Archives For interior design

Decorating Resolutions

June 10, 2013 — 2 Comments

I don’t typically do resolutions for the New Year mostly because I just don’t. But the other day I was thinking to myself about resolving to change this or that about my house and I was like, Hey! I should make a resolutions list for my house. Since it’s June I feel like it isn’t too trendy to do resolutions so why not?

Here are few resolutions about my house:

1) Less than 3 IKEA items per room

IKEA Karlstad couch, IKEA Stockholm rug, and IKEA Vate floor lamp
I love IKEA. I sincerely wish there was one closer than three hours round trip but my house is pretty IKEA-ified at this point. Everyone knows IKEA furniture is poor/average quality but they have some really nice designs that as a freshly minted college graduate I flocked to. Now as a successful an employed late-twenty something I can afford to buy nicer furniture. Plus most people can recognize IKEA pieces so I don’t want people coming into my house thinking it’s an IKEA showroom (even though those showrooms are amazing). My resolution is to rely less on IKEA for every piece of furniture. Yes, they have cool designs at great prices but I want to mix it up a little. I think three large IKEA pieces per room is good balance for me.

2) Stop being discontent with my progress

Sometimes I’ll be sitting in my living room or dining room or just any room and all I can think about is what projects I want to get done. I get very frustrated that I don’t have more time, money, and/or skills to get more projects done. But I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to be content with the progress I have made and to just be in my house as it is right now. This is more of a discipline than a resolution but it is something I want to actively work on because I think it will make me happier person.

3) Stop stressing about dog hair and dust

Dude, I have a dog and he is messy. I’m a tidy person and my house usually really clean but my dog is a little hellion. Also, he’s a hoarder. So my house is constantly covered in dog hair (he is black and white so when his hair comes out and mixes together it looks like grey hair so my house is always covered in grey hair which is somehow extra gross), muddy paw prints (even though I wipe his paws every time he comes inside), and dog bones nosed into corners where they are “buried”. It really bothers me. But I also don’t have the time or energy to clean up after him every day so my goal is clean up once a week and just let it be the rest of the week. I did choose to own an animal so I can’t really expect him to live up to my human standards of cleanliness.

4) Accept that I make design mistakes

I make a lot of rash decisions. Maybe rash isn’t the word, but I make quick decisions. I generally know what I want when I am making a design choice but sometimes I make the wrong choice. It happens! For example, I painted my bathroom three times before I landed on a color I like and wait for it… it was the original color of the bathroom before I even stared painting womp womp. Part of the beauty of interior design is that it can be changed easily and often. I’m learning to accept that just because I bought a piece of furniture doesn’t mean I have to keep it for 10 years. If I decide after a year or even a day that I don’t like something I can sell it or give it away and move on to the next thing and the world won’t stop turning.

5) Don’t overly accessorize

I love to go thrifting and to yard sales and to cool shops and it is easy for me to pick up little decorative items along the way. Because they are small and cheap I don’t really think about if I need a mallard duck for $4 or a purple bubble gum machine for $7. I see something cool for a good price and I buy it. But I don’t need 50 decorative items in my house. I “need” maybe 10-20. My resolution is to really question if I need that elephant planter or brass Nefirtiti, yes they are cool but do I really need them? Also, just because I have something cool doesn’t mean it has to be sitting out. My dresser, faux sofa table, and dining room credenze are overloaded with items just because I have them. I need to declutter and start rotating items. I put a small box in my bedroom closet where I plan to keep decorative items that I will rotate out. It’s a small box so I’m not keeping a ton of stuff put up away but this way I’ll get to keep the items I really like and not feel like I’m living in a Hoarders episode.

What do you think? Are decorating resolutions something you think about while sitting on your couch? No, just me? Ah well.

I lurve paper cranes. My obsession began in the fourth grade when many of my great obsessions began. Having taught in Japan the previous year my teacher made it her mission to teach us all about Japanese culture including how to make paper cranes. Like riding a bike, I’ve never forgotten how to make a paper crane.

A few months ago I saw two images on Pinterest that got me thinking…

Can I incorporate paper cranes into my home’s design? The obvious answer is YES.

This corner of my bedroom was pretty empty and in need of some love so I went for it.

I really like it! When I have more time I would like to add more cranes to make it an even bigger statement but for now I’m very happy with this simple and cheap project.

Here is what I did:

Made some paper cranes
Strung them with fishing wire
Push pinned them to the ceiling


Here is a link on how to make a paper crane. I just used white computer printer paper, but origami paper would probably work better. I think I made eleven, but like I said, I may make more to make the installation bigger and better. The best part about making paper cranes is that it is extremely soothing. If you’ve never made one before the first few will take some thinking, but after that your brain takes over and does it for you, sort of like typing.

The only thing I bought for this project was clear fishing line which was surprisingly expensive at $7.99. Thankfully, it was the only thing I had to buy for this project so I guess $8 isn’t too much. If you have a friend who fishes you could just ask to borrow 20 yards or something since there is no way I’ll ever use 300 yards of fishing line.

The way the paper crane is folded creates a natural hole at the bottom of the crane so I used that as a starting point for stringing up the crane.
In order to string the fishing line through the crane I had to make a hole in the top of the crane. Before the hole:
After I jabbed the smaller end of the scissors into the top:
I started to make the holes bigger after I took this picture because stringing wire through such tiny holes was difficult to say they least. If you look closely you can actually see through to the other side, but it was a very tight fit!

I strung the string through the top hole first and then through the bottom hole and then I wrapped it around each wing and then knotted it on the top. Of course the string is clear so taking a picture of this process was sort of impossible, but you get the idea.

I left about two to three feet of string attached to each paper crane because I wasn’t sure at what heights I’d be hanging them.

My plan for hanging the paper cranes to the ceiling was to knot the fishing wire to a push pin and then push it into the ceiling. This would have been simple if my ceiling was dry wall, but the hanging process was much more difficult than I had anticipated mostly because my ceiling is plaster. Plaster doesn’t like push pins, this I learned. Instead of giving a huge amount of detail about the process I will just tell you that I used a hammer to get the push pins into the ceiling and also, I broke a lot of push pins.

Below, you can see that the push pins aren’t very noticeable at all. Is it a bad thing to make so many little holes in the ceiling? I don’t know. I didn’t even think about it while I was doing it. I guess whenever I leave I’ll just fill them with a little bit of putty or something. But it’s so pretty, who cares?
It was sort of hard to photograph because they gently sway in the breeze created by my fan. I find it very soothing. It’s like having a adult mobile! This would look adorable in a kids room but I personally think it looks very nice in a 27 year old woman’s room too. Although, I am positive that my fourth grade self would be super proud of this project. 
What do you think? Do you have a childhood obsession that you would like to incorporate into your home’s design? My advice: Do it.

My painted fabric ottoman is finished!

For a refresher, I bought the ottoman here for $25 and then in Part 1 of this makeover I re-attached the lining and re-stained the legs here. For part 2, I opted to paint the fabric.

It’s hard to capture the difference, but in person this ottoman went from a dingy and faded blue to a super-saturated bold blue (it isn’t as purple as it looks above).
When I first saw this ottoman hiding in a dingy corner of a thrift shop I knew it had major potential but I sat on it for a few weeks because I was unsure of how to make it over. I considered re-upholstering it but then a friend suggested I paint it. Which reminded me that a year ago I pinned a fabric painting tutorial (here), but I hadn’t thought much about it since. Then I saw that it was time for the Spring Pinterest Challenge and I knew it was the perfect time to just go for it!
via YHL

Here are the materials and the steps I took to paint my fabric ottoman:

1 Quart Latex Satin Paint
1 Spray Bottle for Water
2″-3″ Paint Brush
Fabric Medium (I used 4 – 2 oz bottles)

1) Prepare the paint mixture. I found different ‘recipes’ online but the one I chose to use was:

1 part fabric medium + 1 part latex paint + 1 part water

I found that two 2 oz bottles of fabric medium are exactly a 1/2 cup so I went with that as my starting point and then added 1/2 cup latex paint and a 1/2 cup of water. It doesn’t look like a lot of paint (it’s only 1 & 1/2 cups of liquid) so I wasn’t sure it would be enough but I went with it and figured I could mix up more if I needed to.

To show you how ‘soupy’ it is here is a visual aid:
The top is the mixture of water+fabric medium+latex paint and the bottom is just latex paint. I’m showing you this to explain that painting fabric like this doesn’t cover up major flaws or stains in the fabric. So if you are trying to decide if you want to paint that chair with the huge stain on the seat, this won’t cover it up. If anything, I found that this process was more like tinting the fabric not painting it. Thankfully I was just going from dingy light blue to a more saturated dark blue so it worked for me. The point is this: You need to start with a fabric that is lighter and that doesn’t have major blemishes.
2) Wet the fabric.
I used this large industrial sprayer that I have and it worked great. The wetter the fabric the better the paint goes on so don’t be shy with the amount of water you spray on. See how I have newspaper down? That was a very bad idea, don’t use newspaper! I didn’t realize how much water I would be using and the newspaper just got soggy, for the second coat I used a garbage bag and it worked much better.
I wet the ottoman in sections (about a foot in diameter). And then brushed on a small amount of the paint mixture.
It was pretty simple and it went super fast. I wasn’t sure I would have enough paint to cover the whole thing but the 1 & 1/2 cups of liquid did a whole coat on this ottoman (it’s about 2’x4’x1′ for reference).

I was nervous about how hard it would be to paint all those tufts, but it was really pretty easy. I just jammed my brush into all the crevices (there’s a dirty joke in there) and I tried not to let too much paint and water/paint gather in the holes and folds.

Though it’s slightly blurry, you can see from left to right it’s dry, wet, and painted.

After the first coat:

It only took me 45 minutes to do the first coat! I thought it would be a much longer project. I let it dry overnight and then repeated the whole process. The second coat didn’t use nearly as much paint so I actually ended up doing a third coat right after the second just because I had the paint already mixed.
After two coats:
Cost Breakdown:
Ottoman: $25
Latex Paint: $14 (I only used 1 cup of this so there are lots more projects left in this quart)
Fabric Medium: $10 ( 4 – 2oz bottles at $1.99 each)
Sanding blocks, foam paint brush, regular paint brush, spray bottle, stain: $0 (I had all these times already)
Total: $49
Considering that similar ottomans sell for well over $250, I am completely satisfied with this price. And amazingly, I sold my old glass coffee table on craigslist for $50 so I basically broke even!
I highly recommend painting fabric, it was easy, quick, and it looks great! My only caution is that you pick the right piece to paint. You want a piece that is fairly light in color (or at least a simliar color to what you want to paint it) with no major stains or blemishes on the fabric.
I’m crazy in love with this ottoman!

On Monday, I shared my little dining room corner make-over. Here is the process I used to hanging the large old windows on the wall. 

A few summers ago I bought two large windows. Why did I buy windows? I don’t really know. I had a moment where I was feeling very shabby chic-y apparently. Actually, I think I had just gotten Pinterest and I was in that fever of seeing all these new projects with old windows for the first time.

Anyway, for several months the ones I bought just sat around doing nothing. Then I got an idea. What if instead of putting small pictures behind each pane (which is the most common thing people do with windows like this) I printed one large picture instead? I thought maybe it would look a little more modern that way. So I found two pictures from my trip to Paris that I thought would work and had them printed. I used Snapfish and got the pictures printed in the 20″x30″ poster size for $18 each. That seems expensive now but at the time I thought it was reasonable. When I got them I taped them on the back of the frame.

I like the overall look. But the reason it took me so long to hang them is that there was no hanging hardware on the back.
It is just a simple wood frame window but for several reasons I was nervous. For one it is really old window so I wasn’t sure how solid the wood was and so I hesitated to drill into it. And secondly these windows are pretty heavy like 15 pounds so knew I needed heavy duty hanging hardware. But you know what, you can’t wait around forever so I just did it.
Here is what I did:
1) Measure and mark a spot 1/3 of the way down the frame. My frame was 30″ tall so I marked a spot at 10″ on either side.
2) Screw in hardware. I used these hooks from a hardware store. I screwed them in at an angle toward the center of the frame.
Like I said I was nervous to drill into the old wood but I found that using a screwdriver worked find. The wood was pretty soft (not falling apart soft, just not so hard that I needed a drill) and the screw went in easily.

3) Attach the hanging wire. I used 9′ of hanging wire on each frame. That sounds like a lot but these suckers are heavy and I wanted to be extra careful. I pulled the wire through the loops three times.

On each side I wrapped the end of the wire around all three strands.
After wrapping the end around several times I stuck the end through the last loop to make a sort of knot.

After trimming the ends, the back looked like this.

Admittedly, that looks a little wonky but here I demonstrate how it looks when pulled taut.
4) Put a screw in the wall and hang them up. The rest is pretty basic picture hanging. I measured and marked where I wanted them to hang and then got out my drill. I have plaster walls so I pre-drilled holes and then drilled my screw in.
They’ve been hanging up for several days now and no major catastrophes so I think they are good! If you are hanging a window in a hallway or somewhere where they might get knocked often I would consider using bracing brackets on the bottom corners. I’m not worried about these since they are in a corner but they can move pretty freely with the hanging wire so just keep that in mind.
Budget Breakdown:
Window – $5
Poster – $18
Hanging hardware – $5
= $28 each (not too bad for a 30″x25″ piece of art!)
I love it when projects go this way, when I think they are going to be hard and then they turn out to be pretty simple. I’m glad I knocked this project off of my mental to-do list and I’m happy to say that I conquered a fear of hanging heavy objects, win-win! More pictures and info about the corner makeover here.

Are you into the old window look? Have you ever had to get creative when hanging stuff on the wall?

So the thing about weekend to-do lists is that they are a terrible idea. Mostly because as soon as I make a list I get mad about lists, like lists are fascist, I can do whatever I want, ugh. I mean, can I just live?

So guess what got done from my list I made on Friday? Yeah, nothing.

But I did do something else that was on an invisible list in my mind.

This is the corner of my dining room as it’s been for the past 15 months:

Pretty sad and boring. Here is the other corner of my dining room:
I got these two windows from an antique shop for like $5 each. They are huge, 30″ x 20″ and pretty heavy. I’m sort of over the old window as a picture frame thing but since I’ve had them for over a year I just wanted to hang them and get it done with. The reason it has taken me so long to hang them is because they had no hanging hardware on them and I was nervous to attach hardware on the back, but I’ll go into more detail about how I hung them on Wednesday. For now let’s skip ahead to the big reveal:
I hung the windows, added a little side table from a thrift shop, and voila! The previously dead corner has life. Not that I expect anyone to actually sit in that corner and have tea or anything but I like having those two extra chairs in there for when I have more than six people over for dinner so having a little vignette in the corner make the chairs seem a little less out of place. Plus this dining room is so big that it makes it seem less like a big empty room.
My new goal is to make to-do lists of the things I don’t want to get done and then I’m guaranteed to succeed! I’d basically given up on hanging those windows because they had been sitting around so long but then I just got a rush of inspiration and did it.
Do you actually get stuff done from your to-do list? If you do, share your secrets because I’m a big failure when it comes to that sort of stuff.

Life is funny sometimes. I had a whole post written about my long term plan for my living room. I even taped out things so I could better show you how it would look and then, bam! Another piece of the puzzle came into place.

What I was going to tell you is that I want a second couch. I’ve been wanting one since the day I bought my first couch but at $599 I couldn’t afford two. So I’ve been waiting until I could save up enough money to get a second one.

Here is what I taped out to show you what it would look like:

I’ve been pretty vocal about my self imposed craigslist ban but I broke it on Friday. I did a quick search and found that someone was selling my exact couch in great condition for $300. Yep, that’s literally half the price of a new one! I emailed them right away and scheduled to pick it up on Sunday. So back to Friday, I had just found the couch I’ve wanted for a year for half the price and I didn’t have to make a 3 hour round trip drive to IKEA when I remembered the chair. Remember the red chair?
It may not be the most fashionable of chairs but dang it if it isn’t the most comfortable thing ever. My old roommate and I would fight over who got to sit in it!
But sadly, to make room for bigger and better things she had to go. I listed her on craigslist and sold it within 15 minutes! My fastest craigslist sell ever.
Fast forward to Sunday here is my new living room minus the red chair, plus my thrift shop ottoman, and plus a new-to-me couch:
I’m so happy! I just fell in love with my little house all over again. The best part is I saved $300 (not including what I made from selling the red chair and white glass coffee table which also sold really fast).
Now I can comfortably seat six people (two on each couch and two in the wing backs or eight if people want to get comfortable). And if I have a major rager more people can sit on the ottoman or bring in dining room chairs (I think I need to make more friends before that is going to be necessary). Also, not hating the ottoman fabric as much any more. Or maybe I’m just really starting to freak out about reupholstering it. I took the broken wheels off and so it now sits evenly and in pictures at least it looks good (in person it shows a lot of wear).
It was a busy busy craigslist weekend for me, but I’m very happy with the result!

If you feel so inclined check out my latest article for – it’s all about great east side thrift shops!

You can’t have it all. It’s a pretty common phrase but one that is easy to forget. The growing popularity of blogs can make people (especially women) feel like they are never good enough. I look at blogs like Oh Happy Day and I sort of want to crawl into a hole and quit my blog, but then I remember that I can only do my best with what I’ve got.

Chances are, like me, you do not make millions of dollars a year and so hopefully this blog is inspiring to you because I work on a very little budget. But maybe you look at this blog and think, ‘how can she afford to do all that stuff to her house on a single person income?’

The answer is really simple; I don’t spend my money on other stuff. I should really save more, give more, and prepare for retirement, but let’s not go there… I’m talking about my discretionary budget for the month, how I spend the ‘extra’ money left over after bills, loans, etc. My house looks great and I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished so far, but the rest of my life isn’t so together. So here is a list of the things that I don’t spend my money on but would if I wasn’t so into interior design.

1) Fashion. If I wasn’t saving money for my dream bookcase I would have a much better wardrobe. In fact, the other day I got dressed and I realized that my shirt, sweater, and scarf were all purchased in 2008. Yeah, that was five years ago. I don’t look terrible or anything, but if I threw away all my clothes with holes or stains… I would have no clothes. I have Pinterest, I look at magazines and blogs, I know what looks good, but man I’d so much rather spend $40 on a gallon of paint that will transform a room in my house than $40 on a fancy blouse from ModCloth.

2) Beauty. I’ve never really been a big products person. I have one small bag of makeup and I use it until it is completely gone and then I’ll purchase replacements. I don’t get my nails done or my hair colored. I only get my hair cut about three times a year and only when I can get it done for $15 (plus tip) otherwise I’ll just cut it myself (curly hair is very forgiving that way). If I wasn’t so obsessed with thrifting and craigslisting it would be nice to buy fancy lotions and get a haircut where they actually bother to wash my hair first.

3) Entertainment. I love going to shows, movies, the theater, museums, and eating out but all of those things cost money. Since I can’t have it all I usually try to pick a few events to do and spread them out so I feel culturally fulfilled throughout the year. My little way of cutting costs when I go out to eat with friends is not drinking. Dude, drinking at restaurants and bars is expensive so I stick to Diet Coke and mentally move that $6-12 I saved into my ‘Decorative Items’ budget line.

4) Technology. Man, I really want photoshop and a new camera and iPhone 5 but none of that is happening any time soon. I have an awesome Mac Air for work and I love it and hug it all day long and hope that I can keep it forever (I can’t) but if I didn’t have this for a work computer I would probably have a Dell or something equally lame. My camera is six years old and it still works so *knock on wood* I’ll keep it until it doesn’t. Having an iPhone at all is awesome so I’m not complaining but I’ll always be a generation behind because if I have to choose between spending $256 on a new phone or a new rug, I’m most definitely getting a new rug.

So now you know that even though my house looks awesome, the rest of my life isn’t so chic. The only exception is travel. If I have to choose between going to Europe and screening in my porch, I’m definitely choosing Europe (I like interior design but I’m not crazy).

What do you spend your ‘extra’ money on? Are you a one trick pony like me? Or do you try and spend your money evenly over all areas of life (this is the smart thing to do)?

Wondering why all the images are just from my house and in no way related to the topic? Yeah, me too.

Nearly Free Home Updates

March 20, 2013 — 3 Comments

I’m itching for spring which makes me want to do drastic things. Thankfully, my bank account doesn’t allow me to be too crazy but since I am craving change I’ve compiled a list of zero to low cost home updates. Hopefully doing a few little tweaks around my house will appease me until the sun decides to come back out and stay.

Washi Tape

So washi tape is definitely a thing now. I remember it was about this time last year when I first heard of it. My friend was planning her wedding and she used it on her invitations. I thought it was cool but I didn’t think too much about it. Then suddenly, it was everywhere. Washi tape has many uses but I never thought about using it on my walls. Thankfully, there are people out there that are more creative than me to think of it.

Want in on the animal head trend but don’t want to pay for it? Done.
I love this door design, mostly because it is graphic and black and white, but also because it isn’t permanent and that is a beautiful thing. Maybe today you want a large geometric shape above your bed and tomorrow you will want to frame out pictures with the tape… who knows? The possibilites are endless and all for just the price of the tape itself (between $2-15).
I don’t think I’ve ever been to a house or apartment that didn’t have at least one can of paint in the basement or utility closet (you know I have like 17), so for the majority of you these projects can be free if you use what you’ve got. Don’t be afraid to use the wall color from one room as an accent color in another. For example, I painted my kitchen with one color, used the same color for the accent stripe in the entry way, and then I used the rest of the gallon to paint the second bedroom after I repainted the kitchen a different color. Same for a gallon of glossy white paint that was used for my campaign dresser, to touch up the trim around the house, and to paint a small serving tray.
I like the idea of painting the back of a bookcase, but it may be more work than it’s worth.
This is a picture of a kids room but you know I’d totally paint stripes on my own ceiling. This project could be free but dang would it be a lot of work.
Painting a design on the wall can be a very simple and easy update. I painted a thick vertical stripe in my entry in under an hour (half of that was measuring and taping) and it cost me nothing. Not only is painting a design on the wall pretty cheap it is also super easy to cover up when you’re over it.
Don’t limit your painting to just walls, I love this door with polka dots. So cheeky.
Or if polka dots are too much for you this little sliver of pink is just enough whimsy to make anyone smile.
Photo Wall
Frames can get expensive and hanging them can be tiresome so chuck it all and just stick the photos directly on the wall. Why not? This reminds me of my postcard wall art which only cost about $25. Chances are you have a bunch of printed pictures in albums lying around so grab a bunch and stick them on the wall. If you’re anything like me all your pictures will be pre-2008 (which was the last time I bothered to print a picture), but who cares if everyone thinks you are obsessed with the year 2006 or your vacation to Daytona Beach, you just tell them you are frugal and that was the last time you spent the time and money to print pictures. 
I like this sort of circular pattern tucked in a corner.
This is bananas. I love it. Also, they may be more expensive but I highly recommend 3M strips for projects like this. They stick good enough for a long term hold but they won’t damage your wall or pictures.
Fabric Wall Art
If you are even remotely crafty you probably have random bits of fabric hoarded away some where. Or maybe you have an old shower curtain or duvet cover lying around. Either way you probably have fabric of some kind that can be repurposed as art. Whether framed (I’ve used fabric as faux picture mats before) or hanging like a tapestry, fabric looks great on walls and if you use what you’ve got it can be a pretty cheap project too.
I love this big ol’ piece of framed fabric. They could have easily used that fabric for pillow covers but framing it is unexpected.
With the aid of an inexpensive curtain rod these two panels of fabric look like a dramatic headboard.
Making your own art can be hard and often more expensive than you planned but here are a few projects that are actually cheap.
I love this image for a lot of reason but mostly for that dark grey wall and the bright yellow branches. So go find a few branches to clip off and spray paint them yellow (or whatever color makes your heart happy) and stick them in whatever vase you have or lay them on top of a bookcase or on your coffee table and then just enjoy them.
I’ve been obsessed with paper cranes since I was in the 4th grade, I still remember how to make one, so this installation of floating paper cranes makes me very happy. Gather some colorful paper, string, and thumbtacks, watch a YouTube video on how to make a paper crane and bam! You have an awesome art installation.
String art is majorly trending and I can’t say I’m a fan, but I do like this one because they just nailed it right into the wall and wove the string around. It’s sort of irreverent and I like that.
I’m super inspired by all the creative inspiration boards floating around out there but there is something about this big piece of unfinished plywood leaning against the wall that I really like. It’s bold and raw. Bonus points for the use of washi tape and the bulb draped over top.
Good luck trying not to catch seasonal affective disorder!

Sometimes when I talk to people about this blog they say, “Aren’t you going to run out of projects at your house to blog about?” Because my house is small and for the most part completely decorated, I understand their question, but the answer is always ‘No.’ A few weeks ago I did a post showing the ‘before’ and ‘current state’ of my house where I listed out what I’ve accomplished so far and what I hope to do in the future, but that isn’t where the list ends. I don’t consider myself an artist, but allow me to use the analogy that I’m an artist and my house is my canvas and for that reason I don’t think I’ll ever be able to consider this house finished. So here is a run down of what looks done but in my mind is not done and may never be.

Bedroom bookshelves:

This is an older picture of these bookshelves (currently the books are still backwards) but overall it is the same. I hate this wall which is unfortunate considering it is directly across from my bed and I have to stare at it every night. I love the dark blue walls but as soon as I painted them I realized that the black bookcase would have to go because it is too dark against the wall color. I’ve considered painting it white or something but geez, that sounds like an awful amount of work. The small silver shelf was never intended to stay there long but I haven’t taken the time to find it another home. Overall, this wall annoys me because it is messy and random and too dark. I’m waiting until I get a bookcase for the dining room wall until I deal with this though. My hope is that the dining room bookcase will hold all of the books from these shelves plus all my books in storage (of course, by ‘storage’ I mean stacked in a corner of my room looking hoarder-ish) and then I can get rid of this bookcase. Don’t get me wrong though I genuinely love this bookcase. Having glass doors on a bookshelf seriously changed my life, but I’m not sure I’ll have a place for this bookshelf once it is moved out of this room. I could keep it in the basement in hopes that I’ll use it in future but that seems wasteful somehow. I guess I’ll have to cross that bridge when I come to it. Same with the silver shelf, I don’t have any other plans for it currently so who knows where it will end up. So what will I do with that wall when it is blank?
I’d like to get a parson’s desk and add a large cork board or art above it. I haven’t had a desk in years and I don’t need one to sit at, but it would be nice to have a place to organize and store ‘officey’ stuff. But we’ll see, I’m always changing my mind about this sort of stuff.
The Living Room Tables:
If you count, there are two side tables and a coffee table in here and I hate them all. Actually that’s not true, I hate two out of three. The left side table is Lack table from IKEA that cost $7.99 and it serves it’s purpose but it’s boring. The coffee table was $30 on clearance from IKEA and I feel the same way about it. I like the table on the right because it’s from CB2 and it opens up like an old school desk but it looks sort of weird where it is. I like the mismatched look (they are all different styles but since they are all white they work together) but I’d like to upgrade in the future.
Maybe a coffee table like this?
And maybe something like this for a side table?
Or this?
What I have now is just place holding for better stuff so I’m always on the look out for a the perfect replacement.
TV Stand Area:
I love this dresser and the lamps and the harp and the TV, but how it is set up now is a little bland. My plan is to hang the TV (I have the mount I just haven’t attempted to do it myself yet) and possibly hang art around it, like this:
Or this:
Considering I already have the TV mount this project should be completed soon but I’ve had it for over two months now and it hasn’t even made it to my to-do list so maybe not.
Dining Room:
Ugh, the whole dining room is bugging me right now. I really want to repaint it but I’m holding back because I don’t want to have to redo the postcard art which I love. But that messy gallery wall to the right has got to go. I’m still hoping to get my dream bookcase one of these day (I know I’m like a broken record talking about that stinkin’ bookcase – you have no idea how much I think about it, it’s nearly compulsive) and I would like to paint before that happens, but who knows.
Things I hate in this room: dining room table, gallery wall, wall color, and IKEA credenza.
Things I love in this room: postcard art, light fixture, and the curtains.
I’m thinking about painting the room a lighter color and simplifying the gallery wall and since I can’t afford a new table maybe I’ll get a tablecloth or something. I’m thinking of going with a lighter color like this:

Or this:

I don’t know if I can go lighter though. I’ve tried it in almost every room now and I always go back to dark and bold colors. I’m just afraid that I’ll paint it a lovely dove gray and hate it. Soooo…. who knows what will happen.
Overall, I’m very happy with what I’ve done to my house so far and everyone is very complimentary of it, but since it is my work I will always see the cracks and imperfections in it. The good news is that I’ll always have a new project to tackle which is fine by me since I really enjoy doing this sort of stuff.

Do you feel the same way about areas of your house? Or am I just too picky?

I really hate to break it to you but chalkboard paint is sort of a sham. Don’t get me wrong, I love the look and I don’t regret painting a chalkboard wall in my kitchen but it is only a “chalkboard” in the sense that IKEA furniture is “wood.” At least that is what I’ve been thinking since I painted it about six months ago (here).

Remember those green chalkboards from elementary school? I loved those. I especially liked it when my class job was to de-chalk the erasers which involved just going outside and banging them together so that the dust flew everywhere. There is no comparison between a real slate chalkboard and something painted with chalkboard paint, but I finally figured out a few tricks to make mine work better.

The problem I was having is that whenever I tried to erase a message it doesn’t really erase. See how you can still see my previous message underneath the current one?

Here is what it looks like after I tried to erase (with a dry paper towel):

Yeah not great. Because I’ve had this problem I’ve only changed the message like three times in the six months since I painted it. Frustrated by this I decided to actually spend 15 minutes and figure out what I was doing wrong and amazingly I did figure it out.
Here is out to properly use a chalkboard painted wall:
Prime it with chalk. When you first paint the wall the directions tell you to ‘prime’ it which basically entails rubbing a piece of chalk all over the wall. It seemed weird and pointless but I did it.
Side note: Chalk gets everywhere while doing this and I read somewhere that folding over a piece of painters tape will help catch some of the dust. It actually did help a little bit, but not a ton. 
What I did originally was prime the wall with chalk and then I completely wiped it off. That seemed like a reasonable thing to do, but it is the wrong thing to do. Instead of wiping the chalk off completely you just sort of rub it around until it’s smoky looking.
I also thought priming it was something you did once, but in order for it to work properly you should prime it whenever the wall looses this smoky look. If your wall looks smoky like this you can write and erase and write again and it works!
* So chalkboard paint actually does work… if you use it properly! Who knew?
Here is a side by side showing what to do and what not to do:

Also, if you ever do make yourself a chalkboard wall let me be the first to tell you that it is really hard to find chalk. I looked everywhere! I finally found colored chalk a few months ago, but I really wanted white so I kept looking. I finally found some last week so I was happy. I guess the best place would be to go to a teacher supply store or something but whose got time for that? I finally found some at Target which I’d looked at several times before but this time they actually had some in stock.
Also, I copy all my messages straight from the Pinterest ‘quotes’ category because I’m super original.
The end!