Chandilove it!

Much like a new hairstyle on an old head, a new light fixture can do wonders to refresh a room. However, much like a new hairstyle, sometimes you don’t get exactly what you wanted the first time around. Don’t we all know that feeling? But there’s not a hairstylist on earth who wants you to be unsatisfied with your new do; they’ll always tell you to come back for a tweak if it’s not quite right.

Do you let your inner decorator tell you the same thing? You should. Tweak till you freak, that’s my motto. Not really, I just made that up four seconds ago. But you should feel free to tweak. You shouldn’t settle for something that’s ‘kinda ok.’ Or ‘sorta along the lines of what I wanted, I guess.’ NO SIR! You deserve better.

Rebecca has been renovating her dining room and was not at all excited about the chandelier that came with it. But she wanted to save money and make the most of what she had, so she had to either suck it up and live with, it or make it work. Guess which one she chose?

Jute Drum Shade Chandelier Before


Jute Drum Shade Chandelier

She made it work, of course she did! She took four inexpensive wood hoops and wrapped them with jute, then using the thinner pieces of wood as spacers, she created a custom shade to hang over the old chandelier for an entirely new look.  Fantastic!

Rebecca is chronicling her renovation on Pinterest! See it all on her design portfolio here.


Cyndy also had a light-fixture conundrum on her hands.  She was making over her daughter’s bedroom and wanted an empire-style chandelier that was bold, colorful and fun. The best one she could find on a budget was this $79 version from Lowe’s.  It is neither bold, colorful, nor enormously fun. But it had the right shape, and Cyndy had some paint she’d been dying to try, so …


Pink Painted Empire Chandelier Before

Pink Painted Empire ChandelierShe went right ahead and painted each bead exactly how she wanted it. Hot pink, gold and teal? Does it get anymore bold and fun than that? It’s so fun, I’m taking it as my +1 to the next party I’m invited to.

See more of the cute, cute room this chandelier belongs to on Cyndy’s blog The Creativity Exchange.

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Schoolhouse Style

If you’re looking to bring that ‘schoolhouse industrial’ look to your home, look no further than your local high school. You might have to wait a few years until it gets really old and condemned, at which point someone will tear it town and build a new one in its place, but before that happens, if you’re lucky, you might get invited inside to help yourself to all the cool left-behind stuff before it gets bulldozed.

It’s not really a bulletproof plan, but that’s one way to do it.

As fate would have it, that’s exactly how it happened for Naomi and Sage, who got to spend four glorious hours pillaging the remains of an old high school. Don’t tell me I’m the only one who thinks that sounds glorious. I would do that every darn day of the week.

Here is one of their takeaways, a pair of upper cabinets from a science classroom.  Let’s see what they did with them …

Salvaged Cabinets Two Ways Before


Salvaged Cabinets Two Ways - Yellow

Holy smokes, they are much bigger than they appeared!  Naomi put a set of tapered legs on hers to get it up off the floor a few inches and painted it a cheerful yellow. Now it has a useful job storing Naomi’s things and probably feels happy to look so cute and not be bulldozed.


Salvaged Cabinets Two Ways - BW

Sage opted to stay with the natural wood-look on hers, but jazzed up the back with some fun fabric and mod podge.  She also taught me something I never knew about fabric and mod podge.  She says “the best way to [cut] a clean edge without any fraying is to first coat the back of the fabric with mod podge and let it dry. It really works like a charm and I highly recommend it.”

Makes sense, huh? It would also make the fabric stiffer and easier to work with. Maybe this is obvious to everyone else in the world, but it was a light bulb moment for me! Speaking of light bulbs, they also pillaged a few boxes of those too.  I’m so jealous!

See more of this dynamic duo at Plaster and Disaster.

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Blasts from the past

Would you believe that Better After turns seven years old this year? Seven! That’s like a thousand years old in blog years. This old blog has seen a lot over the years, with the archives to prove it. There are more than 3,000 before and afters featured right here in this little corner of the internet. That’s really a mind-boggling number to me! Mind=boggled.

And just when I think I’ve seen it all, something new and wonderful pops up in my inbox. And just when I think everything that can possibly be made over has been made over, I get a REmakeover or two, too.  Congratulations if you managed to followed that last sentence at all.

What I mean is that sometimes an ‘after’ gets to be made into an even better ‘after.’

Jenn knows what I’m taking about.  She sent me this project ages ago. (The original post is here).

Black and White Bench Before

Black and White Bench Mid

That was then, and here it is today:

Black and White Bench

In my original post I mentioned that the butterfly fabric could easily be updated for a more grown-up look, and that’s exactly what happened, along with a black and white gallery wall to really punch your eyeballs with awesomeness.


Jenn had also sent in another cabinet makeover, which I originally shared here. She had painted it and changed the handles, and streamlined it by removing the feet and mounting it to a wall, which I loooooooved.

White Cabinet Sideboard Before

White Cabinet Sideboard Middle

I still love that look, but I love it even more in its current incantation:

White Cabinet Sideboard

She changed up the handles yet again and wrapped in in dark wood. It’s simply fabulous. And I still adore that watercolor world map too. More to see of this project on her blog Heim-elich.

*sniff* My little better afters are getting so grown up!

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Up Down Up Down Up Down

I hope your scrolling finger is sufficiently stretched out, because this coastal living room makeover is going to give it a workout.

Scroll down – “Woah!”

Scroll back up – “There’s no way that’s the same room.”

Scroll down – “Yes, I think it is. The windows are in the same place.”

Scroll back up – “Still, I’d better double check.”

Scroll down – “The new furniture layout makes so much more sense.”

Scroll back up – “And such a huge change from that before wall color!”

Scroll down – “Loving all the details here. Cute pillows, the hanging lantern … hey, are those burlap curtains?

Scroll up one more time for good measure

Scroll down – “I’d give it two thumbs up, if my hands weren’t already exhausted!”


coastal living room makeover before

coastal living room makeover after

Once your fingers recover, click over to Jessica’s blog Four Generations One Roof to see much more!

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