I just scrapped off the first layer of frost from my windshield this morning, so I think it's safe to say that any inkling of summer is now officially long gone. And while some of you are still morning the loss of sunlight and warm nights, it's time to start gearing up for the holiday season!
One of the best ways to do this is to get your house looking festive and cozy. After all, you're going to be spending a lot more time indoors for the next few months! I like to occupy myself with some fun DIY holiday decor projects for my home this time of year. From pumpkin carving to soft christmas lights, here are a few of my favorite (and cheap!) ways to get your home ready for the holidays.
I was inspired by these white branches from ApartmentTherapy.com and I thought, rather than spend money on them, why not let nature do most of the work for free! Simply clip a cluster of branches you've collected down to a length that can easily fit in a vase, sand the dirt and nobs off the branches and paint on a thick coat of white paint. Get 25% off Sherwin-Williams paints and stains.
Tissue Paper Ghosts
This classic Halloween decoration is cute and super easy! Have the kids help you place a cotton ball in the center of a sheet of facial tissue and wrap white yarn under the cotton ball to secure the "head." Use the same piece of yarn to create a string of tiny ghosts to display along a window sill or above the doorway. Save $0.50 on Angel Soft Tissue.
I saw this display of pumpkins as I was surfing around for inspiration and I knew I had to try it! Rather than carving out a pumpkin face, simply drill holes to create a pattern on your pumpkin. The flicker of the candle will shine through the holes to create a beautiful design!
Softened Christmas Lights
I love the soft light of candles displayed all over my home (save $1.50 on glade jar candles). Another way to soften up the light around your house is to wrap little strips of tulle and lace around each little italian light. It may be a little time consuming, but the outcome is absolutely gorgeous! See for yourself.
Bowl of Candy!
Ok, this idea isn't exactly original, but in the spirit of Halloween, busting out the candy jar seems necessary! That is... if you have the self control to turn it down after the tenth piece of the day! Save $1 on Snickers, Twix, M&Ms, Milky Ways, 3 Musketeers and more.
Apps are taking over the world! Your kids are obsessed with a little game that involves launching angry birds at pigs, you're obsessed with a day-planner that keeps track of the entire family's schedule on your iPhone. There's even an app for those obsessed with stapling things (a fetish I am not familiar with). If you think I'm making this up - here you go.
But aside from silly games and staple fetishes, There are loads of apps that can help you with your DIY home projects. From decorating inspiration to downloading actual tools, I've got it all in the palm of my hand! The best part is that all these apps are free or (almost) free!
iHandy Carpenter ($1.99) This app includes a ruler, protractor, baubble leveler, plum bob and surface leveler - all for the small price of $1.99. I especially like this app for hanging pictures on the wall and installing shelves - very handy indeed!
Home Interior Layout Designer ($2.99) I'm constantly planning my next home decorating project. This app is like having a personal designer at my fingertips. I can plan, preview and carry out design visions for my current home, or see how my dream home would look like just for fun.
Trulia (FREE) If you're buying or selling your home, this app is excellent for cruising around the neighborhood for nearby open houses and for checking out the going rate of houses in your area.
Pintrest (FREE) Have I told you I'm obsessed with Pintrest? Yeah, probably about a million times. But when it comes to finding decorating inspiration, it can't be beat! Get the app version and never be without awe-inspiring images and ideas again. Appy pinning!
Who's there? A cheap, dull front door that's been driving me nuts ever since I moved in!
I've been living in my Chicago apartment for a little more than two years now, which has given me plenty of time to make it look and feel like my home. Even on a tight budget, I've managed to add some pizzazz to my bare-bones place. Every time I see a piece of expensive furniture or home decor item I just know I can DIY, I snap a photo of it with my phone and attempt to recreate it with cheaper materials at home.
I've found painting the walls or a banged up piece of furniture is one of the cheapest and most dramatic ways to change a room. Panting my walls was the first thing I did when I moved in, and it instantly added a personal and cozy touch... but the dang front door is still a flat, blank plank of wood. If I had it my way, I'd tear it out and add a beautiful heavy door with decorative panels, but of course, this plan is not within my budget.
I don't now why it never occurred to me to treat my door like a piece of old furniture and renew it with some fresh paint. It's such a simple (and cheap!) way to improve its appearance while adding a pop of color to my room. When I saw this blog post from Merideth & Gweneth, the New Yorkie, suddenly everything clicked. This clever gal painted her New York studio apartment door a bright pink and gave it faux panels. It is amazing, and I think even I, with zero handy-woman experience, can pull it off.
Here's how you can transform a flat, boring door from eyesore to showstopper. All you need is a paint brush, painters tape and Benjamin Moore Paint (Save $5 on any gallon of Benjamin Moore premium paint or stain!)
- Mark a spot 5 inches down from the top of the door and 5 inches in from the side of the door with the hinges.
- Mark another spot 5 inches down from the top of the door and 5 inches in from the side of the door without the hinges.
- Connect the two dots with wide painters tape. Use a level to make sure it's straight.
- Create another straight horizontal line about 2/3 of the way down from the top of the door.
- Connect the two lines to create a rectangle.
- Create a second rectangle for the bottom of the door using the same technique as the first rectangle.
- Once you have two rectangles, put a thin layer of painters tape right next to the thick layer of tape on the inside of both rectangles.
- Then, put another thin layer of painters tape next to that, and peel off the first layer of painters tape to create a double line design.
- Using a ruler, mark the areas where excess tape reaches beyond the lines creating the rectangles.
- Peel back the tape and cut along the lines; do this until all the lines have perfect edges.
- Cover the door's hardware and trim with painters tape.
- Paint on a coat of Benjamin Moore paint (get a coupon!)
- Let dry and then paint on a second coat.
- Let dry and then peel off the tape.
I can't wait to start painting! But first, I need to pick a color
. I'm really digging Sweet Taffy
or Brilliant Blue