Morning Room Challenge: The Big Reveal

Six weeks ago, myself & 177 others, set out to makeover a room, thanks to some motivation from Linda at Calling It Home. I chose to make over one of the few drab spaces left in our home, the morning room. If you would like to get caught up, here is what I have been up to the past few weeks:

Week One: Before Pictures & a Plan
Week Two: Painting the Secretary
Week Three: Adding Trim to an Arched Window
Week Five: Dining Chair Makeover

We have quickly arrived at week six & after some weekend table drama (that I'm not quite ready to talk about), I am happy to say the room is finished!

Let's start on the back wall with the Ikea Malm dresser. Maybe someday it will have pretty gold handles & a pair of beautiful lamps, but I couldn't quite justify spending money on those items, especially since I know the lamps would never get turned on!

I needed some pops of color on the back wall, so I painted my own artwork on a piece of poster board & placed it in a black poster frame from Wal-Mart. I'm pretty sure my husband is laughing behind my back about my masterpiece! Ha!

I picked up the black tray from Hobby Lobby. (It originally had a navy & white pattern.) I added a few books we occasionally use at dinner & some question cards in a small bowl from Target. My kids love to take turns asking & answering these questions during dinnertime & I love that it keeps us all at the table a bit longer. #momwin

The  light was an Overstock purchase when we first bought the house. And can we all just pretend that plant isn't shedding yellow leaves? (I'm sure they are just changing colors for fall!)

 The table & chair makeovers were the stuff of nightmares!

I found the six wooden chairs on Craigslist, painted them cream & recovered the seats in a cream leather. Those seat cushions... After working on those I am pretty convinced my brain has left the building! Thank goodness Mark was helping me figure out where we needed to staple.

I purchased the end chairs on Overstock & love the way all the chairs look together.

I am so glad my polyshades table nightmare is over! (sand, stain, strip, sand, stain, polyurethane...) I do love the way it turned out though. This table was in my dad's childhood home & was also the table I grew up eating at, so it is definitely dear to my heart.

Aren't we so fancy with our 89 cent Ikea plates & mismatched silverware? I think the white plates & chairs contrast nicely with the dark wood table. You are welcome to eat with us now that we have seating for eight at the table! (I don't recommend it though. We are having eggs tonight... My sister is the chef in the family!)

I'd say now would be a great time to discuss those curtains. Remember how I saved about $20 a panel by buying curtains that were too short & ripping the seams out to give me 3- 4 extra inches? Let's just pretend that's because I'm a genius, & not because I can't measure. Mkay?

 The pattern is a great modern print, much better than the floral curtains I had in the room previously. 

The secretary looks so much prettier in it's little black dress! The orange-y oak made this piece look dated, but the black paint gives it a more modern feel.

You can find all the details on how I styled it for free, as well as the links to some free printables here.

Now for the fun part! Let's see how far we've come.

The Before:

And After:



The Plan:
I would love to hear your thoughts on the space, but please don't ask me if my kids made the artwork. If you do, I will probably answer with, "Why yes they did!".

Don't forget to check out all the One Room Challenge makeovers. There should be plenty of inspiration to last you for days!

You can check out all the other spaces I've made over through the One Room Challenge here.

Easy Fall Girls' Night Out

Every month the ladies in my small group have a girls' night out. I was responsible for planning the September night, which happened to be the day after the fall equinox. I decided to host a dinner/craft/movie night in celebration of everything fall.

I didn't have enough formal dinnerware for the party, so I stopped by Ikea & picked up some of their 89 cent white plates & bowls & used some iced tea glasses we got for our wedding. The only cloth napkins I own are the ones seen here. I think the black & white buffalo/gingham print is perfect to use year round (pair them with red for Christmas & hot pink during the spring & summer).

Since I was purchasing all the food & supplies for the gathering, I decided to keep the table decor very cheap. I kept the centerpieces that are always on the table & just added a couple of mini pumpkins to be festive.

I wanted to make my friends feel extra special for the evening, so I put a "favor" at each place setting. I filled a clear goody bag with brown shredded paper & a $1 fall scented candle & tied the bag closed with some twine.

For dinner I served a simple dinner of white chicken chili (in the crock pot) along with salad & bread. Dessert was a mix of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin muffins, & caramel apples.

 After dinner we sat around the island snacking on dessert & used watercolors to make some fall art. I created two different prints for the ladies to paint (the other was a pumpkin). I'm not sure anyone actually used theirs as decor, but if nothing else, it was a fun, relaxing activity.

We finished off the evening watching the movie You've Got Mail (since it makes a reference about fall!).

Overall, I think the evening was a success! I just hope my friends feel the same way!

Morning Room Challenge: Curtains & Chairs

Yikes! We have quickly come to week five of the One Room Challenge hosted by Linda of Calling It Home. I have just one more week to finish up a few projects in the morning room & reveal it on the blog. Here's what happened so far:

Last week the room saw no progress, as I took a break to work on these:

My kids have been plotting this "happy meal" theme for almost a year! Evie, my youngest, desperately wanted to be princess Anna, so she became the happy meal toy (although several friends thought she was representing "Wendy's").

Anywho, this week did see some progress, although not as much as I had hoped for...

I removed the bottom seams from the curtains to lengthen them, since they were several inches too short & then we hung them up.

You can tell by the crease in the above picture just how much extra length ripping the seams gave me. It was probably a good three inches!

On Sunday, I started the painstaking process of refinishing 6 chairs I found on Craigslist. You may not be able to tell from the pictures, but they were disgusting! The foam in the seats had totally disintegrated & they sprinkled yellow dust whenever they were touched.  


They look much better after sanding & painting them & replacing the seats cushions.

The great thing about these chairs is that they are less bulky than our old ones, allowing us to fit six chairs along the sides. I also appreciate the lower profile of the chair backs, since the taller backs on the old chairs hindered the view out the windows.


As you can see from the list below (or the picture above), I still have one pretty big project to complete for the room-- refinishing the table. Blech! I am not looking forward to that one! 

The Plans
1. Replace the small "buffet" with a white Ikea Malm dresser.
2. Add trim around the windows.
3. Replace the curtains.
4. Re-finish the table in a darker stain to minimize the "orange-y oak" look.
5. Replace the chairs with two different styles.
6. Give the secretary a makeover in the form of black paint.
7. DIY artwork
8. Add new lamps & accessories to provide cheerful pops of color.
Be sure to visit the rest of the One Room Challenge Makeovers! 


Morning Room Challenge: How to Trim an Arched Window

Welcome back to week three of the One Room Challenge, in which I am updating the look of our morning room! You can see the before pictures & plan here & last week's progress here.

This week we added trim to our windows. Okay, technically we did that a few weeks ago, with the exception of the half circle window, since the online tutorial for slicing the trim lengthwise into bendable pieces did not in fact turn the trim into bendable pieces.

After trimming the outer two windows, we turned to the window below the arch. The bottom window was slightly smaller than the arched window. We easily solved that issue by adding these decorative square pieces to each end of the trim. Then, we finished off the sides & the bottom of the window.

In order to frame the arch, we had to special order flexible moulding from Lowes' window department. This is more expensive than regular moulding, but also cheaper than having custom moulding made & installed.

The product we used is by Carter Flex & cost around $120 for 11 feet. We were able to find the exact profile of the moulding we used on the other windows.

It's a rubber-like super flexible material that easily trimmed out our window.

Once the trim was installed & all the gaps were caulked, it got a few coats of crisp, white paint.

It's not a huge difference, but we really love the way it looks, & it's definitely a step above "builder-grade" windows that are only trimmed along the bottom, as you can see below...

 While I was at it, I also gave the door & baseboards a fresh coat of white paint and touched up some of the wall paint.

The end chairs I ordered from Overstock arrived...

I was waiting on them to arrive so I could match the leather to paint samples for the side chairs I need to make over.

 The Ikea Malm dresser is installed & I just ordered some lamps to sit on top of it. I went the budget-friendly route & ordered the lamps in "off white" instead of the more expensive turquoise option. I am saving about $20 per lamp & plan on painting them turquoise myself. Hopefully, that will turn out well...

I ordered the curtains around labor day & just opened the box yesterday! I thought I could make the 84" curtain length work, but when we hung them up, they were really short. Looks like I will be spending some time with a seam ripper this weekend!

I do really love the color & pattern in the curtains though!

The Plans
1. Replace the small "buffet" with a white Ikea Malm dresser.
2. Add trim around the windows.
3. Replace the curtains.
4. Re-finish the table in a darker stain to minimize the "orange-y oak" look.
5. Replace the chairs with two different styles.
6. Give the secretary a makeover in the form of black paint.
7. DIY artwork
8. Add new lamps & accessories to provide cheerful pops of color.

Now, to balance making 5 Halloween costumes, hanging curtains, & painting & staining furniture...

Be sure to visit Calling It Home to see all the other One Room Challenge makeovers!

Morning Room Challenge: Painting the Secretary

Week two of the One Room Challenge is officially in the books!  I didn't get as much finished as I wanted, but we did make some headway. The main project for the week was to paint the secretary desk that I bought a while back.

I really loved the clean lines & the fretwork in the glass, but wasn't a fan of the orange-y oak look. I decided to paint it black to update the look. 

I painted it Olympic Paints' Black Magic in a semi-gloss finish. It's reading pretty gray in the pictures, but it is actually darker than it appears. I love that it is more of a soft black, so it doesn't look harsh with the light colored walls.

My UH-OH MOMENT: In order to create less mess when painting the fretwork, I stuck paper underneath it (& on top of the glass). What I didn't realize is that the paint went underneath the fretwork & glued the paper to the back of it. I ended up having to use a knife & some rough sandpaper to remove all the paper stuck on the back of the grids, & ended up scratching some of the glass. Grrr... Now to find a solution for all the scratches...

I couldn't wait to add some pops of bold color against the black & I think it turned out pretty great using accessories we already had around the house. The "hustle" & "You make all things new" printables were free. You can find them here and here. The other artwork was done by my daughter & the origami swan was made by yours truly! Proof that decorating doesn't have to cost lots of money!

The Plans
1. Replace the small "buffet" with a white Ikea Malm dresser.
2. Add trim around the windows.
3. Replace the curtains.
4. Re-finish the table in a darker stain to minimize the "orange-y oak" look.
5. Replace the chairs with two different styles.
6. Give the secretary a makeover in the form of black paint.
7. DIY artwork
8. Add new lamps & accessories to provide cheerful pops of color.

You can see the before pictures & plans here.

Be sure to check out all the other makeover madness at Calling It Home.

Also sharing here

Less-Than-Perfect Life of Bliss


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