7 Mini Master Bathroom Upgrades that Had Huge Impact

My dream is to do a full remodel on my master bathroom. But, for now, the $$$ just isn’t there. Instead, I recently made 7 changes that made a huge impact on my builder-grade master bath.

If you want to feel like you remodeled your bathroom, consider some or all of these 7 updates:

1. Fresh Wall & Ceiling Paint:

I’m a firm believer that a fresh paint color can completely transform a room. So, when I had a spare day recently, I painted over the hideous green paint with a nice warm neutral color and I just love the results.


blog-tip When painting a room, paint the ceiling too. The trick is to paint the ceiling a shade or two lighter than the walls so it doesn’t make the room feel smaller.

blog-tip Another room changer that most people don’t think of is to touch up the paint on the baseboards and door jambs. I gave those a fresh coat of paint as well.

2. Add a Runner Rug:

For years, I had a mini rug under each sink. Then, a neighbor’s house went on the market and when I went to their Open House as a nosy neighbor (tell me I’m not the only one who does this!), I saw they had 1 larger runner rug that spanned the entire vanity and it looked a-maz-ing. So, I got this rug on Overstock and it’s a million times better than before.

Both the lighter color and fun texture really brighten up the room and make it feel fresher.




3. Hang a Framed Mirror:

I’ve been reading blogs about how to frame an existing wall mirror. But, then I discovered Kirkland’s and realized I could get a giant new mirror for ch-ch-cheap. (Bonus: they have an app with coupons).

I had to drive an hour to get to a Kirklands, but it was worth it to get this elegant new vanity mirror.



4. Replace an Old Light Fixture:

One thing I’ve always hated was the light fixture, but I wasn’t sure how to swap it out since it required wiring.

But seriously – look at that old one! It was so overpowering I only kept 4 bulbs in at a time. Talk about an eye sore!

I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on this, so I selected this inexpensive fixture from Home Depot. Turns out, it comes with wiring instructions and updating the fixture wasn’t that difficult after all.


5. Add/Update Window Treatments:

These curtains were here when we moved in. They look so dated!

I made new window treatment from foam board wrapped in fabric. The foam board was only $8 and the fabric was curtain panels I got on clearance at Hobby Lobby.


6. Build Wall-to-Wall Floating Shelves:

One of the best updates by far was throwing out this old over-the-toilet space saver and adding built-in floating shelves. I’m still working on styling them do don’t judge that part 🙂



7. Add Crown Molding:

Finally, we put up crown moulding. This was the 3rd area of our home DIY’d some crown moulding. It’s hands-down one of the most dramatic changes you can make to a room.



Someday, I’ll refinish the cabinets and put in new tile and flooring. But, until then, these 7 simple updates have transformed the feeling of my master bathroom.

Have any other simple upgrade tips to share? I’d love to hear them and see what you’ve done to quickly and easily transform your space!

Staircase Makeover – What to Stain; What to Paint

After months of admiring this amazing gel stain makeover over at Remodelaholic, I finally had a stretch of time off work long enough to dive right in and tackle this project in my home. (My office closes from Christmas to New Years – how awesome is that? I actually started this nearly a year ago but as you read on, you’ll see my project hit an 8 month snag.)

See theirs here:


The BIG difference between the above stair banister and mine – that I failed to notice in advance – was that theirs had white trim along the bottom and as you can see below, mine was all the same wood finish on the bottom:


So when I used General Finishes Java Gel Stain to refinish all the Oak portions of my staircase, I ended up with wayyy too much dark brown, and I hated it!


I’d just spent an entire week off of work (basically my Christmas-New Years break) rubbing several coats of gel stain and topcoat over my entire staircase only to feel totally disappointed when I pulled the tape back for my “Big Reveal”. 😦

What had I done wrong? Why did everyone else’s come out so much better than mine?!?

A frantic trip back to Pinterest made it all very clear – I needed some white along the bottom to even out the look.


It took 8 months before I could work up the energy to sand off the gel stain and paint it white. I was more than jealous when I returned to work and heard about the other girls’ awesome time off relaxing and wine tasting and not messing up their homes.

I was honestly terrified that somehow I’d manage to ruin it even more. But, one day I finally worked up the courage and started on the top section just in case I messed it up.


And turns out, it looked sooo much better!


Tips for Protecting Your Carpet:

I noticed a lot of bloggers end up ripping out their carpet altogether or don’t stain the bottom wood along their carpet because it’s already white. Here’s how I protected my carpet, as well as the white balusters that I left untouched:

blog-tip Use foil to large portions of balusters that you don’t want to get gel stain on. Secure with tape and push the tape up into the gap between the banister rain and the baluster.


blog-tip Only cover the entire baluster with foil if it’s directly next to a rail that’s being painted or stained.


blog-tip Use a putty knife to press and tuck painter’s tape deep down between the tread and the carpet.



blog-tip Tape a rim of paper along the edge to extend coverage beyond the depth of the painter’s tape.


blog-tip Easily tape a drop cloth to the border of paper that lines the edges.


blog-tip Remember after the first coat it won’t look good – keep going until you reach your desired look. I did 4 coats before I was happy with the results because I kept finding little spots that weren’t dark enough and I learned that just trying to patch a little portion didn’t work out.


Before & After – Revealing My White Paint & Java Gel Stain Staircase Makeover






Kitchen Feature Wall with Board & Batten

I was very late in the game discovering board and batten. How did I get through over 30 years of life without noticing this awesome decorative wall design?

Of course, now that Pinterest has pointed it out to me, I see it everywhere.

It’s in model homes, houses on television, fancy hotels, restaurants, nightclubs – everywhere!

And now, it’s in my home, too.

Our first venture into board and batten actually came when we were designing our hidden door underneath our staircase which we disguised with board & batten rails.

Then, I decided we needed it on this wall in our kitchen:


Here’s our journey to creating our very own Board and Batten Kitchen Feature Wall:

After carefully scrutinizing several styles of wainscoting and board and batten on the internet, I decided I wanted to match this style from the blog Housewife2Hostess:


I just love how that came out!

But, turns out my husband and I purchased the wrong boards for this project and ended up with this clunky mess:


As you can see, our horizontal and vertical boards are too thick, and the results are NOT visually pleasing. Like, at all!

Back to the store we went to find some sort of decorative element to fix our snafu.

We came up with this:


Much better!

We decided we’d need to add a fancier top to match our new look also.



This was looking a lot better, but I decided there was too much white and on a whim I painted the door black to match our newly painted kitchen table.



This project really tied in our butcher block kitchen table makeover.

I just love looking at the before and after of our kitchen feature wall.


Under Staircase Storage & Built In Dog Den

Pinterest has a way of inspiring home renovation for all of us. I’ve long admired (and been envious of) the expansive storage closets that lie beneath other peoples’ staircases. Why did my home not have this obvious feature?


My house seriously lacks storage.

I have this way of taking things I can’t find a place for and haphazardly setting them in the garage. My husband is not a fan of this talent habit and even after doing a major overhaul in which I got rid of tons of stuff, we agreed we could use more storage space.

“Well, you know…” I said to him one day while sitting on our couch. “I saw on Pinterest that people add storage underneath the stairs.”

We headed over and stared the wall in our entry way for about 2 minutes before Matt ran to the garage and returned with a mini saw. And then, a small square was cut into the wall between 2 studs so we could peak inside.




Jackpot! There was soooo much wasted space under there! And thanks to the plethora of DIY blogs and instructional YouTube videos, we took on a project that involved wiring lighting, hanging drywall, adding wall texture, laying down flooring and trimming out what would forever be referred to as “The Hole.” All types of construction work we were ill-equipped for and completely clueless about.

Once we saw the layout under there we noticed the space could be divided into a storage area and a little den for our dog. We thought it would be extra cool if the storage was hidden behind a secret door which complicated things immensely.

But, in the end it came out perfect. Here are the steps we took to create our under-staircase storage room and dog den.

First, we divided up the space and drew out a plan. We decided to have an “entry” area, a dog den and a secret door that opened up into hidden storage in the back:


Steps to Create Under-Staircase Storage:

Our first step was actually to buy the little entry door. We didn’t want to cut the entrance hole too large so we headed to Hobby Lobby to see if they had anything that might work. And they did! For half off!


Locate studs in wall and cut out sheetrock.


Clean out the area. We found a nice snack left behind by a construction worker.


Matt wired in 3 lights and a light switch because it was DARK under there!


We cut out certain studs to make 2 wider doorway areas to a back room and to the dog den area.

Next, we cut and hung the drywall. Keep in mind neither of us had ever worked with drywall before. Simply googling and watching YouTube videos gave us all the confidence we needed. Turned out, it’s not that hard!




After that the wall texture went on followed by a couple coats of paint:

dog-den-paint-walls dog-den-paint-walls-3 dog-den-paint-walls-2

Laid some flooring from Costco:


Then baseboard throughout and a couple of storage shelves in the back:


We hung a large piece of wood with cabinet hinges to serve as our secret hidden door. Then, we added decorative board and batten to the wood and the rest of the “entry area” to help disguise the door.

dog-den-secret-door-partition dog-den-board-and-batten dog-den-board-and-batten-complete


The panels of the board and batten that run along the secret door are held into place with magnets and the small piece of baseboard is held up with velcro Command Strips. That way they can pop off and allow the door to swing open.




We added some carpet to the dog den (leftover carpet from when we re-carpeted our house). We weren’t quite sure about doing this properly so we had the carpet company come out to install the carpet portion.


I painted and then glazed the entrance door:


We decided to go fancy on the trim to match our dog door.

Read about the custom dog door we built here. It’s adorable!


Prior to this project, our dog Dakota has slept in a gigantic crate that  took up nearly a quarter of our living room. Now, the crate is stored at her Grandpaw’s house for sleepovers and she loves sleeping in her fancy little dog den.




Update: Check out my java gel stained banister makeover here.

Painted Kitchen Table Makeover


I inherited this table when I bought my home and although I wasn’t crazy about the look of it, I was happy to have a free table. Plus, there’s sentimental value since we’ve had the table since I was a pre-teen.

Being new to the DIY scene, I literally spent 5 years eating off this table with no idea that I could just paint it.

What?! How??

A little Pintersearch – “Pinterest” “search” – taught me that it just needed a good sanding and then I could add stain or paint and have a brand new look.

Turns out, my husband actually owns a sander. Cool! I got set up in my garage and went to town.


After removing the topcoat and getting down to the bare wood, I liked the table better already!

It wasn’t easy, but I sanded down the top and all 4 legs.


Then, we stained the top black, using “Minwax Polyshades Stain & Polyurethane in 1 Step” in the “Espresso Satin” finish.


We really loved the look after 1 coat, but I wanted a deep dark black so we did 3 coats.


Next, I spray painted primer on the legs and painted them an ivory color with a paintbrush.


Then, we had to develop a lot of patience because we added 5 coats of topcoat.


The final step was using the black stain to give the legs a very subtle glazed look.


We sold the old chairs on Craigslist because I was not going to the trouble of sanding and painting those! Plus, I wanted a more modern look.

I found these cheap black chairs on wayfair.com and I love them.


By far worth the time and effort! We just love our “new” kitchen table!

A reminder of how it looked before:



In the before and after pictures, you might notice we also transformed the nearby wall from it’s blah state into a kitchen feature wall with board and batten. That project didn’t go at all how we had planned, but in the end, we think it came out great!

Easy Wood Photo Plaque for Gallery Wall


As you know from seeing my DIY Canvas Art and Paper Mache Wall Art posts, I love to create my own decorative wall art. The gallery wall leading up my staircase has been so much fun to create. Today, I’m going to show you how to easily – and very cheaply – create your own wooden photo block.

You can use an actual block of wood that sits on a mantle or bookcase shelf, or you can create a piece that hangs on the wall like I did.

Mine is fairly small (5.5” diagonal) and created from a square wood piece from Hobby Lobby that was $.79. They have a variety of sizes and shapes to choose from.

First, I drilled a hole in the back so I could hang it on my wall when it was done (I didn’t want to risk damaging the front afterward when I drilled the nail hole).


Then, I painted the sides of the wooden square to match the color of my walls.


Next, I selected a picture of my dog Dakota from a recent trip to my parent’s house. I decided I wanted to hang my block at a diagonal, so I cropped the picture at an angle and printed it out with a guide line for cutting. I printed it on a matte presentation paper (kind of a high end card stock for printing photos) instead of actual photo paper.


Once the picture was printed and cut. I used a foam brush to cover the surface of the wood plaque and the back side of the picture with mod podge. I positioned the dog photo on the wood and then covered the front side of the picture with mod podge. Once dry, I applied a 2nd coat of mod podge to the picture and also to the sides of the wood so the sheen would be uniform.


Then, I hung it on my wall next to my painted canvases of dog and frog silhouettes. I’ve since painted and glazed the “Love” wall art and it looks sooo much better! I’ll post that one soon.



  • Wooden block or wall plaque
  • Drill
  • Paint
  • Picture
  • Mod Podge
  • Foam Brush


Easy DIY Canvas Mustache Art Craft

I love, love, love mustaches. Actually, I hate mustaches on people, but I love mustache silhouettes. I love them on mugs, I love them on the cool duck tape my husband found at Walmart, and I love it on this awesome t-shirt I got him for his birthday:

Golden Colorado

I may also have a tendency to bust out fake colored, stick-on mustaches every chance I get:

Stick on mustaches

So, when I got some blank canvases to create a collage wall going up my staircase, I knew one of them would turn out to be a mustache print. My original intention was to simply paint the mustache silhouette in the same manner in which I painted my frog and dog art – see my DIY Canvas Art post to see what I’m talking about. But after adding burlap to my Clothespin Picture Frame, I knew a burlap mustache would be way cooler than a painted one.

Easy DIY Burlap Canvas Art Craft

Here are the steps to creating your own awesome burlap mustache canvas art. Obviously, if you’re not quite as obsessed with mustaches as we are, you can tweak this craft to fit your personal tastes.

Step 1: Buy canvas, burlap, and paint.

I got this 8″x24″ canvas on sale at Jo-Ann Fabrics and found this roll of burlap at Hobby Lobby. The paint I used was leftover paint from my entry walls, so it’s just Behr Ultra wall paint from Home Depot in Cherry Cobbler (eggshell finish).

Blank Canvas & Burlap Roll

Step 2: Cut burlap to size.

Cover your canvas with burlap and cut it to the size you need. Since my roll of burlap was about the same height as my canvas, I simply rolled it out and cut it.

Roll out and cut burlap

Step 3: Draw mustache shape on burlap.

Next, fold your burlap in half and draw out half of the mustache. I practiced on paper, then copied my shape with a sharpie onto my burlap. Since I didn’t want the sharpie line to show later, I drew my line as lightly as possible – rather than pressing down hard on the burlap, I barely allowed the marker to touch the fabric.

Fold burlap in half

Draw mustache shape on burlap

Step 4: Cut out burlap mustache.

Use scissors to cut out mustache following your sharpie line and making sure burlap stays neatly folded in half while you’re cutting. This will ensure both sides are the same when you unfold.

Cut out mustache shape.

Step 5: Paint your canvas.

You may want to leave your canvas white – if so, skip to step 6. Otherwise, paint your canvas on the front and sides. I used a 3″ roller to quickly cover my canvas. Since red is a difficult color to work with, it took 3 coats before I reached the results I wanted, which was to match the walls in my entry.

Paint canvas

Step 6: Attach burlap to canvas.

Once canvas is dry, position the burlap on the canvas and use a hot glue gun to adhere the burlap to the canvas. Be very careful when positioning as the glue dries fast and the burlap will rip if you try to pull it back up (I know b/c I tried!). Start with one end and dab a few dots of glue onto the canvas, then lightly press down with your hands (careful not to burn your fingers – that glue’s hot!). Then, continue lifting the loose burlap up, adding glue underneath, and pressing the burlap down until the entire piece is attached.

Hot glue burlap to canvas

That’s it! Now your new custom burlap art piece is ready to hang.



burlap (enough to cover canvas or create shape in size you need)



hot glue gun

If painting your canvas, you’ll also need:


paintbrush or roller

cardboard, newspaper or tin foil to create a painting surface

paper towels

disposable gloves (if you don’t want paint on your hands!)