Friday Five: Fresh Decor

FridayFive Happy Friday, guys! I've been in a bit of a redecorating mood lately (what's new), so I've been scouring the internet for ideas of ways to add a fresh look to my space without buying all new everything. Maybe my finds will inspire new ideas from you! Here are 5 pieces I'm loving right now:

STATE WALL ART Add a personal touch to your space by showing some state pride! I've been debating adding one of these to my walls ONLY because I can't decide between getting my home state or my current state. Seriously, these unique pieces are handcrafted and the price can't be beat. Maybe I'll just get both.

TURTLE DISH A small, charming dish is the perfect way to add some color that serves a purpose. Set it on a console by the front door to toss your keys into, or put it on the counter in the bathroom as a jewelry catch-all. Oh no, it's already sold out! Here are a couple of similar ones.

TUFTED OTTOMAN I love how versatile and easy a little ottoman like this is. It's perfect for apartment living because you can easily move it around to change up the look of your room, and it doubles as a table for mini projects (or food) while you're watching tv ;)

FIG TREE I love the idea of adding some greenery to my apartment, but I'm not confident in my abilities to keep something this big alive, so I'm starting out small with a few cacti on my balcony. If this goes well, an indoor tree may be in my future!

GRAPHIC PRINT I ordered this print and just hung it on my dining room wall, and I LOVE it as a graphic element. The wall it's on faces the front door, so it's one of the first things I see when I get home after a long day. Side note-- the Etsy shop owner is doing a little reorganizing, but she'll be back up and running next week! Trust me, it's worth the wait.

Colored Matte DIY

I found this idea while browsing Pinterest one day (the way most ideas are found), and I've wanted to try my own DIY version ever since. My apartment has wonderfully high ceilings, which is amazing for making the space seem larger and brighter. But, without anything hanging up, that means there are massive stretches of empty wall staring at me every day. I bought three of these frames last summer for my living room and filled them with a beautiful patterned wrapping paper, but the colors didn't go with what I have in mind for my new space, so I decided to try DIYing some colored mattes for artwork. I actually did this project a week or two ago, but it wasn't until recently that I managed to remember to buy command strips to hang them up. Woops!

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With some art finally up on the walls, my living room is a little closer to being completed! Ignore the shade-less lamps and the mismatched pillows...like I said, almost done. If you're interested in making some of these for your space, read on! I'll tell you everything you need to know about making your own (inexpensive) colored mattes.

CraftProject

Aside from that list, you'll also need frames and artwork, but that's a given. I got my frames from Ikea and found the sketches online (aren't they awesome?). To save some money, I used poster board instead of buying matte board—I got a pack of 10 for $3 at Hobby Lobby. You can save a step in the process by buying colored poster board, but I wanted a very specific color so I went with white.

I used scissors to trim the edges of the poster board to fit the frames, and then I measured the artwork to determine what size hole I would need. I measured the tallest and widest parts of each sketch, and used the largest of those measurements. This ensured that all the mattes would look uniform, while also making sure that no part of any of the sketches would get cut off. Cutting out the holes in each matte was a little tricky. To make sure they were centered, I took the width of the poster board, subtracted the width of the hole I wanted, and then divided that by two. This gave me the distance from the edge of the pister board to the hole. I then measured out that distance at several points on the poster board, and then used the ruler to connect the points with a straight line. I did this on both sides, and then again for the top and bottom. After I had all the lines drawn, I used an Xacto knife and mat to cut out the centers.

Next step: paint. Spray paint would be ideal for this, but again, I wanted a very specific color that wasn't available in a spray can. So instead, I chose the color swatch I wanted and got a $3 paint sample from Home Depot (and had plenty left over). To avoid brush strokes, I used a small foam roller and paint tray (I actually just used a paint tray liner, they're sturdy enough to be used alone, can be rinsed out and reused multiple times, and cost less than $1! Score).CraftProject1

I planned to do this out on my patio, but the wind kept blowing my papers around so I moved the party indoors. I keep a box full of the billion newspaper ads I get in the mail just for projects like this. I covered part of my living floor with several layers of the papers (at this point I had not yet gotten my dining room table) and got to work. It took several layers of paint to get a uniform look; you can kind of tell in the photo on the right (above) how splotchy it looked at first.

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After letting them dry for a day, I positioned the prints, taped them to the mattes, and framed them. Tada! New colorful pieces to brighten up my walls. Let me know if you decide to try this, I'd love to see how yours turn out!

 

Spend vs. Score: Living Room

One of the best parts of life after college so far has been the experience of living alone and on my own, something I think everyone should do at least once in their life. And one fun upside to being the sole occupant: you're in charge! I have loved being able to start putting into action my vision for my home, but let me tell you, it can get expensive. If you've got the cash to get exactly what you want without the effort, more power to you. But for the rest of us who are on a budget, we've got two options: settle for something that doesn't match your vision, or my personal favorite, a combination of research & DIY. And lucky for you, I've done a little DIY and a whole lotta research, so sit back and enjoy the living room edition of Spend vs. Score! SpendSaveSome of this is already sitting in my apartment, some of it is yet to come, and some of it needs a little work, but this is my vision for my living room. I can't wait to share photos when it's complete! Now on to the important part: cost.

Total price of the SPEND living room: $6,506 Total price of the SCORE living room: $959

That's more than an 85% savings! Now let's break it down.

First up, the couch. I had my heart set on a grey sectional with an end lounge, but most sectionals go for upwards of $2000! I loved this sectional from West Elm, and had pretty much determined that I was either going to have to splurge on it or settle for a lesser sofa. Then, lo and behold, I got a flyer in the mail about a furniture sale at World Market (which I love but have never really looked at their furniture). One trip to the store, one borrowed truck, one awesome aunt, and two kind strangers later, this beauty was sitting in my living room! SPEND couch: West Elm, $2,498 SCORE couch: World Market, $525 (plus no additional shipping charge, which would have been another $150!)

I bought my armchair a little over a year ago, and I am still in love with it. I got an amazing deal on it at TJ Maxx (clearance, what whaaat), and it survived a year in a college apartment and is still holding up. SPEND chair: Pottery Barn, $999 SCORE chair: TJ Maxx, $100

I wanted a really colorful chest to set my TV on, but again, everything was so expensive! Even Target didn't have anything below $150. After scouring Craigslist for weeks, I found someone who was selling two dressers (the one above plus a larger, taller one) for $120. Both dressers, paint, supplies, and new hardware ended up being a little under $150. Two for the price of one Target piece, plus these are real wood and have my own stamp on them. Priceless. SPEND chest: Anthropologie, $998 SCORE chest: Craigslist DIY, $75

I don't currently have a dining room table, so all meals and other activities are currently taking place on the sofa. One item that makes this much, much easier (and less messy): a laptop table. No more leaning over the coffee table or sitting with a plate in your lap, this little sucker pulls right up to you. LOVE it. SPEND laptop table: One King's Lane, $139 SCORE laptop table: Ikea, $25

One downside to apartment living-- the inherent lack of lighting. I don't know why, but most apartments seem to lack overhead lighting in the living spaces. Bedroom, check. Bathroom, check. Kitchen, check. Living room, sorry Charlie. There is a fun solution to this problem, though: lots of lamps! I want one good floor lamp for the living room so I can finally say goodbye to my trusty Target lamp (which has lasted 4+ years, but is a little warped from the cross-country move). SPEND floor lamp: Z Gallerie, $229 SCORE floor lamp: Ikea, $60

Now the decor--

A large mirror to open up the space SPEND large mirror: Restoration Hardware, $595 SCORE large mirror: thrifted, $25

A port mirror to add some texture SPEND rope mirror: Anthropologie, $248 SCORE rope mirror: Target, $14 (on clearance)

Artwork makes it interesting! SPEND artwork: Z Gallerie, $800 SCORE artwork: Limezinnias Design, $45 each (for 12"x12" size)

Until next time! XO