Remember when I told you I purchased a new mattress? Well, it came and it is wonderful. I’m sleeping great and look forward to lounging in bed every night. However, there is one big problem. The mattress with the foundation is way too tall for our current bed frame. Whomp,Whomp. I didn’t take a picture of how ridiculous it looked, but here is my cartoon illustration of it.
So, right now the bed is basically sitting on the floor, you know, like, a college student’s bedroom. Jer and I brainstormed ways to modify our current bed frame to make it work. We thought about cuttings down the legs or lowering the level of the bed supports from the top to the bottom. We may still do one of those things, but I am seriously leaning towards purchasing a new bed. Then it turned into, as it usually does, a complete redesign with all new furniture. We planned on replacing most of the furniture anyway and I have looked on/off for a couple of years for a dresser and new nightstands. I hadn’t pulled the trigger because the bedroom functioned great. It looks okay and I thought I would purchase it when I found the thing that I love. Turns out, I have found things that I love. Here is the design board for the room.
I’ve already purchased the dresser and the night stands are sold out. I’m on the notification list though and will order them as soon as they are back in stock. I’m still investigating the bed. I’m feeling pretty confident that it will work. I’m going to do a quick mock up in our bedroom and make sure the height is right before pulling the trigger.
I am also obsessed with this green jute rug by Dash & Albert. When I saw it on their website, I was intrigued but when I pasted into my mood board I had an immediate reaction. I knew that it was what the room needed- some warmth and interest. I ordered a swatch to make sure the on-screen colors are true to life and will excitedly wait for it to arrive.
I’ve also ordered the lights. I already have the mirror, tray and curtains. I need to nail down exactly what I’m going to use the fabric for (mostly pillows) and order the supplies. I am going to attempt to sew them myself. The fabric is pretty expensive, so I’m going to do a trial run with some cheaper stuff that I already have.
That just leaves the chair, side table and bamboo blinds. I have to double check the measurements of each item and then I’ll be ready to order them.
Maybe in a two months I’ll have the bedroom fully pulled together? Fingers crossed!
It’s mid February and I am ready for spring. Living in the Midwest, winter feels like it never ends and spring is usually a sloppy, wet mess. But I love the four seasons and it gives my life a natural, comfortable rhythm. Here are 3 outfits I would like to wear soon(ish).
Okay, saying the “b” word can get people anxious, but it’s a necessary part of planning any project. I think some of the anxiety comes from three things. First, I don’t think many know what is a reasonable budget (I sure didn’t). Second, it means we have to take a break from the fun part of design and put some real life restrictions on things. That can totally feel like a Debbie Downer moment. Lastly, I think the numbers are shocking at first glance. After noodling around with this for years, I think I’ve come to understand what real budgets generally look like. (Remember this is only the budget for furniture and décor. Other expenses like paint, flooring etc. are not included here).
The Cost of Furnishing and Decorating a Bedroom
The easiest way to think about the budget is by using an example. I’ll walk through my super simple way of estimating the budgeting by using the example of decorating and furnishing a bedroom. In this scenario, a person wants a 100% fresh start. They have absolutely no items (i.e. mattress, sheets, curtains, etc.). I think about budgets in three main levels: Budget, Mid and Luxury. Take a look below to see an estimated budget for each one.
$3k – 7k –Budget Level : This means you’re shopping at places like Target, Overstock, Wayfair and occasionally buying something from mid level stores.
$8k – 16K -Mid Level: You’re shopping at places like Pottery Barn, CB2, West Elm, and can afford some pieces from Ethan Allen and/or Arhaus-type furniture stores.
$17K – 35K+ -Luxury Level: You’re generally purchasing things from high end stores and from designers. Please note the + symbol. As this number will often be much larger than this.
To help illustrate how the budgets would be broken down, I’ve created a general list of items that you may purchase if completely refurnishing and doing some basic decorating of a room. I’ve assigned an estimated price for each item at all three levels.
I then went and designed three bedrooms based on these parameters, so I could really show you that these numbers typically work out. Here is where I ended up:
|Night Stand||200||128.99||600||(price is for two)||1000||1519|
|Add 20% (shipping, taxes)||768.644||1911.918||3922.6|
As you can see, the budgets aligned pretty well with the actual costs of purchasing things from those level of stores. In every “group” I could have spent less or more on each item. So, it could adjust with your exact budget. In addition, most people have things that they are willing to splurge on and will save on other items to make that purchase possible. So, while this is not perfect this is pretty realistic.
Cost of Only Purchasing Bedroom Basics?
What if you don’t need everything above? You want the “core things” to change the feel of the room? Well, I created the bedroom basics list using the same estimations from above. I removed most decorative items, but I kept a few because they are the things that can pull a room together.
So, if you think you only need the bedroom basics then here are my suggested budgets:
$2K – 6K – Budget Basics
$6.5K – 14K – Mid Basics
$14K – 30K+ – Luxury Basics
How Much do the “Decorations Cost”?
What if you have all the big stuff and just need help with the decorating part? Well, that is a challenging question depending on how you define decorations. For example, let’s say you have all your furniture but don’t have a rug, lamps, curtains or any accessories (mirror, picture frames, wall art). That budget will need to look different from someone who is just looking for some basic accessories. The range for each group feels pretty large, but it’s to account for a wide variety of needs.
$350 – $3,500 – Budget Decor Only
$1600 – $6,000 – Mid Level Decor Only
$2500 – $10,000+ – Luxury Level Decor Only
What if I’m somewhere in between these options?
Honestly, many people will fall in this category. They have some good furniture but need to update the room by replacing a few large things and decorating. You can look at the chart in this post and just add up the things you think you’ll need and then you’ll have a starting point for your budget.
A Couple of Notes on Budgets
Now, I want to say the prices listed here are considered the low end of luxury. The prices can (and will!) just keep going up the more you customize which is often one of the perks of being able to afford this level of service. However, I think some customization is possible in the budget and mid-level price points. As with anything, you’ll have to determine where you want to save, so you can splurge.
Keep in mind if you have a HUGE room to furnish, you’ll need more furniture and, of course, spend more money.
Thrifting can be a wonderful way to save some money and add character to any room. The problem (or maybe the joy?) is that it’s pretty random. At least when I go thrifting, I rarely find the item I’m looking for. It takes patience and some luck to find the exact item you need. The good news is sometimes you find something so much better than what you imagined. Thrifting probably deserves it’s own post.
If you have DIY or sewing skills, you’ll open up your budget significantly since you can add your “sweat equity” to the project’s bottom line. If you’ve never DIYed before, be patient with yourself and the project. The project is going to take three times longer than you think and try to enjoy the process. (P.S. it’s also okay to throw a project away if you hate it).
Recomendo: I recently joined this mailing list ran by Kevin Kelly, the founder of Wire magazine, and it’s sooo good. I love the random suggestions and I always find something interesting. It arrives early Sunday morning, so it’s a nice and easy read while lounging in bed. You can also review all the previous newsletters on their website. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Random Thought: I’m tired of reading a variation of the same news article three hundred times. I subscribe to two large national publications and the same three topics are in frequent rotation with very little new information added. My Google news feed is similarly filled with what feels like the same article over and over again. For this reason, I started to read my local newspaper. Not only do I feel more informed about my community but I’m reading about more than Trump, Biden and the pandemic. Randomly, this article about struggling local newspapers came across my feed. Consider supporting your local newspaper if you can. Oh, I’m also curious what everyone else is reading. Any publications that surprise and delight you?
Have I ever talked about John Warner? He was a writing instructor for twenty years and writes a blog on Inside Higher Education. I’ve been reading the blog for years and appreciate his voice/thoughts on all things related to higher education. He has recently left academia for a private sector job and published a couple of books. I haven’t read any, but I hope to. Anyway, if you are interested in education, check out his blog. His writing is crisp and clear….just take this snippet from one of his latest articles:
“For example, when sociologist Jessica Calarco remarked to Anne Helen Petersen that “Other countries have social safety nets. The U.S. has women,” the lightbulb goes off with the intensity of a klieg light. Women are being burdened with a greater share of the increased childcare and homeschooling, even as they are more likely to be losing their jobs and income. Rather than building a social safety net, we’ve created a culture where women are expected to “do it all,” and then some. When crisis hits, they are the first shock absorber. ” – Source: https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/just-visiting/americas-education-story-pandemic-anecdote
I saw this gorgeous yellow entry on Pinterest weeks, maybe months, ago and I can’t stop thinking about it, which surprises me because I rarely consider yellow when painting or designing any room. It’s no secrete that I prefer warm whites to cool whites and lean more beige than gray, but I usually try to avoid going too yellow.
I then remembered Chris Loves Julia’s gorgeous yellow playroom. Perhaps yellow is coming back as a color trend?
I started digging and searching for other yellow rooms I liked. To be honest, I didn’t see a lot of great stuff at first. Many of the photos used yellow in a bright, almost electric, shade that was often a stark contrast to the general color scheme of the room. But after some searching, I started to see other rooms that I liked. For example, look at this adorable little office. Doesn’t it make you feel cheerful?
The rooms I liked best had muted or pale yellows and a generous amounts of white. This combination makes the rooms feel happy, sunny and welcoming. That’s not to imply that other colors can’t be involved. The living room below does a great job of mixing colors. The blue and yellow feel like they are in the same family of brightness and compliment one another instead of contrast each other.
As you can see yellow and blue is a popular combination and I am here for it! I am also loving the skirted chair covers below. The skirts are simple and straight which gives them a more modern look.
I like the color combination of this bedroom. It’s mostly yellow with some green and white. There are a lot of elements that aren’t necessarily me in the room, but the color scheme is good.
I even found a couple of kitchens with yellow cabinets that make me happy. Much like the bedroom, some of the design choices (lights/furniture/accessories) are not my style, but the room’s foundation feels good. I’m particularly smitten by the first kitchen. It feels impossible to cook in that room and not feel happy.
What do you think? Do you love yellow?
We’re almost at the end of January, so it’s a perfect time to revisit my goals to keep myself accountable. You can read more about my 2021 goals here.
Financial Goals: I want to read two books this year on investing. I downloaded and read If You Can: How Millennials Can Get Rich Slowly. It’s quick read that is more like an extended syllabus. The author, William Bernstein, a neurologist and finance enthusiast, discusses the key hurdles that get in the way of saving. Each hurdle is discussed in detail and then Bernstein gives homework to read specific finance books. I read the first book assigned years ago. It definitely had an impact on my thinking. Right now, I am waiting on the second book from the library to become available. If I follow through with his assignments, I will have read many more than 2 books. Poking around on the internet, I think I found the reading list on his website here (although not in the order presented in the book).
My second finance goal was to invest $50 a month in the Robinhood app. I’ve already set up the automatic investment which takes place at the end of every month.
Career: My career goals are pretty simple this year. I have not yet applied to the post grad program. Although I am thinking about it every weekend, which means I need to just sit down and do it. The other goal was to post to the blog 6 times per month. I’m on track to meet that goal.
Health: So far so good on the health goals. I am consistently working out (albeit less intensely than I hoped) and I’m staying on top of my medical appointments. Lastly, I am monitoring my stress levels and being very cognizant of what is causing me stress. As I’m getting older, I am more worried that the negative health impacts of stress are going to catch up with me.
Love/Relationships: My main goal was to spend more one-on-one time with B, my son. We had our “Mom and B” date earlier in January. We set aside an evening to play Minecraft together. It was a success, but I am looking forward to, hopefully, going places in the future. I also had the goal of establishing additional traditions, but January already had enough family traditions, so nothing new was added.
I also want to send more cards to friends this year. The pandemic has prevented us from seeing so many people on their special day but a card is a simple gesture that show we care. I sent out my first round of cards and will send out a second round this week.
My last goal, make time for friends/create friendship opportunities, is a failure. I have reached out to a few friends to check in and make sure that everyone is okay but besides that I have not done much. I’m not going to abandon this goal because I think it’s worth working on (even if every year I perceive myself as falling short).
Fun: Eek. I absolutely have not danced three times per week. Maybe once a week, but I’m sure I even missed a week in there for something. This one may have been too ambitious.
My second “fun” goal is to create something at least one time per month. I am planning on completing our yearly family photo book, so that will count as my item.
Lastly, I haven’t attended any events but since I need to only attend 5. I’m hoping that life will start returning to normal later in the year and I can GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. 🙂
Overall, January has been productive and I’m happy with the progress. Clearly there are some things for me to work on (uhm…dancing and friends).
Eek. The floors in the dining and living rooms are fully installed.
They look beautiful and make me so happy. Please excuse my crappy phone pictures.
There are still a million things left to do (painting baseboards, installing baseboards and quarter round, filling nail holes, touching up the painting and, oh yeah, completing the board and batten in the dining room). I’m going to stop being so optimistic about finishing ANYTHING in the next week. Because, ha!, life just takes over and everything takes longer than I think. So, maybe in a couple of weeks I’ll have more exciting (and better shot) photos.
A New Mattress
We ordered a new mattress!!!!!!!!!! I know that’s a lot of exclamation points, but my excitement could fill up about three full lines. We’ve been talking about replacing our mattress for years. How long you may ask? Well back in 2015 we moved to a different state and got rid of our mattress (that mattress was ~12 years old). When I landed in our new home state, I ran to Ikea and purchased a cheap queen mattress (this is the one). The idea was that we would quickly replace this mattress with a more substantial one and we could put the Ikea mattress in a guest room.
Yet, somehow, here we are almost 6 years later and we are still rocking that Ikea mattress. To be fair, I sleep just fine. But it’s sooo low to the ground. There is no box spring as I was trying to be cool by getting a platform bed. I’ve been talking about getting a foundation for a couple of years but my husband always talks about his dislike for the mattress. His hatred was strong since day 1 of sleeping in it. However, it wasn’t as strong as his desire to save money (his frugalness has some legendary moments in our marriage).
So, how did it finally happen? Well, I have to tell you something that will let the whole internet know how boring I am. On Sunday afternoons, I will occasionally sit down and watch QVC. Yes, the QVC that grandma’s enjoy watching. To be fair, my relationship with QVC deserves it’s own post and is way less about shopping than you might imagine. Anyway, so I was watching QVC (In the Kitchen with David) and the special value of the day was a mattress. My husband was closely watching the television during that segment and he said, “oh, they almost had me. I was so close to buying it.” My ears perked up because Jer rarely shows interest in buying anything.
I probed him, “Oh? Why don’t you like it?”
He didn’t like that it was treated with something to prevent microbial growth. He fairly argued that he doesn’t want to spend 8 hours sleeping on, I’m assuming, a chemical that we consumers don’t know much about. (FYI: The company reports the technology is safe and sustainable). After a couple of googles, I showed him the same brand of mattress that didn’t have that treatment. It was also on sale. He said order it and so we did. Is that a boring story? I don’t know but it seems on brand that my stories would be boring.
I don’t have any pictures because delivery is in 4-8 weeks because “this item is made to order”. Whhaaattt? I guess I’ll show you in 4-8 weeks how happy I am to have a new bed.
The Time of Year I want to Throw Everything Away
Am I the only one who gets real decisive about throwing things away in January? Lego left on the ground after I gave the warning that I am vacuuming? Ooops there it goes. Not going to worry about it. Oh, this large box of icy-hot patches that no one likes or uses? BYE! This random plastic thing that I keep seeing all over the house. I have no idea what it is and nobody seems to care about it? Trash time. A toy that I generally despise and my son doesn’t really care about? You’re going to the donation box to annoy another parent.
I’m generally the complete opposite of this and my brain is full of thoughts like, “OMG we are going to need that plastic piece and it could potentially save us from buying some essential item.” But January gives me the permission to eliminate all the stuff that drives me crazy in the house. My brain turns off the “what if we need this stuff” thoughts and I become a clutter clearing terminator. Instead of guns and weapons, I have vacuums and trash bags. It’s a scary sight.
Our family is on the cusp of leaving picture books behind as our son mostly wants to read or listen to chapter books. Before it fully passes, I wanted to document our favorite books and book series.
The Berenstain Bears
For some reason the Berenstain Bears books mean the most to me. I don’t know if it’s nostalgia since I had them as a kid or the fact that these books are as much for the adults as the kids, but I am desperate to hold on to them for a couple more years. Most everyday life issues are written about in one of their books. If your child is dealing with something, there is probably a Berenstain Bears book that can help discuss the topic.
I am partial to the originals by Stan and Jan Berenstain. The newer ones are written by their son, Mike Berenstain and have a different feel to them.
I have so many favorites, including Week at Grandma’s, Messy Room, In The Dark, and Too Much Vacation. My son also has his favorites – Double Dare, Too Much Junk Food and No Girls Allowed. They are timeless with evergreen topics.
Mother Bruce, a book about a grumpy bear who is the adopted mom of geese, has become a family favorite. The first book is the best, but the other ones are cute, too.
Pig The Pug
The Pig the Pug series always makes my kid laugh. Pig is a very poorly behaved dog that seems to have all the worst qualities. In the end, he usually gets what’s coming to him. He appears to learn a lesson….but never seems fully reformed.
Elephant & Piggie
Elephant and Piggie is a series by Mo Willems. The books focus on the friendship between these two animals who have different personalities. The books always feel really sweet and ultimately ends with them being the best type of friends.
I Really Like Slop is our family favorite. That’ll be the one I tuck away and save for my future grand kids, but they are all really good.
Laugh Out Loud Picture Books
Many of the books above make my son laugh out loud (Elephant & Piggie, Pig the Pug), but we have a handful of others, too.
I Need a New Butt: I saw this on Instagram and purchased it when B was 4. He laughed at it and we still occasionally read it, but I think it would have been a bigger hit when he was a year or two younger.
Winnie the Pooh: Okay, I think I cheated including Winnie-The-Pooh here. It’s technically a series. Never the less, it’s funny. Our favorite story is when Pooh get’s stuck in a hole.
What the Dinosaurs Did Last Night: We first borrowed this from the library and my son loved it so much we ended up buying a copy.
Aliens Love Underpants: This is one of those books that I did not have high expectations for, but B always wanted to read it and laughed frequently at it.
How to Catch A Monster: Okay, technically this is part of a series, too. However, I’ve never read the other ones. This book has ninja and fart references …and I think that was enough for B to love it.
Have you ever randomly bought a book on a whim and it turns out to be really good? Well these are the books that fall into this category.
Little Wombat: We purchased a book with four Little Wombat stories (here’s the link to it) and, to my surprise, it became one of our most read books when B was younger. Night after night he would bring this into bed and we would read all four stories. Swim, Little Wombat, Swim was a particularly fun one for him, especially when he was younger (2-3 years old). This book fully retired when he was 5, but it had a good run in our family.
What Do You Do With a Chance? I don’t know why, but I felt drawn to this book (and the series in general). The author makes things that are abstract (a chance, a problem) into a physical objects and describes the emotions you have when dealing with it. I personally think it’s great, but B never picks it up by himself. It has a great message and makes more sense as the child gets older. Still a good pick and one I hope to keep in rotation a little bit longer.
Dino Dung: B brought this home from the library one day and when we read it that night, he belly laughed AND learned some interesting facts. Ya’ll, I also know what a coprolite is now.
There’s an Alligator Under My Bed: This also came in a book with two other stories (here’s the link). This book, like Little Wombat, was in heavy rotation from 2 – 5 years of age. All three stories have to do with things that typically scare children when going to bed (a noise in the attic, a fear of the closet and something under the bed). In all the stories, the child overcomes the obstacle and is no longer scared. Maybe it’s comforting for children to hear this message before going to bed? I’m not sure, but B loved it.
The Luckiest Leprechaun: B’s grandma gave this book to him when he was 3 or 4. It’s about a grumpy Leprechaun who begrudgingly becomes friends with a dog.
Well, I haven’t been great about documenting the flooring progress. BUT I have some exciting news. We started installing the floor in the dining room and it’s looking really good!
I know this picture is a little crazy with the top portion of the board and batten installed (unpainted) and only a small portion of the floor laid. We’re hoping to finish everything this week and I’ll share a more in-depth tutorial on installing hardwood floors soon. It’s not necessarily hard but it’s not the easiest project we’ve ever done. Today, I thought I would share the design plan for the dining room since it’s taking shape so quickly! To remind you, here is what the dining room looked like when we first moved into the house.
We live in a classic colonial style home with a typical floor plan layout. The dining room is connected to the kitchen (as you can see above) and the living room (see below). This is the formal dining room, but we use it often. It was painted some shade of white and had orangey wood trim. After we moved in, we changed out the light fixture to this one.
The dining room had a chair rail and textured walls (ugh). Like the rest of the house, the dining room was in fine working condition. The carpet had a few stains but nothing that prevented us from enjoying the room for a couple of years.
I plan on using our existing furniture, so the design plan is more about the floors, walls and accessories. Jer and I purchased a large dining set when we bought our first house in 2010. It has a dark stain and Chippendale style chairs (the chair/table in mood board represent the items but our actual dining set looks a little different). Likewise, we have an old hutch that belonged to Jer’s grandma that I painted off-white a couple of years ago, so the one in the mood board is also just a fill in. As I mentioned above, we had already purchased the light fixture and I purchased the rug a couple of months ago. It’s been living in our family room until the dining room was ready.
- Board and Batten: We are doing a slightly different version of the board and batten than what’s pictured here. It’s more like this one. It will go up ~3/4 of the wall and be painted white (same as the trim).
- Wall Color – Asiago Valspar: I’ve been collecting paint swatches for a couple of years and I keep returning to this one. It feels more beige than gray but not too yellow. A nice warm neutral.
- Trim Color – Ultra Pure White Behr: Old faithful. I’ve painted many a baseboard in this color.
- White Oak Flooring: The flooring saga ended with this white oak beauty and so far, I am not disappointed! You can read more about the flooring decision here.
- Dining Table (Similar): This table looks very similar to our actual table. The color is correct and our legs have a slight curve like this one, too. Our table expands with a leaf and was more expensive than this one, so this seems like a pretty good deal!
- Blue Buffalo Check Rug: As I mentioned, I purchased this rug a couple of months ago. It was a great deal and it’s an indoor/outdoor rug which is needed for the dining room, at least in my family. It’s super easy to clean and soft underfoot. However, I am worried it makes the room feel too country/farmhouse. I’m not opposed to that style, but I like more transitional. I may not use it here after I see how everything looks in the room.
- Dining Hutch (Similar): This hutch is super cute. Ours does not have the open shelving and I removed the grid in the glass, so it’s a little simpler. I am wondering if the white hutch will blend into the wall too much. Perhaps I’ll need to paint it? Maybe a black?
- Light Fixture: This light fixture is perfect. Great quality!
- Woven Place Mats: I’ve had these placemats for some time. They are great but with a kid, I’ve found that plastic ones work better (I did a post about placemats here). This room needs some warmth and these woven water hyacinths placements do the trick.
- Blue & White Curtains: More color please. I love the blue and white bird pattern. Is it too much blue?
- Bamboo Blinds: I just thought the room needed more warmth and texture.
- Chippendale Dining Chairs (Similar): These Ethan Allen chairs are so cute and have a close resemblance to our dining chairs. The Ethan Allen version is made to look like bamboo but ours are not.
- Rustic Dough Bowl (similar): A long dough bowl is perfect for the center of the table and we already have one that looks just like it.
- ZZ Plant: This room is in the back of the house and doesn’t get great light. This room needs some life, so fingers crossed that the hardy ZZ plant can last here.
- Planter: I am really into this planter, but I’m not sure it belongs in this room or somewhere else. Thoughts? Ideas?
I’m going to hold off on ordering the curtains and blinds until I see the room put together, but other than that I can install everything once the floors and board & batten is completed.