A New Lamp

This post was written in partnership with Lamps.com. They provided me a lamp to review, but the choice of lamp was all mine and so are the opinions! 

Back when we updated the curtains in our living room last month, one of the very first things Corey and I agreed upon was that the lamp in the living room had to go.

We still love it, but with the blue curtains it just wasn’t working – too much blue in that one little area, and we wanted something that would contrast a little and wouldn’t just blend in completely with the curtains like this one seemed to. We weren’t really actively looking for anything yet, we just knew that eventually we’d be replacing that for something else.

Then, I ended up getting contacted by the awesome people at Lamps.com who wanted me to review a lamp for them. It was meant to be! They gave me a few suggestions of lamps but told me I could pretty much choose what I wanted, so Corey and I spent a while pouring over their website trying to decide which one we liked best.

Once I saw it, I knew pretty quickly that this guy would be coming to live in my home.

It’s the Clear HGTV Table Lamp and I’m smitten. This lamp is much smaller than the one we had here previously, which is not exactly what we wanted, but we are both absolutely head over heels with the look of it in this room. The pretty cork lampshade adds a really awesome texture that this room was desperately needing, and I am always a huge fan of plain ol’ glass lamp bases.

We have debated putting the lamp on a few books or something to make it look taller, but I think we’re both adjusting to the new size of it and I actually like it now. It settles into the background a little more nicely than our old lamp did while still providing a little bit of color contrast, and it just seems to layer right in the room without sticking out too much – like it was meant to be there.

I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence, but ever since we got this lamp I have found myself using the lamp light in the room much more than the overhead light. I love our fan and overhead light in the living room, but it doesn’t actually give off very much light, and it has a definite yellow cast to it (and I’m too lazy to change the bulb since the ceilings are about 7 million feet high there). But between this lamp and the floor lamp on the other side of the couch, it’s usually plenty of light for us throughout the day and into the early evening. I like the cozy feeling it creates in the room and it really makes me understand why so many designers talk about adding lamps to a room. It makes a huge difference in the entire feel of the room, and I’m obsessed.

Of course, for the past month or so the room has been very well-lit between these two guys and all of our Christmas lights…now that those have been taken down I may have to get a third lamp for the room to make up for it!

Overall I can safely say that Corey and I are both extremely pleased with our new lamp, and I kind of want to get one for every room in the house. Who knew all it took to capture my heart is a cork lampshade?

How do you use lamps in your home? Anyone else find a new lamp obsession lately?

De-Cluttering the Living Room

I know, I know. Sounds like the most boring post ever.

But it’s not what you think.

Back when we originally installed our homemade curtains in the living room, Corey and I both loved them. They were fun, bright, and made us happy.

But after almost two years of them, we’re both kind of over it. While we still love the colors and the pattern, it was definitely limiting us in what we could do in there – with that much pattern on the windows, there wasn’t much we could do elsewhere. And visually, I felt like they were just way too much – I felt like they made the room feel cluttered all the time.

We were both ready for a change.

So, we did some searching and fell in love with these Threshold brand curtains from Target. They’re much more neutral (only one color) and they still have a pattern, but it’s not too busy. While we were at it, we decided to go ahead and upgrade our curtain rods – we still loved the homemade ones but wanted something a little more substantial and “grown up”.

Mmmmm. I love this change.

The new curtains have a very calming effect on the room and make it feel much less visually cluttered. And they open us up to a whole world of new color options for things like the pillows and the accessories, because there aren’t a million colors in the curtains.

The new rods are gorgeous too – they’re these mercury glass rods from Target, and they feel so much more luxurious and expensive than the old ones (I mean, obviously they’re definitely more expensive than our DIY ones, but they’re still pretty cheap!). We had to buy two rods for the big window behind the couch and use the middle rod from one of them to extend the other rod and make it long enough for the whole window – luckily we found a broken one (the finial was broken, the rest was fine) at our local store and they sold it to us for only $10 – score!

I feel like this little change makes a huge difference in the room and gets us another step closer to where we want to eventually end up in here. We still want to replace the ugly white blinds with something prettier (probably bamboo shades, though I’d LOVE to do white roman shades if they weren’t so dang expensive) but for now, this is a good upgrade.

Anyone else changing out curtains in their home lately?

Nesting, Part 2

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I re-arranged a bunch of stuff and cleaned a room and called it an actual post? I’m doing it again – get excited.

This is actually a post I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but I haven’t taken the time to actually make the changes, and I’m so glad I finally decided to take care of it recently (I say that like I had any choice…the nesting monster reared its head and there was nothing I could do to stop it). You see, I’ve talked quite a few times about how I’m the worst about actually changing up the decor in my house – I buy a cute accessory, plop it on a shelf, and it ends up living there for, like, ever.

It makes life easy for me, but it’s really not that much fun. And it means that my house ends up feeling like it never changes (especially since we don’t currently decorate for any holidays/seasons other than Christmas), which I don’t love. But that has changed my friends. I re-arranged decor! Look at me go!

I’m always amazed at how much of a difference something like this makes for absolutely zero money, which is why I wanted to write this post. I always feel like I have to spend money to make changes to my home, but my living room feels completely refreshed to me and all it cost me was an hour or so on Saturday afternoon. When you use what you’ve already got laying around you can make changes that feel significant without spending a dime!

But enough talk – let me prove it to you. Let’s start with what my living room looked like before. I’m sure you’ve all seen it before, but here’s a refresher:

After gathering up a bunch of accessories from around the house that I wanted to bring in here (like extras from the guest room or the once-reading-room-now-nursery), I took everything off of the surfaces I was changing and piled it on the floor. I didn’t want to be tempted to leave anything in its original place, so I took it all down – which also gave me a good opportunity to dust all of my shelves. Because I don’t do that often enough, and ew.

And then I just placed it all back in a new spot. I’m no expert at styling shelves – in fact, I’m kind of just bad at it, but I always have fun. I put something in place, step back, and look at it to make sure I like it. Sometimes, it’s also super helpful to take a picture of it. There was one arrangement I did on the bookcase that I loved at first, but once I took a photo I realized I had grouped too much stuff on two shelves right next to one another and it looked really heavy. I switched a few things around and snapped another photo and it looked a billion times better. And now? My living room is feeling refreshed and a bit different, even though there’s absolutely nothing that I didn’t already own in here.

 

We also brought down the rug that used to be in the reading room:

It’s definitely not a perfect fit in the room (it’s a bit too small and holy pattern overload with the curtains), but it works for now, and we have already ordered new curtains (!!) so it should fit in a little better once we take care of that. Honestly, I’m just happy to cover up even a little bit of our disgusting carpet.

If you need a close-up…

Yeah, that’s what my living room looks like 90% of the time. Except there’s usually another dog or two on there as well. There’s very rarely actually room for humans on the couch.

And that, my friends, is how you refresh your entire living room in one hour with no money. It may not make a huge impact, but it’s enough to settle my nesting instincts for a week or so, which is really all I can ask for at this point.

What have you done lately to update your home? Anyone else suck at changing up their decor?

I Did It Again!

…remember a few weeks ago when I went against everything I knew I should do and painted our kitchen backsplash white using plain old white paint?

Well, I did it again. This time, I got all crazy and painted the tile on our fireplace. Because it was ugly and I didn’t want to look at it anymore. Remember what it looked like?

And now?

Ahhhh! So much better.

Once again, this probably isn’t how I “should” have tackled this project, but it worked well enough on the backsplash that I figured I’d give it a go. There’s no real tutorial on how to make this happen – I just painted it with a couple of coats of primer and a few coats of glossy white paint. And just like that, my fireplace tile went from dingy, peach, and clash-y to crisp, white, and gorgeous not quite as awful.

Now, I will say that, just like the backsplash, this is not a long term solution. In fact, this’ll be a pretty short term solution – we plan on replacing all of the flooring downstairs by the end of the year, so the tiles on the floor will be replaced pretty soon. The ones on the fireplace itself may take a bit longer, but I’d like to tackle a fireplace makeover soonish so hopefully it won’t be long before we can take care of those as well.

Oh, and I do realize there are some splotches of paint on the fireplace surround – oops! Luckily, I think it’ll be pretty easy to scrape off, I just haven’t had a chance to give it a go yet.

I’m pretty shocked at how big of a difference this (free) little upgrade made. I feel like the whole fireplace looks a lot crisper and brighter, and the whole room looks a little bit better. I’m definitely happy!

What small projects with a big impact have you done lately?

Where Are They Now?

We showed you a lot of really fun projects over the last several weeks as we were a part of Creating With the Stars. I had an absolute blast coming up with everything and Corey and I adore all of the projects we did.

BUT.

When we showed you photos of them, they were the photos we used for the competition. Which means they were staged like crazy and had to be anonymous, so you basically just saw the project and nothing else.

And that’s no fun, is it?

So today, we’re taking a quick little tour of the four projects we did for Creating With the Stars and checking out what they look like in a real-life setting. Because I like to keep it real around here and some of the projects look pretty different in use in our home than they did in the competition (let’s face it – if I kept all of those cute accessories in the bookcases, I’d have NO accessories anywhere else in my house!).

Let’s kick it off with our week one project. Here’s what it looked like in the competition…

…and here’s what it looks like now.

It’s pretty much the same, with just a few changes in the styling. We hung a pink mirror over it for the competition, but in reality the pink looked absolutely crazy up against our curtains, so we switched it up for something a little more suited to the room. I’d like to add some more cute accessories to this guy (so it’s not quite so bare), but I absolutely love how it works in the living room.

Corey and I had been going back and forth on what to put in that spot for a while – it was pretty awkwardly empty beforehand, but we weren’t quite sure what would work best there. Now that we have this here, I can’t imagine anything else. It’s right in-between the dining and living rooms, which makes it perfectly suited to making both drinks to go with dinner and drinks to go with, you know, sitting on the couch and watching television. Love it.

Week two was shot in our bedroom (as I’m sure many of you guessed), but we actually had a different plan in mind for it while we were making it. Here it is in the competition…

…and here’s what it looks like now.

It fits perfectly into our guest room and I love how it goes with everything else (though, it’s pretty clear I need to learn how to take better photos of this pink room!). Once again, the styling is very lacking, but we’ll get there. I have quite a bit of work to do in this room – as you can see, I switched around the furniture arrangement from the last time you saw it, but I haven’t changed the art yet, so it all looks a bit funny. 

I have plans for it, though, so be on the lookout for an update to this room soon!

Our third project was shot in our garage. Remember this one?

I’ve mentioned before that Corey and I have plans to turn our garage into an extra living space, and this is a bit of a preview of what it’ll look like. Of course, we haven’t actually begun the process yet (hopefully within the next couple of months!) so it’s looking kind of…crazy right now.

Yeeeah definitely a disappointment compared to the original, right? This room is in a transition phase as we start prepping it for the big renovation, so it isn’t cute right now. But, I have high hopes that as we get started on actually converting the room, we’ll be able to live up to the awesomeness of our competition project.

And finally, week four. The big one.

This room looks mostly the same as it did during the competition…

…except the bookcases have been re-arranged and our elliptical and dog kennels have been added back in. It’s a bit, um, crowded.

Once we get the garage done, the dog kennels and elliptical will be moving down there, so hopefully in a very short time this room will be looking quite a bit better. The rug we used in the competition photograph was actually my sister’s (as were many of the accessories from the other weeks), so once it was all over we brought up the rug from week three and put it in here.

I love how it looks, and I’m pretty obsessed with this room. It’s the perfect place to relax and read, and we’ve gotten quite a bit of use out of it already. 

As you can see here, we haven’t quite finished all of the trim yet – we didn’t need to complete the whole room for the competition, so we figured we’d save ourselves a bit of stress and do the rest later. We plan to trim out the entire window at some point soon, and then obviously finish all of the picture molding around the bottom. It’ll probably happen once the garage is all finished and we have a little room to actually work in here again.

And with that, you’ve officially seen all of our projects in their natural habitats. Not quite as stylish and photo-worthy as they were for the competition, but that’s real life, isn’t it? We’re head over heels in love with all of the projects we did, and I think it was a really awesome way for us to push ourselves and see exactly how creative we could get. I’ll admit, there were a few times where we thought we weren’t going to manage to come up with a good idea, but we always managed to pull through and come up with something we were proud of – I love that we got the chance to see how much we could really do!

Does anything in your house look different in real-life than you make it look for photos? Anyone else have some crazy looking in-transition rooms in their house right now?