Category Archives: DIY Projects

How To Make Your Closet Bigger Without Renovating

I’ve actually been really blessed when it comes to closets, even ever since my days in college. I’ve never known anything other than a walk-in situation, which I know is not normally the case. That said, the negative side effect of this perk is that I’ve built up a pretty monumental collection of clothes. I hang most of my clothing up—from sweaters and dresses, to T-shirts, too—and since I’ve always had ample closet bar storage for them, I’ve never really tried to weed things out.

That’s all about to start changing though—big time. I don’t really have any particular reason to purge, but I’m just generally feeling the impulse to have fewer items to my name and I’m craving a more minimalistic look in every area of our home, including our walk-in closet.

Now, this post isn’t really so much about purging and getting rid of pieces in your wardrobe, but in the process of streamlining our stuff, I made a recent closet swap that added practically double the square footage (without lifting a single tool). The secret? New hangers!

How To Make Your Closet Bigger Without Renovating

As an aside, I admit that these pictures are really kind of unappealing, but not all home tips come with perfectly styled surfaces and artwork, and I figure sometimes the real-life stuff is even more helpful. Hopefully you keep reading despite these up-close-and-personal peeks inside my wrinkly closet!

Anyway, up until this point I had always used wooden hangers. The matching grain just seemed really appealing to me, and the clunk of real wood against real wood sounded worlds away better than the click of mismatched plastic ones (yes, that’s me showing my type A tendencies, but I’m just being honest).

Then we went to the beach earlier this month, and our rental beach house came equipped with ultra thin non-slip velvet hangers in all of the closets. As I transferred my dresses and shirts from my suitcase to the hangers, I remember being incredibly impressed.

How To Make Your Closet Bigger Without Renovating

How To Make Your Closet Bigger Without Renovating

Not only did the sleeves stay firmly in place (a benefit that wooden hangers can’t seem to boast), but the super slim silhouette of the hangers also meant that my clothing took up next to no room in the closet. At home, my 3/4-inch-thick wooden hangers could barely be moved from side to side because of how unnecessarily thick they were.

As soon as I got home from the beach, I placed a $40 order for velvet hangers on Amazon, and then made the swap in my closet a few days later. I haven’t gotten rid of any clothes yet (something I plan to do in the next couple of months), but I still gained almost twice as much closet space just be ditching the bulky wooden hangers.

Below you can see how I can push my clothes together on the new hangers revealing an extra combined five or so feet of usable bar space. I don’t plan to actually fill that extra space, mind you, but it’ll be nice to eventually walk into a clean and sparse closet by summer’s end.

How To Make Your Closet Bigger Without Renovating

How To Make Your Closet Bigger Without Renovating

How To Make Your Closet Bigger Without Renovating

This change was super affordable and I love the look of the sleek black velvet, too, so the pros of swapping out old hangers for this new style easily outweighs the cons. Wait…are there any cons? I can’t think of any.

Oh, and if you’d like to get some tips on how to make the most of the items already in your closet (an art I’m still trying to master, so I can’t share too much experience) then pop over to Design Love Fest. Bri’s team is offering lots of easy-to-pull-off ideas for purging, restyling items, and even tips for at-home tailoring. See the post here and please feel free to share wardrobe maximizing tricks of your own in the comments below.

How To Make Your Closet Bigger Without Renovating

P.S. Have you voted for our space in this year’s Design Dash hosted by La-Z-Boy yet?! See the room I made over with my Glitter Guide teammate, Caitlin Kruse, here. Oh, and, as always, my promise to you is that the affiliate links featured in this post spotlight items that I use and love myself.
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*This post was sponsored by Minted

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

Remember how I said last week that I’m no “pro” when it comes to interior design? That I’m more of the learn-as-you-go type of DIY designer? Well, my tale today is living proof of that declaration.

As you may recall last year, I unveiled a brand new, made-over office that I claimed was my “dream come true.” At the time, it was a major accomplishment in comparison to the space when we moved in (think: floral drapery, yellow walls, dated fixtures), and I felt like all was right with the world. The fresh white walls made all of my bright art and styling accessories pop, and it was bursting with the type of character that I thought I wanted to emulate.

But after the professional photos were shot and I needed to actually get work done in my new office, I felt like something wasn’t right. The bright aesthetic was good in theory, but it ultimately just felt too busy and chaotic and kept me from feeling settled while working at my desk.

You can see the room before in all its glory in our first tour of the home pre-restoration and you can check out the full makeover reveal—good intentions and all—here, but now it’s time to get real about the changes I’ve made and how I managed to bring productivity back to my mid-century office.

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

The first thing to go was all the stuff. I purged, and purged, and purged again until I had practically emptied the space of styling and office supplies. It turns out that I just don’t need all of the things in this phase of life now that I’m actively trying to simplify and minimize post-new year.

I also decided to sell my new desk. While totally functional, it just didn’t feel like it fit with the rest of our home. The white, clean-lined, corner desk was contemporary, yes, but it wasn’t mid-century, and we’ve worked too hard to restore that retro vibe in our 1960s-built home to go a different direction in this one room.

So I sold the desk on Craigslist, making enough cash to replace it with a vintage mid-century tanker-style desk. She’s a little rough in some spots and the legs aren’t my absolute favorite, but this new-to-me hulk of desk packs tons of storage opportunity, and definitely checks the “retro vibe” box. The dark wood grain veneer and sleek hardware are just what I had in mind, and at $120 to bring home, it was the perfect swap.

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

Art was another thing that desperately needed to change. I’ve been so in love with the rust and evergreen trend these days, so I scoured Minted for options to pull that color palette through the room.

In the end, it didn’t take much at all to establish the look and let go of the punchy pink palette I had in the room before. I chose a small framed print of West Coast by Carol Dysart to go behind my computer, and an oversized framed version of Lauren Packard’s A Long Day At The Beach to go above the dresser on the opposite side of the room, which I use to store rolls of paper and overflow office supplies.

I love the soft brush strokes and airy vibe of both prints. They are soothing and anything but distracting—the perfect look for an office that needs to promote focus and productivity.

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

Doesn’t it almost look like a dorm room in that progress shot a few photos up?! Who knows if I just had a major mental growth spurt or what, but I definitely didn’t see the child-like overtones when I finished the room last year…

Anyway, another area that I simplified was the built-in bookcase that you see right when you walk into the room. You can actually see the shelf anytime you look down the main hallway in our home, so it was really time to give it a makeover. At first, I tried painting the bookshelf white to match the walls, but no matter how many times I restyled the open shelves, it just felt too busy.

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

To rectify the situation once and for all, I begged my generous dad to build a set of doors to cover up the shelves entirely. Within a matter of weeks he had these two beauties ready to deliver and install. I still need to give the primed doors a final coat of white paint, but I just couldn’t wait to show them off, so I popped some hardware on them (please ignore my slightly crooked job), and called it “done for now.” These days, when you spot the built-in at the end of the hall, it looks nice and clean and uncluttered. Phew!

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

Okay, now I bet you’re wondering why on earth I included photos of cat food in this makeover reveal post, but here’s the honest truth—that’s real life! My office is kitty central in our house, and plays host to both the litter boxes (tucked away in the closet) and the cat food and water bowls. I’ve explained our logic here before, but essentially we need to keep the kitty’s food elevated because of the dog.

In order to make these necessary-yet-ugly accents blend into the room rather than call attention to them, I picked up a few inexpensive white ramekin dishes from Target to use for their food and water. The white dishes no longer catch your eye when set on top of our two-tone painted dresser, yet still serve their function without missing a beat.

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

After parring down the styling on the open shelves in my tall corner cabinet and changing things around on my desktop to suit the new neutral palette, too, I was done. The newly refreshed room feels worlds and away better than the progress I made last year, and really just goes to show that making mistakes in the design of your home isn’t the end of the world. I hardly bought a single thing to make over this room—instead I sold what I didn’t need and used that cash to make a few new purchases—so it doesn’t take much of an investment either.

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

What do you think of the new look? Did you prefer the room with bright pops of pink, or are you into the subtle hits of green and rust that I chose instead? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and feel free to share any restyling stories of your own below, too.

A Classic Mid-Century Office Makeover Reveal

Resources: Vintage desk, rug, large abstract printsmall landscape print, table lamp, two-toned bookcase, desk chair (similar), curtainsceiling fan 

P.S. Have you voted for our space in this year’s Design Dash hosted by La-Z-Boy yet?! See the room I made over with my Glitter Guide teammate, Caitlin Kruse, here. Oh, and, as always, my promise to you is that the affiliate links featured in this post spotlight items that I use and love myself.
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Why You Should Always Start With A Mood Board

Crafter, design enthusiast, DIY homemaker—these are all things I don’t mind calling myself on a regular basis, but “interior designer” is not on that list. I might love to arrange rooms, style vignettes and create what I hope is a cohesive design in a space, but I am nowhere near worthy of the title “pro.”

Truth be told, I actually first majored in Interior Architecture in college, but the curriculum was rumored to be dropped the following year when I was freshman, so I decided to switch gears and re-majored in art history and studio art. All this to say, I’ve never taken a formal class in interior design, so I’m just a self-taught wannabe.

Behind The Scenes Of The 2017 @lazboy Design Dash | dreamgreendiy.com

I’m firmly of the mind that you don’t need to have years worth of schooling to master the art of interior design (unless you want to make a career of it, of course). Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved making over my spaces. I remember on more than one occasion, my sister and I switching the furniture in each other’s rooms while my mom was out just so that I could freshen my bedroom. It’s an obsession of mine that is so deeply ingrained in my psyche, but I’ve never really wanted to make a career out of it—I’m just too headstrong and would struggle with client opinions.

Instead, I’ve made over (and made over again) all of the dorm rooms, apartments, and stand-alone homes that I’ve been able to call my own, and I’ve made what feels like millions of mental notes along the way. Today, I’m sharing the biggest, most game-changing DIY interior design trick that I’ve learned in my 31 years: make a mood board!

Behind The Scenes Of The 2017 @lazboy Design Dash | dreamgreendiy.com

This certainly isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned making a mood board ahead of a room makeover, and you’ve more than likely been challenged to make one for yourself by countless other bloggers, but I just had to throw one more insistent plea your way to give it a try.

Before we moved into this house, what I like to consider our “forever home,” John and I lived in a townhouse that he had purchased in his bachelor days. Although I loved that house with the type of ferocious passion that comes with owning your first home, in hindsight it’s easy to see that I totally overdid it. There was too much color, too much stuff, and way too much going on. There wasn’t much cohesion and things were definitely chaotic.

Then, somewhere along the way after we moved into our single family ranch I picked up the practice of making mood boards. Instead of rushing things and experimenting in person, I’ve taken things much slower this go around and I’ve learned to experiment in a digital format before making my purchases. Making mood boards for each of our room makeovers has single-handedly kept our current home from looking like a hot mess.

Why You Should Always Start With A Mood Board

Take a look at our room makeover for the La-Z-Boy Design Dash as an example. Caitlin and I worked well in advance on a cohesive digital collection of furniture and accessories, which ultimately helped us shape the direction of the space even before stepping foot inside the showroom. Although a few things changed in the final space, you can clearly see the effect that mood board had on the completed room.

So consider this your challenge to give mood boarding a try before diving into your next room makeover! It’s as simple as saving pictures of furniture and accessories from your favorite websites to your desktop, and then dragging them onto a plain white document in a program like Photoshop or even Word. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but taking the time to make a mood board before shopping will keep you from over-buying and will make sure you don’t impulse purchase.

Have you given this practice a shot? If you’re a wannabe self-taught interior designer than this is a great option to try before making over that problem room of yours. Comment below with other ideas, tips, and tricks that have worked for you!

P.S. Speaking of, have you voted for our space in this year’s Design Dash hosted by La-Z-Boy yet? Each vote enters you for a chance to win $15,000 to put towards a room of your OWN, so don’t wait.
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*This post was sponsored by Oriental Trading

3 DIY Minimalist Wrapping Methods To Try | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

I don’t know about you, but gift-giving is a special occasion activity that I just relish. I love the process of curating a little collection of goodies to give to my favorite friends and family members—anything from a new stovetop pot filled with kitchen tools and pasta-making ingredients, to a terra cotta planter stuffed with gardening supplies. I think I inherited this love for creative gifting from my mom, who has always been an absolute pro when it comes to birthdays and Christmas.

That said, gift wrapping is a concept that has completely and utterly eluded me. I just don’t have the patience for lining up pretty patterned paper and wrangling bows and other complicated decorative doo-dads. So I recently decided to cut myself a break by coming up with 3 DIY Minimalist Wrapping Methods. These gift box decoration ideas are beyond simple to master, and you can get the full tutorial for all three over on the Oriental Trading blog.

3 DIY Minimalist Wrapping Methods To Try | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

3 DIY Minimalist Wrapping Methods To Try | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

Trust me. Not a single one of the three methods I explain calls for precise measurement and placement (although I do offer those numbers and suggestions for those of you who do better with a true step-by-step tutorial). The trio of DIY decorating ideas welcomes interpretation and customization, so feel free to get creative! The only requirement? That you don’t take yourself seriously, and that you focus more on the thoughtful gift inside the box than what you do on the outside.

So now I want to know—which of my 3 DIY Minimalist Wrapping Methods is your favorite of the bunch? See the process of recreating each of them over on Oriental Trading here.

3 DIY Minimalist Wrapping Methods To Try | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

P.S. Have you voted for our space in this year’s Design Dash hosted by La-Z-Boy yet?! See the room I made over with my Glitter Guide teammate, Caitlin Kruse, here. Each vote enters you for a chance to win $15,000 to put towards a room of your OWN, so don’t wait!
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*This post was sponsored by Oriental Trading

DIY Rhinestone Notebook With Built-in Bookmark | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

As a certifiably Type A individual, it’s probably not surprising to hear that I am a list-maker. I have lists for appointments, my daily to-do list, ideas for future blog posts, and, of course, the odd grocery store shopping list (or five…someone please tell me we’re not the only household to have multiple running grocery lists lying around). I love to my those list and have them all organized at my desk, you should read some standing desk reviews which are my favorite.

In general, you’re bound to find notebooks containing these types of running lists in practically every drawer of our house. I’ve even filled my iPhone with digital lists for when I’m truly on the go and can’t be bothered to dig too hard for pen and paper. Anyway, the point is that notebooks are a dime a dozen around these parts, and I would be utterly lost without them. The only problem is that I’m incredibly particular about the look of my notebooks. I want them to stand out, and I want them to feel like “me.” Just any old spiral-bound book won’t do, so I’m always on the hunt for a stylish solution that fits my aesthetic.

Enter: my DIY Rhinestone Notebooks With Built-in Bookmarks for Oriental Trading. This project is stupidly easy to pull off, and the other great thing about it is that the items purchased to create the craft can be used over and over to create a whole arm load of decorated notebooks. Now the only question is…What kind of design would you create on your DIY Rhinestone Notebook?

DIY Rhinestone Notebook With Built-in Bookmark | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

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*This post was sponsored by Schlage

How To Seamlessly Update A Dated Door Knob | dreamgreendiy.com + @SchlageLocks #ad #InteriorInspo

Since purchasing our retro home and starting the process of renovating each room one by one, I’ve had the chance to learn so much. I used to be intimidated by pretty much any home project, but nowadays, I don’t hesitate before replacing old light fixtures, patching drywall, using power tools, and even ripping out old drop tile ceilings (a task I crossed off my list on a whim by myself a couple of mornings ago!).

What I’ve come to learn over the years is that tackling these types of home renovation projects is really just a matter of educating yourself. Confidence is everything in pretty much all things in life, and having the guts to go “gung ho” with home repair and design is no different. With each project completed, you’ll feel a little more empowered to take on the next one, so start small and, before you know it, you’ll be going BIG.

If you’re on the hunt for a simple home repair project that doesn’t take hours to complete or tons of experience to cross off your list, why not consider a door hardware update? I teamed up with Schlage to document a simple yet impactful before and after door knob switch that has made a totally new statement in our upstairs hallway. Scroll on for details, plus our reasons for choosing a different silhouette handle than the rest of the doors in our home.

How To Seamlessly Update A Dated Door Knob | dreamgreendiy.com + @SchlageLocks #ad #InteriorInspo

How To Seamlessly Update A Dated Door Knob | dreamgreendiy.com + @SchlageLocks #ad #InteriorInspo

First, I’ll explain why we chose the particular door and handle that we did. As you can see in the photo above, the handle on our upstairs hall closet had clearly seen better days. It was really scratched up and was just generally dated. Does anyone even know what that matte white cover on the front is? Is it just decorative? We have no idea.

The only issue is that the rest of the door knobs in the hall looked great. There are five other doors down the length of this hall, and each of them was in good working order, so I didn’t want to replace all of them. After chatting about it with John, we decided to choose a completely unique shape for the hall closet knob, that way the handle would look intentionally different and special. By going with a brass finish to mimic the rest of the hardware in our home, we were able to help tie the entire look together.

How To Seamlessly Update A Dated Door Knob | dreamgreendiy.com + @SchlageLocks #ad #InteriorInspo

To make our somewhat-avant-garde vision a reality, I ordered a single curved accent lever—one specifically made for halls and closets (i.e. no lock)—in a soft satin brass finish. This particular lever has that traditional S-like curve to it, which would succeed in setting it apart from the rest of the knobs down the length of the hallway, which are all simple, symmetrical, and round.

How To Seamlessly Update A Dated Door Knob | dreamgreendiy.com + @SchlageLocks #ad #InteriorInspo

First, I unscrewed the old handle from the door and discarded the old hardware, then I reversed the steps to install the new knob. Following the paper instructions that came with our accent lever made out-of-the-box installation super easy, and I was done with the door update (by myself!) in just 10 minutes.

How To Seamlessly Update A Dated Door Knob | dreamgreendiy.com + @SchlageLocks #ad #InteriorInspo

How To Seamlessly Update A Dated Door Knob | dreamgreendiy.com + @SchlageLocks #ad #InteriorInspo

I love when home upgrades are both functionally motivated and decorative, and this project checked both boxes. It’s actually a really comfortable handle to grab and turn, possibly more so than our existing round knobs down the rest of the hallway, and I’m in love with the sleek shape. It really makes for such a special design moment in our hall, which is nice because I’ve been struggling to make our hall look and feel like anything more than just a windowless, dark cavern. It’s the little things, am I right?!

How To Seamlessly Update A Dated Door Knob | dreamgreendiy.com + @SchlageLocks #ad #InteriorInspo

How To Seamlessly Update A Dated Door Knob | dreamgreendiy.com + @SchlageLocks #ad #InteriorInspo

At the end of the day, changing your door hardware is a quick and easy project that’s affordable to tackle on your own and makes a big statement. Whether you’re new to home renovation or you’re already a pro, a door knob switch is a great way to feed your need for doable, lasting design upgrades.

How To Seamlessly Update A Dated Door Knob | dreamgreendiy.com + @SchlageLocks #ad #InteriorInspo

What do you think of our new hall closet handle? My favorite thing about it, of course, is that it easily stands out from the other door knobs that line the hallway. That sleek curvy silhouette is an immediate eye-catcher, and the brushed brass finish feels like a fresh take on a more traditional style.

Which lever would you choose from the Schlage collection? No matter what you pick, you can feel sure of both the durability and finish of your chosen hardware because Schlage is governed by the standards set forth by the Builder’s Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA). There are so many high quality options to choose from that all offer you the chance to express your own personal style. Leave your vote after testing their style selector in the brand comment box below.

How To Seamlessly Update A Dated Door Knob | dreamgreendiy.com + @SchlageLocks #ad #InteriorInspo

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Schlage. The opinions and text are all mine.

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*This post was sponsored by Oriental Trading

DIY Numbered Starfish Wall Art With Printable Template | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

Although I have no formal background or training in graphic design, I’m a sucker for great fonts and lettering. I’ve always been especially drawn to retro, boxy typefaces, so in the process of creating this DIY Numbered Starfish Art project for Oriental Trading, I couldn’t help but choose a mid-century style font for my printable template.

I wanted something extra bold, ultra edgy, and something that would make those numbers jump right off the wall. In the end, I think I was able to find the perfect silhouette for these pieces of wall art. So perfect, in fact, that I’m wondering how I could rework the child-focused project for my adult state of mind! Coastal themed house numbers, perhaps?

Leave your alternative ideas in the comments below, and be sure to check out the full tutorial with printable for my DIY Numbered Starfish Wall Art over on Oriental Trading now. What are your favorite types of fonts and graphics?

DIY Numbered Starfish Wall Art With Printable Template | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

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*This post was sponsored by Oriental Trading

How To Style A Green Pantone-Inspired Luncheon | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

I am so excited to finally reveal the entire Pantone-inspired luncheon tablescape I created for Oriental Trading Company! I snuck in a few peeks a couple of weeks ago when I shared my hack for doubling deli pasta salad, but now the entire collection of posts is officially live, and I can send you on your merry way to check them all out, one by one.

This was actually the first entertaining feature that I was able to pitch and execute since deciding to rethink how I conceptualized things for the blog back at the beginning of 2017. In years before, as you know, I typically went really bold and colorful with my parties, but this season I’m trying to be more intentional about a classic, neutrals-based look. This new aesthetic suits my current lifestyle, which is centered on investing only in things I know I’ll love long-term rather than for a single season.

Click over to Oriental Trading to see my feature all about How To Style A Green Pantone-Inspired Luncheon, and continue scrolling for a few behind-the-scenes tid bits, plus extra links to individual DIY tutorials.

How To Style A Green Pantone-Inspired Luncheon | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

How To Style A Green Pantone-Inspired Luncheon | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

The tutorial I came up with for DIY Leafy Burlap Place Settings truly takes just 30 minutes (if that), and feels so sophisticated despite the inexpensive materials I was able to use.

My favorite DIY project to come out of this collection though is the set of DIY Grassy Placecard Holders. When I create placecards for the blog, I love to get creative with the names I use and display. This go around, I decided to pay homage to my team mates over at Glitter Guide. It was fun to think, even just for an imaginative moment, that our team could all be in one place since we’re all scattered across the United States—from Annapolis and New York, to California, Nashville, and right here in Waynesboro, Virginia.

How To Style A Green Pantone-Inspired Luncheon | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

How To Style A Green Pantone-Inspired Luncheon | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

How To Style A Green Pantone-Inspired Luncheon | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

How To Style A Green Pantone-Inspired Luncheon | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

I’m also pretty partial to the DIY Leafy Beaded Faux Leather Napkin Rings I created for this green-inspired luncheon. I am so drawn to organic, wrapped textures right now, so these beaded napkin rings felt just right. I love that they can be customized to any style and color palette you want, too!

How To Style A Green Pantone-Inspired Luncheon | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

How To Style A Green Pantone-Inspired Luncheon | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

Hop over to the Oriental Trading blog to see so many more photos, plus the breakdown behind everything you see displayed here in my teaser post today: the full tablescape story and tutorials for DIY Leafy Beaded Faux Leather Napkin RingsDIY Grassy Placecard Holders, and DIY Leafy Burlap Place Settings. Here’s hoping you’ll soon feel inspired to throw a Pantone-inspired party of your own this spring or summer!

How To Style A Green Pantone-Inspired Luncheon | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

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* This post was sponsored by Duraflame

5 Precautions To Take At Your Festive Fire Pit Party | dreamgreendiy.com + @duraflame

Today is an extra special day in my little world, because this morning I turned 31 years old! As soon as April comes around, I tend to get questions from friends and family asking how I’d like to spend my birthday. The answer is almost always the same: something ultra low key with just a handful of the people I love most. This usually involves things like a classic movie night, a wine and cheese dinner date in with everyone, or—as was the case this year—a simple gathering around our DIY fire pit in the back yard.

I’ve always considered myself a bit of an (unofficial) pyro. I could sit around a fire for hours and hours, flaming sticks in-hand, and there’s almost no better smell on earth to me than bonfire smoke. So, in order to properly appreciate my birthday bonfire this year, I teamed up once again with the team over at Duraflame. We tested their Campfire Roasting Logs around the pit in honor of the occasion and, just like always, had the time of our lives.

5 Precautions To Take At Your Festive Fire Pit Party | dreamgreendiy.com + @duraflame

5 Precautions To Take At Your Festive Fire Pit Party | dreamgreendiy.com + @duraflame

If you ask me, there’s practically no better way to ring in a new year of life than gathered around a toasty fire, s’mores fixings in-hand, and good company all around. But, that said, in order to really appreciate this kind of party, it’s important to do a little bit of pre-planning before plopping down in those camping chairs.

As John and I worked to set up our outdoor celebration over the weekend, we made sure to keep a running list of all the little precautions we took before friends and family arrived. Most of these bullet points below you’ll already know, but sometimes it’s good to hear things all over again, plus you might just learn something you didn’t know before! Read on for the five main takeaways we came up with before lighting things up at my party.

5 Precautions To Take At Your Festive Fire Pit Party | dreamgreendiy.com + @duraflame

5 Precautions To Take Around A Fire Pit

  1. Check the forecast: Of course, rain is never ideal for your backyard fire pit party, but windy conditions also offer enough reason to postpone. Heavy breezes have the power to blow fire-causing embers off into surrounding areas, so do your best to schedule your outdoor gathering on a clear, quiet evening.
  2. Consider your combustibles: Beware of using pressure-treated wood in your fire pit. This type of material often contains harmful toxins that you and your pals definitely don’t want to be breathing in. Better yet, save a tree and skip traditional wood altogether. Use Campfire Roasting Logs, which are made from 100 percent renewable resources (like real wood charcoal!) and are a USDA certified biobased product.
  3. Light things up: If you plan to be relaxing around the fire pit after dark, make sure to have either a flash light or lantern around for easy nighttime maneuverability. Having a light source on hand could save you and your friends from after-dark falls and will make that hunt for extra roasting sticks much easier, too.
  4. Clear is key: Make sure your fire pit and flames are at least 10 feet away from any other combustable materials. It may be second nature to look up to make sure there aren’t any low-hanging branches, but it’s important to look down and around, too. Before lighting your fire, scoop away loose branches and leaves so that you’re left with a clear area around the pit, and don’t forget to keep your fire’s flames relatively low as well. There’s no need to have an extra tall fire since roasting treats really only requires embers.
  5. Water works: It, of course, goes without saying, but always (always!) have a bucket of water and/or hose within reach just in case the fire gets out of hand or someone gets a little closer to the flames than they should. You probably won’t have to use your water source for emergencies, but as they say—it’s better to be safe than sorry.

5 Precautions To Take At Your Festive Fire Pit Party | dreamgreendiy.com + @duraflame

As a generally anxious type of person, I need to think way ahead in order to really enjoy myself at any type of gathering or party, and this weekend’s birthday fire pit soirée was no different. Happily, because John and I had planned through all of the “what ifs,” I was truly able to relax knowing that we were covered for almost any kind of uncertainty. The only thing I had to worry about catching on fire was the marshmallow on the end of my stick—and that’s something I don’t mind mulling over any day of the week.

5 Precautions To Take At Your Festive Fire Pit Party | dreamgreendiy.com + @duraflame

5 Precautions To Take At Your Festive Fire Pit Party | dreamgreendiy.com + @duraflame

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How To Organize Paper Clutter & Memorabilia

Earlier this year, I received a reader comment over on Facebook that immediately sparked a lot of thought. Simply put, she said, “I have such trouble with paper clutter…so much trouble. I am 15 years behind in corralling my memorabilia.” It got me thinking, how do I actually keep paper clutter at bay?!

I think these types of everyday routines get so engrained in our minds and lives, that we often don’t even think about things as we do them. Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that John and I actually have a pretty set system for keeping our paper collection under control.

Whether you’re working to purge and organize in honor of spring cleaning season, or you’re in desperate need of a new daily routine, I’m offering the two main systems we use (plus a handful of bonus tips, too) that have helped us hold on to our sanity where paper is concerned.

How To Organize Paper Clutter & Memorabilia

Toss It In A Tray

The main place we toss paper clutter is in a tray that we keep tucked inside an extra deep kitchen drawer. Anything from store receipts (the kind that I might need to use for returns later on) and electronics shipping labels, to medical paperwork and utility bills all ends up in this tray. The drawer is right near the front door, which makes it an easy spot to reach for when I clean out my purse or when we sort through mail.

Whenever the tray gets a little full, I take 15 minutes to sit at the kitchen table and weed through the paperwork. Anything that we don’t need anymore can be tossed, and whatever needs to stay either goes back in the tray for easy handling or in a filing cabinet in my office for long-term storage.

As for paper clutter that you immediately recognize isn’t useful? Put it directly into the recycle bin. We keep a reusable grocery bag hanging in our pantry that we fill with things like ripped-open envelopes, catalogs, expired coupons, and the like. Once the bag gets full, we take it down off the hook and tote it out to the car along with our other plastic and glass recycling, and head to the local recycle center here in town for disposal. There’s just no sense in cluttering either your important papers tray or your trash can with these useless pieces of paper—stick them right in the recycle pile.

How To Organize Paper Clutter & Memorabilia

Tuck It Behind Glass

Now, if you noticed, the reader who inspired this post mentioned two very separate types of paper: clutter and memorabilia. Since we don’t treat these two things the same, I wanted to make sure that I touched on both. Our clutter paper storage I explained above, but when it comes to precious memorabilia (think: special cards, notes, and clippings), I like to put them behind glass in a frame.

Since paper memorabilia tends to be pretty priceless, I hate the idea of filing it away in a drawer or tray where it will never get enjoyed. So I purchased an armful of inexpensive white wall frames from Michael’s, and then filled the frames with our most prized paperwork and memories. You can fill a single frame with 5-6 pieces of paper because it’s all flat, making it the perfect place to store your favorite items, even when not on display in the front of the frame.

You could try this trick with favorite birthday cards from your grandmother who might not be with you any longer, a stack of family photos, or children’s artwork, but I personally love to keep and display a rotating collection of my magazine features. It’s such a fun way to celebrate these milestones and means that I’m not cluttering up my desk drawers with clippings that never actually see the light of day.

How To Organize Paper Clutter & Memorabilia

Schedule A Paper Purge Day

The last thing I wanted to address was getting an already-out-of-control situation in good order. We do our best to keep up with the two aforementioned systems each and every week, but what if, like the reader, you’re 15 years behind in getting your papers organized? Well, the short (but long) answer is that it’s going to take some time.

Set aside one day in your calendar to sit down with those stacks of paper and just go through them one by one. Try not to spend more than a few seconds on each piece of paper so that you can avoid overthinking things. The point of this exercise is to get rid of paper you no longer need, so be cutthroat!

Try creating piles: one for toss (destined for the recycle bin), one for keep (to go in a set filing system), and one for sensitive materials that need to be shredded. If you haven’t even looked at a piece of paper in several years, it’s almost definitely going to be tossed or shredded, whereas things like important bills, receipts, and medical papers might need to be kept in a more permanent (but organized) filing cabinet or drawer in your home.

How To Organize Paper Clutter & Memorabilia

One last thing I wanted to suggest pertains to manuals. I can’t tell you how many manuals we personally have stored carefully away in our home, only to be forgotten about and never used, even years later. The fact of the matter is that, these days, electronics and appliance manuals can almost always be found online, so holding on to these typically bulky booklets is just actively wasting space.

When you run across manuals in your day of paper purging, they should automatically go in the recycle pile. Even if all you do is get rid of manuals one day, your paper collection is likely to noticeably decrease—along with your stress level.

What do you think? Could these tricks help corral your paperwork and favorite flat memories? I’m dying to hear your own paper storage solutions, so do tell in the comments below.

How To Organize Paper Clutter & Memorabilia

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