Posts Tagged ‘Decorating’

How to Reupholster A Chair

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

We have been hard at work on completely redoing our old dining set. My kitchen chairs were in solid condition and didn’t require any painting, but I was tired of the faux leather fabric that I had purchased for the chairs when my kids were little. Today I wanted to share with you just how easy it is to reupholster those chairs and add a little pizzazz to a tired dining set for very little money.

Supplies Needed For This Project

New Fabric (I am using outdoor fabric to help prevent staining from spills. You could also choose a faux leather fabric or any type of fabric and then treat it with Scotch Guard to prevent staining). This fabric should be measured to the width of your chair and then add 4 inches  to each measurement so you have enough fabric to reach around the cushion.  My chair seat was 20×20 so I needed 24×24 for each seat. For all six seats it required 2 yards of fabric total.

Upholstery Staple Gun (available at fabric stores)

Upholstery Staples (heavy-duty)

Needle-nose pliers


Pinking Shears (or regular sewing scissors)

Invert your chair and use your screwdriver to remove the four screws on the bottom that are securing your cushion to the chair.

If the cushion has fabric stapled on it already, use your needle-nose pliers to remove the old staples and fabric from the cushion. If you only have one layer of fabric, it should be okay, but this chair had two so I had to remove my last round of reupholstering to get back to the base of the chair.

Now it is time to cut your new fabric to replace the old fabric that was on your chair.  This fabric should be measured to the width of your chair and then add 4 inches  to each measurement so you have enough fabric to reach around the cushion.  My chair seat was 20×20 so I needed 24×24 for each seat. For all six seats it required 2 yards of fabric total.

I prefer to cut my fabric with a pair of pinking shears instead of regular scissors because the fabric does not fray with these and I don’t have to mess with trimming and pulling strings on fabric. If you don’t have a pair of these though, you can always use regular shears.

When buying your fabric, be sure to ask if they offer any specials or discounts to customers. I got this fabric at Jo-Ann Fabrics and signed up for their email list while I was at the register. They gave me a coupon that took $16 off of my total fabric purchase so I was able to get fabric for six chairs for $25!

Once you have your fabric cut, it is time to staple. Center your cushion upside down and make sure there is approximately the same amount of fabric on all four sides and then pull the fabric tightly over your cushion and staple it. You are going to want to put your whole body into this one, friends.  Staple all the fabric down along the cushion securely.

Corners can be a tricky terrain, but they don’t have to be. I like to bring the top part down and then fold in the other side of the fabric on top. You can do your corners on your cushion however you like. I think the trick with this one is just to play with it, flip it over and take a peek, and then play with the fabric again until you find a corner you like. Once you figure out how you like your corners, replicate it with the three other corners and then again on your next chair. Trim the excess corner fabric.

Center your cushion back on your chair and make sure all of the fabric is tucked nicely underneath and on top. Secure your cushion back on with the four screws again.

Now just repeat the same process over and over and over again until all of your chairs are done. I was able to get six chairs reupholstered in one afternoon. It isn’t hard to do and is a great job to tackle while watching your favorite shows.

I am madly in love with this fabric that I chose and can’t believe how much more I love these chairs. They look like brand new and I only spent $25 to shine them up.

Of course, what are new chairs without a new-to-me table? Looking forward to revealing what I have been up to this past week and sharing with you our new kitchen tabletop!

This tabletop has needed attention for eight years now and I am finally doing it.

Procrastination is the name of the game.

I hope I am not the only one with an eight year project that has been bugging her.

What is one home improvement project you have been vowing to do, but just haven’t made time to tackle yet?

Mistreating My Windows the Type-A Way

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Decorating is not my thing and window treatments are really not my thing.  I think this is why I am really excited to showcase an idea for home decorating that anyone can do… especially people who don’t sew and love to wing it! I don’t sew, but am very Type-A so this project was a bit of a challenge for me. Regardless,  I am so pleased with the results and it was worth every little minute of my type-a-ness to complete this project!

Now that we have completed our home renovations,  I needed to do some focusing on the details of pulling my two rooms together to create one room. Pictured above is an example of a detail that needed to be addressed… the window treatments. The office had bamboo shades while the family room had faux wood blinds. Now that this room was one large room, I needed to match the window treatments up and make it look like a uniformed space.

We had curtains before, but trying to find curtains and hardware that matched exactly would have been impossible to do. I don’t sew, although I have tried, and I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on new curtains for five windows. I decided to do a little window mistreating courtesy of The Nester that had been featured in the notebook a long time ago.  She said it can be done in ten minutes per window so I was completely on board!

I also had this piece that I wanted to dress up and pull into the rest of the room. It originally was a buffet in our kitchen that held our glass stemware. It is now the place where we house all of the kid’s coloring books and crayons. Life has certainly changed, hasn’t it?  I wanted to try to dress this up inexpensively on top and keep the chaos inside (unlike how it is pictured here)

Two trips to Hobby Lobby, sweating in the fabric aisle, hardcore number crunching to figure out the perfect amount of fabric, $25 in materials to make the curtains and I was ready to roll. I kicked off my super awesome shoes and I was ready to get to work.

This is where I do everything wrong. I measure every curtain to make sure they have exactly the same amount of fabric, I carefully pin the corners of each piece, fold everything in and make sure nothing is showing, line them all up on top of each other and pin them again, practice hanging them, make my husband hold them up and then stand back, go down the steps and look at him holding them to make sure I still like them, pin them again, tack them, then re-tack them into the wall, practice different poofing techniques (not a word according to spell check), etc…. This is why Type-A personalities do not do well with projects where you just wing it.

It is now about ten at night before I finally finish with my measuring and obsessing. I then try to hang them, but because I am a girl of small stature, I realize that there is no way I can even reach that high. My poor husband has to do the hanging with my constant barking. He gets out a glass of wine to soften the blows of my barking and then we end up having a great time.

Here are my perfectly imperfect window mistreatments. I had my husband practically tack them to the ceiling so that the walls looked taller since this is our basement and the windows are so squat. I think the chocolate brown was a good choice of color since the walls were light beige and we had chocolate throw pillows on the couch. I also love that these can be switched out easily and fairly inexpensively when we need a breath of fresh air in the room.

Did I save money doing these? Absolutely! The curtains at Target ran about $20 per panel and the hardware was around $10-12 per window. Including the upholstery tacks, I only spent $26 on four windows.

The fifth window will remain without curtains due to the fact that it is right at the top of a lower wall and doesn’t need window treatments. We did have to buy more faux wood shades, but now everything will match in this room and we still did it inexpensively with these DIY window mistreatments.

I decorated my little corner of this side of the room with black-and-white photos of my children that I took of them (zero cost for photographer). I printed them on my little photo printer (no purchases made) and then got inexpensive frames at Hobby Lobby for $5 each. The glass container ($14.99 at Target) was filled with some fillers in green and brown to tie in the rest of the room. I look forward to switching the items inside with the seasons and switching the photos to keep this corner fresh!

Thanks to The Nester for inspiring me to mistreat those windows and visit  Nesting Place for more great ideas on budget-friendly home decor!

What are some ways that you have saved your family on home decor? Any DIY projects that have kept your budget low? Please share!

Making An Addition To Our House for Less

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

We have now lived in our little home for six years and I am so proud of all of the changes we have made. Two of our major projects that we did ourselves were our kitchen update and our do-it-yourself patio renovation. Both of those projects were a great deal of work, but the spaces seemed very separate from one another.

We have been trying to take the 1960’s look out of our tri-level home which is no small task in itself. We have done all of the projects ourselves (with the exception of a new roof) and now we are coming to those projects where we need a professional’s help. This, of course, takes money so we are doing these projects little by little.

What better way to update our space then by replacing our tired screen door with a new patio door? This screen door was an eyesore to our space. It came complete with a grandma-ma warning security tag and the door was falling apart. More than that though, it was difficult to access our new patio and hard for me to watch my kids when they were playing outside.

We decided to hire Champion Window to come out and put in a new door for us. After measuring our space, we could accommodate an eight foot door, which would take out our old window and the rickety screen door that had been previously occupying the space.

This is our kitchen after the installation of the door. All I can say is, WOW! This door completely opened up our kitchen and brought in more natural light for our space. It has made our space feel more modern and having a view in the morning of my patio and the yard has just made such an incredible difference in our space.

This is my view in the morning. I can actually see almost every square inch of the entire yard so when the kids are playing outside, I can really keep an eye on them. I can also close just the screen portion and feel like I am outside with them when they are playing on the patio.

The best part though is that we can actually open the door with ease when grilling outside or heading in and out. The kids can open it themselves, but it is secure enough that I can lock it so they can’t get out unless we want them out there.

I feel like we got an addition to our house by just doing this little makeover to our door and I feel like it makes our kitchen renovation complete! Next up will be replacing the garage door, pantry door, and on-its-last-limbs refrigerator to modernize our space.

Notebook Experiments: Will A Loft Bed Save Us Space?

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Experiment: Will a loft bed save us space?

Experiment Taken From: Notebook Entry 01.22.09

Materials Needed: Please see Ohdeedoh for the full instructions.

Results: I can admit that I am totally cheating this week, but when I saw the post on Ohdeedoh, I thought it would tie in perfectly with showing you our son’s new big boy bed. Now that his bed had moved over to his sister’s room, we had to find a bed for Ethan.

My new rule for furniture buying is I will NEVER again buy something online without seeing it in person first. His first bed was the biggest fiasco ever. We got it home, it was the wrong thing, it was damaged, it was 300 pounds, it had to be loaded piece by piece back into our car, it had to then be unloaded and returned to the store. The whole thing ended with me trying to get the trundle bed out, as a substitution bed for our son, and the trundle releasing under the other bed, pinning my hands between the two beds. We had to make a call to 9-1-1, I was nursing jammed fingers for three days, and cursing my bright idea to order a bed online. NEVER again!

The next day, I decided to head down the road to our local Oak Express and found a bed within minutes. I paid for the bed and sprung for the people to come and put it together for me. It was an easy decision, as I clutched my swollen hand and swore to myself that whatever the price it it would be worth EVERY penny. And it was. It was so worth it. Lesson learned.

Without further adieu, our fabulous new set-up:

We have a tri-level home with very small bedrooms. These small spaces require much thought to make the most of every square inch. A loft bed seemed like the perfect solution for his room. With his new bed, we were able to create space underneath for his own desk to study at. What you can’t see from this angle is that there is also a shelf for his books and water at the very end of the bed which he really loves.

Here is Ethan’s demonstration for how he climbs into his bed. When he gets older, the ladder can be removed and he can just climb up the side of it. Basically, it will look more grown up for when he is too cool for ladders.

They had two desk choices for this model of bed and we went with the smaller one so he still has room to play underneath. I still need to buy a good chair for him, but he is so thrilled to have his own little space to study his schoolwork.

Conclusion: A loft bed is a great solution for small spaces. Despite having to pay more for the bed than I intended, it is still cheaper than moving into a new house to have bigger rooms. We are thrilled with our purchase and Ethan has been sleeping like a dream in his fancy new bed.

Have you ever had an online purchase go bad? Have you ever regretted buying something online rather than in person?


I am so excited to open our Notebook Experiments up to everyone and I hope that you will be able to participate this week or in weeks to come! I will be posting this each Thursday so please mark your calendars if you plan to participate. You can post your entries at any time throughout the week and then leave your entry in the links below.

We have this handy banner that you are more than welcome to use, but it is not a requirement! It is just something you can add to add a little sparkle to your entry.

Rules for Participation:

1. Choose anything from any of our notebook entries (past or present) to do with your family. We have hundreds of bookmarked links of crafts, ways to save money, and organizing ideas.
2. Complete an experiment from the notebook and share about it on your blog or website. We would love to see pictures of what you accomplished or a detailed description of how your projects turned out. Please include a link to this entry, a link to the original posting of the entry (at the original crafster’s blog), and (to help us relocate the project) the date or link of the notebook entry where you found it. You can use the same formatting as our entries or you can just include that information in your post in your own unique way!
3. Post a link below. Please include your name or blog name & a fast description of your project. Example- MomAdvice (WHO bread)

I can’t wait to see what you create and what you find inspiring!

Big Girl Room on a Budget

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

We are still getting Emily settled into her big girl room, but I thought I would share some of the ideas we have had so far for her new space.

First, Ethan’s bed was moved into Emily’s room and Ethan is getting a loft-style bed for his room with a desk underneath to make use of his smaller space. We had a bed fiasco, better left for another post, and he is now sleeping on the trundle part of this bed until his bed comes in.

We swung the daybed around so that the back of it becomes the side to keep her more secure. It is great because it still has the security of the crib, but has more space for her to sleep in. She has been in it for a couple of weeks now and hasn’t attempted trying to get out of bed by herself yet.

The room was already painted a cheery yellow and I already had the curtains which were a set of eyelet lace curtains from the Shabby Chic line at Target. The comforter has been in a chest in our basement since we first got married. This bed was originally our guest bed and I used this comforter for it. It was a tad too girly for Ethan so we put it away, in hopes we would be adding a little girl to our family someday. It was a steal for $19.99 from TJ Maxx and is a Tommy Hilfiger comforter. It is reversible with another pretty flowered design on the alternate side. The addition of this “Sweet Dreams” pillow was bought with some of her Christmas money from the grandparents from Target (also from Shabby Chic).

The art in her room is courtesy of her big brother. These were two pictures that Ethan made at school and donated for his sister’s room. I found these frames at the dollar store so these were the perfect budget-friendly decor for her new room.

We made a banner with her name on it for one of the walls. The color didn’t turn out very good in this picture, but it is a pale pink with dark pink polka dots. The scrapbook paper and ribbon came from my craft supplies and I had my husband pick a pretty font for it. I used my circle punch to punch out these circles, but you could also trace a drinking glass to make them all uniform in size.

We bought new rugs for each of the kid’s rooms. These are bamboo rugs that we purchased from Walmart and I absolutely love them. I have a fondness for bamboo rugs because they wipe off easily and are easy to vacuum or broom sweep. Underneath the bed is a basket of toys and a basket of diapers. We are hoping one of these baskets will be no longer needed…can you guess which one?

This set of table and chairs relocated from our playroom downstairs. Ethan was getting too big to sit in these so we put it in her room along with a basket of books for her to read.

This step stool holds an extra set of pink sheets for her bed. This stool used to be her brothers and it is one of my favorite little storage solutions for keeping a spare set of sheets.

This little lamp was also bought at Target and I used her Christmas money from her grandparents to buy it. I really wanted to bring the pink into the room and this was a cute little addition to her big girl space. You could implement the same idea with a basic white shade and a little grosgrain ribbon and some glue.

The perfect room for our sweet little princess!

What budget-friendly ideas are you proud of in your kid’s rooms?

A Miscellaneous Post of Thrifty Holiday Ideas

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

The gifts are wrapped and tucked beneath the tree. I opted for reusable grocery bags in lieu of the traditional gift bag this year. I am such a fan of the Target bags and the clever designs that they implement into their bags. These fold up into the size of a small cosmetic case and had a pocket in the front too, perfect for tucking a gift card or a note of appreciation to someone. These were only $1.50, but everyone was so excited to get these this year. There are just a couple of pieces of tissue paper at the top, but the bottom was stuffed with newspaper that would have gone in our recycle bin. The newspaper helped these stand a little more upright since they were not flat-bottomed. I felt proud about my eco-friendly alternative and am hoping to convert some of my plastic-bag-lovin’ family members over to the joys of reusable bags.

We did not buy any new decorations this year, but I opted to decorate with what we already had instead. This wall of pictures behind our Christmas tree needed some sprucing up so I covered the photos with some leftover holiday wrap and bows. I thought it tied in the Christmas spirit beautifully and look forward to doing this each year!

I did my annual gift exchange with my best friend. Do you recognize the pom pom? It is made from Target bags and was featured in our notebook. She was so proud to give it to me and I was so excited to see how her “notebook experiment” turned out. Tucked inside was Better Homes & Gardens Ultimate Cookie Book, 2-at-a-Time Socks, a gorgeous teal velvet blazer (found at the thrift store), and a set of note cards with shoes on them. Now THAT is a friend that knows you well! We put a $20 dollar limit on our gifts and always try to outdo each other with our thrift store finds and killer deals.

We worked on mailing and addressing all of our holiday cards for the year. Ethan helped me put on the stamps and we created an assembly line of stamping; he stamped with his stamps and I stamped a snowflake rubber stamp on each and dropped them in the mail. I mailed off my friend’s baby blanket and noticed that shipping costs have been reduced for people who do online mailing versus bringing your items into the post office. I was able to save some change on the mailing and was once again very thankful for my handy little postal scale.

Ethan had his holiday show where he sang a beautiful song about snowpants and a song about special, special,special me. He invited Ryan & I to come to his show where he would “dress up fancy and sing special songs.” He was so proud of his song and to give our cozy holiday gift (tucked in a reusable bag) to his teacher. We celebrated his special, special, special performance with a budget-friendly Junior Frosty from Wendy’s.

Instead of our holiday photo books this year, I decided to make a DVD of our year for each set of the grandparents. I set it all to holiday music and sent it off to our out-of-town relatives with a message for each of them about how special they were. Shipping costs were greatly reduced and it is something that they can view over and over again or share with their friends.

What is your proudest thrifty holiday idea this year? Did you do anything out of the ordinary to save a buck? Please share!

Dressing Up the Front Step For Fall

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

I loved the white pumpkins featured in A Soft Place to Land and gained some inspiration from that post for my own doorstep. Of course, I took the lazy and cheap route, but I think they turned out beautifully.

I purchased faux pumpkins at Michael’s Craft Store. The were on sale for 40% off this past week. I found two pots to rest my pumpkins in and a bolt of black ribbon to dress up the pots.

I used my glue gun to attach the ribbon around the outside of the pot. With the leftover ribbon from the bolt, I made a bow and then tied it off with a little raffia. The pumpkins wedge perfectly in there.

I am hoping it will be something that I can use each year. I have found most of our guests think they are real pumpkins when they come over and have spent a lot of time thumping and touching them. I am not usually one to pick things that aren’t natural for decorating with, but I love being able to store these and use them year after year. If they are fooling people, then that works even more to my advantage!

Of course, if those pumpkins don’t last until next year, I have these two little pumpkins that I can set out there on occasion to dress up the step!

What are some creative ways you decorate your home for fall?

What a Difference a Day Makes

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

I decided to hit the thrift store this Saturday in search of a china cabinet or unit where I could rest my laptop for our kitchen. I have been hunting for awhile, but just haven’t seen anything with the good bones that I was looking for. I walked around for awhile before I saw IT. You know? The one! The one that I have been hunting for ages looking for? Well, I basically threw my body upon an old eighties cabinet and requested the crew help me load it in my vehicle. The cost was only $99 and the units that I had been looking at in the stores were a minimum of $250 and upwards of $600. This piece looked like it was going to be perfect and I headed over to the hardware store and got all of the supplies to tackle this project.

I was inspired by Meredith’s recent post about a project that was done on Notes from a Cottage Industry. This blogger had painted her unit black and had gotten hers for a mere fifty bucks and made it look like a million.

This was my first attempt at refinishing a piece of furniture and I was pretty nervous at first, but my tentative paint strokes turned to fast swipes as I became more confident with what I was doing.

This particular piece was a knotty oak wood and had worn brass handles on it. We prefer a more contemporary look with clean lines and a silver finish to our pieces so that is what I wanted to achieve when I refinished this piece.

I decided to leave the piece with the knots in the wood, opting to skip the spackling step altogether, and purchased a primer tinted grey to give us a good start on the piece.
I sprayed the unit with a liquid degreaser to get all of the grime and muck of off the wood. Next I primed it with primer and allowed that to dry for a couple of hours. The next step was to put on the black paint and then another coat. Then another coat. Finally, another coat was applied before I could do the final touch-ups to the wood.

The hardware was the type that had been dropped into the a cut-out in the wood of the piece so there was no way that I could replace it. The worn dingy handles received a face-lift with a coat of stainless steel spray paint that was made especially for metal. Fifteen minutes to dry and only four dollars to redo all of the hardware. We are going to be spraying some other ugly brass fixtures around our house that need a little TLC, rather than purchasing new pieces which would cost us a lot more.

I started the project at six o’clock in the evening and painted until 2:30 in the morning. I collapsed in bed and then picked it back up at nine and had it fully assembled with my dishes and cookbooks on it by six the next evening.

It was a bear of a project, but I can’t stop glowing or patting myself on the back for what I accomplished in a single day. The unit is absolutely enormous and I did all of this by myself with the only help from my husband being the help with moving and reassembling it.

The finished product reminds of something you would get at Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware and I doubt that it would be only $99!

The history of the piece was as interesting as the furniture was itself. A quick discussion with one of the employees seemed to indicate that it was repossessed. After pulling it all apart we found a very mysterious hole that at been cut out of the bottom. A hole that would have no purpose except to hide something. Weed, perhaps? Who knows!

What has been your biggest accomplishment that you have done in or around your house? Have you ever attempted to refurbish a thrift store or yard sale piece? Any blunders refurnishing anything?

* Originally aired April 2, 2007*

Our Kitchen Makeover

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

When we moved into our house, one of the big things that attracted us to it was the size of our kitchen. Now that we have lived in our house for four years, I don’t think my kitchen is as big as I would like, but it seemed enormous when our last house had only a galley kitchen. Isn’t that funny how accustomed we can become to more space?

The thing that I was not fond of about the kitchen was the dated look of it and the lack of storage and cupboards. The walls were white, the floors a really light pine color, and the cabinets were oak with no hardware. We didn’t have enough cabinet space, the appliances all needed to be updated, and the kitchen lacked the style I wanted. If this was a reflection of the “heart of our home,” it was certainly missing something. The owner before us had completely renovated the kitchen, but it wasn’t our style and wasn’t cohesive or finished the way we would have liked.

Our kitchen makeover has been a gradual process and we are still working on the details of it, but it has come a long way from the dated eighties look. We would replace things as they went out and updates would come when we had a little extra money. I did want to show where we are at now, with the updating process, and to share how we have renovated our kitchen on a budget.

I wish I would have taken more before pictures of the kitchen, but I hope my descriptions will help.
These are the pictures of our cabinets before the makeover. Nice, but not much to write home about. We had received a $50 Lowes gift card for Christmas (thanks, mom & dad!) so we thought we would put the money to good use. I used the steps provided in this tutorial to paint our cabinets. This meant no messy sanding and so it helped to save a step and saved me a lot of cleaning too!
We took all of the doors off and gave them a really good cleaning with a liquid degreaser that I had purchased from the hardware store. Once cleaned, we applied two layers of primer to each side of the doors and to the outside of the cabinets themselves. We allowed the primer to dry one day and then we began painting them the next day. The color that we chose was a Martha Stewart “Wainscot White.” It wasn’t a true white, but was definitely not a cream either.

The hardware for the cabinets was purchased from Target. They have ten packs of knobs that very closely resemble the stuff at Restoration Hardware, but they only cost $14.99 for ten versus $5-10 each. The drawer pulls were $4.99 each (also purchased from Target) and they all were in oil rubbed bronze.

These are the cabinets after. What a difference a weekend can make! The cupboards are so beautiful and have brightened the kitchen up so much. Not only that, but the whole space feels so much larger because of the white cabinets. The walls were also painted a pretty gray blue to bring the more up-to-date feel to our space. We left our counters the same, but hope to one day replace them with a more high-end material (or at least make them look more high end).

We replaced our dishwasher with a new GE dishwasher that we purchased from Sears. It is the stainless steel look instead of the real stainless steel, so little hands can smudge away without mommy having to clean the surface as often. We actually won the dishwasher in an advertising contest that was sponsored by Sears. Technically, all of you AWESOME people helped us earn the dishwasher so we thank you for that. This one is so much prettier than the other one and better yet…it works! What a novel idea!
Next to my stove are hooks for my aprons. This was a great way to add some “art” to the walls without making an investment. $3.99 to display a few of my favorite things in the world.

We updated our stove with this fancy stainless steel number. It has everything I could ever want for this space and, while not free, I was able to get a killer deal on it. The stove was marked for $1K and I was able to get them to accept $500. Always pick those floor models, I say, and point out any and every flaw you can…even the stupid stuff. That is how we were able to score this stove.

The range hood was free and part of our Sears shopping spree that we won. Our refrigerator is the last of the white appliances to make an exit, but we are watching Craigslist to see if we can score a good deal on that.
Since cabinet storage was an issue, I was able to find an old ugly eighties desk with a hutch from a thrift store to remedy the problem. I did my makeover work on it and it is now my favorite piece in the house. This was cheaper than buying new cabinets and I just love how it is open for guests to grab their own dishes. The white dishes really make me happy and make me feel like a little Martha when I am entertaining! These dishes were priced at $14.99 for a service for six, including all of the serving dishes! They aren’t the best quality, but I love the clean lines and design on them.

I also have my new china from my mother-in-law that looks so elegant on our tables. She recently brought this over to add to my dishes and I was so thrilled.

While it can make our seating a little more cramped, we did add a narrow table along the back wall to keep our computer. This has our dinner music on it and I can watch the television while I cook. The two plants on either side were purchased from Target, clearance to $14.99 each. The basket on the table, normally brimming over with fruit, is empty since I need to head to the grocery store. The basket was also a clearance item that I purchased from Marshalls along with some of the decor for our walls.
Like this piece that is centered along our back wall! This was a clearance item at Marshalls for $9.99. It got discounted with some of their summer pieces and I thought it would be a perfect focal point in that open spot.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of our kitchen!
We could not be more proud of the space we created…on a budget!

*Originally aired on January 2, 2008*

Weekend Project: New Workspace

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

Today we are continuing our week of Play it Again, Momma entries and today’s focus will be on renovating your home on a budget. We have done a lot of work to our late sixties tri-level home and with each project, I feel a little more pride about our home. Our space might be limited, but each entry should showcase how we make our space work for us!

I am so excited because Ryan & I were finally able to complete another project on our to-do list… creating a workspace for two.

We have had a lot of challenges with the two of us both working from home and both working on the computer. We both needed computer time and we were constantly battling for the computer. One of my first investments was getting a laptop. Thanks to having a computer guy for a hubby, he was able to get me an excellent deal on a laptop and I was partially in business.

I say partially because we were still battling over workspace. I have back problems and would want to sit at a desk. He would need the desk for his computer so we would once again be duking it out for the workspace. One of us would be sitting at our children’s tiny table trying to talk about work ideas and the other one of us would be sitting all comfy at the desk. We also had other scenarios where I would try to be productive working in my room and then fall asleep or I would attempt to work from the couch, but someone would want to watch television. In short, it wasn’t working.

Finding a desk though that could fit our “team Clark” philosophy was tough and expensive! We decided to use some of the money that I earned this year to put towards getting a desk that would be perfect for us to work together.

We found what we wanted in the Pottery Barn catalog, but we aren’t a Pottery Barn kind of family (budget wise, I mean). Ryan was able to find it for a fraction of the price on Target’s website though and you can’t even tell a difference between the two designs. He also found a deal where we got 15% off and free shipping. Timing it with that really helped save us some additional money. While it was definitely a splurge, it provided the perfect space for the two of us to work together.

Welcome to my new workspace- isn’t it great? You can expand these pictures to view it in more detail. We purchased three cabinets and bought two desk tops to make our new work area. The two desk tops rest on the center cabinet and make one seamless unit. This set-up works great for us because we work together on many of our projects.

Not only is this great for working together, but it has created a lot more space in our office because it is all against one wall versus our corner desk that we had before.

This set-up was not without challenges because we had originally intended for it to go along our back wall and found that the unit was a lot larger than we had anticipated. We had to remove our closet doors and allow the unit to go basically into the closet space, which meant that this closet is now open and viewable to the world. I am not liking that too much, but it was a way to encourage us to weed through the items in the desk and in the closet to free up space and make it look more organized. I am thinking about making a curtain that would just partially hide this from view since a full set of curtains probably won’t work.

I did tackle an enormous project though…those craft supplies are finally in order! That was no small undertaking and I am so happy to see everything neatly arranged. I even have space for my sewing machine so I can use my workspace to craft as well.

I organized the closet without making any investments. While I think pretty baskets would look so much better, the practical side of me won this battle and I am just using things we already have. If I add a curtain, I can close this off a bit and no one will even notice.

On the opposite wall we have my children’s table and chairs. They can be in the office with us while we work and they can work on their own little projects. You can see past pictures of how we made our workspace kid-friendly.

This is an investment that I hope really pays off because we can both work together and each have our own space. Being productive, without a space to call your own, can be difficult. We love working together so this the ideal space for us!

*Originally aired February 18, 2008*