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Friends, I have a really easy organization DIY to share with you today! Organization systems, by their nature, need to be constantly tweaked, updated, and reimagined in order for them to serve us for where we are in our lives right now. And because our lives change so frequently, it’s no wonder our systems do too. I’m finally learning that no one system will stick around forever, so I’ve become hesitant to invest too heavily, both in terms of time and money, in any one system or product for our home. In recent weeks, I’ve found myself gravitating toward a dry-erase board to organize a lot of my blog-related tasks, schedules and plans. A dry-erase board is not something I always use, but it’s working really well for me right now. And after months of jotting down unorganized notes in a pretty unsightly fashion, I found myself wanting a more streamlined (and prettier!) way to display and track everything floating around in my head. My usual MO is to head to Amazon to find yet another product that would fit the bill for our current needs; but instead, I grabbed a roll of washi tape and set to work customizing a blank dry-erase board I had in the garage. The result is something that is perfect for right now, yet is also totally temporary so I can pull it all apart when I eventually need something different. Let me show you this oh-so-easy way to create a perfectly customized dry-erase board so you too can have ultimate flexibility and adaptability in your planning!

This post contains affiliate links. You can read my Disclosure & Privacy Policy here.

If you love using dry-erase boards around your home but have difficulty finding the one that looks and functions exactly as you need it to, boy do I have the solution for you! Washi tape!

Yep – with just some rolls of pretty tape, I transformed a blank dry-erase board into a dry-erase calendar perfectly tailored to my current needs.

The taped design on this dry-erase board provides the basic structure I need: a calendar and three separate notes sections. All changing (months, dates) and apt-to-change (notes categories) details are filled in using very easy and temporary methods (specifically, a dry-erase marker and a label maker). Right now, this setup is exactly what I need. But when I no longer need a calendar or if I want to transform the three notes sections into one large area, all I need to do is peel off the tape!

Materials Needed

This project literally took me about 30 minutes using supplies I had on hand. You can adapt this concept to ANY dry-erase board you have around the house! Here is what you need:

  • Blank dry-erase board. Blank is key here. By investing in one, good, blank dry-erase board, you can customize it for your needs over and over again! Mine measures 24×36″.
  • Washi tape in the colors/patterns of your choice. I find the skinny washi tape is best for this project.
  • Ruler – Make sure it’s long enough to measure your specific dry-erase board.
  • Pencil
  • X-acto knife
  • Label maker
Customizing Your Dry-Erase Board

Start by giving your dry-erase board a good cleaning, especially if it’s been used. By removing all the dust from previous use, your tape will stick in place nicely.

Next, you need to identify what type of “design” you want on your dry-erase board. Do you want a calendar? If so, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly? Do you need a grid with a few large spaces or more smaller spaces? Take the time to figure out exactly what you need…because you can create it!

TIP! You certainly can “wing” your design; but if you’re going for something rather complex, I recommend hashing out your plans and measurements on graph paper or on the computer. This will allow you to play with various layouts and calculate measurements in order to identify the best design for organizing the information you need to display! Having all the measurements figured out ahead of time will make assembling your board a breeze!  

Once your design is figured out, you will start building it using the washi tape applied directly to the dry-erase surface. Start with a length of tape that will run the entire length or width of your board. Use a ruler to place a hash mark at the correct placement on BOTH sides of the frame (you can also mark directly on the dry-erase surface if you need to).

Without cutting or measuring the tape, simply stretch a length of washi tape from one hash mark to the other and smooth it down. Don’t overthink it, don’t make yourself crazy, just place it down. Allow an excess of 1″ to hang off both ends of the board.

Continue measuring and stretching tape across your dry-erase board in accordance with your design. Again…just pull the tape taught, line it up with measured hash marks on both sides and then lay it down. The thin tape has a remarkable way of laying down nice and straight; but if it does look really crooked, just peel it up and re-lay it! Be sure to leave excess tape hanging over at each and every intersection.

I can’t emphasize enough to just go with it. Don’t stress over measurements, don’t stress over straight lines. Keep working until your design is done!

TIP! If you want a thicker line, just place two pieces of tape next to each other!

Once all the tape is laid down exactly as you want it, it’s time to clean up all those loose ends! I find using a sharp X-acto knife is the quickest and cleanest way to take care of them. For tape lines that intersect with the dry-erase board frame, simply slide the knife along the frame edge to create a clean cut.

For intersections in the middle of your board, use a ruler to ensure the trimmed tape lines up perfectly with any tape it intersects. To avoid permanently scratching your dry-erase board, simply score the washi tape once or twice and then carefully tear it away against the ruler.

With all the loose ends cleaned up, your design will come into focus!

If there are any “permanent” details you’d like to include, consider using stickers, vinyl or a label maker. My gut was to cut words out of vinyl (#ofcourse) but I really wanted this project to be quick and easy to not only put together but also pull apart. The gold tape in my label maker was just the ticket!

With your design finished, hang or place your board wherever you will use it most…

…and then populate it with any important details you need using a dry-erase marker!

SIDENOTE! One of my main goals on the blog this year was to regularly rotate around the content you (and I!) love the most. To avoid writing too much about one thing, I have 8 different “topics” written onto 8 different sticky notes. These sticky notes can get rotated around the month as needed (based on what is done and what is photographed, etc), but they can’t be duplicated! I’m not in a place where I can have a super rigid blog schedule, but these sticky notes are really helping ensure my content remains varied and nothing gets overlooked for too long! If you look closely, you can see a new printable is hitting the blog on Friday!

I am thrilled that in just about a half an hour, my garbled mess of notes and ideas is now organized into a display that is not only functional but pretty!

Other Customization Ideas!

I can’t tell you how much I wish I had come up with this idea sooner. I’ve bought and tossed so many dry-erase boards over the years because they just didn’t provide me with the space, details, or design I wanted. And I mean it when I said this idea can be adapted for any use, on any board. Here’s just a few more ideas to try!

Instead of a monthly calendar, the same large board was split into a 3×2 grid using the same tape method. Larger blocks are ideal for tracking weekly activities in a busy household!

A mini dry-erase board was transformed into a quaint little meal planner using more washi tape and off-the-shelf stickers…

And this weekly chore chart was created with black washi tape on another plain board! The possibilities really are endless!

I hope this project gives you some fun ideas for customizing and expanding the functionality of dry-erase boards in your home! I’ll see you back here on Friday with a new printable kit for the sewers out there!

The post Create Your Own Dry-Erase Calendar with Washi Tape appeared first on The Homes I Have Made.

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Last week, I shared with you a more “high end” way to add pattern (and protection) to the insides of cabinets and drawers. You’ll remember in that post, I specifically chose to use high-quality, expensive shelf liner on a piece of furniture that we absolutely love and will move with us over and over…therefor justifying the cost of the pricier shelf liner. I realize investing in expensive papers is not always ideal or practical, so today I want to share a similar project but on the very other end of the cost spectrum. I recently added some fun pattern to our pantry using wrapping paper and a few other supplies. My method is really easy and really cheap, and can be adapted beyond the pantry to pretty much any cabinet or closet. This solution is ideal for those of you who don’t want to invest in expensive paper or deal with peel-and-stick products but still want a fun pop of pretty when you open the door! Let me show you how I did it.

Below is a photo of our pantry before getting started with the papering project. You all might recall from my tried-and-true method for organizing any SPACE that I always like to get the organization systems in place before I start with any of the fun or pretty details. As such, most of my bins and baskets were in place (I’ll share all the details with you soon) but I really wanted to add a fun detail that would make me smile every time I opened the pantry AND inspire me to keep it looking tidy and functioning well.

I always see gorgeous wrapping papers in HomeGoods/Marhsalls/TJMaxx and am constantly trying to figure out ways to use them around our house. When I saw this gorgeous blue and white floral paper one day, I knew I had the solution for our pantry!

Now…using wrapping paper instead of heavier duty shelf liner or wallpaper has its advantages such as the cost, availability, and length/size of rolls. But it can also have its disadvantages…namely it can be flimsy, tears easily, wrinkles, and can be difficult to work with. Because I’ve worked with wrapping paper a lot on projects like this, I was fully aware of these challenges. I also knew installing it in a way that didn’t easily fall down was an often-exasperating process. From a distance, it may appear that I removed the shelves, papered the entire wall, and reinserted the shelves. But if you look closely, you can see instead that a wrapped piece of cardboard is fit into the back of each shelf…

I chose to wrap wrapping paper around cardboard sheets and place them in the back of each shelf over securing the wallpaper directly to the wall for a few reasons: This method…

  • Allows for consistent pattern placement.
  • Allows for flexibility in measuring.
  • Is much more secure to the wall and isn’t prone to falling as it’s bumped or touched.
  • Allows the wrapping paper to have a smooth, flat and taught appearance (rather than a billowy appearance).
  • Allows you to assemble and measure everything flat before having to install vertically.
  • Requires no adhesives, tapes or tacks on the wall itself.
  • Can quickly and easily be pulled out and wrapped over for a quick change!

Although a few more steps and supplies are involved than just cutting sheets of wrapping paper and taping them to the wall, I still find this a very quick and easy DIY you could easily tackle in an afternoon. Here is what you’ll need:

  1. Corrugated cardboard or foam core sheets – Because you are wrapping it in paper, what exactly you use here doesn’t really matter. Foam core sheets, sheets of corrugated cardboard, or even old, large boxes can work. You just want the cardboard to be sturdy. I used two of these display boards from Staples.
  2. Wrapping paper in the pattern and color of your choice.
  3. Mod Podge
  4. Spray adhesive
  5. Utility knife
  6. Craft brayer
  7. Adhesive Velcro
  8. Rotary cutting set

Start by measuring your pantry wall. Measure both the horizontal dimension (from corner to corner), as well as the height of each shelf.

TIP! Do NOT assume each shelf is exactly the same height. You want the sheets to fit snug, so take accurate measurements of each shelf and jot them down on a piece of paper for reference.

Next, transfer those measurements to sheets of cardboard using a long ruler as necessary. You may need to use some critical thinking and math skills to figure how how best to layout all the cuts you need from the cardboard you have. Our pantry happens to measure around 30″ wide, so I was able cut two display boards down into 12ish” strips to fit across each shelf. Once laid out, use a utility knife to cut the boards down to size.

Next, trim your wrapping paper down to size using the rotary cutter and ruler (a scissors can also be used but a rotary cutter is so much more precise!), adding an additional 3-4 inches to the height of each cut. Again, since I needed 30″ wide strips and the wrapping paper roll was 30″ wide (an advantage of using wrapping paper!), I just needed to cut the whole roll down into 16ish” tall strips.

Next, apply spray adhesive to the front of each cardboard cut and place the wrapping paper, right side up, onto the front. Use a craft brayer or paper smoother to work out any bubbles and really adhere the wrapping paper to the board. If your wrapping paper has a pattern, make sure you place the paper in a way that continues the pattern to your liking.

TIP! Because wrapping paper is so lightweight, it will billow and appear loose if you hang it directly on the wall. By smoothing it down onto cardboard with spray adhesive, you get the appearance of wallpaper without the cost or the paste!

By cutting the cardboard to fit snuggly into the backs of your shelves, forcing them into place can take a little pressure. You don’t want your paper to catch, rip or pull off during the installation process. As such, I found it best to fold over excess wrapping paper on the top and bottom of the cardboard cuts and glue it in place. This gives you a smooth surface along the top and bottom of each cut that can more easily slide right into your shelves.

TIP! I found that the spray adhesive wasn’t strong enough to hold the paper tight along the back. Any glue would work here – Mod Podge was just what I had on hand!

Ideally, you measured the backs of your shelves accurate enough that your cardboard sheets will fit snug into the available space and stay without anything extra holding them in. If you didn’t measure quite right (and your boards are too loose) or you just want them extra secure, add a small square of double-sided adhesive Velcro to each corner.

Once all of your cardboard sheets are papered and dry, all you have to do is slide them into the backs of your shelves. I measured my sheets pretty tight, so I found it best to lay in the top edge and then carefully and slowly push the bottom edge toward the back wall. If you find your cardboard is bending or warping as you slide it in, you may need to trim it down and reinstall.

TIP! If you are trying to paper larger sections of wall, you may want to practice getting your cardboard in place before you paper it. Even though cuts should technically fit, if you have shelves, doors or trim in your way, it may be challenging to get it into place.

For example, I originally had the larger cut for the very top of my pantry as a single square (it goes all the way to the ceiling). But there was absolutely no way I could get it in there without completely bending the cardboard. By cutting it down into two halves, I could slide each one in without issue. Glad I tested it before I papered it!

This project cost me about $20 and a single nap (how I measure tasks!), and the impact is so worth it! The crisp floral wallpaper with my all-white bins is such a bright and happy combination! This easy project definitely gave our pantry and wow factor in a totally doable and budget-friendly way!

So…this project has a little bit of a funny story. I did this project the day Greg called me to talk about applying to school (see Tuesday’s post if you have no idea what I’m talking about). I remember getting off the phone and thinking to myself…”Gee…I’m so glad I just turned our pantry into the most beautiful spot in our house.” But you know what? I AM so glad I did! It’s been such a bright and happy spot, day and day out, as we’ve been waiting and wondering what’s going to happen over all these months. It really can be the small and easy things that bring you a little joy around the home!

If you can believe it, I have one labeling project left in here and then I can show you the whole thing! (I told you I didn’t really do a thing since that day Greg called…even finish the projects I was in the middle of!). I’m gonna wrap it up this weekend, as well as the kitchen backsplash, and hope to share them both with you soon. I think you guys are gonna love some of the unique storage and labeling solutions I used this time around!

Thank you all so much for the virtual love and understanding on Tuesdays posts! I knew you all would understand, but it was nice to get it out there…and get moving forward again…all the same! See you back here next week!

The post An Easy Way to Add Pattern to Your Pantry with Wrapping Paper appeared first on The Homes I Have Made.

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Oh friends. This one is a biggy, and one I’ve been wanting to explain for a while. But until I had an answer, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to bring it up. Funny enough, I still don’t quite have an answer, but I felt the need/desire to chat about this here and now anyway. So if you’ve been quietly wondering where all my usual home DIY projects and room makeover updates have gone here on the blog or if you are just curious about the latest in our crazy military life…settle on in for a little story…

An Unexpected Wait

Some of you may remember that last summer, I was “changing the tire” on my attitude toward our current house (a house I don’t particularly like). I was ready to take on projects and finally make this house feel more like our home. And I did! In a span of just a few weeks, I worked on a bunch of projects I had been itching to do; and I was truly on a roll embracing this house and turning it into “something resembling lemonade.” #thisisus

Then last Fall, out of the blue, Greg approached me about applying to a specialized military school. If accepted, it would mean an important and significant career shift for him, but it also meant that we’d move this coming summer AND next summer (our current orders keep us here through summer 2019). This school was not in our “plan,” and I was admittedly a little blind-sided by the proposition. But I understood his desire to go and what it would mean for his career, so I supported his decision to apply and everything that his possible acceptance would imply for our family. And so he submitted his application, and we waited for an answer.

As you might imagine, the realization that we might move an entire year earlier than expected put a hold on my plans to make this house truly work for us. And as temporary and budget-friendly as my ideas are, I was having a really hard time justifying all the hard work and resources necessary to transform this house when we might be leaving it so soon and under such unexpected circumstances. As much as I tried to fight the “it’s not worth it” attitude for you guys, every time I went to start a project, I found about a dozen different ways to put it off. In short: if you’ve been wondering where the house projects and room makeovers are…I haven’t been doing them.

You guys – I’ve told you a million times that I always think it’s worth it. It’s worth it to make a home. It’s worth it to feel at peace. It’s worth it to love your surroundings. No matter the house, no matter for how long…I have always believed it’s worth the effort. I’ve built this entire blog on that premise. But in my deepest of hearts…for the first time ever…I’ve been having a really hard time living it. For those of you who wonder how and why I do it over and over again. For those of you who have written me asking where I find the motivation and drive to decorate when I know it’s all gonna come back down. For those of you who can’t fathom hanging a curtain because it’s not your forever home. I get it. I totally, totally get it. Since September, we truly haven’t known how long we’ll be in this house…and that uncertainly caused me some serious home-making paralysis.

Are we staying or are we going?

In my mind it was so clear: In December, we’ll find out if we are staying or going. If we’re staying, I still have 18 months, and my idea list is a mile long! I’ll dig back in and transform this house in my usual way. If we’re going, we’ll spend the Spring sorting, purging and preparing for another move. Then I’ll have a whole new house to start on.

Well…nothing in the military is ever quick, easy, or straightforward. I should know that by now. After waiting for a yes/no answer for about 4 months…just two days before Christmas we got an answer that we honestly forgot was even possible. We got a “maybe.” Greg was chosen as an “alternate,” which is essentially the military’s term for “wait listed.” Meaning: he gets to go if someone else can’t. So…as of right now, we are not moving…and we don’t think we’re moving…and we probably aren’t moving…but there is still a chance over the next few months that he will get a call and we will go.


In the almost 13 years, we’ve been doing this military family thing…this is a situation we haven’t encountered before. Sure, we’ve done a few short-term, one-year moves. But in those circumstances, we knew we were definitely moving at the end of the year. We’ve never quite been in a position where we don’t know if we’re moving or not.

And can I be completely honest? It’s been really, really hard to sit in the “maybe.” Do I go ahead and install that wallpaper backsplash I’ve been waiting to do? Or sit tight and wait a little longer until we know for sure? Do I finally order the curtain fabric that has been sitting in my cart for months so I can enjoy the curtains while I can? Or should I not even bother at all at this point?

I thought December would bring an answer and I’d either jump back into projects or back into moving boxes. I haven’t been able to do either.

Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

So what now? That’s a great question! One that Greg and I wrestle with pretty much daily. The truth is…we are most likely not moving. But knowing that certainly doesn’t keep the thoughts of “what if we get a call tomorrow?!?!” from taking over my mind every time I start a project! But I’m trying…ever so slowly…to push back against those thoughts.

Why? Because we can’t sit on hold for the next 6 months, waiting for a call that might very well not come. And if I sit on my hands with this house much longer, I will never feel at home and at peace here, whether it’s for the next 6 months or 18. As much as I’ve struggled to live it lately, I still very much believe that making a home is worth it. This home, our time here, how we feel here, the memories we’re making here…they are worth my time and effort.

Not getting an answer was certainly a shock at first. And knowing that we can find out any day that we are indeed moving is a fairly uncomfortable way to live…even for us who take our frequent moves in stride. Over the last month though, I think we’ve both recovered from the shock and have gotten comfortable being uncomfortable with the whole situation. I’m not going to wait 6 more months to start loving this home. I said I have a project list a mile long, and I’m officially getting back to it. I’m not sure I can embrace full on room makeovers until we’re truly “in the clear,” but I’m so so ready to implement some easy and smart changes that will help me love this home a lot more and right away. If they have to come down in 6 months, so be it

I hate that home projects and house updates pretty much fell off the radar around here, but I hope you understand why. The good news is: I’m finally ready to get back in that car I changed the tires on and get moving once again. This week: I’m papering that kitchen backsplash!!!!

P.S. If you love these graphics, you can download them and more here!

The post Where are the Home Projects? How Military Life Put Us on a Major Hold appeared first on The Homes I Have Made.

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You all know that one of my favorite details in any organization or furniture makeover project is to line the shelves/drawers with pretty paper. Not only do I love the pop of playful pattern I get to see every time I open a unit; but I also like that shelf liners provide a durable, wipeable surface that is easy to clean, keeping our (rental) features and furniture free from scratches and dents. I’ve used pretty much everything to line cabinets and drawers, including inexpensive contact papers, wrapping paper, and wallpaper. Since we move so much and I am constantly changing my mind on how I want things to look, I typically don’t like to spend a lot of money or time on such projects. But when I recently discovered Chic Shelf Paper and fell in love with one of their patterns, I found myself wondering “Is expensive shelf liner worth the extra cost?” I set about to find out; and in short my answer is “yes!” but I’m guessing you’d like to know why!

One of my all-time favorite furniture makeovers is the china hutch we transformed into a media cabinet

The outside of this piece is simple and classic; but at the time, I chose to line the shelves and back of the lower cabinets with this quite modern, abstract, and (dare I say) ugly shelf liner I found at TJMaxx. I never really liked the paper that much and always knew someday I’d re-paper the inside with something more to my style and liking.

In HomeGoods recently, I stumbled upon four matching boxes (which never happens!) that were perfect for holding most of what we store inside this cabinet (e.g., candles, movie sets, Wii components, etc). The size, colors and pattern of the boxes were perfect. What was not so perfect? How they worked with the hex shelf liner. Suddenly re-papering the inside of this cabinet became a priority.

I had a really, really hard time finding a patterned paper that worked with the new storage boxes. I really wanted something that was chic yet playful but not too busy with the stripes on the boxes. I scoured wrapping paper selections and peel-and-stick wallpaper sites, and just couldn’t find something I liked. When I came across Chic Shelf Papers on the recommendation of a friend and found this Scallops pattern in the Whipped color scheme, I had a hunch it might work. After ordering a free sample of the Fine Weave Fabric option (you can read more about the various paper options here), I was confident I had a match in both color, scale, and design; and I was truly impressed with the texture and durability of the paper! But I was still hesitant to order. At just over $100 for the amount of paper I needed for the project, would it be worth it?

I decided to reach out to Chic Shelf Papers in hopes that they’d allow me to test their product so I could share my results with you. And how lucky for all of us that they said yes! I literally couldn’t wait to put their paper to the test, and boy did I! This project was not exactly a “simple” papering job, but the results turned out so, so great. I am genuinely impressed with this shelf liner…and for certain projects and circumstances, I highly recommend it. Here’s why!


I wish computer technology was advanced enough to allow you to touch this Fine Weave Fabric liner. It’s not your simple roll of sticky paper from Walmart that tears with your finger nail. It’s thick, very durable, and slightly textured. It actually reminds me a lot of the woven peel-and-stick wallpaper from Spoonflower which I’ve worked with on a bunch of different surfaces (dresser, stool, lamps). In fact, if you’re looking for an alternative to peel-and-stick wallpaper, this shelf paper would be great on a kitchen backsplash, bathroom wall, or on tables/shelves in a kids’ play space!

This added thickness, durability, and sturdiness not only makes it ideal for surfaces that may get a lot of wear-and-tear, but it also makes completing a tricky papering job like this one so.much.easier! Let me show you what I mean.

This cabinet is about 60+ inches wide, and I really wanted to paper it all in one stretch (horizontally) so I didn’t have to match any seams. That means I needed to wrangle a 24″ tall by 60″ wide sheet of paper in and around doors, posts, a shelve and a ridge along the back. I had to push, pull, twist, and bend this paper over and over and over to get it into the right spot. It was creased, it was pulled on and off the cabinet countless times, and it even stuck to itself (sticky sides together) on occasion…

…but despite all the tugging and pulling, I was able to smooth down each and every inch throughout the cabinet to achieve a perfect surface! That added weight and durability really allow you to work with it yet still end up with perfectly smooth results!


If you’re new to lining shelves and drawers or the thought of working with huge, sticky sheets of paper in tight spaces gives you the willies, then this might be the paper for you! #saywhat? Usually, I recommend starting with inexpensive products to get the hang of a new (and often exasperating!) technique. But in this case, cheep, poor-quality contact papers can make your job even tougher because they rip, wrinkle and bubble so much easier than higher quality papers. I’ve had to throw sheets of inexpensive paper out because it sticks to itself and I can’t get it unstuck; or I pull it out of the drawer because the bubbles are so bad; or all the stick is gone after the first application and I can’t reposition it. You will be able to remove and reapply this paper several times before you see any changes in the adhesive, allowing you to eventually get the perfect alignment and bubble-free application you’re likely desiring.


Did you catch that when I said I worked with a 24″ tall stretch of shelf liner? Yep! In case you’re not too savvy on shelf liner sizes, that’s much taller than most standard rolls (most are 18-20″). This added height allowed me to fully paper the inside of the cabinet without having to order lots of extra length just to get the necessary depth.

In addition to wider lengths of paper, they also offer sheets cut to sizes of most standard drawers, as well as custom measurements. If you don’t have the time or willingness to wrestle with a roll of paper, the pre-cut sheets are a pretty cool option whether you’re lining a drawer or cabinet or using the papers for another small DIY project!


One of the coolest things about Chic Shelf Papers is they carry several different types of liner types. Every one of their 400 patterns is available in three different finishes. The Laminated Vinyl will look and feel more like standard contact paper. It’s a little less expensive and is great for kitchens and bathrooms. The Fine Weave Fabric (which is what I used here) has a thicker, more durable texture. It’s more expensive, but it’s ideal for furniture projects like this one. Finally, they have Matte paper, which has no adhesive. This paper would be a great to line drawers or even do small craft projects with! You can read more about the different textures here.


Admittedly, there is a reason I used this paper on a cabinet that is ours’ and will move with us over and over again rather than on the insides of drawers in a rental home that we would either have to trash or leave behind. This stuff is designed to last, so it’s a great investment for a forever home or as the finishing touch on a furniture makeover that you’ve lovingly slaved away on. If you are looking for something that will last without tearing, fading, curling or wearing away, this kind of paper would be a worthy investment. That said, if you’re a renter or someone who changes their design whims frequently, sticking to more budget-friendly papers is probably a better bet!

I genuinely loved working with this paper, and I would absolutely use it again on future projects…especially furniture makeover projects or even wall/home DIYs like a fireplace surround, kitchen backsplash, and furniture surfaces. I love that when we open our media cabinet, not only is it nice and organized (see our movie boxes here), but the beautiful paper adds a lovely detail that makes my heart extra happy.

Have you ever worked with really high quality shelf liner before? Did you notice similar difference compared to standard, less expensive options? What type of project would you use such beautiful and durable paper on? I’d love to hear in the comments!

I hope enjoyed seeing this long-overdue furniture update and learning more about various shelf liner options! See you back here on Tuesday!

I did not receive compensation for this blog post; however Chic Shelf Paper did provide the Fine Weave Fabric shelf liner seen in this post for my use and review. Please remember that I only work with brands and products I fully support and that make sense for my home, my family, and this blog. All opinions are 100% my own!

The post Is Expensive Shelf Liner Worth the Extra Cost? appeared first on The Homes I Have Made.

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Blank walls are a tell tale sign of a nomadic lifestyle. After all, the process of hanging things on the wall is rarely quick or easy; so the hassle can rarely seem worth it if you’re only going to be in a place for a short time. That said, one of the best ways I have found to make a home feel more stylish, comfortable, personal and lived in is to actually get things up on the walls! I have no fear when it comes to putting things on our walls; however, I do often struggle to find wall decor that is both stylish and personal, yet doesn’t break the bank. (Since we have new walls to fill every few years, I don’t want to spend a fortune every time!) I’ve already shared with you a few of my favorite sources for budget-friendly artwork, but I also wanted to chat a bit about another strategy I heavily rely on to fill up our walls: family photos! Today I want to show you some family photos I’ve recently (errr…finally!) hung around our home and share my tips for stylish ways to use family photos as artwork in your home!

Go Big

One of the best ways to make a stylish statement with photographs is to go big. Instead of lots of little frames cluttering up walls or surfaces, a single, large print can anchor smaller accessories and provides an excellent focal point in a room. When ordering large, just make sure you select a size that is proportional to where it will be hung/placed.

Hang in Arrangements

If you have a large expanse of wall, several photographs displayed together often looks better than a single, floating frame. Take some time to determine what size/orientation of frames/photographs will best fill out the wall; and don’t forget to account for vertical height as well as horizontal space. If you’re having trouble finding the right balance between too empty and too busy, cut templates from wrapping paper to play with arrangements before committing.

Hang It Where It Can Be Appreciated

Deciding where to hang photographs (rather than artwork) is very much a personal preference. I like to hang colorful artwork in spaces that need a major infusion of design, color or pattern. I then opt to hang photographs in places where we not only need something on the wall, but also where they can truly been seen and appreciated. This collection of family portraits greets us every time we walk up the stairs. Not only do I love that I pass them a million times a day, but it feels appropriate that these more “intimate” style photos are in a place where we as a family and close friends only go.

Be Consistent

I love a good gallery wall where frames, artwork, photographs and accessories are all expertly coordinated for an awesome display. However, there may be spaces in your home where the eclectic, gathered look feels busy or haphazard. When you want a lot of frames without the fuss, considering streamlining your display with consistent print sizes and frame sizes/styles across your entire arrangement.

Mats Add Class

Whether you are framing out a blurry pic you captured with your phone or your favorite family portrait by your trusted photographer, mats make pretty much every shot look better. To up the style on even the most mundane of displays, consider oversized mats, layered mats, or colored mats…each will give a slightly different look to photograph. If your frame didn’t come with a mat, be sure to check out my budget mat trick here!

Go Glassless

Years ago, I ordered a mounted photograph from a professional photo shop and loaded it into a big white frame without the glass. I always loved how crisp and clean the image looked from every angle, so I purposely had this photograph of the boys mounted to mat board as well.

Not only does the crisp color and lack of glare from no glass look so much cleaner and brighter, but I don’t have to worry about a glass frame falling and breaking in the playroom!

Coordinate Outfits to Decor

This tip might be a bit too Type A for some people, but it has truly changed the way I use photographs in our home. I would always be so frustrated to get back great family shots but not be able to hang them in nice big displays because the colors in the photos seriously competed/conflicted with our decor, wall color, etc. It then occurred to me to intentionally dress for the printed photos…meaning: match our outfits to the decor where the prints will most likely hang. It was no accident that we wore blues, blacks, browns, and stripes for our most recent family photo shoot. I knew I’d be able to incorporate the images into almost any room of our house because those colors work and play well with almost all of our decor!

Neutralize with Black and White

If you can’t color coordinate outfits/subject matter with your decor, or if you have photos that don’t relate to each other at all, you can still make any photo(s) work together and in any room by switching them to black-and-white. Black and white photos work with pretty much any style. They are instantly classic, and work as a neutral in any color scheme. If you really want photos on your wall but don’t know how to do it well, going black-and-white is a pretty safe bet!

Keeping Photographs Affordable

Compared to artwork, using photographs to decorate your wall can certainly be a cheaper option; but printing photographs can certainly be far from inexpensive. And since photographs are more likely to be swapped out regularly as families grow and change, keeping photo printing costs down is certainly a priority (at least in this household!). For smaller photos or displays that I know are going to be very temporary, I don’t hesitate to print photos off my home printer. But for larger prints that will likely be on display in our home for several years, I like to have them professionally printed.

I’ve used companies such as Shutterfly and Walmart to print large photos in the past, but when compared to professional photo printers, I’ve always been a little disappointed in the quality and vibrancy of the prints. I then started to read a lot about mpix on other blogs, in magazines, and on social media. Their promise of professionally printed quality combined with super affordable prices certainly intrigued me; and I loved all size, paper, finish and mounting options. I placed an order for all the various prints you see in this post; and within days, I had a neatly packaged set of photographs arrive on my doorstep ready for hanging!

I will admit, my expectations were pretty low. I feel like I’ve ordered large prints from various online retailers before and the quality always underwhelms me when they finally arrive. But this time was truly different. I had almost forgotten what nice quality photographs look like. These 11×14 prints with lustre coating were literally stunning.  The paper, the texture, the colors…everything was so crisp and vibrant…and each 11×14″ print cost about $9!

Mpix’s promise of professional quality at affordable prices is spot on. This gorgeous 16×20 print with lustre texture mounted on double mat board (for my glassless frame!) cost about $30. I’m pretty sure I paid over $100 the last time I ordered a mounted photograph this same size.

And their easy-to-use website allowed me to easily change sizes, colors, and finishes according to my specifications! In short, I couldn’t be more thrilled with the prices, the quality, the service!

I love having pictures of our family on our walls. But it’s also very important to me that they look as stylish as they feel personal. Having really high quality prints is a great start; but combining great photographs with these easy framing and arranging tips will help your walls feel less like your family photo album and more like a curated display of your family’s favorite memories!

Have a great weekend my friends – see you back here next week!

I did not receive compensation for this blog post; however mpix did provide the photographs seen in this post for my use and review. Please remember that I only work with brands and products I fully support and that make sense for my home, my family, and this blog. All opinions are 100% my own!

The post Stylish Ways to Use Family Photos as Artwork for Your Home appeared first on The Homes I Have Made.

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As many of you know, I rely on my Cricut Explore to make a variety of projects week in and week out including decor, gifts, labels and more. And one of my very favorite things to create with is vinyl! Many people feel intimidated to work with vinyl, and for good reason: it can be a little tricky to cut, weed, and apply. But with some good techniques and a lot of practice, it can be one of the quickest, funnest and easiest craft mediums to work with! Almost two years ago, I wrote a post detailing all my best trips and tricks for getting great results on vinyl projects. And while that post is still the most popular page on my entire site, it leaves out a large component of vinyl crafting: working with glitter vinyl! You wouldn’t think glitter vinyl is much different than standard vinyl, but it is. And after years of receiving many questions from exasperated readers about the nuances of glitter vinyl, I finally figured it was time to share some of the best practices I’ve learned when creating super sparkly projects! If you’ve found yourself frustrated when working with glitter vinyl or have been too scared to give it a go, here are some tips and inspiring projects to get you going!

This post contains affiliate links. You can read my Disclosure & Privacy Policy here.

What Is Glitter Vinyl?

Glitter vinyl is exactly what it sounds like…glittery, sparkly vinyl. You use it in mostly the same way you would use standard vinyl. But rather than the matte or glossy finish you get with traditional vinyl, glitter vinyl gives a pretty, sparkly sheen to your designs. Like standard vinyl, it comes in an array of colors and can be cut with your Cricut Explore (or any e-cutter) to make any design you can dream up!

Admittedly, glitter vinyl is not something I work with too much. I am a boy mom after all, and sparkles are not something I personally craft with a whole lot. That said, I’ve used it here and there for holiday projects and gifts, and have worked with it a bunch in preparation for my Craftsy class last Fall. The sparkly texture of glitter vinyl sure gives your projects a wonderful, unique finish; but it can also be really frustrating and tricky to work with. From difficulty seeing weed lines to getting your images to stick to your transfer paper, here are some things to try in order to get the same great results you’re used to.

Check Your Mat

Glitter vinyl is a bit stiffer than standard vinyl, so you may need to take extra care to make sure your vinyl is firmly secured to your mat before you start cutting (or else you risk your designs not cutting well). When you first go to stick your glitter vinyl to your mat, you may notice that is has a strong tendency to curl up on itself. While you can gently bend your vinyl backwards to help relax it a bit, I find it best to just use a very sticky mat when working with glitter vinyl. A new mat with strong stick will keep the sturdier vinyl nice and flat so your designs cut with precision.

Check Your Dial Setting

Because of the sparkly, rougher texture of glitter vinyl, it requires a bit more blade pressure than regular vinyl. As such, don’t use the “Vinyl” setting on your Explore dial. Instead, set your dial to “Custom.”

When you do this, you will be given a drop-down menu in the Cricut Design Space cut screen. Select “Glitter Vinyl” under the Custom Vinyl options. Now the Cricut Explore is perfectly calibrated to cut your glitter vinyl at the right depth!

Check Your Blade

Glitter and other rough textures can dull your blade quite easily. So if you are using a clean mat and your dial is set as described above but you are still getting really poor cuts on your glitter vinyl, then you may need to swap out your blade. With a clean blade and the proper dial setting, you should get the same precise cuts, even on small intricate designs, that you get with other mediums.

TIP! Still having trouble? Try switching to a Deep Cut Blade. Although it’s not technically necessary for glitter vinyl, I find that this stronger, deeper blade always gives me great cuts, no matter what I’m working on!

Weeding Glitter Vinyl

Although desinging and cutting glitter vinyl are both pretty straight forward, it’s in the weeding of your designs that you are most likely to run into trouble. That sparkly texture that makes your projects look so good also makes your cut lines VERY difficult to see…which means it can be quite the challenge to weed out the correct parts of your design. It can be so frustrating to accidentally poke or weed out parts of your design you really need, so try these two methods to light up those lines:

USE A WINDOW. One of the best ways to illuminate your cut lines is to use a window. After your design is cut, remove the entire sheet of vinyl (backing and all) and hold it up to a window (during daylight). If your design is simple, simply hold it up to see the cut lines and then weed down on your work surface. If your design is complex, tape your vinyl to the window (use scraps of Strong-Grip Transfer Paper to secure it) and weed your design up on the window.

USE CRICUT’S BRIGHT PAD. If you plan to work with glitter vinyl a lot, you might want to consider investing in Cricut’s new Bright Pad.

Admittedly, I didn’t think I’d use this gadget a whole lot, but I LOVE its sleek design, ease of use, and how well it lights up projects. All those intricate cut lines that can be very hard to see without illumination are crystal clear! I love that the Bright Pad makes complex weeding a breeze, but it also really helps with layering too!

TIP! I find taping my cut vinyl to the top of the Bright Pad with extra scraps of Strong-Grip transfer paper is best for keeping the vinyl still while you weed.

Do You Have to Use Transfer Paper with Glitter Vinyl?

One of the coolest things about glitter vinyl is that you don’t necessarily have to fuss with transfer paper, depending on your design and what you’re making. Remember that stiffness I was talking about earlier? Well, it’s that stiffer, firmer texture that helps glitter vinyl act more like a sticker than standard vinyl. Meaning? Glitter vinyl isn’t nearly as flimsy so it won’t fly around, distort, or stick to itself in the same way standard vinyl does. This means that if you have a fairly simple design that doesn’t require layering or precise spacing, you likely don’t need to use transfer paper. Simply peel it up off the paper backing (use tools if necessary), and place as you would a sticker (see image below). I cannot tell you exactly when you do and do not need to use transfer paper on your glitter vinyl projects, but here’s a good guideline: if you can easily peel up your design without ripping or distorting it, you likely don’t need to use transfer paper!

All About Strong-Grip Transfer Paper

All that said, there may be times when you absolutely should use transfer paper with glitter vinyl. Some examples include a project that requires very precise spacing (like my mermaid backpack), or designs that have disconnected elements, small details that could easily rip/distort, or multiple layers. In these instances, transfer paper will make moving your design from your cut mat to your final project so much easier. BUT!!!! You can’t use just any old transfer paper you have lying around! That same sparkly texture that makes glitter vinyl difficult to weed also makes it more difficult to pick up with transfer paper. Therefor, Cricut makes a Strong-Grip Transfer Paper specially designed for glitter vinyl projects.

TIP! Every roll of Cricut-brand glitter vinyl comes with a sheet of Strong Grip Transfer Paper inside the roll. If you find you need more than what is provided, you can buy it by the roll too!

TIP! The difference in “stickiness” between Standard and Strong-Grip Transfer Paper is significant. If you are working with standard vinyl and cannot get the transfer paper to let go of your project, double check that you aren’t using Strong-Grip. Strong-Grip Transfer Paper says it right on the roll!

I’ll be honest with you: working with glitter vinyl and Strong-Grip Transfer Paper requires patience…a lot of it. Here’s why: the strong-grip transfer paper is VERY sticky, so getting it to pick up your glitter vinyl design isn’t too hard. But getting it to “let go” of your vinyl design onto your final project can be very, very challenging. Here is my best advice:

  • Don’t rush.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Don’t work with children underfoot. #beentheredonethat
  • Use your tools, especially the scraper and weeding tools.
    • Use your scraper tool with a lot of pressure, on the outside of your transfer paper, to really stick the vinyl to your project (below left).
    • Use your weeding tool to carefully separate the lead edge of your design from the strong-grip transfer paper. Once the lead edge of each element is stuck to your project, it will usually separate from the transfer paper as you carefully pull the transfer paper away (below right).
  • Don’t rush. Yes, I repeated this on purpose.
  • Step away if you’re getting frustrated. #beentheredonethattoo

Like anything, working with glitter vinyl can require some patience and practice. You’ll get the hang of it!

Can You Layer Glitter Vinyl?

Even though glitter vinyl does have that rough, sparkly texture, it can still be easily layered for multi-colored projects. I do recommend using transfer paper to layer designs with precision; and I don’t recommend layering more than 2-3 colors because it can get quite thick.

Deep Dive Into Cricut Vinyl

If you’re just getting into working with vinyl…standard vinyl, glitter vinyl, all types…be sure to check out my Craftsty class: Deep Dive Into Cricut Vinyl. I cover everything I’ve chatted about here AND more, including how to use the Bright Pad, as well as my technique for really getting transfer paper to let go of vinyl images. Right now, THIHM subscribers can get the class for 50% off by subscribing below!

Learn all my best tips and tricks in my online class:
note: we will never spam you
Deep Dive Into
Cricut Vinyl!

I’d love to know if you’ve worked with glitter vinyl before!! What have you made? Did you get frustrated? Any tips and tricks you’ve discovered for getting great results? Please share in the comments!

Cricut Explore for Home Decor Series!

I realize there are so many great Cricut Explore tutorials and resources available on the web…many of which I use. However, I’ve picked up some useful tips, tricks, and shortcuts along the way, and this series is all about sharing and explaining these skills! If there is something you want me to cover, be sure to leave me a comment! Otherwise, be sure to check out all the posts in this series by clicking on the images below:

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I have a super quick and easy labeling DIY to share with you guys today! If, like me, your organizing and labeling up a storm in the New Year, you’ll love how quick and easy these DIY Chalkboard Basket Labels come together thanks to some simple and inexpensive off-the-shelf tags. They are sturdy, wipeable, and oh-so-customizable, making them perfect for labeling a variety of items throughout the entire house!  Read on to see how easy it can be to get simple chalkboard labels on your baskets, and what I did to dress them up for our playroom (because I can never leave anything simple, can I?)!

This post contains affiliate links. You can read my Disclosure & Privacy Policy here.

A chalkboard finish seamlessly fits into almost any style. And adding chalkboard labels around the home is not only great a great aesthetic, but their wipe-ability makes them a no-brainer solution for areas that tend to change often. Once upon a time, the only way to get chalkboard-style labels was to make them yourself using chalkboard paint. Now, you can find a chalkboard finish on almost anything…including gift tags!

Although chalkboard tags are theoretically meant for packages, I’ve discovered they make awesome basket labels; and my favorite ones lately are the Recollections-brand tags from Michaels. Here is the package you’re looking for (below left); and because Michaels can be a maze sometimes, below right, is the section they are in (look for party invitations and decor).

Side Note: Pretty much everything on that wall would make for adorable basket labels. You better bet I  have some more versions in the works to show you soon!

I love these tags for a few reasons. Not only do they come in so many fun sizes and good shapes, but their chalkboard surface is 100% wipeable (when you use a chalk marker) and the chipboard they are made of is super thick and durable. They are sturdy enough to withstand high traffic areas, grubby hands, and lots of banging around!

Ready to see how easy it is to turn these gift tags into basket labels? Simply write on them with a chalk marker and then thread a piece of string, twine, ribbon, wire or pipe cleaner through the tag hole and loop the ends through itself (shown below left). Then feed the two loose ends through two holes/spaces on your basket and knot them on the inside (below right).

In just a few minutes and for only a few dollars, you can add chalkboard labels to pretty much any basket with some sort of weave or holes along the sides. If your basket has a tight wicker-like weave, consider using a needle to thread the strings through to the inside!

Pssst – Wondering about my Y-Weave Baskets? They are my absolute favorite and you can find them in almost every room of my house. Shop the selection here

So that’s the super simple version of chalkboard labels. But I am me, so of course I felt the need to dress these easy and cute labels up a notch for our playroom:

The chalkboard-style works really well in our playroom, but I didn’t want the labels hanging loose on a string (mainly because I like a cleaner look AND I didn’t want kids pulling on them). Also, I don’t love my handwriting, and I still find picture labels both darling and more intuitive for various-aged kids. So with a few more supplies and just a bit more time, I customized the chalkboard tags a bit more. Here’s what I used:

  1. Recollections Chalkboard Tags
  2. Brass Paper Fasteners
  3. Hole Punch
  4. Chalk Markers OR
  5. White Vinyl

To make the labels a bit more secure on the basket, I decided to add a second hole to each tag. This not only gave another point to attach the tag to the basket, but I also liked how a second hole balances out the overall look of the label. These tags are thick, so your average hole punch likely won’t do the trick. I used a punch that I’ve had for ages; you can find a similar set here.

No need to measure, friends. Just punch a second hole on the other side of the tag…

Next, add whatever you’d like to the label, whether it’s your own writing, stickers, numbers, colors, symbols…whatever makes sense for what you’re labeling. I chose to cut out a variety of images from white vinyl that match the various toy baskets in our playroom.

Pssst – If you need a bit more help creating image labels on your Cricut machine, you can reference this tutorial. Also, if you’re labeling household items, these images would certainly come in handy!

To secure the labels to the baskets, you can certainly use your imagination. I discovered a while back that using paper fasteners (yep, from the office store) is just so quick and easy, and looks so clean and polished! Simply slide the brads through the holes on both the tag and the basket and then open on the inside of the basket. By securing these labels with two brads, they are pretty difficult for little hands to pull off!

There are a lot of different sizes and shapes of these chalkboard tags available, but based on the size of your baskets, you may find that you need to re-shape them even more. For our smaller baskets, I simply trimmed a square tag in half…

…and then labeled and secured them to our baskets in the same way!

If you find the brads just not your thing (or you worry about little brads in the hands of little ones) you can still use string with the two holes for a cleaner, more secure attachment. Thread a piece of ribbon or twine through the holes as shown below left. Then thread the string through the holes in your basket and knot on the inside (below right)…

With the string knotted nice and tight, your chalkboard labels will be secure on your baskets, and you won’t need to worry about “bling” or little pieces.

Using vinyl images on chalkboard labels may seem a bit silly. But I really wanted the look of chalkboard yet still have the readability of the picture labels for the variety of ages that play in our playroom. As time goes on, I can easily peel off the images and write on the labels with chalk markers…meaning these inexpensive chalkboard tags give me a great look with ultimate flexibility for our ever-evolving playroom!

I’ve been working on organizing our playroom toys for a year now (what?!?!). It’s been kind of a long and crazy process (which I will tell you all about), but these new labels were one of the last elements to finally fall into place. It feels so good to have our toys purged, sorted, organized and labeled, and I can’t wait to share our current toy organization strategies with you soon. Have a great weekend, friends!

The post Super Simple DIY Chalkboard Basket Labels appeared first on The Homes I Have Made.

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Many of you long-time readers will recall that Henry’s nursery and toddler room (way back in our North Carolina house) had a green ceiling. But after years of loathing it, I finally had it painted back to bright white. Re-painting the ceiling was annoying, hard work, and expensive, so I swore I’d never try the trend again. To this day, I still consider that painted ceiling one of my biggest design mistakes. And then…I painted Sam’s ceiling in our current home blue. This time however, it works SOOO well; and his nursery transformation remains one of my favorite room makeovers ever. So how do the two differ? Why does it work this time around? What should I have done differently the first time? The colored ceiling trend is still going strong lately, so read on to find out my tips for getting a painted ceiling right so you can save yourself the paint, backache, and regret of getting it wrong!

Getting It Wrong

For those of you not familiar with the room, here is Henry’s bedroom two houses ago. When we first moved in, I was chomping at the bit to transform every inch of that house…and boy, I sure did! Before moving in, I pinned and pinned and pinned ideas and fell very hard for the look of a colored ceiling. I thought a kid’s space was the perfect place to try it, so with the help of our friends, we painted his ceiling lime green.

However, after about a year, I really started to hate the ceiling and wished daily it was white. Finally, 6 months before moving out, I had it painted back to bright white because I just couldn’t take it anymore!

So where did I go wrong?


My first mistake was that I didn’t test paint colors AT ALL. Not anywhere throughout the house, and certainly not on the ceiling. I simply walked into The Home Depot…picked a bunch of paint swatches that appealed to me. Hemmed and hawed over them (on the swatches, not on the wall), and ultimately picked the one I liked and matched the fabrics in the room the best. At that time, I was crushing hard on lime green, and the color we chose was certainly that. It had very strong yellow undertones which ultimately did not work with the warmer, beige colors on the wall; and it also cast a putrid, sickly look onto everything in the room (people included!). Testing the paint colors in the room and on the ceiling would have allowed me to better anticipate how yellow/green and sickly the room would eventually feel!


I genuinely think my second mistake was that I used green on the ceiling because of that sickly glow I mentioned above. There might be a green paint out there that doesn’t cast a green tint onto everything in the room, but my quick research for green ceilings doesn’t quite convince me. In fact, the only rooms with green ceilings I could find that actually work are these three:

1 | 2 | 3

…and notice that each of them is tempered with a heavy dose of white. So while green may work in some rooms and homes, I’m not convinced it’s the best and most flattering ceiling color. If you’re really pining for a green ceiling, research hard to find the right shade, hue and saturation that doesn’t contaminate the rest of the space!


If you look closely at the picture of Henry’s green ceiling, you’ll notice there is a sheen to the finish. That is because I used eggshell-finish paint on the ceiling. Did you know that you’re not supposed to use glossy finishes on the ceiling? I didn’t. #butIdonow! Unless you are taking on some brave and bold design, you are typically supposed to use FLAT paint on the ceiling to reduce glare and reflection around the room. While I certainly think I got both the color (green) and the specific shade wrong, I can’t help but wonder if it would have been more tolerable had I used flat paint that didn’t act like a huge lime green mirror on our ceiling!


Because I was so frustrated by my green ceiling, I did quite a bit of “research” to figure out how and why I got it wrong. And when I say “research,” I mean comparing similar images on Pinterest. I determined that not only do you need to get the color and finish right, but there needs to be some sort of trim or moulding to help “frame out” the color. The intersection of where my green ceiling and beige walls met always felt unpolished and awkward. But if you look at some other sample images below, each and every one of them has crown moulding to help break-up the ceiling from the wall and showcase the color on the ceiling. I personally think distinct separation between the ceiling and walls is necessarily if you’re going to highlight your ceiling with color.

1 | 2 | 3

Getting It Right

So now that I’ve shown and explained how I got it wrong, let’s take a look at Sam’s current nursery, where I feel the blue painted ceiling works very, very well.

When I first designed the room, I had the wallpaper on the ceiling (to mimic a starry sky) and the paint on the walls. But as I played with it more, I realized that the overall design really did look better with the blue on the ceiling and stars on the wall. But since I “swore off” colored ceilings, I was hesitant to try again. When I came to the conclusion that the ceiling was the better place for the blue paint, I set about to remedy all the mistakes I made the first time around and the results have been so much sweeter!

So what worked this time around?


Test the paint! Although I shared in this post that the final blue color we used was a bit of a gamble, that gamble came after I had tested 4 samples that were very, very wrong (yet I was sure they would all work in the store!) I started just as I did before…I used my room design and fabrics to help narrow down choices at the hardware store. This time though, I brought a sample of each and painted some patches on both the upper wall AND the ceiling. Before the paint had even dried, I could tell I had gotten the colors all wrong – they were all way “too baby” blue and way too saturated. I’ve shared that picking paint colors is not one of my greatest strengths, so I ultimately chose to rely on the blue on our paint card that we’re using for our entire house. Since our current wall color is also represented on the card, I had some confidence it would work. I did choose to cut the color down with 50% white so it wasn’t so intense on the ceiling, which turned out to be a very well-paying gamble. Lesson learned: test your paint ON the surfaces you will be applying it and consider cutting the saturation by at least half!


Pick ceiling-friendly colors! I honestly don’t think I will ever again paint a ceiling green, but I was a little more willing to give it a go with blue because I’ve seen it done well over and over again. Here were just some of the rooms that gave me that gentle nudge to try it again.

1 | 2 | 3

In general, I think blues, pinks, and neutrals (greys, beiges, and even black!) work well on ceilings; and I would stick to softer, lighter, more pastel hues (except for black, obviously). Although I was able to find some rooms with bright, saturated ceilings that looked really great in photographs, I’m not convinced they didn’t cast a strong color “glow” on the rest of the room in real life. Testing the paint in your room will certainly help you decide what color and saturation is best with your floors, walls, and available light, but I just caution that you be very aware of how pervasive the color on the ceiling can be throughout the room and on the people in it!


Use FLAT paint. Period.


I don’t want to say “only try painted ceilings when you have some trim to help set it off,” but based on my own experience and “research,” I’ve done…I really, really recommend painting your ceiling ONLY if your room has crown moulding or some sort of other trim that helps set off and showcase the ceiling color. The moulding in Sam’s room is about 24″ from the ceiling. Truth be told, the trim actually looked really random with the original wall color and worked SO much better once the ceiling and top of the wall were painted a consistent color (even BEFORE the installation of the wallpaper).

You can certainly give a painted ceiling a go without trim, but adding trim or painting to the trim that is already there, will give the painted ceiling a more distinct and complete look.


Pair a colored ceiling with neutral walls and flooring. I think another reason why the blue ceiling worked so well in this room (and the other rooms I showcased here) is that it contrasted so beautifully with the bright white walls and neutral carpet on the floor. If you want/have colored walls and/or a bright, multi-colored rug on the floor, color on the ceiling might not be the best choice. As designers would say: “your eye needs a place to rest.” If you add color on the ceiling, be sure to keep other large elements in the room a little more neutral. This not only keeps the room from being too overwhelming and busy, but also allows your colored ceiling to really shine!

1 | 2 | 3

One of the best parts of moving so frequently is that I get to make some really fun (and bold!) design choices and learn from them. There have been things I’ve done that I can’t wait to do again in our next or forever home; but there are also things that I’ve “been there, done that, don’t need to try it again.” Having so many different homes to decorate and un-decorate truly allows me to examine why things work in one space and not the other, and also gives me (many!) new opportunities to get it right. I hope you enjoyed this “tour” of various painted ceilings and you find my tips and tricks helpful! I’d love to hear if you like the painted ceiling trend, have tried it in your home, and what you’ve found the be a “safe” combination when adding color to your ceilings?!?

Thanks for your patience as I slow roll back into the blogging groove after the holidays! Project reveals will (finally!) start coming your way this Friday! See you then!

The post The Tale of Two Painted Ceilings (and Tips and Tricks for Getting It Right) appeared first on The Homes I Have Made.

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Do you all know I write a weekly newsletter? Yep!! I started writing my newsletter about a year ago with one main goal in mind: not to clutter up your Inbox with yet ‘another newsletter,’ but rather to make my weekly update something truly informative and helpful for your life or home. As such, the email I send out every Friday afternoon is not only filled with blog news, behind-the-scenes info, and product information, but it also includes a unique Organization Quick Tip you won’t necessarily find on the blog. These “Quick Tips” are doable and easy ideas or solutions that can be implemented in your home/life right away and in just a few minutes. They have been tried/used in our own home and make a big difference in creating a little more order and a little less stress for our family. My hope is that you all take them, leave them, or simply give them a try to see if they help your life in some small way! Well…with the New Year upon us, I have a hunch that many of us have organizing, simplifying, and decluttering on the brain. So to motivate and encourage us all, I’ve taken all of the 2017 Organization Quick Tips and packaged them into a pretty little e-book for all of you! If you’re looking for quick, easy, and manageable ways to become more organized this year, read on to see how to get your copy!

The little gem of an e-book is chock-full of really fun and useful ideas for all areas of your home and life. From creating systems that save time to finding ways to keep a hold on clutter, there’s something here for everyone. And even if you’ve been an avid reader of my newsletters all year, there are some new goodies in here too!

All of the weekly Quick Tips from the newsletter are condensed and summarized into 6 colorful pages!

Also included are 12 inspiring organization-themed quotes you can print out and place around your home for added motivation and inspiration!

You all know how much I love printables, but one fun thing about this e-book is you don’t have to print it out to enjoy it! It’s formatted and ready to go for you to enjoy on any device you prefer!


Finally, the PDF includes clickable links to some of my easiest organization projects featured here on the blog…

…as well as the tried-and-true organization supplies I rely on over and over again!

It is my hope that this fun, handy little e-book gives you some new ideas for simplifying your home, as well as puts some inspiring ‘pep in your step’ if you’re ready to make some organization-themed changes this New Year!

So, I hope you are excited to get your hands on this fun mini e-book! Here’s how!

If you’re already a subscriber to my newsletter, it should already be in your Inbox right now! I sent out the Friday newsletter early, and inside it is your copy ready to download!

If you are not yet on my list, simply subscribe to my newsletter using the form below, and the 50+ Organization Quick Tips e-book will be sent directly to you after you confirm your email address! Pssst – If you’ve confirmed your account and still don’t see my email in your Inbox, please check your Spam/Trash folders before emailing me!

Get my best home and organization tips delivered straight to your Inbox each week and get this FREE e-book as your gift!

And with that my friends….I wish you a very, very Happy-and-Organized New Year! I look forward to having you on my newsletter list and sharing even more quick and easy organizing ideas with you in the weeks and months to come! Happy organizing!

The post 50+ Quick Tips to Get You More Organized – A FREE Mini E-Book! appeared first on The Homes I Have Made.

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