I’m not sure why, but console tables are a little intimidating to shop for and scream I’m an adult! more than any other piece of furniture. (Okay, maybe buying nursery furniture says that too, but I’m not there yet). I’ve never had a console or entryway table before because I have never lived in a space big enough to need one. But upon entering this house, I had one of those I-need-something-here moments, and thus started the hunt for the perfect table.
Our front hallway needs two tables, really. One for the entryway by the front door and one at the end of the hallway to anchor that long narrow wall right by the garage door, half bathroom, and dining room. (Here’s a full home tour when we first moved in). Both hallway and wall are very small, so it was important to find two that were narrow, functional, and (most importantly) pretty.
The end of the hall table needed to be closed to help hide clutter and anchor the tall wall. I intended to find an old vintage dresser, but every one that I came across was too wide, and this spot in particular needed to be very narrow as it’s in the line of walking from three different directions. Plus all of the antique ones were more than I wanted to spend (anyone have that problem??).
One week in September Target was having a 20% off sale on all their cabinets and console tables. Perfecto! I was trying to decide between this one or this one, and decided to go with the half-moon shaped one because it had closed doors and I really don’t need another thing to style and try to make pretty. (Sometimes you just need a place to stuff stuff — amiright?)
So here’s my first table:
It has a gray antique finish, so it looks more expensive than it actually was. On sale it was $115 (including my 5% target card discount), so using $100 from my birthday I only had to pay $15 out of pocket. Cha-ching!
In case you’re curious, the frames above are from Ikea and hold six images from the mini 2013 garden Rifle paper calendar. On the table is a white tray (from Target, last year), white pitcher (from Target, this year), and a plant. Inside the cabinet I store random stuff like like vases or paper plates or bowls that are functional but not really pretty. It’s very nice to have a spot to hide things. :)
Back in July, after we were under contract for the house, I was idea collecting. God bless my Pinterest followers because every half hour I was pinning any little thing I thought would be a possibility in the house. During that time I decided I fell in love with the industrial wood+metal look. I don’t want my whole house covered in it, but thought it would be perfect for the front door, so long as it was narrow enough to fit in the small hallway and long enough that it spanned the office doorway. Kind of like this, except without the wheels.
One day in August I found the perfect table at Marshall’s. It had dark wood on the top and bottom in between a black metal frame, exactly what I was looking for. The price was $150, which at the time felt really steep. I texted J to see what he thought; he liked it and said go for it (he’s a keeper, that one). But I thought $150 was too much to spend and decided to sleep on it and come back the next day if I really wanted it.
As you can guess from all stories that start with I found it at Marshall’s but decided to mull it over… the next day the entry table of my dreams was gone. The two side tables that matched were still there, just sitting there mocking my indecision. I went back a few times in hopes that one would magically reappear, but after a few weeks decided it wasn’t meant to be.
Fast forward to October 25, I went back to Marshall’s (on a hunt for boots) and wouldn’t you know it, that entry table was sitting in the middle of the floor. Huzzah! Forget the boots — let’s buy a table! I maneuvered it awkwardly to the front of the store and thanked a nice clerk to help haul it in my car. Of course, a better way to end this is to tell you I got it at 80% off or something like that… but nope, I spent full price on that sucker and haven’t looked back since.
Here she is:
There isn’t a lot of space for mirrors in this house (aka, there are a lot of windows… a wonderful problem to have!), so I decided to put this mirror here to light up the space. There isn’t an outlet nearby (there’s a large pendant hanging from the second story) so to add length I used a vase (from West Elm) with some cotton branches. Other little trinkets include frame (from Target — I know, I shop there too much), candles, a candy jar with candy corn, and a pumpkin. The baskets underneath hold winter things, like gloves and hats and slippers, and mail. I will probably change it up eventually, but for now it works.
Here’s a picture of both tables, looking from the doorway:
All I need is a rug, a storm door, a fresh coat of paint and I can call this hallway DONE. :) And thus ends the tale of two console tables.
What piece of furniture feels most “adult” to you? Do you have a console table in your home?
I didn’t really mean to make my own art, it just came about after searching high and low for something to place over the mantle and coming up empty.
Let me back up.
Here’s what our fireplace looked like moving in:
The previous owners had their TV mounted above the fireplace, but we were placing it against the wall to the right (not pictured). We didn’t want to fill that space completely, in case we decided to mount the TV later, but needed a big piece of art to cover that large 36″ x 36″ square. Have you ever searched for 36 x 36 canvas art? I’ll save you some time: it’s rare to find anything, and if you do it’s either too expensive or art that’s a little dated.
So I decided to make my own.
I scoured Pinterest to get some inspiration. Here are my top favorites, saved on my art Pinterest board:
Just like everyone, when I’m on Pinterest, I pin what looks pretty and don’t put a lot of thought into it. But when you’re trying to use Pinterest for inspiration for your own project, it’s good to go back and actually pin point (pun intended) what it is specifically you like about the picture to help recreate it.
What I love about the above: The abstract look.
The messiness in each piece.
Pinks, corals, and shades of blue with a splash of yellow.
Bold, rigid strokes.
Supplies I used:
Canvas: I bought a 36×36 gallery canvas from Joann.com. I quickly found that large square size is unusual to find in the store, so I had to order it online. I used a 40% coupon and free shipping code so it was significantly less than the price listed.
I used a white paint + primer spray paint to cover the whole canvas, so the acrylic paint would lay flat and not soak through.
Water-based acrylic paint:
I purchased all the paints at Michael’s or Walmart. No surprise here, Walmart’s paint was super cheap. I think those were $0.50 each? I couldn’t tell a difference in quality so Walmart paints will be my go-to from now on (although sometimes Martha Stewart has better colors… darn Martha and her nice expensive taste!).
Below is what it looked like the first day. Not great. After I spray painted the canvas white, I started with a gray base. I realized I should have added a little more texture to the background because when I started painting bold colors, I didn’t love the way it was going.
I decided to paint over the entire thing with various shades of blue to create more texture. I wet my paint brush after each stroke so that it would all blend together nicely and even add some drip marks (you can see it clearly at the bottom left). Afterwards, I put it on the mantle to see what it looked like:
Better, but not at all there. It looked way too purple and needed a lot more contrast and bold strokes. I decided to take a break and come back to it the next day when I had more time to devote.
The next morning I made myself a pumpkin spice latte, opened the windows, put on some good music and got to work. I tried not to think and just paint. A brush stroke here, brush stroke there. Mixing colors I wouldn’t think go together, creating different shapes and angles.
Here’s the final piece:
I kind of love it. Here’s what it looks like on my mantle:
I realize abstract art isn’t everyone’s style, and some may cringe at the thought of something this bold over their fireplace, but I am so happy with the way it turned out. And it was SO much fun to do!
Alright kiddos. This is the epic story of how I painted kitchen cabinets and lived to tell about it. Also known as the longest post ever… but I wanted to give as much detail to anyone thinking about painting their kitchen cabinets.
You’re welcome, Google Searcher.
I tackled this project the first weekend we were in the house. Let’s take a look at the kitchen before I got my hands on it (here’s a tour of the rest of the house, in case you’re curious):
Maybe it was the beige color of the kitchen cabinets against the beige walls, against the beige floor, but everything looked, well, beige. Brown. Sandy. This kitchen opens up to the family room and is seen from the dining room, but it looked dark in the corner and the black appliances and counters didn’t help. I knew white kitchen cabinets and a lighter shade of paint on the walls would really open up this corner.
I decided to do it immediately because a) we didn’t have to move out of our apartment right away so we could hold off on using the kitchen for a week or so, and b) I was scared the more I waited, the more I would chicken out and end up not doing it. So the very first day we closed, (you know, after frolicking through the echoy house yelling “We are hooooomeowners!!!!”) we put down drop cloths and got to work.
Before I begin with the steps, let me just emphasize: I am not an experienced DIY expert. So if I can paint kitchen cabinets, anyone can paint kitchen cabinets.
That said, this project is not for the faint of heart. It is tedious and requires a lot of patience. I spent the month before I started studying how-tos and online videos and giving myself a good pep talk: Cabinets are so expensive — what if I mess up?You can do this.Cabinets aren’t like walls — they get used every day!You can do this.But it’s going to take forrrrrever!!It’s just a week or two, you can do this. At one low moment when I was four days in, I started comparing it to my marathon training last year. Dramatic much? (Don’t worry, it’s way easier than running a marathon.)
But, again: if I can do it, then bless your patient heart, you can do it too.
Now that you’ve been adequately warned, let’s get into the steps…
First, gather your supplies and decide on the type of primer, and the brand, type and color of the paint.
- Drop cloths
- Rags for cleaning
- Screwdriver to take down/put up hardware
- Small foam roller and foam refills (I ended up needing three foam roller refills)
- 2″ angled paint brush “best”
- Wood caulk (optional – I didn’t need this)
Primer: I bought Sherwin William’s oil-based primer, since it was recommended in the store and various cabinet tutorials.
Paint: I am a loyal Behr paint buyer for walls (since I think it’s a good combo of quality + price), but when it comes to cabinets I decided to go with either Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore, since I didn’t want to go cheap. I read lots of reviews on the best cabinet paint and the scale tilted a little in favor of Ben, but Sherwin had a 35% off sale that week so I went with them (after all, this is used to be? a personal finance blog).
Type: Since cabinets get used a lot and need to be wiped down on a regular basis, it’s best to get semi-gloss or high gloss. I bought Pro-Classic in semi-gloss, so it wasn’t too shiny.
Color: I wanted white. Not cream white or yellow white or gray white, but a pure, clean white. I looked online for colors I liked and ended up with Snowbound from Sherwin Williams. I’m happy with the way it turned out… it reminds of milk for some reason.
1. Clean the cabinets. I used a wet microfiber cloth and lightly scrubbed the doors and the frames. Get off all the dirt, dust and grease off. This took about a half hour since my cabinets were pretty dirty at the top.
2. Remove hinges and hardware, and keep track of where the cabinets go.
We used a drill and screwdriver to remove the hinges (we didn’t have any hardware on our cabinets to start with). Each time I took down a cabinet door, I put it on the drop cloth and labeled which one it was with a note underneath it. Some of my notes looked like, “Bottom next to the stove on the left.” “Left cabinet underneath sink.” “Upper cabinet next to sink on the left.” None of the tutorials I read mentioned this, but it helped a lot when I was putting them back on the cabinets after I was done.
3. Fill in holes, if necessary.
If your cabinets are cracked or you plan to get new hardware, you may want to fill those cracks with wood caulk. I didn’t have any cracks or hardware, so I skipped this step.
4. Sand. Clean. Sand. Clean.
Next you need to sand the heck out of these cabinets, stripping off any gloss or paint. I took each cabinet one at a time out to the garage and sanded them with an electric sander (borrowed from a friend), on both sides. Then I brushed off the sand and wiped it down with a lightly damp rag so it was clean, and sanded it again. Then cleaned it again. The wood needs to feel smooth and raw.
5. Degloss (optional) A few of the tutorials I read recommended sanding and deglossing, so I decided to use a chemical deglosser just to be safe. It’s supposed to strip off any extra gloss added to the cabinets, but to be honest, I think my sanding job was sufficient, so I could have done without the extra fumes. If you have pre-painted cabinets, you may want to consider this, but I would skip it next time.
6. Primer – 2 coats.
I started first with the backs of the cabinet doors. I used an angled pain brush to get in the cracks of the cabinet doors and along the edges, and then used a foam roller on the rest. Read your primer instructions on timing between coats. My primer said 1 hour between priming, so I tried to get two coats of primer on the back side of the cabinet door in one day, and then two coats on the front side. Don’t forget about your drawers and cabinet frames; those also got two coats of primer.
7. Paint — 2 coats on back of doors, 3 coats on front, drawers and frames.
I used the same method of painting (angled brush in the cracks and corners, foam roller for all other parts) for the paint. The paint took longer to dry (mine suggested 4 hours between coats), so this was the most arduous part for me and took the longest step to finish. I painted two coats on the backs of the cabinet doors, and three coats of paint on the fronts of the cabinet doors, drawers and frames.
8. Wait, wait, wait. (At least three days.) Once everything is painted, it’s a waiting game. Normally it takes at least three days for the paint to dry completely to be durable enough to handle and use. Luckily the timing worked out so the paint would dry while we were away for labor day weekend in DC. :)
Oh btw, we decided to create an open cabinet on the one to the right of the window, so we painted the insides and shelves. That’s what you see in the picture below. We didn’t bother painting the insides of the other cabinets, mainly because it was a lot of work, but also because it doesn’t bother us to have wood-looking shelves inside. But if that bothers you, add another step to the process and paint the inside and shelves.
9. Add the hardware back to your drawers and cabinets. Once you’ve waited at least three days, add the pulls and knobs back to your cabinets. We didn’t have any hardware, so we skipped this step. :)
10. Rehang and throw a party! Once I felt everything had dried sufficiently, I couldn’t put those bad boys on fast enough. We hung them and then stepped back to marvel at our beautiful work. Below are some pictures after they were hung. It was at dusk, so the lighting is bad.
They look fine, I guess, and much better than before… but those beige walls really don’t do the cabinets justice. So here’s a sneak peak at the kitchen with the walls painted (Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore, if you’re curious) and the open cabinet finished:
Much better, no? One last before and after for you: We spent $57 on paint and primer, since there was a 35% sale at Sherwin Williams, plus I had a $10 off coupon. We still need to add hardware to the cabinets, and I want to add a rug and curtains to bring some color, so I’ll do a total cost breakdown once it’s all done. But overall mucho bueno!
And thus ends the largest home improvement project I’ve ever accomplished… and the longest post I’ve ever written. :D
Has anyone else painted their cabinets? How did it go?
Do you like white kitchens or prefer classic wooden cabinets?
Before I dated J, I always thought couples who had “a song” were super cheesy. And that’s probably because most couple songs are cheesy — all about love and romance and how you can’t live without the other person. But of course when you’re in the relationship and it’s your song, you don’t see the silliness of it. It’s sweet and significant and endearing.
J and I have two songs: I’ve Just Seen a Face by the Beatles and You’ll Always Be My Best Friend by Relient K. I hear either of these songs and am whisked away to the very beginning of our relationship. They bring up all kinds of happy memories and emotions. (Main emotion: thank goodness we are not at the very beginning any more. I know the romance of it all is very exciting, but I MUCH prefer this steady friendship than the uncertain excitement when you first start dating. That’s just me.)
The other day I decided to make a little song lyric painting of the Relient K song. I got the inspiration from Elise Blaha and Elise from A Beautiful Mess, and thought it would be a dark moody addition to my normal cheerful, colorful style.
Here are the steps I took to create it…
1. First, I wrote out the lyrics on a sheet of paper so I had an idea of how long it needed to be, (maybe some people can wing it without guidance, but I needed to visualize it before I started painting). I intended for my handwriting to be very scripted and a little messy. Then I took a 16×20 canvas I had on hand and spray painted it white. I measure and marked with a pencil where the 12 lines should be on the canvas, which ended up every 1/5 inches.
2. Next, I wrote in pencil the lyrics across the canvas. It was very light, but gave me a lot of guidance as I was painting.
3. Then, I painted over the lyrics with dark navy acrylic paint. I didn’t focus on how it looked the first go round, but just made sure there was paint on each line. (Most of the examples I’ve seen are black, but I already had navy paint and didn’t want to spend any money on this project.)
4. Lastly, I went back a couple of times and touched up the paint, making sure each word was dark and didn’t have any paint streaks. I also decided to connect some of the words so it looked more arty and less choppy (similar to the A Beautiful Mess version).
And here’s what the final product looks like:
It’s certainly not perfect, but I’m pleased with how it turned out and like the way it looks from afar. It was a great activity for a rainy Saturday afternoon, and I love that it cost me nothing.* Plus, it’s nice to have a little personalized art that holds special meaning for us, even if it is a little cheesy. :)
Do you and your significant other have a song?
Have you ever decorated with song lyrics?
What things have you been crafting lately?
*I had the canvas, acrylic paint and paint brushes on hand, but it probably would cost under $10 to create, depending on your canvas size.
1. I love this Ikea hack.
2. I really want to sew a color block quilt, like this one. (Or one of the other quilting ideas on my sewing board.)
3. I have been looking through lots of paint colors lately. :) I really like the subtle blue/gray/seafoam color (Benjamin Moore’s healing aloe) in this room.
4. Spinach-feta quinoa cakes. Yum.
5. Another Ikea hack. I have a thing for gold.
6. I wish I could paint something this gorgeous. Maybe one day.
7. How to make a mirrored vase from dollar store mirrors.
8. My friend Allison makes the CUTEST onesies.
9. This table is gorgeous. I can’t believe it was a DIY project!
10. Thinking (and dreaming) of little DIY projects I want to do, especially adding a headboard to our master bed.
Click here to follow me on Pinterest. All links point to original source, unless the link was broken and in that case it’s taken to the Pinterest page. Happy Friday! :)
There are so many cute, trendy office photos circulating the web. Ones where all of the binders are color-coordinated, desks that overlooks a garden or the ocean, gallery walls of art and prints to inspire. I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to cute offices and work spaces.
But not everyone is lucky enough to work from home or have unlimited supplies for creating the dream office. What about those of us working in the corporate world? I thought I would share today a few tips on how I decorated my workspace to look a little less corporate and a little more me. After all, this is the place I spend the majority of my time each week. So why not personalize it?
1. Add plants.
Whether you have a big office or a small cubicle, adding a plant or two is an easy way to bring life to a space. I brought in two succulents from home, and the other two plants were provided by my company.
2. Decorate with photos that make you happy. Some of my favorite photos are in my office — a picture of J and me on our wedding day, one of us in New York, one of my sister Lucy and I in front of Machu Picchu, and another of my sister Carrie and I.
3. Keep a fruit basket handy.
I used to carry an apple or two in my purse every morning for lunch and a snack. And then one day I decided to keep my fruit at work. It is a good reminder to eat healthy when I need a snack. I normally keep apples or peaches in the summer, and clementines in the winter.
4. Hang Art. I was lucky enough that my company let me choose the art for my wall (still unsure of the name of the piece!), so I chose something bright and colorful. I also painted a few small canvases to fill up space on my bookcase.
5. File papers in pretty folders.
I saw these folders on sale for $2 at Target and it’s amazing how filing and organizing is a lot more fun with pretty folders.
6. Customize your computer desktop.
This one’s really easy: simply add a picture or graphic that makes you happy and inspired throughout the day.
7. Hide the ugly
I am more productive and work smarter when things are organized and clean, so I try to keep papers or folders or office supplies that don’t enhance the space in my drawers and cabinets.
There are so many more ideas, including hanging a cute calendar (mine is a little more practical than cute), adding a colorful bulletin board or chalkboard, and even painting your walls. Your office should be decorated with elements that make you happy and inspired, but also professional enough to represent you well as an employee.
Do you work in an office?
What things have you added to decorate your desk?
What decorating challenges have you had at your job?