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:

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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):

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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:

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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.)

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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).

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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.

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We just love how it came out!

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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.

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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):

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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!

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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!

Built-In TV Frame Above Fireplace

For a long time the built-in cabinet on the right side of our TV wall overpowered the rest of the wall space. It’s not centered on the wall and it’s smushed right up against the fireplace mantle:

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And as much as an eye sore it is during the daylight hours, I have a thing for dim lighting at night, hence the strung Christmas lights that hung in here year-round.

We finally did something about it. We framed out the TV space above the mantle and added wainscoting under the window:

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Much more balanced!

Here’s some details to our living room wall upgrade:

Framed Out Window

We added a frame to the left and right edges of the window. This required replacing the window ledge to make it wider. (Super, super easy!)

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Wainscot Accent Wall

We added wainscoting under the window to match the wainscot wall on the opposite side of the room.

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Built-In TV Frame

Finally, we created a frame for the television with crown moulding on the top. Sooo much went wrong with this portion of the project. But in the end, it came out great!

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Here’s the before and after one more time:

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Keep in mind, that red window cornice is going. It’s on my long list of projects that will be perfect for the next weekend day we have without rain!

And, I’m still re-styling the clutter that was filling the right section that was already built-in and used by the previous homeowners to store their TV.

Recommendations appreciated! How should I fill the large empty built-in TV nook on the right?!?

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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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Much better!

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

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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.

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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.

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