Category Archives: DIY Projects

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

As you may remember from Monday’s post, I’m actually already knee-deep in Christmas décor for a styled photography job that I booked late last month. But just before that, I was quickly working my way through the process of decorating our house for fall for a different styled shoot. Oh, how funny it is at times to be a blogger…Always jumping the gun on holidays and seasons!

Happily, I don’t really mind since I always look forward to seasonal shifts, especially since it almost always involves a few home décor changes, too. That said, I know not everyone really looks forward to the process of decorating and redecorating to suit whatever holiday or time of year we’re transitioning into. So, back when I was turning our living and dining rooms over to autumn, I thought I’d pay extra close attention to my process so I could pass the shortcuts along to you guys.

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

Plaid Blanket | Sofa | Sconce | Plaid Pillows | Leather Pillows | Art Ledge | Navy Portrait

The first thing is budget, of course. We tend to reuse mostly the same décor every fall (think: ceramic pumpkins, knit blankets, plaid pillows, etc.), but in case you’re headed to the store to stock up on a new collection of autumn items, make sure you keep a budget in mind.

That might sound like the most obvious thing in the world, but if you keep just a loose idea of how much money you hope to spend, you’ll probably end up going past it in a hurry without meaning to. When I say “set a budget,” come up with a hard and fast number, and make sure you tally up your items on a calculator (I just used the one on my phone) before heading to the cash register. My goal was to spend no more than $150 on refreshed fall décor, and, because I kept that number top of mind while shopping, I spent just $148 plus some change.

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

Rug | Pair Of Framed Portraits | Carpet | Floral Picture Frame | Wood Lamp

The other trick I decided to implement this year was a 1-tote maximum. John and I just spent about a month and half emptying out all the junk in our basement, so the last thing I want to do is fill it back up with tons of seasonal décor we only get to enjoy a few months out of the year.

With that goal in mind, I first made a bee-line to the storage section at the store I was shopping in to grab a clear storage tote. I kept it open right there in the cart as I wandered the décor aisles, and decided that I would only allow myself to buy whatever could fit in the tote. That way, I knew exactly how much space my fall décor would take up on the shelf in our basement.

The other great thing about this trick is that it forced me to really consider and think through my purchases. Bound by both the space parameter (one tote) and my budget ($150), I carefully chose only the items that I knew I’d love year after year. There was no room for impulse shopping this time around!

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

Faux Fiddle Leaf Tree | Dried Wreath (similar) | Chandelier (similar) | Macrame Runner

The next step, of course, was to get it all home and start styling. I spent days arranging items and then rearranging them to get the perfect balance of “fall” without going overboard. Some of my favorite moments: the pair of plaid blankets we layered on the sofa (and use almost every night now that it’s a little cooler outside!), the dried fall wreath that I hung up on the wall in place of a piece of everyday art, all the extra jewel tones I layered throughout the space to deepen the overall look, and, of course, the pretty ceramic pumpkins I put out everywhere.

After playing around with things and finding spots for each item, I actually ended up with a small pile of pieces that didn’t quite end up suiting our home (sadly, that includes the cute “Get Cozy” pillow…I just don’t think I’m a “quote pillow” type of person!). Making those few returns back to the store helped bring my final tally even lower, and I’m even more committed to the items I stuck with post-shopping-trip.

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

DIY Wooden Rings Wall Hanging | Lantern | Cake Stand | Foam Pumpkin | Gray Napkins

The thought of eventually taking all of our fall décor down to transition to winter is so much less overwhelming since I know for a fact that it will all fit nicely into one reasonably sized tote. Oh, and if you’re wondering about what happened to all of these autumn pieces while our living room is looking like full-on Christmas this week (follow along on Instagram for proof of our chaos), don’t worry—the Christmas tree and reindeer will all be safely tucked back away until December just as soon as I finish photographing what I need to for my freelance job.

Have you started decorating for fall yet? I’d love to know if you have any tricks of your own to help keep unnecessary clutter at bay. I think it’s so easy to be tempted to overbuy, but setting a budget as well as a storage maximum seems to have helped make this year’s fall decorating go a lot smoother at our house. Leave your own tips in the comments below!

My $150 1-Tote Fall Décor Challenge

*I earn a small percentage from purchases made using the affiliate links above. Affiliate links are not sponsored. Rest assured that I never recommend products we wouldn’t use or don’t already love ourselves.

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

DIY Black And White Abstract Art

DIY Black And White Abstract Art

Have you ever gone to an art museum and muttered to yourself something along the lines of, “Well, I could do that!” while standing in front of an abstract painting? Today, I’m challenging you to finally make good on your claim!

One of the most-asked requests after revealing our master bedroom makeover was source information for the black and white painting I hung over the dresser. The truth is that I whipped it up myself in 10 minutes, and I 100% believe that you can do the same thing—even if you have little to no painting experience.

I didn’t actually take any pictures of the process while I was doing the painting because I never imagined that it would turn out to be such a popular piece with you guys! That said, the step-by-step method I used can easily be explained in words, as you’ll find out below.

DIY Black And White Abstract Art

But before we get to all that, I thought I’d talk through my inspiration for the piece. It actually came from this photo that I spotted on the @chrislovesjulia Instagram feed. They had hung an abstract painting over the bed in their own master bedroom, and I loved the neutral, sophisticated tone of the framed piece. It didn’t take away from the pretty greenery, colorful rug, and bedding they had in the rest of the room, and that was exactly what I was hoping to achieve in our own space.

The only problem was price. I had used up most of my makeover budget on things like a new lumbar pillow for the bed and the new thrifted dresser, so I couldn’t justify spending almost $600 on the exact same piece that the Marcums’ used over their bed. But I already had plenty of black paint in my craft closet, the brushes I needed, and I could also reuse the large gold frame that was already hanging in our bedroom (I had planned on switching out the art in that frame anyway).

DIY Black And White Abstract Art

Secondhand Score: Traditional Mid-century Dresser

Not wanting to have an exact replica of Chris and Julia’s art print, I took to the web to find a different piece to “copy.” A quick Google search of “Black and white abstract art” yielded hundreds of options, so I just picked the one that looked easiest to mimic, and went from there.

The one thing I did buy for this project was a large piece of white drawing paper. It cost about $5 at Michaels, so definitely not a budget-buster. Once I had that home, I grabbed my black acrylic paint and a 1-inch foam paintbrush, then laid the drawing paper out on our kitchen floor over a drop cloth.

Next, I went at the paper with my paint and brush, making sure to have my inspiration painting pulled up on my phone to reference. Since this is your own handmade creation, feel free to take artistic liberties with the shapes and design you end up doing on your own paper, but having an image of your inspiration painting handy will help guide you as you work.

DIY Black And White Abstract Art

This project really is so easy to do, but just in case you’re feeling trepidation about doing it for the first time, here are a couple of small things I would suggest when doing this on your own.

1. Buy more than one piece of drawing paper at the store so you have a backup. That way, if you mess up or don’t like your first piece, you can start fresh.

2. Mix a little water into your black paint to make it easier to work with (think: 1 tablespoon of water to every 1/4-cup of acrylic paint you use).

3. Be long and quick with your paint strokes so you get more of a fluid look.

4. Make some of your paint strokes go all the way to the edge of the paper, and some that stop a few inches in from the sides to balance things out.

5. After you have your solid black paint strokes in place, and you’re happy with the look, wring some of the paint out of your brush and add some drier strokes along the sides of the solid ones. See how my painting has a few “see-through” strokes across the paper? Where it looks like I didn’t have enough paint on my brush? Those were intentional to help give the finished piece more of a free-form, painterly look.

DIY Black And White Abstract Art

The last thing I want to suggest before sending you along on your way is this: Sign your finished painting! If you’re going for a professional look, like I was, scrawl your name in cursive in the corner. This is a super fast way to take your painting from “DIY” to “masterpiece.” Trust me!

It might feel silly, but I promise that it makes a difference. And don’t forget to put the paper behind glass in a (matted!) frame. That also helps make your handy work look like you bought it from a high-end art store. Now, tell me in the comments below…Would you try this art craft at home? Or would you buy a ready-made version from the store?

DIY Black And White Abstract Art

no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

Latest Blog Posts