There are times, as all avid thrift shoppers know, when you may find something very interesting, and yet you know, deep down, you have no use for it. Things like, revolutionary embroidery.
Or cat portraits … disturbing on so many levels.
But one thing I’ve found that you can always count on thrift store shopping for, is an abundance of unique frames. Sometimes, they just need a little paint or polish, and an inexpensive gallery wall is within reach.
Also, all things copper, dishes, and random objects – I can’t always resist their siren call.
Step 1: clean off the goo from the price tag.
Step 2: apply painters tape on the glass for easy clean up.
Step 3: paint the frame, and allow to dry. Those little cans of sample paint you can get at Home Depot or Lowes are perfect for projects like this, and they only cost a couple dollars.
Step 4: sand the edges for a distressed finish, if you’re into that.
I choose frames with a metallic finish, so after sanding them, the gold or copper shone through.
That was the easy part. Next is hanging them on the wall.
For all of my galleries, I trace each frame onto paper and tape them to the wall to determine the layout.
Remember that your frames don’t all have to include photos or art – you can frame unique, artful objects too. And you don’t always need a frame – decorative washi tape is a great way to display artwork you might like to switch out regularly.
Our first change was to paint the fireplace white, which immediately made the living room feel three times larger. Then in January, we tackled repainting the main living areas of the house, the laundry room, kitchen, dining room, living room, entryway, and hallway from their original beige to a bright, serene gray.
It feels like we gained a few hundred square feet!
On the wall with our TV, I created a mini gallery wall. It still makes me happy every time I look at it. The print, “The days are long but the years are short,” is from Handlettered Design.
I got my navy wall! It only took two tries to get the right color, but it was totally worth it.
I love the pop of color when you first come in.
Here’s the view into the kitchen:
I’ve got big plans for our little kitchen. As much as I’d like to start by tearing out that low ceiling Fixer-Upper style, it’s not all that feasible to tackle first. But I do want to make the kitchen less cave-like by replacing some upper cabinets with open shelves, and painting the lower cabinets white. That will do a lot to take it from totally 80’s to farmhouse chic.
And our little dining room, where one end of the table is often occupied with some craft project I’m working on:
Obviously, this photo was taken around Easter. Or let’s just pretend that I update the chalkboard frequently.
As you can see, the table is pushed all the way against the wall. And still, it feels too big for the space. So tragically, as much as I love my farm table and chairs, I’ve decided to sell it and replace it with something smaller. If I can’t find a table that’s narrow enough to fit, I might end up having Brian build one. I may not have run that idea past Brian yet, so I’ll keep you posted on how that turns out.
No more beige! I love the gray – it really felt like a new house. The color is “Quiet Rain” by Glidden.
One question to those of you with light walls – how do you disguise cords? I hate that the TV cords are black and show up so much against the wall. Do you paint the cords to match the wall? Maybe I’m crazy, but I’m thinking about it.
Next up in this space: finding a smaller coffee table and two small end tables, and a new rug that fits with the color scheme better. I continue to go back to my living room inspiration post to gather new ideas.
Soon I’ll post an update on the progress we’ve made on our office over the last year, and a handful of DIY projects.
What do you think of the new look? Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook.
Long long ago, I shared the inspiration I’d gathered for decorating the living room for summer with a beach house nautical feel. I never did get around to painting the entry way navy, sadly, but I did still achieve the sophisticated Southern California vibe I wanted.
I kept the posters up that I used for my spring mantle because they worked so well with everything else. I think I might just keep them up year round, they go with everything, and they’re just my favorite.
The whiteboard in front of the fireplace…that’s just to keep Sirius from getting in there and dragging remnants of charred wood all over the rug, and leaving sooty footprints all over the house. Been there, done that.
Ah yes, the entry way. I love the little lanterns I got at Ikea, and the fishing net I got to keep after one of the baby showers. But this arrangement, and the gallery wall, are seriously lacking something. More things on the wall? Taller objects on the table?
And now, ladies and gentlemen, the time has come to bust out the fall decorations! Let’s get this pumpkin spice scented party started.
I own one tote of fall decor, which is a 50% increase since we bought the house. A little goes a surprisingly long way.
How fitting is that pillow? I bought that in Southern California along with the beachy items, but the burlap, red, and gray fit perfectly for fall. And it’s super comfy.
I bought navy and white pillow cases from this Etsy shop to give the pink and gold pillows a face-lift without having to buy and store more pillows. The anchor pillow in Edison’s room used to be out here on the couch also.
Better Homes and Gardens got the memo to match my teal and orange color scheme.
The globe is from Target, and the clock I’ve had so long, I’m not sure where it came from.
I realized as I arranged this that have “autumn wreath,” “cinnamon spice,” “farm stand apple,” and “cappuccino” scented candles, but I’m not sure I own a pumpkin spice candle! The horror!
And my sad entryway… it doesn’t help that the lighting was terrible, but I only have limited time before the little man wakes up from his nap. So if you have any ideas for this space, let me know in the comments below.
Anyone have a recommendation for where to find a good pumpkin spice candle? Let me know asap!
Beach houses have such a clean, fresh, and relaxed vibe. And if there’s three things I’d like to feel this summer, it’s clean, fresh and relaxed. And since I’ve always been obsessed with the beach, a paired down, Southern-California-esque refresh is in order for summer, without going overboard on nautical accessories.
Especially since here in Arizona, we’ve got plenty of sand … just no ocean.
In general, I started feeling like the living room was going in too many directions. Simplifying to focus on navy and white will coordinate with the blues and grays in the rest of the house, and add some elegance to the living room.
The photo above is my ultimate inspiration – white fireplace, gray couch, white ceiling, natural wood textures and fluffy rug, and that ottoman! I dream of putting my bare feet on that vetlottoman.
This one looks comfy too, if you moved the tray with candles. That’s what coffee tables are for.
Oh look, this one even has inspiration as far as what pet accessorizes this couch well! I think Sirius will suffice as a cheaper and more stylish version.
It has plants! And light! And cool pillows and blankets! And retro furniture – and a swing!
Maybe I’m getting a little carried away. I’m not sure where I’d fit a swing in our living room, but I can try, right?
I’ll pop back in before too long with the finished results of my living room. Here’s the Pinterest board where I’ve been collecting ideas. What themes do you see in the photos above? How do you like your living spaces for summer? Let me know in the comments below!
Remember when I said I’d started nesting already? Let’s talk about that.
You’ve seen how I transitioned my Valentine’s mantle to spring – I switched out the romantic location posters for birds and butterflies, added easter eggs to the branches, some greenery, a bird’s nest, and a couple birds. The cappuccino candle isn’t exactly spring-y, but it smells delicious, so it stayed.
The full effect. Here’s where the nesting instinct started kicking in. Sidenote: why is there a whiteboard in front of the fireplace? Funny story. Sirius discovered a new game, called the climb-in-the-fireplace-drag-chunks-of-burn-wood-all-over-the-house game. Let’s just say, I don’t like playing.
But you see how stark and bare that coffee table looks, with it’s lonely island of coasters and forlorn TV remotes? I decided it was time to change that.
At the same time, I decided I’d had enough of the wimpy flat Ikea pillows we’d had on the couch. Brian had had enough too, so he put a couple of extra bedroom pillows on the couch. Not tacky at all.
I decided it was time to get some good squishy throw pillows. I started my search at Pier 1.
Not intimidating or anything.
It totally was. So many color combinations, textures, and patterns – oh my! Suddenly I couldn’t remember what my living room looked like beyond the fact that I had a gray couch.
I bought one pillow at Pier 1, and a tray for the coffee table. Then I went to World Market, and couldn’t make any decisions there. Finally, I saw this at Target:
Everything started coming together. I could use navy, which is in the living room rug, coral, a nice springy accent color, and a light aqua/sea blue, which would also work with our bedroom colors. I consulted Pinterest for pins on how to arrange couch pillows, how to mix pillow patterns, etc., and then added and subtracted pillows from my cart accordingly.
So nesting. It’s real.
Here’s what’s in the bags. A navy and white striped rug from Target – a clearance score, it looked like it’d been returned, so it was marked down. Perfect for a nautical nursery!
The nursery is still very much under construction.
I bought this tray at Pier 1, also on sale. I love the French cottage touch it adds to the room.
One for the bedroom – the gold, aqua, and gray ikat patterned one in the middle. This one is from Pier 1, on clearance. I love the gold and silver combination, and it adds pattern.
Many people I know don’t like having extra pillows for decor on their bed. It adds extra time to making it, and really, what’s the point? I, however, really love it. Yes, you have to take them all off and pile them on the floor every night, then put them back on in the morning. For some reason, it just makes me happy.
Now, the living room pillows. I stuffed the “C” pillow cover above with both of the previous ikea pillow inserts.
I fell in love with the coral and gold pillows. They also work well in the bedroom!
I thought the big gray pillows made a nice neutral base, and the navy velvet lumbar pillow added some texture and matched the rug.
I thought for sure the giant gray pillows would be a hit with Brian. But the day after, the couch looked like this:
Ultimately, the gray pillows are just too big. They’re uncomfortably big. And, I didn’t realize that I already had a gray neutral base – the couch. The gray pillows just blended in.
So now, the gray pillows are piled on a little used chair, and the coral and navy pillow are still in use. Should I return the gray pillows? Can you return pillows, if you tried them out for a day, and now there’s dog hair on them?
I could always put the money toward one of these:
Have you ever experienced nesting? Made any recent updates for spring? Let me know in the comments!