Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Something Old, Something New And A Little Bit Of Paint


I decided to do this post last night. I had pinned a few websites on pinterest that promised to give me 75 ideas to spruce up my home or a blog that was loaded with great interior ideas and inspirations...I was kind of disappointed that not even a quarter of it was what I was looking for.
Then I remembered that not too long ago a friend asked me to help her to decorate her home. She has a fairly new house. It's not extremely fancy or any sort of outstanding, but the walls are recently painted, the furniture isn't too dated and all the cabinetry is gorgeous. What she need,s is a little bit of decoration that makes her space inviting, cozy and personal. I've also noticed that a lot of people just don't know what to do with their slightly dated houses and not always up to date interior.
Well, living on pretty much one income, I am the last person that is able to get new furniture, the newest decorations and all the pretty stuff that is out there as soon as I see it. So everything that I've done in the past three years, we've lived in our first (used) house, had to be on budget or preferably free ;). And it's not like artsy people like me do everything over night. It's a little at time and it changes all the time.

So here's what I've come up with:


1. Light fixtures impact a room dramatically. I found, exchanging light fixtures throughout the house made a huge difference. It doesn't have to be an expensive $ 300 one. I found great light fixtures for under $ 50.
And the smaller ones in secondary rooms, I simply spray painted the base either a nickel or a bronze.
(Also, if you exchange smaller table lamps to bigger, almost over sized light fixtures and shades, it will update your decor a couple notches.)

2. Switching out all the light switches and plug ins is not too hard of a job, doesn't cost a whole lot and makes every older house look a lot more updated. I found, it instantly changed the dynamic of each room. One after the other we also exchanged the central vac outlets and all those little things around the house.

3. That's the same with hardware!
It can get a little expensive to exchange all the hardware throughout the house. Especially if you do all the door knobs, the kitchen cabinets and any closet and cabinet doors in the house. But this also adds to a better looking foundation for all the decorating elements you choose afterwards.

4. Trim and baseboards. Make sure to paint all the trimming and baseboards at least a clean white. I have seen beautiful ideas like charcoal grey which can make a bigger impact. But the point here is, as long as it is painted and clean looking, it's great looking as well. (I went through the ordeal of painting all our doors and closet doors as well and I am glad I did, because it'll take a while until we'll exchange those.)

5. Neatly painted walls. As you can see, we still have that "beautiful" popcorn ceiling. :)
Anyways, I have a little secret that I learned from a wonderful friend. And I've used it in every room I've repainted ever since. So when I paint a ceiling a always paint the walls at the very top probably 5 inches down with the same white paint. Once that is dried I simply tape it along the edge with (any size) painters tape and then paint the walls with the paint of my choice. I just think it gives it a nice clean touch and saves me from cutting the edges with a brush.


 6. Trays and Plates do the trick.To make things look organized and pretty, I usually put everything, that has to sit on the same surface, in a tray, a nice plate ore anything with lower edges that defines clean
    lines around the clutter we use in every day's life.

7. Everything looks better in a woven basket! I've got them everywhere and can't stop buying new ones, especially if I can get a good deal at a thrift store or garage sale. I have rolled up blankets in the living room, books in the kids bathroom, magazines and fire wood on the fireplace sill, mail and pens and anything you could think of in a basket all over the place. It keeps things look tidy, I feel it's more organized and it gives the room some texture.

8. Throw pillows on every bed and chair! I know they're not always practical. But they make a room so cozy and finished. Not only that, but they can give the pop of color that can be easily exchanged after a while. If you choose newer, trendy fabrics they'll instantly update a whole room.

9. Everything you frame, looks instantly more expensive and special. It can be you're kids art work like I did here, but it can also be a simple photo that you took (in black and white), a collectable or simply a pretty napkin or scrapbook page. The options are endless. The key is to use nice looking, matted frames and not flimsy old fashion ones ;). But I have used a lot of frames from the dollar store or spray painted fancy old frames.

10. Treat your windows well! Every window needs a covering of some sort to make a room look finished. Even the laundry room is worth putting in effort. And using fabric, again, will soften a room. Using TRENDY fabrics will make the room outstanding!


11. Gather wall art instead of spreading it out. A space looks a lot more put together, if you gather you art and frames. It can be mixed and matched and the only thing you should keep in mind, is to make sure the shape of all of them together will make sense eventually. Make sure to spread everything out on the floor before you put holes in the wall.
(Here I've used, canvases, frames and a wooden letter.)

 12. Keep things in glass jars and containers. If there are things, that have to sit out or can sit on an open shelf, store them in pretty and clear containers. I have laundry detergent (powder) in a glass cookie jar, different craft items in mason jars...again, there are endless options.

13. Stack! I find a lot of things look great when there are a couple of them stacked on top of each other. Like books, boxes and containers. It's also very pretty to set anything from a candle holder to a meaningful knick knack (smaller in size) on top of those stacked books and boxes.

14. Open shelving can be tricky, but beautiful, once it's decorated. I like to purposely create open shelving throughout the hose, to display things. It's important that it looks organized not too cluttered and things on there are purposely placed. Since it's hard to keep shelves pretty, I try to have the higher ones decorated neatly and leave the lower ones a little more cluttered and practical for the other family members :). (But then the rules with the trays and baskets come in handy.)

 15. A little bit of shine...I like to add a little bit of shine here and there. I think it makes a room more interesting and beautiful.

      16. Lanterns and  candle holders are one of my favorites to decorate any space. There are so many beautiful ones out there. I would suggest to buy these new at a place like homesense. They have a number of beautiful reasonable priced ones and they know whats "in" right now. So you can't go wrong. :)

 17. Blacks and whites give every room more depth and character. It can be off whites or navy blues and dark greys. Whatever is out there. But having some contrast and not only neutrals, make any space definitely more interesting and vibrant.

18. Letters and fonts. It doesn't have to be vinyl on the walls all over place (which I have on a couple walls as well). But nicely stenciled words on doors, a large wooden letter on a side board or a framed letter on a little shelf somewhere, will personalize your house throughout.

 19. Smaller frames everywhere really pretty up a space. I try to think out of the box. Place one in the bathroom, in the kitchen, laundry room, on a stack of books, an old suitcase or any surface there is. And as mentioned before, it can be a pretty napkin (like here in the picture), a scrapbook paper or anything.

20. Update with paint. A lot of knick knacks can look very pretty all over again, if they're painted a solid color or you'll give them a weathered, vintage look. I have always a can of spray paint in the cupboard and usually a can of white paint. It works wonders in a lot of cases!


 21. Round mirrors break up all the squares throughout the house and look just fabulous anywhere.
I like to use them on tall narrow walls like this corner in my bedroom, the hall way or the entry way. But they look very stunning above a high tufted head board as well. (You can get some from $39.99 at either homesense, superstore or walmart)

 22. Older and traditional furniture. An interior looks a lot more inviting and comfortable if you place some older more vintage pieces throughout the house. Or even just traditional. I think it brings  more character and personality into a home. (I haven't been brave enough to reupholster chairs and paint their base, but I think that would make an even greater impact.)

 23. Chalkboard walls are a pretty big trend right now and I am in love with this one. I'd say every house looks a notch better with a chalk board wall some where in it :). I also enjoy little chalkboards placed around the house for seasonal decor. Little sayings and pretty written seasonal words like "Fall", "Joy" and many others can add to a other wise already great decor.

 24. Repaint dated furniture. Well, this tip is a more time consuming one, but it helps a great deal in your room. A lot of furniture will look so much better, if it's painted a modern color or even a solid black or white. But I am sure most pieces look gorgeous in grey, aqua/turquoise and navy blue.

25. Redefined "feature wall". I know a lot of people that will paint one wall a dark red or a dark purple or any drastic bright color. But even if that can turn out kinda nice, I think there are many other options, like horizontal stripes in a shade lighter or darker than the original wall, wainscoting, wallpaper in a beautiful metallic, arabic pattern or a mural. I've also painted a white rectangle frame behind my bed as you can see in the picture below.

So, that's my little list of rules for a better decorated interior on a budget. But I have to add, every house looks a lot better, when it's clean and cared for. I make sure to declutter as often as I can, to purge on a regular basis and try to vacuum and wipe things off a few times a month ;).

Happy Decorating!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Higgins Family


So excited about these pictures! 
Can't believe we've got them done as quickly as we did!