Lightening Up a Dark Couch With Pillows

Good morning friends! I’m here to say that living on a budget is sometimes no fun. We have been spending way too much on car repairs lately which has put everything else on the list on hold. Maybe you’ve been there?? So, as much as I would love to finish out our family room makeover with a lovely white slip-covered sectional from Pottery Barn today, I’m just gonna have to wait. So, what to do to make our dark brown sofa fit in?? Pillows, and lots of them!

I made all of these myself and used feather pillow inserts from IKEA (6 bucks people, you can’t beat that). I have started backing my pillows with dropcloth fabric. This helps keep the cost down. (don’t you love the styling of the tray on the ottoman – thanks kids for adding your touch :))

Don’t see the difference? Here it is before.

Cuter styling of the tray but way too much brown going on! 

Sewing pillow covers is fairly simple if you are doing a basic square with no trim. There are lots of tutorials out there like this one. What makes it tricky is when you decided to add trim, or a flange detail – like the orange pillows – or try to something really risky like use striped fabric to create a different design – like the turquoise pillows.

I must admit that I have been sewing since I was 9 years old. So, most of the time when I start a sewing project I don’t look for how-tos. I just dive in. I might do a few sketches, hold things together to see how it works, but mostly I just make it up as I go. I’m sure that a lot of times there’s an easier way to do what I do, but hey, I really don’t mind. I like stretching my mind and trying to figure it out. 

I also made this cutie for our rocking chair. This is the rocking chair I rocked all our babies in, which means I just cannot part with it. It has lived in several rooms in our home, and now it lives in a corner of our family room. This pillow got all the love (see what I did there? ha!) – trim, applique, and a print backing!

I am going to try to pull together a tutorial soon for the turquoise pillows. My making it up as you go routine, sometimes means that I didn’t take pictures of everything. So, we shall see.

Have a wonderful day everyone!!

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Easter Mantel

Did you miss me last week?  Sorry for the absence.  Hubby and I were in sunny California where we met up with our oldest son.  The baseball team was there playing some California teams on their spring break.  So, three for one – I got to see my boy, I got to watch him play baseball, and I got to go to the beach! It was a great time for sure!!

It only took me a couple of days after having the mantel finished to start scheming it’s first decor. Since Easter is coming quickly I thought I would do something simple for that.  

I have never had a mirror above our mantel, but I knew that was something I really wanted to find to add to our new light and bright space.  I scoured high and low for an affordable option and landed with this one from Ross.  A great size for $25 I think!

I added a free printable from here. And the rest are items I already had.

The vase on the end there got a little update with paint.  I have had it forever, and it was just a little tired.  But, now I love it all over again!

I cannot begin to tell you how much I am enjoying our new space.  I still have a couple of details to attend to (like something to put that other plant in), but it is so much better already!!

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DIY Floating Mantel

Another addition in the Family Room Refresh!! A while back when I decided to paint the brick around our fireplace I also removed the mantel. It was never really my style. The fireplace sat naked for weeks, as I pondered what to put in it’s place. I toyed with the idea of building a surround, something tailored and traditional, or just a simple floating mantel.  My mind just kept going back to the latter, so that’s what we went with. And I’m soooo glad we did!!  I love it!!
DIY floating mantel

I had considered adding corbels, and I may still do that if I find some I love, but for now I love it as is!!
The DIY was not as hard as I thought it might be. Sometimes I can dive right into a DIY and get ‘er done, and other times I’m a bit intimidated.  I don’t know why, but some things get me psyched out!  
We started by attaching a ledger board to the brick.  We attached the appropriate anchors into the mortar in between the bricks, and then attached the board with screws.  
How to attach a floating mantel to brick
Screwing into the anchors and into the two pieces of wood on either end.  (That puppy ain’t goin nowhere!)
Then, we attached six 2″x4″x6″ pieces along the ledger board to help support some of the weight of the mantel.  
attaching a floating mantel to brick
You can see that we really weren’t concerned about them being spaced exactly even – no one is going to see them remember.
Then we moved on to building the actually mantel piece.  You are building a box that is missing one side.  
how to build a floating mantel
We used 1″x8″ pieces of basic white board for this.  This is the same wood that I used in our entryway.  I wanted some character to the wood since I was staining it, so this was a great economical choice.  I used two 6′ pieces and one 8′ piece which cost me around $25.  
This was my first time to use my nail gun, and man did it make this project easier!! Each joint was glued and nailed to make sure it was secure. 
building a floating mantel
In an effort to have as few cut end pieces showing as possible, I did this.  
how to DIY a floating mantel
The two side pieces (which are actually the top and bottom) were cut shorter to accommodate the end pieces (the width of the wood shorter on each end).  
building a floating mantel
This way, from the front and the ends – the most visible parts, there is only one end of the board showing.  Clear as mud right? I hope so!! Here is the dry run before staining :).
floating mantel installed
I filled a few tiny gaps with stainable wood filler, and everything got a good sanding.  I smoothed all the edges and corners really good.  Then I stained it with a dark walnut stain, and topped it off with a couple of coats of polyurethane.  
floating wood mantel
Hanging it was super easy!  Slip it over the supports, and attach the mantel to the ledger board with screws.  We made our ledger shorter than the actual mantel to allow room to adjust the placement of the mantel when we were mounting it, which was very helpful to get the desired placement.
I snapped this shot right after we finished hanging it.  Such sweet satisfaction to DIY!!
updated fireplace with painted brick and floating mantel
Loving the finished product and can’t wait to get it styled up for spring!!
family room
Our family room is coming along.  It really is feeling more and more like a space I want to stay a while.  And, that’s a nice feeling.  

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Bringing New Life to the Built-Ins (again)

Hello there!  You might have noticed that the walls, and the brick weren’t the only things that got a little paint love in our family room.  The built-ins also received some in the form of color this time! 

Several years back I transformed the built-ins from ugly-orange-oak to a beautiful almost white.  I loved them, but knowing everything else was going to be almost white I wanted to add some color in somewhere.  I have pinned so many images of bookshelves with the backs painted, so I decided this would be a great place to add a hint of color. Nothing too bold – just some navy blue (the same navy blue I used for the feature wall in our master bedroom).  🙂

Here they are before.

And here they are after paint.

And after things got returned to the shelves.

I re-styled a few things while I was at it as well. After 13 years of living with these built-ins, I’m still not great at styling them, but I do feel like it’s getting easier.  

The next steps for the family room include wood and fabric.  Stay tuned!  🙂

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Family Room Progress – Paint

A couple of weeks ago I hinted to the progress that I made in our family room.  Well, I’m finally back today to share with you more pics of our now light and bright family room!

I have to go back to Christmas for before pics because I was a bad blogger and didn’t take any before I started painting.  I was too excited!!

And maybe you remember what the fireplace looked like after I painted the brick.  (Soo glad I took the plunge – I love it! Still working on the mantle – I have a plan, just need time to get it done.)

Now here is what it looks like at this point.  We rearranged the furniture after we finished painting.  

It had been in the same place for years, and I was ready for something new.  Really, I’m ready for new furniture, but that’s not quite in the budget yet.  

When you have a kiddo in college thousands of miles away, plane tickets home are far more important than new furniture – amen?

I am loving the new paint.  It is Silver Screen by Glidden.  For the life of me I can’t find a picture online of the swatch so here is a shot I took with my phone just to prove that it’s a real thing! Geez!

It’s a pale gray, which of course is not represented well by this swatch.  It reads white in some light, and a very pale lavender in other light.  It really was just what I was looking for :).

I went back and forth about whether or not to paint the dark trim around the fireplace and above the built-ins (scroll back up to see in the pics).  It has always seemed awkward to me so paint it was, and it was definitely the right choice!  Yay for progress!!

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