entire wall of high windows, and our bed is centered under another one. It made more sense for us to have some sort of blind. I am not sure if this will end up being a money-saving deal or not, depending on how they hold up, but I bought the cheaper roman matchstick blinds. I also bought some muslin with a 50% off coupon, and I will line the shades in the window area for privacy and room darkening.
There you have it, the ideas to get me inspired for our bedroom makeover. Another little item that is motivating me to get moving on this room is the fact that in about 8 weeks, we will have to make room for a tiny person to share the space. I will share photos when we get finished!
What have you been working on lately? Anyone else making idea boards to get themselves headed in the right direction?
Is anyone besides me finding it to be way too hot to do any outdoor projects? Well, this quite pregnant and easily sunburned mama has had to set up shop next to the swamp cooler and work on finishing up some things I have started indoors. First up was to finally get my books and ‘things’ out of boxes and onto the shelves that my husband and I put together.
Chances are, you have at least one bookshelf somewhere in your house. Since I happen to have a large set of empty shelves, I thought I would show you how I styled my shelves and give you a few hints that might help you with your own. My first step was to unpack some boxes, but yours might be to remove all of the stuff from your existing shelves. I like to start with a clean slate, and then selectively add and subtract until I like the finished result.
The first tip I have is to consider the placement of your shelves. If they are in your living or family room, you will probably arrange them very differently than if they are more hidden away in your office or a bedroom. My shelves are in the living room, right next to the front entry door. They are very open to public viewing and within easy access of a curious toddler. My main goal was to create a visually pleasing work space for myself that is also clean and kid-friendly. Fortunately for me, most interior design and art books are somewhat pretty and colorful, so I could put my reference books on display without embarrassment. I have seen a ton of photos lately with books arranged by color, and I was very happy with how it looked when I used this method with my books.
The second thing to remember is to keep the look simple. I often am guilty of adding too many tchotchkes and cluttering the look of my shelves. This time, I tried to limit my accessories to some white pottery, a few black accents, and some silver sparkle. Since my books and wall behind the shelves are so colorful, I didn’t want to have too much going on. I only used what I already had in my house to style these shelves, so that helped me pare things down and keep accessories more meaningful. I added a few plants because this area gets plenty of light, and well, because we love plants!
The third tip I used was to arrange my books both horizontally and vertically. It helps to add interest and vary the heights. Also, other objects can be placed on vertically stacked books, and can be used to hold horizontally placed books in place. If your shelves are deep, you can also layer artwork or photographs along with your books.
To keep my shelves kid-friendly, I put breakables and other items of value out of my daughter’s reach. I used baskets for her toys in the bottom shelves, and I plan to get more of these baskets on future trips to Ikea. I put her books on the bottom shelves so they are easy for her to pull out and look through (I was an elementary school teacher in my previous career, so I love children’s books). I also plan to purchase a 2-drawer insert for one of the shelves (also from Ikea-$35) for desk miscellany such as stamps, bills, etc. This will keep me more organized and keep those items out of little fingers.
One other thing I did, which some of you may have noticed…I banished all of my husband’s books from this set of bookshelves. The top reason is because this is my office space, so I needed to have my books readily accessible. The other reason is that his books just aren’t as pretty, and most of them are short and just don’t fit this style of shelf very well. I have big plans for his books (downstairs, in the family room) with a different style of Ikea shelf. I did display some meaningful souvenirs from his four months of high-school in Japan. He’s okay with my decision, and hardly complained a bit.
For those of you interested in a price breakdown, here it is, without tax added:
EXPEDIT shelves from Ikea–$220
KNIPSA baskets from Ikea (2)–$34
Aluminum shelf supports, nuts and bolts–$50
Turquoise roller stool from Fred Meyer–$40
The arrangements on my ‘Wall-O-Shelves’ will probably change often, as I decide I like something better somewhere else, or as an object ends up being within my child’s reach. I have something fabulous in mind for the wall above my desk, but for now it remains untouched.
What have you been doing to beat the heat? Any bookshelf rearranging? Unpacking long forgotten boxes? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!
I have decided that instead of going out and buying new things, I am going to try to do as much as I can with what I already have. This really isn’t an unusual venture for me, as I have always tried to reuse and redo things as much as possible, but I am exploring new territory…lighting. I am trying to make the light fixtures in my house look ‘good enough’ for now, without going out and buying all new lighting. You see, our new house has at least 7 ceiling lights that look like this:
Lovely, right? In my humble opinion, they are actually a slight step up from the standard builder installed lighting because of their faux bois glass fixtures. While I would like to eventually replace them with something a little more unique and fun, I decided that a can of blue lagoon spray paint would tide me over for the time being. I removed the entire fixture from the ceiling (after turning off the power) and gave it about 5-6 very light coats of spray paint. I have found through much trial and error that I need to be patient with my spray paint. You can’t just spray it all at once and be done. You spray it VERY lightly, then go do something else for a few minutes, and come back and spray it VERY lightly again. Repeat until the entire fixture is well covered. Make sure you do this in a well-ventilated area, and it doesn’t hurt to wear a mask, because you will breath in paint.
Let the paint completely dry (follow manufacturer’s instructions) and reinstall your light fixture! I admit I am pretty happy with the results, and you really can’t beat the price of a can of spray paint. Although I chose a bright, popping color, you could easily use an oil-rubbed bronze, or silver, etc. to fit in with your own personal style.
On another (related) note, we needed a light source for the corner of our living room, and I didn’t have anything lying around that would work. I went to the Habitat ReStore and scored a wicker hanging lamp for $10.00. My husband rolled his eyes and said it looked like something his grandmother had…until I gave it several coats of that blue spray paint! It now hangs proudly in the corner, looking chic and a bit more modern.
How come it seems like just when you have given up looking for something, that is when you find it? That is what happened with my new bathroom shelf. I was searching everywhere for something to fit nicely above the toilet area that would store a few essentials off of the counter and out of children’s reach. It had to be pretty shallow, so that you wouldn’t bump your head, but deep enough to fit some jars of miscellany. Oh yeah, and it had to be inexpensive.
Just when I thought I might have to give up and make my own, I found this at the thrift store for $2.00.
I quickly decided that I could remove the heart cutout, paint the shelf, and it would be just what I was needing to clear up some clutter from the counter. I loved that the shelves were different sizes, because it added visual interest and meant that I could be more flexible with what I stored on them. I had a quart of navy blue paint leftover from a previous project, so I quickly brushed on a few coats of paint (following the directions on the paint can for drying time, etc). Once it was dry, we used two metal brackets to screw the shelf into the wall, and I loaded it up with odds and ends. Actually, that is a work in progress. The shelf currently holds a container of cotton swabs, a jar of baking soda to scrub the tub, a white ceramic frog, a clock, and a candle. I am still playing around with different arrangements, but for now, I just count my lucky stars (and hearts) that I found and reworked this beauty for the cool price of two bucks.