Add Wainscoting + Trim:
I wanted my home to make a good first impression, so I focused on the foyer during my first year of DIY. After painting the walls a dark, dramatic color, I craved the classic design elements found in my previous 1930s-era brownstone apartment. When I built this house in 2005, I knew that I would add crown molding and wainscoting one day. The foyer wainscoting project significantly upgraded the overall appearance of my home and it only cost about $750. The alternative would have been to pay a builder thousands! This project is how I got hooked on power tools!
Paint Doors:Interior and exterior doors can be used to anchor a color scheme or to create even more drama and contrast. My front door was not immune to change during the foyer upgrade project, and choosing black was such a good decision. Eventually I painted all of my interior doors a darker color as well. If black isn’t your preference, go for any color that complements your aesthetic. After all, it’s just paint!
I often wonder what happened to my other boot in this picture :)
Embellish Kitchen Cabinetry:
In addition to paint, your cabinetry might need a little embellishment to enhance their aesthetic. In my case, I added trim first then painted our oak paneled cabinets. I followed that with more trim at the ceiling and the bottom to close any gaps. Then I added new hardware and even removed some wood panels and replaced them with faux leaded glass. As you can tell, it was a process that evolved over time. Finally, adding wreaths during the holidays made the cabinets look even more luxe for less!
Curate and Collect:Mixing older collected pieces with new decor is a fun way to add sophistication and character in your home. Many of the antiques I’ve rescued and repurposed have become my favorite pieces. It takes considerable time to curate a special collection, but the payoff is gorgeous and it demonstrates a well thought-out space.
Be Resourceful:Being thrifty is great, but being resourceful has saved me thousands of dollars. Honing your painting expertise or learning how to repair broken furniture are both valuable skills. Learning to decoupage has enabled me to create my own art. Although it might not be an expensive masterpiece, it can certainly be made to look that way. It’s worth it to push yourself out of your comfort zone to learn a new craft to create decor with a high-end look. The way in which you repurpose a thrift store treasure is important; it can look like a craft or you can make it look elegant. And it’s not just about learning how to use power tools.
Choose a Versatile Wall Color with Staying Power:The question I’m asked most often is, “What color is your wall paint?” I’ll let you in on a little secret — it has been the same color for ten years! Wall color was a huge decision for me, and it was a spur-of-the-moment choice when I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. Other than a few touch ups, I’ve had no reason to update it because it works well in our space. It’s a warm tone during some seasons and cool in others. I can get funky and add crazy patterns and textures, or I can buy trendy chairs, art, or pillows to give my rooms a new look. It’s fun knowing that I can change my rooms simply by swapping out a few accessories.
DIY projects reward those who are patient, and I’m glad that we took this longer road. Tastes and styles change, and I firmly believe you need to live in a space for awhile before your vision becomes clear. We could have hastily made decisions five years ago that we might have regretted later. Each project was done purposefully and was carefully curated to match our current tastes. We now can say that our home has evolved into exactly what we want.