Friday, February 8, 2013

How to: Add character to your home - 10 easy & budget friendly tips



Hey y'all! 
I hope everyone has had a fantastic Friday! I know I did :-) Any day alive is a good day in my book. A lot of you know I've been working diligently on furniture for the sale, handmade items and in the mean time on my own house. And as many of you know, I am a proud military wife. And we are currently on one income. So, most things just need to be budget friendly. And I'm cheap. Yeah, that too. So the past few weeks, I've changed a lot of things since you last seen my home tour near Christmas I believe? If you didn't catch that post, you can find it by clicking here. 

So, I decided after emails that keep coming in {And I promise I'm not ignoring you, I've had an overload lately and slowly, I am replying to everyone!} asking how I do this or how much this cost? Or can I help design their room, etc. So I decided why not start sharing these updates with y'all? And try to start providing many more tips to help out as much as I can! If you were wondering about the room designs, that's in the works currently. I'm fine tuning most of it but basically, you'll be able to purchase a "room design" via the Internet where you'll send me photos of your space and I'll send you back in different packages to choose from... mood boards & style boards... source lists.... furniture placemat, color choices, etc. I can't wait and I hope you're excited about it too!

Do you ever wonder while flipping through Pinterest or a magazine... "How can I get my space to look like that" or "how in the heck did they do that?" Well... I'm here to share some of my secrets with you...We have had our fair share of challenges, military base housing being at the top of that list with cheap appliances, cheap finishes and just a cheap house all around. 


Ok! So let's get this party started :) Below is an antique mahogany rocker with gorgeous curves that I originally bought and painted for the sale but guess what happens what always happens... I'm keeping it. And my husband actually likes it. I definitely have to keep it if he actually speaks up and says he likes something, right? I painted it a soft and neutral grey and distressed it. But I think it's going to get painted a different color this week for my house....so stay tuned for that before and after! The drum table I purchased off of our local yard sale page on Facebook. My mom LOVED it and claimed it before I even got it home... too bad it's for my house ;-) I simply added vintage books with some faux greenery on top of it, a pretty skinny lamp & 3 decorative look-a-like greenery moss balls from Hobby Lobby. They have a great clearance selection right now by the way!

Tip #1: Shop your own home.
I don't and never have believed in breaking the bank to furnish your house or make it look pretty. Whenever my husband and I got married, I literally was smacked in the face with the reality that "guess what, someone else lives here now." This meaning it needed to be *functional* AND pretty. What? What is that you say? Who speaks of such things? So... after we got here to Florida, I ***really*** began using *what I had.* As in, sneaking decor from other rooms, trading decor with friends, yard sale finds, etc. I don't count yard sale finds because they are usually so cheap haha! Nothing in this picture I paid retail price for....and everything in this picture cost me around $50. Yes, you heard that right. 


I've had my eye out for a small table like this for months for the other side of our living room. I didn't want to go out and buy brand new furniture just to accommodate a new house so we used an antique rocker & antique drum table and now I love the space all together! Just need to paint that dang rocker.


TIP #2: Be green.
Adding any fresh greens or faux to your home will instantly spruce it up and give it a bit more life. I got the faux greenery above in the tin can from Ikea for a mere $5.99 I believe. I also have picked flowers out of my own garden before and used them as centerpieces. I've even pulled down branches that were just twigs and used them in vases as a centerpiece. These faux moss balls below I've loved forever at Hobby Lobby but they were $10 EACH and since we all know that with decor, group in odd numbers as in 1 or 3... I could spare $30 for moss balls. So I saw they were 50% off finally today and grabbed them quickly... do y'all do that? See something you love and snatch it up because someone apparently is right behind you and is going to steal it from you? Yeah, me too.


I've had a few people ask and I picked up some vintage books for my repurpose sale here in Florida. It will be on March 2nd, 2013. If you haven't started following Home by Ally on Facebook, you can do so by clicking here to stay up to date with all the latest information, Instagram & inspiration photos and details about events coming up featuring Home by Ally!


Tip #3: Use unlikely items to add character.
For instance, this tray is very pretty. I purchased it at World Market when had a coupon. Yes, it's pretty but it's actual a drop zone for me and mostly my husband. We keep the remote there so we don't loose it. It has all of my latest Country Living, Southern Living & Better Homes & Gardens magazines there when I want to catch up on my reading. There are also drink coasters there for when we just want to relax in the living room. And I have faux flowers here in an old blue mason...because let's face it, if I had real ones here... I'd be replacing them a lot and I'm sure the dogs would knock them over. You can get very realistic faux flowers at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, even Walmart. The vintage books are usually $3-$5 a piece at Antique Stores so look out for them at Thrift stores for cheaper. Use them to hold picture frames, vases, flowers or little trinkets for around the house. I buy neutral vintage books to match my decor but that is your decision :)


Tip #4: DIY {Do It Yourself} something that you love. 
If there is one thing that I am always telling someone when they ask for advice about their homes, I always say "decorate with what you love." This will instantly add charm to your home because it will be personal to you and that's the most important thing! In my space, I love to live by the words "You can make plans but the Lord's purpose will prevail." I'm a control freak naturally and incredibly over the top OCD...so it's nice to sit back, see that and think that someone else higher is ultimately in control. This is a DIY that I hand painted for our home. It's about 2ft x2ft and I added stained small craft boards to the outsides to give it a finished, framed out look. It is by far one of the best signs I've made.


Tip #5: Don't forget about the outside.
A large part of loving your home is loving what's inside of it but also what is on the outside... just like human beings ;-) You may not love the exterior of your home but I bet you will like it a lot more if you keep up with it, keep it clean and regularly maintenance, etc. About once every couple of months, I take the water hose to the garage door and spray down any extra dirt, etc. I sweep the driveway and sidewalk up to the front door about once a week or so and I try to keep things tidy. We just recently fixed up our front yard... and I cannot wait to show y'all! Soon! But if you've been meaning to paint those old shutters or give your old front door a fresh coat of paint, do it! You'll feel so much better after! Purchasing some fresh mulch or a few new crates of flowers can instantly liven up the outside of your homes! Again, I can't wait to show y'all our before and after! Just because you rent doesn't mean it can't look pretty and you can't enjoy where you live.

Below you see that instead of a usual wreath on my front door, I ordered a custom monogram. A for Ally, S for our last name and R for my husbands first name. I knew I wanted a great contrasting color for the front door since it's brown so lime green it went! I know, me, color, me, lime green? No way! Yes, way! And of course, I finished it with a cute burlap bow! Instead of hanging it with a wreath hanger, I took burlap ribbon and looped it around the letters and over to the door. On the opposite side, there is a wreath for the INSIDE of our front door where the burlap is tied off into another bow.


Tip #6: Window treatments. 
The first thing my husband said when we moved in was that I didn't need to buy curtains because the home came with blinds. I laughed in his face :) 

Adding curtains provides the room with drama and instantly gives you more of a cozy, living in feeling. I would prefer to have a patterned curtain but I haven't found any I loved yet so I bought neutral ones until then! If you love mine, you can find them at Target. They are sold out online in this color but if you are still interested, you can see them by clicking here. They are very light and are the perfection combination of letting the light in but still allowing for privacy. Most curtain panels come in 84", 95" and up. For windows this large or any windows in general (besides the ones over the kitchen sink, etc.) a longer curtain starting at 84" will look best. I love to buy 95" panels so they are more dramatic. The curtains should be hung ABOVE the actually window box. This will give your room more height than in reality and make it feel larger. 


Tip #6: Lighting.
Lighting can change an entire room. For example, above our gorgeous new farmhouse table we used to have an ugly, white kit ceiling fan that came with the house. In the dining area. Really? Yes. Really. To make it *really* feel like a dining room like it should be, I purchased a chandelier for the space. Not a sophisticated, sparkling, too fancy for this neighborhood, out of my price range chandelier but a simple one that is understated but still very pretty. I found this gem on clearance at Lowe's for a mere $22.00. I choose the finish because it matched the other hardware in our home. It has a basic linen shade which works for me so I can not be limited with colors, etc for decorating. Simply adding a pretty lamp in your space could instantly create drama and ambiance in the evenings that you may or may not have been looking for. Search on Craigslist, your local yard sales, thrifts stores, etc for gorgeous lighting. Also, don't forget about the discount stores like HomeGoods, TjMaxx, Ross and Marshalls to name a few.... I always find something every time I go! 


Tip #7: Don't buy it if you don't LOVE it.
Very simple. I struggle with this. Just because it's pretty and it's on clearance doesn't mean it's right for your space. I do encourage everyone to shop closeout and clearance... but I have a bad happen of buying something because I might use it "later." Don't do it. Period. You'll find you'll save a lot of money and your husbands will thank me later! Just saying :)


Tip #8: Mix old with new.
Below is a vintage dutch bench I scored at a local thrift store because there was no seat. I got it for an amazing price because it didn't have a seat but luckily for me while chuckling in my head... I knew that was an easy fix! A vintage metal milk crate sits on top of the bench with my World Market placemats I use when we have guests, etc. The hand woven wiener dog at the bottom was a must have for me. The bench, I'll be the first to admit, was not in the greatest of shape but I knew with a little TLC, it could be a gem. And that it has been. Perfect for my space. And offers additional setting for the dining room too.




Tip #9: Keep the backdrop neutral. 
I'm all for color. If it's done right. Personally, I am a neutral color person. I love white but not everywhere. I prefer sage greens, muted blues, subtle greys, warm beiges and rustic wood tones. There is absolutely *nothing* wrong with liking color or liking things lighter and brighter like I do. Everyone has their owns styles and it's important that we remember that. In my professional opinion, I strongly encourage clients to use a neutral backdrop as in paint colors, large furniture, etc. so they are less likely to get sick of it as fast. If you are going to do a bold red couch, chances are you might not like it in 5 years. While a nice and natural beige couch, you'll have for more than 5 years and can simply add some cute red pillows for a pop of color... and even better than that... $20 pillows vs $800 for a new couch that is not red? You do the math. 





Look at my sweet boys below. They are best friends and are usually up to no good but I still love them anyways! I would love to add a tip in here that you need an animal. Because life is just not the same with a dog or a cat right by your side. And remember, adopt... don't shop!


Give your couch some life by adding some pretty decorative pillows and a nice, warm and cozy throw blanket. I used a large mirror above our couch because we do not receive a lot of natural light in this home thus a mirror reflects off of what light we do receive and makes the space seem that much larger and brighter! That's just a tip that apparently does not need to be "bold." Haha! Laugh with me. Please.




Tip #10: Rome was not built in a day.
As my mama would say, "Rome was not built in a day." You won't be able to furnish and decorate your house all in one day. And if you do, you might change something a week later like me ;) Don't beat yourself up because it's not perfect. Remember that you do LIVE there and it doesn't always have to be perfect. Remember that good moms have dirty floors and fingerprints on windows. Remember that real people have flaws. Remember that everyone loves compliments and remember that even the smallest of a change can make the world of a difference!


I hope y'all enjoyed this post! But this little gal must be going to bed now! It is way past my bedtime and I have tons of furniture to work on in the morning! Hope y'all can make the repurpose sale, remember... March 2nd, 2013! Location to be announced on Home by Ally's Facebook page that you can find by clicking here!

If you loved this post and want to "pin" a photo to your Pinterest account, you can do so below! I would really appreciate it if y'all pinned my images :)

Goodnight!

XOXO,
Ally

75 comments:

  1. Hi! Just stumbled upon your blog and I love this post! I actually have a monogram wreath myself, as well as a dachshund, so I was wondering where you got the hand woven dachshund from?! I've been looking everywhere for a figurine and for something bigger like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! How sweet! We actually found him at one of those discount stores, Ross, I believe. :)

      Delete
    2. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled when I'm there! I always look there but never find any dachshund stuff, but I'll have to keep looking. :)

      Delete
  2. Hello! I found you through Pinterest today and love your blog! I can't wait to poke around a little more! You have great taste, and your home is beautiful! Newest follower! :)
    - April Hoff
    housebyhoff.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi April! Thank you for visiting! I am so happy that you are here!

      Delete
  3. Love this...where did you get your kitchen table...been looking for one like this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! Thank you! We purchased it awhile back from Sam's Club but from what I have seen and been told, they no longer carry this table. :)

      Delete
    2. Hi Ally, abraun80

      I found this same table at an auction sale for $50.00. You may find one at an auction sale.

      Delete
  4. Hi I just stopped by from a link from Pinterest and fell in love with your photos! You have such gorgeous taste! I will be following :) Thanks for sharing! Oh & I absolutely love that light blue serving table in your kitchen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I appreciate all of your kind words so much!

      Delete
  5. Hi, just stopping by from Pinterest. What wonderful decorating advice. And while I am a color person, I do love looking at neutral rooms too. Your home is beautiful!

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    1. Thank you Nancy! I appreciate your kind words! I hope you come back soon!

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  61. Another person who clicked through from Pinterest! I love the fabric of your table runner -- did you make it yourself or buy it? Thanks!

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  62. Oh my! How I love your house. And everything fits well there. I especially like the sunlight entering the dining room from the window. It somehow looks magical :). You're definitely an artist :).

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  63. As a real estate in Charlotte North Carolina Expert I really enjoyed your all blog, but I really like the Indoor to Outdoor session of the blog.Thanks for sharing the nice informational blog.Thanks alot

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  64. Wanted to let you know I just found your blog via Pinterest and love this post...it's exactly what I needed to keep it real! (Also, you might want to check but you were spammed a bunch in the comments here...FYI)

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  65. Yay! Works for my budget, thanks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJQS8Rbm7X4

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  66. I love that couch!! Can you tell me where you got it?

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  67. Hey there! What color did you use for your living room? I am looking for the perfect "greige" color!

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