DIY

How to building a Murphy bed A-Z (without a workshop!)

If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve taken on my biggest DIY project to date: building a Murphy bed for a 200 ft2 studio apartment makeover. I’ve shared the process in several posts and also made this video of the entire build, but I thought you might enjoy reading about the highlights of what is was like to build this project without a workshop, and how I pimped up the inside with custom industrial wall lamps.

Not having a workshop meant that I had to get creative as to where and how I would cut the plywood for the Murphy bed cabinet (you can read about how I chose the type of Murphy bed and the Murphy bed kit I used here). I set up my temporary cutting station outside, using 2″x4″ to support the plywood while cutting.

It’s very important that all the cuts are accurate and perfectly square so I took extra time to make sure the cutting guide was in the right position. The Murphy bed kit I used had very detailed instructions which were very helpful and I highly recommend reading them a few times before starting the project and while building. There’s a lot of little details that are crucial to pay attention to for the project to go smoothly.

Having a cordless circular saw to do the cutting, while not ideal (having a table saw or a track saw would have made this step at lot easier), worked really well.

Then there was a lot of sanding, edging and staining (lots more details on these steps here) before it was time to get to the assembly. One small detail that’s really important was cutting out a notch in the side panels to allow space for the bottom moulding on the wall – this will make it possible for the cabinet to be flush with the wall, which is needed to be able to anchor it to the wall.

Once all the cabinet pieces were prepared, it was time to install the Murphy bed hardware on the side panels. I chose to use a Murphy bed kit with springs but you could also use one that has pistons.

Most Murphy bed cabinets are assembled using dowels and glue or pocket screws and glue, but because this Murphy bed will need to be disassembled when it’s time to move, I chose to skip the glue and use brackets and screws instead (I ordered them with the Murphy bed hardware kit).

The final part of building the Murphy bed cabinet was to assemble the front panel, which includes the frame for the mattress. This was part of the Murphy bed kit I used (you can also buy kits that only has the lift mechanism, but that means building the mattress box from scratch which would have taken more time than I had to complete this project).

With the cabinet and front panel assembled, I enlisted the help of a couple of friends with the final step (the front panel is very heavy!), attaching the front panel to the lift mechanism in the cabinet.

That’s pretty much it for building the Murphy bed, all that was left was putting on the legs (they come with the kit) and adding the mattress.


Most people stop here since typically, Murphy beds are only used occasionally for guests. However, this Murphy bed is in a 200 ft2 studio apartment and as such, it’s going to be used every day and will essentially be the bedroom. So it was important to give it more cozy feel as well as add lighting for bedtime reading.  The plan I came up with was to cover the exposed wall above the headboard with a wood panel that also incorporated 2 industrial wall sconces to match the style that the rest of the apartment will have once the complete makeover is done.

It needed to be no more than 1″ thick so it wouldn’t interfere with the mattress and bedding, so I built it using 1″x2″ furring strips and 1/4″ plywood to make the structure. This is the back showing where the lights are (I used an LED light kit from IKEA).

I stained the front of the panel the same color as the outside of the cabinet (Varathane Briarsmoke) and metallic paint made the wood on the sides of the wall sconces look more like metal.

To reflect more light, I also attached a sheet of metal to the back of the wall sconces.

The finishing touch for the wall sconces were the covers. Since the apartment will have a rustic industrial vibe, I wanted to covers to reflect that. I thought it would be fun to do an experiment and use wire mesh with glue on wood edging I had left over from the build to make the covers.

The covers worked out even better than I thought – the metallic paint completely transformed the look of the edging and the sheet metal screws I used to attach them to the panel added just the right industrial vibe.


The last finishing touch was painting the inside of the cabinet in a warm orange, inspired by the Venice beach sunsets.

So there you have it, probably the most pimped out DIY Murphy bed you’ll ever see! There’s lots more to come for the tiny 200ft2 studio makeover so make sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you don’t miss out on anything!

 

 

If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve taken on my biggest DIY project to date: building a Murphy bed for a 200 ft2 studio apartment makeover. I’ve shared the process in several posts and also made this video of the entire build, but I thought you might enjoy reading about the highlights of what is was like to build this project without a workshop, and how I pimped up the inside with custom industrial wall lamps.

Not having a workshop meant that I had to get creative as to where and how I would cut the plywood for the Murphy bed cabinet (you can read about how I chose the type of Murphy bed and the Murphy bed kit I used here). I set up my temporary cutting station outside, using 2″x4″ to support the plywood while cutting.

It’s very important that all the cuts are accurate and perfectly square so I took extra time to make sure the cutting guide was in the right position. The Murphy bed kit I used had very detailed instructions which were very helpful and I highly recommend reading them a few times before starting the project and while building. There’s a lot of little details that are crucial to pay attention to for the project to go smoothly.

Having a cordless circular saw to do the cutting, while not ideal (having a table saw or a track saw would have made this step at lot easier), worked really well.

Then there was a lot of sanding, edging and staining (lots more details on these steps here) before it was time to get to the assembly. One small detail that’s really important was cutting out a notch in the side panels to allow space for the bottom moulding on the wall – this will make it possible for the cabinet to be flush with the wall, which is needed to be able to anchor it to the wall.

Once all the cabinet pieces were prepared, it was time to install the Murphy bed hardware on the side panels. I chose to use a Murphy bed kit with springs but you could also use one that has pistons.

Most Murphy bed cabinets are assembled using dowels and glue or pocket screws and glue, but because this Murphy bed will need to be disassembled when it’s time to move, I chose to skip the glue and use brackets and screws instead (I ordered them with the Murphy bed hardware kit).

The final part of building the Murphy bed cabinet was to assemble the front panel, which includes the frame for the mattress. This was part of the Murphy bed kit I used (you can also buy kits that only has the lift mechanism, but that means building the mattress box from scratch which would have taken more time than I had to complete this project).

With the cabinet and front panel assembled, I enlisted the help of a couple of friends with the final step (the front panel is very heavy!), attaching the front panel to the lift mechanism in the cabinet.

That’s pretty much it for building the Murphy bed, all that was left was putting on the legs (they come with the kit) and adding the mattress.


Most people stop here since typically, Murphy beds are only used occasionally for guests. However, this Murphy bed is in a 200 ft2 studio apartment and as such, it’s going to be used every day and will essentially be the bedroom. So it was important to give it more cozy feel as well as add lighting for bedtime reading.  The plan I came up with was to cover the exposed wall above the headboard with a wood panel that also incorporated 2 industrial wall sconces to match the style that the rest of the apartment will have once the complete makeover is done.

It needed to be no more than 1″ thick so it wouldn’t interfere with the mattress and bedding, so I built it using 1″x2″ furring strips and 1/4″ plywood to make the structure. This is the back showing where the lights are (I used an LED light kit from IKEA).

I stained the front of the panel the same color as the outside of the cabinet (Varathane Briarsmoke) and metallic paint made the wood on the sides of the wall sconces look more like metal.

To reflect more light, I also attached a sheet of metal to the back of the wall sconces.

The finishing touch for the wall sconces were the covers. Since the apartment will have a rustic industrial vibe, I wanted to covers to reflect that. I thought it would be fun to do an experiment and use wire mesh with glue on wood edging I had left over from the build to make the covers.

The covers worked out even better than I thought – the metallic paint completely transformed the look of the edging and the sheet metal screws I used to attach them to the panel added just the right industrial vibe.


The last finishing touch was painting the inside of the cabinet in a warm orange, inspired by the Venice beach sunsets.

So there you have it, probably the most pimped out DIY Murphy bed you’ll ever see! There’s lots more to come for the tiny 200ft2 studio makeover so make sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you don’t miss out on anything!

 

 

Building a Murphy bed series – Step 2- 6: lift mechanism & assembly

For highlights of this project, watch the video!

In case you haven’t been following along, here’s a recap of the Murphy Bed series thus far. The first post covered an overview of the project and some things to consider for choosing the type of DIY Murphy bed, which you can read here, and the second post went into detail about step 1: preparing the cabinet components which took a few days to get done, between getting the materials, cutting all the wood, edging, sanding, and staining (read more about that here). Now comes the fun part of actually mounting the lift mechanism for the bed and assembling the cabinet.

Tip: While it’s not impossible to do this alone, I would highly recommend getting a helper, preferably someone who is comfortable lifting heavy things.

As I mentioned in my first post, I chose to go with a Murphy bed hardware kit from murphybeddepot.com that comes with all the hardware for the lifting mechanism and the frame for the bed. The instructions say to assemble the cabinet first but I chose to begin with assembling the front panel, which is where the mattress will sit.

Murphy-Bed-hardware-kit---front-panel-frame-part-1

The cabinet plans called for having 4 pieces of plywood for the front panel but when I cut the plywood components, I made a slight change to the plans so I would have two pieces of plywood instead of four to have less joints on the front.

8a23e21a-9fad-4f79-bd8c-8c31e6540f9cBefore starting to screw the frames in place, I made sure that the panels were perfectly joined and square. It’s crucial for every component of the cabinet to be square, otherwise, the front panel will not be able to move up and down as designed. I also made sure that the metal frame was centered as per the instructions – this may vary depending on the kit you use. This step is fairly simple, just tedious as there are a lot of screws to put in.

Murphy-bed-hardware-kit---bedframe

Next I mounted the lift mechanism to the side panels of the cabinet.

Murphy-Bed-hardware-kit---for-sides

The specifics of this step will vary depending on the hardware kit you use but the process will be essentially the same. The holes have to be in a precise location to match the holes in the lift mechanism so here again, precision is key. Some kits provide a template to mark the holes but since this kit didn’t provide one, I measured and marked the location of each hole.

Murphy-Bed-hardware-kit---marking-holes

The instructions recommend starting by drilling a small pilot hole before making the hole bigger for the bolts – this helps to ensure the holes are in the right spot. I tried to do this in both side panels at once by stacking them on top of each other and it worked but I wouldn’t recommend doing this because it’s very difficult to keep the drill bit 100% straight and even a minute shift in the location of the pilot hole will cause the holes to not line up. 

Murphy-Bed-kit-drilling-pilot-hole

Then I used a countersink drill bit to make cavities so that the head of the bolts can sit flush with the outside surface of the side panels.

Murphy-bed-side-panel-counter-sunk-holes

Tip: Make sure you read the instructions many times before starting and make a list of all the tools you will need ahead of time so you have them on hand once you start putting the cabinet together. It will save you from having to make an impromptu trip to the hardware like I had to do when I realized I didn’t have the right sized countersink bit!

Murphy-bed-kit-putting-on-the-side-plates

The next step was to use nuts and bolts to attach the lift mechanism to the side panels. It’s a bit tricky to line up all the holes so I started by putting in one bolt very loosely and then fitting all the other, one by one, loosely at first. That made it easy to make small adjustments so they all fit it. Then I tightened the bolts – a wrench was handy to hold the nut while I used the drill to tighten the bolt.

Murphy-bed-hardware-kit-putting-in-the-bolts

Then it was time to add more springs – this part was somewhat frustrating because some of the springs went in very easily while others required a lot of coaxing. In the end, using the wrench to left the plates did the trick. The number of springs you will need depends on how heavy your mattress is, and what type of material you used for the front panel. Unfortunately there’s no easy way of knowing exactly how many you need before you put the mattress on and test it. I didn’t wear gloves while doing this but I highly recommended to do so – the springs are very greasy and it’s easy to get your fingers caught.

Murphy-Bed-hardware-kit-putting-in-springs

After that was done, I was finally ready to assemble the cabinet. I chose to use brackets and screws to assemble it because a) I don’t have a workshop or specialized tools  and b) I wanted to be able to take the cabinet apart for moving it, something that wouldn’t be possible if using dowels and glue. I was able to order all the screws and brackets necessary to assemble the cabinet components with the Murphy bed hardware so that took a lot of the guesswork out of having to figure out what I needed.

I started by installing the headboard and then moved on to the top and bottom pieces. It’s fairly simple to put together but clamps and an extra pair of hands is very helpful. And it’s easy to get confused as to what piece goes where so it’s also a good idea to refer to the drawings throughout the assembly process.

Murphy-Bed-assembly-step-2

Once the cabinet was built, I used a stud finder to locate the wall studs and marked their location with tape. The recommendations may vary depending on your specific hardware kit but mine recommended securing the top of the cabinet to 3 wall studs with brackets provided in the hardware kit. 

Murphy-Bed-installation-finding-studs

Tip: If you don’t have a stud finder, there’s other ways to find them. There’s usually a stud to the right or left of an outlet or light switch and they are typically 16”-24” on center (which means from the middle of one stud, to the middle of one next to it) but most common is 16”.  So if you have an outlet or switch nearby, you can start there to locate a stud and move along the wall to find the others. One caveat is that depending on when your home was built the actual size of the studs might not be the standard 1 ½” x 3 ½”. Between 1900-1950 rough cut 2×4’s were most common and were actually 2″ by 4″, and homes built between 1950-1965 could have 2x4s that are 1-⅝” by 3-⅝” – keep that in mind as this will affect the actual distance from the first stud to the next.

Before securing the cabinet to the wall, I had to check that it was square. I wasn’t sure the best way to do that but I used my carpenter’s square to check every corner at the front – it’s very important that the cabinet be perfectly square everywhere, otherwise the front panel won’t be able to close.

Murphy-Bed-assembly---checking-square

After securing the cabinet to the wall, the next step was to put the face panel onto the lift mechanism.  I had to call in reinforcements at this point because this step requires lots of muscles to first pull down the tension arm and then to lift the front panel onto the tension arm.  

Murphy-bed-installation-putting-on-front-panel-1Murphy-bed-installation-putting-on-face-panel-2

 

Side Note: If you don’t want to deal with springs, you can get Murphy bed kits with pistons, though one of the downsides of pistons is that they are visible on the sides even with the mattress on. With the springs, the mechanism is out of sight once the mattress is there.

Luckily when we released the tension arm and lifted the front panel in place, it fit right between the side boards. We did have to make a slight adjustment to even out the spacing on both sides but that was minor. We tested the bed with the mattress on but we had put in too many springs so the front panel didn’t stay down. So we removed the mattress and unattached the cabinet from the wall so we could get access to the back of the lift mechanism and remove the springs.

Murphy-bed-installation-front-panel-on

All the heavy lifting was done but I still had the inside of the Murphy bed to finish. I didn’t like the look of the white wall above the headboard and I also wanted to incorporate some color, which is why I hadn’t stained the insides of the panels.

Murphy-Bed-installation-looking-at-the-insideAfter looking at the inside for a bit, I came up with an ambitious plan to create a panel to cover that space, and also incorporate lighting, all of which needs to be 1” thick or less so it doesn’t interfere with the mattress or bedding. My next post in the “how to build a Murphy bed series” will be all about that project and the final reveal of the finished Murphy Bed –  best way to not miss it when it’s published is to subscribe to my newsletter if you’re not already signed up!

For highlights of this project, watch the video!

In case you haven’t been following along, here’s a recap of the Murphy Bed series thus far. The first post covered an overview of the project and some things to consider for choosing the type of DIY Murphy bed, which you can read here, and the second post went into detail about step 1: preparing the cabinet components which took a few days to get done, between getting the materials, cutting all the wood, edging, sanding, and staining (read more about that here). Now comes the fun part of actually mounting the lift mechanism for the bed and assembling the cabinet.

Tip: While it’s not impossible to do this alone, I would highly recommend getting a helper, preferably someone who is comfortable lifting heavy things.

As I mentioned in my first post, I chose to go with a Murphy bed hardware kit from murphybeddepot.com that comes with all the hardware for the lifting mechanism and the frame for the bed. The instructions say to assemble the cabinet first but I chose to begin with assembling the front panel, which is where the mattress will sit.

Murphy-Bed-hardware-kit---front-panel-frame-part-1

The cabinet plans called for having 4 pieces of plywood for the front panel but when I cut the plywood components, I made a slight change to the plans so I would have two pieces of plywood instead of four to have less joints on the front.

8a23e21a-9fad-4f79-bd8c-8c31e6540f9cBefore starting to screw the frames in place, I made sure that the panels were perfectly joined and square. It’s crucial for every component of the cabinet to be square, otherwise, the front panel will not be able to move up and down as designed. I also made sure that the metal frame was centered as per the instructions – this may vary depending on the kit you use. This step is fairly simple, just tedious as there are a lot of screws to put in.

Murphy-bed-hardware-kit---bedframe

Next I mounted the lift mechanism to the side panels of the cabinet.

Murphy-Bed-hardware-kit---for-sides

The specifics of this step will vary depending on the hardware kit you use but the process will be essentially the same. The holes have to be in a precise location to match the holes in the lift mechanism so here again, precision is key. Some kits provide a template to mark the holes but since this kit didn’t provide one, I measured and marked the location of each hole.

Murphy-Bed-hardware-kit---marking-holes

The instructions recommend starting by drilling a small pilot hole before making the hole bigger for the bolts – this helps to ensure the holes are in the right spot. I tried to do this in both side panels at once by stacking them on top of each other and it worked but I wouldn’t recommend doing this because it’s very difficult to keep the drill bit 100% straight and even a minute shift in the location of the pilot hole will cause the holes to not line up. 

Murphy-Bed-kit-drilling-pilot-hole

Then I used a countersink drill bit to make cavities so that the head of the bolts can sit flush with the outside surface of the side panels.

Murphy-bed-side-panel-counter-sunk-holes

Tip: Make sure you read the instructions many times before starting and make a list of all the tools you will need ahead of time so you have them on hand once you start putting the cabinet together. It will save you from having to make an impromptu trip to the hardware like I had to do when I realized I didn’t have the right sized countersink bit!

Murphy-bed-kit-putting-on-the-side-plates

The next step was to use nuts and bolts to attach the lift mechanism to the side panels. It’s a bit tricky to line up all the holes so I started by putting in one bolt very loosely and then fitting all the other, one by one, loosely at first. That made it easy to make small adjustments so they all fit it. Then I tightened the bolts – a wrench was handy to hold the nut while I used the drill to tighten the bolt.

Murphy-bed-hardware-kit-putting-in-the-bolts

Then it was time to add more springs – this part was somewhat frustrating because some of the springs went in very easily while others required a lot of coaxing. In the end, using the wrench to left the plates did the trick. The number of springs you will need depends on how heavy your mattress is, and what type of material you used for the front panel. Unfortunately there’s no easy way of knowing exactly how many you need before you put the mattress on and test it. I didn’t wear gloves while doing this but I highly recommended to do so – the springs are very greasy and it’s easy to get your fingers caught.

Murphy-Bed-hardware-kit-putting-in-springs

After that was done, I was finally ready to assemble the cabinet. I chose to use brackets and screws to assemble it because a) I don’t have a workshop or specialized tools  and b) I wanted to be able to take the cabinet apart for moving it, something that wouldn’t be possible if using dowels and glue. I was able to order all the screws and brackets necessary to assemble the cabinet components with the Murphy bed hardware so that took a lot of the guesswork out of having to figure out what I needed.

I started by installing the headboard and then moved on to the top and bottom pieces. It’s fairly simple to put together but clamps and an extra pair of hands is very helpful. And it’s easy to get confused as to what piece goes where so it’s also a good idea to refer to the drawings throughout the assembly process.

Murphy-Bed-assembly-step-2

Once the cabinet was built, I used a stud finder to locate the wall studs and marked their location with tape. The recommendations may vary depending on your specific hardware kit but mine recommended securing the top of the cabinet to 3 wall studs with brackets provided in the hardware kit. 

Murphy-Bed-installation-finding-studs

Tip: If you don’t have a stud finder, there’s other ways to find them. There’s usually a stud to the right or left of an outlet or light switch and they are typically 16”-24” on center (which means from the middle of one stud, to the middle of one next to it) but most common is 16”.  So if you have an outlet or switch nearby, you can start there to locate a stud and move along the wall to find the others. One caveat is that depending on when your home was built the actual size of the studs might not be the standard 1 ½” x 3 ½”. Between 1900-1950 rough cut 2×4’s were most common and were actually 2″ by 4″, and homes built between 1950-1965 could have 2x4s that are 1-⅝” by 3-⅝” – keep that in mind as this will affect the actual distance from the first stud to the next.

Before securing the cabinet to the wall, I had to check that it was square. I wasn’t sure the best way to do that but I used my carpenter’s square to check every corner at the front – it’s very important that the cabinet be perfectly square everywhere, otherwise the front panel won’t be able to close.

Murphy-Bed-assembly---checking-square

After securing the cabinet to the wall, the next step was to put the face panel onto the lift mechanism.  I had to call in reinforcements at this point because this step requires lots of muscles to first pull down the tension arm and then to lift the front panel onto the tension arm.  

Murphy-bed-installation-putting-on-front-panel-1Murphy-bed-installation-putting-on-face-panel-2

 

Side Note: If you don’t want to deal with springs, you can get Murphy bed kits with pistons, though one of the downsides of pistons is that they are visible on the sides even with the mattress on. With the springs, the mechanism is out of sight once the mattress is there.

Luckily when we released the tension arm and lifted the front panel in place, it fit right between the side boards. We did have to make a slight adjustment to even out the spacing on both sides but that was minor. We tested the bed with the mattress on but we had put in too many springs so the front panel didn’t stay down. So we removed the mattress and unattached the cabinet from the wall so we could get access to the back of the lift mechanism and remove the springs.

Murphy-bed-installation-front-panel-on

All the heavy lifting was done but I still had the inside of the Murphy bed to finish. I didn’t like the look of the white wall above the headboard and I also wanted to incorporate some color, which is why I hadn’t stained the insides of the panels.

Murphy-Bed-installation-looking-at-the-insideAfter looking at the inside for a bit, I came up with an ambitious plan to create a panel to cover that space, and also incorporate lighting, all of which needs to be 1” thick or less so it doesn’t interfere with the mattress or bedding. My next post in the “how to build a Murphy bed series” will be all about that project and the final reveal of the finished Murphy Bed –  best way to not miss it when it’s published is to subscribe to my newsletter if you’re not already signed up!

Building a Murphy bed series – Step 1: preparing the cabinet components

Did you read my first post in this  “how to build a Murphy bed” series? In case you missed it, here’s a recap. I’ve undertaken a new big/small project, transforming a tiny 200 ft2 rental studio apartment into a functional home that reflects the unique personality of its occupant, that easily adapts to change and has everything needed: a place for sleeping, hanging out and relaxing with friends, cooking, eating and working. I talked in my previous post about how a Murphy bed with a sofa was the best solution for this space and also which options I considered, eventually settling on a DIY Murphy bed with a ready made hardware kit and cabinet design. You can read all the detail here and I left off with outlining all the steps involved with this Murphy bed option:

  1. Prepare all wood or laminate components
  2. Mount lift mechanism
  3. Install springs in lift mechanism
  4. Assemble the bed cabinet
  5. Attach bed cabinet to the wall
  6. Assemble steel bed frame to bed face panels
  7. Install the bed face panel in cabinet
  8. Install handles, leg assembly, mechanism covers, mattress

In today’s post, I’m covering what’s involved with step 1, but before I get started, there’s something I wanted to mention that I didn’t cover in my first post: the importance of knowing the thickness of the mattress you plan on using with your Murphy bed.

Tip: Not all kits are the same and some only accommodate mattresses that are 10 inches thick while others allow you to use mattresses up to 12” thick. Make sure you know what thickness you need for your mattress so you don’t end up with a cabinet that’s too shallow for your mattress. Not fun after doing all that work to build a Murphy bed!

Reading-instructions

And another general note, I can’t recommend enough reading the directions for your Murphy bed kit  several times and also be ready to make a few trips to the hardware store. I know that I did several trips, sometimes more than once in one day! OK, now let’s get started with Step 1: preparing the cabinet components:

There are many different designs of cabinets out there, but they all have essentially the same components and similar steps are needed to get all the cabinet components ready. I used a Murphy bed kit that had a cabinet design and a cut list ready which made it a lot easier than having to figure out a design and dimensions, and I highly recommend this approach, especially if you’re a novice DIYer.

Step 1a – Getting the materials:  

There’s a few choices for the material  you can use to make the cabinet, like MDF or plywood. I went with a higher quality birch plywood because the plan was to stain the wood. If you’re thinking of painting it, then MDF will work too. Whichever one you use, you will need veneer edging to finish the edges, so be prepared to get a lot of it. 

Tip: if you think you’ll be building more furniture with plywood in the future, I recommend buying a large roll of 250 ft online. It sounds like a lot but at roughly $25, it’s way cheaper than buying several packages of 25 ft which is what they sell at the hardware store.Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 4.06.35 PMI usually have larger sheets of plywood cut at the hardware store since I don’t have a table saw, plus it also makes it easier to transport. But hardware stores don’t typically guarantee precise cuts and I’ve had pieces cut that were as much as ¼” off which wouldn’t be acceptable when working on a project like a Murphy bed – precision is critical to ensure that the cabinet is square. So for these reasons, I chose to cut the wood myself.

Getting-plywood

This meant that I had to bring the 3 x 4’x8’x ¾” sheets of birch plywood (~ $150) from the hardware store to the apartment. This is definitely a 2 person job, so I got a friend to help out and also to lend me their pickup truck to transport everything. Since I don’t have a table saw and would be cutting the plywood on the ground, I also got five 2”x4” to use as a base (more on that in step 1b) and a 1”x 3”x 8ft to use as a cutting guide.

Tip: I like to do the materials run the day before I’m planning on cutting and building. This way, I have everything on hand at the start of the day which makes for a more productive day.

Step 1b – Cutting the plywood:

If you have a workshop with a table saw, this step is fairly straightforward. But I don’t have either and I also had limited space inside to work, so cutting outside using a circular saw was the best option available to me. I used a cordless circular saw from WORX that has a built in feature that allows you to use any straight edge to cut, which is extremely helpful. Another reason I love this saw is the battery life – you can get many cuts done on one charge. I also used small clamps and a carpenter framing square to make the cuts.

setting-up-the-cutting-station-outside-murphy-bed

To set up my cutting station outside, I laid down the 2”x4”s evenly spaced out and placed the sheet of plywood on top. By doing this the circular saw blade will cut a bit into the 2”x4” but won’t catch the ground.

marking-plywood-Murphy-bed

Then I measured and marked the line for the cut I needed to make and clamped the guide on the line. I used the carpenter framing square to make sure the 1”x3” guide is perfectly square.

Cutting-plywood

Tip:  it’s important to remember that the saw blade will eat up about ⅛” off the wood, so the guide needs to be placed on the side that you measured (want to keep), otherwise your piece of wood will be ⅛” too short.

It took me a while to get all the cuts done because I was being extra careful with all my measurements and making sure that everything was square every step of the way, but it was very satisfying once I was done! I brought all the wood inside to get ready for the next steps, which included cutting out a section off the bottom back of the side panels so the cabinet could sit flush against the wall. I used a hand saw to do this but you could also use a jigsaw – it’s much easier to do this before the cabinet is assembled!

Cutting-off-back-piece-for-moulding-DIY-Murphy-bed

Another way to go would have been to remove a section of the  baseboard but that wasn’t an option since this is a rental apartment and I’m sure the landlord wouldn’t appreciate having the moulding taken out. 

Cut-out-at-the-back-of-side-panels-murphy-bed

Side note:  If you were using the dowel method to join the pieces, you would need to drill all the holes for the dowels along the edges of each of the components, which can be very time consuming depending on the tools you’re using to do this. Since I’m using brackets and screws to put the cabinet together, I could skip this step. Another reason that I chose brackets and screws is that it will make it a lot easier to disassemble the Murphy bed later – this is very important because it won’t be possible to take the Murphy bed out of this apartment without taking the cabinet apart first.

Step 1c – Adding veneer edging to the plywood edges

While this is fairly easy to do (you will need an iron and a utility knife for this step), it does take a lot of time, especially if you use a utility knife to trim off the excess on the sides, which is what I used. I needed to use some sandpaper to smooth out the rough edges that I sometimes made because I wasn’t precise with the utility knife.

Ironing-on-veneer-edging-Murphy-bed

trimming-off-veneer-edging-Murphy-bed

Tip: Invest in a little gadget called a “veneer edge trimmer” – I wish I had done that before taking on this project! It will save you a oodles of time and also do a much cleaner/better job at getting nice flush edges. 

Step 1d – Sanding

The plywood I was using was already sanded but since I was staining the panels, I wanted to do some more sanding to get the smoothest surface possible. I didn’t want to sand inside so I used my portable WORX table to set up an impromptu workshop outside.

Sanding-plywood-DIY-Murphy-Bed

Step 1e – Staining or painting

Once all the pieces were sanded, it was time for staining. It wasn’t practical to do this outside and there wasn’t enough floor space inside to lay out all the components on the floor of the tiny studio, so I channeled my inner MacGyver and improvised by building a staining rack out of 2”x4”’s and ½” plywood.

Staining-rack-for-Murphy-bed

I also used some tarps to protect the floor and the wall, some painter’s tape and rags for applying the stain. I still had to do 2 batches and staining proved to be a bit tricky (it’s not my strong suit!) – it didn’t turn out as nice as I would have hoped but the final look was still nice. I do love the color of the stain – it’s from Varathane and called Briarsmoke Premium Fast Dry Interior Wood Stain. Again, this step isn’t necessarily difficult, just time consuming because I needed to allow for drying time in between coats (I could have stopped at one coat but I wanted a deeper color). 

Staining-panels-Murphy-Bed

I chose to stain the outside of the cabinet and to leave the inside not finished because I knew that I wanted to paint the inside a different color to create the effect of having a different room when the bed is down. Since I wasn’t sure what I color I wanted to use, I will do that to the end when the Murphy bed is build and installed.

Tip: It’s definitely easier to paint and finish all the wood before assembling it, but the downside is that the components do need to be handled a lot during assembly so be prepared to do a few touch ups after it’s done.

Now it’s time to move on to step 2-6: mounting lift mechanism and assembly. I learned a few things while doing this as well, which I’ll share in my next blog post in the “Building a Murphy bed” series. Best way to not miss it when it’s published is to subscribe to my newsletter if you’re not already signed up!

Did you read my first post in this  “how to build a Murphy bed” series? In case you missed it, here’s a recap. I’ve undertaken a new big/small project, transforming a tiny 200 ft2 rental studio apartment into a functional home that reflects the unique personality of its occupant, that easily adapts to change and has everything needed: a place for sleeping, hanging out and relaxing with friends, cooking, eating and working. I talked in my previous post about how a Murphy bed with a sofa was the best solution for this space and also which options I considered, eventually settling on a DIY Murphy bed with a ready made hardware kit and cabinet design. You can read all the detail here and I left off with outlining all the steps involved with this Murphy bed option:

  1. Prepare all wood or laminate components
  2. Mount lift mechanism
  3. Install springs in lift mechanism
  4. Assemble the bed cabinet
  5. Attach bed cabinet to the wall
  6. Assemble steel bed frame to bed face panels
  7. Install the bed face panel in cabinet
  8. Install handles, leg assembly, mechanism covers, mattress

In today’s post, I’m covering what’s involved with step 1, but before I get started, there’s something I wanted to mention that I didn’t cover in my first post: the importance of knowing the thickness of the mattress you plan on using with your Murphy bed.

Tip: Not all kits are the same and some only accommodate mattresses that are 10 inches thick while others allow you to use mattresses up to 12” thick. Make sure you know what thickness you need for your mattress so you don’t end up with a cabinet that’s too shallow for your mattress. Not fun after doing all that work to build a Murphy bed!

Reading-instructions

And another general note, I can’t recommend enough reading the directions for your Murphy bed kit  several times and also be ready to make a few trips to the hardware store. I know that I did several trips, sometimes more than once in one day! OK, now let’s get started with Step 1: preparing the cabinet components:

There are many different designs of cabinets out there, but they all have essentially the same components and similar steps are needed to get all the cabinet components ready. I used a Murphy bed kit that had a cabinet design and a cut list ready which made it a lot easier than having to figure out a design and dimensions, and I highly recommend this approach, especially if you’re a novice DIYer.

Step 1a – Getting the materials:  

There’s a few choices for the material  you can use to make the cabinet, like MDF or plywood. I went with a higher quality birch plywood because the plan was to stain the wood. If you’re thinking of painting it, then MDF will work too. Whichever one you use, you will need veneer edging to finish the edges, so be prepared to get a lot of it. 

Tip: if you think you’ll be building more furniture with plywood in the future, I recommend buying a large roll of 250 ft online. It sounds like a lot but at roughly $25, it’s way cheaper than buying several packages of 25 ft which is what they sell at the hardware store.Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 4.06.35 PMI usually have larger sheets of plywood cut at the hardware store since I don’t have a table saw, plus it also makes it easier to transport. But hardware stores don’t typically guarantee precise cuts and I’ve had pieces cut that were as much as ¼” off which wouldn’t be acceptable when working on a project like a Murphy bed – precision is critical to ensure that the cabinet is square. So for these reasons, I chose to cut the wood myself.

Getting-plywood

This meant that I had to bring the 3 x 4’x8’x ¾” sheets of birch plywood (~ $150) from the hardware store to the apartment. This is definitely a 2 person job, so I got a friend to help out and also to lend me their pickup truck to transport everything. Since I don’t have a table saw and would be cutting the plywood on the ground, I also got five 2”x4” to use as a base (more on that in step 1b) and a 1”x 3”x 8ft to use as a cutting guide.

Tip: I like to do the materials run the day before I’m planning on cutting and building. This way, I have everything on hand at the start of the day which makes for a more productive day.

Step 1b – Cutting the plywood:

If you have a workshop with a table saw, this step is fairly straightforward. But I don’t have either and I also had limited space inside to work, so cutting outside using a circular saw was the best option available to me. I used a cordless circular saw from WORX that has a built in feature that allows you to use any straight edge to cut, which is extremely helpful. Another reason I love this saw is the battery life – you can get many cuts done on one charge. I also used small clamps and a carpenter framing square to make the cuts.

setting-up-the-cutting-station-outside-murphy-bed

To set up my cutting station outside, I laid down the 2”x4”s evenly spaced out and placed the sheet of plywood on top. By doing this the circular saw blade will cut a bit into the 2”x4” but won’t catch the ground.

marking-plywood-Murphy-bed

Then I measured and marked the line for the cut I needed to make and clamped the guide on the line. I used the carpenter framing square to make sure the 1”x3” guide is perfectly square.

Cutting-plywood

Tip:  it’s important to remember that the saw blade will eat up about ⅛” off the wood, so the guide needs to be placed on the side that you measured (want to keep), otherwise your piece of wood will be ⅛” too short.

It took me a while to get all the cuts done because I was being extra careful with all my measurements and making sure that everything was square every step of the way, but it was very satisfying once I was done! I brought all the wood inside to get ready for the next steps, which included cutting out a section off the bottom back of the side panels so the cabinet could sit flush against the wall. I used a hand saw to do this but you could also use a jigsaw – it’s much easier to do this before the cabinet is assembled!

Cutting-off-back-piece-for-moulding-DIY-Murphy-bed

Another way to go would have been to remove a section of the  baseboard but that wasn’t an option since this is a rental apartment and I’m sure the landlord wouldn’t appreciate having the moulding taken out. 

Cut-out-at-the-back-of-side-panels-murphy-bed

Side note:  If you were using the dowel method to join the pieces, you would need to drill all the holes for the dowels along the edges of each of the components, which can be very time consuming depending on the tools you’re using to do this. Since I’m using brackets and screws to put the cabinet together, I could skip this step. Another reason that I chose brackets and screws is that it will make it a lot easier to disassemble the Murphy bed later – this is very important because it won’t be possible to take the Murphy bed out of this apartment without taking the cabinet apart first.

Step 1c – Adding veneer edging to the plywood edges

While this is fairly easy to do (you will need an iron and a utility knife for this step), it does take a lot of time, especially if you use a utility knife to trim off the excess on the sides, which is what I used. I needed to use some sandpaper to smooth out the rough edges that I sometimes made because I wasn’t precise with the utility knife.

Ironing-on-veneer-edging-Murphy-bed

trimming-off-veneer-edging-Murphy-bed

Tip: Invest in a little gadget called a “veneer edge trimmer” – I wish I had done that before taking on this project! It will save you a oodles of time and also do a much cleaner/better job at getting nice flush edges. 

Step 1d – Sanding

The plywood I was using was already sanded but since I was staining the panels, I wanted to do some more sanding to get the smoothest surface possible. I didn’t want to sand inside so I used my portable WORX table to set up an impromptu workshop outside.

Sanding-plywood-DIY-Murphy-Bed

Step 1e – Staining or painting

Once all the pieces were sanded, it was time for staining. It wasn’t practical to do this outside and there wasn’t enough floor space inside to lay out all the components on the floor of the tiny studio, so I channeled my inner MacGyver and improvised by building a staining rack out of 2”x4”’s and ½” plywood.

Staining-rack-for-Murphy-bed

I also used some tarps to protect the floor and the wall, some painter’s tape and rags for applying the stain. I still had to do 2 batches and staining proved to be a bit tricky (it’s not my strong suit!) – it didn’t turn out as nice as I would have hoped but the final look was still nice. I do love the color of the stain – it’s from Varathane and called Briarsmoke Premium Fast Dry Interior Wood Stain. Again, this step isn’t necessarily difficult, just time consuming because I needed to allow for drying time in between coats (I could have stopped at one coat but I wanted a deeper color). 

Staining-panels-Murphy-Bed

I chose to stain the outside of the cabinet and to leave the inside not finished because I knew that I wanted to paint the inside a different color to create the effect of having a different room when the bed is down. Since I wasn’t sure what I color I wanted to use, I will do that to the end when the Murphy bed is build and installed.

Tip: It’s definitely easier to paint and finish all the wood before assembling it, but the downside is that the components do need to be handled a lot during assembly so be prepared to do a few touch ups after it’s done.

Now it’s time to move on to step 2-6: mounting lift mechanism and assembly. I learned a few things while doing this as well, which I’ll share in my next blog post in the “Building a Murphy bed” series. Best way to not miss it when it’s published is to subscribe to my newsletter if you’re not already signed up!

#Engineeryourspace inspired spotlight: The DIY Drum Shade

Eight years ago, I created Engineer Your Space and launched my YouTube Channel and blog with 4 videos. One of those videos was titled: “how to make a DIY drum shade” – I wasn’t sure when I published it if anyone would watch a 15 minute video about making a drum shade, and at first nobody did. Then a few months in, something amazing happened: Apartment Therapy featured my project on their website and I got invited to give a presentation about it at their design evenings in NYC. 

Apartment Therapy Design Evening 4-11-2012

Just like that, my channel and blog started getting noticed and people started watching. Eight years later, that video continues to get thousands of views every month and now has over 750,000 views. Crazy! It’s amazing to me that the content continues to resonate with people (despite the poor video quality and my beginner skills at video production!). I guess I’m not the only person out there looking for an inexpensive, electrician free way to deal with unsightly ceiling light fixtures. To this day, I continue to receive pictures of custom drum shades that people have made. This gorgeous shade was hand crafted by Libby, from Victoria, BC, to cover up an old ceiling fixture in a bedroom.

Libby Victoria BC drum shade

This beautiful drum shade is the creation of Maria which she made to upgrade a pendant lamp in her dining room.

Drum-shade-by-Maria (1) copy

I love seeing these beautiful creations with different colors and textures because I still remember the happiness I felt when I covered up my ugly lighting fixtures with something beautiful that reflected my style and personality. It was a very small thing, but the impact it had on how I felt about my home was huge. It was such an empowering feeling to know that even as a renter, I could also have a beautiful and functional home that was just right for me. I didn’t have to wait until I owned a home or spend tons of money, I could have it right now! 

NYC-custom-DIY-Drum-shade

There is so much joy that comes from seeing beyond the flaws and limitations of your space and my hope with Engineer Your Space is to empower everyone to see the possibilities for making themselves at home no matter if they own or rent,  how big or how small their space and budget are. With just a little bit of imagination and elbow grease, you CAN have a home that is both beautiful and functional, a home that represents who you are, and ultimately a home you love.  

Keep sharing your #engineeryourspace inspired project by sending me your pics, along with a brief description, via DM on Instagram or at info@engineeryourspace.com. I love seeing what you’ve created! And if you want to see more #engineeryourspace inspired projects, check out my Pinterest board here. 

Here’s to making yourself at home, no matter where you live!

 

Eight years ago, I created Engineer Your Space and launched my YouTube Channel and blog with 4 videos. One of those videos was titled: “how to make a DIY drum shade” – I wasn’t sure when I published it if anyone would watch a 15 minute video about making a drum shade, and at first nobody did. Then a few months in, something amazing happened: Apartment Therapy featured my project on their website and I got invited to give a presentation about it at their design evenings in NYC. 

Apartment Therapy Design Evening 4-11-2012

Just like that, my channel and blog started getting noticed and people started watching. Eight years later, that video continues to get thousands of views every month and now has over 750,000 views. Crazy! It’s amazing to me that the content continues to resonate with people (despite the poor video quality and my beginner skills at video production!). I guess I’m not the only person out there looking for an inexpensive, electrician free way to deal with unsightly ceiling light fixtures. To this day, I continue to receive pictures of custom drum shades that people have made. This gorgeous shade was hand crafted by Libby, from Victoria, BC, to cover up an old ceiling fixture in a bedroom.

Libby Victoria BC drum shade

This beautiful drum shade is the creation of Maria which she made to upgrade a pendant lamp in her dining room.

Drum-shade-by-Maria (1) copy

I love seeing these beautiful creations with different colors and textures because I still remember the happiness I felt when I covered up my ugly lighting fixtures with something beautiful that reflected my style and personality. It was a very small thing, but the impact it had on how I felt about my home was huge. It was such an empowering feeling to know that even as a renter, I could also have a beautiful and functional home that was just right for me. I didn’t have to wait until I owned a home or spend tons of money, I could have it right now! 

NYC-custom-DIY-Drum-shade

There is so much joy that comes from seeing beyond the flaws and limitations of your space and my hope with Engineer Your Space is to empower everyone to see the possibilities for making themselves at home no matter if they own or rent,  how big or how small their space and budget are. With just a little bit of imagination and elbow grease, you CAN have a home that is both beautiful and functional, a home that represents who you are, and ultimately a home you love.  

Keep sharing your #engineeryourspace inspired project by sending me your pics, along with a brief description, via DM on Instagram or at info@engineeryourspace.com. I love seeing what you’ve created! And if you want to see more #engineeryourspace inspired projects, check out my Pinterest board here. 

Here’s to making yourself at home, no matter where you live!

 

Building a Murphy Bed Series: Before you start – DIY Options

 

If you’ve been reading my newsletter and following me on Instagram, you know that I’ve undertaken a new big/small project, transforming a tiny 200 ft2 rental studio apartment into what I call a “nimble” home: a home that reflects the unique personality of its occupant, that easily adapts to change and has everything needed: a place for sleeping, hanging out and relaxing with friends, cooking, eating and working.

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 5.32.48 PM

One of the main requirements for the design of this home was to have a sofa for relaxing and to also have a queen sized bed for sleeping. Given the size of the main living area, a mere 144 ft2, and the standard 8 ft ceiling, it quickly became apparent that a sofa Murphy bed like this one was the best solution for the space. 

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 5.35.18 PM

Since buying a ready made sofa Murphy bed was outside of the budget (they can cost anywhere from $2500-$6000 plus), it made sense to go the DIY route. A quick internet search revealed these DIY options to choose from, from least expensive to most expensive:

  1. Build the cabinet from scratch and make your own lifting mechanism/hardware.
  2. Build the cabinet from scratch and use a Murphy bed hardware kit.
  3. Assemble a pre-cut cabinet and use a Murphy bed hardware kit.

I went with option 2 mainly because:

  1. It fit the budget while allowing the use of higher quality materials (plywood vs particle board) 
  2. It also allowed for customization of the look of the cabinet.
  3. Buying a hardware kit would save time on having to figure out a design, getting parts, etc..

Having settled on option 2, next I had to decide how to put the cabinet together. There’s a few different assembly methods to choose from:

  1. Dowels and glue
  2. Pocket screws and glue
  3. Brackets and screws

Since this Murphy bed would need to be dismantled in order to be moved, options 1 and 2 didn’t make sense because the cabinet would be one solid piece of furniture.  I also have limited tools to work with, and no workshop, so I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, which was option 3.

After looking at all the available options out there for hardware kits, I chose this DIY panel bed Murphy bed hardware kit from murphybeddepot.com – I liked that it came with the cabinet design already laid out, including a cut list of all the components, and that there was the option of buying the hardware kit that included all the brackets and screws needed to assemble the cabinet. The cost for the Murphy bed hardware and the hardware kit to put together the cabinet is $435 (excluding taxes) and since this option involves building a cabinet,  3 sheets of plywood were also needed for that (around $150 for premium birch plywood). There’s lots of other supplies and tools involved but more on that later.

When I received the hardware kit, I read the “how-to” instructions for building the Murphy Bed which listed the following 8 steps:

  1. Prepare all wood or laminate components
  2. Mount lift mechanism
  3. Install springs in lift mechanism
  4. Assemble the bed cabinet
  5. Attach bed cabinet to the wall
  6. Assemble steel bed frame to bed face panels
  7. Install the bed face panel in cabinet
  8. Install handles, leg assembly, mechanism covers, mattress

Turns out that every step breaks down into many smaller steps, each with its own set of  considerations and challenges. Take step 1 for example. It sounds simple enough, but this took way longer than expected and involved some creative solutions to work around not having a workshop, having limited tools and building in a tiny space. It’s challenging but it is totally doable as you’ll see!

Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 9.09.13 AMSo if you’re thinking of building your own Murphy bed or are just curious as to what’s involved in a project like this, subscribe to my newsletter here so you don’t miss any of the posts in this “Building a Murphy bed series”. The next post will be all about step 1: preparing the wood components for the cabinet – stay tuned!

 

If you’ve been reading my newsletter and following me on Instagram, you know that I’ve undertaken a new big/small project, transforming a tiny 200 ft2 rental studio apartment into what I call a “nimble” home: a home that reflects the unique personality of its occupant, that easily adapts to change and has everything needed: a place for sleeping, hanging out and relaxing with friends, cooking, eating and working.

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 5.32.48 PM

One of the main requirements for the design of this home was to have a sofa for relaxing and to also have a queen sized bed for sleeping. Given the size of the main living area, a mere 144 ft2, and the standard 8 ft ceiling, it quickly became apparent that a sofa Murphy bed like this one was the best solution for the space. 

Screen Shot 2019-03-18 at 5.35.18 PM

Since buying a ready made sofa Murphy bed was outside of the budget (they can cost anywhere from $2500-$6000 plus), it made sense to go the DIY route. A quick internet search revealed these DIY options to choose from, from least expensive to most expensive:

  1. Build the cabinet from scratch and make your own lifting mechanism/hardware.
  2. Build the cabinet from scratch and use a Murphy bed hardware kit.
  3. Assemble a pre-cut cabinet and use a Murphy bed hardware kit.

I went with option 2 mainly because:

  1. It fit the budget while allowing the use of higher quality materials (plywood vs particle board) 
  2. It also allowed for customization of the look of the cabinet.
  3. Buying a hardware kit would save time on having to figure out a design, getting parts, etc..

Having settled on option 2, next I had to decide how to put the cabinet together. There’s a few different assembly methods to choose from:

  1. Dowels and glue
  2. Pocket screws and glue
  3. Brackets and screws

Since this Murphy bed would need to be dismantled in order to be moved, options 1 and 2 didn’t make sense because the cabinet would be one solid piece of furniture.  I also have limited tools to work with, and no workshop, so I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, which was option 3.

After looking at all the available options out there for hardware kits, I chose this DIY panel bed Murphy bed hardware kit from murphybeddepot.com – I liked that it came with the cabinet design already laid out, including a cut list of all the components, and that there was the option of buying the hardware kit that included all the brackets and screws needed to assemble the cabinet. The cost for the Murphy bed hardware and the hardware kit to put together the cabinet is $435 (excluding taxes) and since this option involves building a cabinet,  3 sheets of plywood were also needed for that (around $150 for premium birch plywood). There’s lots of other supplies and tools involved but more on that later.

When I received the hardware kit, I read the “how-to” instructions for building the Murphy Bed which listed the following 8 steps:

  1. Prepare all wood or laminate components
  2. Mount lift mechanism
  3. Install springs in lift mechanism
  4. Assemble the bed cabinet
  5. Attach bed cabinet to the wall
  6. Assemble steel bed frame to bed face panels
  7. Install the bed face panel in cabinet
  8. Install handles, leg assembly, mechanism covers, mattress

Turns out that every step breaks down into many smaller steps, each with its own set of  considerations and challenges. Take step 1 for example. It sounds simple enough, but this took way longer than expected and involved some creative solutions to work around not having a workshop, having limited tools and building in a tiny space. It’s challenging but it is totally doable as you’ll see!

Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 9.09.13 AMSo if you’re thinking of building your own Murphy bed or are just curious as to what’s involved in a project like this, subscribe to my newsletter here so you don’t miss any of the posts in this “Building a Murphy bed series”. The next post will be all about step 1: preparing the wood components for the cabinet – stay tuned!

#Engineeryourspace Inspired Spotlight: IKEA bookcase Dividing Wall

I love it when people share the projects they’ve made that are inspired by watching my videos or reading my blog. It’s truly amazing to see all that you’ve created and today is the first of my #engineeryourspace Inspired Spotlight. Every month, I’ll feature a project that one of you has made and also share the story behind it. For this first spotlight, I’m sharing a project that’s been inspired by one of my favorite things I did to my LA apartment: my IKEA bookcase Dividing wall.

Finished-office-with-dividing-wall-updated

I love this project because it truly made my one bedroom apartment more functional by giving me a separate home office in my living room, something that’s very important to me since I work from home. Lisa also needed to create a separate home office in her living room and after watching my video, she designed and built her own version of my project. Doesn’t it look amazing?! Love her design for the top section.

Bookcase-dividing-Wall-Beadboard-3

She used 2 white bookcases from IKEA and instead of using 1/4″ plywood that’s painted and wallpapered like I did,  she used white beadboard paneling on the back – definitely a quicker way to go and also very classic. 

Bookcase-dividing-Wall-Beadboard-1

The dividing wall creates a separation from the entryway one side while creating a distinct office area in her living room, with her desk facing the main view of the apartment, the balcony. 

Thanks Lisa for sharing your project with us and if you want to see more #engineeryourspace inspired projects, check out my Pinterest board here. And if you made something inspired by my projects, and want to be featured, please share them with me by sending me pics along with a brief description via DM on Instagram or at info@engineeryourspace.com. Look forward to seeing what you’ve created!

 

 

I love it when people share the projects they’ve made that are inspired by watching my videos or reading my blog. It’s truly amazing to see all that you’ve created and today is the first of my #engineeryourspace Inspired Spotlight. Every month, I’ll feature a project that one of you has made and also share the story behind it. For this first spotlight, I’m sharing a project that’s been inspired by one of my favorite things I did to my LA apartment: my IKEA bookcase Dividing wall.

Finished-office-with-dividing-wall-updated

I love this project because it truly made my one bedroom apartment more functional by giving me a separate home office in my living room, something that’s very important to me since I work from home. Lisa also needed to create a separate home office in her living room and after watching my video, she designed and built her own version of my project. Doesn’t it look amazing?! Love her design for the top section.

Bookcase-dividing-Wall-Beadboard-3

She used 2 white bookcases from IKEA and instead of using 1/4″ plywood that’s painted and wallpapered like I did,  she used white beadboard paneling on the back – definitely a quicker way to go and also very classic. 

Bookcase-dividing-Wall-Beadboard-1

The dividing wall creates a separation from the entryway one side while creating a distinct office area in her living room, with her desk facing the main view of the apartment, the balcony. 

Thanks Lisa for sharing your project with us and if you want to see more #engineeryourspace inspired projects, check out my Pinterest board here. And if you made something inspired by my projects, and want to be featured, please share them with me by sending me pics along with a brief description via DM on Instagram or at info@engineeryourspace.com. Look forward to seeing what you’ve created!

 

 

DIY Christmas Decor Ideas: Handmade Stocking Holder

As some of you may remember, I completely transformed my living room at the beginning of the year by building a faux fireplace, complete with a faux fireplace insert. I’ve been enjoying it every since and now I finally get to decorate it for the holidays! I love hanging stockings on the mantel and thought it would be fun to make my own DIY Christmas stocking holder with stuff I had around the apartment: a styrofoam ball, fur and some scrap wood. I wasn’t sure how it would all turn out but it all came together and I absolutely love it!

Fireplace-mantel-stocking-holder-wide-view

For the base, I used a scrap board of 2” x 3” that I had left over from another project. I covered the ends with iron on wood edging to make them smoother and sanded everything.

Christmas-Stocking-Holder-sanding-the-wood-base

Since I had some white outdoor stain on hand, I used that to finish and protect the wood.

Christmas-Stocking-Holder-painting-the-wood-base

To spell out JOY, I bought the J and the Y from the craft store for about $2 each (on sale) which I painted with some acrylic metallic paint (champagne gold).

Christmas-Stocking-Holder-painting-letters

Since I already had a styrofoam ball and left over fur from my furry ottoman project, I thought it would be fun to make a fur ball for the “O”. 

Christmas-Stocking-Holder-ball-and-fur

I cut strips of the fur and glued sections onto the styrofoam (I used all purpose white glue), overlapping the seams a bit. I experimented with a few different shapes but in the end I just cut small pieces and carefully overlapped the seams to create a seamless look.  It was a bit messy but in the end I was able to cover up the entire ball.

Christmas-Stocking-Holder-cutting-and-gluing-fur

Christmas-Stocking-Holder-gluing-fur

The ball did have one rough spot but I covered it up with a lid from a candle that I had on hand (I used a glue gun to glue it in place). It provides a nice flat surface to secure the ball to the piece of wood.

Christmas-Stocking-Holder-Gluing-cap-on-fur-ball

Christmas-Stocking-Holder-putting-on-base-of-fur-ball

I used removable double sided tape to secure the ball and the letters to the wood base – this way it will be easy for me to change things up next year and do something else to decorate my stocking holder.

Christmas-Stocking-Holder-putting-on-double-sided-tape

Before attaching the letters and the fur ball, I screwed on 2 white hooks that I had on hand. I chose knit stockings that also had fur to keep the fur ball company and I’m in love with how the whole thing turned out! I added some twinkle lights and the wreath I got from Target. 

Fireplace-mantel-Christmas-Stocking-holder-front

The only downside to this project is that the stockings can’t be filled with heavy things as the stocking holder isn’t weighted. You could add some more removable double sided tape to the bottom to keep it in place or you could also drill holes and add fender washers to add some weight. But other than that, I’m happy I decided to make use of that ball and fur –  I had no idea how much joy a fur ball could bring me haha! 

Fireplace-mantel-for-Christmas-side-view

As some of you may remember, I completely transformed my living room at the beginning of the year by building a faux fireplace, complete with a faux fireplace insert. I’ve been enjoying it every since and now I finally get to decorate it for the holidays! I love hanging stockings on the mantel and thought it would be fun to make my own DIY Christmas stocking holder with stuff I had around the apartment: a styrofoam ball, fur and some scrap wood. I wasn’t sure how it would all turn out but it all came together and I absolutely love it!

Fireplace-mantel-stocking-holder-wide-view

For the base, I used a scrap board of 2” x 3” that I had left over from another project. I covered the ends with iron on wood edging to make them smoother and sanded everything.

Christmas-Stocking-Holder-sanding-the-wood-base

Since I had some white outdoor stain on hand, I used that to finish and protect the wood.

Christmas-Stocking-Holder-painting-the-wood-base

To spell out JOY, I bought the J and the Y from the craft store for about $2 each (on sale) which I painted with some acrylic metallic paint (champagne gold).

Christmas-Stocking-Holder-painting-letters

Since I already had a styrofoam ball and left over fur from my furry ottoman project, I thought it would be fun to make a fur ball for the “O”. 

Christmas-Stocking-Holder-ball-and-fur

I cut strips of the fur and glued sections onto the styrofoam (I used all purpose white glue), overlapping the seams a bit. I experimented with a few different shapes but in the end I just cut small pieces and carefully overlapped the seams to create a seamless look.  It was a bit messy but in the end I was able to cover up the entire ball.

Christmas-Stocking-Holder-cutting-and-gluing-fur

Christmas-Stocking-Holder-gluing-fur

The ball did have one rough spot but I covered it up with a lid from a candle that I had on hand (I used a glue gun to glue it in place). It provides a nice flat surface to secure the ball to the piece of wood.

Christmas-Stocking-Holder-Gluing-cap-on-fur-ball

Christmas-Stocking-Holder-putting-on-base-of-fur-ball

I used removable double sided tape to secure the ball and the letters to the wood base – this way it will be easy for me to change things up next year and do something else to decorate my stocking holder.

Christmas-Stocking-Holder-putting-on-double-sided-tape

Before attaching the letters and the fur ball, I screwed on 2 white hooks that I had on hand. I chose knit stockings that also had fur to keep the fur ball company and I’m in love with how the whole thing turned out! I added some twinkle lights and the wreath I got from Target. 

Fireplace-mantel-Christmas-Stocking-holder-front

The only downside to this project is that the stockings can’t be filled with heavy things as the stocking holder isn’t weighted. You could add some more removable double sided tape to the bottom to keep it in place or you could also drill holes and add fender washers to add some weight. But other than that, I’m happy I decided to make use of that ball and fur –  I had no idea how much joy a fur ball could bring me haha! 

Fireplace-mantel-for-Christmas-side-view

How to add color to a kitchen with a DIY window valence

Sometimes you have to get creative to add color when you’re a renter. When I was working on a rental kitchen makeover for some friends, I wanted to add a colorful window treatment to coordinate with the temporary peel and stick tile backsplash. I didn’t want to go with curtains because they tend to get dirty very quickly with all the cooking happening, so instead, I opted for a different take on the traditional window valance.

Wood-valance-installing-it-over-cabinets-square

I made it with inexpensive furring strips (1″x 2″) and 1″ x 6″ pine boards. First, I screwed a 1″ x 2″ to both sides of the 1″ x 6″ board. It’s a good idea to drill pilot hole prior to doing this – it helps prevent the wood from splitting and it also helps to ensure that the screws go in straight. Then I attached another 1″ x 2″ at the top and bottom, making sure to not hit the screws I just put in. This gave me the right height I was looking for, about 1 foot, but you can easily add more boards to make it higher.  

Wood-valance-step-1

The next step was to add 1″ x2″ perpendicular to the ends. Here it also helps to drill pilot holes.

Wood-valance-step-2

Because this is a rental home, I wanted to avoid making holes in the walls to install the window valance, so I attached L-brackets on the sides.  The brackets will rest on top of the kitchen cabinets and by installing them slightly lower than the middle point, the top valance will rest higher than the top of the cabinets to add more visual interest.  

Wood-valance-step-3

To finish the valance, I chose to paint it in a color that matched the dark blue in the peel and stick tiles. To get the right color, I took the tile to the hardware store to have them match the color –  it’s not exactly the same but it’s very close and looks great with the tile.

Wood-valance-step-5-paint-color-matched-to-tiles

The last step was to install the valance – I slid it between the cabinets and for added security I used screws to secure it to the top of the kitchen cabinets, a location that is very discreet and won’t be seen. 

Wood-valance-step-4-securing-bracket

The window valance instantly dressed up the window and the rustic look coordinated nicely with the vintage peel and stick tiles

Wood-window-valance-before-and-after

You can see the entire makeover in the video below – it’s all temporary and easily removable, perfect when you rent or if you are afraid of commiting to particular look!

 

Sometimes you have to get creative to add color when you’re a renter. When I was working on a rental kitchen makeover for some friends, I wanted to add a colorful window treatment to coordinate with the temporary peel and stick tile backsplash. I didn’t want to go with curtains because they tend to get dirty very quickly with all the cooking happening, so instead, I opted for a different take on the traditional window valance.

Wood-valance-installing-it-over-cabinets-square

I made it with inexpensive furring strips (1″x 2″) and 1″ x 6″ pine boards. First, I screwed a 1″ x 2″ to both sides of the 1″ x 6″ board. It’s a good idea to drill pilot hole prior to doing this – it helps prevent the wood from splitting and it also helps to ensure that the screws go in straight. Then I attached another 1″ x 2″ at the top and bottom, making sure to not hit the screws I just put in. This gave me the right height I was looking for, about 1 foot, but you can easily add more boards to make it higher.  

Wood-valance-step-1

The next step was to add 1″ x2″ perpendicular to the ends. Here it also helps to drill pilot holes.

Wood-valance-step-2

Because this is a rental home, I wanted to avoid making holes in the walls to install the window valance, so I attached L-brackets on the sides.  The brackets will rest on top of the kitchen cabinets and by installing them slightly lower than the middle point, the top valance will rest higher than the top of the cabinets to add more visual interest.  

Wood-valance-step-3

To finish the valance, I chose to paint it in a color that matched the dark blue in the peel and stick tiles. To get the right color, I took the tile to the hardware store to have them match the color –  it’s not exactly the same but it’s very close and looks great with the tile.

Wood-valance-step-5-paint-color-matched-to-tiles

The last step was to install the valance – I slid it between the cabinets and for added security I used screws to secure it to the top of the kitchen cabinets, a location that is very discreet and won’t be seen. 

Wood-valance-step-4-securing-bracket

The window valance instantly dressed up the window and the rustic look coordinated nicely with the vintage peel and stick tiles

Wood-window-valance-before-and-after

You can see the entire makeover in the video below – it’s all temporary and easily removable, perfect when you rent or if you are afraid of commiting to particular look!

 

Product Review: WORX Hydroshot Power Cleaner

When I was first approached to try out the WORX Hydroshot Power Cleaner, I wasn’t sure I could use it because I live in an apartment and don’t have access to a garden hose faucet. But when I realized that all I needed was a bucket of water to make it work (or any other water source), I was excited to try it out.

WORC-Hydroshot-Power-Cleaner

Everything on my balcony gets very dusty, very fast, so I had the perfect testing ground to see how well the Hydroshot Power cleaner works. Setting it up was very easy – I filled a bucket with water, placed the filtered end of the hose in the water and then snapped the other end of the hose onto the power cleaner.

Hydroshot-snapping-on-hose

I cleaned the floors first and I was very impressed with how well it removed the dust that had been collecting for a while. I had read some negative reviews online saying that the water pressure wasn’t high enough. There’s actually 2 water pressure setting that can be selected by pressing a button – I used the high pressure setting which is 320 psi and I can say that the pressure was more than enough to remove the type of dirt I had on my balcony. The lower pressure setting is meant more for watering plants.

Full-body-with-bucket-powerwasher-vertical

It was very satisfying to see all the grime come off the balcony ledge and my white furniture.

cleaning-the-top-of-the-walls

I also used it to clean my patio door window and screen – so much fun! Loved seeing all that dirt come off!

washing-window-and-screen

Screen-dirt-washed-off

There’s many accessories that come with the Hydroshot to make washing different things easier, and there’s also a squeegee adapter which is perfect to wipe everything dry, including the windows. I don’t think my windows have ever been this clean since I’ve moved here, despite me trying to wash them many times before.

Squeegee-the-window

The Hydroshot is very light so it was easy for me to handle and wash every part of my balcony, including the lattice panels – I hadn’t been able to clean those easily before but now I will actually enjoy cleaning them!

Washing-the-lattice-panels

I had so much fun using the power cleaner – it’s truly perfect for those of us that live in apartments. It’s compact to store and even if you don’t have a balcony, you can use it anywhere, even to wash your car. All you need is a bucket of water! If you want to order one, you can get 15% off coupon by using the coupon code HYDROEYS on the WORX website. Hope you give it a try and enjoy it as much as I do!

*** this post is sponsored by WORX but all thoughts and opinions are my own ***

When I was first approached to try out the WORX Hydroshot Power Cleaner, I wasn’t sure I could use it because I live in an apartment and don’t have access to a garden hose faucet. But when I realized that all I needed was a bucket of water to make it work (or any other water source), I was excited to try it out.

WORC-Hydroshot-Power-Cleaner

Everything on my balcony gets very dusty, very fast, so I had the perfect testing ground to see how well the Hydroshot Power cleaner works. Setting it up was very easy – I filled a bucket with water, placed the filtered end of the hose in the water and then snapped the other end of the hose onto the power cleaner.

Hydroshot-snapping-on-hose

I cleaned the floors first and I was very impressed with how well it removed the dust that had been collecting for a while. I had read some negative reviews online saying that the water pressure wasn’t high enough. There’s actually 2 water pressure setting that can be selected by pressing a button – I used the high pressure setting which is 320 psi and I can say that the pressure was more than enough to remove the type of dirt I had on my balcony. The lower pressure setting is meant more for watering plants.

Full-body-with-bucket-powerwasher-vertical

It was very satisfying to see all the grime come off the balcony ledge and my white furniture.

cleaning-the-top-of-the-walls

I also used it to clean my patio door window and screen – so much fun! Loved seeing all that dirt come off!

washing-window-and-screen

Screen-dirt-washed-off

There’s many accessories that come with the Hydroshot to make washing different things easier, and there’s also a squeegee adapter which is perfect to wipe everything dry, including the windows. I don’t think my windows have ever been this clean since I’ve moved here, despite me trying to wash them many times before.

Squeegee-the-window

The Hydroshot is very light so it was easy for me to handle and wash every part of my balcony, including the lattice panels – I hadn’t been able to clean those easily before but now I will actually enjoy cleaning them!

Washing-the-lattice-panels

I had so much fun using the power cleaner – it’s truly perfect for those of us that live in apartments. It’s compact to store and even if you don’t have a balcony, you can use it anywhere, even to wash your car. All you need is a bucket of water! If you want to order one, you can get 15% off coupon by using the coupon code HYDROEYS on the WORX website. Hope you give it a try and enjoy it as much as I do!

*** this post is sponsored by WORX but all thoughts and opinions are my own ***

Recycled DIY Wall Art

When I was giving my balcony a makeover, I wanted to reuse what I had as much as possible. I loved the wood tile I had hung on the lattice panels when I originally decorated my balcony but with the new design, I felt it just wasn’t big enough. So to make is more substantial, I recycled materials I already had on hand to create the perfect wall hanging.

Higher-view-of-wall-art

I have a lot of scrap wood left over from other projects, so I rummaged around to see if there was something I could use to create a backdrop for the wood tile, and I came across this square piece of plywood that was the perfect size. I wanted my wall art to look softer and blend in with the white lattice panels so  I decided to staple a piece of canvas drop cloth to the plywood.

attaching-canvas-cloth-to-plywood

To soften the look even more, I applied a white wash over it, which I made by mixing water with white solid weatherproofing stain from BEHR. 

Whitwashing

Since this will be outside, I wanted to be sure it would be sealed, so after the white wash treatment dried, I added a couple of coats of Mod Podge all over the canvas and I also used the weatherproofing stain to seal the back of the plywood.

Putting-on-mod-podge

I didn’t like how dark the wood tile was so I also white washed it so it would be the same tone and color as the drop cloth.

Tile-whitewashed

Then all that was left to do is hang the tile on the plywood covered with canvas (I just used a nail and hung the tile on it). I also added picture hanging hardware on the back and hung it on the lattice panels with wire. Easy! 

Balcony-full-view-square

I love it when I’m able to reuse and recycle things that I had on hand to create something new and beautiful: saves things from ending up in the landfills and it saves money too. Win, win!

When I was giving my balcony a makeover, I wanted to reuse what I had as much as possible. I loved the wood tile I had hung on the lattice panels when I originally decorated my balcony but with the new design, I felt it just wasn’t big enough. So to make is more substantial, I recycled materials I already had on hand to create the perfect wall hanging.

Higher-view-of-wall-art

I have a lot of scrap wood left over from other projects, so I rummaged around to see if there was something I could use to create a backdrop for the wood tile, and I came across this square piece of plywood that was the perfect size. I wanted my wall art to look softer and blend in with the white lattice panels so  I decided to staple a piece of canvas drop cloth to the plywood.

attaching-canvas-cloth-to-plywood

To soften the look even more, I applied a white wash over it, which I made by mixing water with white solid weatherproofing stain from BEHR. 

Whitwashing

Since this will be outside, I wanted to be sure it would be sealed, so after the white wash treatment dried, I added a couple of coats of Mod Podge all over the canvas and I also used the weatherproofing stain to seal the back of the plywood.

Putting-on-mod-podge

I didn’t like how dark the wood tile was so I also white washed it so it would be the same tone and color as the drop cloth.

Tile-whitewashed

Then all that was left to do is hang the tile on the plywood covered with canvas (I just used a nail and hung the tile on it). I also added picture hanging hardware on the back and hung it on the lattice panels with wire. Easy! 

Balcony-full-view-square

I love it when I’m able to reuse and recycle things that I had on hand to create something new and beautiful: saves things from ending up in the landfills and it saves money too. Win, win!

Home office ideas: whiteboards

I’ve been working from home for a few years now and one of the things I love to use to brainstorm ideas is a whiteboard. When I lived in my NYC studio apartment, I used a removable Whiteboard Sticker .

NYC-home-office-white-board

I liked that the sticker was flush to the wall and that I could easily hide it with a picture frame – this was important to me because my office was in the main living area and I didn’t like looking at all my work stuff when I wasn’t working! It worked well enough at first but because it picked up the texture of the wall, over time it became difficult to get it clean. I was also disappointed that I couldn’t reuse it again when I moved – after removing it from the wall when I made the move to LA, the back wasn’t sticky anymore so I had to throw it out. 

NYC-home-office-picture-covered-white-board

I always meant to buy a new whiteboard when I set up my home office in LA but just never got around to it. So when the folks at Bootstrap Boards offered to send me one of their whiteboards to try, I was excited to test it out! They come in large frameless boards of 8ft x 4ft and in smaller mini boards that are 18″ x 24″. Since I don’t have a big office, I went with the mini whiteboard. 

bootstrap-whiteboards-unboxing

Each whiteboard comes with everything you need to install it and to use it. The boards come with double sided stickers pre-installed on the back so it’s easy to hang them without any tools. There’s also an option to use eye screws and since I’m a renter and didn’t want to risk damaging my walls with the stickers, that’s what I used – there’s no need for any tools to put them in and then it’s just a matter of hanging the board like a picture frame. 

installing-eye-screws

I like that it doesn’t have a frame – it blends in more seamlessly with the wall and it also makes it possible to put 2 boards next to each other to create a work larger surface. It’s also magnetic so they can double as a pin board and both the wipe and the whiteboard pen have magnets so they can be stored right on the board which is very convenient.

bootstrap-whiteboard-clean

I’m really happy with this new addition to my home office, it fits right in and the smooth surface is way nicer to work with than than the wall sticker I had before. If you’re interested in giving these whiteboards a try, you can buy them on Amazon and I’m happy to say that that folks at Bootstrap Boards are offering a 10% discount to my followers with this exclusive coupon code – YOURSPA18 

Bootstrap-whiteboard-with-coupon-code-

Let me know if you end up trying them out and what you think!

*** This post was sponsored by Bootstrap Boards –  all thoughts and opinions are my own ***

 

I’ve been working from home for a few years now and one of the things I love to use to brainstorm ideas is a whiteboard. When I lived in my NYC studio apartment, I used a removable Whiteboard Sticker .

NYC-home-office-white-board

I liked that the sticker was flush to the wall and that I could easily hide it with a picture frame – this was important to me because my office was in the main living area and I didn’t like looking at all my work stuff when I wasn’t working! It worked well enough at first but because it picked up the texture of the wall, over time it became difficult to get it clean. I was also disappointed that I couldn’t reuse it again when I moved – after removing it from the wall when I made the move to LA, the back wasn’t sticky anymore so I had to throw it out. 

NYC-home-office-picture-covered-white-board

I always meant to buy a new whiteboard when I set up my home office in LA but just never got around to it. So when the folks at Bootstrap Boards offered to send me one of their whiteboards to try, I was excited to test it out! They come in large frameless boards of 8ft x 4ft and in smaller mini boards that are 18″ x 24″. Since I don’t have a big office, I went with the mini whiteboard. 

bootstrap-whiteboards-unboxing

Each whiteboard comes with everything you need to install it and to use it. The boards come with double sided stickers pre-installed on the back so it’s easy to hang them without any tools. There’s also an option to use eye screws and since I’m a renter and didn’t want to risk damaging my walls with the stickers, that’s what I used – there’s no need for any tools to put them in and then it’s just a matter of hanging the board like a picture frame. 

installing-eye-screws

I like that it doesn’t have a frame – it blends in more seamlessly with the wall and it also makes it possible to put 2 boards next to each other to create a work larger surface. It’s also magnetic so they can double as a pin board and both the wipe and the whiteboard pen have magnets so they can be stored right on the board which is very convenient.

bootstrap-whiteboard-clean

I’m really happy with this new addition to my home office, it fits right in and the smooth surface is way nicer to work with than than the wall sticker I had before. If you’re interested in giving these whiteboards a try, you can buy them on Amazon and I’m happy to say that that folks at Bootstrap Boards are offering a 10% discount to my followers with this exclusive coupon code – YOURSPA18 

Bootstrap-whiteboard-with-coupon-code-

Let me know if you end up trying them out and what you think!

*** This post was sponsored by Bootstrap Boards –  all thoughts and opinions are my own ***

 

Quick and easy DIY present idea for Mother’s Day

I love making gifts instead of buying them and with Mother’s Day right around the corner, I wanted to make something simple but special for my mom. 

Decorative-tray-DIY

I got the idea for this project when I spotted these plain Jane wood trays at JoANN’s – they are a nice size ( 14″ x 11″ x 2.5″) and cost only $8 (and by using a coupon, I ended up paying just $5).  

Plain-tray

I had this gorgeous handmade and hand painted paper from another project and I had just enough to cover the bottom of the tray. I got this paper at World Market and though I don’t think they have this specific design anymore, they do have lots of other beautiful papers to choose from.

Screen-Shot-2017-04-18-at-10.34.35-AM

I started by staining the the sides of the tray in a couple of coats of a semi-transparent exterior wood stain in a dark brown color (I had this left over from another project as well – it’s from Behr and is in a color called coffee and a sample 8 oz size is more than enough to do this project). 

Tray-with-stain-only

I taped the sides of the tray to protect the sides with painter’s tape and covered the bottom of the tray with a coat of Mod Podge (satin finish), placed the paper on top and then sealed it with 2-3 coats of Mod Podge.

Tray-with-paper-and-tape-around-it

I let that dry and then removed the tape – since I didn’t cut the paper exactly to fit inside the tray, I had to use a utility knife to cut off the excess material along the edges.

Tray---Trimming-off-excess-material

To coordinate with the old gold tones in the paper, I finished the edges of the tray with a gold sharpie – I love these metallic sharpie pens so much! So much easier to work with than paint and they come in many different tones, like silver and copper. 

Tray-putting-on-gold-sharpie

This was such a simple project that I ended up buying a few more of those trays and I plan to personalize them to give as gifts to friends. I think they make the perfect gift: pretty & useful (who can’t use a cute tray around the house?!). But this one is going to my mom, hope she likes it!

Finished-tray-with-card

 

I love making gifts instead of buying them and with Mother’s Day right around the corner, I wanted to make something simple but special for my mom. 

Decorative-tray-DIY

I got the idea for this project when I spotted these plain Jane wood trays at JoANN’s – they are a nice size ( 14″ x 11″ x 2.5″) and cost only $8 (and by using a coupon, I ended up paying just $5).  

Plain-tray

I had this gorgeous handmade and hand painted paper from another project and I had just enough to cover the bottom of the tray. I got this paper at World Market and though I don’t think they have this specific design anymore, they do have lots of other beautiful papers to choose from.

Screen-Shot-2017-04-18-at-10.34.35-AM

I started by staining the the sides of the tray in a couple of coats of a semi-transparent exterior wood stain in a dark brown color (I had this left over from another project as well – it’s from Behr and is in a color called coffee and a sample 8 oz size is more than enough to do this project). 

Tray-with-stain-only

I taped the sides of the tray to protect the sides with painter’s tape and covered the bottom of the tray with a coat of Mod Podge (satin finish), placed the paper on top and then sealed it with 2-3 coats of Mod Podge.

Tray-with-paper-and-tape-around-it

I let that dry and then removed the tape – since I didn’t cut the paper exactly to fit inside the tray, I had to use a utility knife to cut off the excess material along the edges.

Tray---Trimming-off-excess-material

To coordinate with the old gold tones in the paper, I finished the edges of the tray with a gold sharpie – I love these metallic sharpie pens so much! So much easier to work with than paint and they come in many different tones, like silver and copper. 

Tray-putting-on-gold-sharpie

This was such a simple project that I ended up buying a few more of those trays and I plan to personalize them to give as gifts to friends. I think they make the perfect gift: pretty & useful (who can’t use a cute tray around the house?!). But this one is going to my mom, hope she likes it!

Finished-tray-with-card

 

How to hang curtains to conceal vertical blinds

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know how much I dislike vertical blind and how I’m always looking for ways to get rid of them or camouflage them. However when you live in a rental apartment or in a condo where you’re not allowed to remove them, it can get a bit tricky, especially if you can’t drill holes in the walls to hang a curtain rod. So when I came across these nono brackets on Amazon, I had to give them a try.

outside mount nono bracket

The brackets slide onto the existing vertical blind track, so if you have a plastic valance that covers the track, you will need to take that off first.

Taking-off-the-valance

Then you slide the brackets onto the track, adjust the bottom piece so it fits tightly against the track and then you tighten the screw on top. Since this particular track is very close to the ceiling, I ended up using an offset screwdriver to do this. 

No-No-bracket-outside-mount-on-track

The curtain rod is then placed on the brackets. It’s that simple and there’s no need to make any holes in the walls! 

putting-on-curtain-rod

The curtain rod held up well without a third bracket in the middle but I used very light weight curtains so if you’re planning on hanging heavy drapes, I would definitely recommend using 3 nono brackets

Putting-on-curtain-wide-view

Hanging curtains completely transformed the look of this bedroom, and it literally took just a few minutes. Plus hanging the curtains had the added bonus of hiding the A/C unit when not being used and brining in lots of color in an otherwise very white and boring room. 

Krystina's bedroom before and after front view

Hope this was helpful and I’m looking forward to seeing your window transformations!

And FYI, the curtains were just one thing I did in this bedroom makeover – I also revamped a bookcase for more storage, installed a hanging jewelry box and I also made a DIY makeup organizer. You can see all the projects I did in this video:

 

 

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know how much I dislike vertical blind and how I’m always looking for ways to get rid of them or camouflage them. However when you live in a rental apartment or in a condo where you’re not allowed to remove them, it can get a bit tricky, especially if you can’t drill holes in the walls to hang a curtain rod. So when I came across these nono brackets on Amazon, I had to give them a try.

outside mount nono bracket

The brackets slide onto the existing vertical blind track, so if you have a plastic valance that covers the track, you will need to take that off first.

Taking-off-the-valance

Then you slide the brackets onto the track, adjust the bottom piece so it fits tightly against the track and then you tighten the screw on top. Since this particular track is very close to the ceiling, I ended up using an offset screwdriver to do this. 

No-No-bracket-outside-mount-on-track

The curtain rod is then placed on the brackets. It’s that simple and there’s no need to make any holes in the walls! 

putting-on-curtain-rod

The curtain rod held up well without a third bracket in the middle but I used very light weight curtains so if you’re planning on hanging heavy drapes, I would definitely recommend using 3 nono brackets

Putting-on-curtain-wide-view

Hanging curtains completely transformed the look of this bedroom, and it literally took just a few minutes. Plus hanging the curtains had the added bonus of hiding the A/C unit when not being used and brining in lots of color in an otherwise very white and boring room. 

Krystina's bedroom before and after front view

Hope this was helpful and I’m looking forward to seeing your window transformations!

And FYI, the curtains were just one thing I did in this bedroom makeover – I also revamped a bookcase for more storage, installed a hanging jewelry box and I also made a DIY makeup organizer. You can see all the projects I did in this video:

 

 

My Top 10 favorite Christmas Tree ideas for small spaces

 I’ve always lived in small apartments so when it comes to decorating for Christmas, I’ve tended to not have a traditional Christmas tree because they take up a lot of floor space.  So I thought I would round up my favorite ideas I’ve seen on the web for Christmas trees that you can either hang on a wall or from a ceiling and don’t take that precious floor space.
 
This one is made with pallet wood which gives it its rustic charm. Though you could saw all the boards you need for this project by hand, a circular saw is definitely handy to cut all the wood, especially to get the right angle.
 
DIY_Huntress_Pallet_Wood_Christmas_Tree-3
DIY Pallet wood Christmas Tree by blogger: DIY Huntress
Image credit: DIY Huntress
 
This next version of a wood Christmas tree is also made with pallet wood but is simpler in that you don’t need to cut the wood at an angle. And I love the paint treatment with the snow flakes – adds a bit of whimsy to the design!
 
diy-wood-pallet-christmas-tree-tutorial-1333x2000
 

DIY wood pallet Christmas Tree by blogger: Vintage News Junkie
Image credit: Vintage News Junkie
 
This is a different take on a wood Christmas tree – I love the 3 dimensional design and the irregular outline, which is more like a real tree. This design does also require making different angled cuts with different lengths so it’s a bit more involved than making straight cuts like the previous design. 
 
Ryobi-Rustic-Christmas-Tree-3-572x1024
Rustic Christmas Tree by blogger: Her Tool Belt
Image credit: Her Tool Belt 
 
I’ve made a few decorations with driftwood and I love the look so I immediately fell in love with this wall mounted Christmas tree made with driftwood and rope. The building process is very simple and doesn’t require any tools, which is nice, and the space between the pieces makes it easy to hang lights and decorations.
 arbol de navidad con palos lalole stick christmas tree 1
Driftwood Christmas tree by blogger LALOLEBLOG.
(Image credit:LALOLEBLOG)
 
If you want more color for your tree, this one is a great option, plus it reuses something that would potentially end up in the landfill: an old screen. You could make many different sizes and get really creative with how you want it to look by choosing different types of ornaments.
 
ORNTREE3
Ornaments hanging from a screen by blogger Into Vintage.
(Image credit: Into Vintage)
 

For a more realistic looking tree, this version of a wall mounted tree uses pine garlands and glue dots tabs to recreate a tree hung directly on a wall. I’ve done this 2 years in a row and everyone that sees comments how real it looks! And since the tabs won’t leave any marks on the walls , it’s also great if you rent.

Christmas-Tree-Finished-side-view-daytime_edited-1

 

This next idea is such a simple way of using pallets – no need to remove all the boards, cut them, reassemble, etc.! I love the rustic look with the lights and decorations. I couldn’t find the original source for this project so if anyone knows who made this, please let me know in the comments!

wall-mounted-xmas-tree-unknown-source

 

This next design, “Pines in line”, is from Domino and it’s prefect for those wanting a more minimalist look that also brings in nature – and this one also requires no tools, bonus!

 

christmas-tree-alternatives-for-small-spaces-christmas-tree-alternatives-ideas-for-small-spaces-lined-pine-56422f7b84cc6e023ab9727e-w1000_h1000

Pines in Line by: Domino.
(Image credit: MICHAEL WILTBANK)

 

This is a more modern and colorful take on a wall mounted Christmas tree – all you need in terms of tools is a hand saw to cut the dowels and the rest is very simple to put together.

 

modern+christmas+hanging+tree+inspired+with+bing+smart+search

Ornaments hanging from a screen by blogger Jenny Batt.
(Image credit: Jenny Batt)
 

Last but not least is this impressive  Christmas tree hung from the ceiling. It only requires a jewelry crimper to make it but judging from the tutorial, you’ll also need a bit of patience. But the end result is definitely worth it!

2_greentree

Ornaments hanging from a screen by blogger Not Martha.
(Image credit: Not Martha)
 

I hope you’ve enjoyed all these ideas and I wish you all Happy Holidays!

 I’ve always lived in small apartments so when it comes to decorating for Christmas, I’ve tended to not have a traditional Christmas tree because they take up a lot of floor space.  So I thought I would round up my favorite ideas I’ve seen on the web for Christmas trees that you can either hang on a wall or from a ceiling and don’t take that precious floor space.
 
This one is made with pallet wood which gives it its rustic charm. Though you could saw all the boards you need for this project by hand, a circular saw is definitely handy to cut all the wood, especially to get the right angle.
 
DIY_Huntress_Pallet_Wood_Christmas_Tree-3
DIY Pallet wood Christmas Tree by blogger: DIY Huntress
Image credit: DIY Huntress
 
This next version of a wood Christmas tree is also made with pallet wood but is simpler in that you don’t need to cut the wood at an angle. And I love the paint treatment with the snow flakes – adds a bit of whimsy to the design!
 
diy-wood-pallet-christmas-tree-tutorial-1333x2000
 

DIY wood pallet Christmas Tree by blogger: Vintage News Junkie
Image credit: Vintage News Junkie
 
This is a different take on a wood Christmas tree – I love the 3 dimensional design and the irregular outline, which is more like a real tree. This design does also require making different angled cuts with different lengths so it’s a bit more involved than making straight cuts like the previous design. 
 
Ryobi-Rustic-Christmas-Tree-3-572x1024
Rustic Christmas Tree by blogger: Her Tool Belt
Image credit: Her Tool Belt 
 
I’ve made a few decorations with driftwood and I love the look so I immediately fell in love with this wall mounted Christmas tree made with driftwood and rope. The building process is very simple and doesn’t require any tools, which is nice, and the space between the pieces makes it easy to hang lights and decorations.
 arbol de navidad con palos lalole stick christmas tree 1
Driftwood Christmas tree by blogger LALOLEBLOG.
(Image credit:LALOLEBLOG)
 
If you want more color for your tree, this one is a great option, plus it reuses something that would potentially end up in the landfill: an old screen. You could make many different sizes and get really creative with how you want it to look by choosing different types of ornaments.
 
ORNTREE3
Ornaments hanging from a screen by blogger Into Vintage.
(Image credit: Into Vintage)
 

For a more realistic looking tree, this version of a wall mounted tree uses pine garlands and glue dots tabs to recreate a tree hung directly on a wall. I’ve done this 2 years in a row and everyone that sees comments how real it looks! And since the tabs won’t leave any marks on the walls , it’s also great if you rent.

Christmas-Tree-Finished-side-view-daytime_edited-1

 

This next idea is such a simple way of using pallets – no need to remove all the boards, cut them, reassemble, etc.! I love the rustic look with the lights and decorations. I couldn’t find the original source for this project so if anyone knows who made this, please let me know in the comments!

wall-mounted-xmas-tree-unknown-source

 

This next design, “Pines in line”, is from Domino and it’s prefect for those wanting a more minimalist look that also brings in nature – and this one also requires no tools, bonus!

 

christmas-tree-alternatives-for-small-spaces-christmas-tree-alternatives-ideas-for-small-spaces-lined-pine-56422f7b84cc6e023ab9727e-w1000_h1000

Pines in Line by: Domino.
(Image credit: MICHAEL WILTBANK)

 

This is a more modern and colorful take on a wall mounted Christmas tree – all you need in terms of tools is a hand saw to cut the dowels and the rest is very simple to put together.

 

modern+christmas+hanging+tree+inspired+with+bing+smart+search

Ornaments hanging from a screen by blogger Jenny Batt.
(Image credit: Jenny Batt)
 

Last but not least is this impressive  Christmas tree hung from the ceiling. It only requires a jewelry crimper to make it but judging from the tutorial, you’ll also need a bit of patience. But the end result is definitely worth it!

2_greentree

Ornaments hanging from a screen by blogger Not Martha.
(Image credit: Not Martha)
 

I hope you’ve enjoyed all these ideas and I wish you all Happy Holidays!

How to do a white wash treatment on natural wood

I recently took on the challenge of transforming a dark and neglected basement into a creative space for me to use for a few months. I was on a very tight budget for this project but luckily there were a few things left in the basement that I could use or repurpose, like this old shelving unit built out of 2″x4″. It will be very useful to store things but I had to figure out a way to spruce it up without spending a lot of money.

White-wash-shelving-before

I had always wanted to try white washing a piece of furniture so this was the perfect occasion to give it a try without too much stress about the outcome – this will be a creative space to experiment after all!  So after doing a bit of research online, I settled on making a white wash mix of 1 part paint, 2 parts water. It’s important to mix the 2 together very well to have a uniform distribution of the paint.

White-wash-treatment-step-1

I prepped the shelving unit by filling in holes with wood filler and sanding down the rougher parts.

White-wash-treatment-step-2

Then I applied the white wash mix onto the shelving unit with a brush first, and then wiped off the excess with damp rag. Please don’t go “sans-gloves” like I did or your hands will be covered with paint like mine were! 

White-wash-treatment-painting-on-square

White-washing-rag-first-coat-square

After doing the first coat and letting that dry, I opted to apply another coat for a whiter look. 

White-wash-treatment-wiping-off

The shelves had a lot of stains so I painted them instead of doing the white washing. 

White-wash-treatment-painting-shelves

I really liked how it turned out. I didn’t do this but it would be a good idea to seal it with wax or some other sealer.

White-washed-shelving-unit

Here’s the shelving unit with that side of the basement finished. I made some barn doors, including the hardware, to partially cover up the front and the things I’m storing that aren’t the nicest to look at.

Shelving-unit-with-barn-doors

You can see all the projects I did in the basement in this video, including how I built the wall panel, temporarily covered up the old carpet. 

 

 

I recently took on the challenge of transforming a dark and neglected basement into a creative space for me to use for a few months. I was on a very tight budget for this project but luckily there were a few things left in the basement that I could use or repurpose, like this old shelving unit built out of 2″x4″. It will be very useful to store things but I had to figure out a way to spruce it up without spending a lot of money.

White-wash-shelving-before

I had always wanted to try white washing a piece of furniture so this was the perfect occasion to give it a try without too much stress about the outcome – this will be a creative space to experiment after all!  So after doing a bit of research online, I settled on making a white wash mix of 1 part paint, 2 parts water. It’s important to mix the 2 together very well to have a uniform distribution of the paint.

White-wash-treatment-step-1

I prepped the shelving unit by filling in holes with wood filler and sanding down the rougher parts.

White-wash-treatment-step-2

Then I applied the white wash mix onto the shelving unit with a brush first, and then wiped off the excess with damp rag. Please don’t go “sans-gloves” like I did or your hands will be covered with paint like mine were! 

White-wash-treatment-painting-on-square

White-washing-rag-first-coat-square

After doing the first coat and letting that dry, I opted to apply another coat for a whiter look. 

White-wash-treatment-wiping-off

The shelves had a lot of stains so I painted them instead of doing the white washing. 

White-wash-treatment-painting-shelves

I really liked how it turned out. I didn’t do this but it would be a good idea to seal it with wax or some other sealer.

White-washed-shelving-unit

Here’s the shelving unit with that side of the basement finished. I made some barn doors, including the hardware, to partially cover up the front and the things I’m storing that aren’t the nicest to look at.

Shelving-unit-with-barn-doors

You can see all the projects I did in the basement in this video, including how I built the wall panel, temporarily covered up the old carpet.