Adding Color to My Boring Living Room

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I'm sure you are familiar with the comical saying of how a mechanic's wife can never get her car fixed.  The same is true for Interior Designers, we don't always have an updated home in the latest and prettiest styles either as some would expect us to.

The reality is we have to live in our homes too, and things get worn out, and dated, and often overlooked as we get comfortable with what we have.  Just like anyone else.

And usually this messy too.

This is how I feel about my living room.  It was boring!

It is probably one of the most used areas in our home. The furniture is crowded but very comfortable, the room is used all day by us, our kids, our kids friends, and the dogs.  As things have gotten worn, or my brightly colored pillows I made last fall were chewed up by the dog, it just became easier to leave it alone and not waste the money on new pillows or new accessories.

Until now.

For the last eight weeks I have been mostly house-bound and off my feet waiting to recover from ankle surgery.  Eight weeks of sitting in this room day after day and looking at all it needed - especially pillows.  But I was still hesitant to just buy new pillows (afraid of course the dog would destroy them again) because I could clearly see my living room needed more than just pillows. It needed a fresh new infusion of color.

Then I found a couple of inspiration photos from a previous edition of Better Homes & Gardens from March of this year and I was inspired.  And the best part, I knew I could pull off the look by shopping my own home for the colors and accessories.

Better Homes & Garden March 2015

Better Homes & Garden, March 2015

With these bright colors combined with neutral browns and dark furniture, I knew it was a look I could pull of in my own living room without having to replace my existing furniture.

Once I got started I realized how much I have been crushing on these shades of blue and green colors for some time.  I just kept finding more and more things around the house, even bath towels and purses, that I had been picking up over time, but just hadn't used them all together in the same room. What a difference it made to bring them all together.

Here is where I found the blue and green items in my house:

The mirror was hanging on a wall in my screened porch room.  I just replaced the white ribbon with a burlap ribbon.  (I originally painted it last fall from white to this new green color).

The green pillows were a present from a sweet lady from our church that has been used in my daughter's room for years (mostly thrown on the floor too).

The two bright colored bird houses I bought about five years ago at Tuesday Morning and they used to be displayed on the top of my kitchen cabinets.

The bright green tray (same paint as on the mirror) I updated nearly two years ago to be used in my office closet update that you can read here.  I can always substitute this one with the orange one I painted at the same time if I every need to.

The blue coasters I made last fall out of loose tile pieces and cork squares.

The blue mason jars are from the Ball Vintage Collection that are also used on a shelf in my kitchen area.

The Oh-Snap bin to hold the remotes is from my supply of Thirty-One products.  Even there I leaned toward the bright blue and greens for my stock pile of party supplies.  Hopefully by putting the remotes in a basket, it will keep our dog Hercules from chewing another one.  One dog chews up pillows the other goes for the remotes!

The throws are two of several we use and they get changed out and washed often because of the dogs.

The two new modern style diy paintings on the wall were made by reusing the canvases that were originally covered in fabric.  (More on this easy project in a later post).

And the only two things I purchased new - the blue pillows on the sofa from Walmart.

I don't usually shop Walmart for home decor, but this weekend the shade of blue caught my eye, and at only $14.98 for a pack of two pillows, I won't be upset if the dog tears these up. (Maybe).

So to recap, with only spending $14.98, shopping my own home for new accessories, and spending a day moving things around and painting new canvases, my living room feels fresh and alive again.

Until I decide to change it again...


It is not even finished yet and I already love it!

Monday, July 27, 2015

For the last couple of weekends my husband has been working on a much needed outdoor project - a dog fence!

The whole project is far from done but I am loving the convenience of having a doggie door already!

This summer has been a challenge for our family for taking care of our three dogs and walking them on a schedule.  Of course with me working from home I have been the designated dog walker for the last two years.

But my foot and ankle surgery this summer has put a stop to that!  With crazy, busy schedules for four adults in a house, one aging dog who needed frequent access to the outdoors, and the need for a way for me to take care of the dogs when no one else is available, this outdoor pen is a blessing!

He actually built the fence in the dug out area of our back yard where an above ground pool used to be.  It is easily accessible from the screened porch room, has level ground, and makes use of the old raised deck that used to surround the pool.

These pictures of course only show what a mess things are, and how much more work we still need to do.  But so far, the dogs have enjoyed running in and out of the cut out screen, a.k.a. doggie door, and exploring their new space all day.

In the next few weeks, we will paint the fence and surrounding lattice work, clear out the weeds to plant some grass seed, add some landscaping, our brother-in-law is picking up the old pool filter system, and build wood steps in place of the concrete block.  The lattice boards installed inside the screened porch room is to keep our furry neighbors, such as a raccoon and a fox, from tearing out the screens to get to the cat food.  These will be painted in the next few weeks as well.

As for the raised deck area, we have a special project planned for that space, but more on that later. Please ignore the mess for now.

Even in a unfinished messy state, I'm just glad my boys can get more exercise and I can finally mark another item off the ever growing to-do list.


5 Easy Ideas for Bathroom Storage

Thursday, July 23, 2015

We all have dealt with them, the dated, or completely bland and neutral bathroom, that lacks personality and most importantly, function.

I have owned three houses in my life and all of them were built in the 1960's and 1970's.  I honestly think that most bathrooms from that time were designed all by the same man who was small in statue so he obviously didn't think about space planning but just made the toilet, tub, and sink fit into the littlest room he could think of, and he obviously didn't use products like cotton balls or hair products because there was no room for storage.

And then he let his wife decorate them all with pink tile on the wall or blue toilets (my house).

Just kidding of course, but this does seem to be the norm for houses built in that time.  Then you have the new style of bathroom design with a lot more room and storage, but it is all builder grade with no personality.  Honestly, I would love to have the second option more because then you wouldn't have to work around pink or purple tile (yes I had that too) until you can afford to gut the whole room.

If you are like me and waiting for that large amount of money to show up so you can gut your bathroom - or two - then you need to get a little more creative about how to make the bathroom you do have look better and function more effectively.

Adding more storage options, is the often the answer.

A not so perfect Pinterest attempt

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A few weeks ago I posted about how I love red, white & blue colors together.

You can read the post here.

I really wanted to recreate the painted baseballs I featured in that post and found on Pinterest so I asked my son's fiance for some old baseballs from her younger brother, which she was glad to find for me.

And so I painted them.  And no the end result did not come out like the inspiration picture.

Inspiration photo from Better Homes & Gardens

My version

First though I learned that after you wash baseballs, they take a long time to dry out - a really long time.  Or maybe I was just impatient to get started but in reality I had to wait 24 hours to start painting them.

Painting the baseballs was actually pretty easy since they were used and scratched up, it was easy to get the paint to stick to them without applying a layer of primer first.  I'm sure new and shiny baseballs would be much harder to get the paint to stick to them without primer.

I used acrylic craft paints in white, crimson red, and navy blue, and a layer of wax coating to seal in the paint afterwards.

I currently have them displayed in a large pickle jar in our dining room.

Even though the end result is not exactly the same as the Pinterest inspiration photo, I still like them and will eventually use them in our screened porch room in a few weeks.


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