The day my husband and I moved out of the city and into our new suburban home was a very big day for us. Yes, moving is a huge undertaking, but it’s also the day I found out I was pregnant with my first (and only to date) child.
When I bought the house I had many grand ambitions for design and renovations for this square white box of a cookie cutter home. I now look back at those ambitions and laugh at myself for how far off I really was. With crippling morning sickness right up till the day I delivered (lucky me), and every other fun thing about pregnancy that slows you down, I would have been thrilled to even get paint on the walls. Spoiler alert: we did not accomplish that.
My little girl is now nearing 2 and though we are still stuck with that horrible quality builder’s paint. With the purchase of a few key design pieces, and a lot of Annie’s chalk paint for furniture, I am confident to say “yup, an interior designer lives here”.
Let’s walk through my “DIY-new-mom-no-time-no-money” home:
· Never underestimate the power of plants. They bring much undervalued life to a room.
· DIY floating shelves and some décor go a long way. (Literally we used old beer jugs, a couple picture frames and plants. No need to reinvent the wheel here.)
· Drapery! Even if you don’t need them for privacy, side panels make a huge impact on the overall look of a room.
· Furniture acting as storage to hide the many toddler toys is an easy way to feel human when baby goes to bed.
I can’t say my couches are high design, but hey they were 50% off at The Brick and seem to hide toddler spills pretty well, so they will do for now. To counteract this white box and uninspired furniture I rely heavily on décor items to do the work for me.
Kitchen – Before and After:
A white kitchen is not going out of style anytime soon, but never trade that look for personality. White cabinets can be a slippery slope to a very bland space. Make sure to accent the plain white cabinets with the warmth of wood and other natural materials.
· Taking out the under cabinet range (and cabinet) and replacing it with a chimney style vent makes a HUGE impact, for as little as $300.
· Don’t be afraid to go bold with a kitchen backsplash. This 2’x2’ slate tile packs quite the punch and really makes the space what it is.
A large dining room needs statement furniture to appropriately fill the space. We had none, and only a small budget for it. Thanks to the Habitat for Humanity Restore and Homesense we furnished this whole space for around $1500.
· We were lucky to find this dining room table TOP only on clearance for $100. Nobody was buying it because it had no legs. After a very easy leg purchase online we now have a statement dining room table that would sell for $3000+, which we spent $300 on.
· Hutch and coffee table were dated, orangey pieces found at the Restore. With a couple coats of white chalk paint and new hardware they work in just about any space.
· Don’t forget the plants/ drapery side panels and you have yourself a space to entertain in.
This master bedroom is such a painfully square and boring room. With grand ambitions to one day put in hardwood flooring and do a wood statement wall, a rug and some décor items are doing the trick for now.
· A plush rug takes your eye away from the builders grade carpet.
· Move the eyes upand away from the plain wallswith decor. A headboard, wall art, lamps, plants etc.
· End tables are refinished logs with legs bought on Etsy.
· Makeup vanity, chair and mirror were all literally found on the side of the road. HELLO spray-paint and new hardware!
I’m not suggesting that décor items are cheap, but I am suggesting that they are cheaper than a full blown renovation when you’re not ready. It’s always nice to dream of your perfect home, but until time and budget fill that dream there is plenty you can do to make your home design an inviting space that you are proud of.
Lara Young is the Principal of Lara Young Design, and also a new mom. Like many of us Lara is trying to find that quintessential work/life balance. Being her own boss is bringing Lara one-step closer to her dream. You can read Lara’s full bio, or contact her to help with your next design project here.