Aside from major decor ideas I had before moving in to my new place, I realized it needed a lot of simple changes. For me, it’s all in the details.
The hardware had so many layers of paint over it, it was about an inch thick. The lighting fixtures were caked in dust and outdated (and not in the vintage-cute way I’m going for). The cabinets were dirty, and wouldn’t stay shut. The light switches were oddly misshapen. Needless to say, I got creative.
Here are a few ways to give an older home, especially a rental, some TLC:
Remove layers of paint from hardware.
Having ten layers of paint over hardware is a tell-tale sign of an old rental. (Gotta love lazy painters.) Clean the hardware to remove decades of old paint, or simply buy new ones. It’ll only cost you some spare change! How simple (and cheap) was that?
Upgrade boring lighting fixtures.
This isn’t necessarily a cheap fix, but one that still makes all the difference. Upgrade ugly, standard lighting found in most rentals with modern light fixtures. Save the old ones, and you can take your upgrade with you when you move! In my opinion, it’s worth the investment.
This type of job usually requires some hardwiring knowledge, which is super easy to learn. (Make sure you turn your electricity off, please!)
Add unique switch plate covers.
Changing a boring, white square plate to something more unique makes one of the biggest differences in the feel of a home. This one you see is from Allen + Roth, and I changed all my visible plates to this style. Instant class! The better the quality of what you choose, the more expensive. But again, this is something you can take with you if you rent.
My house is also really old (pre 1940′s) and I don’t think the actual light switches or outlets had ever been changed from the originals. I went ahead and upgraded those too. Believe it or not, these cost less than $1 for each on/off switch or outlet. Make sure you turn the electricity off, and then simply hook the wires up exactly how they were on the old. This not only gave me smooth, non-painted switches but actually improved the lighting response in my switch that connected to the outdoor lighting. I guess it wasn’t hooked up properly to the old one!
One final bonus — this easily allowed me to change my 2 prong outlets to 3 prong. Bye-bye, ugly 3 prong adaptors.
Additional ways to upgrade:
If you can’t paint your cabinets, sand and stain them to give them the “like new” feel.
If your cabinets don’t stay closed, add magnets.
Change your outdated hooks and knobs to something cute that matches the decor in the room. Anthropologie has the best finds!
Replace locks and doorknobs to something more modern.
Use cheap, unfinished wood from a hardware store to give yourself more shelf space. Then sand and stain. I did this for both my kitchen and my closet! You save so much money, and it allows you to have more space for storage in the most custom way possible.
While most of these take an hour or two of your time, they save you money and transform the look of your home.
I’d been contemplating how to solve the “empty” look in my living room. My decorating style is minimalist (big surprise) but it still looked too empty for my taste. I like a safe middle ground between simple and decorative.
I was performing my daily Pinterest browse when I stumbled upon a frame gallery board. Light bulb! That’s when I knew I wanted to add a gallery of frames above the TV.
Here’s how to organize your own frame gallery without making a million holes in your wall:
Decide on an arrangement. Search the web for common size arrangements, or use this guide if your stumped and want some frame arrangement ideas.
Get out some paper and cut (or tape together) the shapes for each frame you’ve chosen for your gallery.
Begin taping your paper to the wall. The idea here is that this isn’t permanent. You’ll quickly figure out what works best for your space, without consequences for moving the paper around.
Once you have your arrangement, go ahead and purchase the frames. I was looking at these from Pottery Barn, but cheaped out and went with IKEA alternatives. Hey, I’m a girl on a budget… But if you have change to spare, Pottery Barn currently has their frames on sale online!
Measure the location of where you’ll need nails on the frame. Take that measurement and place it onto the paper hanging on your wall.
Hammer nails in place!
Remove the paper. Just rip it right off the wall, and the nail shouldn’t budge.
Hang your frames.
Don’t sweat over imperfections. Not every frame will be perfect and some space may vary. Imperfection adds character! Mine aren’t perfect, but I love the results.
Simple, isn’t it? I used to use the trial and error method. Let’s just say my last apartment needed some serious TLC when we moved.
Now comes the fun part — filling the frames with artwork!
Summer is fast approaching, which usually means the sun is ready to beat down on you the minute you step out the door. Do you modify your makeup routine for the heat? If not, you should!
I’m still a big advocator of not wearing makeup when it gets too hot, as I mentioned during summer last year in my summer makeup routine.
But sometimes the situation calls for it — maybe you’re planning on taking photos that day, meeting someone special, working, or want to make an impression.
Tips for Minimalist Summer Makeup
If you’re planning on wearing makeup this summer I recommend:
SPF formulas: Obviously, sun protection is a must for the summer. Prevent wrinkles, age spots, and most importantly keep your skin healthy!
Tinted moisturizers: I avoid foundations at all cost in the summer. Not only does it feel heavy and not do well under heat, but I find that it clogs my pores more often than in the colder weather. Stick with tinted moisturizer, which usually has SPF and applies lightly.
Waterproof formulas: If you need to wear mascara, blush, etc. you should try for waterproof for obvious reasons. Sweat means running makeup! I like this Cheek Stain by Tarte, which gives a dewy finish and stays put all day no matter what.
Light application: Keep your application as light as possible. And don’t go more than one layer, especially on full face coverage, to let your skin breathe.
Setting sprays: These seal in moisture and can even add extra SPF, like this Studio Moisture Fix by MAC. Most of these are designed to keep your makeup in place.
My Summer Makeup Routine
I’ve been wearing some makeup this summer, because I like looking my best at work. The question I ask myself is, “Will I freak out if this begins to melt on my face?” If the answer is yes, I don’t put it on.
Keep in mind that I use my bike as a primary means of transportation. My routine ensures I look my best, but it’s also bike-proof!
That’s all I’ve been wearing when I feel like I need to wear makeup.
My primary concerns include covering up my genetic dark rings under my eyes, and evening out my skin tone because being pale shouldn’t mean being translucent. I throw in some long-wear blush just to keep a natural color in my skin. (Though really, after biking I could easily skip that step!) Finally, shaping your brows can frame your entire face. Sometimes all you need is to define them!
I find that sometimes a good hair style will make you look fantastic, and you don’t really need makeup. You’ll look natural, and you’ll look like yourself! I’ll share some summer hair ideas in a future post.
I prefer to shop in places where I can walk in the door and already know where everything is. Psychology 101: People like the familiar.
When I shop, I’m a girl on a mission. I’m not looking to spend extra change — I’m looking for a specific type of item, and I want to go home after I purchase it. You may have guessed correctly that I’m not much fun to go shopping with.
When I walk into Loft, Gap, Banana Republic, etc. I like that I know where to get what I want.The new arrivals are all in the front of the store. Jeans are in one section. Essential tops and tanks are in another. Clearance is at the back of the store, along with shoes.
So when I walked into Forever 21 last weekend hoping to get a basic t-shirt and new pants with whatever I had left on my Christmas gift card, I nearly had a heart attack. I easily get sensory overload. Walking into Forever 21 has gone from a teenage, “This is exciting, I don’t even know where to begin!” to an adult, “Holy crap, I need to get out of here.”
Long story short, I left with a basic gray t-shirt (which took me over an hour to find) and three other shirts. Now that my conscious/gift card is cleared, I think my Forever 21 days are coming to an end. The styles are becoming odd and ill fitting, and I can no longer empathize with the teenagers congratulating each other on a “good find.” I prefer not to dig through 50 different tops crammed onto a rack for a “good find.”
My point being that a shopping experience should not be like this because:
If you come for something specific, you usually leave with something you didn’t come for instead.
The prices are low, so you feel you can grab as many as you want and not feel the burn.
If it didn’t come out within the past month or so it’s on a rack and there are a limited number left, making you feel like you have to take anything good you find. After all, what are the chances it’ll still be there next weekend, or that you’ll even find it again?
It’s a type of marketing that tries to put your mind into shopaholic mode.
You’ll pull something off the rack and not be able to cram it back on. We’ve all been there. It’s ridiculous.
Quality of the clothes aren’t the best because everything is overproduced. My Forever 21 clothes last about 3 months.
A shopping experience should be easy, fun, and straightforward. It should not make you feel like you’re trying to find a needle in a haystack.
I’ll take my shopping simple, please.
What are your thoughts on Forever 21 and shopping layouts? Let’s Discuss!