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Faux Faux Wood Beams

Yes, that double “faux” is on purpose! Everyone seems to love wooden ceiling beams, and I’ve seen several DIY ways to add your own if you don’t have real ones. Most methods involve buying wood and building 3-sided “beams” before nailing them onto a 4th top side attached to the ceiling. They look very nice. However, they are still heavy enough to make me worried about how well they’d be attached overhead. Installation certainly seems like a multi-person job, too. And, wood ain’t cheap. I’ve also seen faux beams made out of prefabricated foam that is super-light and looks like real wood. Nice alternative, but still very pricey – 8 ft can be around $120.

So, when considering adding faux beams to our guest room’s weird ceiling, I tried to think of another way to make my own. What I came up with ended up costing only $70 for FOUR beams that were a little over 8 ft – and I had most of the materials, so I only really spent $30!


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BEFORE: Bare guest room ceiling.

Step 1: Measure and cut foam strips. I measured out my leftover 4×8 foam sheet piece and did some math to decide what size to make my 4 beams. (I’d already decided on making 4 simply because I wanted 2 on either side of the ceiling light.) I ended up measuring and marking every 3 inches. This would make my beams 3 inches tall (on the sides) and 5 inches wide (across the bottom) once the 1-inch-wide sides were attached to the 3-inch bottom piece.

BEFORE: Leftover foam board.

Unlike the one video I found where someone made foam beams like this, I didn’t plan on a top piece at all. That person still used the method of running a board along the ceiling and then attaching the foam to that to hold it on the ceiling. But…this is foam, and even at 8ft+ these beams are incredibly light. There’s really no reason to do the work of attaching a heavier and more expensive piece of wood to the ceiling this way for foam. (Or at least, if there is a reason, I can’t think of it 🤷‍♀️). Simply by using the right adhesive on the top sides of my side pieces, I’d be able attach the foam beams directly to the ceiling.

Anyway, since I was only planning on 3 sides to make my beams, I needed 12 strips of foam to make 4 beams.

I ended up using my table saw, but you could use a circular saw or jigsaw or even a hacksaw if you mark straight lines to follow. With my table saw, I cut 12 strips that were 3 inches wide, plus I did a few more 3-inch strips because I needed to add more length. My ceiling spans 101 inches across, so I needed to cut these extra strips to 5 inches long. I needed, again, 3 sides for each beam, so I needed 12 of these 5-inch strips.

Side note: You could make your beams whatever size you want. I considered 6-inch-wide sides, but it’s a small and short room, so I didn’t want the beams to intrude that much. If you’ve got nice high ceilings, bigger beams would look great! And I imagine you could make them as long as you’re able to manage too.

Step 2: Assemble the pieces. With this foam all cut in my garage, I moved inside and spread an old sheet to cover my guest room floor.

Beam pieces all cut.

Because my table saw made such straight cuts, I was able to lay one strip down and then move another into position so that the edges met at a nice 90-degree angle. I made sure both side pieces would line up like this, and then I took my caulk gun with the adhesive and ran a line along one side of what I’d determined to be my bottom piece. Then I simply positioned one side piece again and pressed it down into the adhesive. It held almost instantly – this Loctite adhesive is great! (If you use another adhesive, be sure it works on foam board because not all adhesives will be as strong.)

Once I was sure that first side piece was stuck on, I flipped the beam over carefully and did the same to the other side.

Adding adhesive for second side.

With those 3 pieces now making my first beam, I grabbed my little 5-inch long extensions and assembled 3 together like a mini beam. That done, I spread adhesive on the end of my long beam and then lined up my mini beam before pressing the two together. I made sure the edges were as tight and straight as possible, and it again stuck solid pretty quickly.

Adding extension piece.

One beam assembled!

I carefully moved this beam aside and assembled the pieces for the remaining 3 beams, using the exact same method. There were a few little gaps where the pieces met, so I filled them with some adhesive to really help everything hold. I knew I could paint the Loctite too, so it helped to disguise the seams where my extenders connected.

4 beams assembled!

Optional step: Texture the foam. I didn’t do anything to my beams’ texture because I liked how the ends were rough like wood anyway, and the few dents and scrapes already on the sides looked rustic but not overly rough. You could, however, add wood grain-like texture if you want. The one video I’d found earlier showed how they used a steel brush to lightly wipe long grain patterns over the foam. You could cut out chunks to really roughen up the “wood.” You can cut, dent, put in nails, or whatever you want – foam is pretty easy to manipulate!

Step 3: Paint. Again, I didn’t bother texturing, partly for the reasons above and partly because of what I’d planned to do with paint. During previous experiments, I’d found it was pretty easy to layer paint and stain to make a faux wood effect.

First, I needed to get a base coat of light brown paint on the foam beams. I used leftover paint – the same leftovers that I’d used to paint the lower section of our guest room walls. It only took one coat, and really I didn’t need it to be perfect since I was staining over it anyway.

Painting less than perfectly.

Once my little helper and I had all the beams painted, I let them dry for a few hours. Already, I liked how the dents and cuts looked like rough wood with only the paint on. Since a lot of people paint beams, this could be the final look if you wanted to add a perfect coat.

Painted beam.

Step 4: Stain. The only real tricks here are to use something that won’t spread the stain on too well and to use a stain that’s darker than the paint. I used a silicone basting brush (which is great for use on dozens of projects). I dipped the brush in the stain, let a little run off, and then brushed it back and forth over the painted beam. Yes, this goes on a little bit at a time and takes a while. But it worked great to achieve the look I wanted – aged wood with rough grain lines. In some places I made it darker; in some places I really spread the stain so it was lighter. But everywhere, the basting brush allowed little streaks of dark stain to look like wood grain over the lighter brown undertones of the paint.

Brushing on stain.

It’s worth noting that this can be a bit messy and splatter as you’re wiping – hence laying out a sheet on the floor. I also thought I was being smart (for once) and wore gloves. However…I was also wearing shorts. 🤦‍♀️

Anyway, this takes a while. But once I was done with all 4 beams, I was quite pleased with the results. I let this dry overnight. (Mine were still a little tacky the next morning, so I impatiently wiped off the wettest parts and waited a few more hours until all was good and dry.)

Drying stain.

Step 5: Attach beams to the ceiling. Once dry, all that was left to do was figure out my beams’ placement and attach them to the ceiling. You can space these however you want. I opted to come in from the wall 6 inches on either side of the room, so I made pencil marks on the walls at either end where the beams would start and end. I wanted these 2 beams in place before committing to where the innermost 2 beams would go around my light fixture (which of course was not centered in the room 🙄), so I didn’t mark anything for those inner beams just yet.

Pulling aside my first beam, I carefully flipped it over so that the tops of the sides were facing up. With my caulk gun, I spread adhesive all along those 2 top sides. I also added a little to the ends where they’d meet the walls, just for added security.

Adhesive on for ceiling.

Because these beams are so light, I was able to lift this prepped beam easily overhead. I positioned the ends so they met the pencil marks I’d made – this was how I was sure my beam was on straight across the ceiling. Then I very lightly touched the beam to the ceiling and wall to let the adhesive hold the beam in this position. Now that the beam was lined up correctly, I moved to the middle of the beam and pressed up so that the adhesive really stuck onto the ceiling. I carefully moved all along the beam and pressed up. The adhesive held immediately, and there was no need to brace the beam because it stayed in place without any support.

First beam on!

I repeated this with the beam that went on the other side of the room.

Next, I measured the remaining space between my installed beams and then did the math to figure out where to mark for the remaining 2 beams. I ended up spacing them 33 inches apart… Not that that measurement means anything for your project, but basically I eyeballed it and decided where the beams would look best around my light fixture. 😜

So, I repeated the process for installing these last 2 beams, and that was it.

Attaching a middle beam.

I did go along where the beams met the ceiling and wipe away any excess adhesive that squeezed out. There wasn’t much ooze, but that is something to look for. Other than that, my beams were done!

AFTER: Foam beams installed!

I cannot believe how well these turned out. I had my hopes, but wow. It was easy and cheap and makes a big impact in our guest room. Do they feel like wood? Of course not. But who touches the ceiling? They certainly look like the real thing…or at least like the fake version of real thing. 😂

Now, who thinks I should change that light fixture? lol

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DIY Adjustable Shelves for a Corner or Nook

I’ll be honest: I’m running out of energy for the final projects in my basement bathroom remodel. But it’s so close, if I can muster the will to finish!

This project turned out way cooler than I anticipated, although I had it pictured in my head for weeks and weeks (like everything else). Remember this early picture from my bathroom nightmare?

BEFORE: Weird cutout with metal decorative thing.

Well, I decided pretty early to keep that little cutout and turn it into open shelving for decor. My husband was weirdly attached to that metal…thing, but I yanked that outta there real quick. (Sorry, not sorry.)

No regrets.

Then I added some framing and drywall to the backside. Then, after a little joint compound here and paint there, I had a little nook/corner ready for my shelving plan. This project was simple and easy, and really it could work for any corner, not just a nook like the weird one I had. You could make it any size too, even running the whole height of a room’s corner.


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My corner/nook ready for shelving.

Step 1: Measure and cut. The narrow side of my corner was 4 inches. I decided to run my 1x2s this whole length and shorten the other wall’s 1x2s where they’d meet at the corner. This left my longer corner side needing 1x2s that were 9 1/2 inches. So, those were the lengths I would cut a whole bunch of 1x2s for my shelving supports – an equal number of 4 inch pieces and 9 1/2 inch pieces.

For the top and bottom of my shelving area, I decided to cut 1×6 boards down so they’d hang 1/4 inch beyond the edges of the wall. (If you’re doing this in a normal corner, you don’t need these top and bottom boards at all.) This meant I needed to cut 2 pieces to be 4 1/4 x 9 3/4.

That was it for measuring! I went out to my garage and cut a bunch of 1×2 boards and then also cut my 2 pieces of 1×6 to the correct sizes. Easy peasy. Some of my cuts were a bit rough, and I wanted these pieces to all be as smooth as possible to the touch, so I quickly used some sandpaper and went over all the edges. I especially sanded down the corners of my bottom board since it would hang out beyond the wall.

Step 2: Attach the bottom piece and caulk. Because I wanted to make my spacing look right, I set the bottom piece in place and used a few small shims to make it level. Once level, I used Brad (my nail gun) to nail the piece in place. This would let me quickly space out and nail on the shelving supports and be sure I had them level.

There was a slight gap under the bottom piece where it met the drywall, so I took some paintable caulk and filled the gap. This helped it look as seamless as possible.

Caulked gap.

Step 3: Attach the 1x2s. I went up the narrower side first, since that side would cover the whole length of the side without needing to leave the right space for the other wall’s 1x2s.

I lay the first 4-inch piece on the bottom board and nailed it to the wall. Then, using one of the cut 1x2s as a spacer on top of that piece, I put the next piece in place and nailed that on. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Adding narrow side 1x2s.

Once that side was finished – I got lucky in that my spacing allowed my top piece to test fit nicely over my top 1×2 without a gap or too narrow a space – I started on the longer pieces. I used the same method of starting at the bottom and using a spacer. This time was even easier because I had the other 1x2s to meet at the corner. It only took a few nails for each piece to hold them secure, despite being longer than my 4 inch pieces.

Step 4: Fill the nail holes and stain/paint. Using some wood filler on my finger, I rubbed it into the nail holes to hide them.

Filling nail holes.

At this point, I decided I didn’t like the yellow-ness of the natural wood, so I found some leftover white gel stain and brushed it on the exposed fronts and ends of all the shelf supports. This might’ve been easier to have done back before I nailed them on the walls, but at least this way I covered my nail holes evenly, plus I didn’t waste any by staining sides that wouldn’t end up showing. It was also easier this way because I didn’t have to handle the 1x2s and get the stain on my fingers. 😜 While I was at it, I also stained the bottom board that was attached and the top board that wasn’t yet attached.

White gel stain.

Side note: I’d already painted the nook walls, and I considered painting my shelving pieces the same color. I’m glad I didn’t because I like the contrasting look of the whitened wood, but you could paint or stain any way you like in any colors and I’m sure it would look great!

Step 5: Attach the top piece and caulk. I’m sure I could’ve used math and found the exact space I needed at the top that way, but really it was dumb luck that my 1x2s ended at the top with just enough room for the top piece to fit without a gap or too narrow a space to fit. You might want to work out how to account for spacing at the very top. I’d still use my spacer method for the lower supports (more on why in a minute), but for the topmost 1x2s you could fudge the space a little to fit the top piece without it being too noticeable.

Top piece added.

Anyway, once the top piece was on, I caulked the gap just like I’d done to the bottom. I also quickly filled my nail holes and touched up the stain.

Step 6: Cutting and adding shelves! Here’s the important part about using a 1×2 as a spacer: The 1×6 boards I used to cut my shelves were the same width as that 1×2 spacer. Keep in mind that wood dimensions are never truly “1 inch”, so you can’t just measure 1-inch spaces. But the boards will be the same thickness, so this spacer will be the same size as the boards for shelves.

With my spaces ready, I decided to cut the shelves a little short of the full width and length of my shelving supports so they wouldn’t stick out too much when people walk by this narrow part of the bathroom.

So, taking the same 1×6 that I’d used for my top and bottom pieces, I cut 3 shelves at 9×3 1/2. Next I quickly sanded the edges, then used the same white stain and painted that on.

(They are the same size, really.)

Once dry, I took them to my corner nook and tested them in different support spaces to decide where I liked them best. They fit everywhere and stayed put! Because these stay so snug in the supports, there’s no need to attach them, and this also makes them adjustable as you like.

Shelves on! Done!

That’s it! I love how these shelves turned out, and it’s rare that you want to see the supports as part of the design. I could add even more shelves if I ever want, but for now I have to decide what to put on these! 😜

AFTER: Adjustable shelves!

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DIY “Tiled” Textured Walls (aka, How to Hide Hideous Drywall)

If you saw my recent Instagram post about our bathroom remodel, you might’ve noticed how I fixed the ENORMOUS chunk of drywall I had to take out. As aggravating as that demo was, I’d thankfully already planned to make my own tile-looking textured walls. So, this plan kept me from freaking out too much when I tore that wall out and then had to patch in drywall and cover seams. (What lay behind this wall was such a mess… I did what I could. 🤦‍♀️)

BEFORE: Absolutely terrible walls.

My plan was simple…ish. I found a tile I loved but didn’t have the $$ for on TileBar, and fortunately they have very inexpensive samples you can order. These samples became my templates. I knew how much joint compound I would need for my bathroom walls from when I’d textured the walls of our basement’s main room – about 3 gallons. And, I had leftover paint from that main room and also the guest room – one paint for the “tiles” and one paint for the “grout.” Finally, to give the “tiles” the finish I wanted, I’d use some high-gloss polyurethane to add a bit of shine and also fully seal everything.

So, with the drywall patched up and seams decently covered (albeit somewhat lazily because I knew I’d be hiding it all), it was time to make my walls look tiled.

Tile samples for templates.

Step 1: Spread joint compound. Knowing I’d need some time for this, I opted not to get the quick-drying kind of joint compound. That kind had worked fine for my faux-bricks in the main room, but making my tile shapes was going to take a little longer than simply rolling with a brick-pattern roller.


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  • Tile samples/templates
  • Joint compound
  • paint for tiles and paint for grout
  • polyurethane

Using a 6-inch spreader, I covered one wall at a time. I spread the joint compound thick enough that my “grout lines” would give the illusion of decently thick tiles, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch or so. I made sure to spread the compound as smooth as I could, but I left some rough texturing because I wanted rustic-looking tile. If you’re aiming for fancier, less rustic tile, obviously try to get the joint compound as smooth as you can. I also knew I could sand off any really rough bits, so that helps too.

Spreading joint compound.

Step 2: Trace your tile templates. I tried different tools to do this, but I ended up liking my finger best for the job. I wanted my rows of tiles to be as level as I could get them, so I started at the very bottom of my wall. Holding my tile in place just off the joint compound, I was careful not to get it in the mud. Then, I simply ran my finger around the edges of the tile to create my “tile” in the joint compound. With that first one done, I held up the alternating shape and lined up the edge to fit against my first tile’s edge – like they shared a grout line. Then I traced that tile with my finger.

I repeated this for that whole bottom row of tile. When it was time to do the next row over that, I again lined up the edges to share grout lines. After a while, I only needed to use one of my tile template shapes because I could kind of checkerboard how I positioned the template, and it still gave me the other shape because of where the edges lined up. At the top of my wall, I had to finish with only the bottom parts of my “tiles” to make it look like my tiles were cut to fit against the ceiling.

Tracing tiles.

It’s worth noting that, after a while, it was a good idea to rinse off my tile templates to get rid of the joint compound building up on the edges from my finger’s tracing. This also helped to keep globs from falling off onto my wall.

Side note: I also considered finding/making cookie cutter type shapes to push into the joint compound to make my tiles. I couldn’t find the exact size or shapes I wanted, but that’s an option if you can find or make the shapes! That way, you wouldn’t have to trace but rather just kind of stamp tiles instead.

Anyway, this tracing took some patience, but I soon saw how it was coming together! Once I had one wall traced, I spread joint compound over my other walls and traced those with tiles too. I tried to line up from the corners to make it look like the tiles wrapped around the room. If a tile had been “cut” into one wall’s corner, I finished that tile on the other corner.

Traced tiles in a corner.

Step 3: Dry and sand. After the joint compound was dry (I gave it overnight), I took a bit of sandpaper and wiped over my walls to knock free any loose chunks of joint compound. For any parts that stuck up too pointy, I sanded these to soften any edges. If some of my tiles were too rustic and rough, I sanded those smooth too.

Joint compound can be quite dusty, so once my sanding was done, I grabbed a broom and gently swept off my walls to get all the dust free from the nooks and crannies.

Dusting the sanded walls.

Step 4: Paint the tiles. Full disclosure, I did this backwards from how I’m telling you to do it. I painted everything the color of my grout lines first, then I went back and did the tiles individually. I did this because I had way more grout-colored paint and wanted a base down rather than risking having to do 2 coats of my tile-color paint but running out. Having done it this way, I can definitely say it would be easier to paint everything the tile color first! That’s a lot more area to cover, so it’s way smarter to roll on the tile color and worry about your grout lines later. Painting individual tiles took FOREVER.

For this base coat (which should be your tile color) I used a small roller, and this helped get in all the little gaps. The joint compound will suck in the paint fast, so keep that in mind if you’ll need a few coats.

Painting grout color as base.
Painting tiles (and realizing better way).

Step 5: Paint the grout lines. Even after I painted everything my grout color and then painted my tiles, I still had to go back and repaint my grout lines anyway so it looked more like a real grout job. 🤦‍♀️ With your tiles all painted, you’ll just have to use a small brush and paint along your traced lines.

I found this went pretty quickly, despite all the lines. With a small brush, I ran paint through all the finger-traced paths and connected them all around the tiles, running the paint up the little sides of the paths to look like grout running between the tiles.

Step 6: Seal with poly. Once the paint was dry, it needed a little something to keep it from just looking like paint. Depending on the tile finish you want, you could use matte poly or satin or gloss. I wanted a little shine to my tiles, especially since this is a dark basement bathroom.

With another small roller, I spread on the poly pretty quickly. I ended up doing 2 coats to get the look and feel I wanted.

Poly drying.

Oh. One more thing about the poly! I know everyone on the internet seems very concerned about textured walls attracting dust. But the poly finish helps with that too. I’ve had these walls finished for a while now, and I’ve done a lot more construction/sawing/sanding in the room without dust sticking on the walls at all. 🤷‍♀️

Done! I really like how these walls look now. The “tiles” add character and interest to the walls, and the texturing is a nice way to make the room feel cozy and earthy. Plus, you can’t tell what a mess the drywall was when I started! 😜

AFTER: “Tile” textured walls.
AFTER (the facing left wall too.)

Clearly I have a ways to go with the rest of the bathroom, but the walls were a big step forward. You can see the whole left wall “tiled” in the picture above, as opposed to the first wall where I only textured the walls around where my new vanity will go…assuming I figure out how to build the thing. Wish me luck!🤞

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No-Wood Wall Features

For the record, I have finally started remodeling our guest bathroom. But I also need breaks from the carnage. So, I revamped our guest room while I’m at it, and for this project I only spent about $45 because I had extra paint (which I’m also using in the bathroom so that the guest spaces will tie together). There was nothing wrong with the guest room per se, but it could be better.

BEFORE: Unimpressive bare walls.

I saw on TikTok or Pinterest or somewhere that there’s a kind of metallic tape to use on walls for accent designs. Whatever video I watched showed how people were bordering this tape with decorative molding, and it looked really cool. However, I didn’t want to spend much money on molding, so I came up with the idea of using decorative rope instead. I was able to get 150 feet for around $33, so 👍. I also like that the rope adds an unexpected texture to the room and is soft if you bump against a wall.


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Step 1: Paint sections. Our guest room’s ceiling has a low section because of a beam/conduit running through our basement. It’s right over the door and makes the room feel short. Now, I’ve stared at this for a long time, trying to decide what to do about it.

The lower ceiling I was working with.

What I landed on was drawing a level line around the rest of the walls at the same height as the beam/conduit. Then I painted that upper section white to match the ceiling (the regular ceiling and the conduit’s lowered ceiling). I used a brush for the edges and corners, then a roller for the rest. It took a few coats because of the type of paint, but the result was a bright white “border” around the top of the walls. This worked surprisingly well to blend the lowered ceiling and make it less noticeable…while also drawing attention to it. (See photo below.)

For the middle section of my wall, I measured about 40 inches down (a random decision, really) and made another level line that went all the way around the room. I then painted this section my next lightest color. This was “Accessible Beige” like I’d used on my faux brick walls of our main basement room. The top of this section, remember, met my top white line at the level of my lowered ceiling, so this beige color goes to my ceiling in that area of the room. Again, I used a brush for the edges and corners, then rolled the rest.

Painting the middle section.

For my lowest 40-ish inch section, I painted from the bottom line of my middle section all the way to the floor, including the baseboards. This was my darkest color, which is a pretty pinkish/brown color. (I have no idea of the name, unfortunately, because the paint can has no label and was left by the previous owners.)

Painting the bottom section.

Side note: I continued these lines/sections over the trim of my door too. Since our window didn’t have trim, I also painted the inner walls of the window too. (Seen in the photo above.) I like that this wraps the wall design ALL the way around the room and makes everything cohesive while also making the room feel bigger. You don’t have to paint your trim/window edges, but I like how it looks. 🤷‍♀️

Step 2: Stick on metallic tape. The roll I got was 1/2 inch gold tape, which was 72 YARDS for $12. 😳 (This is going to last me a while!) It went on very easily. Standing on a stool that I repositioned as I went along, I started at my top paint divide line and spaced the tape so that it would run right over my line. I thought I might have to adjust as I went to keep the tape level, but by slowly smoothing and pressing it on as I went, it was not hard at all to do this in one shot. I wrapped the tape around my corners rather than cutting because this tape is so thin it doesn’t bulk up the corners. Once I reached the far end of my top section where it met the lowered ceiling, I easily cut the tape in a straight line to meet the corner.

With that top done, I moved to the lower line and repeated this all the way around the room. I also applied the tape over my door’s molding and right up to the edges of my window.

Tape easily on door trim.

The reflective gold lines looked pretty cool dividing the paint colors! I could have stopped there, honestly, and you can if that’s all you want to do.

Tape on!

Step 3: Nail on bordering rope. It’s worth mentioning that this takes a LOT of brad nails. I wanted to be sure the rope stayed straight on the walls, and I wanted it as secure as possible in case someone bumps the border along the lower section. I ended up nailing every 3-4 inches to be safe. But it went quickly despite this!

Taking Brad (my nail gun) and an unwound bunch of rope, I climbed my stool and started at the top of my top gold tape. For the end of the rope, I made sure to really nail it secure so it wouldn’t pull free as I pulled the rope farther along. Then I held out the rope about a foot at a time and carefully nailed the rope in place to run as a border along the top of the tape. I tried not to leave much of a gap because I didn’t want to see the paint between the tape and the rope. It was again pretty easy to keep level and straight, and the rope was quire forgiving if I needed to pull it a little higher or lower.

When I reached the far side, I curved the rope to border the end and curl back around to run along the bottom of the tape now. This is something you can’t do very well with wood molding! I like how it looks soft and unique.

Top, curved end of rope border.

I followed my same process as I ran the rope all the way back along the bottom of the tape, and when I reached my starting point I curved it to meet the top too. (I’m eventually going to build a closet built-in here, so I wasn’t worried about this end too much because it will be covered.)

With the top border done – and my arms very tired! – I took a little break and then tackled the lower line. This border I had to do in 3 parts, cutting the rope to skip over my window, my door, and where I’d construct my built-in eventually.

First, I started where I knew my built-in would go, and the rope border curved/turned around at the side of my window before going all that way back.

Second, for the other side of the window, I started the rope against the window and ran it to where it curved/turned around over my door trim. Then I ran it back to the window. I nailed these ends in really, really well and also used a hot glue gun to hold the rope’s strands together at the cut ends.

Glueing and securing cut ends.

Third, I started a rope border over the tape where I knew the other side of my built-in would end. I ran the rope from here, turned the corner, and nailed it to curve/turn around over the door trim on the other side of the door. Finally, I ran it back to the end and secured it where the built-in would hide that end.

Nailing rope onto corner and trim.
All rope borders on!

Again, you don’t have to mess with the door trim or window, but it does look kinda cool once all done. If you have to cut the rope or maybe link a new strand onto the end of your first one for added length, I’d definitely glue the ends to keep it together and also make it look as seamless as possible. I glued my ends everywhere they’d be visible, and I’m glad to have the extra security.

Step 4: Add a rope feature between the borders. I kept going mostly because I had extra rope. 😜 You can stop here or do a completely different kind of shape, but here’s what I did:

I measured out the rope I had left and divided it by 3. (If you can do this without puppy assistance, all the better. lol)

My “helper.”

With this number, I cut the rope into these 3 sections – mine were about 71 inches each. On the ends of these ropes, I used my hot glue gun and squeezed a bunch of glue into the ends, then twisted them together and held them so the strands stuck together.

Now that my ropes were ready, I planned my design. I found something round that I thought would make the right size arch, and for me this was an old lampshade. Laying it on the bed, I draped my rope around that top curve and then positioned the rope so that the sides came down straight and made corners like a square at the bottom. When I was happy with this shape, I measured from the top of the arch to the bottom and got 31 inches.

Next, on the wall over my guest bed’s headboard, I measured the middle paint section and found I could center my 31-inch shapes by leaving 4 inches at the top and bottom of that paint section. Then I measured and found the center point of the wall behind the headboard, marking there at the top, 4 inches down from the border.

Starting at the center, I held my lampshade so that the topmost point of the curve hit my mark. I traced the top half-ish of the lampshade’s curve with a pencil, and this made an outline for my middle shape’s top arch.

Positioning the lampshade to the side of my middle arch’s outline, I tried to decide how much space to leave between my shapes. I ended up leaving about 4 inches between where each arch’s side edge would be. I made a light mark along the side of my lampshade and then set it aside to measure and mark 4 inches down from the top border, to be sure the shapes would be level. Holding the lampshade in place so that the top was at the top mark like before and my side mark was even with my light side mark, I traced the top arch, same as before.

Tracing my arches.

I repeated this for my third shape on the other side.

With all the top arches outlined, I took a level and marked across the arches’ sides so they would all start to straighten out at the same place. Using the level, I next made a straight line down from those marks at either side of each arch, and I stopped these lines 4 inches up from the bottom border.

To finish my outlines, I took the level and drew straight lines to make the bottoms of my shapes, connecting the side lines of each.

Using the level to make side lines.

Next, I took my ropes and nailed them on along my outlines. I paid careful attention to the arches, nailing about every 2 inches to be sure it looked right. For the sides and bottom, I went back to every 3-4 inches. I also made sure to really secure the corners.

I had a little bit extra rope for each shape, which was helpful because it gave me some wiggle room. This extra I simply cut off at the right spot, and I brought over my warmed glue gun to secure these ends in place and make them as seamless as possible.

Nailing on rope.

Done! I think I’ll probably hang pictures in each of the shapes, but I also like them as they are for now. 🤷‍♀️ What do you think I should do?

AFTER: Rope detailed feature done!

These walls are warm, cozy, and decorative now. All it took was paint, tape, rope, and a lot of nails! I have a few other ideas to finish off this room (faux beams 🤞 , French doors, and that built-in closet) but I’m really happy with how these walls turned out! It’s also cool how the light reflects off the gold tape strips, and even simple sunlight makes them sparkle. 😍

AFTER: More interesting walls!

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DIY Hanging Office Drawer

I have more posts coming about how I redid our home office, but I just finished this last piece of the puzzle and thought I’d share it right away. Our custom office desk has a lot of open shelving and tabletop space, but there are always those office supplies you want tucked away – pens, staplers, random junk, etc. And for that, of course you want a drawer.

Needs a drawer!

So…how was I going to add a desk drawer when I didn’t have much of a base to the desk? The semi-obvious solution came to me as I was adding our keyboard trays. Why not build a box instead of a single board, then attach it to the keyboard tray hardware to make a drawer? Turns out, that was pretty easy and looks darn cool. Plus by building my own drawer, I was able to match the wood stain and shou sugi ban from the rest of the desk.


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Step 1: Adjust and attach the keyboard tray hardware. First, you want to adjust the height of the hardware to give yourself as much height as possible for the drawer.

Adjust the hardware’s height.

As for where you’re putting your drawer, just make sure you don’t make it wider than your keyboard tray hardware can handle (mine had a max of I think 36 inches and a decent weight limit.) I had the braces of our desk to work around, so that determine how wide my drawer could be. For depth, hold the hardware in place and test how far the slides will extend your drawer. You don’t want to affix them so far back that you won’t have much drawer exposed when you open it.

I positioned mine with the front attachment a few inches back from the front edge of the desk. That also gave me enough room in the back that I could make a decently deep drawer. BE SURE your 2 pieces line up and are positioned at the same depths so your drawer will be square when you’re done attaching everything.

If you’ve got a tight space and can’t get a screwdriver or drill in the right position to attach the hardware (this was my problem because of the desk braces) I highly recommend this drill extension to get into hard-to-reach places. I’ve used it multiple times on different projects, and it certainly saved my bacon here.

Step 2: Measure for your drawer bottom. (I always measure as I go in case I screw up a step. You could plan out everything and decide your measurements from the beginning, but this is how I did it, just to be safe.) For drawer width, measure from the insides of each hardware piece to find how wide your drawer bottom should be. Mine was 19 inches.


For depth, I had another obstacle – the cover that hides our cords. That meant I couldn’t go all the way from the front of the desk to the back wall, so I gave myself a little wiggle room and measured from the front of the desk edge to where the cords come through the desk’s topside hole. Even if you don’t have an obstacle behind your drawer, be sure to leave a little extra room so you can attach a front piece on your drawer without it sticking our past your desktop edge. For my depth, I chose 16.5 inches.


Step 3: Cut your drawer bottom. Out in our freezing garage (Will winter ever end?!), I took my piece of plywood and measured out 19 x 16.5, making sure it was square! I used a straight level and marked my lines. Then I used our miter saw and cut the board. My edges were rough, so I quick sanded them down. But they don’t have to be perfect, since they’ll be covered by the side pieces and hidden by the hardware rails.

Step 4: Fit the bottom and measure for your back, sides, and front piece. To be sure I was on the right track, I took my board inside and tested that it fit. (And I warmed up my hands!) I adjusted the board into different positions until I liked how far it stuck out when open and how far it sat back once closed.

Again, be sure the board is even on both sides where your hardware will attach. You don’t want the front piece to stick out farther on one side than the other! I kept track of where I wanted my board by measuring how far the board extended past the hardware’s rails when I had it in place – 3.25 inches.

Once you’ve decided on the position of your bottom board, measure for the back part of your drawer. This was pretty easy at 19 inches (the width of my bottom board.) To see how tall it could be without scraping against the bottom of the desk, I measured from the bottom board to the underside of the desktop and subtracted a little to give myself room. I went with 3.25 inches, so I needed a back board of 19 x 3.25 inches.

For the sides, I subtracted the width of my back piece and measured all the way to the very front of the bottom board. You’ll attach your front piece to the bottom board AND these 2 side pieces, so you want them to go all the way to the front so there’s no gap. My sides needed to be 15.75 inches (the total 16.5 inch sides of my bottom board minus the 0.75 wide back board). Keeping them at the same height as my back board, I went with 3.25 inches.

Side note: You could cut the side corners at 45 degree angles to make a more perfect box, but no one will see the back corners, so I figured why bother?

For the front piece, this is obviously going to be your most decorative part and what’s most seen. I added 1/2 inch to each side and about 1 inch to the bottom to make sure everything would be covered, and having extra on the bottom also gives a nice lip to pull the drawer out since I didn’t want hardware. For the top, I knew I’d just lift or raise the board to get it level, using that “about 1 inch” as wiggle room.

Step 5: Cut the back, sides, and front piece. Using my measurements, I used the same leftover plywood and marked for my cuts. Again I used our miter saw, and this part went pretty quickly.

Step 6: Stain the wood. You could also paint it or leave it natural or whatever you like. I wanted the drawer to tie in with the rest of our desk, so I used the same very cool charred wood accelerator stain that gives wood a charred, aged look and feel. The back board won’t be very visible, but be sure to stain both sides of your side boards for the inside and outside of the drawer (I left the top parts of the side pieces natural to torch them once assembled, but more on that later.) I also stained the top AND underside of my bottom board since the top would be visible with the drawer open and the bottom side might be seen since it would be a hanging drawer. The stain dries very quickly, so that was helpful.

Step 7: Attach the drawer back and sides to the bottom board. Once dry (according to the directions of whatever you’re using) take all your pieces and put them together. I started with the back piece to be sure it would fit under the desk. You can use screws or glue, but I don’t have the patience and used my nail gun. Holding the back board in place ON TOP of the bottom board, I nailed through the bottom board into the back board.

I did a quick test to make sure it fit without scraping the bottom of the desk, and all was good!

Then I nailed the side pieces in place in the same way. Everything lined up, and it held great! (Note: Since all the weight and structural integrity is dependent on the bottom board, the back and side boards are really just there to keep your stuff in the drawer. They don’t have to be extremely well-secured.)

Step 8: Attach the drawer bottom to the hardware. BEFORE attaching the front piece, put the almost-assembled drawer box on the tray hardware. Maneuver your drawer box until it’s where you wanted it originally (mine needed to stick out past the slide rails that 3.25 inches from earlier). Again, make sure it’s even on both sides. Then with my drawer where I thought I wanted it, I made sure the drawer was “closed” or pushed back all the way, and then I held my front piece in place. I’d guessed pretty close to how far the drawer would extend with the front piece on, and it didn’t extend beyond the desktop!

Before anything got jostled, I went under the drawer and attached it to the hardware. I’d lost the original screws that came with the keyboard tray hardware, but spare screws worked just fine.

With the almost-finished drawer now attached, I did a quick test and pulled it out and pushed it back in a few times. Everything worked smoothly.

Step 9: Attach the final front piece! I got down at eye-level with the desktop to see the space between the top of the front piece and the bottom of the desktop. I used that to decide what was level, leaving a bit of a gap so the wood didn’t touch. Then I made sure the board was even on either side (the 1/2 inch extra on each side that I’d planned). Holding the front board in place, I used my nail gun and secured the board into the bottom of the drawer and into either side piece. Again, you could use glue and clamp it in place, but my nail holes don’t show anyway because of my aged/charred again look. If you use a different stain or paint, you at least will want to putty the holes and paint over them.

The very last thing I did was use my kitchen torch to burn the top side boards. It adds a cool effect that further matches the rest of the desktop. (To see how shou sugi ban torching generally works, see this post where I did it to picture frames.)

And that’s it! Now our office has a drawer hanging under our open desk. No more clutter on the desk! …Or at least, less clutter. Let’s not kid ourselves. 😜

Finished drawer!

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How to Convert Bifold Doors to French Doors

I am delighted so many of you loved the last post about my powder room door update. Going along with that project is the one I’m sharing with you today – revamping the bifold doors of our coat closet! I used basically the same method to redo the front of these bifold doors, but there were a few more supplies needed to covert them to French doors. I LOVE how they turned out, and this is yet another project anyone can do.

Our closet doors were the first noticeable problem when we toured our house. One was on the tracks wrong and refused to close all the way, which is kind of a problem when you’ve got a lot of coats and shoes and other crap to hide. I don’t like bifold doors in general, and this pair had clearly given up on life.

The “before” coat closet doors, refusing to close.

So, after researching on Pinterest, I found a great solution. I came pretty close to copying the project I found, but I tweaked that blogger’s project enough that it’s worth making my own “how-to” now. I’d also done something similar in our first house for our pantry’s bifold door, so I had some ideas of my own. But basically, I changed the bifold doors to French doors, using my powder room door project as the basis for the new look.

So let’s get to it!

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Here’s what you need:

A lot of that should sound familiar from my last post, which can be found here if you’re just converting a single door.

The first step for THIS project is to check how your doors are installed in relation to how your closet trim is positioned. Our closet has trim that overhangs the actual doorframe to hide the track above and the hinge sides of the doors. I thought this might be a problem with how the shiplap’s added depth might mess with the door opening and closing, but it ended up just taking a little adjustment of the track settings. (We’ll get to that.) If your doorframe’s trim is flush with the doorframe, you shouldn’t have this issue. I think most bifolds are designed to leave enough room between the door and the doorframe when opening and closing, but be sure that you have at least 0.25 inches of space. If not, again, just be prepared to adjust the track settings a little.

Doorframe trim space, final result.

Ok. First, take off the handles/pulls on your bifold door fronts. It’s much easier to do this now before the doors are flipped over on the floor… (she said from experience.)

Next, remove your bifold doors. Ours were very helpful in this regard, since they were already taking themselves off. I used a small screwdriver and popped the top pin of the door’s hardware out of the tracks. Then you can simply pull the door out a bit and lift the bottom pin off the hardware attached to the floor. DO NOT remove the track itself or the floor hardware.

Push down this pin to remove door.

Lay the doors on the floor with the FRONT SIDE DOWN.

Next pull out the top hardware in the door. This took some muscle and wiggling, but I got them out using some plyers. If you can’t get it out, I read in the other tutorial that that person used a metal saw to cut off the pin sticking up. Fortunately mine came out. Leave the bottom hardware in the doors because you’ll still need this to install the doors.

Remove top pin hardware.

To secure the doors so they no longer fold, I used two 6-inch metal brackets/plates at the tops and bottoms of the insides/backs of doors. I used brackets I had left from another set, but I recommend the ones I’ve linked above, especially since they come with screws. I didn’t bother taking out the old hardware, figuring that would probable help hold the door together too.

No more folding doors!

Now it’s time to measure for your wood pieces. My doors were 79 inches long and 23.5 inches wide. Before you go and start cutting, be sure to take into consideration how your trim will alter your measurements. Your trim pieces will need to be as long as your door, in my case 79 inches, but the width is what’s tricky. I did a test run to see how much width the trim would take up on my door, and it was 1 inch. So, this meant that my shiplap strips needed to be 22.5 inches long to cover the door’s full width of 23.5 inches.

Edge trim test.

As for the measurements of the shiplap pieces, I did mine in 6-inch wide strips because that’s what I’d done for the powder room door. You could also do 8 inches or 4 inches or whatever looks good to you. Since the total height of my door was 79 inches, I needed 13 of my 6-inch strips plus one narrower piece to cover the rest at the less-noticeable bottom. You could also make your bottom board wider if it’s not that noticeable a difference. Again, for the length of the shiplap pieces, my doors needed strips 22.5 inches long.

Once you have everything measured, paint the doors as they are now. This will make any gaps in your shiplap boards less noticeable because the doors’ color won’t show through the gaps. Don’t worry too much about it being a perfect coat, just get enough coverage to make sure there isn’t bright white showing up anywhere. Also paint the edges/sides of the doors that will show when you open them by the handles. If you want, you can also paint the insides/backs of the doors. (I skipped this step but plan to do it eventually when my kids are no longer quite as rough on the doors during hide and seek.)

While your doors dry, it’s time to cut your wood! For the trim pieces I used a miter saw, but since this trim is softer wood, you can probably cut it with a handheld hacksaw if you need to. I used my dad’s table saw to cut my 6-inch strips, then the miter saw to cut them to 22.5 inch lengths. You could also use a circular saw or a hacksaw if you have to.

Then you’ll want to sand the plywood edges because they will be rough. I also lightly sanded the fronts to make sure they would be free of splinters.

With the doors still on the floor, front side up, attached the wide trim pieces first. (Hold off on the thinner trim pieces for now.) I wanted the trim to be flush with the edges and secure so all the other wood would have something to line up to, and it was a lot easier with the doors laying on the floor. I used my brad gun and nailed the trim at the top, then bottom, and then a few places in the middle to be sure they would withstand all the touches they’d get over time.

With these trim pieces in place along either door’s handle-side end, I then lined up my top shiplap board and used the brad gun to nail those too – a nail in each corner and 2 in the middle, top and bottom. Once this top board was secure, I simply fit the next one in place beneath it, nailed that one, and kept going until I got to the bottom. For my final, narrower board to finish up covering the door, I got very lucky in that everything had been level and square, so I didn’t have to cut it any differently. If your bottom isn’t level/square, use a pencil to draw a line and cut the board so that it lines up correctly.

Last to go on was the thin trim piece. This I simply put over the edge of the plywood where it met the first piece of trim, and this covered the edge nicely and added to the look of the original edge trim. Then I used the brad gun and nailed it on.

Thin trim over edges.

With everything nailed on, it’s going to look like a whole new door! To check that everything is going to work, now is the time to do a dry run and install the door back on. I lifted the doors in place and finagled around until the bottom pin dropped into the hardware connected to the floor.

Bottom hardware and pin.

Then, using a stool, I held down the top pin and moved the top of the door into place to pop that pin into the top track’s hardware. Then I climbed down and freaked out a bit because the door would not open or close correctly. THAT’S when I realized I needed to adjust the top track’s hardware a bit, sliding the mechanism back and forth, screwing it into place over and over, until I got the door lined up correctly.

Then I did the same for the other door. They didn’t line up quite right together, but I had adjusted enough times that I knew it would be possible once I had them on for good.

So, I took the doors back off, using the screwdriver to gently pop out the top pins, and returned the doors to the floor. Using the best wood putty ever, I filled my brad nail holes (I missed SEVERAL in my hurry, which I regret but oh, well) and then painted the newly installed shiplap and trim.

Once dry, I reinstalled the doors for good, adjusting and adjusting and adjusting until I got them level without too much space between them. (You might find this easier than I did.)

Loosen this screw to adjust and slide door.

Now. How to make the doors stay since they’re no longer attached to the track in the middle? I found these magnets and connection strips that work great for this kind of thing! Their magnetic grip isn’t so strong that you have to yank hard, and they aren’t so weak that the doors swing open.

First, I attached a 1×2 to the doorframe behind the top track. This allowed me to install the magnets so they were low enough that the track didn’t interfere. I’ve seen where some people have done this by attaching two different little pieces of wood, one for each magnet, but I thought it looked better to have 1 long piece that didn’t stand out as much as little choppy blocks.

1×2 attached to the doorframe behind track.

Once this was in place, I screwed in the magnet latches to the 1×2, spacing them so they’d each work with one of the doors. Then, to be sure everything would line up, I put the metal strips on the magnets to test where they should be on the doors. Standing inside the closet, I swung 1 door shut and used a pencil to draw a faint line where the bottom of the metal strip should be. Then I opened the door, disconnected the metal strip from the magnet, put the strip in place on my door’s pencil line, and screwed the metal strip in place. Crossing my fingers, I shut the door and found that the magnets lined up and held the door shut! Then I repeated this for the other door.

With the doors installed, all that was left was the handles/pulls. I found these great 10-inch handles that are very dramatic and cool, plus they matched everything I was doing in the kitchen and pantry. Using a level, I lined them up where I liked, made some marks, and used a drill to make holes for the screws, attaching them from the back.

Best handles!

Voila! Doors done.

Ta-da! The “after” closet doors.

BONUS! I installed this light bar that we can tap on and off with our feet to better see our shoes. Closet lights never seem to make it down past the coats, and this works GREAT for the kids too.

Handy lighting hack.

This bifold door revamp has completely changed the look of our coat closet. Everyone comments on it, and despite the length of this post it really was quite easy! LOL I’d love to see what other colors and hardware combinations people come up with, so let me know if you do this project!

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How to Update a Builder-Basic Door

Merry Christmas…Happy New Year…Okay, I’m behind! But now I’ve got another easy DIY project for today. This door revamp turned out pretty cool and only took a few hours of my time, plus it’s held up really well since I finished it over a year ago. I love how much this simple fix gave our powder room door a whole new look. Hate builder-basic doors as much as I do? Give this a try!

When we first took a tour of our house, we quickly noticed its abundance of doors. Most of our home is nice and open, but if there’s a narrow hall, it’s FULL of doors. And many were in rough shape, either bifolds (double hate those things!) falling off their tracks or builder-basic white doors with inexplicable holes and dents. Then there were the cracked and chipping original gold door knobs.

In fact, the doors were so noticeably awful that one of my husband’s caveats for buying this house was “Okay, as long as you do something about those doors.” So…

Door Project #1: Powder room door.

The “before.” …How? Just…how?!

This guy needed help. HOW a hole got there, I couldn’t figure out. The garage door often swings into this door if they’re both open (ugh, nothing to do about the garage door), but they don’t touch anywhere near that hole… Hmm… A mystery that will never be solved. Anyway, I decided to cover it rather that replace the whole door.

That’s when I came up with a kind of shiplap-look fix. But I wanted a more modern look too, and all that took was a simple hardware update with black hinges and a new handle. (These handles and these hinges I installed in ALL the doors in our upstairs hall too, to add uniformity. Love them! They give a pop of modern detail and weren’t nearly as expensive as a good many similar ones I looked at.)

Love these door handles.

The trim I picked also gives these doors a cool touch of “fancy” detail. I started with a wider, curved piece running along the handle-side of the door. Then I added a narrower piece overlapping the first trim. For the hinge-side of the door, I added a matching strip of the thinner trim. This turned out pretty cool. It gives the door a nice framed look.

My two pieces of trim all nicely together.

Ok. To start, gather your materials. (As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. But it doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps me keep up my site!)

Here’s what you need:

First you want to replace the hinges if you’re doing that. This was simple with a screwdriver, and I removed one hinge at a time, replaced it using the same holes, and everything worked fine.

Next, remove your door handle, even if you’re using the same one once the door is done. Since you’ll be placing a handle and cover plate back over your wood, it’s good to outline with a pencil where the plate will cover around the handle hole. This gives some wiggle room with just how accurate you have to cut the plywood strip that will run across that part of the door.

Next, measure the height of your door. This is how long you need to cut your wider edge trim piece and two pieces of the thinner trim. Most doors are a standard 80 inches. I used our miter saw because that was easiest, but you could use even a hacksaw since trim is soft and thin. AND, you’ll have to cut out an indent for your door handle if your trim goes over where the cover plate will be. I only had to use a hand hacksaw for a small chunk of my thinner trim, and with a little sanding it looks nice around the handle.

Notch out the trim to fit the handle cover plate.

I’m a cut-as-you-go kind of person, so I attached the wider, handle-side edge trim before cutting the plywood “shiplap.” (This also helps with the measurements for those shiplap pieces.)

Thicker edge trim. Make sure the edges are flush!

Make sure your trim is flush with the edge of your door so it will open and close properly. I stood on a chair, held my trim in place up top, and used my beloved brad gun to shoot a nail in to hold the trim in place. Then I climbed down, made sure the trim was straight all the way along the edge of the door, and shot a nail to hold the bottom. Then I went up and down and nailed several more random places. Since this is the edge of the door and likely to be touched a lot, I wanted it secure.

With this edge trim in place, measure from the inside of that trim across the door to the hinge-side edge. Make sure your measurement will cover all of the front of the door, but don’t create any overhang in case that would cause issues opening the door. Better to be slightly short than slightly long, since you can cover your ends with that thinner edge trim later.

How wide you want your faux-shiplap pieces is up to you. I used my dad’s borrowed table saw and cut 6-inch strips. You could do 8-inch or 4-inch strips just as easily. Most standard doors are 80 inches in length, so that’s pretty easy math – but don’t forget about that handle causing some issues. I needed 7 of my 6-inch strips from the top of the door to where the handle would require me to notch out one board to leave space around the hole. (This doesn’t have to be pretty since the handle plate will cover any ugly edges of your cut-out.) After that hacksaw-cut board, I needed another 5 boards to cover the rest of the door…plus one thinner board to level out the bottom. (More on that in a second.)

Whatever wood strip size you choose, next use your across-the-door measurement and cut your plywood strips to that length. These will be close to the full width of your door, but don’t forget about subtracting the width of your already-attached trim. My plywood strips ended up needing to be 30.5 inches long. To cut my lengths, I used our miter saw, which was easiest.

You’ll definitely want to sand the edges of the plywood. The ends don’t have to be perfect because they’ll be covered by your thin pieces of trim, but the long sides will show. I also lightly sanded the fronts of the plywood to get rid of rough spots.

Now to put it all together! I started at the top since I figured I could adjust at the bottom less noticeably if anything was off. Standing on a chair with my brad gun held between my knees (maybe not the best approach, but it worked), I held one end of the plywood strip against my attached trim, then made sure the top was level and flush with the top edge of the door and also that the far end didn’t overlap that hinge side.

Line up plywood end along the attached trim.

Seeing that my measurements were correct, I nailed the plywood strip at top and bottom in the middle of the door, then put 2 more nails at each end to hold it in place. After that first board, I simply held the next under it and nailed it on.

Repeat this until the bottom strip is all that’s left. If your bottom board needs to be cut down, you know exactly how much once the higher boards are secured. (Again, I trust my cut-as-I-go method, and I indeed needed a thinner board on the bottom.) You can also cut it at a slight angle if it’ll not totally level. It WILL look weird if the bottom of your door isn’t level, so make sure this last board looks good along the bottom edge of your door. So, cut this board if you have to (I did), then attach like the others.

The last pieces of wood to go on are your thin trim pieces along either side. These cover your plywood ends (and any unevenness there) and add a finishing touch, like a frame.

Attach your thinner trim over the edge of the plywood to hide the ends.

Make sure your hinge-side trim doesn’t interfere with the opening and closing of your door, then nail it on. When you nail on the handle-side trim, making sure this is cut properly around where your door handle cover plate will go (as pictured earlier).

Make sure your trim doesn’t mess with your hinges opening and closing.

Now you’re all set to wood putty over your nail holes. I admit I skipped this step because I was in a hurry, but it would look better to do it. THEN you stain! I used a dark walnut because it tied in with the rest of my projects elsewhere.

Once your stain is dry, install your door handle. Again, I used these and LOVE them. They’re certainly nicer than our aged gold knobs that were on every door in our house, plus these kind are more toddler friendly…and since this was going on a bathroom, I was prepping for potty training. LOL

That’s it! Door done.

Ta-da! The “after.”

As for the many other ugly-door-solving DIY projects this house required, stay tuned! Next I’ll convert our coat closet’s bifold doors that were falling off the tracks. By using a similar method to what I did above, they’re now totally cool and you’d never know they were bifolds in a former life!

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How to Make CHEAP Curtains Without Sewing

Ok. So this project was so simple and inexpensive that I can’t even really call it a full-on project. But I LOVE how well these curtains work in our living room, and this is certainly another “anyone can do it” kind of room update. Since I last posted on a living room project (see here), now is a good time to share this project with you, since it’s really the only other thing I’ve done to our living room…so far.

I don’t know about you, but I hate the idea of paying tons of money for curtains. Those things are NOT cheap, especially if you have essentially one giant window like we do in our living room. I needed window dressings at least 59 x 112 inches. Pricing out normal curtains led to a total of… $yikes. Spending tons of money on something that would be grabbed by jelly/sauce/cheese-covered little fingers was REALLY unappealing.

So, as soon as we moved into our house, I knew I had to find some kind of curtains or blinds that would work without spending too much on them.

The “before” windows. Not a lot of privacy.

While I do like blinds, I wanted something a little more “flowy” for window dressings to soften up the room. The biggest problem with the idea of making my own curtains, however, is that I do not sew. Like, at all. This is not a skill my family’s women have possessed to pass down. My husband fixes buttons in our family.

So, I needed a way to make curtains that did not involve sewing. That’s when I found a solution on – you guessed it – Pinterest. I read about this option and thought, “Ok, I’ll give that a go. Sounds kinda weird, but we’ll see.” Now, over a year later – No Regrets!

The total price tag for these curtains, including the rod, was around $100. If the rod you need is shorter than the one I needed, you’re looking at even less. Or, if you’ve already got a rod, you’ll only pay around $43. Awesome and worth a try, right?!

(As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. But it doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps me keep up my site!)

Here’s what you need:
Twin top sheets, pack of 6
Curtain clip rings, pack of 20
Curtain rod with brackets, 72-144 inches

First comes the rod. If you’ve already got one up, you’ve got the hardest part done. I measured out how long my rod needed to be (at least 112 inches), then spaced the brackets about 12 inches wider on either side of the windows, purely subjectively because that looked nice and dramatic.

As for how high up the wall to place your rod, be sure to take into account how long your sheets/curtains are going to hang. These sheets are 96 inches long. It looks really good to let curtains drape on the floor a little bit, so I wanted about 1-2 inches extra at the bottom. So, I measured up from the floor and marked at 95 inches from the floor. Again, this is totally subjective. Just do whatever looks good for spacing above your windows, taking into account how much curtain you’ll have draping along the floor.

Sidenote: I thought letting white curtains touch the floor would lead to them getting really dirty. But this hasn’t been an issue, and we have a LOT of dust and dog hair around here. So don’t worry about that too much.

Since my windows run so wide (112 inches), I needed to also install the center bracket for the rod, which I did again 95 inches from the floor, centered along my windows. Then, crossing my fingers that my measurements were right, I inserted the rod through all 3 brackets. And it was level! Huzzah. (Hold off on tightening the screws that secure the rod in place for now.)

Another sidenote: This hefty rod was maybe a little overkill in terms of thickness and the weight that it would support, but it looks really modern and cool. Plus if I ever DO want real curtains (once those jelly/sauce/cheese-covered fingers grow up), this rod will be strong enough to support any I purchase.

Now for the sheets and curtain clips. Lay out your twin sheets. They will be wrinkly, but I solved this by steaming them once they were hung. You could also probably throw them in the dryer for a short time. Or wet them down a bit. I can’t remember why (probably because I was impatient and/or didn’t have time to do anything else), but I hung them and later did the steaming method. (…This is like a sewing skill, isn’t it? Maybe I’m just not good at knowing what to do with fabric, period.)

Anyway, smooth out the “bottom” end of the sheets, i..e not the end you would put at the head of the bed. Along this “bottom” end, lay your clips along the edge to figure out how you want them spaced and how many you’ll need to use. I ended up using 4 sheets/curtains total to cover the whole width of my windows, and I used 5 clips on each sheet/curtain. I didn’t measure exactly, but I put the clips on every 15 inches or so.

These clips are so simple but cool! You can get them in gold, bronze, nickel, white, or a few other options. I went with gold because it matched what I was doing elsewhere against the black finishes.

Once you’ve got all your clips clipped onto the sheets, it’s time to hang them!

All I had to do was pull out one end of the rod and slide the clips onto the rod. I did this for two of the curtains from one end of the rod. Then I did the other end of the rod with the other two curtains. I could have done all the clips/curtains at once, but I had that middle bracket to deal with. If your curtain rod is short enough that you don’t need a center bracket, go ahead and put them all on at once.

Then I tightened the rod in place at the brackets, and that was it!

“After” windows! So nice.

I love how elegant these sheets look! Who knew? LOL. They do indeed soften up the room. They give us privacy. And I’m not worried if little fingers cover them in goop because I can easily take them down to wash or replace with the other two curtains I have left from the pack of 6. Or, if I have to, I can replace them cheaply with new sheets. They also let in a nice, subdued degree of sunlight when closed, keeping out the heat of the sun but letting light through simultaneously. Don’t expect them to be anything like blackout curtains, but I imagine buying a darker color like the blue, grey, or black options might keep out light a little better.

Let me know if you make these curtains yourself!

Stay tuned for next week’s DIY project, when I move on to another room’s projects.

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Living Room Fireplace Update

New house renovation project time!  I need to write a quick one this week because the girls are sick and my husband is not up to wiping all the noses himself. BUT, I love how much this simple project transformed our living room.  And it was so easy that I’m confident anyone can do it.  You only need a few supplies, a few tools, a few hours, and BAM – a whole new look to your living room!

If you have a gas fireplace like we have, the space above is just begging for decoration. Making a faux-fireplace like I did also makes it look a little more credible as a fireplace.  LOL.  It blends into the wall less and gives the illusion of seeming to stand out more even though it’s even with the wall.  Especially with our high ceilings, it adds a dramatic new look to the room.

Our beautiful fireplace “after” photo!

So let’s start!

I will add links to the products I used so you can copy this exactly, or at least have an idea what to work with. (As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. But it doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps me keep up my site!)

Step 1 – Paint.  We had 1990s brown walls everywhere in this house, and it just did not work for me in the living room.  I wanted bright, I wanted a pop of color, and I wanted to take advantage of the high ceilings and great light that we have coming in from our windows.  So the very first thing I did once we got ownership of our house was to cover up that brown!

Not-so-beautiful “before.”

 Of course picking a “white” is far more complicated than I first expected, but I ended up going with Swiss Coffee by Valspar because it is on the orange end of whites (yeah, that’s a thing?) and looks good with greens and browns.

Semi-pro tip: If you’ve got a huge room to paint, I highly recommend going for something bigger than the average paint roller.  I used this 18-inch paint roller, this roller frame, and this extension pole.  They were worth every penny in saving me SO MUCH TIME.  It took 3 coats to cover that brown, and I can’t imagine how many more hours it would have taken me without this roller.

For over the fireplace, there’s no point painting the walls the same as the rest of the room since you’re covering that in a different color for your design.  So, I picked where I wanted my borders to be and used a level to make a pencil line from the ceiling down to the top of the mantle.  I made the line centered where the center of my wood borders would cover. That way, I could go close to the line with the white paint – and later with my green on the inside of the borders – but wouldn’t have to be exact because the wood would cover it anyway.

Once I was done with the white, I got to work painting the inside of my borders.  I picked Royal Pine by Valspar as my green, and I ended up loving it so much that I used it in various other places on our main floor too (see my DIY pantry post).  Full confession – I absolutely hate using painters tape.  So for the part of the wall that ran along the ceiling, I abandoned my paint roller and used a smaller brush and painted along the ceiling corner.  Since our ceiling is textured anyway, there were little dips and grooves anyway that required a paintbrush to get in there and make good lines.  PLUS this way, you avoid the horror of accidentally getting paint on your ceiling with a roller.  I did the same and used a brush along the bottom, up against our mantle.  For the side borders where I’d made my pencil mark, I just used my roller and didn’t worry too much about a straight line since my wood border was going to cover it anyway.

So that was pretty simple.  Just let it dry and you’re ready for the next step.

Step 2 – Wood borders.  You can use whatever size wood you want for your borders, but I used 1×3’s from Lowe’s.  I wanted these to look pretty nice and so didn’t cheap out quite as much as I usually do, and I like that I don’t have rough spots in the wood.  The important thing is that you get STRAIGHT boards.  And really you can do any design you want, but I did a simple square design.

For the side border pieces, measure from your mantle/bottom to the top where it meets the ceiling. If you have straight ceilings, this is going to be a lot easier. Our ceiling angle meant getting a little math involved. (“Ugh, math,” said the accountant’s wife.) I saw a simple trick that has saved me a LOT of headaches, and that’s to hold your board against your wall, with the board’s end straight against your ceiling, which will make the board obviously not level. Then put a level across your board and, once it’s level, draw a line along the level across the board. If you cut there, that will make your board meet your ceiling at a 90-degree angle.

Do this for both side borders, then grab a ladder and check that the board fits.  If it does, go paint your board the same as your inside color – Royal Pine, in my case.  I didn’t bother using primer, since this wasn’t going to be touched hardly at all and my paint was a pretty dark color.  If you’re doing a lighter color, use some primer first so the wood doesn’t show through as time goes by. I didn’t bother painting the back of the boards, since they were against the wall.

Once your boards are dry, grab a nail gun like my favorite. Up on your ladder, hold the board in place over the paint line you drew earlier, and FIRST make sure that your paint goes all the way so you can’t see any unpainted wall on either side of the board.  If you missed a spot, quick touch up.  Once you’re good, hold a level against your board and then nail it in place.  I only used a few nails up top, at the bottom, and maybe 2 in between.  You don’t have to go nuts if you’re using light wood.

Then do the inside wood pieces of your design.  I used one more very long board up the middle, angling the top to meet the peak of our ceiling.  For that, I used this contour-finding tool that I LOVE for getting the right lines to cut if you’ve got a funky shape.  Just make sure once you’ve used it against your ceiling that your husband doesn’t grab it, think it looks cool, and plays with it, thus losing the shape you need to trace on your board.  Ahem.  Hypothetically. 

Cut that middle board with a miter saw.  Paint it.  Nail it up using your level.

Once your middle board is up, measure from side board to middle board on either side and get whatever size you need to make the cross pieces of the design.  First you want to put your cross pieces along the very bottom to give a bottom border along your mantle.  Then do the top, which in my case required using my little tool again to get the right angles to cut.  From there, you can decide how you want the rest of your cross pieces spaced.  I only did 2 cross pieces on either side to get my design, but you can do more if you want a more elaborate pattern.  Honestly, I mostly got tired of doing it and did just enough to not make it look like a Cross at the front of a church or something. 

Step 3 – Caulk/wood putty. To get a completely clean look, you’ll want to cover all those nail holes and the gaps where your wood pieces meet. Everyone seems to use caulk for this, but honestly I love using this wood putty because it dries faster than caulk, you can wipe it smooth, and paint goes over it great. (I use this stuff ALL THE TIME for dinks in our walls too.) I do all the putty-ing first, then use my little brush and touch up the paint.

And viola!  That’s it.  If you’re more confident than me, I suppose you could cut all your boards and paint all your boards at the same time, but I like to do one or two at a time to make sure things go right.  (Fool me once… LOL)

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Pantry DIY Project – Shopping for accessories!

If you missed the previous Steps 1-4 on my pantry DIY or Step 5 where I made faux butcher block countertops, you can check those out here and here. Now for the fun part – accessorizing the almost-finished pantry! (As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. But it doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps me keep up my site!)

While renovating our living room/kitchen/pantry/front room/etc., I also spent a lot of time pinned under a nursing baby. This gave me hours and hours to shop online for the best deals and coolest stuff I could find to add finishing touches to my projects. Again, I scoured Pinterest for ideas on organization and design, finding a balance between super-functional and aesthetically what I was going for.

Our giant pantry ended up with a kind of “modern fancy farmhouse” style…if that’s a thing. And yes, I’m aware how weird it is to have a design style for a pantry. But this is no ordinary pantry! If you’re converting a dining room to a pantry, you’re gonna have room to decorate around all the clutter that is inevitably going to happen when you start piling groceries in there. I’m realistic enough to know we were going to make this pantry a mess on a daily basis – but the trick is to make stuff look cool around and even under the mess. If you’re making a giant pantry too, figure out what style you like and add touches that will stick out amidst the chaos.

First off, we had a wide gap in the center of our pantry between the cabinet-lined walls. And we had that chandelier hanging in the middle that was just asking for someone taller than me to run into it. Amusing as that would’ve been (for me), it was something I suspected my husband would prefer to avoid. So, as a solution, I texted him one day at work with, “What about getting an island in the center of the pantry?” I assumed he would think I was crazy, but fortunately he must’ve been too busy that day to deal with me and responded, “Great idea.”

My method for buying anything is pretty simple. I like to find something cheap, but not so cheap that it’s likely to fall apart. It’s not worth it to me if I’m going to have to buy the same thing more than once to replace the original – I save up until I can get the thing I want rather than a “good enough for now” version.

I also make sure to read reviews, aiming for something that’s got at least a 4-star average. I fully admit to using Amazon whenever possible because I like the delivery times and it’s the easiest place to do shopping research. But sometimes I will look through Lowe’s or Home Depot or Menard’s, then check for that product on Amazon because they always have more reviews, then once I’ve made up my mind buy the product from Lowe’s or the others. But as far as reviews go, Amazon always is the easiest place to look. It also helps that you can type into their search for topics like “weight limit” or “width” and it pulls up anything with that topic in a review. If you’re worried about something in particular, it’s good to search for that in reviews.

For our island, I ended up finding this one at Lowe’s. It is awesome. And of course it looks like it’s not available right now, but there are several similar. We use the pass-through drawer for tea. We store mason jars in one side of the bottom section, and in the other side we keep an under cabinet wire shelf and little tray for extra produce storage. This works great for storing away produce like potatoes, onions (when I’m allowed to have them in the house), garlic, etc. Not to mention the top of the island is another great place to dump groceries as you’re trying to put them away in the cabinets. We also keep a wooden bowl on top to put fruit in.

The other big thing I purchased for the pantry was the shelving system. Not expensive big, but certainly big in terms of the square footage it takes up along the wall with the narrow lower cabinets. Having open shelving seemed like a good idea, although obviously I could do a better job of making it look organized. But I kind of like how this one part looks like a normal cluttered pantry – bags of chips, boxes of stuffing, cereal boxes, and all.

In any case, if you go this route, it’s a pretty cheap way of adding extra storage. I used old library shelf boards my parents discarded my way, but you could use any boards you want. For mounting the shelves, I used these industrial brackets that look really cool. If you get wider than 8 inches, you’ll need to make sure you get a different bracket size than the ones I got, but they come in a size that will work with boards up to 12 inches. I love these brackets and have used them in multiple rooms in our house. They’re easy to adjust for level, and you just have to make sure the wall-attached end is secured to a stud or else in really well with wall anchors.

For additional countertop storage, I bought this stackable can rack to sit on the narrow countertop. It’s great for storing soups and is easily accessible for mornings when my husband has trouble remembering to grab something for lunch. lol. It’s also a great cabinet space-saver so you don’t have to stack soups or shove them out of the way to find what you want.

To finish off my husband’s coffee corner, I bought this set of coffee mug racks that go well with the other black metal finishes in the pantry. I use it more than I thought I would for tea and cocoa, and it’s a nice way to free up some storage space in our cup/glasses/mugs cupboard. Plus you get to display some of your fun mugs if you collect that kind of thing.

I also built this to hang on the wall and hold fruit. I used these baskets and simply attached them to 3 boards I had lying around from an old pallet. It adds some nice rustic charm and softens the room.

For something extra cool, I got this hanging planter to keep herbs in…or plastic flowers when I inevitably kill the herbs. But it adds something organic to the room and is handy for green onions – the hardest to kill thing I’ve found to put in them.

And finally, to add more “organic” touches, I put these fake boxwood plants along the top of my upper cabinets. I like how the greens play off the green color of the wall, and again they soften up the cabinets. And for something kinda weird, I got these light fixture cages and turned them upside-down on top of the cabinets to put the boxwood plants in. I like how the plants stick out through the cages and are visible, which they wouldn’t have been if I put them in vases or pots. I got a few extra cages to use in other rooms as well – they come in a pack of 4, which is nice.

I’m sure there’s some other accessory that I’m forgetting that’s cool, but if you see anything in my pictures that you’re wondering about, let me know and I’ll try to remember where I got it! Shopping for decorations is my favorite part of finishing up any space, and I hope this gives you some ideas (to steal or otherwise) for your own pantry!

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