Friday, April 30, 2010

Holiday with Matthew Mead


I've got some exciting news to share!

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Yours truly has been invited to submit a holiday decorating idea to Matthew Mead's new book-a-zine, "Holiday with Matthew Mead".
("Book-a-zine" meaning, it's a cross between a book and a magazine.)

Some time after Christmas last year, I had a cool decorating idea that I thought I'd save and blog about next Christmas- but Matthew's book-a-zine might just be the perfect place for me to share it!
(I hope he thinks so!)



Although it won't be available on newsstands, you can order copies of "Holiday" through his website HolidayWithMatthewMead.com.
It'll be released in October of this year, and from what I hear, it's gonna to be chock full of holiday decorating ideas!
(144 pages full of them to be exact!)

Some of my fellow contributors include- Stephanie "Nie Nie" Nielson, Kim from Today's Creative Blog, and Mary Engelbreit.
(Oh how I miss Mary's Home Companion magazine!)

Stay tuned to HolidayWithMatthewMead.com to see who else is going to be featured- he'll be announcing all of their names over the coming weeks!



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This post brought to you by...

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Easy, Affordable Ways to Add Character to your Rental Home or Apartment


I received this comment on my last post "Easy, Affordable Ways to Add Character to a Newly-Built Home"...

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...so I thought I'd tackle Gail's dilemma here today!

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First off, check with your landlord to find out whether or not they're open to the idea of you personalizing your place a bit.

Sometimes all you gotta do is ask!

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If you're not against re-painting when you move out, ask your landlord if they'd mind if you painted the place in colors that appeal to you.
They really have nothing to lose.
They either keep your deposit, or they get the place back with a fresh coat of paint in the color of their choice.

And if you reeeeally wanna make it hard for them to say no, put together a Polyvore "mood board", so they can actually see what you're gonna do to the place.
I've never actually used Polyvore to create a mood board, but I know several people that have, and I hear it's quite addicting.

(I created this one in Photoshop as an example of the kind of thing you could present to your landlord.)

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If you've convinced your landlord to let you paint, and you're going to be re-painting when you move out, you might as well ask about hanging things like art and curtain rods too. Assure your landlord that you'll fill any holes you make before you re-paint and move out of the place.

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If your landlord won't budge on the curtain rod issue, maybe you can just switch up your blinds. Assuming you obtain permission to remove them, carefully take down your existing blinds and store them somewhere safe so they don't get damaged.
You might try storing them inside large Tupperware containers underneath your beds...

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Keep all of the window hardware and screws in Ziplock bags inside the Tupperware containers, so everything stays together, and you don't have to come out of pocket to replace anything when you move out.

As for what you replace your blinds with, well, that's up to you of course!

A lot of times rental properties are outfitted with unattractive, white metal blinds (or at least the ones I lived in were!). If that's the case in your rental property, and you want to cover your windows with something a bit more colorful and textural, you might want to check out these bad boys, available at Lowes...

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They're $11.96 each, and they come in light, medium and dark tones.
You can even get fabric privacy liners for them if that's an issue where you live.

I'm a big fan of adding as much texture as possible to the vertical plane- and wood or bamboo blinds are a great way to do that!

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Another fabulous, renter-friendly product that's recently come on the market is removable wallpaper.
While conventional wallpapers require steaming or chemical removal products, removable wallpaper comes off easily, and won't damage your walls.
Removable wallpapers are also a breeze to install.
All you have to do is to clean the walls before applying the paper.
Then just wet it- and set it!
If a crease develops during the application process, you just pull the paper off, smooth the crease, and then re-apply it.

And according to manufacturers, removable wallpaper is breathable- so moisture won't ever get trapped underneath it. That means no mold or mildew problems- yay!
They also say that removable wallpapers won't tear during removal, which makes them reusable too. Double yay!

Sherwin Williams offers several lines of removable wallpapers to choose from.
You can find them HERE.

These are some of my favorites...

Manufacturer: Warner
Book Name: COASTAL WATERS II EASYCHANGE
Pattern Number: SW1TC7418
Color: OLIVE/SAGE/MOSS


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Manufacturer: Blue Mountain Wallcovering
Book Name: DAMASK,STRIPES,TOILE LIBRARY EASYCHANGE
Pattern Number: SW0SD16733
Color: WHITE


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Manufacturer: Blue Mountain Wallcovering
Book Name: DAMASK,STRIPES,TOILE LIBRARY EASYCHANGE
Pattern Number: SW0SD16623
Color: CHARCOAL/GRAY


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Manufacturer: Brewster
Book Name: BEACON HOUSE DAMASK EASYCHANGE
Pattern Number: SW657-2943
Color: TURQUOISE/AQUA


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They even have solid-colored ones too, which is great for renters who aren't allowed to paint...

Manufacturer: Seabrook
Book Name: CAREY LIND PURE EASYCHANGE
Pattern Number: SW5WN615
Color: BEIGE/TAN/TAUPE


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Remember the photo I showed in my last post, of the brown bathroom with Johnny Cash lyrics all over the walls?

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Well, renters can re-create that look too!
Just use some solid-colored removable wallpaper, and some removable vinyl wall words...

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When you move out, everything will come down easy-peasy, and you can even put it all back up in your next place if you want to!

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Another option you might consider is covering a wall or two with fabric.

Using fabric on your walls may sound intimidating, but I've read lots of articles about it online, and most folks don't think it's all that difficult.

This room, featured in Southern Accents magazine shows a room covered in an ultra graphic fabric...

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- It's a two-person job.

- It isn't any messier than regular wallpaper.

- The fabric won't bleed onto the wall as long as you wash it first.

- It isn't anymore of a fire hazard than drywall or wood is.

- Always use a light-weight cotton fabric, nothing sheer or stretchy.

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- Light-weight cotton fabric
- Liquid fabric starch
- A sponge
- A pan
- A plastic dropcloth

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Wash the wall to remove any dirt or film.

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Measure from the floor to the ceiling and add a couple extra inches so you have an inch or so overlap at the top and bottom that you can trim off when you're done.
Cut the fabric accordingly. If your fabric has a design, be sure to match the design before cutting the next panel, just like you'd do with wallpaper.

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Pour liquid starch into a clean pan. Apply the starch to the top half of the wall with a sponge. (Make sure to use a plastic drop cloth on the floor where you're working.)

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Using push pins to hold the fabric temporarily in place at the top, smooth your fabric into place (only at the top). Using your sponge, apply more liquid starch to the wall underneath your temporarily tacked-up fabric, until you get down near the bottom of the wall.

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Then, apply more liquid starch to the topside of the fabric, brushing and smoothing the fabric in place to remove air bubbles and wrinkles all the way down the wall. Be sure the starch penetrates the fabric evenly.

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Position the second panel, matching the design along the edge. Repeat steps.

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Around windows and doors, leave a one inch overlap like you did at the top and bottom.

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Fabric overlaps should be cut when the fabric is completely dry. It'll cut cleaner and easier, because any shrinkage will have already occurred.

To remove the fabric from your walls:


Peel one corner loose, then gently begin to peel the fabric off of the wall panel by panel. If the fabric doesn't peel easily, dampen the fabric with water using a wet sponge and it should come right off.

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Another idea is to apply fabric wall appliqu├ęs.

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Just cut out the parts of the fabric you like, and dip each piece into liquid starch. Wring out the excess liquid and smooth them onto your wall. Roll over them with a brayer...

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When it's time to move out, just peel them off and wipe down your walls.
They'll look as good as new!

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Last but not least, here's a hilarious video which showcases a few great decorating tips for renters.
(Why is it hilarious? Because Carl is clearly in agony during the first half of the video, and completely bored during the second half. SO funny!)

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I hope that made you smile, and that you can use some of these renter-friendly suggestions.



Happy decorating!



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This post was brought to you by...

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Pssst!
Want another renter-friendly idea?
How about using paint to add some pizazz to your furniture?

Check out my Ideabook, "Give Your Furniture A Facelift With Paint", by clicking on the badge below!



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Monday, April 26, 2010

Easy, Affordable Ways to Add Character to a Newly-Built Home



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(Courtney's Kitchen)

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I tooootally hear what you're saying Courtney!

Kevin and I lived in a brand new house a few years back, and I, too, was faced with the dilemma of finding ways to justify replacing the "new stuff" the builder picked out, with things that suited our personal style.

My opinion is this.

Home is where YOUR heart is.
So no matter if you plan on living in your house for 6 months, or 60 years-
creating inspired surroundings that make your heart sing is so important.

If that means removing a couple of new cabinet doors so that you can see your pretty dishes- so be it!

If that means replacing some light fixtures with a few that make you smile every time you see them- so be it!

If that means painting unpainted wood- so be it!

Besides, 9 times out of 10, whatever it is you think needs a facelift (i.e. your cabinets, your doors, your light fixtures), chances are, future buyers will probably think so too.

Take our kitchen for example...

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Even though everything was brand new when we moved in- drywall, tile, appliances, countertops, cabinets, there's a reason this house sat on the market for nearly a year. It wasn't "homey", and everyone who looked at it could feel it.

Now I'm not saying that what we did to our kitchen is for everyone- but we made it comfortable for us, and when and if we decide to sell our house, I'm hoping that prospective buyers will, in the very least, feel a little more at home when they tour the place this time around.

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So, Courtney, if you and your husband are experiencing what I call "Model Home Syndrome", I bet whatever you do to cozy the place up will not only improve your quality of life, but will also make your home more appealing to future buyers, and maybe even up your resale value too!

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Here are some easy, low dough ideas that can instantly kick up the charm factor...

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Don't feel too bad about replacing light fixtures- especially if they're the inexpensive ones that builders usually put in to save themselves some money.

We had several of these in our last house...

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We've got a bunch of them here at TLC too.
And while there's really nothing wrong with this type of fixture, its just not exactly my style.

This particular type of fixture typically costs under twenty bucks brand new, so I don't feel guilty replacing them as our budget allows.
Especially since I know that "Habitat For Humanity" can re-use them.

If you still can't bring yourself to buy new lights to replace your existing ones with- maybe you can change the look of them with a little oil-rubbed bronzed spray paint...

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Sometimes a quick facelift can make a world of difference!

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It may take a few years to get them all switched out- but if they're going to bug you every time you look at them, I'd say it's worth the extra effort to switch them all out, or repaint them the color of your choice.

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Also, a lot of times builders will install fairly inexpensive, hollow-core doors.
For example, the door pictured above costs just $19.00 at Home Depot.

We swapped out this brand new "builder" door...

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With this old, solid wood one we had lying around the house...

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We donated the original one to Habitat For Humanity.
That's some guilt-free renovating, huh?



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Removing the carpet from your stairs is another inexpensive project that can give your staircase a totally different look. Rhoda, from Southern Hospitality, re-did her steps to better suit her style, and they turned out great!

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(Before)

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(After)

Click here to read her tutorial.

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The subject of whether or not someone should paint their kitchen cabinets comes up a lot in my inbox.

I have found that most wives want to paint them, and most husbands do not.

I asked my own husband to weigh in on this matter, and this is what he had to say:

"Husbands need to listen to their wives."

Okay, fine. I made that part up. I didn't really just ask him to weigh in on the matter.

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But I have asked him in the past, and his answer is always the same:

"I think most guys are just afraid to mess with something new. That, and they probably just can't see what their wife is seeing- even if she shows him a picture of what it could look like. I think if she wants painted cabinets bad enough to save up for a professional painter, he should allow her to have them professionally sprayed. That way everyone is happy."

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I love that man.



If having them professionally sprayed is out of the question- you can also change the look of basic or stock kitchen cabinets by simply removing some of the doors...

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Open shelves not only keep items within easy reach, but they also make decorative statements out of cookbooks and appliances.

Not into the look of open cabinetry? How about adding some glass to some of your existing doors. My friend Susie Harris did it all by herself, and they turned out great!

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Click here to read her tutorial.

Lauren, from Pure Style Home, removed her upper cabinets altogether...

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It was a daring design move (love those!), but boy did she follow her heart and create an amazing kitchen, eh?

And if Lauren ever decides to sell her house, I'm sure whoever buys it will want it because of the fun, fresh look she created.

Moving out can be such an emotional experience, so it always helps to know the people moving in are head over heels in love with your house, and will appreciate it like you did.

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Switching out your door and drawer pulls is one of the quickest and easiest ways to personalize your cabinets. For a classic look, use period-style hardware. To save money, I buy all my handles, knobs, and latches on eBay.

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The bin pulls pictured above feel both old and new, and marry vintage style with modern efficiency.
Can't beat that!

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Chris, from Just Beachy, has done lots of things to add character to her new home.

One of which is the addition of lots of molding...

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She also added some in her dining room...

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And in her bedroom too!

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And remember, you don't always have to paint your molding white.

It could be green...

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It could be blue...

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It can even be black!

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Adding molding will really add a lot of architectural charm and texture to all those "seas of drywall" that can be found in so many new homes.

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Wallpaper is another way to add a bit of your own personality into your new home.

Sherwin Williams has lots of sample books you can look through- and as long as your not doing more than one room at a time, it's a pretty affordable way to change the look of any given space.

Lauren, whose kitchen I featured above, covered her breakfast nook with a black and white patterned wallpaper...

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Isn't it fantastic!?

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Here's another perfectly papered place I found online...

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Makes me happy just lookin' at it!

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Melissa, from 320 Sycamore, used beadboard wallpaper on the door fronts in her laundry room...

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The great thing about beadboard wallpaper is that it's embossed to feel just like real wood beadboard, so once it's painted, no one will ever know it's not the real thing!

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"Moonkat99" from Gardenweb used beadboard wallpaper on her ceiling...

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(FYI- You can usually find beadboard wallpaper at any home improvement store, but you can also get it here.)

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Another great way to personalize your space is through vinyl "wall words".
They're inexpensive, and they're easy to remove if you ever want to change things up.

One of our Sponsors, Leen the Graphics Queen, can custom make you any type of decal your heart desires.

Whether it's lyrics to one of your favorite tunes...

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Or just something that makes your heart go pitter patter everytime you're in the room...

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And don't forget- vinyl will cling to mirrored surfaces too!

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I hope there's an idea or two here that you can use Courtney!



If you decide to make any changes to your new home, we'd love to see photos of what you do.

Happy Decorating!



This post brought to you by...

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