Budget Best: Christmas Decor

It is almost time to deck the halls! We always decorate for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving, which has been a tradition in my family since I was little. As soon as Thanksgiving was over, my mom and I would break out the Christmas decorations (and my dad was forced against his will to hang Christmas lights).

 

Last year, all of my Christmas decorations were packed away in complete disarray. I didn’t know where anything was, and I just didn’t have the energy to go through it all at the time, so I bought a few new things and went with it.

 

There are SO many cute Christmas decorations, and you don’t have to spend a lot! Some of my favorite places are Target (of course!), Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and Anthropologie. The Anthropoligie stuff is a little more expensive but I love how whimsical it all is.

 

Holiday Decor on a Budget

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

 

I love this set of vintage inspired ornaments. They would mix in well with just about any ornaments.

 

Boxwood wreaths are so festive for the holidays! They look adorable everywhere. I hung a small one from my barcart last year and it looked really cute.

 

This hanging moss JOY sign would look great on a door or in a window.

 

I love plaid for the holidays, and this red and white stocking is so cute from the new Magnolia Hearth & Hand line. There are several different stockings but this one is my favorite.

 

This plaid tree skirt is also from the Hearth & Hand collection. It is super cute and festive!

 

Of course you have to have some holiday scents going on! This one is balsamic and white oak. (This vanilla birch one sounds pretty yummy too).

 

I got a similar set of glasses a few years ago, and they look so cute on my bar cart. I’ll be talking more about decorating my bar cart in the December newsletter going out next week. Sign up for emails at the bottom of the post to get it.

 

Festive placemats are a great way to make your table feel more like the holidays. I love these with the colorful trees.

 

 

Monday I’ll be posting my big gift guide, so get ready! I decided to do 1 giant gift guide post this year so everything would be in one place. Also, I’ll be posting favorite sale items this weekend on my Facebook and Twitter.

 

Want more holiday content? Check out my festive fashion post. And I just created a new Holiday Pinterest Board where I’ll share some holiday recipes, fashion, home decor and gifts.

The Truth About A Fixer Upper

Fixer Upper Thing To Know

 

You know when you watch those HGTV shows, like Fixer Upper, and it all looks really cool and fun? They buy this house that is a dump, and then they turn it into this amazing dream home. It is a really interesting process, and it all comes together so well (although if you do watch them, there is inevitably a budget snafu).

 

This isn’t the real deal. Well, let me restate that. If you have a huge budget and a designer and a team of people to help you implement your dreams, then perhaps it is the real deal for you.

 

But that isn’t the case for us. First of all, we don’t have a big budget. We bought our fixer upper at a non- fixer upper price. So we have a pretty tight budget. Second, I am not a designer and Charlie isn’t a contractor, so we don’t really know what we are doing all of the time. We also don’t have a team of people to help us. It is mostly just us, with some assistance from my parents, and the occasional workmen to do things like pour concrete and lay brick which aren’t things we are comfortable with attempting.

 

So before you go running out thinking you want to buy your own fixer upper & be the next Chip & Jo, here are a few things I think you should know about them.

 

It is really time consuming.

I mean this in any aspect that you can possibly imagine. If you don’t have a big budget, like us, then the projects can take months. You save up enough money to do one project. Then you save up enough money to do another. Also, I refuse to have too many projects going on at once. We are taking it a room at a time. Although, we currently have our kitchen cabinets painting project AND our screened in porch project going on at the same time. I messed that one up.

 

If we plan a project and we think it will take 2 weekends, it typically takes 3 or 4. Everything takes SO much longer than you think. Something is going to happen. If it is an outside project, it is going to rain. Our main issue has been holes in the wall. We took down a mirror, and it was glued to the wall. By the time we got it down, there were huge holes in the walls. Same thing with taking down our kitchen backsplash – enormous holes in the wall.

 

Besides the actual implementation, the planning is really time consuming. If you have no idea what you want, you spend a lot of time on Pinterest. And you just don’t realize the small things that can really eat into your time. I can’t even count up the amount of hours I spend looking for a kitchen sink. I really wanted a farm sink, but because of our cabinets (which we are not getting rid of), there was only 1 sink that would work. And it was backordered for months and months. So then I wanted a white undermount sink, and guess what? They are practically impossible to find (I didn’t want acrylic or cast iron). Things like finding the right sink, or the right hardware that can really be time consuming and put a halt in the project.

 

It is extremely expensive.

The costs associated with fixing up a home are incredible. Besides the materials, the paint, the fixtures, you also have to consider the workmen and the extras that add up. Who knew concrete was so expensive? Not me. Every project costs more than you initially budget, so I suggest having some money set aside for those extras you don’t anticipate. But my feeling is this – I want to do it right the first time, so we don’t have to redo it in a year or two. So I would rather spend a little more now, then have to do it all over again later.

 

It is extremely frustrating and overwhelming.

I am not great with home design. So to start, it is frustrating because I have no idea what I am doing. I spend a LOT of time on Pinterest, watching HGTV and reading HGTV magazine. But with that being said, I do know what I like. So when I see it, I know that is it. I have really been overwhelmed with the bathroom. It is a complete disaster and needs major work. But bathroom renovations are really expensive. Like, they are one of the most expensive things you can do. That is why we decided to do a mini makeover in our bathroom, instead of the gut job I want (more about mini bathroom makeovers here).

 

But there are a lot of things I have wanted to do, like the farm sink, that just haven’t worked out. Our budget won’t allow it, or we have to choose between one thing or another. Another good example – I despised the light fixture in the entry hall (actually I hate all of the light fixtures in the house). And I found the perfect one, but when I measured, it was really too long for our ceilings. So I had to go back to the drawing board on that one. I love the one we ended up with, but it is super frustrating having to rethink things.

 

Also, having to do basically the entire house is really overwhelming. Sometimes I get so caught up in how much work there is to do. I just have to stop thinking about it, and only concentrate on the project we are working on.

 

You have to actually live there.

This may or may not be the case for you, but we are living IN our fixer upper while we fix it up. Now, it isn’t a falling down shack, and we aren’t doing any gutting, so it isn’t the worst. But we do have to live in a some sort of construction zone all of the time. My kitchen has been a disaster since the beginning of September when we took down the backsplash because Charlie has been fixing holes in the walls, and I have been slowly working on the cabinets.

 

You may not have to live in your fixer upper while it is under construction, but we didn’t have an option since we knew it would be an extremely lengthy process for us (like years).

 

It is also really rewarding.

Finishing a project is one of the most rewarding experiences. I look at our living room now, and look at the pictures before and I am amazed at what we did. It looks like a completely different room! Every time we complete something, even if it is a small project, it is so exciting. We are always so proud of what we did!

 

It can be fun.

If you like home decor stuff, fixing up a house can be fun. You are getting to do what YOU want! Yes, you are working with what you have (assuming you aren’t gutting the place), but you can customize it to your desire. I want a mostly white kitchen, and I am going to have a mostly white kitchen.

 

So if you are considering buying a fixer upper, my suggestion would be to thing long and hard about it. Let me know if you have any questions!

 

For more on our fixer upper, check out our before pictures, our fireplace makeover, and  a look at our living room before and after.

How To: Fall Front Porch

Fall Front Porch How To

 

I love fall front porches. I was so excited to decorate ours this year. As soon as October hits, I start the decorating!

 

Fall Front Porch How To

 

Fall Front Porch How To

 

There are several components to making a really great fall porch. Even if you don’t have a very big front porch (like us) or even no front porch at all, you can still incorporate some of these elements! Even if you live in an apartment, some of these are doable!

 

Fall Front Porch How To

 

Mums: I love mums. The more mums the merrier, in my opinion. This year, we went with mums and daisies. My favorite mums are the dark red ones. They feel so fallish!

 

Pumpkins: You can’t a fall front porch without pumpkins! Instead of having one big one, I like doing several and mixing up the sizes. Just like the mums, more pumpkins look better! Don’t just mix up the sizes but also the colors too. White pumpkins contrast really nicely with the bright orange ones!

 

Plants: You can also mix in other fall plants with your mums and pumpkins. We saw some really cool looking kale that I wanted to get (but didn’t) at Lowes.

 

Hay Bales: I realize if you don’t have much space, the hay bales are a hard thing to incorporate. But I love the way they look, and the way they add some height! Plus the hay adds some really great texture. You can get small ones like ours from Hobby Lobby.

 

Wreath: You can either do a fall wreath or a Halloween wreath. I love Halloween, so of course I opted for Halloween! See my DIY Halloween wreath below. This one is less Halloween and more fall, but it still has the pumpkins!

 

Door Mat: You could go fall or Halloween for this too. I love the Halloween, but this fall one is really cute too!

 

Lanterns: I have seen some really cool front porches with large lanterns, and they look great! We don’t have any lanterns this year, but I am definitely going to remember it for next year!

 

Fall Front Porch How To

 

This is my Halloween wreath. I made it several years ago. It took me hours and hours, and I burned all of my fingers doing it. But I love it and it was worth it! I feel like I saw it on Pinterest, but I swear I don’t think I even knew what Pinterest was when I made it so I don’t know if that is where I saw it. All I did was take a styrofoam wreath and wrap it with black ribbon. Then I used a bunch of different Halloween ribbons and hot glue gun them into loops. Then I glued the loops on the wreath (pack them in so it is really full). Then I painted the letters and glued those on.

 

The only thing I still want to do is find a door mat. I am looking for one I can use all fall and winter (even though I really want a Halloween one!) I had seen a black and white buffalo check one on Pinterest, but I can’t find anything like it anywhere! Hopefully I find something.

 

Have you decorated for fall / Halloween yet?

Living Room Before and After

Living Room Makeover

 

I am really excited to finally be showing off our completed (for now) living room! This is the first room in our fixer upper that is actually, really complete. A while back I posted about our fireplace redo, but today I am talking about the room as a whole.

 

Here is a look at what it looked like before:

 

Living Room Before

 

Living Room Before

 

Living Room Before

 

We had good bit of work to do in this room. Most of the work we did was on the fireplace. That was a huge project. After we completed that, fixed the enormous holes in the walls that were left from furniture banging into the walls, we painted and started putting the room together.

 

Living Room Makeover

 

The reason I said complete for now is because some day I plan on replacing the door and window with french doors that lead out to the backyard. Right now it is 1 working door, and the other side looks like a door but it doesn’t open. It is just windows. Charlie isn’t super thrilled about another living room project, but that one will be down the road. Although, in hind sight, I wish I had done it all at once.

 

 

Living Room Makeover

 

As much as I curse our house constantly, I really love our living room. I love the way the entry hall opens up into it, and that you can see my blue door from the living room. And I love the vaulted ceilings (even though that made painting impossible for us to do ourselves). And I love how open it all feels.

 

Living Room Makeover

 

All of our furniture is furniture we already had, and we were lucky that it all fit really nicely. It has taken me a really long time to get our furniture right. I’ve slowly added to it over time. And I finally convinced Charlie several years ago to let me add pink in with the navy and white.

 

Living Room Makeover

 

Living Room Makeover

 

I still haven’t figured out what to do on that upper ledge that is above the bookcases, so if anyone has any ideas, please let me know!

 

Here are a list of where some things came from:

Couch: IKEA

Chairs: IKEA

Rug: Caitlin Wilson

Pillows: Similar

Bookcases: Target

Curtains: My grandmother made them, but these are similar

Table by fireplace: Target

Bar cart: Ballard Designs

 

And if you would like to know more, make sure to sign up for my newsletter. It is going out next week, and I am going to be talking about paint colors and why I only use white paint. You can sign up at the bottom of this post!

Budget Best: Bathrooms

I am just going to say it – bathrooms are EXPENSIVE. Our master bathroom is a disaster. The walls are 2 different colors (mint green and teal). The actual walls are messed up – parts are textured, almost like there was textured wallpaper and only part of it was taken down. The tub and the shower could really stand to be replaced. I hate the floors. I don’t love the cabinet counter tops. We have 2 sinks, and the faucets don’t match.

 

I had grand plans to redo the whole bathroom – replace the tub and shower, put in new floors, remud the walls and paint, redo the cabinets, replace all the lighting, put tile on part of the walls (so the walls don’t get wet by the tub). But, as I said, redoing a bathroom is insanely expensive. Realistically, doing all of this could cost $40,000. This is not an exaggeration, and not something we could even think about doing right now.

 

The good news is that if you are like me, you can make some smaller changes without gutting the whole thing and it will make a big difference! I am planning a mini makeover for our bathroom. This project will be after we complete the screened in porch and the kitchen… which feels like it could be years before those are done!

 

So here are some ways you can make major improvements in your bathroom on a budget.

 

Bathrooms on a budget

 

Bathroom on a budget

You don’t have to replace your cabinets, you just need to give them a little facelift. Giving them a fresh coat of paint will make a huge difference. Beyond that, switch out the hardware and maybe update the faucets.

faucet / hardware

 

Bathroom on a budget

This is going to be more expensive, but upgrading your builder grade mirrors to something nicer (or even adding a frame around your builder grade mirror) can make a big difference. When we were selling our house in Jackson, our realtor kept trying to get us to either replace our mirror or add a frame around it. I am hoping to go from 1 large mirror to 2 smaller mirrors for our bathroom.

mirror 1 / mirror 2 / mirror 3

 

Bathroom on a budget

Add some color with a nice shower curtain and hand towels. Target always has really cute ones that match and won’t blow your budget.

Towel 1Shower Curtain / Towel 2

 

Bathroom on a budget

Add small rug (or mat) in front of your sink (or sinks) to make the bathroom a little more inviting.

Rug 1 / Rug 2 / Rug 3

 

Bathroom on a budget

This may seem a little odd to say accessories, but add a tray with nice soap, a candle and lotion to make your bathroom feel a little luxurious, especially in a guest bathroom. Guests really appreciate those little touches. I also have a frame in my guest bathroom (which to be honest I have yet to put a picture in it). Just because it is a bathroom, it doesn’t mean you can’t have accessories!

tray / lotion pump / candle

 

Bathroom on a budget

I really hate clutter, especially on the bathroom counters. Purchase some matching storage baskets or boxes so that everything is put away. We all have stuff, but it can be either tucked away or displayed neatly. Cute storage goes a long way.

compartment / basket / canister

 

 

If you do all of these things, or even some of them, I promise they will make a big difference in the overall look. Plus is won’t cost you an arm and a leg like a full remodel will!