Quick Bathroom Refresh

People often think because I am a DIY/home blogger, my house must be the epitome of style and hipness, fully-decorated with each corner designed to perfection. HAAAAAA! This is very much NOT the case.

In real life, I suffer somewhat from decoration paralysis. I often fail to decorate anything at all, not for fear of getting it wrong, but because I love so many things. And so many of those things are big, grandiose ideas (thanks Pinterest!) that are neither practical or affordable or going to happen in this lifetime. So instead I do nothing and slowly become blind to the beige-i-ness that surrounds me.

Do you ever feel that way? That it’s all or nothing? Pinterest perfection vs. why bother? Here’s some advice I try to remember to give myself: do SOMETHING! A little something goes a long way. Maybe it’s not ‘all,’ but it sure the heck beats nothing.

So with that in mind, I decided it was time to pay some attention to the upstairs bathroom, shared by my three boys. I have put zero effort into this room since we moved in nearly two years ago. It had only the very basics: a shower curtain and a mismatched rug. Occasionally a bottle of hand-soap to really add some pizazz.

Maybe I’m not about to rip out a perfectly functional vanity just to buy a more expensive or stylish version, maybe I’m not planning to tear out the shower insert and retile it with custom concrete tiles imported from Italy anytime soon.

But darnit, I CAN put up a new shower curtain and a decent looking rug!

boys bathroom before pic


boys bathroom makeover 2

So that’s what I did.

It really is amazing what a tiny bit of effort can do.

before boys bathroom


boys bathroom makeover


I hung a shelf, I added some simple decor, I replaced the gnarly old towels with fluffy new ones.


boys bathroom before 2


bathroom makeover


succulent planter from target


cactus shelf and succulent


bathroom rules


rhino sculpture

So easy. And SO much better! I spent less than $100 and probably two or three hours of time, and now the room is so much nicer to be in. The kids even keep it cleaner too, which is amazing while it lasts.

I found most of the accessories at Ross and Target, and I made this yarn art myself.  I know what you’re thinking … “Yarn art? Above the toilet? Won’t that get kind of … gross?” Yeah, probably yes. I plan to give it a good dose of Lysol every now and then, and if it gets too funky, it’s just yarn. It won’t be all that heartbreaking to see it go.


yarn art

But it was fun to make! I think I’ll try another one again for sure. You should do it too! All you need is a dowel and several colors of yarn. I cut my yarn in six foot long pieces, then folded them in half so they hung three feet long. I attached them to the dowel two at a time using a cow hitch knot. Then you can just trim the bottom to any shape you want. I did something random and piecey here.

I also wanted to add something to the window, which is the tiniest window in the house and looked so bare. I found this gold and white fabric that I loved from Wal-mart believe it or not, and whipped up a faux roman shade.

faux roman shade

The shade doesn’t function (hence the faux) but it does a nice job of looking nice.  I just measured the fabric to fit the width of the window, and long enough to allow me to fold it several times. I held the folds in place with hot glue, then trimmed it with navy grosgrain ribbon. (Not true. I trimmed it with ribbon first, THEN folded it. Doing it the other way around would have been impossible).  Then I wrapped a 2×4 in the same fabric and stapled the shade on the back, screwed it into the wall, and flipped the fabric back over the top.

There’s a little shimmer to this fabric, which matches the shower curtain ever so nicely.

faux roman shade detailNice job Wal-Mart fabric department, I tip my metaphorical hat to you!

boys bathroom makeover 2

So that’s the story of my JUST DO SOMETHING boy’s bathroom. Making these few little tweaks really has made such a big difference. I hope it’s inspired you to ‘just do something’ in a space that lacks attention in your home. Don’t put it off any longer! Enjoy your home today!



Rug, hamper, shelf, bag, brass rhino, ‘Bathroom Rules’ art: Ross

Shower curtain, gray basket, succulents: Target

Towels: Macy’s Hotel Collection ultimate micro cotton

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A very, very, very small house.

Do you ever watch those ‘tiny house’ shows? You know, where they feature homes with literally the same square footage as a generously-sized tent? Can real human beings really live this way? Happily?

You bet your sweet buns they can! Better After reader Sarah is one such human. Check out this itty-bitty apartment she recently remodeled for further proof.

Before, it was a termite-infested hodge-podge of shoddy workmanship. The home was built in 1908 and split into separate apartments in the 1950’s. Since then, it had received nothing more than ‘band-aid’ style improvements and was in need of a total gut job.

Black and Yellow Bedroom:Kitchen Before

Black and Yellow Bedroom:Kitchen

Sarah to the rescue! She opened up the wall and reconfigured the entire layout, keeping everything unified with a black, gray and yellow color scheme. She focused on packing as much function as possible into each square foot of this space, 240 to be exact. The kitchen is only eight feet long but has everything a standard kitchen would have. There’s even a pull-out spice rack wedged between the fridge and the range!

Below you can see the former bathroom. It was moved to the other side of the apartment and Sarah created a new office to take its place.

Black and Yellow Bathroom:Office Before


Black and Yellow Bathroom:Office


Bedroom, kitchen, living room, bathroom, AND office? It’s practically palatial!


See more of Sarah’s work on her website S Jane Design.

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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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