Category Archives: Budget Decor

Our New Office

Ever since I first began browsing through home decorating magazines (before blogs were popular) and then blogs, and then Pinterest, I have loved the look of white-on-white rooms, especially loft apartments or offices. The blank canvas of the walls would always be accented by punchy graphic prints and colorful art or quirky eclectic collections.

That’s why Daniel and I chose Behr Polar Bear white for our new office paint color. (With the exception of one wall which will be 75% Idea Paint whiteboard paint and 25% nearly-lime-green aka Behr Japanese Fern or something like that.)

Today is my man’s 30th birthday (Happy Birthday, Babe!) Last night I stayed up waaayyyy late to get our office ready for his first birthday present. He’s been really wanting our office to be completed. So I finished the last paint touches on all but the soon-to-be-whiteboard wall and dressed the place up with already existing pictures and items we had on hand.

Ta-da!

I have to admit, this is my favorite nook! The typewriter is an Underwood and was passed down to Daniel by his grandfather. The “art” is a T.J.Maxx pet placemat for the floor that I framed. The plant I got from the Nashville Farmer’s Market. I got it months ago and haven’t killed it.  This is amazing.

Slightly blurry view of the desks … sorry. Still getting used to my iPhone.

Other view of the office, birthday edition!

Print station, with Kenyan Rhino carving

Sock monkey!

Hatch Show Print find

Limited edition Princess Bride  print from Movies In Haiku at Etsy.

And finally, my favorite birthday boy in his new office …

The weather was beautiful and warm today, the leaves were gorgeous, our celebratory pumpkin cheesecake and coffee with caramel creamer was delicious, and the company was fantastic. Really, I couldn’t have asked for a better first day in the new office.

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Filed under Balance, Budget Decor, Home, Office, Organizing, Painting

The Cheater’s Guide to Hanging a Type Drawer as Decor

During my mad weekend makeover of our dining room, I kept telling Daniel that I needed something with some oomph to put on the wall. Something that would tone down the girly-ness and not cost too much.

I searched high and low in our house, only to discover that 90% of my vintage “stuff” that I like to swap out from room to room was too small, or just plain impossible to hang on a wall.

That’s when I re-discovered my type drawer. It was a gift from my mother and father back several years ago and I was so excited to get that gift, but I never did anything with it! Finally, it went to use, but first it needed a little TLC of the MacGyver variety.

Here’s how it looked before I got to work:

I took a good look at it and realized 1) there was a LOT of grime on those sections of the drawer, and 2) there wasn’t a way to hang it up on the wall.

I grabbed a couple of old rags, wire cutters, a hammer, a can of Kleen Guard spray, and an old frame I had picked up at a Goodwill store a few years back.

First, I stole the hanging wire from the back of the old frame, cutting it on each side as close to the nails as possible.

I took my cue from the old frame and grabbed a couple of nails from our stash. I figured if they could jerry-rig it that way, I could, too.

I set the wire and nails aside for a few minutes and took up the rags and Kleen Guard spray. I had no idea what I had just signed up to do …

I sprayed all over the tray drawer several times and rubbed hard with the rags for each application. If I was being a little more obsessive compulsive about the process, I probably would have grabbed an old toothbrush or cotton swabs or something to get in the crevices. There were A LOT of partitions to clean.

After about a thirty minutes to an hour of elbow grease later, this is what I had to show for it:

Ewwww. GROSS.

Still, I had to wonder if some of that grime was actually from the time when the drawer had been used. While part of me felt a bit alarmed at the idea of lead touching some of the areas (the graphic design layout term “leading” actually comes from actual use of lead to separate lines of text), the other part felt an odd sort of excitement that I was coming in contact with history. I daydreamed a bit about what kinds of printed matter the type was used to create, and where the drawer could have been from. This is why I love vintage things. You touch the stories behind those things.

My drawer “cleaned up good”, as they say. See?

After cleaning, though, I took up my hammer and nails and tried to figure where was the best point on the back of the drawer to hammer the nails into for support.

I tested the length of the wire to make sure at its fully-extended length when hung on the wall would not extend above the top of the drawer. Then I realized I didn’t have quite enough wire to stretch from the sides to that point. I decided to improvise and found two partition pieces wide enough to support the nails and drove them in there. I then hammered the nails down so that they bent sideways and trapped the wire.

And that’s it!

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Filed under Art, Budget Decor, Dining Room, DIY

How to Spray Paint Branches

Every room should have a statement piece–something that acts as a focal point and adds a finishing touch. Unfortunately, statement pieces often cost too much to invest in on a tight decorating budget. I was determined to make something work, so I went for impact over dollar signs and walked out to go pick up something for our home. Literally. I put on my trusty flip-flops, grabbed the dog leash, and walked out the door with my mutt, taking her for an impromptu jaunt around the parking lot, through the landscaping, and under the biggest trees.

About ten minutes (and one very confused dog) later, I came back inside carrying an armful of fallen branches, which I deposited in our dining room for safekeeping from potential rain. When Daniel came downstairs later on I heard a “what is THAT” from the general vicinity of my secret stash, so I sweetly explained to my dear hubby that THAT was our new artwork. He looked skeptical.

No really. It’s our new artwork. Ever since I minored in art in college, I’ve been a fan of designs that utilize white space to make interesting angles and dramatic “movement.” So I drew from nature’s designs and added a bit of Krylon spray paint to add height to my living room fireplace mantle. For only $6-10 and 45 minutes or so, you can, too.

*****

Supplies Needed:

  • Small branches
  • Krylon Matte Spray Paint (I used white)
  • Large plastic sheet or tarp
  • Sandpaper (I used whatever I had on hand already)
  • Some kind of hedge clippers or a similar tool

Directions:

1.  Find some loose fallen branches with interesting angles and nubby bits where twigs are or have been. Make sure they aren’t wet. If they’re damp … let them dry before continuing.

2. Trim the branches to the size needed, clipping twigs to streamline the branch into something that could easily be placed in a vase or other container. Leave enough of the branch bare of twigs so that it can be added to the bouquet of branches and not get too thick and scraggly around the bottom. The final effect should be like a flower stem.

3. Sand off the rough spots where you’ve clipped, where twigs have fallen off on their own, and any nubby patches. Gently blow or wipe off the dust from sanding.

4. Lay out your protective plastic sheet. Place the trimmed branches on the sheet, leaving enough room between each so that the spray paint can cover the entire exposed side. (Note: mine never liked to stay flat, so just be aware of this and make sure to maneuver through all the angles!)

5. Shake your spray paint can to prep the contents. I purchased the more expensive Krylon matte white paint for around $4 at Wal-Mart. You may choose something cheaper or a different color or finish, depending on your preference. However, from other spray-painting tutorials I’ve read, they said to use Krylon for its directional flow sprayer, and I can tell you they ain’t lyin’. That sucker is the BEST. I switched mine to a horizontal spray for this project so I could go back and forth over the branches. Worked like a charm.

6. Let this layer dry for about ten minutes, turn over the branches, and repeat. Continue turning and spraying until you have achieved the coat coverage you desire on all angles of the branches.

7. Let dry for one hour.

And that’s it! Seven simple steps. Now you just have to find the perfect vase to put them in, and set out the whole piece in a spot that could use a little dramatic impact. I used one we had received as a wedding present:

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Linked up at:

Centsational Girl’s Paint Projects Link Party

Tip Junkie handmade projects

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Filed under Art, Budget Decor, DIY, Living Room

Dining Room Reveal: Use What You Have Decorating!

Whew! What a jam-packed weekend! Friday I shopped thrift shops, Target, and Wal-Mart. Saturday, I shopped my own home and did a little DIY-ing. Sunday, I pulled it all together.

I started painting back in March, and while I still have far to go, I was determined to finish up the dining room area so we could enjoy our meals there.

We started with this hot mess …

… and ended with this!

I’m so excited and proud. There may have been a happy dance involved with this reveal. Just sayin’.

Let’s take a look around, shall we?

View from the kitchen:

View from the dining room nook:

Forgive me … I used a different camera than usual for these shots and the lighting is making the paint color change from angle to angle. I’m still learning. However, one of the interesting things about Behr Sculptor Clay is that it really is a trickster, always adapting to the light and turning from a light beige to a warm gray, depending on the light source. The great thing is that ALL of its tones, no matter the light, are lovely.

The biggest challenge was our budget, which was, namely, zilch. Or close to it. I poured into the project a little of my own “mad money” I had stashed away, to get the key components in place. Outside of the paint itself, our grand total for the transformation was just under $25. I already owned all of the pictures and items used to decorate the walls.

Budget breakdown:

  • $13, curtain rod (Target)
  • $4, curtain clips (Target)
  • $3, vintage sheet (Goodwill)
  • $3, sticky tack (Wal-Mart)

I whipped up the curtains from the vintage sheet … tutorial on that to come soon! Daniel helped me install the curtain rod hardware, and after that it was an intense hunt through our home to decorate the empty walls.

Here’s what I came up with:

Yes, I realize the numbers are out of order! Oops.

1) Engagement photo by Kristyn Hogan, printed out by us; 2) Antique printer’s type tray (12 pt font, for any typophiles like me out there); my parents purchased it from an antique store for me several years ago; 3) Vintage serving tray, Pre to Post Modern, Nashville; 4) Small print, stilletoheights on Etsy, 5) Craigslist frame, unfinished quilt begun by my aunt.

Not in any close-ups, but also part of the list, is the vintage tin canister on the table (antique store), vintage books (paternal grandmother and thrift shops), and, finally, the crocheted table runner (maternal grandmother … possibly from my great-grandmother).

That’s a lot of history for one little room! I feel surrounded by my family, my love of vintage, and I did it all for $23. Not too shabby.

Personally? I love that it is my most feminine room in the house, and Daniel still likes it. We both agreed we are MUCH more likely now to sit down at the table and enjoy a meal and some good conversation. In fact, Daniel claimed the table as his reading spot last night.

Mission accomplished.

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Linking up to:

Centsational Girl’s Paint Project Link Party

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Filed under Budget Decor, Dining Room, Home Improvement, Painting

Long Weekend = Project Time!

I have been so far behind on my cleaning that I’ve had to focus on that before I can get to the organization and decoration of our little abode.

I have the blessing of a three-day weekend this weekend, however, so I’m attacking the projects with gusto! I’m playing Pandora through our sound system and getting the cleaning out of the way so I can revisit the dining room project.

As usual, money restrictions have given us the “opportunity” to be creative with our decorating options. I’ve been torn for the past couple of months between waiting and saving for quality furniture and decor versus DIY-ing it to the max and doing something for the meantime. After months of living with a plain jane dining room, I couldn’t take it any longer. Something must be in the spring air, because I’m itching to get my hands dirty again and take up the paint brush, sewing needle, and glue stick. So I’ve accepted that our house is a literal work in progress and its organization and decoration will be an evolution of style and not a coup d’etat.

So be it!

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Filed under Budget Decor, Cleaning, Ponderings

DIY Curtain Fabric Inspiration

I spent some time on Fabric.com Thursday evening, using their fabulous “Design Wall” tool while hunting down the perfect fabric for some do-it-yourself curtains I have planned. I didn’t hold myself to a particular price range, so I may not be able to afford a few of these, but I can still use them for inspiration. I plan to take a printout of this image with me while looking for my fabric, whether new or vintage.

The result will be a part (I hope!) of a weekend-long project that should stretch my DIY moxie, let my creative artistic side soar, and miraculously stick to a practically non-existent budget. If I succeed, you’ll be the first to know!

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Nashville Craigslist Finds: More Mid-Century Modern

I’ve been at it again! I’m hunting down some dining room furniture and night stands. It’s been a long hunt … but I’ve found a bunch of stuff that might be helpful for other vintage-modern eclectic decor loving Nashville residents.

If you are one of them, I hope this helps!

1) Looking to sell this mid-century sofa (Clarksville), MAKE OFFER; 2) Mid-century Modern Cabinet – $275 (murfreesboro); 3) Mid Century Westnofa style Lounge Chair – $150 (Nashville); 4) 50’s – 60’s Round Wooden Coffee Table – Mid Century Modern – $75 (Berry Hill, Nashville)

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Filed under Budget Decor