Decor

How to organize kitchen cupboards to display china

A couple of weeks ago I helped my mom move into a new apartment. It’s a wonderful apartment but a bit smaller then where she used to live, so there isn’t enough space for her beloved china cabinet. It housed an exquisite collection of fine china my parents had accumulated over the years, and it was very important to my mom to find a new way to store and display the collection. When I saw the big kitchen plenty of kitchen cabinets, I got an idea to use some of the cabinet space to display some of the china.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-full-view-2

I used an inexpensive tension I got at the Dollar Store and placed it about a couple of inches above the shelves, and about an inch away from the back.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-with-tension-rod

Then it was just a matter of wedging the plates behind the tension rod to make them stay upright. They make a pretty backdrop and this also leaves room in front of the plates to either display more china or to store other things.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-full-view-1

Now my mom gets to enjoy looking at her beautiful collection of fine china every time she opens the cupboards – another win for tension rods!

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-close-up

 

 

A couple of weeks ago I helped my mom move into a new apartment. It’s a wonderful apartment but a bit smaller then where she used to live, so there isn’t enough space for her beloved china cabinet. It housed an exquisite collection of fine china my parents had accumulated over the years, and it was very important to my mom to find a new way to store and display the collection. When I saw the big kitchen plenty of kitchen cabinets, I got an idea to use some of the cabinet space to display some of the china.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-full-view-2

I used an inexpensive tension I got at the Dollar Store and placed it about a couple of inches above the shelves, and about an inch away from the back.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-with-tension-rod

Then it was just a matter of wedging the plates behind the tension rod to make them stay upright. They make a pretty backdrop and this also leaves room in front of the plates to either display more china or to store other things.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-full-view-1

Now my mom gets to enjoy looking at her beautiful collection of fine china every time she opens the cupboards – another win for tension rods!

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-close-up

 

 

How to make knobs or drawer pulls

When renovating a kitchen or bathroom, the cost of changing out the knobs can add up very quickly. The same goes when sprucing up a dresser with new drawer pulls. So I experimented with a couple of different inexpensive ways to make my own, and turns out it’s pretty easy to do! 

First option: Stones

Stone-knob-on-drawer-close-up

For these knobs, I ended up buying river stones from the dollar store – I live in LA and though there are beaches nearby, finding stones that are smooth and the right size proved to be too challenging!

rocks

To turn the stones into knobs, all you need are these nifty things called connector caps (or barrel nuts) and bolts. 

hardware-for-knobs

You can get connector caps in different finishes, like the bronze ones in the picture and you can get bronze bolts to match but since you don’t see them, I went with regular ones to save some money. If you do this, you just want to make sure that the bolt and connector have the same thread size and to stick with either metric or imperial (mixing the two won’t work). The length of bolts you will need depends on the thickness of the drawer face. In most cases, 25mm (1”)  long bolts should work well. 

I found these silver colored Barrel Nuts and bolt sets on amazon.com (20 for about $5) – they work great as well but the only thing is that the bolts are a bit too short (20mm instead of 25 mm), so I bought longer bolts (I had to get metric because the barrel nuts are metric) to make them work.

Knobs-silver-cap-nuts

Wether you use the connector caps or barrel nuts, the steps are the same. The first thing I did was find rocks that have a flat side and I sanded it down to remove any residue and have a better surface for the glue to grip. I cleaned off any dust and also cleaned the connector caps.

sanding-rock

I mixed epoxy glue, and dipped the top of cap to cover it with glue and then placed it at the center of the stone. 

stone-knobs-mixing-epoxy Stone-knobs-Putting-epoxy-on-the-caps

I placed the knobs on a bed of gravel (I had that from another project – it’s actually for aquariums!) so they could be flat during the drying process. You could also use sand for this.

Stone-knobs-letting-the-glue-dry

Then it was just a matter of using the bolts to secure them to the drawers.

Putting-in-knobs

And that’s it – my bathroom vanity got a whole new look thanks to these stone knobs. 

Rock-knobs

Second option: shells

For these drawer pulls, I used shells from the Dollar Store (same issue as with the stones), nuts & washers, bolts (about 1 to 1.5 inches longer than the thickness of the shell), scrap rigid cardboard, rubber bands and epoxy glue.

The first thing I did was cut a piece of rigid cardboard so that it’s the width of the shell and extends past it by about an inch, and made a hole in the middle. It will act as the flat surface of the dresser drawer to set the bolt in place.

Next I inserted the bolt in the hole of the cardboard

I poured epoxy glue into the shell cavity (I used the type that mixes together as it’s poured), making sure to mix the glue with a tooth pick and that there’s enough glue to cover the head of the bolt.

I placed the head of the bolt so that it touches the bottom of the shell cavity, while making sure the cardboard is flush to the back of the shell. Then I moved the bolt around so it is perpendicular to the cardboard.

When the bolt is placed properly, I used a rubber band to secure the cardboard in place, double checked that the bolt is still touching the bottom of the shell cavity and still straight (it doesn’t have to be perfect but the straighter the better), then I placed the cardboard on the edge of 2 glasses. You could also place the shells in sand like I did for the stone knobs. This allowed the epoxy to settle on the bottom and cover the head of the bolt.

Another way to make these knobs is to use oven bake clay (I used Sculpey) and barrel nut and bolts like I used for the stone knobs. I filled the cavity of the shell with the clay, pressed the barrel nut head into the clay to make an imprint, making sure the bolt sits straight, and then baked the shell in the oven as per the manufacturer specs (I baked mine for about an hour @ 275 degrees F). Then I used epoxy to glue the barrel nut to the shell. 

Shel-knobs---oven-backed-clay-method

For either option, I let the epoxy harden and voila, beautiful shell knobs ready to give a new look to a dresser or a cabinet!

You can use these ideas to make knobs out of just about anything, all you need is a little imagination – I hope you’ll share what ideas you come up with!

When renovating a kitchen or bathroom, the cost of changing out the knobs can add up very quickly. The same goes when sprucing up a dresser with new drawer pulls. So I experimented with a couple of different inexpensive ways to make my own, and turns out it’s pretty easy to do! 

First option: Stones

Stone-knob-on-drawer-close-up

For these knobs, I ended up buying river stones from the dollar store – I live in LA and though there are beaches nearby, finding stones that are smooth and the right size proved to be too challenging!

rocks

To turn the stones into knobs, all you need are these nifty things called connector caps (or barrel nuts) and bolts. 

hardware-for-knobs

You can get connector caps in different finishes, like the bronze ones in the picture and you can get bronze bolts to match but since you don’t see them, I went with regular ones to save some money. If you do this, you just want to make sure that the bolt and connector have the same thread size and to stick with either metric or imperial (mixing the two won’t work). The length of bolts you will need depends on the thickness of the drawer face. In most cases, 25mm (1”)  long bolts should work well. 

I found these silver colored Barrel Nuts and bolt sets on amazon.com (20 for about $5) – they work great as well but the only thing is that the bolts are a bit too short (20mm instead of 25 mm), so I bought longer bolts (I had to get metric because the barrel nuts are metric) to make them work.

Knobs-silver-cap-nuts

Wether you use the connector caps or barrel nuts, the steps are the same. The first thing I did was find rocks that have a flat side and I sanded it down to remove any residue and have a better surface for the glue to grip. I cleaned off any dust and also cleaned the connector caps.

sanding-rock

I mixed epoxy glue, and dipped the top of cap to cover it with glue and then placed it at the center of the stone. 

stone-knobs-mixing-epoxy Stone-knobs-Putting-epoxy-on-the-caps

I placed the knobs on a bed of gravel (I had that from another project – it’s actually for aquariums!) so they could be flat during the drying process. You could also use sand for this.

Stone-knobs-letting-the-glue-dry

Then it was just a matter of using the bolts to secure them to the drawers.

Putting-in-knobs

And that’s it – my bathroom vanity got a whole new look thanks to these stone knobs. 

Rock-knobs

Second option: shells

For these drawer pulls, I used shells from the Dollar Store (same issue as with the stones), nuts & washers, bolts (about 1 to 1.5 inches longer than the thickness of the shell), scrap rigid cardboard, rubber bands and epoxy glue.

The first thing I did was cut a piece of rigid cardboard so that it’s the width of the shell and extends past it by about an inch, and made a hole in the middle. It will act as the flat surface of the dresser drawer to set the bolt in place.

Next I inserted the bolt in the hole of the cardboard

I poured epoxy glue into the shell cavity (I used the type that mixes together as it’s poured), making sure to mix the glue with a tooth pick and that there’s enough glue to cover the head of the bolt.

I placed the head of the bolt so that it touches the bottom of the shell cavity, while making sure the cardboard is flush to the back of the shell. Then I moved the bolt around so it is perpendicular to the cardboard.

When the bolt is placed properly, I used a rubber band to secure the cardboard in place, double checked that the bolt is still touching the bottom of the shell cavity and still straight (it doesn’t have to be perfect but the straighter the better), then I placed the cardboard on the edge of 2 glasses. You could also place the shells in sand like I did for the stone knobs. This allowed the epoxy to settle on the bottom and cover the head of the bolt.

Another way to make these knobs is to use oven bake clay (I used Sculpey) and barrel nut and bolts like I used for the stone knobs. I filled the cavity of the shell with the clay, pressed the barrel nut head into the clay to make an imprint, making sure the bolt sits straight, and then baked the shell in the oven as per the manufacturer specs (I baked mine for about an hour @ 275 degrees F). Then I used epoxy to glue the barrel nut to the shell. 

Shel-knobs---oven-backed-clay-method

For either option, I let the epoxy harden and voila, beautiful shell knobs ready to give a new look to a dresser or a cabinet!

You can use these ideas to make knobs out of just about anything, all you need is a little imagination – I hope you’ll share what ideas you come up with!

Small Bathroom Remodel: Easy DIY Tile Backsplash

As I mentioned in my previous post reviewing Smart Tiles, my friend Tom asked for my help to makeover his small half-bath in his condo. He had a tiny budget of $200 to makeover his equally tiny 20 ft2 bathroom. Luckily he was happy with the neutral color palette so no painting necessary, but he did want to update the look by adding a touch of warmth and elegance, and he also wanted to have more storage. Here’s the plan I came up with for the makeover:

  1. Add a contemporary tile backsplash above the sink area and a mirror
  2. Upgrade the lighting fixture
  3. Add a storage cabinet above the toilet

The first thing I tackled was adding the backsplash above the sink area:

Smart-Tile-Finished-backsplash

This is what the area above the sink looked like before – a blank slate!

Tom's-bathroom-sink-before

I was really excited to try Smart Tiles for the first time for this project. I don’t have much experience tiling so the fact that these tiles have a peel and stick backing was a welcome simplification – there’s no grout or specialized tools needed so the installation is quick and mess free. I chose the Capri Taupe Smart Tiles from the Mosaik collection because of their beautiful stone and glossy dual finish

Smart-Tile-other-Mosaik-Capri-tiles

I needed 4 tiles to cover the length of the vanity – they are easy to cut using a ruler and utility knife. I cut all the tiles to be 7 inches high and and for the first tile, I also cut off the ends to have a clean edge.

Smart-Tiles-cutting-the-tile

I cleaned the wall with TSP to remove all the dust and grease, marked the height of the tile on the wall and then used a level to trace out the line. I removed some of the existing caulking where the tile meets the vanity to ensure that the tiles sits flush at the bottom. To install the tile, I first peeled back a couple of inches of the backing, used the line as a guide to make sure the tile is straight and then removed the rest of the backing and pressed the tile on wall.

Smart-Tile-Peeling-off-the-backing

Smart-Tile-Installing-first-tile

For the last tile at the edge of the wall, the remaining space was a bit awkward to measure so I used a sheet of paper as a template and used that to cut the tile.

Smart-Tile-corner-tile-template

For a more finished look around the tiles, I used a Smart Edge Brillo (silver) and for a nice clean corner, I cut the ends at a 45 degree angle.

Smart-Tiles-coner-edge-installation

A quick trick to make sure you get a perfect 45 degree cut every time is to first draw a straight line on your scrap piece of wood with a speed square and then use the 45 degree side of the speed square to cut the Smart Edge.

Smart-Tiles-corner-edge-cutting

And there you have it, for about $40 and in less than an hour, the backsplash was done and it looks absolutely beautiful!

Smart-Tiles-bathroom-backsplash-by-Engineer-Your-Space-cropped

It completely transformed the bathroom as you can see in this before and after picture:

Before-and-after-right-side-watermarked

You can see how I did the entire bathroom makeover, including the backsplash and how I tackled the very dated and uncentered lighting fixture above the vanity, in this video:

** This post was sponsored by Smart Tiles – all thoughts and opinions are my own **

As I mentioned in my previous post reviewing Smart Tiles, my friend Tom asked for my help to makeover his small half-bath in his condo. He had a tiny budget of $200 to makeover his equally tiny 20 ft2 bathroom. Luckily he was happy with the neutral color palette so no painting necessary, but he did want to update the look by adding a touch of warmth and elegance, and he also wanted to have more storage. Here’s the plan I came up with for the makeover:

  1. Add a contemporary tile backsplash above the sink area and a mirror
  2. Upgrade the lighting fixture
  3. Add a storage cabinet above the toilet

The first thing I tackled was adding the backsplash above the sink area:

Smart-Tile-Finished-backsplash

This is what the area above the sink looked like before – a blank slate!

Tom's-bathroom-sink-before

I was really excited to try Smart Tiles for the first time for this project. I don’t have much experience tiling so the fact that these tiles have a peel and stick backing was a welcome simplification – there’s no grout or specialized tools needed so the installation is quick and mess free. I chose the Capri Taupe Smart Tiles from the Mosaik collection because of their beautiful stone and glossy dual finish

Smart-Tile-other-Mosaik-Capri-tiles

I needed 4 tiles to cover the length of the vanity – they are easy to cut using a ruler and utility knife. I cut all the tiles to be 7 inches high and and for the first tile, I also cut off the ends to have a clean edge.

Smart-Tiles-cutting-the-tile

I cleaned the wall with TSP to remove all the dust and grease, marked the height of the tile on the wall and then used a level to trace out the line. I removed some of the existing caulking where the tile meets the vanity to ensure that the tiles sits flush at the bottom. To install the tile, I first peeled back a couple of inches of the backing, used the line as a guide to make sure the tile is straight and then removed the rest of the backing and pressed the tile on wall.

Smart-Tile-Peeling-off-the-backing

Smart-Tile-Installing-first-tile

For the last tile at the edge of the wall, the remaining space was a bit awkward to measure so I used a sheet of paper as a template and used that to cut the tile.

Smart-Tile-corner-tile-template

For a more finished look around the tiles, I used a Smart Edge Brillo (silver) and for a nice clean corner, I cut the ends at a 45 degree angle.

Smart-Tiles-coner-edge-installation

A quick trick to make sure you get a perfect 45 degree cut every time is to first draw a straight line on your scrap piece of wood with a speed square and then use the 45 degree side of the speed square to cut the Smart Edge.

Smart-Tiles-corner-edge-cutting

And there you have it, for about $40 and in less than an hour, the backsplash was done and it looks absolutely beautiful!

Smart-Tiles-bathroom-backsplash-by-Engineer-Your-Space-cropped

It completely transformed the bathroom as you can see in this before and after picture:

Before-and-after-right-side-watermarked

You can see how I did the entire bathroom makeover, including the backsplash and how I tackled the very dated and uncentered lighting fixture above the vanity, in this video:

** This post was sponsored by Smart Tiles – all thoughts and opinions are my own **

Product Review: Smart Tiles

When I was approached by Smart Tiles to review and try their products, I was very excited because updating kitchens and bathrooms can be quite intimidating. Even the simplest project like adding a tile backsplash can turn into a major undertaking that can be daunting for the novice DIYer.

Smart Tiles are much easier and simpler to install than traditional tiles because they have a peel and stick backing and are very thin (1/16”) and lightweight – no specialized tools are needed and there’s no need to use messy grout. The tiles are cut using a ruler and utility knife, so contouring around electrical outlets or odd shapes is a lot easier to do and the tiles will stick directly to any smooth surface, including existing tiles.

Smart-Tiles-Mosaik-cutting

You can buy Smart Tiles at any Home Depot or directly from the Smart Tiles website and they come in many different types, ranging in cost from $7 to $9 per tile (US). When I got samples of the tiles, the first thing I noticed was the quality of the product and how realistic the tiles looked. The Smart Tiles Mosaiks series incorporates a mixture of finishes from a stone finish to a glossy finish which reflects the light beautifully and the contrast also adds to the overall realistic look.

Capri-taupe-mosails-sample-tiles

There’s also classical mosaic and subway tiles in many colors including a marble finish that is very elegant and would add a touch of style to any kitchen or bathroom.

Carrera-tile-samples-closeup

Another benefit of using Smart Tiles is that they can easily be removed by first using a hair dryer to warm up the adhesive and then simply peeling the tiles off.  This may take off some of the paint but if you decide to change your mind and remodel later, it will definitely be a quicker and less messy process than removing traditional tile.

I was excited to try out these tiles and when my friend Tom said he wanted my help to upgrade a small half-bath in his condo, I knew it was the perfect project for Smart Tiles. I’ll be sharing with you the entire makeover very soon so stay tuned!

Before-left-and-right-side

** This post was sponsored by Smart Tiles – all thoughts and opinions are my own **

 

When I was approached by Smart Tiles to review and try their products, I was very excited because updating kitchens and bathrooms can be quite intimidating. Even the simplest project like adding a tile backsplash can turn into a major undertaking that can be daunting for the novice DIYer.

Smart Tiles are much easier and simpler to install than traditional tiles because they have a peel and stick backing and are very thin (1/16”) and lightweight – no specialized tools are needed and there’s no need to use messy grout. The tiles are cut using a ruler and utility knife, so contouring around electrical outlets or odd shapes is a lot easier to do and the tiles will stick directly to any smooth surface, including existing tiles.

Smart-Tiles-Mosaik-cutting

You can buy Smart Tiles at any Home Depot or directly from the Smart Tiles website and they come in many different types, ranging in cost from $7 to $9 per tile (US). When I got samples of the tiles, the first thing I noticed was the quality of the product and how realistic the tiles looked. The Smart Tiles Mosaiks series incorporates a mixture of finishes from a stone finish to a glossy finish which reflects the light beautifully and the contrast also adds to the overall realistic look.

Capri-taupe-mosails-sample-tiles

There’s also classical mosaic and subway tiles in many colors including a marble finish that is very elegant and would add a touch of style to any kitchen or bathroom.

Carrera-tile-samples-closeup

Another benefit of using Smart Tiles is that they can easily be removed by first using a hair dryer to warm up the adhesive and then simply peeling the tiles off.  This may take off some of the paint but if you decide to change your mind and remodel later, it will definitely be a quicker and less messy process than removing traditional tile.

I was excited to try out these tiles and when my friend Tom said he wanted my help to upgrade a small half-bath in his condo, I knew it was the perfect project for Smart Tiles. I’ll be sharing with you the entire makeover very soon so stay tuned!

Before-left-and-right-side

** This post was sponsored by Smart Tiles – all thoughts and opinions are my own **

 

IKEA HACK: easy DIY pendant lamp with ALANG lamp shade

My home office is very small and also happens to be in a rather dark corner of my apartment, so having proper lighting was very  important. I considered a desk lamp but given how small  my desk is, I decided to go with a pendant lamp instead. 

Finished-office-closer-view

Since I didn’t any more money in my budget to buy a lamp, I looked around the house to find something I could use to make one. I already had an extra HEMMA IKEA pendant lamp kit left over from another project and I also had an IKEA ALANG lamp I wasn’t using, and that’s when I got the idea to combine the two to make a pendant lamp. It literally took minutes to make and install!

IKEA-hack-ALANG-lamp-and-pendant-kit

First, I cut two pieces of wire, about 12 inches long, and bent them in half around the neck of the pendant lamp kit.  Then I placed the wires facing each other, under the lip on the socket and twisted the wires together.

IKEA-hack-pendant-lamp-twisting-wire

Next, I passed the cord of the pendant lamp kit through the hole in the middle of the lamp shade and twisted the 2 wire ends around the wire frame (this is to stabilize the lamp kit so it stays in place).

IKEA-hack-lamp-shade-pendant-lamp-twisting-wire-to-shade

You could leave the pendant lamp like this but I didn’t want to look at the bulb from underneath so I cut out a light diffuser from a flexible chopping mat I got at the dollar store. I traced the outside and inside outline of the lamp shade onto the chopping mat and then cut it slightly inside the outside line so it could rest on the rim of the lamp shade. 

IKEA-hack-lamp-shade-making-the-diffuser

To hang the lamp, I used the hook provided with the lamp kit and an anchor (I used a plumb bob to make sure it was centered above my desk – you can see how to use the plumb bob in this video where I share quick tips for hanging things).

hanging-hardware

The pendant lamp kit didn’t come with a switch so to turn the light on and off, I use a dimmer light switch that you can plug the lamp into. 

IKEA-hack-pendant-lamp

This couldn’t have been easier to do and the pendant lamp brightens up my office all day long, without having taking up any of my precious desk space! You can see more of my office DIY projects in this video, including how I turned my IKEA desk legs into a cat scratching post!:

 

My home office is very small and also happens to be in a rather dark corner of my apartment, so having proper lighting was very  important. I considered a desk lamp but given how small  my desk is, I decided to go with a pendant lamp instead. 

Finished-office-closer-view

Since I didn’t any more money in my budget to buy a lamp, I looked around the house to find something I could use to make one. I already had an extra HEMMA IKEA pendant lamp kit left over from another project and I also had an IKEA ALANG lamp I wasn’t using, and that’s when I got the idea to combine the two to make a pendant lamp. It literally took minutes to make and install!

IKEA-hack-ALANG-lamp-and-pendant-kit

First, I cut two pieces of wire, about 12 inches long, and bent them in half around the neck of the pendant lamp kit.  Then I placed the wires facing each other, under the lip on the socket and twisted the wires together.

IKEA-hack-pendant-lamp-twisting-wire

Next, I passed the cord of the pendant lamp kit through the hole in the middle of the lamp shade and twisted the 2 wire ends around the wire frame (this is to stabilize the lamp kit so it stays in place).

IKEA-hack-lamp-shade-pendant-lamp-twisting-wire-to-shade

You could leave the pendant lamp like this but I didn’t want to look at the bulb from underneath so I cut out a light diffuser from a flexible chopping mat I got at the dollar store. I traced the outside and inside outline of the lamp shade onto the chopping mat and then cut it slightly inside the outside line so it could rest on the rim of the lamp shade. 

IKEA-hack-lamp-shade-making-the-diffuser

To hang the lamp, I used the hook provided with the lamp kit and an anchor (I used a plumb bob to make sure it was centered above my desk – you can see how to use the plumb bob in this video where I share quick tips for hanging things).

hanging-hardware

The pendant lamp kit didn’t come with a switch so to turn the light on and off, I use a dimmer light switch that you can plug the lamp into. 

IKEA-hack-pendant-lamp

This couldn’t have been easier to do and the pendant lamp brightens up my office all day long, without having taking up any of my precious desk space! You can see more of my office DIY projects in this video, including how I turned my IKEA desk legs into a cat scratching post!:

 

DIY Wall Art with Shells – Bathroom Decorating ideas

My bathroom is pretty plain with white tiles and white walls which makes it a nice neutral canvas to work with, except for this “vintage” heater that stands out like a sore thumb. With the beautiful year round weather in LA, I never use it and I wanted to find a quick easy way to hide it. Looking around my apartment for something to use, I came across a scrap piece of 1/4″ plywood from another project and beautiful shells I had from previous crafting project. Putting them together, I had an quick and easy solution to cover up my ugly heater:

Shell-wall-art-before-and-after

Here’s how I did it:

Step 1: I placed my shells on the plywood and marked where my hooks will go to hold up the shells. I drilled holes at the marks using a 1/8″ drill bit.

Shell-wall-art-step-1

Step 2: I cut thin gauge wire in  ~ 2 1/2″ long pieces and bent them to make loops.

Shell-wall-art-step-2

Step 3: I fished the ends of the loop from the back of the plywood through to the front and bent the wires to form hooks and glued the back loops to the plywood to prevent them from moving once the hooks were at the right angle.

Shell-wall-art-step-3

Step 4: I placed the shells into the hooks and adjusted the wires as needed for a secure hold. You could also add some glue along the edge of the shells for extra support. 

Shell-wall-art-step-4And voila, very inexpensive beachy wall art that’s right at home in my bathroom, and more importantly, no one would know there’s an ugly heater behind there!

Shell-wall-art-completed

 

 

My bathroom is pretty plain with white tiles and white walls which makes it a nice neutral canvas to work with, except for this “vintage” heater that stands out like a sore thumb. With the beautiful year round weather in LA, I never use it and I wanted to find a quick easy way to hide it. Looking around my apartment for something to use, I came across a scrap piece of 1/4″ plywood from another project and beautiful shells I had from previous crafting project. Putting them together, I had an quick and easy solution to cover up my ugly heater:

Shell-wall-art-before-and-after

Here’s how I did it:

Step 1: I placed my shells on the plywood and marked where my hooks will go to hold up the shells. I drilled holes at the marks using a 1/8″ drill bit.

Shell-wall-art-step-1

Step 2: I cut thin gauge wire in  ~ 2 1/2″ long pieces and bent them to make loops.

Shell-wall-art-step-2

Step 3: I fished the ends of the loop from the back of the plywood through to the front and bent the wires to form hooks and glued the back loops to the plywood to prevent them from moving once the hooks were at the right angle.

Shell-wall-art-step-3

Step 4: I placed the shells into the hooks and adjusted the wires as needed for a secure hold. You could also add some glue along the edge of the shells for extra support. 

Shell-wall-art-step-4And voila, very inexpensive beachy wall art that’s right at home in my bathroom, and more importantly, no one would know there’s an ugly heater behind there!

Shell-wall-art-completed

 

 

Who says rugs are just for floors? How to add color to a large wall without paint

One of the last rooms of my LA apartment to get completed is my living room. It was a challenge to figure out how to place the furniture just right to make the most of the tiny footprint I had to work , a mere 10 ft x 7.5 ft. The winning furniture layout left me with a big blank wall that was screaming for something to jazz it up. Being a renter, I wanted to do something quick and easy to remove later, and ideally something that I could take with me when I move. Who would have thought that the solution would present itself in the form of a rug! 

Small-living-room-ideas_edited-1

That’s right, that’s a rug on my wall! I fell in love with the colors and the texture and immediately knew it would be perfect for my living room. The rug is from Crate and Barrel, called “TOCHI”.

 

Crate-and-barel-rug-closer

It really gave the room much needed personality and transformed it from plain and boring to fun and lively: 

Living-Room-before-and-after

And the best part is that I didn’t have to drill any holes in the wall to put it up. Here’s how I did it:

Step 1:

I made a frame to fit the size of the rug (4′ x 6′) with inexpensive 1″x2″ furring strips ($1 for 8 ft).

Step-1-building-a-frame

I used 3″ screws to attach the cross pieces (drilling pilot holes with a drill bit before putting in the screws is the best way to prevent the wood from splitting) and a speed square helps to make sure that the cross-pieces are at 90 degrees.

Another trick for this is to mark the location for the supports on both vertical furring strips at the same time while they are side by side. That way you know that you’re attaching the support in the right place on both sides. I made the frame with legs (about 12″ from the ground) to bear the weight of the panel to avoid having to put any anchors on the wall. You could easily make this without any legs as well – it just means you would have to anchor it to the wall like a picture frame.

Step-1-frame-part-2

Step 2:

I painted the furring strips the same color of the wall to make them blend in and then used upholstery nails, every 2 1/2″ inches, to secure the rug to the panel. I didn’t do this, but you could also use velcro on the back of the rug to attach it to the cross supports to make it stay flush against the wood frame. 

Step-2-frame

Step 3:

I used 3M command picture-hanging strips to secure the panel to the wall to prevent it from falling over and that’s it!

Step-3-3m-command-strips

I love that I didn’t have to make any holes in the wall and that I can always reuse the rug later in another space. You can watch the entire process of how I decorated my living room in this video: 

 

 

One of the last rooms of my LA apartment to get completed is my living room. It was a challenge to figure out how to place the furniture just right to make the most of the tiny footprint I had to work , a mere 10 ft x 7.5 ft. The winning furniture layout left me with a big blank wall that was screaming for something to jazz it up. Being a renter, I wanted to do something quick and easy to remove later, and ideally something that I could take with me when I move. Who would have thought that the solution would present itself in the form of a rug! 

Small-living-room-ideas_edited-1

That’s right, that’s a rug on my wall! I fell in love with the colors and the texture and immediately knew it would be perfect for my living room. The rug is from Crate and Barrel, called “TOCHI”.

 

Crate-and-barel-rug-closer

It really gave the room much needed personality and transformed it from plain and boring to fun and lively: 

Living-Room-before-and-after

And the best part is that I didn’t have to drill any holes in the wall to put it up. Here’s how I did it:

Step 1:

I made a frame to fit the size of the rug (4′ x 6′) with inexpensive 1″x2″ furring strips ($1 for 8 ft).

Step-1-building-a-frame

I used 3″ screws to attach the cross pieces (drilling pilot holes with a drill bit before putting in the screws is the best way to prevent the wood from splitting) and a speed square helps to make sure that the cross-pieces are at 90 degrees.

Another trick for this is to mark the location for the supports on both vertical furring strips at the same time while they are side by side. That way you know that you’re attaching the support in the right place on both sides. I made the frame with legs (about 12″ from the ground) to bear the weight of the panel to avoid having to put any anchors on the wall. You could easily make this without any legs as well – it just means you would have to anchor it to the wall like a picture frame.

Step-1-frame-part-2

Step 2:

I painted the furring strips the same color of the wall to make them blend in and then used upholstery nails, every 2 1/2″ inches, to secure the rug to the panel. I didn’t do this, but you could also use velcro on the back of the rug to attach it to the cross supports to make it stay flush against the wood frame. 

Step-2-frame

Step 3:

I used 3M command picture-hanging strips to secure the panel to the wall to prevent it from falling over and that’s it!

Step-3-3m-command-strips

I love that I didn’t have to make any holes in the wall and that I can always reuse the rug later in another space. You can watch the entire process of how I decorated my living room in this video: 

 

 

How to make an upholstered panel for a DIY headboard or banquette bench

When I built my banquette seating for my dining room, I made an upholstered tufted wall panel for the back. I really love this project because it could also be easily modified to make a tufted headboard by making the panel larger and adding legs and it’s really easy and inexpensive to do! The video below shows how I made it but I’ll also outline the main steps in this post.

Materials: for this project I used pegboard (2 ft x 4 ft), a furring strip (1 ft x 10 ft), foam (1” thick x 2ft x 3 ft), batting, and fabric (canvas drop cloth). You can use your own buttons or you can make your own. 

step-30-buttons-cushion-done-web

Step 1: On the pegboard, mark the location of where you want the buttons to go. It’s fine if they don’t all match up to existing holes, you can drill extra holes if needed.

step-1-draw-circle-web

Step 2: Spray a light coat of spray adhesive to the front of the pegboard. Make sure you put down something to protect your work surface because the spray will go through the holes. Then attach 1 inch foam to the pegboard.

step-3-spray-adhesive-web

Step 3: To make the panel thicker and sturdier I screwed furring strips on the back along the edges.

step-5-screw-furring-strips-web

Step 4:  I used canvas drop cloth to cover the panel to keep costs down and you’ll want to cut your fabric 3 1/2 inches wider than the panel and the batting cut 2 inches wider. Staple the fabric to the furring strips, starting from the middle and making sure to pull tightly as you go.

step-7-staple-canvas-web

Step 5: For the corners, cut away the excess fabric and batting and then tuck it in, stapling the fabric for a nice crease.

step-8-cut-corner-webstep-8-perfect-corner-web

I decided to use vintage buttons that I spray painted a nice champagne gold color. However it is really simple to make your own buttons with the fabric you have using a button cover kit. You can find one at your local craft store and they come with everything you need. Here’s how:

Step 6 (optional) Making buttons:

Use the template to draw out the size of the fabric circle that you need and then cut it out.

step-9-draw-button-circle-webstep-10-cut-fabric-circle-web

Place the circle of fabric inside the form with the button front on top of the fabric.

step-11-button-in-form-web

Tuck the fabric into the button and place the back of the button on top of that.

step-12-tuck-button-fabric-webstep-13-place-button-backing-web

Place the cap centered on the button and press down using something hard until the back pops into place.

step-14-place-button-cap-webstep-16-backs-in-place-web

Remove the button from the form and there you go!
step-18-buttons-done-web

Step 7: Whichever route you go, to thread the buttons, double up on a strong nylon or wax thread so that it’s about 8 inches long. Pull the end through the button loop and then pass it back through the loop thread. Pull tight.

step-20-thread-thru-loop-web step-22-pull-thread-tight-web

Step 8: To mark the location of the button on the front of the fabric I use a long upholstery needle to pierce through the fabric from the back. Where the needle goes through the fabric I place a pin in the front to mark the spot.

step-23-mark-on-back-web step-24-mark-front-panel-web 

Step 9: To put the buttons in I use the long upholstery needle to pierce the spot where the pin is in the front, making sure to remove the pin before pulling the thread all the way through.

step-25-needle-to-thread-button-webstep-26-button-thru-front-web

Step 10: Pull very tightly on the thread from the back to push the button all the way in. Make sure to keep tension on the thread and then staple it in a zig zag pattern. I tied a knot in the end as well to make sure it stays taut. If the staples don’t go in all the way in, you can use a hammer to make them tighter. Repeat this process for all the buttons.

step-28-pull-button-tightly-web step-29-staple-thread-web step-29-tie-knot-web

Step 11: To hang my panel to the wall I used a french cleat. You’ll want to secure it to a stud or use anchors appropriate for your wall.

And there you have it! A gorgeous upholstered panel which makes my banquette bench the the most comfortable place to sit in my dining room  and that could also be easily turned into a  DIY headboard!

finished-banquette-web

When I built my banquette seating for my dining room, I made an upholstered tufted wall panel for the back. I really love this project because it could also be easily modified to make a tufted headboard by making the panel larger and adding legs and it’s really easy and inexpensive to do! The video below shows how I made it but I’ll also outline the main steps in this post.

Materials: for this project I used pegboard (2 ft x 4 ft), a furring strip (1 ft x 10 ft), foam (1” thick x 2ft x 3 ft), batting, and fabric (canvas drop cloth). You can use your own buttons or you can make your own. 

step-30-buttons-cushion-done-web

Step 1: On the pegboard, mark the location of where you want the buttons to go. It’s fine if they don’t all match up to existing holes, you can drill extra holes if needed.

step-1-draw-circle-web

Step 2: Spray a light coat of spray adhesive to the front of the pegboard. Make sure you put down something to protect your work surface because the spray will go through the holes. Then attach 1 inch foam to the pegboard.

step-3-spray-adhesive-web

Step 3: To make the panel thicker and sturdier I screwed furring strips on the back along the edges.

step-5-screw-furring-strips-web

Step 4:  I used canvas drop cloth to cover the panel to keep costs down and you’ll want to cut your fabric 3 1/2 inches wider than the panel and the batting cut 2 inches wider. Staple the fabric to the furring strips, starting from the middle and making sure to pull tightly as you go.

step-7-staple-canvas-web

Step 5: For the corners, cut away the excess fabric and batting and then tuck it in, stapling the fabric for a nice crease.

step-8-cut-corner-webstep-8-perfect-corner-web

I decided to use vintage buttons that I spray painted a nice champagne gold color. However it is really simple to make your own buttons with the fabric you have using a button cover kit. You can find one at your local craft store and they come with everything you need. Here’s how:

Step 6 (optional) Making buttons:

Use the template to draw out the size of the fabric circle that you need and then cut it out.

step-9-draw-button-circle-webstep-10-cut-fabric-circle-web

Place the circle of fabric inside the form with the button front on top of the fabric.

step-11-button-in-form-web

Tuck the fabric into the button and place the back of the button on top of that.

step-12-tuck-button-fabric-webstep-13-place-button-backing-web

Place the cap centered on the button and press down using something hard until the back pops into place.

step-14-place-button-cap-webstep-16-backs-in-place-web

Remove the button from the form and there you go!
step-18-buttons-done-web

Step 7: Whichever route you go, to thread the buttons, double up on a strong nylon or wax thread so that it’s about 8 inches long. Pull the end through the button loop and then pass it back through the loop thread. Pull tight.

step-20-thread-thru-loop-web step-22-pull-thread-tight-web

Step 8: To mark the location of the button on the front of the fabric I use a long upholstery needle to pierce through the fabric from the back. Where the needle goes through the fabric I place a pin in the front to mark the spot.

step-23-mark-on-back-web step-24-mark-front-panel-web 

Step 9: To put the buttons in I use the long upholstery needle to pierce the spot where the pin is in the front, making sure to remove the pin before pulling the thread all the way through.

step-25-needle-to-thread-button-webstep-26-button-thru-front-web

Step 10: Pull very tightly on the thread from the back to push the button all the way in. Make sure to keep tension on the thread and then staple it in a zig zag pattern. I tied a knot in the end as well to make sure it stays taut. If the staples don’t go in all the way in, you can use a hammer to make them tighter. Repeat this process for all the buttons.

step-28-pull-button-tightly-web step-29-staple-thread-web step-29-tie-knot-web

Step 11: To hang my panel to the wall I used a french cleat. You’ll want to secure it to a stud or use anchors appropriate for your wall.

And there you have it! A gorgeous upholstered panel which makes my banquette bench the the most comfortable place to sit in my dining room  and that could also be easily turned into a  DIY headboard!

finished-banquette-web

13 clever ways to give plain mirrors a new look

For small and dark apartments, using mirrors is an easy way to give the illusion of more space and at the same time reflect more light to brighten up a space.  Looking for some inspiration for my apartment, I found these amazing DIY mirror makeovers on Hometalk:

makeover_mirrors

I especially love the use of rope for a nautical theme and the creative sunburst mirrors – you can find out more details about the projects on my hometalk board, including my own mirror upgrade using rhinestones. I hope this will give you lots of ideas for your own mirror upgrade! 

Embelished-mirror-close-up 

For small and dark apartments, using mirrors is an easy way to give the illusion of more space and at the same time reflect more light to brighten up a space.  Looking for some inspiration for my apartment, I found these amazing DIY mirror makeovers on Hometalk:

makeover_mirrors

I especially love the use of rope for a nautical theme and the creative sunburst mirrors – you can find out more details about the projects on my hometalk board, including my own mirror upgrade using rhinestones. I hope this will give you lots of ideas for your own mirror upgrade! 

Embelished-mirror-close-up 

Easy door upgrade with moulding

Many apartments have basic builder grade finishes that can be pretty plain and boring, and my apartment is no exception. I have very inexpensive hallow core doors that have zero character or architectural detail and they were screaming for some moulding detail. But being a renter, I had to figure out a creative way to do install it without making any holes or permanent changes to the door. The solution? Glue Dots HybriBond Repositionable Mounting Tape!

Door-moulding-before-and-after

Here’s how I did it:

Step 1: Cut the molding with a miter box and saw to make your design (cutting the moulding at a 45 degree angle makes nicer joints at the corners). For my door, I made 3 squares roughly 20″x20″. 

Easy door upgrade step 1

Door-molding-step-2

Step 2:  Place Glue Dots HybriBond Repositionable Mounting Tape on the back of the moulding and remove the liner

Door-moulding-step-2-part-1

Door-moulding-step-2-part-2

Step 3: Place on the door, and reposition until all the pieces are nicely aligned, then press firmly into place. Using tape to mark out the outline of where you want your moulding to be makes it a lot easier to install. 

Door-moulding-step-3

Step 4:  Fill in the gaps at the corners with wood filler, let it dry and sand until smooth before painting the moulding to match the door or a contrasting color, depending on the look you want.

Door-moulding-step-4

Now my doors have a lot more personality than before and it was a mess-free, nail-free project thanks to Glue Dots Hybribond Repositionable tape!

Door-moulding-close-up

 * This post was sponsored by Glue Dots – all opinions are my own *

Many apartments have basic builder grade finishes that can be pretty plain and boring, and my apartment is no exception. I have very inexpensive hallow core doors that have zero character or architectural detail and they were screaming for some moulding detail. But being a renter, I had to figure out a creative way to do install it without making any holes or permanent changes to the door. The solution? Glue Dots HybriBond Repositionable Mounting Tape!

Door-moulding-before-and-after

Here’s how I did it:

Step 1: Cut the molding with a miter box and saw to make your design (cutting the moulding at a 45 degree angle makes nicer joints at the corners). For my door, I made 3 squares roughly 20″x20″. 

Easy door upgrade step 1

Door-molding-step-2

Step 2:  Place Glue Dots HybriBond Repositionable Mounting Tape on the back of the moulding and remove the liner

Door-moulding-step-2-part-1

Door-moulding-step-2-part-2

Step 3: Place on the door, and reposition until all the pieces are nicely aligned, then press firmly into place. Using tape to mark out the outline of where you want your moulding to be makes it a lot easier to install. 

Door-moulding-step-3

Step 4:  Fill in the gaps at the corners with wood filler, let it dry and sand until smooth before painting the moulding to match the door or a contrasting color, depending on the look you want.

Door-moulding-step-4

Now my doors have a lot more personality than before and it was a mess-free, nail-free project thanks to Glue Dots Hybribond Repositionable tape!

Door-moulding-close-up

 * This post was sponsored by Glue Dots – all opinions are my own *

DIY Nightstand: IKEA LACK table hack

On one of my very frequent trips to IKEA, I found inexpensive LACK tables that were the perfect color to work as nightstands in my bedroom .  The only problem was that they were too low for my bed. At $13 each, it was worth trying to find a way to make them work. My solution? Cut the legs of one table and stalk another table on top it!

This is a very simple project that took about an hour – all you need is a miter box and hack saw, a speed square, some masking tape and “Liquid Nails” glue:

Step 1: Put masking tape around the legs of the bottom table, where you want to make your cut (make sure you measure from the top of the leg down). It helps protect the finish when you cut the leg. I made my bottom legs 4″ tall.

Step 2: Using a speed square, mark the exact measurement on each side of the leg.

Step 3: The legs are hallow so they are easy to cut with a miter box and hack saw (you’ll want to use a fine tooth saw to minimize tearing of the finish). I found that cutting one side at a time helps to get a straighter cut.

 

Step 4: Check that all the legs are exactly the same height. You can use sandpaper stapled to a piece of wood to make any minor adjustments

Step 5: I screwed the legs into the bottom table and then used liquid nails to secure the legs from the top table to the top of the bottom table.

And just like that, I was able to have my nightstands that are the prefect height and colorful for my bedroom, all for just $26 each! 

 You can see all the steps to make the nightstands and how I made the headboard, in this video:

 

 

 

On one of my very frequent trips to IKEA, I found inexpensive LACK tables that were the perfect color to work as nightstands in my bedroom .  The only problem was that they were too low for my bed. At $13 each, it was worth trying to find a way to make them work. My solution? Cut the legs of one table and stalk another table on top it!

This is a very simple project that took about an hour – all you need is a miter box and hack saw, a speed square, some masking tape and “Liquid Nails” glue:

Step 1: Put masking tape around the legs of the bottom table, where you want to make your cut (make sure you measure from the top of the leg down). It helps protect the finish when you cut the leg. I made my bottom legs 4″ tall.

Step 2: Using a speed square, mark the exact measurement on each side of the leg.

Step 3: The legs are hallow so they are easy to cut with a miter box and hack saw (you’ll want to use a fine tooth saw to minimize tearing of the finish). I found that cutting one side at a time helps to get a straighter cut.

 

Step 4: Check that all the legs are exactly the same height. You can use sandpaper stapled to a piece of wood to make any minor adjustments

Step 5: I screwed the legs into the bottom table and then used liquid nails to secure the legs from the top table to the top of the bottom table.

And just like that, I was able to have my nightstands that are the prefect height and colorful for my bedroom, all for just $26 each! 

 You can see all the steps to make the nightstands and how I made the headboard, in this video:

 

 

 

Decorating idea for a big blank wall: gallery walls

When you have a big blank wall to decorate but don’t have a large painting or work of art to fill in the space, it can be pretty daunting, especially if you’re on a budget. Putting together a gallery walls is a great way to fill in a large blank wall without having to spend lots of money, which is what I did in my LA apartment living room.

Having zero budget, I looked for things to use that I already had on hand, selecting items from my travels and that had special meaning to me. I used the largest item as the focal point and then hung the smaller items around it.  To make it easier to visualize how everything would look on the wall, I placed all my items on the floor first and played around with them until I found a pattern that I liked.

With that many frames and items grouped together, it’s easy for something to get out of alignment over time. There’s a quick fix for that using a Glue Dots® Respositionable Dispenser : just add a few dots on the back of the things that you’re hanging! The dots will stick to the wall to keep everything straight but they come off cleanly without leaving any residue.

There’s really no right or wrong way to put together a gallery wall – here’s another example of a gallery wall that I did in my NYC apartment, using a different combination of things to fit the narrow wall. The only rule to follow is to use items that you love, so give it a try, have some fun and experiment!

* This post is sponsored by Glue Dots. All opinions are my own

When you have a big blank wall to decorate but don’t have a large painting or work of art to fill in the space, it can be pretty daunting, especially if you’re on a budget. Putting together a gallery walls is a great way to fill in a large blank wall without having to spend lots of money, which is what I did in my LA apartment living room.

Having zero budget, I looked for things to use that I already had on hand, selecting items from my travels and that had special meaning to me. I used the largest item as the focal point and then hung the smaller items around it.  To make it easier to visualize how everything would look on the wall, I placed all my items on the floor first and played around with them until I found a pattern that I liked.

With that many frames and items grouped together, it’s easy for something to get out of alignment over time. There’s a quick fix for that using a Glue Dots® Respositionable Dispenser : just add a few dots on the back of the things that you’re hanging! The dots will stick to the wall to keep everything straight but they come off cleanly without leaving any residue.

There’s really no right or wrong way to put together a gallery wall – here’s another example of a gallery wall that I did in my NYC apartment, using a different combination of things to fit the narrow wall. The only rule to follow is to use items that you love, so give it a try, have some fun and experiment!

* This post is sponsored by Glue Dots. All opinions are my own

How to conceal vertical blinds with curtains

Vertical blinds are my least favorite type of window treatments but I decided to keep the ones that I have in my dining room because they are pretty useful for blocking out the strong California sun in the afternoons. I still don’t like looking at the vertical blinds, so to minimize their presence, I came up with a quick and easy way to partially conceal them with a curtain:

I used a 3/8″ wood dowel to hang a curtain panel by placing the dowel inside the plastic supports of the existing vertical blind valance. That’s it, no tools or hardware needed!

 

You can see how easy and quick it is to do in this video and you’ll also see how to replace the vertical blinds entirely with curtains using drapery hooks and the existing clips!

The curtain panel hides the slats completely when the blinds aren’t being used and helps to soften the overall look when I do need to use them. It’s not prefect but it’s way better than always having to look at those vertical blinds! The curtain panel I used is a light beige thin fabric which is prefect to go with the rest of my dining room  but because it lets a lot of light through, you can still see the blinds a bit when the sun is shining. Using a thicker curtain panel would take care of that.

Vertical blinds are my least favorite type of window treatments but I decided to keep the ones that I have in my dining room because they are pretty useful for blocking out the strong California sun in the afternoons. I still don’t like looking at the vertical blinds, so to minimize their presence, I came up with a quick and easy way to partially conceal them with a curtain:

I used a 3/8″ wood dowel to hang a curtain panel by placing the dowel inside the plastic supports of the existing vertical blind valance. That’s it, no tools or hardware needed!

 

You can see how easy and quick it is to do in this video and you’ll also see how to replace the vertical blinds entirely with curtains using drapery hooks and the existing clips!

The curtain panel hides the slats completely when the blinds aren’t being used and helps to soften the overall look when I do need to use them. It’s not prefect but it’s way better than always having to look at those vertical blinds! The curtain panel I used is a light beige thin fabric which is prefect to go with the rest of my dining room  but because it lets a lot of light through, you can still see the blinds a bit when the sun is shining. Using a thicker curtain panel would take care of that.

DIY Decorative Wall Panels

Big blank white walls can be a challenge to decorate, especially if you’re renting and can’t paint the walls. One solution to add both architectural detail and color is to build simple wall panels – you can paint them, or add wallpaper and even install lighting and shelves on them. They dress up the wall, while adding color and function at the same time.

Materials:  hardboard panel (1/8″ thick x 4 ft x 8 ft ~ $9 per panel) or 1/4″ thick plywood, 1″ x 2″ x 6 ft pine boards (~$2.50 each), paint or wallpaper.

Step 1: Cut your hardboard panel to size (you can have this done at the hardware store also) and cut your 1″x2″ pine boards so they make a frame around the hardboard with the narrow side against the edge. You’ll want to select pine boards that are perfectly straight on all sides, otherwise, they won’t work well for this project.

Step 2: Apply wood glue to the narrow side of the 1″x2″ and clamp it to the rough side of the hardboard, flush with the edge – you’ll want to use several clamps and using a scrap piece of wood like a furring strip  on the other side of the panel will help transfer the force of the clamps more evenly while using less clamps.

Step 3: Reinforce the corners with screws: drill pilot holes with a counter sink drill bit, put in screws and cover up the screw head with wood filler.

Step 4: Sand and paint panel or add wallpaper.

Step 5: Add a french cleat at the top of the panel to hang on the wall

Additional customization ideas:

a) You can add a shelf or a coat rack to the panels. You’ll need to glue in place a piece of wood to the back of the panel so you can attach these with screws.

b) You can also add wall sconces by drilling a hole using a hole saw bit (1 1/2″ diameter) – the cord for the wall sconce goes through the hole and runs behind the panel and you can control the on/off switch using a receiver and wireless wall switch.

The possibilities are endless with these panels! They’re perfect to add color and can create an organized and functional entryway like in this apartment by adding DIY coat racks, a message board and a DIY shelf/charging station:

And they can also add architectural interest and texture to an otherwise boring room, like I did here by creating a wall that incorporates banquette seating in my dining room:

Big blank white walls can be a challenge to decorate, especially if you’re renting and can’t paint the walls. One solution to add both architectural detail and color is to build simple wall panels – you can paint them, or add wallpaper and even install lighting and shelves on them. They dress up the wall, while adding color and function at the same time.

Materials:  hardboard panel (1/8″ thick x 4 ft x 8 ft ~ $9 per panel) or 1/4″ thick plywood, 1″ x 2″ x 6 ft pine boards (~$2.50 each), paint or wallpaper.

Step 1: Cut your hardboard panel to size (you can have this done at the hardware store also) and cut your 1″x2″ pine boards so they make a frame around the hardboard with the narrow side against the edge. You’ll want to select pine boards that are perfectly straight on all sides, otherwise, they won’t work well for this project.

Step 2: Apply wood glue to the narrow side of the 1″x2″ and clamp it to the rough side of the hardboard, flush with the edge – you’ll want to use several clamps and using a scrap piece of wood like a furring strip  on the other side of the panel will help transfer the force of the clamps more evenly while using less clamps.

Step 3: Reinforce the corners with screws: drill pilot holes with a counter sink drill bit, put in screws and cover up the screw head with wood filler.

Step 4: Sand and paint panel or add wallpaper.

Step 5: Add a french cleat at the top of the panel to hang on the wall

Additional customization ideas:

a) You can add a shelf or a coat rack to the panels. You’ll need to glue in place a piece of wood to the back of the panel so you can attach these with screws.

b) You can also add wall sconces by drilling a hole using a hole saw bit (1 1/2″ diameter) – the cord for the wall sconce goes through the hole and runs behind the panel and you can control the on/off switch using a receiver and wireless wall switch.

The possibilities are endless with these panels! They’re perfect to add color and can create an organized and functional entryway like in this apartment by adding DIY coat racks, a message board and a DIY shelf/charging station:

And they can also add architectural interest and texture to an otherwise boring room, like I did here by creating a wall that incorporates banquette seating in my dining room:

DIY Driftwood Art

I needed some beach inspired artwork to finish off my dining room makeover but having no money left over in the budget, I had to get creative! Looking around the apartment for something to use, I found this piece of plywood leftover from a project which was the perfect size, but what to put on it?  After looking on Pinterest for some inspiration, I found my answer: Driftwood! It’s free and it meant a trip to the beach which I love. So I headed to the shore and after exploring a few beaches, I had my driftwood to get started on my DIY driftwood art project:

What I used: Driftwood, 1/4″ plywood (20″ x 22″), liquid nails glue, sandpaper

Step 1: Arrange your driftwood in a pattern

Step 2: Staple sandpaper to a piece of wood and sand down a flat surface on each piece of driftwood.

Step 3 : Add wood glue and place on the plywood, wait for it to dry.

And voila, after a trip to the beach and just 30 minutes, I had my free DIY driftwood art that reminds me of the ocean, the beach and the sun. It turned out to be the perfect finishing touch to my dining room makeover. 

I needed some beach inspired artwork to finish off my dining room makeover but having no money left over in the budget, I had to get creative! Looking around the apartment for something to use, I found this piece of plywood leftover from a project which was the perfect size, but what to put on it?  After looking on Pinterest for some inspiration, I found my answer: Driftwood! It’s free and it meant a trip to the beach which I love. So I headed to the shore and after exploring a few beaches, I had my driftwood to get started on my DIY driftwood art project:

What I used: Driftwood, 1/4″ plywood (20″ x 22″), liquid nails glue, sandpaper

Step 1: Arrange your driftwood in a pattern

Step 2: Staple sandpaper to a piece of wood and sand down a flat surface on each piece of driftwood.

Step 3 : Add wood glue and place on the plywood, wait for it to dry.

And voila, after a trip to the beach and just 30 minutes, I had my free DIY driftwood art that reminds me of the ocean, the beach and the sun. It turned out to be the perfect finishing touch to my dining room makeover.