You all know I have chatted about some of my online struggles as of late, and one of those frustrations is that it has just been too long since I have had a true lightbulb moment. I have been craving a stroke of creativity that pushes me I come up with a solution I haven't seen done 1,001 times before. And it finally happened! I thought of a new use for a common product and it really helped me with organizing our son's new closet drawers. So, if you have already seen this little idea of mine somewhere else, can you do me a favor and not tell me? #bestfriendpact
To say these little things really excite me is an understatement. I selected a new unit for our son's closet that offered up five large drawers of storage, but those large drawers needed a little division to prevent them from becoming full-on jumbled messes down the road. This super quick and easy project was born out of a need that wasn't being met by retailers, and also by giving myself a few days to let my ideas swirl.
You can see the most recent photos of the closet in this post here; the interior measurements of the drawers come in at 25 1/2" x 21". That is a LOT of drawer area! And I really didn't realize it until I put some of his clothes inside and started looking for interior organizers and dividers. So much new space to play with!
I considered quite a few options, and the ultimate goal was to add front-to-back dividers to all of the drawers to categorize the articles of clothing by type.
We have DIY'd quite a few drawer organizers over the years (I will link those projects below), but none of our previous methods were standing out as great options here. Although it seems simple enough to add a divider down the center of a drawer, there are a lot of ways to achieve this, but most are permanent. Especially if you are looking for something that is a bit sturdier. My objective was to do something easy, not construction heavy, and not permanent to the drawer. He is a growing boy and how the drawers are used is sure to evolve over the years.
I have seen expandable dividers on the market, and they were my "go to" for this project. But the more I searched, the more I realized that they are generally A) costly and B) don't fit the full depth of these larger drawers. I also needed 6-7 dividers, and when I started adding all of those up, it seemed a bit silly to spend $50+ on something to hold shirts in place.
And that is when I came up with the idea to use cord clips! I have used them to hold toothbrushes, pens and of course, cords, so why not a slim piece of wood? It just might work!
The best part is that the adhesive on the rubber cord clips can be removed from any surface (sometimes with a little help from rubbing alcohol or heat), or the clip can be used with a Command Strip as well. No commitment required.
So I did a little online searching and shopping and found a pack of twelve for $7 with free shipping. I quickly placed my order and went to Home Depot to search for thin wood options. (Note: There are plenty of more expensive options in terms of the rubber cord clips, but for this type of project, these worked great for us and I didn't notice a difference in quality when compared to others I have used in the past.)
Could you use foam core? Probably! But I really wanted something sturdy. I have used foam core in the past, and while it is a cheap and great option, it doesn't always stand the test of time. And with a careless kiddo, I ruled that out quickly.
I found a few inexpensive wood types to select from (like this, this and this), but ultimately decided the biggest bang for my buck was to purchase a couple of these boards and cut them down to size. That way I could take advantage of both the height and width I wanted and get two full dividers from a single piece of craft wood. (You may also have luck finding easy-to-cut options at craft stores.)
We cut the boards to just shy of the drawer height and width and sanded down the edges to a smooth finish.
Quick Tip: You can also have the wood cut for you at Home Depot (you may just want to be prepared to still do a light sanding on the edges).
Then measured inside the drawer and used a pencil to mark the location of the dividers.
Using a straight edge, we drew a light line on the inside of the drawer that could later be erased/washed off. This gave us a visual of where to place the cord clips.
Once the cord clips are in place, it is as simple as inserting the wood pieces.
Quick Tip: We cut the wood about a half an inch shorter than the drawer, so it was still a tight fit. I found it easiest to place a finger under each clip when installing the wood pieces to prevent the clips from sliding down/slipping.
Once I had all of that figured out, I decided to wrap the boards with some white vinyl. They could also be stained or painted, this was just the cleanest, quickest solution at the time.
I couldn't fold and put away his clothes fast enough!
We still have some final closet details to wrap up and then I will share all of the organization and do a quick folding tutorial for the shirts. I would rather file clothes than paperwork any day!
OK, so that was a lot of words for the quickest customizable drawer divider project ever! To summarize:
Measure, cut the wood to length, mark the drawer, stick the cord grips, add the wood divider. DONE!
There are no limits to how many you can add, or the number of ways you can divide the drawer to fit your needs. This is especially helpful for those deeper drawers, like dressers and pantries, in which there may not be a lot of off-the-shelf options on the market. And the wood slats can also be customized to compliment the drawer and contents with paper, paint, stain, etc.... So many wins! Definitely my favorite DIY divider solution to date.
Speaking of DIY drawer dividers, as promised, below you can find a variety of alternative solutions that may better fit your project needs:
We are finally here! The day I have been waiting for over a month worth of sanding, patching, painting, painting some more, assembling closet components, swapping outlets and switches, adding hardware, and installing base, casing and crown mouldings. The room was completely reconstructed and we are now left with an absolutely wonderful blank canvas for our growing boy.
Above you see a glimpse of our son's bedding. He picked it out last summer when we started talking about this room update, and it has been the foundation for all of the color selections in the room thus far. It is a combination of bold plaid on one side and a small scale gingham on the other, I absolutely love how the two patterns compliment. We have always wanted to do a darker ceiling and thought this would be the perfect time to play. But with a louder ceiling choice I wanted the walls to sort of fade away, so the final two colors ended up being Benjamin Moore Blue Dusk for the ceiling and Sherwin Williams Nebulous Cloud on the walls. They also like to give compliments, to each other, to the bedding, and to our son of course!
This point in the game my mind starts racing! This room could still go in a bazillion directions and my ideas are spilling out of me like I have been hopped up on a 30-day straight caffeine binge. These blank spaces hold so much potential, but can quickly downward spiral (been there, done that), so I am moving our son back in and taking a few days to nail down some of the bigger decisions. We have picked out a few things, but as we all know, those can change too! It always seems like one thing leads to another, eh?
As you can see a couple images back, the map we DIY'd years ago is still there. Not because I was so attached to it that I couldn't let it go, but just because I don't really have a solution for anything that is any better. We like the overall grand statement that it makes, but really aren't partial to it staying or changing.
He also has the same bed and headboard, also because it is still functioning fine and the color of the fabric still works. I am considering spraying the frame black though, just to give it some new life and a little more substance.
We are going to play with some patterns through layering bedding, which I always love to mix and match. Just like any designer will tell you not to purchase all of your furniture from a single showroom, I feel the same way about bed linens! Something from here, something else from there. Large patterns with small patterns. To get started I tossed some mossy green throw pillows on the bed and really liked the color combo and the warmth it added to all of the grays and blues.
Speaking of warmth, I am definitely planning on bringing in some wood tones, both in the closet rods and baskets, and also through some sort of shelving or over-the-desk organizer. The desk is awesome (we have this one), and it is a really great size for our son to spread out and work on all of his projects and homework. He is also using a stand-in chair from another room until we can get him something comfortable and special. I am keeping my eye on Craigslist for a chair I can reupholster to give him a little cush for his tush.
Now that everything is trimmed out, we are 100% sold on adding a decorative sliding door to conceal the closet opening and strange trim solution. We must have gone back and forth on the trim for the closet opening about a hundred times and I am still not sure about the solution. Is it weird that a piece of trim just ends into a wall like that? I didn't think it would bug me, but it sort of does. But I have also been looking at it for far too long now. We will be adding a long black track and building a door with a pattern (here is the inspiration door), which should then conceal the trim when closed.
Everything was purchased from IKEA and I am super stoked about how much storage was added! The drawers and pull out tray are really good sizes! The soft-close function is always a much-appreciated bonus feature!
So far I added some of this paper to the back of the entire tower, and I might just have enough to also do the wall behind his hanging area. We still have to add a top shelf and the double hanging rods, and then I will decide for sure. The pattern is absolutely perfect for making the most out of every inch of the paper.
You may also have noticed the new drawer hardware! I had been eying up these pulls originally but came across some with a similar shape for half of the price (I purchased mine from Wayfair for about $3.70 each, but they have since gone up in price. I also found them reasonably on Amazon here). The only problem was the finish was much shinier than the inspiration pulls, so I also grabbed a can of flat black spray paint and now they look really sharp on the new drawers!
Another really great find was the light fixture! It's about a 12" diameter, and with a higher-wattage bulb puts out plenty of overhead light! We are also toying with the idea of adding some wall sconces above or on each side of the large map.
So although we still have a lot to think about and decide, we have such a great base and some great pieces to hit the ground running. Here are a few more specifics:
2 // I saw this sliding door and promptly showed my son and he was all about it. Which was great news because so was I! Isn't it amazing? Everything down to the color is calling our names, so we hope to build something inspired by that design. We already purchased this hardware and the installation of it all is sure to be a bit of a learning curve!
3 // The original navy ikat style curtain panels are coming back (fabric source)!
5 // You saw the light already, but it is an awesome price and is pairing so well with the other metals selected in the room. Props to Home Depot for having such a huge lighting selection online!
6 // We have quite a few natural wood frames in our home and they are always one of those "for sure / no fail" accessory items. I was bummed when Target stopped selling my favorite ones, but I recently found some at TJ Maxx and I am collecting a few more! We had previously purchased some vintage bomber prints from this Etsy shop and they are coming back also.
7 // No one wants our son to air his dirty laundry so a lidded hamper is a must!
8 // I "borrowed" this lamp from our other son's room, and it just feels at home here. It is the right color and scale and style, so now they get to play the musical lamp game for a while. I am sure it is just as fun as musical chairs...
9 // We have this large metal desk which works hard for our hard worker; there is plenty of surface space and even room for some storage below. I love the idea of popping some casters on it to give it a bit of an industrial vibe.
10 // I have been eying these wood shelves for some time, but also think they could be DIY'd and customized a bit. This is just some idea chit chat for above the desk, but I am still exploring all of our options and wanting to pick what will help our son best.
11 // I wonder if our son even knows how to read this type of clock? I kid (sort of), but it would be a stylish time teller, that is for sure!
12 //This is the chair he is borrowing for now, until we can find his something a bit cozier.
13 // I haven't purchased his new sheets yet, but I am considering these for now. Definitely subject to change.
14 //This thin stripe pillow is off-the-charts versatile and plays nicely with the plaid and gingham patterns on the duvet.
15 // And for some texture and warmth, some mossy velvet pillows too (similar).
Last week I hoped I wouldn't see a squirrel and get distracted, and although I have my hands in a few different projects right now (not all for me!), we definitely got a lot accomplished again. The trim alone was probably the biggest game changer with all of the projects so far, it just added that polished finish that the new paint jobs were needing. The lighting and hardware also brought some positive drama. And now that the ball is rolling full speed ahead, our son is over-the-moon happy about it all.
Time to finish installing the closet and get to organizing! Whoop whoop!
I am so excited to celebrate this day of looooove with family and friends and a trip to the hardware store! Plus, there isn't much better than an excuse to decorate everything with hearts and eat cupcakes and chocolate candy all day, can we all agree on that?
Although we all know that marriage can be filled with highs and lows, Bryan and I are so thankful to be toasting to today with giant cheek-to-cheek grins and all the heart eyes. But things are definitely getting a little patchy over here, not with our marriage, but with our son's closet update. And although that typically sounds like a negative thing, in this case, it is good! Very good! We tackled patching both the wall and the carpet and I wanted to share how we did both.
When we last left off, we had removed a portion of our son's closet wall in order to widen the opening and make additional room for a tower of drawers and shelves. With the closet wing walls in place, it really limited usable space as well as our storage options. His bedroom measures 9 feet wide by 13 feet long, so we need every inch of the closet possible. We opened the closet to a 4 ft opening, which we will eventually conceal with a sliding door.
That wall removal left us with a bit of a repair job ahead of us; both the wall and carpet were now incomplete and in need of patching. And of course, our personal goal was to make it look like the new closet design was seamless and original to the room.
We started with the wall, and thanks to the mud dry time, it took us a few days to complete. That said, I learned so much from these different pieces of the room puzzle and I would feel completely confident tackling any one of these tasks completely on my own down the road. Bryan and I took these on together and he taught me a few of his learned tricks, but I can't stress enough that YOU CAN DO THESE THINGS TOO!
Let's flashback to the room after we carefully removed the closet wing wall:
We double checked that we had enough proper backing (we did) and cut the sheetrock to size using a utility knife, patching it in using drywall screws. It is important to measure and cut the pieces to fit as snug as possible to reduce the risk of any cracking down the road.
S T E P T W O
Next step is to tape the seams. There are muds that you can purchase and mix yourself, however, we opted to purchase a premixed version to save some time. This was a good option for us because we were just patching a single wall (and have a couple other small patch jobs to tackle in the near future), vs. an entire room or home of new sheetrock.
The mud can generally be used straight out of the bucket, but to apply the tape it should actually be mixed with a bit of water to thin it out some. We mixed the mud with water in a small mud pan with the 6" joint knife.
The knife also doubles as a quick way to cut the joint tape, which we measured to length and then ran through the mud by lightly pressing down on the tape with the handle of the knife.
Stick the tape to the wall and run the knife down the tape, smoothing out any of the mud that seeps out. We found it worked best to completely coat the back of the tape (without over-doing it) to create a tight seal from top to bottom. This is only the first coat, so the current focus is on affixing and smoothing out the tape over the joints, then carefully scraping clean any excess mud.
Let the mud dry for 24 hours prior to moving on to the next step.
S T E P T H R E E
Day two and day three is simply re-applying the mud over the tape/seams and fanning it out further and further to the surrounding walls with a wider taping knife (10" - 12"). This helps to smooth and level out the patched areas.
It is important to sand with fine drywall sanding pads between each coat and to also wait a full 24 hours between each application.
S T E P F O U R
We have textured walls, so this was an added step for us that may not always apply. The newly patched area was sanded nice and smooth, yet the rest of our walls were covered in the oh-so-lovely orange peel texture years ago when we built. WHY!?! As much as I wish we could redo all the walls flat, it just doesn't make sense.
So we picked up a can of spray texture to blend the new wall area with the existing. Before we got started we stapled down painter's plastic to protect the carpet and everything nearby. We also used a piece of poster board to practice using the spray texture and to find the proper nozzle setting based on the amount of texture we wanted to add.
Masks on and windows opened, we sprayed in a swooping motion up and down the wall until it was covered to our liking (keeping the can about 18"-24" away from the wall while spraying).
Tip: The finer the nozzle is closed, the grittier and sandier the finish will look. The more open the nozzle, the larger the speckles will be and the more depth of texture you will achieve.
We allowed the texture to dry completely for a few hours, and I decided that it was a little too rough in comparison to the painted-quite-a-few-times surrounding walls, so I knocked it down just a smidge with an ultra-fine sanding pad.
And that is how we patched the wall! It is like it was never there to begin with!
The first step is to hunt down your carpet remnants. And when you can't find them, start panicking.
I know we saved some from our carpet installation years ago, but they are probably in some deep, dark corner of the attic. There is no way someone who loves to organize could possibly have misplaced them...
So we took a trip to Home Depot where we originally purchased our carpet, and they were able to look up our order and tell us exactly what carpet we installed. Which was super fantastic because then we were able to go online and order a few sample pieces of the same carpet for a $1 each!
Not always ideal, but hey! It totally worked! It is also important to note we are working with a frieze style carpet which is wonderfully forgiving in these situations. It is a thicker, plush carpet with a bit of a wild twist weave; perfect for reducing the signs of stains and patch jobs!
S T E P T W O
We measured the opening on the floor and then measured the back of the carpet, drawing a line with a pencil to indicate our cuts.
We used a utility knife to score and cut the backside of the carpet. We found it was best to make sure both the existing carpet and the new piece were cut as cleanly and straight as possible. It also helped to cut it just tad bit wider than the initial measurement. (This reduces the risk of a visible seam. Also, you can always cut it smaller but you can't make it grow.)
We placed the piece down for a dry fit.
This is when we realized that the surrounding carpet had a carpet pad installed under it, and the new piece was dipping down a bit without it. So, we were resourceful in cutting a small piece of rug pad from a pad we already owned (removed from an inconspicuous area of rug pad located under a rug which was located under a piece of furniture).
S T E P T H R E E
Vacuum area to remove any carpet scraps, dust or random debris.
S T E P F O U R
To affix the rug pad, we put down a strip of the double-sided, mega adhesive carpet tape.
Then placed the rug pad over the top.
More tape, this time going in the opposite direction and placed a bit under the existing carpet.
And finally, put down the cut piece(s)!
S T E P F I V E
We firmly pressed the new carpet into place and did our best to introduce and blend the new and old strands. We noticed a few random strands and mismatched heights that we took care of with a sharp pair of scissors.
Then I stood back, closed my eyes and crossed my fingers...
I was so ecstatic to open my eyes and not see anything noticeable about our fix! I was pretty nervous because this was the first time we have attempted this type of DIY. And as much as I want to give ourselves all of the credit, I will admit that the carpet type probably played a large role in the outcome. We have already vacuumed it a few times and it is NOT moving! Whew!
And finally, how did we get rid of those stripes that I once worked so hard to get just right? I wish I could say it was a quick and painless process, but that just wouldn't be true.
Hello, hello! How is your week going? I have a case of the blues today, but it has absolutely nothing to do with my mood and everything to do with the crazy moon and our son's closet plans!
Since it has been awhile, I am going to back up and catch you all up with a little backstory.
Our younger two boys shared a room for quite a few years and became the best of friends during that time. You can see their room here. When our youngest son took over our guest room a little over a year ago, we removed his bed and clothes and the rest of the room remained unchanged. We put some focus on making updates to the guest room so our youngest would feel more at home there and could begin to make it his own. We still have a few things to finish up there, but we have also promised our now second teenage boy (13!) that we would help transition his space into something a bit more sophisticated to compliment the wonderful young man he is growing to be.
The entire room needs love and the closet is just the beginning. In fact, it was a "quick" closet update that I originally wanted to do, that is suddenly springing on a couple of additional room upgrades as well.
We get asked for updates on our previous systems and closets quite frequently, and I am happy to report that the IKEA hack closet solution we created for our two growing boys was amazing. It held up really well and did the job for many years. In fact, we all voted for more real-life shots, so this is my son's closet straight from my cell phone a few weeks ago (below).
From a distance, not too bad. He is completely in charge of maintaining it himself, and although he fights hanging some of his laundry, he has done a pretty good job overall. A closer look, however, will show that the bins are falling apart after 5+ years of use because he has literally outgrown them.
He is my "stuffer" and prefers to put his clothes into the bins vs. hanging them. And as he has grown, so has the size of the clothes he wears. And that means less room inside of the bins for said clothes.
He is also a boy who needs a quiet and organized workspace of his own, completely free of outside distractions. He and I are very similar in that respect, and we both just work better when we can isolate ourselves and put on headphones and give our current work our full attention. He currently has a small desk in his room (placed where his brother's bed was previously located), but with that piece of furniture, there aren't many layout options that would also accommodate a dresser. And a dresser (or more room for folded clothes) is one of his top requests for the room.
I am a believer in listening to my kids and trying to entertain what they want in their rooms, and I really encourage them to help me problem solve and design their personal slices of our home. I also try to design their rooms in ways that are easiest for them to maintain based on their personalities. Our oldest wanted to put his desk in his closet, and to this day, it is still his absolute favorite spot in his room. Our youngest had two closet cavities to work with; one is for a desk and the other is for his clothing. Again, worked out great for him and he is also a very happy camper. Our middle man wanted a dresser and a desk, but we agreed he would still need to hang some of his clothing. He wanted to keep his desk in the main area of his room, so I began troubleshooting how to get a dresser into his small closet.
With the wing walls on both sides of the closet taking up so much usable space, it made it nearly impossible to add decent sized drawers. My gut told me for months to just widen the opening to make the closet as a whole much more functional.
So I shopped closet solutions and weighed out quite a few options. After a few custom build ideas weren't panning out, I checked out Elfa, ClosetMaid, and IKEA. With both our son's needs and our budget in mind, we landed on the IKEA Pax System. We have personalized components from this system quite a few times for different types of storage projects, and have always been happy with the quality and options available. With the solution we designed for our boy (mocked up above), we would be able to add a pull-out shelf for shoes, five drawers, three shelves and still keep double hanging storage.
Same internal closet dimensions (58" wide x 24" deep), but so much more storage potential. Not only will he have five nicely sized drawers, it will also be so great to have shelves for his momentos, collections, linens, sports gear, etc...
In terms of this project, we had two primary goals; upgraded storage and an updated look. I will miss those labeled canvas bins, but they most definitely seem more appropriate for younger lads and have seen better days.
And here is where that lovely snowball effect comes into play.
We have begun with the project and widened the door opening. But that led to removing all of the trim. And because we are in the process of upgrading all of the trim in the upper level from the previously painted oak, now is the time to do that in this room. Then I was asked to paint over the stripes. Although I completely agree, I may have crumbled a bit just thinking about it. I have a ridiculous love for this room because of the memories made creating it with the boys, the idea of just painting over it all has been a hard pill to swallow. But the time has come for new memories and plans and giving our boy a space that is just for him. And every time I do a closet, I paint it, or find a way to make it special and tie it into the room. It is just how I roll, so now we are going to paint the walls too. And maybe the ceiling. Finally, no matter how great the closet system, I still want the option to conceal it. Because the boys are in charge of their own rooms and closets, sometimes it is just nice to pull a door shut. To accommodate the new wider opening, we are going to build and install a sliding door.
And patch the carpet. And the walls. And swap out all of the almond colored outlets, switches and plates.
Whew! Leave it to me to make a mountain out of a molehill.
Just widening the opening to the closet instantly made the room feel twice as big. So I am really excited to see how all of this comes together. And being that our son has been temporarily relocated to another room while we take over his space, we are going to kick things into high gear. The closet components and paint have been purchased, the wall is being patched and plastic is being laid out. In some ways, I can't wait to tear into all of those IKEA boxes, but at the same time... wine and hugs will be welcomed.
The entire room and our ideas may be a little confusing right now, but I plan to take more photos and continue to tell the story as the entire space evolves. It should be a fun week because paint alone is a very powerful thing!
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season has come and gone, but today we are going to chat about one decorative detail that was a really nice addition this past year. Flocking! I wasn't introduced to tree flocking until a few years ago, and it always seemed as though it was either too expensive or too messy. But I LOVE all of the pretty, fluffy white! So file this one away for next year if you have been in that same boat. It is a little messy, but I can testify that it is worth that mess in the end. And because we purchased a non-flocked tree last year (which was the right size and budget), it didn't make sense to purchase a flocked tree this year no matter how much I wanted one.
So I did a little research and figured it would be worth it to try and flock one of our artificial trees myself. And based on your feedback, it sounds like many of you are interested in doing the same!
I flocked our artificial tree, but I don't think anything is off limits. Garland, live trees, wreaths...
I put together a quick little video tutorial to show you just how simple the flocking process is, but will also recap a few things below as well.
How to Flock a Tree - Vimeo
First, let's chat about the type of flocking I purchased. I found a 5 lb box of Sno-Bond flocking powder on Amazon for $27 shipped, back in November. That seems like a really great price as I am struggling to find it anywhere near that now. If this is something you are interested in, I recommend setting up a price alert to keep an eye on it throughout the year. I used the powder, but I have also seen it sold as a spray. Also, 5 lbs was more than enough. I have maybe used 1/4 of the box to cover my 7 ft. pencil tree twice. I imagine you may be able to split that size of a box with a couple friends or family members, or use it to flock a fresh tree multiple years in a row, or even sell the remainder of the contents through a local Facebook group.
As I mentioned, it is a little messy. The process of flocking requires you to wet the surface and sprinkle the white flocking powder onto the branches. Then, you spray the water again to cure that flocking to the tree. To prep, I recommend laying out a large tarp or painter's plastic, below and behind where you will be spraying. It is cold here so we set up an area in our garage, but I imagine you could do it outside in warmer climates. Not only will the dust settle below the tree, it does waft through the air a bit, so just consider that if indoors is your only option.
If you are flocking an artificial tree, we found it easiest to work in sections. Our tree breaks down into three pieces, so we did each piece separately, and then one more coating on the entire tree when fully assembled just to fill in any gaps. It was also helpful to have a second set of hands; Bryan would hold or spin the pieces while I sprayed and sifted. This allowed us to get under and all around the branches much easier. He recommends wearing rubber gloves or your hands will also be completely flocked by the end (although it does wash off easily).
Another tips is you can use the power of your spray bottle to squirt and push the flocking powder deeper into the tree as you sift.
As you can see in the video, the process is:
Mist water onto the branches to give the flocking powder something to adhere to.
Using a colander, sift the flocking over the branches of the tree.
Mist the water onto the flocking again, this time to cure the powder to the branch.
Let sit for 24 hours to fully cure prior to decorating.
The goal is to make it look like your tree is covered in beautiful white snow. What I love most is that there really is no right or wrong. You can add as much or as little as you like. And because snow doesn't fall perfectly onto every single branch, you can add more or less and it can be as even or uneven as you prefer. Nature is creative, and you get to be with this project too!
We allowed the flocking to cure the recommended 24 hours prior to decorating. There was some flocking that fell off the tree and into the tree skirt and onto the floor and gifts during decorating and just over the course of the few weeks that we had it up. But it wasn't sticky or anything that the vacuum couldn't easily and quickly handle. And I sort of loved the little dusting it left on our ornaments. It really did have a snow-like magical effect.
And that is it! It wasn't nearly as intimidating as I had built it up to be, and I am so happy I gave it a try this year! Feel free to leave any additional questions you might have about the process in the comments below!
Now, enough Christmas chit chat for now. We are starting a closet project to get one of our boys more organized and I am more than ready to start sorting and labeling! More on that soon!
Well, you guys! You did it! You made me cry the happiest tears I have cried in a very long time. I am so overwhelmed by the outpouring of support you all showed me after my last post. I am still making my way through all of the emails and comments and letting every word soak in. So. Much. Good. And so many new ideas and thoughts that spurred from our conversations in the comment section! I looooved it! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Today I was invited to host a blog hop surrounding my favorite subject of all time: ORGANIZING! I mentioned I wanted to do more connecting and sharing this year, and this was the perfect way to dive right in!
I am joining a group of lovely ladies, and each of us was asked to share our favorite organizing tip for five different rooms in our homes. I absolutely can't wait to check out all of the other blogs and pick up a few new ideas for myself! You all can follow along with my fellow friends below:
I will admit, I had a hard time narrowing each room down to one tip, but this was a really good exercise for me and really got me thinking. So, I picked what I thought were ideas that made a big impact on my day-to-day life, were easy enough that most anyone could implement and were budget friendly. Some of these might look familiar, or seem obvious, but sometimes the obvious needs to be spoken.
This was the hardest room for me to narrow down. I could have talked about how to date pantry items and leftovers or how to best layout your kitchen or why I think lazy susans are amazing or what to store under your kitchen sink or how I meal plan. I had so many ideas it inspired another post or two for the near future. That said, I decided to focus on a product I use in almost every area of my kitchen (and home). My number one tip for organizing in the kitchen is to use my absolute all-time favorite bins, the multi-purpose bin, to organize everything.
I have bragged about these bins to the moon and back and I still pick up a couple more every time I visit The Container Store. I love their price, but more importantly, their versatility, especially in the kitchen. These bins come in a variety of widths, are easy to clean, are translucent, are lightweight and have handles. Here are a few ways you can use these bins to whip your kitchen into organized shape:
In the fridge to create zones and kits. Think breakfast items and yogurts, lunch making supplies, produce, snacks, baggies containing treats and leftovers.
In the pantry for dividing out produce, breads, spreads, chips, wraps...
In a cabinet to hold paper products.
Under the kitchen sink to corral cleaning supplies.
In a cabinet to hold clean rags and dish towels.
In a cabinet to store medications and vitamins.
In deep drawers to file and divide specific gadgets, utensils, and lids.
On a nearby counter or shelf to corral daily mail and papers.
This is one that may seem obvious to most when I say, "create an inbox!". But friends, you really need an inbox!
Not all inboxes are created equal and it also helps to have a plan that correlates with your bin. The plan is just as important as the inbox itself.
I placed an oversized paper tray on my desk. I love this particular option because it is a little longer and wider than traditional letter trays. It also has stacking components as you can see above, so I can keep a few other desk goodies nearby without taking up all of my usable workspace. Lastly, I keep it in the most accessible location in my office, so I can easily add things to it throughout the week and also quickly work on it when the time comes.
As the week goes on, anything that enters the house that requires my attention or an action goes into my inbox. That might include a catalog I want to look at, a form I need to sign, scan and email, an address I need to log into my address book, Christmas cards I need to file away, receipts I need to expense, return labels I have printed, dates I need to add to my planner, etc... A lot of times these things are thrown at me and I can't give them my immediate attention, but I want them in a single place so if I need them at any point during the week, I know where to look.
The reason why the width of the tray is important is that it also fits a standard file folder. That allows me to add a specific place to put any bills or invoices that need to be paid. I like to keep those items separate as Bryan and I do our budget together and I never want to misplace any of our financial documents.
So, part one is to have a single drop zone place for all of the things to do. Part two is to actually do those things! I block 30 minutes on my calendar each week to go through my inbox and clear it out. It is a reminder that chimes on my phone and also a reoccurring task on my weekly list. I don't typically need that much time but I like to have it blocked just in case.
This one is easy peasy. Do you ever go to grab a set of sheets and part of the set is missing? Do you struggle with nicely folding those awful fitted sheets? Or have piles of sheets toppling over in your linen closet?
You know those inexpensive mesh laundry sacks generally intended for washing delicate clothes? Well, they also work great for corralling your individual sets of sheets. Just fold the sheets the best you can, tuck them inside a zippered sack and add a lavender dryer or sachet sheet for good measure. It keeps all of the set pieces together and smelling nice.
Also, people ask me all of the time why our "linen" or hallways closet doesn't actually have many linens stored in it. The answer is because I store most of our linens in the actual room they belong in. Each bedroom has two sets of sheets, one on the bed and a backup set. Same for bathrooms, one clean towel on the hook, one back-up. The mesh sacks store nicely in a bedroom drawer, in a bin or up on a closet shelf.
No surprise, my favorite bin is making another appearance!
In the bathroom, I always recommend adding a cleaning kit under the sink. Bathrooms are gross, germy, grimy places, and no one wants to run all the way to the kitchen for cleaners on a frequent basis; keeping some essentials in each bathroom encourages frequent wipe downs.
Under each of our bathroom sinks I have added a couple of bins to hold the following:
Lidded toilet brush
Toilet bowl cleaner
Multi-surface cleaning spray (homemade recipe found here)
Shower scrub brush with cleaner added to the handle (homemade recipe found here)
Sink & grout brush
Trash can bags
I try my best to quickly wipe down each bathroom each day. A quick pass over the mirror, down to the faucet and then around the counter (all with the same spray). The scrub brush quickly removes any makeup or toothpaste from the sink. I also try to use the shower scrubber on the walls of the shower every day or two to prevent soap build-up.
I add enough clean rags to the bin each week to get me through seven days of wipe downs, and after each cleaning, the dirty rag is tossed into a separate bin until wash day. I purchased the rags in bulk so I can do this for each bathroom, and at the end of the week they are all washed together in their own load.
Speaking of washing laundry, let's chat about that next! I made a rule for the family awhile back that I wouldn't allow any dirty clothes to be left in the laundry room, with the exception of special wash items. Each bedroom has a hamper and each person has a specific day of the week to do their own wash. Sundays are for rags, delicate items and linens.
On their specific day, a family member will take their hamper of dirty clothes and any empty hangers to the laundry room and do their laundry. Clothes are folded and put on hangers directly from the washer or dryer and brought right back to their rooms.
Taking away community hampers was an instant win for us! No more mixed socks or arguments over who should do laundry and when. Or what clothes belong to which kid. No more finger pointing at one another over shrinking sweaters and mixing colors. I will never say that I love doing laundry, but these quick tips have really helped us all with sanity and accountability!
Thanks again everyone! I hope one or some of these tips are helpful and easy enough for you to give a whirl. Don't forget to check out the other posts below for even more around-the-house organizational tips:
Well hello everyone! It sure has been awhile! I hope that your 2018 is off to an amazing start and that you had a very warm and fulfilling holiday season. I have missed you all so very much!
My sweet boys returned to school this week and the house is so quiet now, maybe even too quiet. I am definitely ready for our "normal" routine to set back in but I am also really missing their sounds and spats and smiles and having them home with me during the day.
Although I haven't been online much, I have been writing this post in my head for days, weeks, even months. I honestly don't know where it will go, I just plan to let my feelings flow through my fingertips, so hang on for a little ride on my roller coaster of thoughts.
I didn't really plan to take such a long break. But it happened for a culmination of reasons; including some unexpected health concerns and out of town doctor visits with one of our boys, three months of lost planner work (and then re-creating all of that work in a few weeks time), and then the general craziness that comes with the holidays. I blinked and December was gone and so was 2017. Which I am more than OK with. I couldn't be more ready to start this new year with fresh perspective and motivation. 2017 wasn't my best or my favorite. Our son is OK, but watching him go through days of testing leading into the holidays weighed on me quite a bit and ultimately led me to crave a bit of an online break and some extra time with my family.
With that, I have been so grateful and overwhelmed by the number of you who have reached out to me personally through email, DM's and comments to check in on us. Living a life online can be such a tricky thing, it can get to me after awhile but I also miss you all whenever I step away to breathe. So thank you to each of you who have messaged me, your support and kindness have been so appreciated and have completely blown me away. I am still working my way through the notes and replying directly to everyone. ♥
So, with everything going on behind the scenes, this year I decided to pass on the gift guides and putting together a Christmas home tour. In fact, my Christmas decorating was almost identical to last year, which you can check out here. Keeping it simple and the same allowed for me to really soak in what Christmas is all about. December is also my busiest month in my Etsy shop, which can really clash with projecting and decorating and trying to do it all and be it all. So this year was the year of less stuff and less decorating and less sharing online. Taking some extra time off also allowed me to begin designing new items for my Etsy shop and consulting with some clients, both of which were very refreshing and so good for my soul.
I also did a little reflecting and really tried to figure out how to re-light that fire and get my blogging mojo back. Blogging was once my personal therapy and now there are moments that I think it will be what actually puts me into therapy. Ha! OK, so that is a bit dramatic, but I did have some mixed feelings about it all this past year. Blogging has evolved and changed in some really great and amazing ways, but also in ways that I haven't been able to quickly and openly adjust to. I am sure many of you could guess that my long-time loves of cleaning, planning, and organizing are my personal ways of working through deeper rooted messy life issues. And when I found blogs and started writing, it was a whole new world for me. And really, I was the happiest I had been in years. Not only was it friendly and imperfect and raw and real, there was this amazing community that was all about conversation and relationship building and I connected with folks that were just like me. And I felt like I was using my passion for good and readers were feeling excited and inspired and motivated. That was everything. I felt like I was making new friends with similar passions and relating with folks all over the world. It was normal for posts to have 100+ comments, multiple times per week and I loved the feeling of hitting the publish button.
But with the evolution of blogging and social media came growth, sponsorships, a bazillion new blogs, Pinterest and Instagram and swiping and the need to be on every platform. Suddenly it felt like our stories were lost and everything was shifting to pretty editorial pictures and pageviews and highlight reels. Comments turned into Pins and Likes and Hearts and conversation shifted and in some ways dissipated completely. The lines of real life and online life were suddenly blurred. I lost that personal connection with many of my longtime readers and at the same time felt the pressure to push frequent content and keep up. Checking blogs, Instagram and Pinterest only left me feeling visually and mentally overstimulated and inadequate. I rushed rooms and projects to provide consistent and frequent content but didn't always love the outcome of those updates and had to live with those repercussions. I am not a designer or decorator and just like working on our home as a hobby so I make mistakes and have to try things and play with things before getting them just right. That is just my process, but being in a pool of really amazing and talented peers that seem to have a knack for getting it right all of the time, has made me feel a little inferior even. So true what they say about comparison being the thief of joy, right?
Instead of being my own worst critic, I really want to be better about sharing more of those thoughts and the process of getting something from point A to B, what we tried that didn't work and what it took to get it to a point of working. I think that can be glossed over too often online for fear of looking unprofessional or unqualified (I know I am guilty of this too), and I want to share more of those mistakes and lessons learned. If anything, I am reminding myself that my mistakes can prevent others from doing the same thing!
At the same time, as much as I truly enjoy being creative and working on our home, that creativity doesn't come in constant waves. It ebbs and flows and some days I am totally inspired and having lightbulb moments and other days I sit with my head in my hands hitting roadblocks and walls. Sometimes I just want to take a break from DIY'ing and working on our home and constantly changing things, and sometimes I want to attack all of our spaces with gusto and vigor. That's my reality. But that can also cause some challenges for me as a blogger trying to create consistent content.
So before this post turns into any more of a sulk snowball, I am going to acknowledge that these feelings have been weighing heavy on my heart for too long now and that I have to find a way off of the emotional hamster wheel. Here are a few of my thoughts going into 2018, and a few questions for you all as well:
Conversation and Connecting: Conversation is what I seem to miss the most when I think back to the way things used to be. Most of the time I feel like I am talking to myself and that can be discouraging when I spend hours/days on a single post. How can I connect with you all more? I often throw a question or two at the end of my posts to try and keep the conversation going, but maybe they don't feel authentic (even though they are!). Do you have interest in chatting with bloggers or do you like to read and move on? What types of posts compel you to comment? Do you have any interest in some sort of live online Q&A or Twitter Chat? Do you prefer to communicate and comment more on other social channels vs. directly on a blog post?
Content: I organize and we DIY but what type of posts and content would you like in-between? I am generally not a fluffy content creator, I like to create meaty content inspired by real-life happenings and thoughts. Bryan works full time (and coaches and has a small side business) which means that he isn't able to project around the clock with me like some other DIY duos. It's just a personal choice not to put all of our eggs into a single basket. That said, our favorite way to spend time together is tackling home projects (sipping margaritas on a tropical beach is a close second), but we do have some schedule limitations (and sleep) to consider. I also run an online shop and work with friends, family, and clients, so, there are times when I just don't have new home content to share. What types of in-between posts do you enjoy reading?
Organization: What are your biggest dilemmas and problem areas? I could seriously talk organizing all day every day. What is on your list to tackle this year?
Home Updates: I have found that I like slow. I didn't make a lot of changes last year and living with things really allowed me to have some clarity. No office update? That's because it is pretty much exactly the same as the last time I talked about it. The boy's den? Basic, undesigned, but usable and also unchanged. The laundry room? Loving everything about it but putting the finishing touches around the beautiful floral wallpaper has been an utter nightmare and I am completely stuck. The thing is, I finally had an a-ha moment in terms of what I want to do with my office after using it for almost two years now. I am so glad I didn't spend much time or money on it initially and that I waited and used it and really narrowed down what I want and need this time around. Making over room after room just isn't for me. So if you are looking for that and quick room reveals, I am sorry. It causes me too much stress, money, and even embarrassment. I do want to keep sharing our updates big and small, and really want to resolve to be better about finishing what I start this next year (including finally updating our home tour page). I am really enjoying the process of building our home and spaces over time, one small change at a time!
Cleaning: I am planning to revisit the survey from last spring and touch on a few more of the hot topics that were discussed then. And I really want to try to offer easy and quick tips that don't overwhelm or discourage. Cleaning, in general, is dreadful to most, but is there one thing in particular that you just want more help with? Or a cleaning conundrum that you just can't figure out?
Challenges: Sometimes a good challenge really lights a necessary fire. I want to do a large decluttering/simplifying challenge this year that focusses solely on living with less and create tools to help you all feel excited to declutter your dwelling, and just as importantly, talk about where those things should go when they leave your home. This is the biggest and most important step in any organizing project, and really deserves a lot of focus and discussion. Are there any other topics that would help give you a push to accomplish something? Maybe try a new power tool? Or a new technique?
Celebrating this Community: I am so proud of what I see others accomplishing and tackling, and sincerely appreciate the spaces that you all share with me via email and on Instagram. Truly. This year I hope to build new relationships and uplift and celebrate all of the good happening in all of our homes and lives. We all have so much to learn from one another and you readers and fellow bloggers have taught me so many life-altering things! It would be great to highlight those spaces, projects, and tips more frequently.
Splitting Time: My business has a lot of moving parts and opportunities which is one of the things I love most about it! I really appreciate the diversity and that I always have things to keep me busy, but it can be a challenge at times to juggle it all and do all the different things well. If I am all in and blogging a few days per week, then I can't give my all to my shop or to helping others. Working on my shop is a really nice creative break from social media while providing me with a good portion of my income, and quite frankly, there is nothing I enjoy more than helping others organize their homes. So just know that if I am quiet for bits of time here and there, that is because I am focussing on the other arms of my business during my set business hours. Sometimes those things pull me unexpectedly in different directions, but I will always come back to this hub that I call home.
It's Time to Take a Risk: These past few years my insecurities and fears have gotten the best of me, and I have been too scared to do anything risky or exciting. It is actually a little sad and frustrating to reflect back on all of the things I didn't do out of self-doubt. This year I want to push through that and do something out of my comfort zone. Even if it is just one freaking thing.
And some final housekeeping notes:
The only change that I did make to last year's Christmas decorating is I decided to try my hand at tree flocking and I was so pleased the outcome. I was able to use one of our artificial trees and give it a fresh new look without having to purchase a new expensive flocked tree. The flock made the tree appear a little fuller and much more magical. Even though Christmas is over, would you be interested in a quick post about the process?
I know many of you have been waiting and checking in for my 2018 Planner release and it hit my shop mid-December. There are three sizes and three different dated layouts for each size available, making it a little challenging to select a favorite to use this year! As with previous years, they are designed to be printed at home or through a local printing company. My office printer is on the fritz so I ordered my bound pages from Best Value Copy and the price and quality were really great (but their shipping rates, ouch!). I will be photographing it all soon so I can get my FAQ page updated with all of my favorite ways to use the color filled pages along with my current favorite planning tools.
A few years ago I shared our Christmas storage solutions and they are still working like a dream today. You can find all of those details in this post here.
And one more from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU to all of you who have stuck with me through it all. I know that there is so much good here in this community and I can't wait to hear your plans and goals for this year and what you would like to see more of here. We already have a few exciting projects at the top of our list just as soon as I pack up the last of the Christmas decor this weekend. Cheers to 2018!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope your bellies are full and you're snuggled in with your favorite people. Did you take the day to fight Black Friday crowds or surf from your sofa?
Or are you up for some organizing? Maybe not today, but some last minute end-of-year sprucing before Christmas entertaining begins?
When I search for storage, I always try to consider how it can be re-used down the road as our needs change and our family evolves. I aim to select things that will stand the test of time and continue to be used and purposeful for many years to come. One of my "go-to" organizers is the not too expensive but always dependable magazine file, and I am guessing many of you have these hanging out in your homes also! Yes, they are perfect for managing that stack of glossy paged goodness, but they really can be utilized in infinite ways.
Below find 15 quick and easy ways to organize all around your home using basic magazine holders, and at the end, I share the easiest crafty hack for adding even more functionality to an already awesome organizer.
One thing to note is that these holders come in a variety of materials, typically metal, plastic and cardboard, and some of these suggestions work best with more durable or easy-to-clean finishes.
O N E // In the kitchen use them for disposables/paper products; include a small stack of plates, cups, napkins, and silverware for those last minute no-fuss meals.
T W O // Magazine files prevent water bottles from tipping and rolling around inside of cupboards or drawers.
T H R E E // Put together a small meal planning kit and include favorite recipes, food magazines, shopping lists, coupons, and a pen, and tuck it all away neatly inside of the pantry.
F O U R // Food packaging and wraps; magazine files help to keep them vertical so no stacking or rummaging is required.
F I V E // How about potholders and oven mitts?
S I X // Baking items; cookie cutters, sprinkles, whisks & spatulas and a hand mixer.
S E V E N // You know I am obsessed with using these bins in our fridge and freezer, but magazine files could definitely take on similar functions. Like lunch making caddies! Fill these handy helpers with all of your favorite lunch items and sides for on-the-spot meal making.
E I G H T // Also in the fridge, these can be used to hold fruits, veggies, breakfast items, yogurt, condiments, juices, etc...
N I N E // In the linen closet, magazine files can help to hold rolled sets of sheets (much easier than trying to fold them perfectly) and towels. They can also be labeled by person or room.
T E N // In the laundry room they can be used to hold stain remover, a lint roller, fabric shaver, starch, etc...
E L E V E N // In the bathroom, use one to hold hair tools (just be sure it is heat resistant or wait to add items until after they have cooled down).
T W E L V E // Hair products and toiletries; magazine files keep them organized under the bathroom sink.
T H I R T E E N // Cleaning products and rags, but again, be sure to select holders made out of an easy-to-clean material.
F O U R T E E N // Organize and corral paperwork to file and bills to pay. Most file folders are designs to fit nicely, especially these vertical types.
F I F T E E N // Turn one into a valet/charging station to hold daily items such as keys, change, wallet and phone.
Here is how to make that last one happen....
First, for cord management, I drilled a hole into the back of the box with a wide drill bit. You could also use a utility knife to cut through some types of material. I decided to add a decorative grommet to clean up the edges and prevent any future tearing.
To add "shelves" I went to the lumber department at Home Depot and picked up some cheapy hobby boards. (I believe I used these for the rails and these for the shelves.)
These lightweight boards are easy to cut to length with no need for power tools. For the rails, I simply used a ruler to draw a level pencil line inside the walls of the magazine file and affixed them with hot glue.
I debated about staining the project boards, but took the easy route and just wrapped them in adhesive shelf liner (this one for reference, which has unfortunately more than doubled in price since I purchased it earlier this year).
I love how this little hack really changes the overall functionality of the magazine file and becomes the perfect place for dropping daily necessities.
So tell me, do you already use magazine files for any of these functions, or do you have any additional ways to put them to work? Let's keep growing the list in the comments below!
2018 is quickly approaching and it has me sweating even though our temps are below freezing already. Where has this year gone? Am I ready to pull out Christmas decor and make New Year's Resolutions again already? I just don't know how I feel about that!
With the new year comes a new planner and one of my loves in designing those color-filled pages every year. I have been receiving multiple inquiries each day for the new printables and I am working overtime to try and get them done and out to you asap!
As those important dates, appointments, and events pile up for 2018, I wanted to give you a happy place to keep track of those until the full 2018 planner release.
Speaking of planners, I would love to know what you look for in a planner each year. What features are important to you, and what type of content helps your days/weeks/months run smoother? Do you like full size or half pages? Color or black and white? Vertical or horizontal daily columns? I am also open to suggestions for future releases so feel free to chat all things planners below.
Hi everyone! I apologize for my recent extended absence. Although it wasn't planned, it was necessary. I truly appreciate that many of you took time to check in with your kind comments and emails. I find so much happiness in connecting with you all here and it is always hard to step away for more than a few days at a time. I have missed you!
Today I wanted to chat about something that took me by surprise. In fact, I am still trying to wrap my head around what I am about to write.
I am falling madly, deeply in love with the color orange.
Just take a minute to let that soak in. I will be here when you pick your jaws up off of the floor.
Color is such a huge part of everything I do. Whether I am sourcing wallpaper for a closet or a paint color for a piece of furniture or designing planner pages and printables, color combinations are always catching my attention. That said, I tend to stick with a lot of the same colors over and over and there are others that I generally avoid. Orange was one of those colors.
Orange has never been a color that I have gravitated to, down to avoiding orange notebooks and folders back in my school attendance days. I am not sure where the aversion stems from, but it was strong and rarely seen anywhere around our home. And really, I can only think of one time in the past three years that have I purchased a decor item with dominating orange tones, and it was under the strong advisement of a dear friend that I trust. And you know what, she was right! I just didn't really realize it at the time because I was too in my head about how against my personal style grain that purchase was.
Well, inspiration strikes everywhere and I stumbled across a home tour with bits of orange used really well. I remember studying the images to figure out all of the components that made me feel so moved by the space, and the surprise-to-me was the consistency of orange color combinations. The home was done with a lot of cooler colors (which I generally like), and then warmth was brought in through small amounts of orange tones and aged brass. The orange was sprinkled in minimal ways because it can be a really overpowering color, but those small bits still made enough of a difference in adding dimension and interest. Next, I spotted a piece of art I quite liked and noticed the same color pairings. I was starting to notice a small theme and thought I would challenge myself to bring in a little bit of orange into a room just to see what I think.
All I purchased was a very inexpensive throw pillow (this one), and I was shocked at how something so small changed the entire feeling of our bedroom. Just a teeny tiny change added some new dimension and interest and warmth. The best part? Very little commitment.
Playing with color can be scary and overwhelming because there is always a risk that you are just falling into a trend or liking something temporarily or that it ultimately just won't mesh with everything else you have going on. But there are really easy and inexpensive ways to layer a new color into your rooms and life, and budget-friendly means very few strings attached with the opportunity to have some fun too!
Although I am focussing on my new color crush of orange in this post, I thought I would try and come up with at least 10 cost-effective ways to integrate any new color into your home.
T H R O W B L A N K E T S A N D P I L L O W S
As I mentioned, this was my first route. The pillow was already inexpensive, and I purchased it during a sale to make it even better. For under $15 I was able to add another layer to our bed and learn a bit more about different color combinations that I am drawn to. I have since tossed that same pillow into all three boys' bedrooms and on our living room couch "just to see". It ended up being a nice layer in most of those rooms too, so now I know what to look for as I work to put finishing touches on other areas of our home. A throw blanket has a similar impact as a pillow, just fold it over the arm of a sofa or chair or at the end of a bed.
This generally only pertains to kitchen styling, but produce can be found in almost any color of the rainbow. Filling a bowl or clear vessel with a single colored fruit or veggie will make a much larger statement than tossing a variety of colored eats together.
A R T
For now I only have a single piece of art displayed with any orange included, and it is such a small amount that you almost wouldn't even realize how crucial the color actually is to the piece. But after I framed it and have now even gone as far to flank it with some brass sconces, the orange is becoming more prominent. I also tossed a dish of oranges below it and that little action pulled out even more of the orange. I can't wait to order a few additional art prints with orange playing the role of supporting actress. With really great curated art sites like Etsy, Minted, and Artfully Walls, this can be done for under $50, especially because I already own the frames. And if you have even the slightest creative bone in your body, dig through the kid's paint supplies and create your own decorative masterpiece for a zero cost solution (my friend, Emily, is always inspiring me to try this).
Just like fruit, a great way to play with color with very little overall commitment is through greenery and florals! Just look above at what that single bouquet of orange flowers did to the entire feel of both rooms. The trick is to add a statement-making bunch in which the primary color is dominant and the remainder of the blooms are in softer, complementary hues and shades. Or just fill a vase with all of the same flower type for an even bolder moment. Either way, you will love the results of having fresh flowers around while having the chance to see how the color meshes into your room. Not to mention, florals naturally bring the outdoors in and give a room true life.
This isn't necessarily the cheapest way of all of the options, but if you can add a layering rug on top of a larger rug, an accent rug to a bathroom, or score a deal on a vintage runner for the hallway, then you can use that as a great opportunity to integrate your new color crush. What I also love about this option is that so many rugs are loomed with a variety of colors throughout so no single color has to be the star or overwhelm the space.
Simply trading out your existing side table lamp for one of a new color just might "brighten" the entire feel of the room in more ways than one. Although the base might be a statement maker, topping it with a white linen shade will balance it just right. Spray painting an old lamp, chandelier or ceiling fixture is another way to add color through lighting without breaking the bank. I have personally done this and still love those results.
A little fabric goes a long way, and if you can use a staple gun, you can give a dining or office chair new life for only a few dollars. Or maybe you have a small bench that has seen better days? If you have a couple added skills and extra ambition, you could even tackle a headboard. And the fabric itself doesn't have to be anything designer; consider using remnants, Turkish towels, throw blankets, shower curtains... Oh! And those fabric pieces can also be added to embellish existing window treatments or used to make faux roman shades. Another little trick is to go to the craft store and pick up a couple of tassels in your new color and sew them on to the corners of a throw pillow or hang them from the knob of a piece of furniture.
You know I am a sucker for pretty papers and patterns, as well as lining every bookcase, drawer, closet, and cabinet interior with them. So why not use some wallpaper scraps or gift wrap or fabric to add a temporary statement in a playful way? For those not interested in a long-term paperlationship, I recommend using a tacky putty to install this special touch of color.
Who doesn't love the power or paint?! It is a low-cost way to make a quick and dramatic update. Or a subtle one if that is what you are going for. The options are endless, and the best part is, almost all paint projects can be changed again down the road. So if you are looking to integrate a new color into your home, look for a piece of furniture or mirror that is ready for a facelift. And if you are too worried to paint anything you already own, visit local thrift stores and check Craigslist for pieces that you have zero attachment to.
At first, I had this last one titled "Book Spines and Product Labels", but then I thought of a few other ideas and it sort of just morphed into the more obvious-yet-needs-to-be-included "Small Accessories". With orange specifically, it is bold enough that a little bit of it goes a long way. So investing in a couple very small accents/accessories will still be noticeable in the overall design, but won't drain my bank account. I collect design books and I use them frequently in our decor and styling because the spines are just so colorful and pretty (and I love that I can pick one up to read and feel inspired in just about every room of our home). For a subtle effect, mix and match the spines and add in a few of your new color, displaying them on a coffee table, counter, end tables, nightstands or bookshelves. The more of that color you group together, the bigger the overall impact will be.
Other small ways to bring in a specific color are through products that you would use and display anyway. Maybe a wine or oil bottle on your kitchen counter. Or a candle on your coffee table. Or pretty packaging that can be upcycled as storage and shelf styling material. I am not above purchasing pretty shampoo and soap bottles once and then re-filling them just to leave that pretty colored branding out.
Another small accessory that I absolutely love is a small dish, mug or bowl. These are great for corralling everything from matches to spare change to keys, office supplies, and jewelry. Glassware can also double as a darling little vase.
And finally, I recently had to re-photograph our hallway closet for a publication, so I updated the bins and labels. I decided to give my new love of orange a try and wouldn't you know it, I was smitten with the result.
The labels are small but added just enough of the orange color to bring new life to the closet and storage bins. It still feels weird to say that I have a color crush on orange.
I am not 100% sold on combining orange with any and every color. There are some combinations I am personally drawn to more than others. My favorites pairings include shades of orange with light and dark teal, blush pink and fuschia, lavender and eggplant, kelly and emerald green, and light and dark gray-blue.
A couple more tips:
If you like a color and want to give it a try but are worried it is a little too much for your home or space to handle, find a muted version or go higher or lower on the color scale. The color doesn't have to be 100% pure or literal.
I am realizing more and more that I prefer rooms that have a minimum of three colors layered in because they feel more built-over-time and collected. Three colors opposite on the color wheel might be too bold, but if you keep two of the three in the same family and then pick one opposite to sprinkle in as an accent, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Now that I have shared ten ways that you can easily incorporate a new color into your home, are you inspired to give any of these ideas a try? Maybe DIY some new artwork or paint a small chest of drawers? Or even just pick up a pretty pillow to toss around?
What color are you tempted to date even though it has been on your "no-go" list up until now? How do you feel about the color orange? Have I convinced you to try it somewhere in your home?
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