Bust Out Your DIY Skills for National Upcycling Day!

National Upcycling Day is the perfect time to grab anything slightly worn or used around the house and use your amazing DIY skills to revamp it into something new and wonderful. Here are some of our favorite new ideas for upcycling old window treatments!

Roller Shade → Retractable Chalkboard

Chalkboards are a staple of childhood, but they can take up a lot of space. The popular solution – chalkboard paint – is great for accent walls, but it can be very dark and is rather more permanent than most parents would like.

So, what’s the solution? Well, and hear me out now, how about a vinyl roller shade with chalkboard paint on one side so you can roll it up when your kids are done playing?

To make this lovely retractable chalkboard, I commandeered some old towels and spread them out on my patio. Then I pulled out the old roller shade and laid it out so I could get painting! After painting on three layers over the course of 6 hours (and letting it dry completely), my new retractable chalkboard was ready to be used! My only recommendation? Make sure your roller isn’t some sort of mesh. We ended up having to rip the old towels off the back because the paint bled through. Thank goodness it still looks amazing on the front side!

Wood Shutter → Picture Board

Picture boards – especially the big ones with real wooden frames – can get ridiculously pricey! But, if you’ve got an old shutter lying around (or happen to find one at your local hardware store or even a garage sale) you’ve got the makings of a great diy picture board!

For my DIY picture board, I decided to remove the slats and create a neutral backing out of a bit of old roman shade. To personalize it a bit more, I painted some cheap wooden letters and glued magnets to the back. Paired with a beautiful set of Harry Potter magnets (or any other magnets that suit your fancy), it’s ready for future pictures to be added! The best part? It took less than an hour to finish – including painting the letters!

Bamboo Shade → Placemats

Let’s all come clean together…we probably aren’t all fancy enough to have sets of placemats and table decorations for every season and holiday. So, why not make some out of those old bamboo shades? Actually, you could make these out of just about anything!

For this particular set, I used a bamboo shade and some pre-cut strips of ribbon-like fabric. The first step was to cut out a placemat-sized piece of the shade. Thank goodness I had my Cutco Super Shears to help cut through the thicker bits of wood! To create the border, I placed double-sided fabric tape around one side and folded the ends of the ribbon when attaching them so that no frayed edges would be available. If I were to do this again, I’d definitely stick with ribbon, but probably make sure it was the length of a whole side to avoid all the seams.

Home Remodeling in the Merry Month of May

May is National Home Remodeling Month, and with so many of us still stuck at home, it should come as no surprise that remodeling has taken off like a rocket ship to Mars. But how do you get started on a new remodeling project? And, for that matter, which rooms should you start with?

Start at the Heart

For most people, the heart of your home is the kitchen or living room. This is especially true now that we’re all endlessly snacking and binge-watching shows on Netflix. But, how do you decide between the two areas? Simple. Either go with the room that will add the most value to your home (kitchen), or go with the one you spend the most time in (living room). It really depends on whether or not you plan on sticking around for the long haul.

Beautiful and bright finished kitchen with white cabinets.

If you’ve already managed to update your kitchen and living space, how about moving on to something like flooring upgrades, bathrooms, bedrooms or anything else that tickles your remodeling fancy?

Create Your Master Plan

A great way to create a plan is to make a list of everything you want to do to your chosen room. We recommend splitting your list into 3 sections based on the level of difficulty of each project.

Handwritten checklist of things to do.
  • Things you can DIY without help
  • Things you can do with a bit of research or assistance
    • Adding a tiled backsplash
    • Putting your light switches on dimmers
  • Things that require a professional touch
    • Extending your counter into a breakfast bar
    • Rearranging your entire kitchen counter and built-in appliances

Once that’s done, go through your list again and cross off anything that seems out of reach or unrealistic. Whether it’s just plain expensive or you simply can’t do it because of the constraints of social distancing, get crossing!

Take Action

Now that you’ve got your refined list, it’s time to, as Ms. Frizzle says, “take chances, make mistakes and get messy!” Though, maybe you should forego the mistakes part in an effort to prevent “re-remodeling.”

First things first, figure out which project on your list you’re going to tackle first. Obviously you won’t be installing a tiled backsplash before rearranging your counters, so let’s just pretend you’re redoing EVERYTHING and go from there.

Kitchen blueprints in black and white.

If you’re hard-core remodeling your kitchen, the best place to start will likely be with a professional contractor. Get a recommendation from a friend or google a few and get a couple of quotes and designs to compare. If you need some inspiration, check out this article! Oh, and pro-tip – you’ll want to keep in mind that most remodels end up more expensive than quoted. There’s always something that gets uncovered.

From there, we suggest supervising the work occasionally to make sure everything is on track and course-correcting as appropriate. Once the professional work is done, the next step is to tackle other projects as you see fit. it might be a good idea to do the more difficult, research-intensive tasks first just in case you run into any issues.

Grey subway tile backsplash in a white kitchen.

So, if you skipped having the contractor add that subway tile backsplash you’ve always wanted, now’s the time to do it yourself! And even if you’ve done one before, we recommend checking out this video by Home RenoVision DIY. It covers the tools you’ll need and even how cut tiles to fit around outlets and make sure your whole project stays level.

Once you’ve gotten the harder, more time-consuming or labor-intensive projects out of the way, you can move on to the finishing touches. If you didn’t have brand new cabinets installed, now would be a great time to strip and paint/stain them, then add some adorable new handles or knobs.

Blue paint and paintbrush on a white background.

To do so, you just need to remove the doors from the cabinets, sand them down and repaint or stain. If you plan on upgrading the handles or knobs, it might be a good idea to invest in matching or complementary hinges as well to complete the look. once everything is dry, simply reinstall the doors in the same place and screw in the new handles and BAM! NEW KITCHEN!

Wash, Rinse Repeat!

After that, just keep plugging away at your list until you tick all the boxes. Regardless of whether you start off with a contractor or stick to tasks you can DIY right away, the important thing is to keep the momentum going. Once your list is complete, you can happily move on to any other room.

Quick & Easy Projects to do During Quarantine

With little to no commute time and basically zero random weekend outings, there’s plenty of time for you to take on those little projects that have been adding up over the years. Here’s a list of some of our favorite quick projects you can do around the house now that you finally have the time.

1. Boost Your Bathroom’s Style

A stunning blue and white themed bathroom.

It’s easier than you think to upgrade your bathroom. forget ripping out tiles and putting in a new toilet. All you’ve really got to do is change up your style. Get a new shower curtain (or other accessories), a new rug or two and clear off unnecessary clutter from the top of your sink. As a finishing touch, get those new towels you’ve been wanting and toss the faded ones with holes. Just make sure everything matches and you’ll have a bathroom to die for in no time.

2. Join the Purge – Go Through Your Closet

Highly organized closet in shades of white and cream.

Pull everything (and we mean everything) out of your closet, dump it on the bed and get your purge on! I did it this past weekend (no, this pic is not my closet) and it feels great to be able to find anything I want in seconds rather than minutes. And you wouldn’t believe how much stuff we got rid of! Sure, cleaning out your closet might take a few hours, but WOW! There’s nothing quite like that feeling when you free yourself of clutter.

3. Deck Your Windows with Blinds of Beauty

Beautiful black and white kitchen with white blinds.

Adding new blinds or shades to your windows can completely change the atmosphere or a room. It can brighten or darken any space in an instant and even add a pop of fun color if you go that route. These simple 2″ American Hardwood Blinds in Super White are a great choice for brightening up any room, especially kitchens.

4. Personalize Your Glassware

Woman looking through two wine glasses.

Quarantine is the perfect time to break out the arts and crafts. And if you’re over the age of five, macaroni art just doesn’t cut it. Use clay to turn wine glasses into medieval goblets or use a Dremel to engrave names or funny phrases onto pint glasses. You can even use chalk paint to make your glasses personalized every time you use them!

5. Paint Your Cabinets a Fun Color

Blue kitchen cabinets add a pop of color to your space.

While monochrome is definitely in this year, so are pops of color. Blue is especially popular for 2020, so why not take your kitchen or bathroom a step further and add a little color to those old oak cabinets? You can even paint some cabinets one color and others a different color. It’s really whatever you want!

6. Upgrade Your Kitchen Hardware

Galley-style kitchen with new hardware.

Upgrading cabinet hardware might seem like a pain, but it’s super easy and is an easy way to enhance the look of your kitchen (or bathroom) without going for an all-out remodel. And if you’re already painting your cabinets, why not upgrade the hardware to match your new style?

7. Update Your Outlet & Switch Covers

White outlet with a black plug.

If your house is anything like mine, the previous owner decided that painting over stair rails, switches, outlet covers and other hardware was the clear solution to modernizing a place before selling. My response? Outlet covers aren’t that expensive! Just upgrade! They come in so many different materials and colors that there’s guaranteed to be a style to suit any room in your home.

8. Hang Some Patio Lights

Outdoor patio with string lights and comfortable seating.

Just because you can’t have friends over in person doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy your outdoor space. And now that summer is on its way, you’ve got more cause than ever to get your patio ready for some nighttime hangout sessions, even if they are just video chats. String lights are a great way to set the mood or just take in the fresh air.

Make Your Home Craftastic This Month!

March is National Craft Month! So, all you fellow DIYers out there, we’re pretty sure you’re just as excited as we are to find a few more fun projects. Especially if those projects just happen to enhance your existing décor, like the ones we found!

Wine Bottle Lamps

Wine bottles can easily be turned into stylish lamps.

Got a few empty wine bottles left over from your last game night? Give them a good wash, remove any stray labels and turn them into cool lamps by filling them with battery-powered LED string lights! Talk about setting the mood ;).

Picture Frame Clock

Arranging 12 picture frames in a circle (or would that be a dodecagon?) might seem a bit difficult, but it really isn’t. Start with marking your center, then place the 3, 6, 9 and 12 frames. After that, it’s as simple as slipping a few more frames in between. Fill the frames with your favorite pics and add actual working clock hands to the center to finish your personalized giant clock!

Floating Bookshelf

Show off your love of books with an invisible book shelf!

This one’s a bit easier than the clock. Two metal L brackets are attached to the wall and inserted between the back cover of the book and the pages. For best results, we recommend gluing the back cover to the brackets so that it can’t move, just make sure it’s level before you add the glue. Then stack some of your favorite books on top and you’ve got a magical, floating bookshelf!

Cabinet Breakfast Tray

Ok, so a spare cabinet door isn’t something most people are going to have lying around, but you can get one pretty cheap at your local hardware store. While you’re there, make sure you grab a couple of handles – in your favorite finish, of course. Screw the handles onto the front of the door at each of the shorter ends and voila – homemade, custom breakfast tray!

Patterned Dresser

Wall papered and painted dressers are a great way to show off your style.

Adding wallpaper to the drawers of an old dresser can really breathe new life into an old piece of furniture and your whole design aesthetic. Use the same pattern for each drawer, or mix it up with different patterns and even various colors of paint to create an entirely unique piece to showcase in your home.

Woodsy Votive Candles

This one’s ridiculously cheap and easy. Just head to your local dollar store and pick up some of those plain, clear glass votive holders. If you don’t already have votives, a hot glue gun and ready access to random sticks, you’ll want to track those down too. Cut the sticks to various lengths that are half an inch to two inches longer than the votive holders are tall. Glue the sticks vertically around the outside of the votive holders and you’re done!

Window Frame Artwork

Old window frames are a great canvas for paintings!

Whether it’s a solid wood window or one with glass panes, there are many ways to turn an old window into a feature to be proud of. Paint the inside panels of an all-wood window like the picture above, or place pictures behind glass panels almost like a picture frame. Friends and neighbors won’t be able to stop talking about your DIY expertise!

Chalk Board Wall

Painting a whole wall with chalkboard paint is great for playrooms and kids’ bedrooms, but not so much for kitchens or entryways. Instead, try nailing a spare or refurbished frame to a wall and painting the wall inside with chalkboard paint. It’s a great way to organize grocery lists, chores and even cute greetings to visitors!

“Anything Goes” Flowers

Floral arrangement made of sample fabric and other blinds materials.

There’s no reason that floral arrangements can only be made of flowers, or even that they have to include flowers at all. What you see here is actually an arrangement made out of some of our free samples that customers can order when trying to decide which blinds or shades they should get.

Do you have a fun and easy DIY craft that looks great no matter your decor? We’d love to hear about it!

Inspiring Decorator: Autumn Stauffer of Steel City Farmhouse

Picture perfect in Pennsylvania, Autumn Stauffer of Steel City Farmhouse puts a modern spin on a vintage style by creating a home that’s a culmination of old and new. She is frequently writing her home’s story, expertly crafting the contents and chapters in “Pursuit of a Pretty Home in Pittsburgh”.

We recently collaborated with her for a huge window shades project, and were so interested in her designer style that we asked her to be our next Inspiring Decorator! So grab a sammich from Primanti Bro’s and read our interview with Autumn below!

Meet Autumn of Steel City Farmhouse!

1. How would you explain your style and aesthetic?

When designing our home, we wanted a retreat, a gathering point, and a space that inspired our passions. That has slowly unfolded into a timeless yet clean eclectic style as we design and decorate our newly built home.​ ​I love a blend of old and new, pieces that tell the story of time mixed against the backdrop of​ a newly constructed home. This, for me, is what has given our home some soul. ​​​​ 

2. Where/Who do you get your home inspiration from?

Most recently I was very inspired by rummaging through my grandmother’s attic. While she is no longer with us, I love incorporating meaningful treasures that remind me of her into our home. ​Think beautiful sea glass jugs, designer vintage rattan chairs, and intricately designed dishware. ​It has given a nice balance of old in a new home. 

​Traveling the world has also served as a huge point of inspiration ​for my designs ​and perhaps why my style is a bit eclectic.​ And this is why you’ll see a side of travel on my predominantly home blog

SelectBlinds.com's Roman Shades lend to the clean and sleek look!

3. What personal project are you proudest of and why? 

Right now, my head is still in the clouds on the completion of our custom built home. It was something we dreamed of doing, and it​ ​was such a special experience to be able to design our home and build top to bottom what works and serves our lifestyle best.​ 

Welcome to Autumn's custom home!

4. What’s your favorite trend right now? 

I love how color ​and pattern ​is making a bold, new come back. ​​For me, I want to be wrapped in a happy, cheerful space so I’ve been finding ways to pack a little punch throughout whether it’s the backsplash, wallpaper, rugs​ ​​or furniture.

Just as in our lives we are all multi-tasking and juggling all of life’s little demands, we need our homes to do the same. I love how more and more the expectation is for a space to flex and be multi-functioning. Doubling benches as storage, or transforming what would normally be a home office into a multi-purpose room all through the design and layout of furniture. This reflects a major shift in how people want usable spaces for their families.   

Bold colors and a subtle pattern make a great marriage.

5. What advice would you give to someone who wants to learn more about interior design/decorating?

Let’s learn together! ​By day and trade I work in Corporate America in business. ​Unlike others I can’t sit here and tell you I’ve been doing this for a decade. It’s something I stumbled upon and realized I loved after I got my first place. ​I guess my best advice is to experiment on your own home/space ​or take some pro bono projects to build your portfolio​ (queue mom and dad, or friends.) 

Barn door fit into many different kinds of decor!

Thanks so much for letting us take a closer look at your home, Autumn! We love learning a little more about all of our influencers and hope to work with you again in the future! If you love the window treatments in Steel City Farmhouse, here’s a couple links to the products in this post:

Classic Roman Shades in Simply White (Bedroom, Bathroom)

Classic Light Filtering Cordless Cellular Shades in Perfect White (Living Room)

For more details on her custom window treatments, amazing DIY installation walk-through and even insider some tech tips, you won’t want to miss her Select Blinds blog post!

“It was top of my list to get a quote or two for blinds, and we knew it would be expensive but never did we think our quotes would come back between $12-15k for 22 windows. And then I found Select Blinds.”

-Autumn Stauffer of Steel City Farmhouse

Inspiring Decorator: Andrea Francavilla

andrea-francavilla

 

Building hope for your household. That’s what Pine and Prospect Home blogger and decorator Andrea Francavilla offers her 28k IG followers and fans of her blog. There she’s chronicled a five-year journey renovating and rejuvenating her charming Tudor-style home to inspire others. (Check out the before and after pics here!) Read on for proof of her design philosophy that, “You don’t need a lot of money to have a beautiful refuge. With a little thriftiness and ingenuity, any house – no matter the size, budget or style – can be a prospective home.”

1. What inspired you to become a designer? What has your journey been like?

To be honest, I don’t know that I would consider myself a designer! I love all things home, and decorating has always been a passion of mine ever since I was little. I remember cutting out magazine clippings as a young girl and gluing them all together to create “my future home.” When my husband and I purchased our fixer upper, it was a dream come true for me. I was finally able to decorate my own space, but I quickly realized that home decor can be very pricey. I was determined to create a beautiful home even on the lowest of budgets, and I’m proud to say that the majority of my decor comes from thrift stores, garage sales and endless DIY projects.

kitchen

2. How would you describe your design aesthetic?

Our 1930’s home is an English-cottage revival style house with a steeply pitched roof and a round door. The charm and character on the outside of our home has been the main inspiration for my interior decorating. I love to combine traditional, cottage-style elements with modern decor pieces to create a warm, livable and inviting space.

living-room

3. What was your favorite project(s)? Why?

This is a tough question! I have done so many projects that it’s truly hard to choose. Probably my favorite recent project was our fireplace makeover. Last year we added DIY built-ins in the form of shelves and a storage bench, redesigned the mantle and created a frame around the television. This year we covered all the brick with stone, and I just love the way it turned out. Our fireplace is a focal point in our home, and the stone brings so much warmth and rustic beauty!

fireplace

Watch the amazing transformation of Andrea’s fireplace here.

4. What’s your favorite trend right now?

I try to avoid anything too trendy in my decorating. If I see something I love and the price is right, I will purchase it whether it’s trendy or not. But while I try to be unique, it’s almost impossible not to be inspired by others! One of my favorite trends is probably subway tile. We added a subway tile backsplash to our kitchen, not only because it’s trendy, but also because subway tile is true to the time period in which our home was built. It’s a timeless, classic option, and I love the character it adds to any space!

backsplash

UPDATE 9/22/17: These just in! Thanks, Andrea, for the great pics of your new Designer Series Light Filtering Roller Shades! We’re so thrilled you love them and agree — they look ah-mazing with those too-cute curtains! And extra love for the post on your blog. So happy to be a small part of your Pine and Prospect Home!

designer-series-LF-roller-shades

Inspiring Decorator: Amy with 11 Magnolia Lane

Inspiring Decorator Amy with 11 Magnolia Lane

Amy is part of the dynamic duo that makes up 11 Magnolia Lane, a magazine-style blog and website, where she and long-time friend and partner-in-blogging, Christy, share a variety of projects and topics related to home decor and DIY … with some fashion and entertaining thrown in for good fun.

1. What inspired you to become a designer? What has your journey been like?

While I am still not sure I qualify officially as a designer, since most of my work is in my own home and then showcased on our website, I have always loved design. My background is in graphic (print) design, and those skills definitely helped when getting started in the blogging world. I have always had a passion for interiors and remember spending hours pouring over design magazines growing up. When I was first married, I quickly set about making our small house look “decorated” with pretty much a non-existent newlywed budget. Of course, I had champagne tastes (as they say), so I had to come up with decorating ideas that would work for next to nothing. Over the years our projects have evolved from simple furniture makeovers into full room redo’s. I like nothing better then taking something that looks a total mess and making it beautiful!

2. How would you describe your design aesthetic?

One thing is for sure, it is always evolving. The one constant is that I prefer a white and neutral palate. I had a white kitchen 15 years ago when everyone was doing cherry, and I’ll probably always have a white kitchen. I like things light and bright and airy! I do love seeing color in other people’s homes — it is inspirational to me — but in my design I tend to use more of one or two “pops” of color. I feel like a white or neutral base always works to stabilize everything in the space. I love texture, too, as even with white the addition of different textures keeps it from being boring. I did, however, just add a dark color in one room of my home just to break things up a bit (see the pictures above), and I have to admit — I like the contrast!

Amy's Library Makeover

 

3. What was your favorite project(s)? Why?

That is hard to say, I have several favorites. Decorating my daughter’s room is always the most fun, as she has grown up from a toddler (when the blog started) to now almost a pre-teen, so her room has grown up along with her. Creating a space just for her, with all sorts of girly things in it is just plain fun! My favorite DIY project is the built-in shelves in our library (see pictures above). My sweet Dad did most of the work to build them, starting from a picture I showed him, and I love these shelves. The room looks completely different then when we started, so much more finished and “decorated,” and it wasn’t really a hard or expensive project. This is the same space we just transformed with the very dark walls. I wanted the white shelves to really pop, and I think it works!

Amy from 11 Magnolia Lane's Girls Room Makeover

 

4. What’s your favorite trend right now?

Even though it has been around now for several years, I still like the gold trend, though I think it’s going to evolve into “copper” for Fall. Copper is a lovely, warm tone that’s perfect for the nesting season of Fall and Winter. I also love the blue and white look that has been everywhere recently. It is such a classic combination and so many other colors coordinate well with it. Blue and white seems to withstand the test of time and changing trends.

Amy's Dining Room Makeover

Inspiring Decorator: Kelly Ballard

Kelly and Mike Ballard

The DIY journey of a California citygirl and a Montana farmboy has inspired us to follow Kelly Ballard. This humble homegirl knows the value of hard work and how to add some big city swing to her Farmhouse favorite stylings and design. We’re really impressed, too, with her DIY Friday Features on Instagram for easy how-to’s on DIY design on a dime. (Check out the cute mini curtain rods she made to frame our Express Faux Wood Shutters for just $10!)

1. What inspired you to become a designer? What has your journey been like?

I have always loved decorating. It started while I was young and would watch my mother hand-stencil little blue and pink houses on the border of our kitchen walls — over and over until the one stencil she had had been painted across the entire border. She also taught herself to sew and made our curtains to match perfectly. We had very little extra with seven kids in the house, but she always did her best to DIY our home to perfection. I tell others now that she would have been the queen of Pinterest if it was around back then!

So I started copying her. I would save my money from my after-school job at Kentucky Fried Chicken and head to Mervyn’s. This is where I would browse and get so many ideas while I dreamed of one day buying my own house and setting it up like the floor models they had. I eventually bought all my hunter green bedding and decor to match my 1990s girls bedroom from there. It was as cute as ever, in my opinion. 🙂

When I got married, I wanted so much to have a welcoming home, but with my husband in law school, we were on a very tight budget. I became extremely good at shopping at the local thrift store and spicing up my new found treasures. There was also a local craft store called Provo Craft that had an outlet shop. Here I would find amazing steals on unfinished wood decor. While my babies were young, I tried my hand at painting and staining these items and fell in love with it. I still have my very first project — a shelf — hanging in our guest room 14 years later. Since then, I have always decorated my home on my own, with the help of vast tutorials and Google searches. Because of these tutorials from DIY masters like Shanty2Chic and Liz at LoveGrowsWild, I was able to learn on my own while still at home. It was a perfect fit for me. I continue weekly to teach myself a new skill set from masters who publish themselves on the internet. I am so grateful for them! Now I am often asked to help friends and family with their homes. It’s amazing how the circle of decor just keeps on turning!

 

Kelly Ballard living room

 

2. How would you describe your design aesthetic?

My design aesthetic is a vast mix and has changed over the years. My current home is completely different than the Tuscan-style home I had before. I focus on Farmhouse style, with a hint of Shabby Chic and Industrial. I love wood in any way, shape, or form. Paired with some industrial metals and a bit of chippy paint, to me, you’ve got something amazing. I often wish I could have 10 houses and decorate them all differently, because I am inspired by so many styles. None are wrong to me as long as they are uplifting.

3. What was your favorite project(s)? Why?

One of my favorite projects was creating a seating area for my tiny entryway. My current home does not have a lot of space to sit down and take off your shoes, so I created one. My plain wall was converted to a brighter look with wood plank accents and white paint. I built a sturdy bench with a white base and Briarsmoke Varathane on top. Then I added a coat and backpack rack for the kids to hang their things on. It became a completely functional space instead of unusable with a farmhouse swing, and I love it!

4. What’s your favorite trend right now?

So many amazing trends are tempting my decorbuds right now! I want to implement them all! Sometimes I wish sleep was unnecessary so I could have eight more hours a day to work on projects swimming through my head. Something I do adore right now is plumbers pipe. It is so versatile and sturdy, and pairs well with the Farmhouse style. I love the Industrial look with it, too. I was asked to build some plumbers shelving for a client and I loved it so much, I added it to my kitchen. It makes me smile every time I see it. It’s an easy DIY and adds a lot of character to a home.
Plumber pipe shelving