Floating Shelf Night Stand for Small Bedroom

In our my parents summer weekend lakeside getaway home, my husband and I share a small bedroom that only has room on 1 side of the bed for a nightstand.

And, it’s not my side of the bed.

I take a sip of water every time I wake up throughout the night. So for years, I’ve spent summer weekends with my water bottle on the floor next to the bed. Right alongside my charging cell phone that I glance at to check the time each time I wake up.

….Which is a lot, since we share this small room with our dog who, while at the lake, isn’t fond of sleeping because ALL she wants to do is go outside and swim in the lake. Regardless of what time it is.


Since there wasn’t room for a side table to hold my drink and cell phone clock, I decided the solution was a floating shelf.


This project was *so* easy to make, and it’s already brought me so much happiness!

Here’s how we made our floating bedside phone ledge:

Use wood to create a rectangle frame. Then, create a slightly bigger sleeve that can slide over the frame once it’s mounted to the wall (basically a rectangular box with 1 side missing).



Once the sleeve was painted black (to match the bed and wall mirror it is nudged between), we drilled some holes in the frame where it would be screwed into the wall.


Using a laser level to ensure our floating ledge would be straight, we marked and drilled 3 holes in the wall where we planned to install the frame.


Once we added some anchors, we screwed the shelf into place.


Next, we just slid the sleeve part right over the frame, and ta-da!


It’s the perfect size for the space and has room to hold me 3 night-time essentials: water, Chapstick and my phone.

Simple Wainscot Wall with Big Impact

This is the accent wall with wainscoting and a custom fitted mirror that we added to “class up” our tiny formal dining area and make the small space feel bigger:


My husband loves to play ping-pong. So what better gift idea (or so I thought) for Christmas morning than a ping pong table we can set up in the garage, have friends over, and play?

I even found one that was black and red to match our garage’s color scheme.

All was well until my husband decided we should keep the ping pong table inside the house….In the formal dining room. Where there wasn’t room to leave it set up, but instead folded up and pushed against the wall.

I don’t know how this situation got away from me, but I spent a full year looking at this eye sore in my living room. After about 6 months I threw a gold fitted sheet over it and tried to pretend it wasn’t there.

I SO wish I had a picture to show you. But, I hated it so much I didn’t even stop to take a picture when my husband finally agreed to move it back out to the garage – I didn’t want any hesitations or delays causing him to change his mind!

So, once we removed the ping pong table (but before we moved the cornhole set – another gift idea gone wrong) here is what the room looked like (just imagine a gigantic ping pong table filling up the wall space on the left):


Even without the ping pong table, things look pretty drab. We had a rickety cabinet against the wall (that my husband scored for free when he lived as a bachelor in San Francisco and we’ve since painted twice) and a bar table from my college days. (Yes, we have both brought some bad decor into this home – keep in mind it’s our first!)

Now that the massive table tennis table was gone, here was the plan:

You can read about the bar table makeover here. Pretty dramatic, huh?

Once we cleared out the room, here was our wall:


We framed out the window, added some hardboard along the lower portion of the wall, and ran some decorative chair rail along the top of the board.

(We just rested the hardboard on top of the baseboard, but in future projects we decided removing the baseboard and putting it on top of the hardboard looks much nicer.)


The trickiest part was cutting out the holes in the exact right spots for the outlets. (By the way, if you ever cut a hole too big, you can cover your mistake with oversized switch plates).


Next, we nailed the boxed frames to the hardboard (which we created in custom sizes to fit our wall), caulked all the edges and nail holes (ugh, tedious!), and painted everything white.


We just love how it came out!


Next, we had a local glass and mirror company create a custom mirror to fit the remaining space. Can you believe they mount it without smearing the glue? They just add all these dollops and somehow it holds.



Here it is with the new Ballard Designs sideboard cabinet, updated bar table and cute gray tufted accent chair under the window (which I hadn’t planned but couldn’t pass up when I found it at Home Goods – I promise the animal print pillow on top matches far better than it appears to in this picture):


The only thing left in this room is to get new window coverings (yes, I know they’re hideous at this time) – stay tuned!

In the mirror, you can see the reflection of our TV wall makeover.

Funny thing about the bar stools – I bought one at a Target that’s not closest to my home because I happened to be in that town one day. After bringing it home I liked it and ran to my local Target to get another. However, one has darker legs than he other and is super, super firm while the other is nice and cushy. So odd!


It looks a little busy in the picture, but the large mirror wall makes the room feel sooo much bigger! I have to admit it cost more than I wanted, but I just love it. So much so that I’d like to add another one above the board and batten in our kitchen.

Have you ever used mirrors to make a space feel bigger? I’d love to see it!

Bar Table Makeover with Paint & Gel Stain

I’ve had this bar table and matching bar stools since college.

It’s the perfect size for my small formal dining area, but needed a makeover bad. In fact, this whole room needed a total transformation! (See the before and after process here.)


I decided to start with the table. I did the top with General Finishes Java Gel Stain & then painted the base with an ivory paint & added a decorative brown glaze.

Quite a difference! I just love it now!



The process was time-consuming, but I was determined to salvage this old round high-top table.

Looking back, it’s hard to believe I let it sit in my house like this for 5 years!


First, I took it into the garage and sanded the heck out of it. I did the base by hand and used a sander on the top.

I stained the under side of the top piece before flipping over and staining the top.


I sprayed the base with primer spray paint (looked better already!)


Next, 2 coats of ivory paint:


Followed by a coat of glaze. I pretty much followed the same glazing technique I always use – paint a heavy coat of glaze on, let it dry just a touch, then wipe off until I achieve my desired look.


I added some new fancy bar stools from Target and couldn’t be happier with the results.


Update: See how easily we did the wainscot wall behind the table (plus added a mirror wall above it) to make this room feel twice as big as it is!

And two years later, here’s another update: we added gray laminate flooring.


How to Make a Foam Board Cornice for a Corner Window



I recently did a DIY overhaul on my master bathroom, and I wanted to create a cornice window treatment for the window. I found lots of great tutorials on creating one out of foam board, but couldn’t find a single tutorial for a corner window.

So, I took on the project anyhow and decided to learn as I went.

Now I’m sharing my steps with you, and I hope you’ll create one too!


WARNING: Many tutorials say “easy” and “10 minutes” – this was time consuming and thought-intensive. I’d hardly describe it as easy or quick – I think I spent a good 4 hours on this, but it was worth it.

Here’s how you can create a cheap foam board cornice for a corner window:

Determine the size of your cornice board. I decided to make mine 12″ tall, have it extend 3″ beyond each window edge, and sit 2″ off the wall. All measurements in this post reflect this – adjust for your needs 🙂

Sketch Out Pieces & Take Measurements:

You’ll need to cut the following 5 pieces for a corner window cornice:


Once pieces together, I’ll refer to these 2 pieces:


Piece #1:

Since it’s going in a corner, you’ll want to add some extra support where the 2 boards meet.

If both windows are the same length, choose 1 that will have a support piece that goes all the way to the adjacent wall. If one window is wider than the other (in my case, the right one is wider), then be sure to make that piece (piece #1 in my example) long enough to reach the wall.

Measuring Piece 1: Distance from adjacent wall to 3″ beyond window. (Adjust if you choose a different distance beyond the window). With the width of the board (3/4″) you’ll only see 2.25″ between the window edge and the cornice if you measure 3″ beyond the window edge which looks nice.

If your window is 60″ wide, it’s 8″ from the wall, and you plan to go 3″ beyond the window with your edge, you’d cut this piece 71″ rectangle, then notch out the bottom area…

See how piece #1 is notched  on the left side? I didn’t want the support piece to be visible when looking up at the window, so I cut the bottom of the support area off (2″ x 8″ removed).


Piece #2:

This will be for your second window.

Measuring Piece 2: Distance from wall to edge of window + 1/4″ (if going 3″ beyond window).

Since it will butt up against piece number 1, which is already 2″ off the wall (plus 3/4″ for thickness of board), you only need to add .25 more inches to include the distance beyond the window that it will reach. (Again, this is an example – adjust if you have different plans).


Piece #3:

This is a support piece for Piece #2, cut it 2″ x 4″.

Piece #4 & #5:

These are the edges that will attach to the wall. Cut them 12″ x 2″

Supplies Needed


  • Fabric (enough to cover front, sides and wrap around to the back)
  • Batting (enough to cover front, sides and wrap around to the back)
  • Foam Board (aka “Foam Board Insulation” or “Expanded Polystyrene”)
  • Duct tape
  • Nails (16 guage x 1-1/14″ – see image below)
  • Sewing Pins (with balls on end)
  • 3 L Brackets
  • 6 screws for mounting L Brackets to wall
  • Scissors (for cutting fabric)
  • Box Cutter Knife / Rotary Knife (for cutting foam board)

The fabric I used was actually curtain panels I got on clearance at Hobby Lobby.

Lowe’s is my nearest home improvement store, so I went there to pick up some foam board, along with nails, L Brackets & screws.

The foam board is 3/4″ thick and comes in sheets of 4′ x 8′ for only $8.35! Super cheap!


Make sure your nails have a large enough head that they don’t slip through the boards. Here’s the ones I used:


Cutting Your Foam Board:

Once you have all your measurements mark your foam board and cut to size.


I used a rotary blade to cut the board which worked really well. Unfortunately, the blade wasn’t thick enough to cut all the way through, so I had to cut 1 side, then flip it over and cut the other side. Still, I think it was easier than using a box cutter blade, so if you have one of these, use it!



Assembling Your Cornice Board:

Now, attach pieces #1 & #4 using wire nails. So simple but it works:


Reinforce both the inside & outside with duct tape:


Do the same for pieces #2 & #5.

Attaching Batting to Your Foam Board:

Lay piece #2 (along with attached piece #5) on your batting, cut enough to wrap around the edges, and tape into place. You do not need to cover the edge that will butt up against piece #1.


Here is piece 2 covered with batting:


Now, add batting to piece #1. You’ll want to leave no batting on the “support piece section” – as well as the last 3/4″ of the full length section of your board where piece #2 will be attached.


You can pin this edge of batting into place.


Attaching Fabric to Your Cornice Boards:

Lay your pieces on your fabric and cut large enough to wrap around the edges of your board. Then, iron your fabric if needed.


Lay piece #2 out on the back side of the fabric, and cut inward at each end so you can easily fold it over.


Wrap fabric around board and pin into place, pushing the pins in at an angle.


Cut out squares at each corner.


Note: I chose to cover a lot of the back of my boards with fabric for 2 reasons. One, I didn’t want to be laying in my bathtub looking up at the boards and see the ugly backing. Two, I didn’t want it to look ugly from the outside when the shades are up. If you don’t care about the back, there’s no need to cover so much of it.

At this point, you’ll want to attach our mini support piece of foam board (piece #3) to the top back of piece #2.


Near the base, drive pins down at an angle to attach the two pieces on each side.


Then, secure with duct tape.


Cut and trim fabric so that it folds over the edge at the bottom and covers the side of the support piece. Secure with pins or duct tape.


OK, piece #2 is done for now. Set it aside and get to work on piece #1.


Add fabric to areas covered with batting on piece #1.


Assemble Your Cornice Board

At this point, I was getting pretty excited!

Next, set up your 2 pieces as they’ll be assembled and hung.


Now, it’s time to connect the support pieces to each other.

Line them up.


You might think of a better way to attach these pieces – perhaps using glue! I just drove nails through the pieces, drove angled pins in along the edges, and added duct tape.


And ta-da! It’s ready to hang!


Hanging Your Corner Window Cornice Board

Hanging it was a little bit tricky, and definitely required 2 people, so taking pictures wasn’t really an option.

Here’s the steps we took:

  • We held it up in place at the height we wanted.
  • I positioned the L brackets on the board as my husband held it up to determine where they would go, and marked the screw holes on the wall.
  • We set the cornice aside.
  • I drilled the holes and mounted the 3 L brackets on the walls.
  • We held the cornice up against the brackets, and I used nails through the screw holes to secure the cornice to the brackets.

Here are some pics of 1 of the L-brackets once hung:


You can see how I really angled the nails to keep it secure:


Now a sigh of relief – it’s done and it looks great!

When I told my husband I was going to build a cornice out of foam board (we’ve built them before out of wood) he was very skeptical, but he was very impressed with how these came out!

This has been up for several months now and hasn’t budged.

I’ll definitely make some more again soon with my leftover foam board!



Would you try this project? If you do, I hope you’ll share pics!

TV Tray Makeover with Diamond Harlequin Pattern


I have a confession to make. I prefer to eat meals on the couch while watching TV to sitting at the kitchen table (which I recently made over – read about it here).

My husband, however, prefers to eat at the kitchen table.

I’ll eat straight out of my lap. But, if I want my husband to chow down in the living room, a TV tray is required.

I’ve had these plain TV trays from Bed Bath and Beyond since college. But, they’re not all that elegant, so I decided to dress them up with some General Finishes Java Gel Stain. You could also dress up your TV tray using paint if you prefer.

How to “Class Up” Your Plain Wood TV Trays:

You’ll need

  • sand paper
  • painter’s tape
  • gel stain (I used General Finishes in Java) or paint
  • topcoat (I used Satin Minwax Wipe-On Poly)
  • gloves
  • sock (or paintbrush/roller)

First, sand down the top of the TV tray to get rid of the shiny topcoat. Then wipe off with a damp cloth to remove all excess dust and let dry.

Measure your tray top and determine what size you want your harlequin pattern to be. I decided on a large design with a full diamond in the center and then half-diamonds reaching to each edge.


Draw your patten on top of your tray lightly with a pencil.

Note that the harlequin diamond pattern has to be done in 2 parts because the tape will run into the area of the adjacent diamonds.

Tape off your first section of diamonds with painter’s tape.


Next, put a glove and sock over your hand and apply the gel stain inside each taped area. Or, use a paint brush or roller to apply paint.


Apply as many coats as you need to reach the look you like. I did 2 coats.


Wait for the gel stain to dry completely, then remove the tape and tape off your remaining diamonds.


Apply the same number of coats of gel stain or paint.


Once, dry, peel off your tape.

*If you want a distressed look, use sand paper or a towel and lightly sand/rub over the gel stain until you’re happy with your results.

For topcoat, I applied 5 coats of Satin Minwax Wipe-On Poly from Lowe’s.


That’s it!