The Home & Garden Television Line Up I want to see

I know that everyone loves a good before and after (so do I!), but lately I’ve been craving a different type of home television. I want shows with more information, a slower pace and less drama. Here are the 10 shows I would like to watch right now.

  • Restore Design: This would be a modern take on This Old House. The show would focus on renovations and restorations of older homes with a designer’s perspective. Each episode would go through one room and would show viewers how to do things like scrape windows, repair floors or install a window. This will appeal to millennials who love Instagram’s “Cheap Old Houses” and have the gumption and desire to DIY things.
  • Designer to Mogul: This television show would interview designers who leveraged their design careers into multi-faceted and successful businesses. Each episode would tell a brief history of their business and how they diversified and grew. It would include the struggles and the process. Each episode will focus on a different designer (or maybe each season could focus on one or two designers). Designers could include: Shea McGee, Sheila Bridges, Amber Lewis Interiors, Joanna Gaines, Justina Blakeney, Caitlin Wilson Design and many more. It will focus on how creatives can utilize their skills to build successful businesses. It will be of interest to aspiring designers and/or business-minded individuals.
  • Com Design: This show would focus on commercial designs including hotels, restaurants, retail, hospitals and more. Karin Bonn would be a great host and each episode could follow her in the various commercial design projects that her agency designs and oversees. I would like the entire seasons to focus on one or two design projects. This would (hopefully!) give each project enough time to get into the weeds of some of the nitty gritty details.
  • Lush Yards: This would follow a landscape designer when working with both residential and commercial clients. It would demonstrate how she designs the space, why she picks certain plants and how to care for the design over the long term. It would be an education on plants, design and curb appeal.
  • Town Revival: Okay, this one is a bit out there but give me a chance to explain. This show would include experts like economists, city planners, educators and other community stakeholders that come together to reinvigorate small cities or towns. There are so many things that go into building a successful community. It would talk about economics, education, mental health, community wellness and employment. I WANT to see this show. I think bringing opportunities to smaller towns will bring more diverse voices into the world. It would have a similar vibe as Strong Towns. Heck, maybe the Strong Towns people could create this show. Seriously, pretty please create this show. I think it would be so fascinating!
  • Textile School: Textiles are all around us and play a role in our everyday life. Textile School will introduce the different types of textiles, what they are used for, how to care for them and advances in the industry. Viewers will learn how to pick the right fabric for their homes, clothing and more.
  • Creative Communities: This television show would focus on how different cities, towns or organizations are fostering creativity through education, programming and business. It would cover a wide variety of topics and types of creativity. Each episode could explore a different community and how it’s supporting the arts and creativity. For example, one episode could explore San Jose’s Creative Industries Incentives Fund and businesses/projects that were supported by this grant.
  • The Wood Shop: The wood shop would follow a carpenter as he creates unique and beautiful wood furniture. It would provide an education on how to design and execute wood working projects.
  • Creative E.P. : Creative E.P. follows entrepreneurs in creative fields. It would focus on the entrepreneurial process (hence E.P.) and talk about running a business at various stages.
  • Behind Closed Doors: This is a dorky show about “how the sausage is made.” Every episode would go behind the scenes of different careers/industries and talk about how it works. It’s kind of like “How’s it made” but for industries/careers. It could have episodes that focus on interior design process, styling for magazines, how to make a TV show, starting a business, how to get a book published, how to make wallpaper, how to start a design line, how to start a podcast, how to style a room and on and on.

Credits: Television Frame, House Image, Toolbox Icon, Mogul image, Color Swatch Icon, Com Design Picture, Store Front Icon, Yard Image, Wheelbarrow Icon, Town Image, Building Icon, Textile Image, Fabric Bolts Icon, Flower Shop Image, Creative Cloud Icon, Tool Shed Image, Saw & Wood Icon, Café Image, Door Icon, Women with Laptop Image and Graph Icon.

Easy Halloween Decorating

The last couple of years I’ve felt blah about decorating for holidays which is a big departure from my usual over-the-top excitement. I think part of it is the imaginary pressure that I put on myself to create something new and impactful. This year I decided to keep it low key and minimal. I focused on decorating the entry and then sprinkled Halloween/fall décor into the living, dining and family rooms.

The Entry

To make the the entry feel more festive, I switched out my everyday décor for more fall-Halloween related items. I purchased these sweet natural braided mini pumpkins and lined them up on the tray. I also purchased this huge wooden jack-o-lantern bucket from Home Goods. I looked for this item online and the only thing that came up was this ebay link. This same bucket is listed for $185. WHAAAAAAT??! That is crazy.

I really love the bucket. It’s heavy and feels high quality. I think I paid $40 or $50 for it last year.

To make the entry feel a little spooky, I placed a large spider on one of the pumpkins and added spiders to the wicker mirror.

I used these super inexpensive spiders and gentle secured them by pushing their feet into the different crevices of the wicker. They’ve been up for about 7 days now and not one has fallen!

The Living Room

The living room is my happy place and I like to keep it neutral. Whenever I sit in here, I feel relaxed, so I wanted décor that would easily blend in with the rest of the room.

I added two skeleton spiders and a white fabric pumpkin that has an orange ticking stripe pattern. Sometimes less is more, right?

The Dining Room

I haven’t shown you pictures of the dining room before. The main pieces of furniture are in place, but I want to install board and batten on the walls, paint the trim and replace the carpet with wood floors. So while it’s a work in progress, you can see where we are right now.

I simply added gourds and small pumpkins to a long wood bowl. I did this last year, too and the gourds/pumpkins lasted until Thanksgiving. Both me and the pumpkins were ready to move on at that time.

I put some dollar store spiders on the light fixture and called it a day. Can you spot them above?

Family Room

Like the dining room, I have never shown the family room on the blog. It’s not ready and is still a mish-mash of furniture from our old house. The carpet needs to go, the bookshelves are too small, the wood mantel is too orange and I’m missing key pieces of furniture (a substantial sofa table and a TV armoire). It’s actually the lowest priority room for some reason….even though we spend most of our time in it. I will get to it, eventually.

Can I talk about something that I love and I may be the minority on? I keep our mantel bare for most of the year. The one exception is Christmas when it’s covered in garland and lights. I really like a bare mantel…it gives the fireplace all the attention. I’m not sure if I’m the only one who thinks this?

What I do love though is a decorated hearth. For Halloween I added a skeleton dog, stacked pumpkins (they light up!) and a black sequined pumpkin on one side. The lantern is a staple and stays there year round. The other side has a grouping of three artificial pumpkins.

In a demonstration of my “minimalism” this year, I only decorated one book case. It felt like a good idea at the time. I stretched a spiderweb material over the book case in a way that felt kind of natural. I added a sequin pumpkin (also from the dollar store) and called it a day. That creepy book was already sitting in the white bird nest basket, but it definitely adds to the spooky feeling. It was a happy accident.

There you have my simple and minimalistic fall décor. I may try to plan a little more for Christmas, but it’s 2020, so who knows.

2020 Pop Culture Halloween Costumes

I doubt any of us will be attending Halloween parties this year due to COVID 19, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still dress up to have a little fun. Just like last year, I broke down 4 celebrity looks to create Halloween costumes I can get behind.

Reese: Wig, Glasses, Earrings, Sweater, Jeans, Book Club | Shea: Blonde Wig, Necklaces, Ruffle Top, Jeans, Tennis Shoes

Reese Witherspoon is an actress and media mogul. She has a fun and relatable approach to fashion. To create her “costume,” I paired one of her favorite staples, a gingham top, with medium blue skinny jeans. You can accessorize with hoop earrings, tortoise shell glasses, a short blonde wig and a book from her book club to really sell it.

Shea McGee, the owner and designer behind Studio McGee, is having a great year, okay, more like great half-decade. Her Target collaboration is a hit, her book is about to be released AND she has a new Netflix show. Much like Reese, her style is approachable and is easy to replicate. She likes flowery tops and dresses, items that have a flowy component and jeans. For her, I paired a ruffled sleeve top with destructed jeans and tennis shoes. Complete with a long blonde wig and layered necklaces to nail the look.

RBG: Earrings, Gavel, Necklace, Robe | Greta: Wig, Hoodie, Jeans, Poster

Ruth Bade Ginsburg was a supreme court justice who championed women’s rights and became a cultural icon. Dressing up like RBG would be an honor and, I hope, will remind us of her accomplishments and dedication. RBG was known for wearing various neck pieces which had different meanings (here’s a short article if you’re interested), so the main part of her costume will be a lace necklace that looks like RBG’s favorite one. You’ll need a judge’s robe and gavel to complete the look. Add some large emerald earrings and pull your hair into a tight bun and you’ve got yourself RBG.

Greta Thunberg is a 17 year old climate change activist. The key to her costume is to copy her signature long braid pulled to the side and a climate change poster. Pair with a hoodie, jeans and sparse make up to complete the look.

A Quick Spray Paint Project

I wanted a huge cork board in B’s room so he could display his drawings and pictures. I ordered a 36″ x 60″ cork board from and waited patiently until it arrived. I’ve never ordered from, so I was surprised when it took over a month for the order to be shipped. None the less the cork board is here and is the perfect size!

I planned on hanging it vertically, like it’s shown above. The only problem was the aluminum frame didn’t really go with anything else in his room and the name written on the frame would give away that it was meant to be hung horizontally. The cork board felt like it should be in an office or school rather than a bedroom. However there’s an easy way to fix it – Spray Paint!

I used frog tape and white printer paper to cover the cork and prepare it for painting. I decided a satin pure black frame would look good in B’s room. I went through a spray painting phase about 10 years ago where I sprayed all types of things – hooks, picture frames, you name it–I tried to spray it. I felt pretty confident that the cork board would come out well. I used Krylon Fusion-All-In-One Spray paint.

After the corkboard was taped up, I wiped it down to ensure it was clean and began spraying it. I sprayed it in the paint box my husband built when I sprayed B’s desk.

You want to apply the spray paint in thin, even coats. My first few coats always look like a disaster. I sprayed the board upright to get full coverage on the front. I then laid it on the floor to paint the sides.

I am not sure how many coats I did–maybe 5 on the front and sides? I let it dry over night. Peeling away the frog tape was the most satisfying part of the project. I wish I would have recorded it.

Now the board is waiting to be hung. B’s room is almost done and hopefully next week I’ll show you the final room reveal.

October Link Up

The first presidential debate was a train wreck. Watching it conjured up all kinds of emotions – anger, disgust, disappointment, exhaustion. I can’t imagine two more debates or 4 more years with Trump as president. I know that we can do better and we should expect more from our leaders.

Banksy Does New York is a fun documentary that followed Banksy’s 30 day residency in New York City in 2013. Every day he introduced a new piece of art and New Yorkers would go on a hunt to locate it.

Dolly Parton is a mastermind. At 74 years old, she is still in the zeitgeist and better than ever. Netflix announced that Dolly will star in the movie musical, “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square,” which will be released on November 22nd. As a huge Dolly fan, I will be watching. (I briefly talked about my love of Dolly here and every time I encounter her I am uplifted by her spirit. She is something special and I hope this Netflix special can capture her magic.)

Nesting Table Round Up

I love a good set of nesting tables. They can save space and add lots of function. I pulled together 20+ sets that stood out and felt special. Some of these could be statement pieces (like #5 – that yellow iron!) while others can just look good doing their job (#3 or #7). This roundup has something for every style from farmhouse to boho to glam. Which set do you love?

  1. Round Geometric Nesting Tables | $121.49
  2. Sarita Nesting Tables | $159.99
  3. Lakeside Nesting Tables | $179.99
  4. Franco Wood Nesting Tables | $240.00
  5. Iron Hexagon Nesting Tables | $126.99
  6. Trunk Nesting Tables | $199.99
  7. Metal & Leather Nesting Tables | $269.99
  8. White & Wood Chunky Nesting Tables |$209.99
  9. Metal Nesting Tables | $187.99
  10. Mid Century Nesting Tables | $609.99
  11. Rustic Brown Nesting Tables | $269.99
  12. Wicker Nesting Tables | $192.24
  13. Nate Berkus & Jeremiah Brent Nesting Tables | $250
  14. Rustic Blue Wood Nesting Tables | $143.99
  15. Wood Nesting Tables | $127.99
  16. Reclaimed Teak Wood Nesting Tables | $113.99
  17. Tristan Nesting Tables | $299.00
  18. Gold Nesting Table Set | $298.00
  19. Natural Wood Nesting Tables | $134.69
  20. Brass Finish Nesting Tables | $229.99
  21. Stacking Table Tray Set | $128

The Never Ending Desk Painting Episode or How to Spray Laminate Furniture (from someone who made a lot of mistakes)

My son wanted a blue desk. We originally found one at Ikea, but after measuring his room we realized it was too big. No problem, there’s an easy fix for this problem –I can just paint whatever desk we purchase. I was itching to use the paint sprayer for some time now and this was a perfect opportunity.

We purchased the Little Seeds Kids Desk. It fits perfectly in the space and has a good amount of storage. My son and I sat down with the Sherwin Williams Paint Fan Deck and sorted through a bunch of blues. He wanted bright and I wanted muted. In the end, we picked SW Georgian Bay. It’s definitely a brighter blue but I was happy to concede to my son’s wishes. It’s his room and I want him to feel ownership in this project too.

To prep the desk for spraying, we assembled it (but did not attach the drawer rails or fronts), lightly sanded and wipe it down to make sure it was clean. My husband built a paint spraying area in the garage to limit the over spray and we moved the desk and the drawer fronts into the booth. The drawer fronts were placed on wood blocks to elevate them and prevent them from being stuck on the ground after painting

We have a Wagner Power Painter Plus sprayer. Since it was my first time using it, my husband gave me a little run down and I tried it out on an old board. The first spray or two can splutter and create large paint droplets, so I always try it out on an old before before actually painting.

With a respirator on my face, I stepped into the booth and sprayed everything. It was super quick and efficient. It was so quick that I didn’t want to stop and so I did another pass on the desk. The desk looked good. The finish looked good. I was really encouraged. I exited the spray tent about 7 minutes I entered it and went inside.

After an hour or so, I sprayed another coat. At this point things were looking really good.I was feeling optimistic, but after I sprayed the desk, I bumped the desk with my tush while spraying the door fronts creating a small white space on the corner of the desk. I then noticed a couple of paint runs. I guess I was too brave and applied the paint a too thick in a few places. I tried to fix them with a brush, but the paint was already tacky and it created more problems.

I had to make a decision at this point – try to work with these problems or scrape off the paint in the damaged areas and re-paint. Of course, I wanted the desk to be as nice as possible, so I decided I would scrape and re paint. There were three main areas to scrape: the front left leg, the left side of the drawers and the two small corners on the top (you’ll see it in the pictures below). Scrapping the desk was…easy. I then had the realization. OMGGGGGGG. I did not get the right primer for this project. Okay, I didn’t get any primer for this project. Most paints have a primer built into them. It hit me hard. For laminate furniture, everyone (DIYers, bloggers etc.) recommends the same primer (B-I-N Shellac Primer). I called my husband and told him my dumb mistake. We talked about how to move forward. We DID sand the laminate already. I mean that should help, right? Did I feel like scraping the entire desk?????? No. I didn’t. We decided to take a chance with painting with what we had. I scrapped the damaged areas and was back to spraying.

The color of the desk in the first two photos is how the paint looks in real life. The photos of the desk after I scraped the damaged parts makes the paint look lighter and more baby blue which is not reflective of the real paint color. I’m not sure what happened with the lighting, but just know that I didn’t pick a different color.

I was determine to not make any more mistakes and, luckily, the desk came out looking great. Here is a little peak of the desk in B’s room a couple of days after I finished spraying it. I was really happy with how it looked.

Unfortunately, the story does not end there. I was worried about the top of the desk and the drawers. They seemed like the most vulnerable parts of the desk. I did some research and decided to attach a clear shelf liner to the top to protect it and preserve the paint job. I purchased the shelf liner, but didn’t attach it right away (maybe a week or so went by). Then one night I went into the room and saw all kinds of speckles on the desk top. I ran over and realized they were crumbs (B was eating toast while playing a video game). I cleaned it up but when I moved some items around on his desk, I found a scratch.

At this point, I just decided to scrape the entire desk, prime with the shellac primer and re-spray. I should have done it from the beginning. I quickly scraped the desk top. It was actually really satisfying and fun. The pieces came off in large chunks. I briefly chastised myself for not doing this sooner and started on a couple of the drawers. A few days later, I had time to finish prepping the desk….but it was REALLY hard to remove the rest of the paint. My husband and I started working on the main areas that we thought would get the most wear/tear. The paint would NOT come off. I then tried sanding it off and it continue to stick and the sanding actually caused more problems (see picture below).

I had to walk away from the project before I made any more mistakes. After a couple of minutes to reflect, I decided I had to make the best of the situation. I tried one last time to remove the paint, but it did not come off after several attempts. Alright. Fine. The universe has spoken. The Frankenstein desk would be painted like this.

The desk was cleaned up and I wrapped the drawers in plastic, only allowing the drawer fronts to be painted. The desk was put back in the DIY spray booth. This time I sprayed the desk with the Zinsser B-I-N Shellac Primer. This stuff reportedly sticks to EVERYTHING! Just a quick note– this primer smells really bad. You should use it in a well ventilated area and wear a mask. The primer is thin and watery compared to the paint we typically used. When spraying the desk, we used the “stain” setting on the paint gun because it was so thin. I also suggest you ask the paint counter clerk to spin the primer before you leave the store (ours had completely separated). Also – to clean up this primer, I recommend a mixture of ammonia and water (I did a 1:1 dilution).The paint dries quickly, so I would clean your paint sprayer as soon as possible.

The primed desk and drawers looked good. I let it set over night before spraying with the Sherwin Williams Home Infinity (eggshell) paint. Again, the color of the desk is SW Georgian Bay. I can’t tell you how happy I was to be working with latex paint again.

I sprayed three coats and now I’m waiting a couple of days for the paint to cure. Overall the desk looks nice (just like last time). I’m still debating if I should add the clear shelf liner to the top.

Next time you’ll see it, it will be in B’s room! Fingers crossed this is that last time I paint it. 🙂

Boy’s Room Refresh – The Mood Board

My son made a simple request– a desk for his room. It was such a sweet ask that I couldn’t say no. Plus, it sounded easy, but as we started planning, the to-do list started to grow and a simple shuffling of furniture turned into a full fledged re-fresh. We first decorated the room three years ago after we moved into this house.

At the time, he loved dinosaurs so we installed a wallpaper dinosaur mural and my husband built him a bed that looks like a jeep (from these plans). It had a total Jurassic Park feel, which he loved.

All the furniture was pushed against the walls to create as much floor space as possible for playing. The walls were painted SW Vogue Green (still one of my favorite paint colors) and we used the the same dresser he had since birth (Ikea Tarva 6 drawer) and a side table his dad built. The room had a multi-color fan from the previous owner. B really loved it, so it became a low priority to switch out.

I eventually painted the bed an army-green and black (see above) and hung some dinosaur posters, but besides that the room stayed unchanged until he requested a desk. The room is small and the jeep bed is big, which made fitting a desk into the room a challenge. I started to play around with the floor plan and sometimes I would just go stare at the room (you know normal stuff). We decided to move the dresser into the closet, as it wasn’t used for much besides blanket storage. That opened up the room for a lot more possibilities. We actually had a place for a desk now! Yay!!

My son requested that we remove the dinosaur mural. We had attached the mural using liquid starch (I followed this tutorial), so it was very easy to remove. We just spray it with water and gave it a minute or so to absorb and pulled it away in pieces (each section needs to be saturated with water). Come prepared with towel to clean up the access water and to wipe down the walls.

With the dresser in his closet, all that remained was his jeep bed and a small side table. This was close enough to a blank slate (as we planned on keeping the bed and table).

We measured all the furniture and laid out an initial floor plan. It became clear that we needed a desk that was rather shallow to work best in this room. There were several variations of the floor plan and desk size before we landed on one that work best for us. We decided to center the bed on the wall that previously had the mural. This created a secluded little corner (closest to the window) and we decided a bean bag for reading would be a fun addition. His new desk would be on the wall opposite the bed.

With the floor plan pretty much decided, I put together a mood board for the room.

  1. Wood Shelves – Poplar Wood Boards ($20.48/each) : I wanted a wood shelf to bring warmth and a natural element into the room. Ideally it would be a medium brown wood.
  2. Shelves Brackets ($14.98/each): These bronze brackets feel boy-ish and were available at our local Home Depot (sometimes convenience matters!).
  3. Little Seeds Kids Desk ($189.99): This little desk was the right depth for the room. However, we wanted to make it a special by painting it a custom color. My son had initially picked out a different blue desk, but when we laid out the floor plan it didn’t fit. It seemed like a fair compromise to just paint whichever desk we ended up purchasing.
  4. Wood & Leather Chair ($115.00): I knew I wanted an easy-to-clean material for the chair. Leather, wood or plastic seemed the most reasonable. I saw this modern number online and was intrigued. It plays off the wood shelves and the other black elements in the room.
  5. White Ceiling Fan ($99.00): I wanted a white ceiling fan that felt more modern but could also blend into the white ceiling.
  6. Green Striped Roman Shades ($108): The room needed some pattern and a striped shade feels classic. I toyed with making a custom shade or ordering one from Etsy, but I struggled to find a pattern I really liked. Maybe one day we’ll change it out for something new. For now, it works well and bring visual interest to the room.
  7. CB2 Plug in Light Fixture ($149, sold out ): I knew I wanted a fun swing light to go above my son’s bed. Since his jeep bed is elevated, a standard night stand with lamp situation wouldn’t work. I showed my son a couple of options and this is the one he picked.
  8. Euro Pillow Sham ($29.99): I wanted the bedding to correspond to the roman shade but not be matchy-matchy. I searched a long time for a good euro pillow sham and this one ultimately won. It has a similar vibe as the shade but does not replicate the patterns or colors.
  9. Green Target Quilted Bedding (Quilt – $49.99, Sham – $15 ): I love this quilted bedding and the green easily goes with the overall tone of his room (tone-on-tone, baby!).
  10. SW Vogue Green: We decided to keep his walls Vogue Green…and even paint the baseboards Vogue green. I.LOVE.IT.
  11. Cork Board ($75.00): All kids need a place to display their work. I have the perfect wall for this extra large cork board.
  12. Bean Bag Chair ($61.00): Of course, I needed a bean bag chair for that little nook on the other side of the bed. Again, I showed my son several options and this is the one he wanted.

We Ordered Wood Floors: Important Things to Consider when Purchasing Solid Hardwood

Eek! We did it. We ordered the hardwood flooring for our first level. It’s been three years in the making and while I’m excited, I also have a pit in my stomach. Dropping a large amount of cash at one time is, well, scary.

The journey to finding the right hardwood floors was a long one filled with disappointment and surprises. I was naive when I started looking, so I had a lot to learn about flooring. While I am not expert, I’m a more informed customer now.

What type of Wood Flooring did we Pick?

There are so many options today for wood (or wood-looking) flooring: vinyl, engineered hardwood, luxury vinyl, laminate, tile, bamboo flooring and solid hardwood. The options seem to be endless and I’m not mad about it! Yes, it can feel overwhelming with so many choices, but the upside is that there is something available in every price range and for every lifestyle. I’m excited about all the options and hope that one day I get to try them all!

To be fair, I knew I wanted solid hardwood floors for their durability, capacity to be refinished and the look/feel of the flooring. But that didn’t stop me from exploring all the other options. I put together the chart below showing the different “wood” flooring options comparing price, recommended use and material.

The table contains general information, but there can be a wide variation between products within the same category. As we’ll see below, all solid hardwoods are not the same and this is true for the other categories listed above, too. Likewise, the pricing can vary greatly in all the categories. I tried to assign the price symbols based on the average cost, but you can find examples of engineering hardwoods costing more than some solid options.

We ordered a prefinished solid white oak hardwood. Specifically, we ordered this Bellawood flooring from Lumber Liquidators. The decision came quick, but it occurred after learning everything I could for three years about hardwood.

Wood Species

I always knew there were different species of wood but I didn’t really think much about the difference. I selected white oak because it has a good Janka Hardness score (a measurement of it’s hardness) which means that it will be a hardy floor. There are 60 different types of oak trees, but they are broken down into two main types: red and white oak. White oak, in my opinion, tends to always stain beautifully (just check out this post by Chris Loves Julia where they tested multiple stains on a variety of wood species), and since it has a pinkish-gray undertones, it feels very neutral. If we ever need to redo the floors, I am confident that white oak will stain beautifully and give us lots of different options (light, dark or medium brown).

Other types of wood species, like red oak, can be more challenging. While red oak can be stained a wide variety of colors and tends to stain evenly, the red undertones can be difficult to minimize if you are not a fan of that color. Pine, a cheap and widely available wood, is difficult to stain. The staining can be blotchy (use wood conditioner!!) and doesn’t always absorb medium brown stains well. However, they can look beautiful if stained with a very light color or in the hands of a talented tradesman (or expert DIYer). When picking the wood floor species, it’s best to think about how you want the floors to look and how versatile they will be in the future if that’s important to you. It will ensure that you get the flooring you want!


When I first started shopping, I didn’t know wood flooring had grades. I thought they were all basically the same with different color stains. This was based on my limited exposure to wood floors, which is what I saw at Home Depot and Lowe’s. Of course, I was totally wrong and I had to take a deep dive into what the heck each grade of wood meant. A grade refers to the “quality” of the wood. This does not necessarily mean buying the best grade would be right for every project. The grade is determined by a couple of things: consistency of coloring (better ratings = more consistency), number of knots (better rating = fewer knots), and plank length (better rating = longer planks). As you can imagine, if you wanted to embrace knots and natural color variations then selecting a wood floor with a lower grade would probably be a better option.

We purchased “select” grade, which is near the top of the grade level. For our house, I wanted a consistent color and to minimize knots and other imperfections. My goals was for the floor to blend in and provide a nice foundation but not be the star of the house. For another house, a natural grade or cabin grade could provide more character and interest to the floors. I found these articles really helpful when learning about flooring grades: Article 1, Article 2, and Article 3.


I generally break wood flooring down into two categories: unfinished (raw wood that will need at minimum a clear coat) or finished (already has a stain or clear coat applied).

Unfinished wood is cheaper and allows you to customize the look of your wood. You can pick the color of the stain (even customize it!) and determine how glossy or matte the floor finish will be. It’s a great choice if you are adding hardwoods to a house with existing wood floors and you hope to match them. Of course, unfinished wood flooring is more work and time (but it could totally be worth it). After the flooring is installed, you’ll need to prep the wood for staining, stain and apply any protective coatings. This could extend your projects by several days and make it difficult to live in your house if you’re staining floors in the main living areas.

My generic “finished” category has a lot of variation in color and style. The one thing they have in common is after you lay them down you are DONE (no staining or applying poly coat). They are ready for you to start living your best life. We selected a pre-finished wood for two reasons. First, we plan to live in our house while putting down the new hardwood floors and extending the time that we couldn’t use parts of the house did not seem like a good idea. In addition, we plan on installing the wood floors one room at a time. That would make staining everything at once time (which is really how it should be done) basically impossible. Lastly, we are new at this and the floor is a big investment for us. I don’t want to mess it up by staining it poorly or with the wrong color.

There are a wide variety of finishes–some floors are stained and others are unstained (just a clear coat). Some have a matte finish and others are very glossy. Trying to find the perfect pre-finished floor became a challenge and definitely made me rethink my original plan.

When I first started looking at hardwood floors, I looked at big box stores and all their solid hardwood had an orange tint. That was not the look I wanted, so I was adamant I was going to find another option. I ordered a ton of samples from Build Direct that had a matte finish and brown wood tones. However, after I got them I realized that most of these options were, well, not very durable. The shiny, orange looking hardwood floors were more hardy. I assume the orange tint was due to the oil polyurethane coating that protects the wood (this article mentions the ambering of oil polyurethane treated floors). To say I was torn, would be an understated. I was adamant that I was not getting orange floors, but I knew that my lifestyle required floors that could withstand real use. My husband, Mr. Function, was not going to accept spending thousands of dollars on floors that would be scratched up and destroyed after one year. So, I caved and recognized that it was more important that the wood floors be durable.

I searched for shiny, poly-coated floors that had the least amount of orange possible. The ones we ordered are pretty good and I am happy with them. Realizing that I had to compromise on this was a disappointment at first but I pretty quickly accepted that it was a compromise worth doing for my family and my sanity. Ordering samples were the best thing I could have done. It gave me an opportunity to test them which caused me to shift gears and, ultimately, make a better decision.

I cannot wait to pick up the floors and start installing them. This will be our first time, so I’m sure there will be a learning curve.

12 Stylish & Inexpensive Queen Beds On Overstock.Com

Do you browse furniture for fun, too? Well this weekend I took a little peak at and 12 beds caught my eye. All of these beds are under $600–most are far below that.

  1. Metal & Faux Leather Queen Bed – $359.49
  2. Transitional Metal & Fabric Queen Bed – $433.99
  3. Spindle Canopy Queen Bed – $380.79
  4. Velvet Pleated Queen Bed – $469.99
  5. Linen & Metal Queen Bed – $292.99
  6. Floral Lattice Gold Queen Bed – $434.77
  7. White Trellis Queen Bed – $473.57
  8. Pine Spindle Queen Platform Bed – $353.59
  9. Simple Metal Black Queen Bed – $325.99
  10. X-Canopy Gold Queen Bed – $338.19
  11. Round Arched Victorian Iron Queen Bed – $531.99
  12. Washed Oak Queen Bed – $165.99