Posts from the ‘Living Room’ Category

Home Depot Designer Coasters

Coasters are something that you don’t go out specifically to shop for, but instead may remember to look at if you’re already out. We’ve acquired a few of the cheap cardboard bar coasters in our lives, not exactly worthy of my champagne tastes, but have made do for the time being. Well that time has expired. I grew tired of the coaster sticking to my glass every time I went for a sip. I needed heavy duty coasters to protect our hand stained coffee table. To Home Depot!

I know what you’re thinking: huh? Coasters at Home Depot?

Yes! Designer couture coasters!

These are heavy duty floor tiles, $2 each.

With a little glue and a patch of felt ($.49)…

My tables are protected from water marks and my glass can rest comfortably (and fashionably) upon.

If there’s someone you haven’t yet shopped for, or if you want to add a little supplement to the bar-ware you bought your mom, these are perfect. The malls are PACKED this week, but Home Depot is not! This project cost me 5 minutes and $8.50. Wrap some ribbon around the stack and present it beautifully under the tree.

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Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree…

We’ve had our tree up for the past 2 weeks but it took as long to be camera-ready. In addition to a light snafu…as in we didn’t buy enough…we also had no wrapped gifts under the tree. And a decorated tree without some holiday joy underneath is nothing more than a mischief night spectacle.

Chris and I went to 2 different tree farms before relinquishing to the $50 price tag for a 6½ foot tree. Since we’re new to the area and only knew of a few tree farms that we pass during our daily commutes, we figured that we could possibly end up spending more on gas and time looking for a less expensive tree. (The next day we passed the Produce Junction 2 blocks from our home with a sign that read “All Trees: $27”). The lessons we learn.

As this year marks the first time Chris and I would have our own tree, we were faced with many decisions that would affect all future Christmases. Having no decorations already, we also had to buy the tree stand, skirt, ornaments, etc. etc. that we will continue to use year after year.A trip to Kmart and $100 later, we were ready to begin.

Real or fake?

My family has always used a real tree. My dad would have it no other way. Chris’ family uses a fake tree. A fake tree may be more practical and would eventually prove to be less expensive, but having nowhere to store a tree 11 months out of the year, we had no choice but to go real. Chris was excited by the authentic pine tree smell, and he also got to show off his newly acquired handy-man skills.

It didn’t fit. Chris had to scrape off the sappy bark with a steak knife. It worked perfectly and while we may have 1 less steak knife, we now have an arts & crafts knife. Win-win!

The supplies:

We used red and gold as our color scheme. Anything more than 2 colors starts to look tacky in my opinion, and while some people define Christmas as tacky, I like to keep it simple.

Candy canes are a must on any tree. We bought 4 boxes and have probably eaten half of that since. Eating food straight off a tree, how much more natural can we get!

 

Skirted tree:

Skirted tree wrapped in ribbon with sporadically placed red ornaments:

Fully ornamented with star on top and popcorn bin underneath.

Above you can see the light snafu I mentioned earlier. We only bought 150 lights, thinking that was plenty. By the time we had realized it wasn’t, we were in our sweatpants with Christmas music blaring and hot chocolate in the microwave. It took another week and a half before her bottom was lit up.

Twinkle twinkle

(The peacock perched above is a prelude to my New Years Eve attire).

Here is a close up of the “snow” we used for the first and last time. It was essentially a bag of glitter that now comes to work with us on our faces, coats and shoes. Every inch of our floor, even after several sweeps, now sparkles with faux snow. Opt out.

Decorating a Christmas tree is a fun tradition at any age. It brings families together and enhances the holiday spirit. With work, school and other obligations, the last week of December can sneak up on a person. But there’s no forgetting the holiday joy when you come home to a tree that you decorated with your loved ones. Merry Christmas!

Tiny Dancer

Since cohabiting, Chris and I have realized that we have very different tastes in art. He likes cityscapes, but not of places he has no connection to. I like abstract, something that can be seen in different lights. We both agreed that we don’t want something that everyone has. You know how embarrassing it is to be seen at a party in the same dress as someone else? We feel the same way about art. Ikea would naturally be the place to go for inexpensive, trendy wall art. But it’s instantly recognizable.

Ikea - $59.99 (3' x 4.5')

Home Goods and TJ Maxx have unique pieces, but are either too “girly” or over-priced, or both. Then we turned to Etsy. Etsy provided some quality pieces that we may turn to in due time. At present, however, we needed something fast (potentially spending hundreds on sight unseen requires some deliberation). So, the creative couple that we are, we decided to make our own painting.

We bought canvas in a pack of 7 for $19.99 at Michael’s. We bought 2 tubes of light blue paint ($0.88 each) and a large tube of black paint ($4). The yellow paint we had left over from our living room walls.

First we chose a lay-out for how to hang the canvas on the wall. Then we drew a checker pattern, spacing the lines 4 inches apart with a ruler.

After labeling each diamond with a “b” for blue and “y” for yellow, we went to work painting.

We let these dry overnight before painting the silhouette.

We lined the canvases up like a puzzle before drawing the dancer. We lined up the posterboard on top of the canvas so we could make sure she was drawn to scale. We both had a hand in drawing. I initially drew her, then Chris edited an arm, a leg, the hair, and the waist, before I redrew the hands and feet. Teamwork at its finest.

Paint inside the lines, then put back together. The puzzle was much easier this time around.

There you have it. One of a kind wall art that we can take pride in, all for under $30.

Hiding cable wires

It has been a busy busy week. We have our long awaited housewarming party tomorrow (we’ve been living here 6 months now) and I had much to get done before showing our new place off to a bevy of friends. Loads of DIY and even more loads of photos.

Among such are:

  • hiding cable wires
  • creating a one-of-a-kind wall art on the cheap
  • upholstering wooden barstools
  • wallpapering furniture

I will also post some beautiful “after” shots of my dining room, living room TV wall (very rare in previous posts), bedroom vanity with improved storage and organization, and our office closet that was once used as what-we-have-yet-to-unpack-because-we-have-nowhere-for-it-to-go storage.

Let’s get started!

Our TV wall with our fancy new fireplace was greatly devalued by this unsightly cable wire. I knew what had to be done, but between all my trips to Home Goods and Boscov’s, Home Depot just wasn’t a priority. With the party quickly approaching, I could put it off no more.

The materials: This 9-piece cable concealer kit came in a pack for $10. The 3 ft. cable extension and connectors were an additional $6.

The tunnels have a tight opening that the wire must be squeezed through. It can be a little difficult initially but with the help of some pliers and maybe a second person, it’s easy enough.

There is a self adhesive strip on the back (which is flat) for easy application to any wall or molding. Just peel and press.

The corners are a little tricky. They don’t have a back because the wire would be very difficult to feed through, and if you were able to feed it through (which I have never tried) I can imagine it would be tough to adjust if need be. Instead, it just snaps on, which maybe look messy at first, but once both straight ends are on, it will look professionally done.

Paint it accordingly and Voila! a wall mounted TV sans wires. I only painted the section that crossed the wall, mostly to avoid using painter’s tape, but the molding conceals the concealer enough for my taste.

 

I may have mentioned before our dilemma with where to place the TV upon move-in. Our breakfast buffet is the only divider between the kitchen and living room. Therefore, we really only have 3 walls in our living room, and 1 of those 3 walls (above) is part of the “hallway” from the front door. But in a small condo, utilizing every inch is necessary. If we used this wall as the said “hallway,” we would cut approximately 64 sq. ft. off of our living room and the TV would have to be watched from an uncomfortable angle. Seeing how it came out makes me wonder how we ever doubted this option.

Can’t wait for wine by the fire!

We mounted our TV months ago, but it took us forever to find a solution for all the wires. My dad installed an outlet behind where the TV would go so the TV and cable box can be plugged in out of sight. But there is a wire connecting the box to the TV that must be hidden. After much research and the decision to not risk cutting into the wall or hire a professional, we decided on a small shelf directly beneath the TV. Unfortunately our cable box was ginormous and we couldn’t find a shelf to accommodate it. So we went to Comcast and put our names on a waiting list for a smaller box. After weeks and weeks we FINALLY got called and traded our box in for something slightly smaller.

So this past weekend, we hung the IKEA shelf right on top of the TV, with only the cable wire still showing…solution for that TBD.We haven’t bothered tucking the above wires in yet because of the nagging white cable wire…but all will be hidden in due time. The Ikea Lack table that is now my vanity used to sit beneath the TV. It clashed with our coffee table and also wasn’t the right shape or height for the space. So now we had to find something to fill in this blank wall. Brainstorm: a small table for our music player, a backless sofa, a storage ottoman, a large chest. I thought of everything! Seats were out because who would want to sit under a TV. It would be nice to pull up to the coffee table while entertaining, but impractical overall. A table or storage trunk seemed like the way to go but they had to be the right height. So while browsing Home Goods with my tape measure and camera out, I stumbled across this…An electric fireplace! I know some people have strong opinions about this because the flame never looks real, but that’s not my main concern. I wanted something that served as a shelf and that was nice to look at. I left the store empty-handed and had to weigh my options. The store only had 1 and I’d never seen 1 so cheap before, $200. I almost turned the car right around to go back, but I thought it better to go back to work and let it settle for the rest of the afternoon. I emailed the man and asked him what he thought. His first reaction: “Is it dangerous?” So I googled and sent him all kinds of links reassuring him that it’s basically a space heater and everyone has one. We returned to Home Goods together after work. I showed him all the other options I had seen before bringing him to the fireplace. He stood in front of it for a half hour while I walked around browsing other ideas.

Finally, I brought a salesman over, showed him the tiny scratch on the bottom left hand corner and asked him what we could do about it. He knocked it down to $150. When we hesitated, he reminded us of the 30 day return policy. Sold.

He wheeled it up to the front for us and at least 3 people stopped on the way out to ask if it was sold. We also left the store with this neat little camera next to the fireplace. We’re planning on a tall vase to the left and maybe a vintage book collection or a candle and a plant on the mantle.If you haven’t figured it out already, we threw the tags and receipt out and won’t be making use of their 30 day policy.

 

Window treatments are such a treat!

I finally finally found affordable drapes!! And what a difference they make in a room. Boscov’s seemingly ongoing curtain sale finally came through for me and my condo. I remember months ago stopping into Boscov’s after seeing a commercial for their amazing kitchen sale. While I drooled over knives and coffee makers, my friend was busy looking at drapes. It was before we moved and I didn’t have measurements nor have I ever had to purchase drapes for previous apartments, so I didn’t give it a second thought. It only took me 5 months to remember how good their prices were. It’s not custom made and you do have to dig through their “self-serve” section to find anything longer than 63″ but it’s oh so worth it. Drapery rods and other accessories are best bought at TJ Maxx for $7-$14, but for the actual curtains…Boscov’s is the place to go.

I started out with Ikea tulle in our bedroom..2 packs for $5 each. But it added no texture, no dimension, no color…it was just boring. Instead of wasting the $10, I added Liquid Gold brand drapes ($10 each) in gold to either side.

My bedroom now feels like a 4-star hotel room (it will get to 5 once we dress the walls up a bit), which is exactly the look I was going for. No dressers or armoires taking up space. All clothes are kept neatly in the closet or in the footboard drawers.These drapes have not yet been steamed 😮

I had no idea my windows were even this large! The living room drapes give off the illusion of a beautiful picture window. I’m still shopping for pillows and also a throw blanket to break up the bland color of our most comfortable couch. The 5 panels above were all $9.99 each. The blue ones are reversible and come in a variety of colors. The ones above are light blue and teal blue, but they also had more contrasting pairs such as cream and amethyst. (Again, these haven’t been steamed).

What a difference!The only undressed windows that remain are in the office, and the color choice for that is proving to be a difficult one.

 

On an unrelated note, my corbels came in the mail Monday for the dining room! I hope to have them painted and hung by this Monday…I’ll remember to take step by step photos.

The Room in which we live

DISCLAIMER: I wanted to wait until I got my new digital camera to post pictures of our most lived in room, the living room, but my impatience would not allow it. The photos here were taken with my cell phone (no flash). I plan on replacing all photos once my camera arrives. Please don’t judge by the seemingly dark room.
 

The before

 

The Present!

This room is still in progress, as is the rest of our condo, but it’s come far since we first moved in to bare walls with no light whatsoever. (I’m very self conscious by the darkness of this photo, but it’s only the cell phone, I swear. We live in an abundance of light).

We waited for this couch for 6 weeks. Our living room is so oddly situated that I had some trouble arranging the furniture. Once I convinced my other half to make use of the “hall” by putting the tv against the far wall, it was decided that the couch must go against the window. I originally wanted a chaise sectional, wall to wall, U-shaped. But in our price range, it was impossible to find. The non-negotiable was that it had to be comfortable. I wanted to be able to lie down together and watch a movie without feeling squished or falling off the couch. This couch accomplishes just that. I take many a catnap here without suffering back problems. It is my favorite place in the condo and for only $600 (JCPenney Memorial Day sale), it really makes the room. The pillows are still TBD. I made the sofa pillows without pillowforms and learned the hard way how lumpy cotton stuffing can get. The large blue pillow on the right was intended to be a floor pillow, but I failed to accommodate for how much the thickness would subtract from the size.

The chairs are from Pier 1, also on sale for $130 each. They’re more about practicality and style than comfort.

The ladder “end tables” I ordered from Amazon for $60 each, and they are worth every penny. We didn’t need true end tables with such a large coffee table, and these add height and dimension to the room without wasting space.

The coffee table is from The Dump (Langhorne, Turnersville, and Oaks) and we stained it from a very light color that was almost identical to the couch, to a deep cherry oak.

The rug I made using 4 layers: Non-slip rubber rug pad, canvas, 2 inch thick batting, and soft, fuzzy fabric, all from Joann Fabric. It was one of the hardest things to date and my blood, sweat, and tears are in it. The seam really shows through the thick layers and it gives it a one-of-a-kind look (which it is).

Still on the to-do list: Drapes, Entertainment shelf under TV (not pictured, on wall opposite couch), Art over chairs

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