DIY WITHOUT FEAR

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A few weeks ago I broke some big news here on the blog: we’re moving from Austin, TX to Louisville, KY next month! And moving is NEVER easy (so hopefully this blog post series will help). Just the thought of picking up every single item I own and collecting enough boob sweat in each bra cup to flood the Mississippi kind of makes me want to crawl into an icy, cider and chocolate-filled cave and never come out. But alas, new adventures are ahead, and it’s time to start making plans. And I promise – I’m a planner…I’ve got ALLLLL the details for you. So if you’re in the same boat, quit your worrying and just read on – you’re going to be fine.

Step One: Floorplans

The very first thing I did to prepare for this move was to create a digital floorplan of our home. And while you can do it in pencil/paper…it’s 2019. There are 10,000 free digital floor planners out there. My current favorite is www.floorplancreator.net.

These don’t have to be perfect, but they should be as close as you can get. We were taking measurements during the inspection, so some things were a little rushed and just had to be assumed in our floor plans. For example, I know that the interior hallway behind the entryway is all kinds of wrong, and Tyler’s closet upstairs is comically small in the drawing compared to real life. But I was more worried about radon than getting everything right to within an 1/8″ that day (ps: no Radon!).

I actually started by doing a very rough sketch on paper, and wrote down the measurements as I went from room to room. Something that really helps that measuring process go faster? A digital measuring tape (this one is my favorite).

Once you’ve got all your measurements on paper (it really helps to bring a clipboard with you so you aren’t always looking for somewhere to write), it’s time to put them into a floor planning tool and get to work visualizing your stuff in the new space.

Step Two: Retrofit Furniture Where You Can

I’m just gonna take a wild guess and say you didn’t buy your furniture with your next house in mind. I can say with certainty that I didn’t (our couch could probably sit 15 or more right now and it definitely won’t fit in the new house).

That’s where using your floorplan comes in handy – you can take the measurements of your furniture and try to fit it in the new space. Here’s what our new house started to look like with our old furniture mocked up inside:

I learned that we actually can use all the parts of our sofa in our new home (thanks modular IKEA sofas!), and that it was probably time to say goodbye to a coffee table I’d been holding onto for the past few years.

Doing this also gave me the courage I needed to get rid of some pieces that I don’t plan on replacing since our new space will function differently – including the kid’s dressers. Their new rooms are actually bigger than their current rooms, but since they’re still both pretty small, I want to maximize the space by investing in the Elfa system from the Container Store instead.

Step Three: Make Design Plans

If you’re working along with me, you’ve probably edited down your stuff quite a bit at this point, but the moving machine is ruthless and will make you regret every single pound of your stuff you pick up without a specific place to put it. Time to break out those paint chips and get to thinking about what you want your new space to look like.

To do this, I just took the listing photos along with whatever photos I managed to snap, and drew directly on top of them in Photoshop. If you don’t have the Adobe suite, you can totally use whatever program you want, or even print them out and draw on them in real life! Doing this might seem frivolous in a time where you really just need to clean all. the. things, but it gave me abundant clarity on what I did and didn’t want to bring.

This exercise also gave me a very healthy to-do list for our first year decade in our home and gave me some insight into design choices I want to make consistently across the whole house.

Plus it was something I could do while putting my feet up and not feel guilty for avoiding packing/cleaning/preparing.

Here’s the color scheme I landed on after hours and hours and hours of scouring Pinterest:

I know it looks like a lot of dark colors, but that’s really where my design mind is going these days. Grey is wonderful, and a great choice when you need to cover whatever god awful paint the previous owners left, but I want to try something new. And right now that new means black walls!

I think the bold, moody colors on the walls, coupled with crisp white trim and dark grey window frames is going to be stunning. And, if everything goes according to plan, we should be able to paint before we have to move in (August 19th!). Cross your fingers for me!

In part two of this moving series, I’m going to cover just how we’re going to get all of our junk from point A to point B and not go broke doing it. If you haven’t moved before (lucky you…and also I have SO many questions) I tend to basically just hemorrhage money for a few months, and then settle back into normal in a new place. We’re doing this move on the cheap, and I can’t wait to share how we’re doing it a lot smarter this time than we have in the past (oh yeah, and with a one and two year old!) Stay tuned!

How To Move Cross Country Part One: Plan The New House

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It was Monday evening and we had just put the kids to bed. I needed to pick up some ingredients for my mom group’s potluck the next day (and a few other things) so naturally, I hopped in the car and off to Target I went. There’s something about walking around those calm aisles on a weekday night without your kids in tow that is life-changing. Maybe I was avoiding drywalling my kitchen, or maybe the magic of that bullseye blinded me, but shortly after I got there…I blacked out. I bought 15 throw pillows. FIFTEEN. Nobody needs 15 throw pillows at one time (but if you do, can we be friends?). I brought them home, sheepishly told my husband I would return most of them, and proceeded to play around with them on the bed. It was a perfect evening.

After a few trials and errors, I narrowed it down to three: the textured cream one, the goldenrod one, and the green one (the leather one I already owned). I think layering pillows can be kind of tricky – you can’t get too matchy-matchy, and it’s easy to mess up scale, patterns, etc. I tend to err too much on the side of neutrals and end up with a very boring color palette, but I finally stepped out of my comfort zone this time. 15 pillows to choose from meant I was going to get this right! Here are some of the things I kept in mind.

Pillows on a bed
Leather (similar) / Cream / Yellow / Green / Comforter (similar)

Vary The Shapes

Target and other big box stores used to stock square pillows pretty much exclusively. Finding a rectangle or bolster would have been really difficult. But good news! Times have changed! Monday night, as I was walking those calm, quiet aisles, I saw pillows of all different shapes: round, bolster, square, rectangular, cushion-style, etc.

If you’re having trouble picking pillows for your bed, and things are looking a little too matchy-matchy, consider swapping out one or two for a different shape. The green pillow on my bed is there to break up the square shape from the pillows behind it. It tricks your eye into thinking there’s more variety there than there really is.

Layer Different Sizes

While the basic sizes of the three ‘feature’ pillows (the leather, cream, and yellow) are all the same, they are resting on much larger king size sleeping pillows. When you’re choosing throw pillows for your bed, remember the sleeping pillows are your foundation – they count, too!

The golden rule is to layer largest in the back to smallest in the front, and to decrease the number of pillows in each layer. For example, we have six king size sleeping pillows in the back, three square throw pillows in front of those, and then one small green rectangular pillow to finish it off. Think of it like grouping your extended family for a huge family portrait – you need to see everybody’s faces!

Also…avoid anything smaller than 18″ (unless it’s a lumbar). That’s the size of most throw pillows in the big box stores, and it’s definitely the smallest I would go. Anything smaller than that starts to get dwarfed by the objects around it.

Pillows on a bed with a grey blanket
Leather (similar) / Cream / Yellow / Green / Throw / Comforter (similar)

Scale Should Differ When Layering Multiple Patterns

Patterns scare people. I sometimes see these gorgeous Jungalow-esque homes on Instagram and all over Pinterest, but wonder how anybody can put ALL those patterns together. It all comes down to scale. I chose to go with slightly more muted patterns in our bedroom, so they don’t really compete with each other. But if you are wanting something bolder, make sure the scale of each pattern differs – you want to pair big bold patterns with smaller patterns to make sure it doesn’t look too busy. Choosing throw pillows for your bed doesn’t mean you have to choose calm, serene tones – do what makes you happy!

Textured Pillows Aren’t Like Textured Walls

I hate my textured walls SO much. I grew up in Kentucky, where everything is smooth, so when we moved to Texas I was shocked to learn that ALL the walls are textured. It makes patching things a nightmare! And while I can’t WON’T embrace texture on my walls, I’ll definitely embrace it on my pillows.

Even if you want to stay completely neutral, you can add a ton of depth and interest to your bed with throw pillows of different textures. I know it’s something that’s hard to see through a computer/phone/tablet screen, but the four throw pillows I decided on all have different textures. The leather is smooth and quilted, the cream has pom poms and embellishments all over it, the yellow has a subtle soft berber carpet type pattern (but in a good way), and the green is a buttery velvet. They all work together to give a ton of interest to the grouping.

Side view of pillows on a bed
Leather (similar) / Cream / Yellow / Green / Comforter (similar)

Mix Up The Color Palette

I’m super guilty of going too neutral – at one point, every single item in our home was either white, grey, navy blue, or some sort of wood tone. I was afraid to commit, but that meant my home was…boring! I’ve taught myself to enjoy color more over the past few years, and I really enjoy the direction my preferences are going. I think I might even paint the wall behind the bed a deep, saturated color someday soon!

While neutral is definitely a good choice for things that are harder to change (like your sofa, light fixtures, backsplash), throw pillows are cheap and easy to change out. It’s a great place to play with color a little more. I actually came home from Target with a plethora of colors, which made the layering process so much easier. Sometimes you have to see the different combos in the space to actually decide.

Loud Personalities Need People To Listen

Have you ever had that friend that ALWAYS needed to be the center of attention? They had a lot of very dramatic things happen to them all the time? Yeah, me too. Those friends are fun, but they need someone to listen to them. They need someone to hold them up – to support them. They don’t do well when paired with another loud personality…they want to be in the spotlight!

Choosing throw pillows for your bed is kind of like choosing friends. If you fall in love with a really ‘loud personality’ pillow, make sure its friends are there to support it, not compete against it. That doesn’t mean you can only have one pillow with a brighter, bolder feel, but it does mean you have to be a little more thoughtful as to what goes around it. Kind of like planning a party around your ‘dramatic’ friend – you want to make sure there isn’t another loud personality there that your spotlight pillow will clash with.

Overview of pillows on a bed with a grey throw
Leather (similar) / Cream / Yellow / Green / Throw / Comforter (similar)

Bed In A Bag

I’ve totally bought bed-in-a-bags. They are convenient, affordable, and everything matches without much thought. But the look that you get from them tends to be too matchy-matchy…and frankly a little stuffy. I think there is definitely a time and a place for them, but if you ask me? You’ll always get a more custom look with buying and layering your own.

Bonus: Size Matters

I am on a personal mission to change the world over to king size sleeping pillows. I don’t know about you, but the little gap on the sides of the mattress when you use queen size pillows makes me sad. It’s a space that just wants to be loved by soft, cushy pillows, but instead it’s lonely and empty. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Enter: king size sleeping pillows. They are a little longer than the traditional size, and fill in that lonely little gap. Oh, and it doesn’t matter at all if you don’t have a king size bed…they fit everything from a twin to a california king.

One last tidbit- if you are fancy enough to buy pillows that come with just the cover (generally higher quality pillows…I have a few and LOVE them), then you’ll need to purchase an insert. There are all kinds of inserts, but the biggest thing to know is that you need to size up at least 2″. If it’s a 20″ pillow, you’ll want at least a 22″ insert, or it’ll just look a little sad.

Overall, choosing throw pillows for your bed is a low-risk/high-reward kind of decorating decision. There aren’t hard and fast rules (every single one of the above suggestions can be broken), and there are SO many options. If you black out at Target and buy wayyyy too many, make sure you tell me. I’d love to not be the only only one.

How To Choose Throw Pillows For Your Bed

Master Bedroom

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I know you. You’re the person that peeks between your neighbor’s blinds to see progress during a renovation. The one who plays ‘what would I do if that was my house?’ You watch more HGTV than one person should. You are home and renovation-obsessed, and that my friend, means you are in good company around here. See…I’m just like you. It’s why I love finding new blogs – I get to spy inside other people’s homes, AND it doesn’t creep out the neighbors! For your snooping pleasure (courtesy of some of the nicest bloggers I know) here’s a roundup of 9 diy home blogs chock-full of inspiration and great makeovers for 2019. They even took the time to answer a few of my DIY questions along the way!

I’ve set up this little meet-and-greet in the form of an interview. You’ll meet Junette from South Africa, Maria, who was born in Ecuador, Natalie, who is French Canadian, Tammy, a brave military wife, Conny, who is renovating her home AND an Airstream, Shannon, who writes about her home after kids move away, Melissa, who knows more about plants than I ever will, and Wendy, who is more organized than I could ever hope to be! If you’re new, you can come and meet me here!

How long have you lived in your home? How do you feel about your home now that you’ve lived in it for a while?

There are tons of DIY and home bloggers out there, but I've rounded up a list of some of the best one's I've had a chance to speak with so far in 2019 - come see!
Maria (housebythepreserve.com) created a fun awning above the window in her daughter’s nursery. How beautiful! Just one of many projects that she’s done to make it less builder grade.

Catherine: We’ve lived in our home for 3 years now, and it’s finally starting to feel like we’re ALMOST over the ‘fix the ugly’ phase of things, and soon we’ll get to the ‘make it pretty’ phase. I don’t think anybody ever feels like their home is done, though. I know that I’ll still be DIYing 20, 30, 40 years from now, and that sentiment is echoed by other bloggers. Maria, who writes a fabulous DIY home blog at House By The Preserve, has completed a ton of projects to take her home from builder grade to custom (like in the nursery above), and I’m sure she doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon either!

Junette (windmillprotea.com) After 5 years and lots of DIY – (I feel) a whole lot better – I enjoy living here now.

Maria (housebythepreserve.com) We’ve lived in our home for five years. I love the progress we’ve made in making it our own but we still have quite a few projects to help give it some character and make it less builder grade.

Natalie (nelidesign.com) We’ve lived in our home for 4 years. Although it’s a big improvement from our previous house, I’m finding myself wishing for more space. For example, our kitchen doesn’t have an island and there’s absolutely no space to add one.

Shannon (skiptomylife.com) We’ve lived here four months and are loving it.  We still have some streamlining to do, but it’s much easier to care for.
Wendy (atlaneandhigh.com) We bought our house almost 3 years ago and there were some things that had been remodeled and some that hadn’t. I knew that what still needed to be done I could do.

Which room in your house is your favorite? Why?

Catherine: The room I love the most is probably our stairway…if I can even classify that as a room. It’s often the spaces that we put the most work into that give us the greatest reward. That sentiment is shared by Maria, Natalie, and Tammy – just another reason to consider investing time into your home!

Maria (housebythepreserve.com) Our dining room is one of my favorite rooms in our home. The room has this window that is off center and for the first few years of living here I struggled with how to decorate around this it or make it less noticable. I even had plans of covering that window completely! But the thought of covering up a window in this area of the house that tends to be dark always held me back. Finally last year I decided to embrace the window and hung white plates on the wall in a pretty pattern around the window. Now the plates are a focal point, not the off center window! Funny how such a simple solution solved my dreaded problem. Proves that decorating takes time and that you should allow yourself to play around with the decor and furniture in your space!

Natalie (nelidesign.com) My bedroom! It got a makeover for the $100 Room Challenge and even though I still have curtains to add (it was a tight budget!!) I still feel like this room is now totally me!

Tammy (rougharoundtheedgesdesign.com) The kitchen. It was the area that needed the most help. With avocado green walls and 80s cabinets and licra green counters. Yea let’s just say it’s a complete 180 degree change.

What is the quirkiest thing about your home?

There are tons of DIY and home bloggers out there, but I've rounded up a list of some of the best one's I've had a chance to speak with so far in 2019 - come see!
Conny’s kitchen looks completely different from the before! She chose to paint her kitchen cabinets, and I don’t blame her. I wouldn’t want to take delivery of a whole kitchen on a steep driveway!

Catherine: The quirkiest thing about our home has actually been removed (and I’m not sad at all). When we moved in, there was a curtain (non-load bearing) wall between the top of the stairs and a bedroom (which is now our office), but the previous owners didn’t extend the wall all the way to the top of the stairs so there was this strange TINY nook of space. Two people couldn’t even stand next to each other – it was so cramped! Each DIY and home blog had a different answer to this question – 2019 is finally seeing a trend towards diversity (that I really hope is here to stay) and I love how each of our homes have such distinct stories to tell!

Junette (windmillprotea.com) The steel kitchen cabinets.

Maria (housebythepreserve.com) Our master bathroom layout is ridiculous. I don’t know what the builder was thinking when designing this bathroom. It’s approximately an 11’x9′ space that has 6 doors! Yep, 6 doors with some opening right into each other. My dream is to gut this space down and redo it completely. For now, I’m content in just removing some do these unnecessary doors to make the space feel more open and less cramped!

Natalie (nelidesign.com) The outside of my home is yellow! So are the cabinets, a real tone down yellow which is not that bad. But when we bought the house, all the walls and even the ceilings were yellow!! That’s the first things we changed! But the outside is still yellow. I’m learning to like it!

Conny (midlifewunder.com) The steep driveway!

Shannon (skiptomylife.com) We have a large storage room above the garage which is accessed through our master bedroom.  The storage room is not insulated, so when we open the door we get an artic blast in winter and sahara winds in summer.

Wendy (atlaneandhigh.com) I have a 50 sq ft wine room!

If you could do ANY DIY project, regardless of budget, what would it be?

There are tons of DIY and home bloggers out there, but I've rounded up a list of some of the best one's I've had a chance to speak with so far in 2019 - come see!
Junette, who blogs at windmillprotea.com completely changed the look of her master bedroom by switching out the floors.

Catherine: Floors, kitchens, and bathrooms can be incredibly expensive to renovate, even if you’re DIYing. If we had all the money in the world, I’d transform our bathrooms – they are all pretty much exactly like they were when we moved in. Most of the DIY home blogs I interviewed had the same sentiments for a budgetless renovation in 2019 – floors, kitchens, and bathrooms.

Junette (windmillprotea.com) Flooring for the whole house. Everything has carpet and we want to change to luxury vinyl.

Maria (housebythepreserve.com) I would totally redo our kitchen! I’ve been dying to lighten this space up and would love to update the cabinets to whites ones, install a pretty backsplash and update the countertops.

Natalie (nelidesign.com) My downstairs bathroom needs a complete makeover. I don’t really feel I’ll be able to DIY it all. These big makeovers scare me! I don’t really have the time to work on them and my husband has even less time to do it (and he hates that kind of work even if he’s pretty good at it! lol!!).

Tammy (rougharoundtheedgesdesign.com) Open up the living area to the study area and turn that area into a dining living space and turn the old dining area to the study.

Conny (midlifewunder.com) Sand the hardwood floors!

Melissa (createandfind.com) Master bathroom renovation – complete gut job.

Wendy (atlaneandhigh.com) My master bath needs gutted and completely redone.

What do you think your greatest strength as a DIYer is?

There are tons of DIY and home bloggers out there, but I've rounded up a list of some of the best one's I've had a chance to speak with so far in 2019 - come see!
Melissa’s DIY baby gate is amazing! We have four or five that don’t look nearly as good as hers – I might just have to try this project myself!

Catherine: My greatest strength is 100% my ability to jump into a project with no fear – it’s helped me tackle things that are definitely out of my comfort range and I’m a better DIYer for it! (See why I named my blog DIY Without Fear?)

Junette (windmillprotea.com) We are innovative. Another is that my husband and I work very well as a team.

Maria (housebythepreserve.com) I like to research my projects before I start. Watch tons of YouTube videos and search the internet for any tips and tricks to get an idea of what to expect.

Natalie (nelidesign.com) My imagination. The ability to find a solution to any DIY problem!

Tammy (rougharoundtheedgesdesign.com) Not afraid to create different designs.

Conny (midlifewunder.com) I have no fear of doing things.

Shannon (skiptomylife.com) I am a wealth of creative ideas.

Melissa (createandfind.com) Not being afraid to try something even though I’m unsure how it’ll turn out.  

Wendy (atlaneandhigh.com) I am not afraid to try something new.

What do you think your biggest weakness as a DIYer is?

There are tons of DIY and home bloggers out there, but I've rounded up a list of some of the best one's I've had a chance to speak with so far in 2019 - come see!
I’m OBSESSED with how this DIY board and batten project by Wendy (atlaneandhigh.com) turned out. She may not love drywall, but there’s no weakness in her trim installing skills!

Catherine: My biggest weakness, much like Wendy, is drywall. I’m just not good at it. I know that it would come with practice, but who really wants to practice drywall? Maybe 2019 will be the year I master it, but I have a feeling that even though I run a DIY and home blog, I’ll still need some work next year!

Junette (windmillprotea.com) We do want to do everything and hardly ever outsource.

Maria (housebythepreserve.com) Not trusting my skills and delaying the project because I’m scared of messing up!

Natalie (nelidesign.com) Time!! I would love to have more time to do everything that is in my head!!! I could also add that I get pretty frustrated when I need to call my husband because I lack the strength to accomplish a certain task.

Tammy (rougharoundtheedgesdesign.com) Time management

Conny (midlifewunder.com) Sometimes I should inform myself more

Shannon (skiptomylife.com) I get quickly derailed by technical details and snafus.  That’s where my husband comes in!

Melissa (createandfind.com) Time!

Wendy (atlaneandhigh.com) Drywall, I hate the tedious nature of it.

What is the best piece of DIY advice you’ve ever received?

There are tons of DIY and home bloggers out there, but I've rounded up a list of some of the best one's I've had a chance to speak with so far in 2019 - come see!
How beautiful is Tammy’s kitchen? She built that entire island herself!

Catherine: Part of penning a DIY and home blog in 2019 is giving advice, and I got a lot of advice growing up in a DIY family that I can share – measure twice, cut once. Always turn off the power before doing electrical (there’s more to that story, but that’s for another post). The right tool can make a job go from horrible to enjoyable. Do it right the first time. My favorite piece of advice, though? DIY with your family – get them involved. It’s so much more fun when everybody has a piece.

Junette (windmillprotea.com) My dad taught me when I was little to do things properly. So so you good quality work as well, and not just for the looks!

Maria (housebythepreserve.com) Don’t be afraid, trust your instincts and your skills! Have fun in the process of making your house into your home.

Natalie (nelidesign.com) Only do plumbing work during opened hours of the hardware store! 😉

Conny (midlifewunder.com) Just start!

Melissa (createandfind.com) Just go for it with paint.  It’s only paint and it can be fixed.

Wendy (atlaneandhigh.com) You can do it!  Just try.

Some of the best DIY and home inspiration I’ve found in 2019 is from these blogs – their sites are full to the brim with fantastic ideas and DIY projects. I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know them, and consider heading over to their blogs to see even more. Inspiration shouldn’t just come from within – seeing how others create in their spaces makes us better designers and DIYers!

New DIY and Home Blogs To Follow In 2019

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I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to stop trying to transform spaces with quick fixes as a home improvement strategy. Do you know how many bedspreads/comforters we’ve owned since we moved into this house because I wanted to ‘fix’ our bedroom? Tooooo many. If I had just gone ahead and set aside money to actually fix the glaring issues, I would have saved a ton of money in the long run, and felt much less guilt throughout the process.

Don’t Waste Your Money On Quick Fix Home Improvement

Quick Fix Home Improvement
One of many duvets that I bought on a whim for a quick fix.

Let’s be real: here’s how a lot of us ‘renovate’ (and I’m totally guilty of it, too):

  • There are some things in here that I don’t love, but I can put up with them for now’
  • Okay…I can’t stand this anymore. I have to do something before I start spontaneously tearing down walls’

And then? Well, a lot of us run to Target/Lowes, looking for that ‘quick fix’ with the cheapest solution we can find, and then feel guilty when it doesn’t pay off. I think that ‘quick fix home improvement’ mentality is the reason that I’m so rarely satisfied with impulse buys in the long run…they are a band-aid, not the medicine the room actually needs.

How do I know quick fixes aren’t the answer? Because I’ve made those same mistakes in the past. I’d go to Target, buy another duvet cover because obviously, THAT will fix the ceiling fan (the thing I actually hated in the room), come home, make the bed, and surprise surprise…disappointment. I’d feel guilty for spending money on a purchase that didn’t solve anything, and defeated that I’d still have to stare at that ugly ceiling fan every night.

Quick fixes aren’t the answer to the issues in your room. If you have ugly green shag carpet, don’t buy a new lamp and expect to love your space again.

Chip Away At The Big Issues FIRST

Quick Fix Home Improvement
Installing hardwoods made a huge impact in our room, and let me finally see our bedroom’s potential.

While I sometimes do a ‘phase one’ renovation where I put band-aids on a problem area (and even then, only if they’re REALLY bad), I actually think waiting until you can properly fix the big issues is usually better. I’ve found that I tend to make silly compromises and spend too much energy when I try to find a way to fix things in the interim. I could be using that energy to drive a room’s momentum towards what I actually want in the end by fixing the big things first.

Take the ceiling fan in our master bedroom for example. It was gold, ornate, dusty, and b.r.o.k.e.n. It clicked at around 110 bpm, non-stop. And it didn’t jive with our style at all. It was the biggest issue in the room – I looked at it every time I walked in and out throughout the day, and every night while I fell asleep. It was the most distracting thing in the room and made it so that I couldn’t appreciate anything else around it.

So I finally came to my senses and decided to replace it – to chip away at the biggest issue in the room instead of looking for another quick fix. And then we repeated that process with replacing the floors. And again when I switched out our cloth drawer storage units for dressers with actual drawers and handles. Each big fix let me peel back a layer of the room, to see it’s potential beyond those distracting elements.

Quick Fix Home Improvement
The bedroom with a much calmer ceiling fan, real bedside tables, and gorgeous hardwood floors finally got it to ‘netural’

Get Your Space To Neutral

When I was staring at stained carpet, or a ceiling fan that belongs in Versailles, it was hard to imagine what the room would look like with those things gone. I had to chip away at the big issues in the room before I could actually see what it needed. In other words, you have to get your space to neutral before you can even think about designing it.

After a few rounds of fixing the major things, you’ll end up with a blank slate where you can actually think, be creative, and give the space what it needs to really shine. You still probably want to have a general sense of direction from the beginning, but let’s be real – ceiling fans and flooring choices are pretty neutral and will go with almost anything you choose down the road. Pick what you like, and move on.

Now that our bedroom is ‘neutral’, I can actually see where I want it to go. Some of the things I have planned now I never would have considered before I chipped away at the big issues, and having a blank slate to work from is so much easier than trying to see past stained carpet or an ugly ceiling fan.

So if you’re considering quick fix home improvement – maybe don’t do it. Put that money into a savings account instead, and use it to take on the most egregious offenders in your room first. You’ll be able to see the space’s true potential, and you won’t waste time or money in the interim trying to cover things up with a band-aid.

The Case Against Quick Fix Home Improvement

Master Bedroom

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I know, I know, you love your murder mystery/real crime drama podcasts. S-Town is your…well…S. Listen, me too. BUT – I really love listening to home design/DIY podcasts as well. There’s something about listening to someone talk passionately about something home-related that makes me get all excited. It’s like listening to someone describe the person they love…you end up kinda loving them too.

And here’s the thing. Design and DIY can be extremely visual.  You wouldn’t think podcasts would be a good fit, but they are. Describing visuals with words instead of images can let your mind fill in the blanks instead, flexing your creative muscles in the process, and learning new home renovation skills from experts can only make you a better DIYer. The only problem is actually finding great design/home podcasts to listen to. Lucky for you, I’ve already rounded up 10 that I love (and I think you will, too!)

1.  Good Company

Hosted by Grace Bonney from Design Sponge (‘nuff said, right?), this is one of the newer home and DIY podcasts (started in September of 2018) in the lineup, and I’m in love. It digs DEEP and doesn’t shy away from the hard questions. It’s a great one to listen to if like me, you’re always trying to understand others and incorporate more diversity into your home (and life). Seriously, give it a listen…you won’t be disappointed. Plus, Genevieve Gorder (from Trading Spaces) is on the first episode and is fantastic, as always.

https://www.designsponge.com/category/good-company

2. Young House Love Has a Podcast

I’ve been a reader of Young House Love for a LONG time (they actually inspired me to start this little blog of mine.) Probably all the way back to around 2010, if not a little earlier, but somehow I fell even more in love with John and Sherry when they started their home and DIY podcast. I was still a little devastated from when they decided to step away from blogging, but Sherry’s musical impersonations and John’s constant quest to automate everything in their home routinely has me laughing out loud during my commute. It’s definitely light-hearted, and a great way to start my Monday mornings.

https://www.younghouselove.com/category/podcast/

3. Chris Loves Julia (no longer produced, but still a good listen)

While this podcast isn’t produced anymore, there are a ton of episodes to listen to and they’re worth your time. I love Chris and Julia’s style, and it’s really interesting to listen to their take on design, life, etc. It’s an interview(ish) style home and DIY podcast with Preston Pugmire as the host, and I’ve definitely learned a lot listening in. They tend to tackle a topic a week, but there’s lots of life thrown in, too.

https://www.chrislovesjulia.com/category/podcast

4.  The Style Matters Podcast (Little Yellow Couch)

If there was a mother of home and DIY podcasts, it would be Zandra from Little Yellow Couch. It’s been around longer than (I think) all of the other ones on this list, and there’s a ton of episodes to listen to. While I listen to most of my podcasts through an app, it’s worthwhile to click over to the archives on her website. You can sort by topic, and it makes it much easier than normal to find what you want. I wish every podcast had a website like hers!

https://littleyellowcouch.com/podcast/

5. Home: On

If you want to channel your inner Bill Gates and automate your home, this is a great one. It’s a podcast all about DIY home control and automation, and there’s lots of interesting interviews to listen to. It’s amazing how much home automation news there is out there, and I always enjoy learning about products from the people that make them.

https://www.thedigitalmediazone.com/category/podcasts/home-on/

6. Fix It 101

This is a pretty cool one – though it’s really more of a recording of a call-in show than a traditional home and DIY podcast. Hosted by MPB Think Radio through NPR, it reminds me of Car Talk, one of my absolute favorite shows of all time (even though I don’t care about cars at all), and it’s fun to listen along and try and figure out what the issues are and hear how the hosts suggest to fix them.

https://www.npr.org/podcasts/486075865/fix-it-101

7. Ask a Clean Person

If you like lighthearted DIY home cleaning advice in the form of a podcast, this is the one for you. Jolie Kerr has a bright, bubbly personality that makes me smile every time I listen to her. While it’s definitely more cleaning and organization centered, what homeowner doesn’t need a few tips on that? I know I do. She also has monthly challenges that I find really interesting.

https://play.acast.com/s/askacleanperson

8. Making It

Hosted by Jimmy Diresta, Bob Clagett, and David Picciuto, Making It is a fun home and DIY podcast for people that enjoy making things with their hands. I really love the woodworking tips, and learn so much every episode. It’s clear that the hosts enjoy talking with each other, and I like exposing myself to ‘makers’ from different backgrounds and different passions. The more you know, the better a DIYer you’ll be.

https://www.makingitpodcast.com/

9. The Modern Craftsman

Hosted by Nick Schiffer, Tyler Grace, and Johnny Hourihan, if you want to learn what it’s like to be a contractor or tradesman, then this is the home/DIY podcast for you. I’m the homeowner that’s always talking my tradesman’s ears off, so I LOVE this one. I’ll often ask my plumber or electrician how something works, and love hearing them explain it, so while some of what they cover in this podcast is over my head, that’s great – I get to learn so much.

https://www.themoderncraftsman.org/

10. Ace On The House

Imagine a carpenter that got fed up with working on houses, who then turned into a comedian, and started a call-in/write-in podcast. That’s Adam Carolla’s and Eric Stromer’s Ace On The House. There are lots of nuggets of knowledge, and it’s always interesting to listen to them tackle caller’s home improvement questions.

https://www.podcastone.com/ACE-On-The-House

Home-related podcasts tend to be one of the hardest genres to discover new things in – there are gems, but they’re often buried deep in podcast players, and every recommendation list is the same. Not this list though – I’ve searched high and low for podcasts that I LOVE, and I’d bet there are one or two you haven’t heard of before here. Enjoy listening, and tell me if you find anything I’m missing out on!

Home design and DIY podcasts are hard to find, but I've got you covered with 10 of my favorites to refresh your podcast feed.
Home design and DIY podcasts are hard to find, but I've got you covered with 10 of my favorites to refresh your podcast feed.

10 Design and DIY Podcasts For The Home Enthusiast

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