Category Archives: Home Decor

DIY, Decor

DIY Patio Update On a Budget

***This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and buy something I may receive a small commission***   We had some super big expenses this year when it comes to the house.  Big as in, new roof and new siding.  Ouch.  That means all of our other projects have to be on a smaller scale.  I would have loved to have had a new deck built, but since it’s not in the cards this year, I have decided to do a DIY Patio Update on a Budget.  And I’m talking real low budget, people.

Here’s what I have to start with:

Welcome To Our Fire Pit!

Ugh, pardon that font please.  I didn’t take a new before shot this year because I knew I had this one, but I forgot about the font choice.  Anyway, I love the Adirondack chairs and the fire pit, so the furniture pieces are already set.  What you can’t see from this view is the door to our garage which lost a battle with a raccoon this year and we repaired it with some ugly plywood.   In the doors defense, this is a monster raccoon that it lost to.  I think it might be half yeti half raccoon.  The door is an eyesore and I needed a way to cover it up.  But how do you cover up an entire door that is out in the elements?  I would need some type of magical material that would stand up to rain and wind.  It would also have to be cool and funky and a worthy chill hang out space for my 6th grader.  What could I possibly come up with to solve this dilemma?

DIY Patio Update on a Budget

Can you guess what that is?  A shower curtain!  Brilliant, right?  It’s waterproof.  It won’t easily tear.  It’s super cool and chill.  I might be the smartest person on earth.

Tropical Decor Good Vibes Only Inspirational Funny Quote Palms Ocean Purple Blue Orange Sunset Island Beach Home Decor Bathroom Art Prints Quotes Print Fabric Aqua Shower Curtain Machine Washable:

I bought the shower curtain on Amazon for less than $15 AND I got it shipped free in two days because I have Amazon Prime, which I highly recommend.  I’ll have to do a top ten reasons to sign up for Amazon Prime post some day. The shower curtain even came with handy plastic hooks that I was able to attach to the trim of the house to hang.  Best $15 I have spent in a long time.

I’ve also been trying to decide on a cheap way to DIY some planters and I finally decided on making marbled planters from dollar store trash buckets.

DIY Marbled Planter for $3

Not bad for $3, am I right?  The flowers are impatiens and they  were also $3 and will grow into nice full blooms as the summer goes on.  Or they will wither and die because I forgot to water them.  The planters are super simple to make.  I bought $1 mini trash buckets and 2 different shades of blue nail polish, all from the dollar store, for this project.  You’ll need some type of a basin that is bigger than your trash bucket as well.  I used a plastic toy bin I had from Ikea.  You fill the basin with hot water, drip in your shades of nail polish, then dunk the trash cans in and pull them back out.  I actually dunked mine a couple of times, rotating them with each dunk to get better coverage.  If you need full instructions for nail polish marbling, you can find them in this post where I marbled some vases which came out way better than the pictures show.  They are still one of my favorite DIYS.

I have more plans for this little area. I want to add some string lights and I would really like to strategically add some more flowers on the cheap.  I’ll be brainstorming how to do that all week and hopefully I will have another brilliant idea to share with you!

Sincerely, the smartest person on earth.  Because of the shower curtain idea.


DIY Garden Ideas

I haven’t made anything in quite some time.  The last thing I made is this wreath which is still happily hung on my door and I think it will be throughout the summer.  It’s been a few weeks, so I’m itching to craft something up.  I patrolled the pages of Pinterest and found some great ideas.

DIY Garden Ideas

Vertical Pot Pallet Planter | 12 Creative DIY Pallet Planter Ideas for Spring | Beautiful Pallet Gardening Crafts, check it out at

I love this pallet herb garden. It just so happens I have a pallet in the backyard that is just waiting to be worked on.  This looks fairly simple and major power tool free.  I like the fact that you can just lean it wherever you want it, too.  I found this on DIY Ready as part of a round up of gardening ideas, but it is originally from a password protected blog called  Life Is Art Is Life.

How To Make a Terra Cotta Pot Birdbath:

If none of my plants bloom, I can always make one of these colorful bird baths to make up for it!  I love this so much.  Check it out at Running with Sisters.

Home Sweet Home Stacked Planters: How pretty is this planter?  What a great statement piece for the front entry.  I’ve reviewed instructions for similar stacked planters before and it doesn’t seem very difficult to pull together at all.  Except maybe the stenciling.  I haven’t tried my hand at that yet and I’m not sure how I would do with it.  I have gone down a lengthy rabbit hole to try to find a link to this beauty so that I can credit the original maker, but I have not been able to find that person.  If this is yours, let me know and I will add a link!!

This listing is for the MEDIUM Garden Totem. The Small and Large Totems are available in other listings. Or you can purchase all three sizes at once: These garden totem poles are adorable.  Another easy way for a black thumb to add color to the garden. These are listed on Etsy here, but I think they look diy-able, too!

DIY Patio Area with Texas Lamp Posts | Add a patio with fun planter posts to a backyard area.:

These have been dubbed Texas lamp posts by the maker and I think they are just fabulous.  You can find a link to the instructions on I Should Be Mopping the Floor.

So, now I have a whole weekend to pick one out and work some magic!

Colorful Garden Projects

One Room Challenge – REVEAL!

It’s done!  I am ready for the One Room Challenge Reveal!  This is one of my proudest moments that doesn’t involve one of my children in some way. I love how my bedroom came out and I almost equally love that I made it through the whole 6 weeks and have a 90% completely restyled bedroom.  The process of working through the One Room Challenge has been sort of life changing for me and I want to give a big shout out and thank you to Linda from Calling It Home for hosting this on-line event and inviting guest participants to join in on the fun!

One Room Challenge - After - Whole Room ViewI realize in the beginning, I never posted a before picture, so here is where I started:

Headboard Slip Cover

Let’s get a tour of the new digs, shall we?

The Bed

One Room Challenge - After - Full Bed View

The most dramatic change in the room is the navy blue walls, Hale Navy, by Benjamin Moore.  The color has created such a mood in this room and  cohesiveness that it just didn’t have before.  I feel like the dark foundation made it much easier to add in some color.  I could easily swap out the green pillows for hot pink or yellow and it would still work with the dark walls.

The bed is the centerpiece of the room, of course.  I changed things up with a new coverlet, some throw pillows (which I swore off just a few months ago, but these covers are removable and can be tossed in the wash, so I can totally nap on one, drool on it and not worry about it), a recovered headboard and the softest, coziest throw blanket on earth.

I also added a statement piece in that book page wreath above the bed.  I made that wreath a few months back (tutorial here!) and it was previously in my living room and even did a short stint on the front door with a big red bow on it for Christmas (it was stunning as a Christmas wreath, by the way, it’s huge and really stood out!).  I love it because it’s a bit of natural material and it’s made of book pages and I love books.  Perfect match.

One Room Challenge - After - Bed Close Up

I had to include a close up of the “Love more Dream big” pillow from H&M.  Perfect sentiments for the bedroom.  And I love to see the green next to the gold lettering.

The Desk

One Room Challenge - After - Desk Area

Here  we are at the desk area.  So, as my title indicates, I show the real before pictures and this, although technically an after picture, is really a before picture of the desk itself.  I wanted to update it as part of the One Room Challenge and I had some ideas bopping around in my head, but nothing really grabbed me and I didn’t want to redo the desk just to get it done in time for the challenge.  I know one of these days something will hit me and it will be perfect, but that moment hasn’t arrived yet, so the desk is still in it’s original, banged up condition.  If you can avert your eyes from the banged up desk, you’ll see I did accessorize the top with some brass frames and a mirror.  I filled that vintage (aka thrift store) frame with some proofs from my wedding.  I had bought a bunch of brass frames and hadn’t decided what to put in this one until last night when I remembered my proofs were just about the right size for the three openings.  Now it’s one of my favorite things in the room.  I hadn’t looked at those pictures in years and I’m so glad I added them here.

One Room Challenge - After - Desk Accessories

Above the desk, in addition to my Japanese thrift store art find that I’m convinced will make me rich someday, are two printables that I framed, also in “vintage” brass frames.

One Room Challenge - After - Framed Printables

Just the two reminders I need when I wake up in the morning.

One of my favorite updates to this room is the new window treatments.  The shades and curtains are both from Ikea and were a wallet friendly $35 per window. TOTAL.  The shades kill me every morning when I wake up.  They are in a two way tie for first with my dining room mural for favorite thing in the house.

The Curtains

Master Bedroom Window Treatments - One Room Challenge

I’m an avid reader, so I always have to have a good reading spot in the bedroom.  Okay, maybe it will be a clothes pile holder in about a week, but for now, it is the perfect spot to read a book.

The Reading Nook

One Room Challenge - After - Reading Nook

The chair was borrowed from the dining room where it served the noble purpose of backpack holder.  Actually, all of the items in the nook are borrowed from other spots in the house.  I also made that pretty little hanging bunch of eucalyptus.

The Side Tables

One Room Challenge - After - Bed Side TableI love how my nightstands came out. I switched these from the living room and gave them a few coats of green spray paint.  Dear mom’s of kids who will be going to school together some day, get a picture of them walking away from you on the way to school or to the school bus.  You will cherish that picture for all of your life with all of your heart.  Perhaps the biggest miracle of this One Room Challenge is that the plant I bought several weeks ago is still alive. I hope that is a good omen.  And I can’t forget my snazzy pendant lights that I got from Target!  They were under $50 for the pair, super easy to install and I really love how they look.

One Room Challenge - After - Right Side of the Bed

And that brings us right back to the bed.  If you are as obsessed with this coverlet bedding as I am, you can buy it through my Amazon affiliate link (I may earn a small commission if you do) here.  

Make sure to click over to Calling It Home to check out the rest of the guest participants!

One Room Challenge Update – Bedside Tables

I’m back with another update for the One Room Challenge!  I’m a little in awe of myself that I have actually made as much progress as I have.  It’s been 5 weeks and I have painted the walls, put up new window treatments and updated the linens and accessories.  Nothing like a challenge to get this girl moving.  This week I worked on the bedside tables and lighting.  This portion of my bedroom has had me up and down all week.  I really wanted to purchase new tables, but the one’s that I REALLY want are out of stock.  They are also pretty expensive, so it’s probably better that they are out of stock.  In the meantime, I did want to do something to jazz up this area a little bit and and I had already decided I wanted to add a few touches of green.  I traded the tables I had in the living room with my bedside tables and decided to give them a coat of spray paint.

One Room Challenge Update - Bedside Table

I really love how these came out.  I’ve actually had these little side tables for over a decade.  They were super inexpensive, but for some reason they have been very sturdy and a good match for me.  If you’ve not worked with spray paint before, it’s fairly easy to do and gives a lot of bang for your buck.  There are definitely a few tricks that I’ve learned along the way.

Transform Your Furniture with Spray Paint

Spray Paint Tip #1

Work in an open area where there is nothing that you wouldn’t mind getting spray paint on.  Outside is the best bet and I prefer on the grass because whatever over spray that gets on the grass will eventually get chopped off by the lawnmower. When I painted these tables, the weather was crappy, so I did these in the garage, with the garage door open.  You definitely need good ventilation and a ventilation mask is a good idea as well.  Spray paint is stinky and you want as much air flow as possible.

Spray Paint Tip #2

Everything you wear should be something you don’t care about getting paint on.  Don’t forget that this includes your shoes.  Your shoes WILL get spray paint on them.  Also, if you have shrunk your painting sweatpants, your ankles WILL get spray paint on them.

Spray Paint Tip #3

Shake the heck out of your spray paint before and while you are using it.  I do a good minute of shaking before I start and then I will continue to shake periodically while I am spraying.

Spray Paint Tip #4

Give a light sand to your piece before you start.  I really don’t think you need to go too crazy with the sanding.  Just a little bit too rough up the surface.

Spray Paint Tip #5

You must be patient and allow for multiple coats.  Stay about 10 inches away from the item that you are spraying and constantly move the can back and forth or up and down over the piece, using long, even strokes.  If you hold the spray paint too close to the surface and you just blast away at it without consistently moving the can back and forth or up and down you WILL end up with drips and messes.  If you are an impatient person, you will need all of your will power to step back, take it slow and allow the coats to build up.  I usually give a light coat, walk away for about twenty minutes to allow a little drying, come back and give it another light coat, walk away and repeat until I’m satisfied with the coverage.  The tables took about four very light coats.  Did I want to get it done in two coats?  Of course.  But guess what, I don’t have any drips!

Spray Paint Tip #6

This is the second most important tip, next to #5.  Do NOT touch, move, brush up against, breathe on your finished project for two days.  If you have to move the item indoors, use extreme caution when moving it and try to only touch parts that are not highly visible.  Although the paint may feel dry, it hasn’t completed cured for about 48 hours so you do stand the chance of leaving a mark if you handle it too much or place any objects on it prior to that 48 hour mark.  Again, patience is truly a virtue when it comes to DIYing.

I have to say, I was extremely patient with these tables, and I’m glad I was.  I’m really happy with the finish and the color is nice.  It’s bright, but not crazy neon or anything.  It adds a little brightness to the navy blue room.

The other exciting addition this week is the installation of the wall lamps!  I ended up going with the Crosby Collection Swing Arm Sconce by Threshhold:

Crosby Collection Swing Arm Sconce - Threshold™ - WHITE:

I’m really happy with these as well. They are pretty, but sturdy and they were super easy to install.  I really wanted to stay under $50 for each sconce and I did achieve that goal. These were $29.99 and I bought them on a day that Target had 10% on home decor and lighting, so in total I spent a little over $50 for both.  Super good deal, in my opinion.  Here’s a close up of the sconce with the light off.  I think this is actually the best representation of the colors in the room that I have been able to capture so far.

Bedside Table One Room Challenge

And here it is with the light turned on:

Bedside Table One Room Challenge Light

See that little brass doo dad there?  It’s an incense burner.  I’m totally into incense right now.  Sandalwood, specifically.  My kids think I’m trying to poison them.  It’s kind of hilarious.

I’m really excited to get this room finally wrapped up in the next week!  I still have a lot to do, but I’m going to really push through and get as much done as can so that I can pick a sunny day either over the weekend or early next week to take some pictures of the finished product!  If you want to check out my progress from the beginning, here are the links:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

One Room Challenge Update – Master Bedroom Window Treatments

I made a big push in the One Room Challenge this week.  I finally totally, 100% finished painting the room.  I order my next to the bed lights.  And I picked out, bought and hung window treatments!

Master Bedroom Window Treatments - One Room Challenge txt

The curtains I chose are the white Vivan curtains from Ikea.  I’ve used them a bunch of times before and they are trusty old friends.  They are pretty and crisp and they have awesome pleats at the top.  I don’t know if they’re technically called pleats, but my point is they hang nicely without too much effort.  And let’s not forget the awesome price tag, $9.99 a pair.  Yes, folks, less then $10 for two beautiful curtains.  You can’t ask for much more than that in life.

What I really want to talk about today, though, are the blinds I picked out.  Because I’m pretty much head over heels, desperately in love with them.  They are the Liselott blinds from Ikea.  I liked them when I saw them on the website and they looked like this:

LISELOTT Roller blind IKEA The blind is cordless for increased child safety. Can be mounted inside or outside the window frame, or in the ceiling.

Kind of cool, right?  A roller blind with a little pattern to mix things up a little.  They range in price according to size from about $15 – $25.  Not bad. I figured I’d give them a try.  Couldn’t hurt.

Then I got the them home.  And the hardware took like 4.2 minutes to put up.  I thought, “Hmm, lucky me, that wasn’t very difficult at all.  This is going way more smoothly than expected”.  Then I put the blinds in the mounted hardware.

Liselott Blinds - Close Up

They caught the light and I was hooked.  The pattern comes through and it’s just so whimsical but also not childish.  It’s the perfect amount of something special when you can only have just enough something special and not one ounce more.  They are that thing in the room that won’t steal the spotlight, but will not ever be overlooked, either.  I’ve said often throughout this One Room Challenge that I want the room to lean more toward that dreamy, boho vibe as opposed to the preppy, nautical vibe that would be so easy to slip into with the navy blue walls and white accents.  These blinds smack the preppy, nautical vibe in the face and say, “Not so fast, this room is just a tiny bit quirky”.  I have been looking for a long time for something like these blinds.  I’m so glad they are now mine.

Master Bedroom Window Treatments - One Room Challenge

Ah, it makes me so happy to look at that picture. What I should have also taken a picture of is the state of the rest of the room, because it is an absolute ripped apart mess.  There are plastic boxes that I ripped open from Ikea, and paint cans and clothes and all kinds of messes everywhere.  It’s the storm before the calm right now.  Except for that one corner.  Right now, that corner is perfect.

In the next couple of weeks I have to get closet doors installed, upcycle a headboard and do some type of a sprucing up to my childhood desk that will become a vanity.  Oh and put up the lights I bought.  And redo my night stands.  Again.  And clean the room.  That will help.  The list is still very long, people!  Two more weeks to go!

If you are interested in seeing the previous weeks in my One Room Challenge, you can do so here:

One Room Challenge Week 1

One Room Challenge Week 2

One Room Challenge Week 3


One Room Challenge Update – What I’ve Bought and What I’m Buying

***This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on one and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission***  This week the One Room Challenge was mostly about buying stuff and planning on buying stuff.  Pretty fun, huh?

I bought this bedspread that I am obsessed with.  I understand that not everyone is going to appreciate this somewhat granny-ish style.  But for me, it’s perfect.  Exactly what I wanted.    It’s sort of romantic and old fashioned, but not fussy.  It’s listed as white, but it’s shy of white, more of a vanilla color.

White Samantha Bedspread Set:

Avondale Manor 3 Piece Amanda Bedspread Set – King  

I would really love to hear thoughts on the bedspread.  I’ve been known to like some quirky things and I am pretty sure this is one of those things that no one will like but me.  I think I’m going to pull it off though.  I do.

I will be visiting my friend Ikea in the coming days to purchase my go to white curtains, the Vivan set of two for $9.99 a pair.  I did research other curtains, but I have used the Vivan curtains before and I like them.  I thought about going with an off white on the curtains, but I think crisp white curtains are mistake proof.  I am also thinking about trying these roller blinds from Ikea:

IKEA - LISELOTT, Roller blind, 23x77 ", , The blind is cordless for increased child safety.Can be mounted inside or outside the window frame, or in the ceiling.You can cut the right side of the roller blind (up to 8") to fit your window.:

Liselott Roller Blind

That is tough to see, but there is a pattern on the shade that I think will be pretty cool.  I’ll have to see them in person before I make my final decision.  The smallest size is just $14.99.

I’m also on the look out for a mirror for what will be my desk/vanity.  Something like this: Allied Brass PQN-91-PB 21-Inch X 26-Inch Oval Tilt Mirror, Polished Brass: Home Improvement:

Brass Oval Tint Mirror

Or this:

Jerdon Lighted Vanity Mirror

I’m also contemplating adding another color into the color scheme.  And I’m leaning toward emerald green.  Just a touch, in a throw pillow (which I swore I would not use in this post, but the one below is not fussy in any way!)

Cushion cover in cotton velvet with piping at edges. Concealed zip.:

Velvet Cushion Cover

Okay, and maybe one more throw pillow:

Cushion cover in cotton twill with gold-colored, printed text. Concealed zip.:

Text Print Cushion Cover

 This weekend I’m planning on being busy updating my childhood desk into a vanity.  I hope to share it next week!

One Room Challenge Update

Get Your Wallet. We’re Going to Ikea

Ikea never disappoints.  I haven’t been to the actual store (which is approximately 7 minutes from my house.  I know)  in quite some time, but I need to get there for a few things, so I thought I would do some on-line browsing of their new products to get warmed up.  There is some really awesome new stuff.

IKEA - GILTIG, Teacup and saucer, Made of feldspar porcelain, which makes the cup impact resistant and durable.:

Graphic cat tea cups?  Are you kidding me?  Sign me up.  All day.

STOCKSUND 3.5 seat sofa cover - Nolhaga dark gray - IKEA:

There is something about this sofa that I love.  I think it’s the juxtaposition of the bulky-ish sofa on top of those spindly legs.  It looks like it’s floating.  And it’s only $249.

STILLHET Tealight holder - IKEA:

These little tea light holders were a lucky find.  They will totally go with the other brass elements I picked up for the bedroom for the One Room Challenge!  They are like sculptural flowers that glow from within.

IKEA - TILLFÄLLE, Wall tile, You can add a personal touch to your kitchen, bathroom or part of a wall by mixing the different wall tiles.These wall tiles have a durable glazed surface and are easy to keep clean.:

Who here knew that Ikea had wall tiles and didn’t tell me?  How awesome are these?  I would love to see all of these patterns and colors together as a super cool mosaic in some unexpected place.  Can someone get on that for me?  Thanks.

IKEA - TILLFÄLLE, Serving bowl with stand, Perfect for bread, a large salad or as a decorative fruit bowl.The heat-resistant cork stand protects the table from scratching and functions as a pot stand when serving a hot meal.:

This serving dish is a must have.  I love the teal blue and the fact that it has a little stand just blows me away.  Genius.

IKEA - GILTIG, Serving plate, Made of feldspar porcelain, which makes the serving plate impact resistant and durable.:

More awesome serveware.  That pattern is half of one of those fighting fish, if you didn’t guess it right away.  So unexpected and pretty.


There is a new line, Skogsta, of wood storage products for the kitchen that is so beautiful.  It’s acacia wood and I really love it very, very much.  It’s making me rethink everything I own.


Get You're Wallet We're Going To Ikea


One Room Challenge Update – What I Learned from Painting My Walls Navy Blue

Ok, I’m still in the One Room Challenge.  I know it’s only the second week, but congrats to me for not giving up!  My first item to check off my list of to do’s was to paint the bedroom.  Technically, I can’t actually check it off the list yet because it’s not completely done yet, but it’s close.  So, I wanted to share this week what I learned from painting my walls navy blue.  The color that I chose for the walls is Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore.  It is a true Navy blue.

What I Learned from Painting My Walls Navy Blue

What I Learned From Painting My Walls Navy Blue

  1.  As soon as I started painting, the first thing that jumped out at me was how much taller the ceilings seemed against the navy blue in comparison to the beige walls that I hadn’t painted yet.  I’m not sure what the science is behind that, but it almost seemed like an optical illusion; the difference was that dramatic.
  2. While the dark walls might make the ceiling feel taller, I can confirm the rumors of dark walls making a room feel smaller.  I like to refer to it as cozier.  I’m good with this because my master bedroom is oddly large and it helps make it feel less cavernous.
  3. The navy can go very nautical or it can go more moody bohemian depending on what type of whites you pair with it.  So far, the molding on the windows is bright white and it looks super crispy and preppy.  On the other hand, the new bedding that I got is more like a winter white and it has more of that moody vibe.  I’m leaning more toward that moody vibe, so I’m planning to pull in more of those warmer whites.
  4. Navy blue is hard to photograph.  The picture above is really not doing the color justice.  The actual color is closer to the blue in the caption of the photograph.   I had some great bright sun when I took the pictures, so I was hoping to get a true representation of the color, but the picture is reading more greenish than it is in real life.  I’m planning to mess around with different lighting and take more pictures now that I have lugged the camera equipment upstairs.
  5. The best thing I learned from painting the walls navy blue is that you should never be afraid of trying something dramatic.  It was no harder to paint the walls this dark color than it would have been to paint them light.  I had nearly full coverage after two coats and just lightly touched up with a third.

In other One Room Challenge news, I did a little accessory shopping at the local thrift store and found some great brass items that I want to use as accents.

Brass Elements

I got five frames and a brass planter for $25.  Score!  I had that gorgeous painting from another thrifting adventure.  It was $5.  And the little brass apple was in a little grab bag of stuff from the thrift store, too.

Brass Elements Close Up

I’m finally getting excited about how this will turn out instead of just feeling overwhelmed by how much work is ahead of me.  I can’t wait to update next week!



Master Bedroom Update – One Room Challenge

I’ve gotten exactly no where once again in the process of snazzifying my bedroom.  One of the first things on the list is to paint the room and I just CAN’T get myself to do it.  Can. Not.  I noticed today that the One Room Challenge is about to start up for April and I thought this might be a great time to really give myself a kick in the pants and get after it.  If you’re not familiar with the One Room Challenge, it’s a 6 week challenge spear headed by 20 designers/bloggers/diyers to completely transform one room.  It’s been around for 10 years.  Bloggers across the interwebs can take part as a Guest Participant and link up their work.  I’ve watched from the sidelines in the past, but I might as well give it a go.  I mean, I have a room to update and six weeks is a pretty generous timeline, even for me.  So, let’s do this!

The Plan

Week 1 – Paint the room

Week 2 – Curtains/Headboard

Week 3 – Closet Doors

Week 4 – Desk Makeover

Week 5 – Lighting/Décor/Bedding

Week 6 – Reveal!  Self back patting.

And in true Undercover DIYer style, I’m going to start the whole thing by ignoring the timeline COMPLETELY and researching some lighting options.  I’m pretty sure I want to do a wall mounted non-hard wired light on either side of the bed.  I’m also sure that I want said light to be under fifty dollars.  Here are some options I found.

5 Wall Sconces Under $50

Eyeball Wall Sconce – Urban Outfitters – $34 – I really love this little light.  I love the Bronze-ness of it.  But I’m also a little scared of the Bronze-ness of it.  Will I have to change all of the other metal finishes in the room?  Is it worth it if I do? Maybe.

Minut Wall Lamp – Ikea – $19.99 – This one might be might dark horse favorite.  It’s different.  It’s sort of a throw back.  And you can’t beat that price.

Ranarp Wall Lamp – Ikea – $19.99 – The price on this one is right and it’s definitely got a style to it.  I think I’m going to stay away from that true white color in this room though.  We’ll see.  It’s a maybe.

Crosby Collection Swing Arm Lamp – Target – $36.99 – I love the simple design of this light.  I like the muted metal accent.  I’m not sure if black is going to work, but maybe I can force it to.

Oil Rubbed Bronze Swing Arm Lamp – Lamps Direct – $29.99 – Ok, there has to be a last place in every list, right?  This is a lovely light, but, if I’m honest, it’s not going to be light in my bedroom.  I don’t think that glass lampshade would make it a week in my house either.  Very pretty for the right person, though!

Alright, I’m re-invigorated!  Give me the paint roller!  As soon as I buy the paint.  Step 1.  Buy Paint.  One Room Challenge on.

The Definitive DIY Guide to Painting a Room

I’m going to paint my bedroom.  Honestly, I am at some point.  I always get a little overwhelmed before a painting project because there seem to be so many steps to the process.  I’ve painted many, many rooms in my time, but I still find myself starting and stopping because I’ve forgotten some important step or tool that I need.  I started researching the interwebs for a good step by step and found a few, but none that really pulled the whole process together front start to finish.  So, I decided to write one myself.



The Definitive DIY Guide to Painting a Room

Choosing your paint colors and finish.

My number one best advice on choosing paint colors is go with your gut.  This sounds silly, but, the place to start when picking a paint color is to pick a color.  The actual color: red, yellow, blue, gray, is really your personal preference. The hard part is deciding which shade from that gigantic color wheel is right for you. So, for starters, sit in the room you’re painting at different times of day and ask yourself a few questions.

Question 1:  How much light does the room get?  Is there a lot of light?  Not a lot of light?  Do you want your walls to reflect that streaming sunlight or absorb it?  Light colors will reflect light and create a bright cheerful room, while dark colors will absorb that light and get you a warm, rich room.  If your room does not get a lot of light, don’t rush to paint the walls bright white to bring in light.  That can backfire and the crisp white you were hoping for might end up looking dull and dingy.  A rich, saturated jewel tone can be a great choice for a room that lacks natural light.  Don’t be scared, it’s only paint!

Pro Tip: Emily Henderson

Pro Paint Tip on whether white is right for your room

Question 2:  What kind of mood do you want the room to have?  Is it a cozy sitting room or a wake up and face the day breakfast room?  Light colors are, of course, better for the wake up and face the day breakfast room while warm, deep, dark colors will help create a cozy feel.

Question 3:  How much empty wall space does the room have? A room with a lot of windows or built ins or millwork can be a great place to try a color that might seem overwhelming.  My dining room, for example, has two walls with windows and the third wall is wallpapered.  The dark blue I chose to paint the windowed walls does not overwhelm the room because there is so little wall space.  I initially tried the exact same dark blue in my living room that has a LOT of unbroken wall space and it was a big fail.  Dungeony, walls caving in kind of fail.


Question 4:  What do the adjacent rooms have on the walls?  You don’t have to go with different shades of the same color, but you definitely want to go with something complimentary.  In our open floor plan world, it’s something you do have to think about it.  In my house, the kitchen opens to the dining room, which is open to a small parlor.  I chose a camel color for the kitchen and the small parlor.  Not a match to the blue in the dining room but it doesn’t compete with the blue either.


Once you’ve chosen your color and you have an idea of what shade will work in the room, go to a paint store (like Benjamin Moore) and talk to a pro.  When I was ready to start painting my house, I walked into my local Benjamin Moore with a list of colors that I wanted.  When I went through that list with the Pro at Benny Moore, he gave me a few suggestions.  I had selected two blue colors for my sons room and when I explained that I was putting them in the same room, using one as an accent wall, he suggested that I switch the dark blue to a different shade.  The blue I had chosen had a lot of green in it and the other blue had a lot of something that would clash with that green and basically he saved me from a paint disaster that I would have unwittingly walked right into.  Bottom line, the people who work at reputable paint stores know what they are talking about.  Listen to them.

Choosing a Paint Finish

Picking a paint finish is relatively easy.  Ceilings traditionally get a flat finish and walls can be anywhere from eggshell to satin and even semi gloss.  Flat finishes are very forgiving when it comes to imperfections in your surface.  The glossier you get, the more you will notice bumps and dings in your walls or ceiling. Glossier finishes are also easier to clean which make them great for kitchens and bathrooms.  The basic rule of thumb is High Gloss finish for trim and doors, Semi Gloss for high traffic rooms that take some abuse like kitchen and baths, Satin or eggshell for living and sleeping spaces and flat finish for the ceiling.  But, of course, wouldn’t a glossy ceiling be super cool?  The pros will tell you no and there are some painters who might flat out refuse to do it.  But, if your walls or ceiling are smooth as butter and you’re feeling a little daring, why not bump up to the next finish level?  (Actually, there is a reason to not bump up into the next finish level and it’s that the next finish level may be more difficult to paint over if you hate it, so bare that in mind if you are thinking about putting a satin finish on your ceiling.  It’s only paint, but no one wants to repaint a ceiling.  Ever.).

How to Choose a Paint Finish - Sheet1-page-001 (2)

Buying Your Paint

Ok, you picked out the actual paint colors for your room.  Congratulations!  The question is, do you spend big bucks on the Benjamin Moore (or other premium paint) brand?  The short answer, for me, is yes.  I’ve found that paint is definitely one of those things that you get what you pay for.  I painted every single surface (including the exterior) of this house with Benjamin Moore paint after being told by several professional painters that it was the only paint they would work with.  Having also worked with it myself, I can tell you that there is nothing like rolling on some Benjamin Moore paint.  You can definitely tell the difference between it and your average hardware store paint.  That being said, you can absolutely ask your local hardware store to color match any Benjamin Moore paint color (or almost any other brand name).  You may not even need a swatch, just the name of the paint color you selected.  So if you are on a tight budget, you may save some money with a big box hardware store paint.  You may end up using a little more of that hardware store paint as it doesn’t spread as well as the premium stuff, but the price difference is usually significant enough that you will still save some bucks.

If you’re not sure how much paint to buy, Sherwin Williams has a great calculator on their website that will help you figure it out.

Gather Your Supplies

You’ve got your paint, what else do you need?  A lot of things.

Brushes – Your most important tool is going to be your cutting in brush.  Do not skimp on this.  I’ve used cheap brushes and they stink.  Trust me.  My favorite brush for cutting is this one:

Purdy 2 in. XL Cub Paint Brush-144153320 - The Home Depot

It’s made by Purdy and it has an angle and it has a short handle which makes it easier for my little hands to hold.  If you are a big handed person, go for a longer handle.  Most importantly, go to the hardware store and hold a few.  Your cutting in brush needs to have an angle, but other than that, pick one that is comfortable in your hand.  Your cutting in brush is about to be your best friend.

Roller and Roller Covers – I usually go for middle of the road price on these.  For painting walls and ceilings you will want either a synthetic or blended cover and you will want to use a smooth or semi-smooth nap or pile depth.

Roller Extender – You will need this for rolling out the ceiling.

Canvas Tarp – I have a hard time spending money on a canvas tarp, but it is the best for painting.  It will protect your floor better than plastic and spills will dry faster.  If your floors are wall to wall carpeted, you will want to use plastic taped down with painters tape underneath your canvas tarp.

Step Stool – Use a good sturdy step stool to reach your ceilings for cutting in.  Don’t use a chair from the kitchen.  It won’t end well.  Trust me.  The sturdy step stool should have the added benefit of a place to put your paint can.

Painters Tape – I don’t use a ton of a painters tape when I paint, because I am a Jedi Master of cutting in.  However, if you’re not super steady handed yet, you may want to use it around trim.

Rolling Pan – I usually use a metal rolling pan.  I’ve used plastic ones and they are a little flimsy.  Flimsy isn’t a good quality when it comes to holding paint.

Spackle – I love the spackle that starts off pink and turns white when it dries, but I’ve used others.  You will need this to fill in any nail holes or other little dings on your walls.

DAP 1 pt. DryDex Spackling with Dry Time Indicator

Sandpaper – You’ll need this to sand down your spackle.  A fine or medium grit sanding block should do the trick.

Primer – Primer is a step that everyone wants to skip.  Don’t do it.  I’m a fan of Zinsser brand primers.  For walls and ceilings I like their water based option:

Bulls Eye quart product shot

Screw driver – for removing light switches and outlet covers.  And maybe for opening your paint cans.

Scraper – You may not need one, but if you are doing a lot of spackling, you might want to use one before sanding.

Prep Your Walls and the Room

Start by cleaning your walls.  For me that means a dusting with a clean broom and then tackling any egregious stains with a soapy, wet cloth.  Nothing fancy and I don’t spend all day doing it.  If you’re using a good primer, it will cover most stains.

Next, fill in any nail holes or dings with your spackle.  I usually use my fingertip for small holes and just smoosh a little more than looks necessary into the whole.  Allow it to dry fully and then sand it down.

You might notice while you are spackling or cleaning the walls that you have some rough spots on your ceiling or walls.  Sand those down lightly.

Tape off anywhere that you feel nervous about cutting in around.  If I tape off, it will be around window moldings or floor moldings.  Nothing worse than paint on trim.  If you’re painting a ceiling, you will want to tape off any ceiling fixtures like fans or lights.  Be patient, don’t pull off so much tape that it ends up getting tangled and be as precise as possible in your placement.  If a little smidgen of tape finds it’s way onto your wall, you will see that unpainted spot for the rest of your life or until you touch it up.

Remove outlet and switch plate covers.  This step is annoying and boring, but totally worth it.  Take the time to do it.

Clear the room as much as possible.  Move furniture to the center of the room if necessary.

Cover the floor and any furniture with canvas tarps.

Make sure your lighting is good!  Bring in some lamps and remove the lampshades if you are daring and try to paint at night.

Start Painting!

Fill a small pot with your primer  for cutting in.  Fill your roller pan with primer.  Condition your roller cover prior to painting with it.  You can do this by wetting it and roughly drying it with a dry towel to help remove any loose bits of nap or by covering it in painters tape and then removing the tape thereby removing any loose bits of nap.

Start with the ceiling.  I know.  Totally boring.  But trust me, this is the place to start.  Start by cutting in (see below for a how to on cutting in) a portion of the ceiling where it meets the wall.  Cutting in the ceiling prior to painting the walls does not need to particularly precise.  If you are going to prime and paint the walls after the ceiling, then you will cover any mistakes or drips you may have made when painting the ceiling.

Once you’ve cut in a small portion of the ceiling, start rolling.  It’s best to start rolling before your cut in lines have dried.   Attach your roller to the extender and pop your conditioned roller cover on the roller.  Dip the roller into the paint tray and roll it on the flat angled surface of the tray to distribute the paint.  Don’t plunge your roller into the paint, you want to skim the paint and then distribute it by rolling on the flat surface of the tray.  When rolling out the ceiling, be generous with the paint.   Apply a generous amount of paint to the ceiling, roll it out a bit, apply more paint to the ceiling, continue rolling it out until you’ve covered the area that you had previously cut in.  Then go back to cutting in the next portion of ceiling.  Once your coat of primer has had a chance to dry, repeat the process with your paint (1 or 2 coats if you’ve primed!) until you’re ceiling is freshly painted!

So how does one cut in, anyway?  Remember the angled, stubby brush from above?  You’re going to use that.  Fill your small paint pot (you can buy one, but I’ve been known to use an old mug).  Apply a moderate amount of paint to your trusty brush, about a 1/2 inch up the brush.  Tap the brush on each side of your paint pot before going for the wall.  Start about an inch from where the wall meets the ceiling and slowly angle up toward the ceiling.  Long, steady strokes are key here.  You are basically pushing the paint toward the ceiling with the angled tip of the brush.  There is a great video from this Old House that gives a good visual of this process. Once you get good at cutting in, you will never go back to taping off the ceiling.  It’s so much faster and it’s very satisfying to see that neat line you created!

Once the ceiling is done, you’ll start on the walls.  Before you start priming or painting, check to see if you’ve got any drips that have come down from the ceiling.  sand those down if you have any.  You’re going to start with cutting in with your primer again.  Just like the ceiling, you’ll cut in a small portion of the wall and then roll out that portion of the wall.  Repeat this cutting in rolling out process with your primer all around the room once, allow some dry time for your primer and then repeat the process with at least two coats of paint.

Cleaning Up

Congratulations!  You have an awesome, newly painted room!  Wait, you also have a big mess on your hands.  What do you do with all this paint covered stuff?

Brushes – You spent some good money on your sweet cutting in brush, so you are going to want to take care of it.  If you are using latex paint you can rinse your brush with water and then some soapy water.  Remove all of the excess paint and gently coax the bristles back to their original neat form.  There is something called a painters comb you can use to help with cleaning your brushes.  This tutorial is an easy one to follow and shows you how to use a painters comb.  If you have used an oil based primer, you will need to use mineral spirits to clean your brushes in addition to the soap and water.  PS: You can also clean your rollers, but I must admit that I usually just buy new ones.  If you are more conservative than me, this is a great tutorial for cleaning rollers.

Tarp – You can totally clean your tarp after using it.  Drag it out to the drive way, shake out any loose dirt or other debris, hit it with some dish soap and spray it down with the hose.  Allow it to air dry and then fold it up and store it.

Left Over Paint – The first thing you should do with your excess paint is store some in small container (a baby food jar works great for this) and label it with the room name and the color name.  In six months when you have to touch up a spot, you are going to so love yourself for doing this.  For any large amounts of excess paint, you will need to check with your local authorities on how to dispose of it properly.  Different states have different guidelines, but for sure don’t chuck a half full can of paint in your trash can..  That’s a bad idea on a million levels.

Painters Tape – If you used painters tape, you will of course need to remove it.  Make sure your paint is completely dry before removing the tape.  If you find your tape is pulling up things it shouldn’t, like drywall or paint, try warming it up with a hair dryer.  You can also try wetting the tape with a little soap and water or fabric softener.  I hope you never have to try either of those tips and your painters always comes off in one strip.

Alright guys, I think I have you covered.  That is the Definitive DIY Guide to Painting a Room.