Master Bedroom Refresh

Since moving into this condo in 2014, my master bedroom has undergone small and very incremental changes. At first, we didn’t even have a headboard and were just working with a metal bed frame. I’m so picky—I finally narrowed down my options and ended up with one of IKEA’s cheapest options, TARVA. Totally cool with that!

Someday, if I want to change up the look, this raw pine can easily be painted or stained. For now, I am totally digging the honest, Scandinavian look of untreated wood. My other preferred bed option was the very popular CB2 Alchemy bed in either black or gold.

For our dresser, I am still totally loving this IKEA dresser, purchased way back in 2012. They don’t make it any more, which is a real shame because I love the generously sized drawers and straightforward Parsons-like lines.

Here’s a 6-year old photo of the dresser featuring a cute young Mosey with very little white on his snout :)

Other than that, the room honestly has a lot of furniture in it. The two pieces acting as bedside tables are actually emptier than you’d think. We are using our old bedside tables, pushed together, as a TV stand across from the foot of the bed. The awesome Wurlitzer stage piano is in here too—I don’t really have a better spot for it and I cannot bear to get rid of it. Lastly, storage is kind of an issue in the condo so I’ve got a stacked pair of IKEA pine cabinets in the corner that look like an armoire but are actually just holding a ton of random things.


To be honest, this “before” has a lot going for it. I love the look of white walls and pine together. It’s very Scandinavian feeling, and the guitar on the wall adds some fun to the room. But there isn’t really a focal point or dramatic moment in here, which my other rooms have.

I got the opportunity to work with a wallpaper company and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Photowall has partnered with me on a wall mural and it’s going to totally change the vibe of the whole room. Here’s the inspiration board, most of the things on here are stand-ins for items that I already own.

wallpaper / rug / bed / bedside tables / console table / lamps / quilt

I can’t wait to share the afters with you!

Summer Forecast

Okay, so, my home isn’t new to me, but I have been putting a lot of thought into designing my spaces better. I feel that we’ve finally gotten settled, gotten to know our home, and really know what works for us. Now the fun part comes. Getting each room tweaked just so, and realizing our condo’s full potential. We are traveling a little bit in May, but in June and July I think we are going to work on home stuff a lot more than we have in the last year or so.

Living Room: The living room is humming along. We are working on a wood paneling update that I’ll share more about in a week or two. We are going black and white inspired by the interior design firm Commune’s work at the Ace Hotel LA. Here is a sneak peek and a little inspiration I am working from.

living room inspiration.jpg

Bedroom: The paneling has been going so well in the living room, I think we have enough leftover to do paneling in the bedroom too. I think the recurring feature will connect the rooms, but for color I am still deciding between matching the black from the living room or going with a color.

bedroom inspiration.jpg

All of this exciting redecorating on the horizon has got me thinking back to moving into our place for the first time. Making a neutral space exciting takes a little bit of skill, a little bit of luck (if you’re a bargain/thrift shopper like me) and a dose of color. I’m finally ready for phase two of decorating, but phase one is a challenge for a lot of people. I brainstormed with Casper to come up with some essentials to make a new house feel like home.


Rug: Rugs are great because you can move them from room to room and house to house. They are a good investment and can cover up less than desirable linoleum or blah carpet.

Artwork: Like rugs above, artwork can be sentimental and move from home to home. Putting art up on the wall instantly transforms a room from a plain box into a place with warmth and dimension.

New Mattress and Pillows: Every room can do with new throw pillows, and moving is a good opportunity to trade in for a new mattress, too. If your mattress is doing okay, it’s still a good idea to get new bed pillows because… do you even remember the last time you got new bed pillows? I mean… you could get your dog a new bed too. Mosey asked me to mention that.

Paint: Confession, even when I was a renter I took the liberty of painting my space. Something about picking out the color you want to surround yourself with is liberating. We recently painted our living room from beige to white, an almost imperceptible change but the room just feels “right” now.

Lighting: I switched out my dining room light and have felt like a rockstar ever since. I think this usurps painting as the act that truly claims a space as your own. If you invest in lighting (it ain’t cheap) and put it up without zapping yourself… your house has truly become home.

Tool Kit: Trying to assemble furniture or switch out finishes can be frustrating without the right tools. I got this IKEA tool kit when I moved into my first apartment in college. I have used it countless times. It has just about anything you need to do odd jobs around the house—I can’t recommend it enough and I think everybody should have one tucked in their bottom kitchen drawer, like we do.

What do you think takes your living space from “house to home?” Having friends over is an instant fix–they call it housewarming for a reason. Baking something delicious and filling the home with the scent of that is another great idea. Share your move-in traditions, or must-haves, or best housewarming gifts in the comments!

Casper provided me with the infographic, but this is not a sponsored post. 

Antique Postcards in the Bathroom

Recently Doug and I were perusing a huge antique mall and spent a little more time than usual in a vendor’s space that had old postcards and photographs from around the world. It was organized really nicely and all 50 states were broken up so we looked at all the Kansas postcards!

For those who attended our wedding, it’s no surprise that we love antique postcards. We had a box of them for people to “write to us” as an alternative to a guestbook.


We actually found many postcards from Hutchinson, the town where Doug was born, and even found one from McPherson, where we lived. We nabbed the McPherson one up and Doug picked his favorite Hutchinson locale and I knew exactly what frame they would go in when we got home.

Hutchinson Postcard

McPherson Postcard

We used to take Mosey for long walks in this very park!

The bathroom has proved to be a tricky place to hang art. We have the perfect long and narrow frame for one space (you can see it reflected in the mirror below) but there was an awkward place above the hand towels (look in the reflection in the medicine cabinet–below, right). Psst… These photos were lazily plucked from my Home Tour. ;) 

Bathroom Peek

Note: The bathroom area is tiny and full of mirrors–not so easy to shoot! 

Anyway, I reused a very cheap $5 frame I picked up at Wal-Mart years ago. It already came with a mat in it–so this little project was seriously a no-brainer. The small size of the frame looks ok since the towel bar is weirdly high. All in all, it makes me smile to see these reminders of where we’ve been!

Postcards in frame

Postcards in frame

Have you done any inexpensive and sentimental updates lately?

Loving the Living Room

Well, slowly but surely, I’m continuing to make my way around the house for my room tours. Just in time to move.

The living room, while the most energy-inefficient room in the house (several degrees above/below the other rooms, depending on the season) is my favorite room in the house. It’s gotta be because of the IKEA curtains I had my heart set on for quite some time.

Here’s a little secret: with four windows, curtains can add up very fast. These IKEA beauties weren’t cheap at $60 per set (I mean, that’s not a ton but more than curtains at Target would be). Since the windows were so small anyway, I thought a whole panel would look a bit strange on each side of the window. Things would get really heavy really fast. Do you see where I am going with this? I cut each panel up the center and hemmed them, thereby making 8 panels from 4. Making that first big irreversible cut was so hard to bring myself to do! I’am really happy now, though. The bamboo blinds came with the house and I hated them until we got the curtains up, and now I love them. Isn’t life funny?

When we first toured the house we were to move into, I had visions of making everything white to look like whitewashed adobe walls you’d see in interiors of the southwest. So, that’s what we did! I feel that it helps the walls seem cooler and with the numerous but relatively small windows the room has, I needed light to bounce around as much as possible. So, with several coats of white on the walls, I was determined to infuse color into the room using textiles, art, and furniture, and prove to myself (a color addict) that a white room can be colorful!

The mantel proved more challenging than I originally thought it would be, since it’s pretty shallow. I know it looks deep in the next picture, but trust me there isn’t really room to layer objects (like Emily Henderson’s recent video recommends).  Behind that large frame is a little cut-out, with a bumpy, non-functioning outlet in the bottom of it that makes it impossible to use as a showcase for doodads… yep, so we just covered it up. I like the height that the frame gives to the all-white fireplace, and it was a good opportunity to showcase some wedding pictures as well.

These photos are from the time I shot my home tour (in March?) but not much has changed. I have done some rearranging here and there, and I finally painted the inside of the fireplace in with flat black, and we sort-of-but-not-really finished the dresser by the front door. Another post for another time, that.


  • Blue couch, free. My, my, my. This blue couch has been passed down through several dorm rooms, to Lisa (my old roommate) and now to us.
  • Gray couch, free, reupholstery, $130. Last summer we drove to St Louis for our anniversary and then made a hop on over to the town where my dad grew up in Illinois (and where my grandma still lives) to pick up this bonafide family heirloom. The cushions (original to the 60s or 70s) were pretty rotted out so we got brand new cushions in a cool gray microsuede we picked up at Hancock Fabrics on clearance.
  • Coffee Table, Goodwill. Refreshed from a pretty sorry state.
  • Sofa table (holding the TV & Playstation), handed down to me when a neighbor passed away [not shown].
  • Side chair, free, plus materials for my first reupholstery project.
  • Side table (gray), got used when our alma mater had a garage sale. Side table (wood), is actually a drum!
  • Entryway dresser, Goodwill–repainted using house paint (the same color as the guest room). Only two of the drawers were usable so I transformed the bottom section into a shoe catchall!
  • Rugs, both natural fiber from World Market. The circle one from 2005 and the jute one from last fall.

When my in-laws recently decided to list the house for sale, I was pleased that the realtor agreed to just use the photos I’d taken of each room for my house tour on the listing. My first foray into real estate photography! If I want to get serious, I’ve gotta get a wider-angle lens, but I told him to pass my name along to any other agents in the office if they liked my photos! 

For a whole house tour, click here, and for other room details, you can check out the guestroom, bedroom, and bathroom!


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 :)