2-Second Tip: Hardware Swap

When we got married we used most of our Target gift cards to get two pretty nice bedside tables. Gotta have a place to put your charging phone, a lamp, and a glass of water while you snooze, right? Lately I have been giving them the side-eye because their traditional look did not fit in with the mid-century boho look I have been leaning toward lately.

A couple quick impulse buys at Anthropologie fixed that quickly.

Anthro Hardware

Bedside Table Hardware Update

I don’t always gravitate to the mix-and-match look, but for these simple black tables I like it. The upper and lower are the same on each bedside table which makes sure they still look like a set.

I don’t know why it took me so long to do this, but the side tables look so much more eclectic and chic now! We swapped out the kitchen cabinet pulls at our Kansas house before selling it too, and it quickly brought the cabinets from 1930 to 2012 in, seriously, an hour’s work.

Even if you aren’t near an Anthro, there are great knobs at World Market, and even some nice traditional ones at Target or Home Depot if you just need a quick-something-new.

Make sure to check out some more 2-second tips for beautifying your space.

DIY Plywood Headboard

First, I want to thank you all for your kind words about Doug’s stolen bike on Monday. I was also pleased and surprised with the number of comments on the bedroom! It is a great week to be a blogger. :)

File this project under “got it done!” or “procrastination who?”

When Doug’s brother was here in San Diego last week, we hit up the Urban Outfitters downtown to see if they had any winter coats on clearance (they didn’t). While we were there, Matt, who does woodworking, took a particular interest in the fixtures which were made of mainly plywood, 2’x4′ lumber, and pipes! (Related: I found an interesting article on UO’s aesthetic.)

When pondering bed solutions, I realized that using the same materials, I could create a modern, fresh, E-A-S-Y, and cheap headboard.

I got some leftover plywood (the type I used is technically called OSB, or oriented strand board) from my dad’s garage–these pieces were actually left over from when my parents’ house was built in 1999. Vintage!  This kind of wood is normally used as a subfloor or other non-finished construction material.

The goal was to make a headboard 60 inches wide (queen size) and somewhere around 4 feet tall. As luck would have it, the boards my dad gave me were in 20″x48″ panels which means we had no cuts to make whatsoever! We did have to drop about $12 at Lowe’s for the other lumber. I will not say no to a $12 headboard.

Supplies needed:

  • Plywood (OSB) panels
  • One 1″x4″x8″ board, cut into two 4′ pieces
  • One 1″x4″x10″ board, cut into a 60″ piece and a 52″ piece
  • Screws
  • Cordless drill(screwdriver)

The plan was to line the boards up and brace them with lumber from behind–one piece down each side and two braces horizontally. Here’s a shot snapped in Lowe’s after we had our boards cut for us:

headboard frame

Originally I wanted to attach the screws in from behind but after some trial-and-error, and taking into account the way the OSB board would splinter, we decided that having exposed screw heads on the front was not the end of the world. At least I measured evenly and marked the board with sharpie so they would all line up. Here’s a progress shot–he is working on the bottom of the board:

headboard in progress

Note: we had already been to the hardware store twice that day and did not want to go out again to buy the appropriate length of screws. The drywall screws we used were too long and stuck out the back of the headboard!! I took this opportunity to break out the dremel tool we have had for several years and use the heavy duty cutter attachment to cut off the ends of the screws that were sticking out. Disclaimer: I do not recommend doing this unless you have a workshop. I did this on the apartment patio and it kind of scared the pants off me.

using a dremel

dremel-ed off screw ends

So as not to damage the walls, since the screw tips were still not flush, we covered the tips with two layers of painter’s tape. Another good option (that I still might use) is felt circles–the adhesive kind you can put on chair legs so they don’t scratch the floor.

Enough blabbing, let’s see some “after” shots!

DIY Plywood Headboard

DIY Plywood Headboard


DIY Plywood Headboard

I love the deconstructed concept and the pattern and texture the particles of wood have. The warm, cheery tone also plays well with the pillows and comforter. I know that it’s definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I decided if I couldn’t afford a real, grown up headboard right now, to head in the totally opposite direction and do something funky and exciting. I mean, I’m not getting any younger, right?

Now the big question is… what to hang over the headboard? Ideas? 

PS: More OSB love here… In all truth, I found that article through Unhappy Hipster.

Our Bedroom, About to Change

So, after I moved in I shared where we plunked all the furniture down, then photos of the patio and as far as whole space tours, that was about it. Everything seems so in-transition and I didn’t think anything was “done.” Well, nothing is still done and we have been here almost four months, and I think things are about to change. We have Christmas and the expenses associated with it behind us, and I think I’m ready to do a DIY project for our headboard, but I would like to share photos of the bedroom as-is now so that I’ll have something to compare the “after” to.

Unfortunately, as I write this it’s easy to enumerate the sources of frustration here in the room and not so easy to list the positives. The good news is–there is a lot of room for improvement, which makes for a more dramatic “after!”


I’m still in love with the duvet cover, but have been having issues with the blanket inside it. When we bought the duvet cover, I bought a duvet insert on overstock.com which has nothing on the corners to tie the duvet strings to. Which means the insert gets all bunched up down at the bottom. Annoying. So, I tried putting our old gray pebble quilt from target inside it which has the same result. C’est la vie until I buy a proper duvet insert with holes in the corners (or whatever makes a proper duvet insert work with a duvet cover).

That was quite a tangent! How’s about another one?

I was distressed by the lack of headboard. It didn’t seem to matter in the old place because of the rich gray walls, but here in an apartment complex in an all-white box of a room, it just seemed sad. So we DIY-ed a little bit of artwork to act as a stand-in focal point. The lighting in the room is also a source of frustration since we have no overhead light and the arsenal you see here (two bedside lamps and the christmas lights) even when all on together, is very dim. Dim rooms are such a pet peeve of mine!


The glossy black dresser was mine in high school and my mom was very happy to see it out of her house. I have a project in mind for those space-aged handles…


Another thing that needs to be contended with, I think I have mentioned before, is the dog kennel. We crate-train Mosey, which is great for both owners and dogs, but the kennel is U-G-L-Y! There really is no other space for it. Oh well! There is room in here, and it doesn’t obstruct traffic or anything–it’s just an eyesore.

Mosey & Newspaper

The BEST thing about the bedroom is the light in the morning. A sunbeam makes its way through the window slowly from the bed to the closet and Mosey is happy to sleep in it, shifting locations occasionally, from around 8 AM to 2 PM. This is wonderful as I can get stuff done on the computer or around the house without him pestering me to play! Side note–is that fake newspaper not the cutest dog toy you have ever seen? And is Mosey not the cutest blurry dog you have ever seen? Awww…

So, here is the bedroom! Nowhere close to “finished” but it has served us well for the past few months.


Truly, I couldn’t come up with something funny and/or non-creepy to title this post about the bedroom.

For many, many months after we moved in, this continued to be my least favorite room in the house. The paint color and the grey comforter we had in the old place clashed, clashed, clashed. Fighting shades of gray are almost as bad as fighting shades of black. So, one temporary comforter and one new West Elm comforter later, things started shaping up. We removed the headboard and made the room feel way bigger. I finally love this room :)

First, a shot right after we moved in. It will make you understand why the room made me so depressed:

Second, in case you were wondering: we did not paint! Natural light works wonders. Unfortunately the room gets natural light pretty much only while we’re at work. Anyway, getting rid of the headboard and hanging cream curtains helped, but the temporary comforter was NOT what the doctor ordered:


Now, I feel like gray, cream, and white can coexist in a small space, with the blue pattern on the comforter playing referee between the three neutrals. The yellow helps lighten the mood! Across from the foot of the bed is our IKEA dresser. Believe it or not, the dresser was easier to assemble than the wardrobe we bought the same day! Here’s a shot:

Here’s the view of the wardrobe (hanging those doors and making sure they were even was the WORST!). The doorway at the left edge of this photo leads to the hall :) I’d like to get more globes to fill up the top of the wardrobe like you see on home interior blogs sometimes. Haven’t come across any while thrifting lately, though!

And a little source list, since I ended up the guest room tour that way… I like to try to prove that a house can look stylish on the cheap. This room, by FAR, we have put the most money into. The mattress, bedside tables, wardrobe and dresser were all bought new. A mattress is not really something you want to buy used, and it is impossible to find dressers at the limited options of thrift stores we have here. These items are, however, more or less the ONLY furniture items purchased new in our house so far!

  • Bed, rather, mattress and box spring on the floor, from Ashley Furniture
  • Comforter, West Elm organic ironwork duvet cover, snagged on SALE for $65. (Can also be seen on the not-very-funny new show Are You There Chelsea?)
  • Wardrobe, IKEA ENGAN $179
  • Dresser, IKEA TRONDHEIM. I guess it doesn’t come in 6-drawer anymore? I think it was somewhere around $175.
  • Bedside tables, Target (Wedding gift cards! Woo! Don’t remember how much they were.)
  • Yellow pillows, Dwell Studio for Target. I waited years for these to finally go on clearance! $17 ea.
  • Curtains, Target $24 per pair (3 pairs, ordered online to get the extra length)
  • Chair with green cushion, found for F-R-E-E at the re-use shed at the dump, reupholstered with materials from JoAnn.
  • Tennis Racquets, thrifted, $3 for 3.
  • Red lamp & burlap shade, both from target, somewhere around $30 together?
I am not putting the dollar signs in to show off how much we’ve spent/invested (depending on your POV). What I’m trying to show is that, minus the mattress (which rang in somewhere around $600 I think?) the room was well below $1000, which seems to be the approximate amount TV shows budget to redo a room “on the cheap.” Personally, I feel like the room looks great, and I’m not sure putting more money into it would even improve on it. What do you think?

There you have it! Questions? Comments? Favorite part? Mine is (obviously) the duvet cover :)

Gettin’ Low

Remember those blog resolutions I made about making sure to take more “before” and “during” photos to make my posts better? Remember how it was just a couple weeks ago that I proclaimed them to the world? I have been getting better as evidenced by my recent drawer clean-up, but, um, we made a change and forgot to shoot “before” pictures. Wop wop. Any habit takes time to develop, though. Anyway! Moving onward. No time to cry over unshot photos.

When we got married my parents got us a basic Hollywood bed frame to get the mattress and box spring off the floor–the below photos shows the setup from our old place, before we got our queen-sized mattress and with the bed at full height. It was perfect at the old apartment because the room itself was GIANT and everything had plenty of room to hang out. This particular bedspread (a “full/queen size,”) hit the floor and hid the Hollywood frame and all our under-bed storage. The bed scooted around, but not as much. I think the rug helped.

Unfortunately, with both Doug’s and my parents being “carpet people” we had never anticipated that on hardwood floors the wheeled bed frame would scoot all over the room, all the time. I am only slightly exaggerating.

You see, on carpet, it’s hard to move things. Especially with thick carpet where everything settles down into nice little divots that are a pain to get out of the carpet after rearranging furniture. On hardwoods, moving things is so easy. Now, add wheels to the object in question and you are in for a life of constantly repositioning furniture. Yes, even with the wheels in “locked” position! Take a simple act like sitting down on the bed to put shoes on. Scooooooooooot. How about when Mosey runs into the room at full speed and leaps on the bed with a toy in his mouth? Scooooooooooot. You get the picture. Tired of moving the bed back against the wall and/or squeezing through my measly walkway between the bed and the windows (the bed and subsequently the nightstand were totally scooted as far into the corner as possible) I decided to take executive action. Mattress, box spring, meet my friend, floor.

“Effortlessly styled to look lived-in” or “Messy room” …you decide.

Happily, losing those few inches and ditching the headboard actually makes the room seem much bigger. Considering the height of Doug’s wardrobe and the dresser (which is really close to the bed–the room is small), having the bed at full height made the room feel super crowded. Having lowered it gives the space, well, space and adds a sort of relaxed, bohemian vibe. At first I though Doug would object, seeing how he’s a million feet tall, maybe crouching all the way down to the floor would be an inconvenience for him–but he likes it too. And now it scoots around but only an inch or so at a time. It is so nice.

I’ll write up some more info on the bedspread presto-change-o at another time! :)

What do you think? 

PS: both of the couches in our living room are constantly scooting around the room all the time as well. Any advice/tips for keeping furniture put on wood/tile floors?


So, for the longest time, I’ve been having issues with what to put above the headboard in the bedroom. That is, what’s cheap to put above the headboard in the bedroom.

First, we had a map of New York City in a frame we got for our wedding, but the proportion was killing me. The wide bed+bedside tables and wide wall really deserves something with a more horizontal nature to it. Image below: awful, right?

So, I had the courageous idea to do a New York skyline mural on the wall. In my first inspiration board, which this room is loosely based on, I’d envisioned a headboard cut out to look like a skyline. I still think it would be totally awesome.

For my skyline, I looked up some stylized NY skyline prints and adapted one onto my wall in pencil, then taped it off with blue tape with the plan to paint it. It was around this time that I started sending out lots of job applications to outside states, and we got our new landlords and Mosey, so I put off painting… and put it off, and put it off.

(Photo taken Sunday: bed not even pretending to be made) I think it would have looked really cool, I was just too hesitant to do something too permanent to a rental that, when I did it, we could have moved out on short notice. Now, a few months later, I know I could’ve done it because we obviously haven’t gone anywhere. Guess I’m starting to dig in my heels for a little while longer.

Sick of the blue tape, I took it all down (carefully, because I think the wall is in fact painted-over wallpaper, which likes to peel off) and put up some of the extra antique postcards I got in preparation for our wedding guestbook (we had guests write us a note on the back and we keep them in a box). I tried out a couple of different patterns flat on the bed before they went up on the wall.

It’s not perfect, but the arrangement meets our color scheme (sort of–I mean there is a fair amount of green, and the blue goes with the blue baseboards and curtains–features of the room chosen by previous tenants that we’ve just left as-is). It’s wider than it is tall, although I could add one more “layer” around the edge to give it a grander scale–I just don’t have postcards that look like the rest (I tried to stick with illustrations rather than photos for a more antique feel). I used sticky tack, for the first time since my freshman year of college, since I didn’t want to do anything permanent to the cards and would feel guilty putting that many holes in the wall.

Here’s another shot, closer up and from a fancy-schmancy angle:

My favorite is the first one directly to the left of the two vertical Chicago cards. It’s a view of Shelter Island and San Diego bay as seen from Point Loma! So cool that I found that old card in Kansas :)

What do you think?


You know how they say you should never put a TV in the bedroom? Well, when we got the new TV for the living room around Christmas time, we put the old one in the bedroom. Then promptly never used it. Okay, never isn’t the right word. We watched a few episodes of Growing Pains on DVD the first day.  Of course we want to watch movies, etc on our new big TV! Duh! Why use the little one? Of course the idea was to watch TV before going to bed but as the remote didn’t work, neither of us wanted to get up and turn it off, so we just didn’t watch it in the first place.

My coworker had mentioned a few times how she didn’t have a TV. I assumed it was by choice, I know of lots of people who forgo TV in favor of reading or other activities, we don’t have cable on ours, and some people don’t have at TV at all. After a little investigation, it was revealed that hers simply didn’t work, so she got rid of it (I think). I figured, we didn’t use the bedroom TV, why not just offer it to her.

Long story short:

I bought a few flowers (actually, I asked the florist for some older ones I could get for cheap, and she obliged) to liven up the empty space. Loving the fact that the big black square is gone!

“Anyone who has two [TVs] should share with the one
who has none” –Doug, paraphrasing Luke 3:11