Category Archives: DIY Projects

Decluttering Tips For Starting The New Year Right

This may sound strange, but one of my favorite ways to spend any downtime between Christmas and New Years is with organization projects. It’s one of the few times during the year that I get true time off, so I often spend it getting down to business on the home projects that got put off throughout the other seasons—things like weeding through my clothes, reorganizing kitchen drawers, and taking a long, hard look at the home décor I keep stored away for no good reason anymore.

I managed to do exactly that over this past holiday season, and, throughout the process, kept a running mental list of all the things we did in case you’re looking to declutter your own space in honor of the new year. Keep scrolling for five of the biggest takeaways I can offer, and then be sure to share your own tips in the comments so we can keep our collective motivation going through spring!

Decluttering Tips For Starting The New Year Right

1. Use old Tupperware as drawer dividers: John and I spent one afternoon just after Christmas going through our Tupperware collection, and ended up finding a few containers that didn’t have matching tops for whatever reason, or that had just generally run their course. Instead of throwing them away or donating them, we decided to use the containers as recycled drawer organizers. They’re now playing host to odds and ends in our junk drawer to keep things separated and more readily accessible. It may not be pretty, but it works—plus it was free!

How To Make DIY Labeled Medicine Storage Drawers | dreamgreendiy.com

How To Make DIY Labeled Medicine Storage Drawers | dreamgreendiy.com

2. Make the most of closet shelving with removable boxes that have drawers: If you have a shelved hall or linen closet in your home like we do, then do yourself a favor and store up. In other words, invest in a few inexpensive organizers with drawers, and set them on the shelves so you can take advantage of that often-neglected negative space in between the shelves. As an example, we keep all of our medicine in labeled drawer organizers in the hall closet so that the bottles aren’t cluttering our kitchen cabinets or drawers. Use this life hack to store small things vertically, like jewelry, extra beauty products, or even your receipts.

Decluttering Tips For Starting The New Year Right

DIY Faux Concrete Jewelry Cones

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFindsOur Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets

3. Style exposed storage solutions that are pretty to look at in addition to being functional: Sometimes clutter just can’t be avoided, especially when you need certain items to be within extra easy reach (think: coffee pods, everyday jewelry, etc.). For those items, disguise them as décor by using decorative bowls and handmade jewelry stands to corral them. That way you can keep these things out in plain sight, but they look more like intentional décor than usable clutter.

Decluttering Tips For Starting The New Year Right

Decluttering Tips For Starting The New Year Right

4. Hide excess stuff in matching baskets: John and I used to keep our most-often-used folded clothing out on the shelves in our closet, but it started to look really messy and cluttered. So I bought six matching white baskets from Target (similar option here) to keep those everyday pieces within easy reach but hidden from sight. It instantly made our closet look cleaner, but everything is still really accessible. Try this trick with just about anything that you keep on closet shelves—from stacked magazines and books, to shoes and accessories.

Before & After: Removing A Dated Light BoxUpgrade An IKEA Side Table With Wood DowelsDesigning Around A Molekule (Plus A Review!)

5. Put furniture pieces with drawer storage in every room: It may seem a little strange at first to put a dresser in your living room or dining space, but trust me when I say that these types of pieces are game-changers when it comes to hiding clutter! We have furniture with drawers in every single room in our house (even the bathroom) to help hide away the things we use all the time—board games, extra batteries, cake stands, cords, and guest linens. It’s much easier to disguise a dresser as a console table with clever styling then it is to try and hide clutter in a space with no hidden storage options.

Weekend Inspiration: No. 43

What decluttering tips am I missing in this list? I know you guys have all sorts of clever organization solutions to offer, so please tell us about them in the comments. I’m working on a much more involved post all about drawer organization (five ways to do it, in fact!), so stay tuned next month for that. In the meantime, let’s keep the conversation going—share your own decluttering ideas below.

Decluttering Tips For Starting The New Year Right

*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.

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Before & After: Removing A Dated Light Box

Before & After: Removing A Dated Light Box

There’s nothing quite like a new year (or, in this case, the end of one) to inspire the notion of finally crossing something that’s been lingering off your list. That project for us was getting rid of the random, odd, definitely-dated fluorescent light box that had been up in our family room long before we moved in.

See it there between the window and sliding glass doors in the photos below? Those images were snapped during our inspection before we had even finalized the purchase of our 1960s home. There was so much that I wanted to change about the space (think: the window treatments, wall color, carpet, etc.) that I almost didn’t even notice the light box. But I have to emphasize the word “almost” there because it definitely didn’t escape my inspection entirely.

Before & After: Removing A Dated Light Box

Before & After: Removing A Dated Light Box

Before & After: Removing A Dated Light Box

Fast forward three years later, and we had managed to transform the space so that it felt almost unrecognizable in comparison to those original “Before” shots. We hung new drapery panels in place of the old window treatments, painted the walls and fireplace bright white, switched out the fans for modern ones, and we even managed to find the time and budget to replace that old stained carpet with brand new laminate flooring.

Before & After: Removing A Dated Light Box

Before & After: Removing A Dated Light Box

Those two photos above (taken by my friend and fellow creative entrepreneur Meredith Sledge!) show what the room looked like before John and I finally decided to investigate the weird fluorescent light once and for all late last year.

Upon closer inspection, it looked like the previous homeowners had actually retrofitted a run-of-the-mill gutter into a DIY wall lamp, complete with wiring to a custom fluorescent fixture. It blended pretty well into the wall after I had painted it white way back when, but we still never used it to actually light the space, and I felt like the exposed gutter made the ceiling look a little lower than it actually was because it made your eye stop at that level instead of the true top of the wall.

Before & After: Removing A Dated Light Box

Before & After: Removing A Dated Light Box

I was so worried that we would end up finding all sorts of complicated electrical wiring behind the light when we took it down, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that the wall was left largely untouched by the original DIY installation, whenever that was. My dad actually came to help with the removal, and even though we had prepped for an hours-long ordeal, it took practically no time at all to wrap up.

First, we cut the power to the fixture and removed the bulbs, then we carefully pulled out the screws and nails holding the gutter to the wall. After that, I held the dangling light away from the electrical output while my dad snipped the wires.

Thankfully, the wiring was kept all to one side over by the window, so we were able to cover the protected wires with a simple plastic cap, and we were able to hide that by scooting the nearby window drapery in front of it. We decided to leave the wiring accessible as opposed to digging deep into full removal just in case we ever decide to add a wall sconce or something.

Before & After: Removing A Dated Light Box

Before & After: Removing A Dated Light Box

The difference may look subtle in these photos, but it’s a major upgrade when you see it in person. At any rate it’s nice to finally have open white space above the TV now, and I feel good knowing a little bit more about our retro home, too. I never like turning a blind eye to fixtures I don’t understand, so having this one conquered feels like a job well done.

Oh, and, in case you noticed the different lighting of our TV in that Before/After image, don’t worry! That’s just a decent representation of the power-saving mode of our Samsung Frame television. It changes the cast of the idle digital artwork depending on the time of day, as you can see really well in the side-by-side photo above.

You can learn more about our TV here, and feel free to let me know in the comments what you think about our quick fixture removal project! Would you have even bothered to take it down? Let me know below.

Before & After: Removing A Dated Light Box

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Upgrade An IKEA Side Table With Wood Dowels

Upgrade An IKEA Side Table With Wood Dowels

Everybody loves a good IKEA hack, right? Okay, well even if you don’t, I’ve got my fingers crossed that this one strikes your fancy for once! It might just be my very favorite furniture makeover of all time, and, while I’m clearly just a smidge biased, I think it’s almost hard to tell it ever started out as a $40 unfinished side table.

I teamed up with Hunker for this budget-friendly transformation, so you can hop over there for the full step-by-step guide and supply shopping list. Want to see what inspired this tonal, textural table project? It was actually this photo that I spotted on Pinterest last season. I loved the linear look of the wood slats across the face of the console, and thought it would be easy enough to replicate on a plain, unfinished table of my own.

Upgrade An IKEA Side Table With Wood Dowels

Upgrade An IKEA Side Table With Wood Dowels

The good news is that it worked like a charm! I tried extra hard to use methods that I thought anyone could replicate, even if you have only minimal woodworking experience. The hardest part (if you can really even call it “hard”) is cutting the dowels to size, but I found out that you can easily batch this step to make it go faster.

I’m not lying when I say that our freshly hacked IKEA side table is a new favorite in our house, and I’m already brainstorming ways to use the process to makeover other pieces in our house. Maybe wood-slats-over-white next time? At any rate, hop through to Hunker here to see how to get the look in your own home this winter.

Upgrade An IKEA Side Table With Wood Dowels

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Top 10 Posts of 2018

Weekend Inspiration: No. 28

Of all the years I’ve been blogging (this March marks DGD’s eighth anniversary!), I have to say that 2018 was my very favorite. It was one of those years where I felt the creativity coursing through me on overdrive, a fact I credit to my somewhat random start with pottery last January. There’s nothing like learning a new skill to take things up a notch, and learning pottery really gave me the extra dose of energy that, I guess, I had been missing in order to come up with fresh ideas here on the blog, too.

To commemorate all of that creative crafting, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at 10 of the most popular projects that published here on Dream Green DIY last year. The posts I list out below are a combination of the most popular in terms of traffic and the ones that really struck my own fancy as I live with the finished products day in and day out. Keep scrolling to see which ones took the “Top 10” prize, and feel free to click back to any of the ones you might have missed or need a refresher on.

An Updated Home Tour And New Interview!

1. DIY Faux Mid-Century Paneling Using Paint: Frankly, I still can’t believe this project actually worked! And it seems like a lot of you agree that the results are pretty darn cool. It’s my all-time favorite project of the year, and I’m definitely planning to reuse the technique in another room of our house, only this time I’ll use white paint to get the look of shiplap. Stay tuned.

Week 6: My One Room Challenge Reveal

2. My One Room Challenge Reveal: This was my first time taking part in the One Room Challenge, and I had such a blast working on our master bedroom for the design event. Having a timeline really helped me stay on track, and I was able to finish it so much faster than had I just been working at my own leisurely pace. Should I do it again this new year? Let me know in the comments if there’s a room in our house that you think could use a refresh—I promise not to be offended!

Retro Mid-Century Modern Home Tour

3. Our Home Tour Now Live On Domino.com: Speaking of our home, I’m still pinching myself over the fact that Domino.com featured our 2018 tour. See the story here, which includes lots of photos by my friend Meredith Sledge, plus an interview where I talk about everything from what inspires me during a room makeover project, to what I hope the previous homeowners would think of our renovations. 

DIY Wooden Rings Wall Hanging

4. DIY Wooden Rings Wall Hanging: Another one of the most exciting things to come about from 2018 was a new collaboration with Hunker.com. I started writing monthly craft tutorials for the minimalist-based site, and had so much fun dreaming up new ideas with my editor there. My most-read Hunker craft of the year? This DIY Wooden Rings Wall Hanging, which was actually inspired by a photo spotted in a back issue of Domino Magazine, of all places.

How We Keep Our Home Clean With Pets

5. How We Keep Our Home Clean With Pets: It might not be the most glamorous topic, but cleaning up after pets is clearly something we’re all interested in because this was definitely one of my most popular posts from 2018. Hop back here to find out how we keep our space clean with four pets running around.

DIY Vinyl Records Shelf Display

6. DIY Vinyl Records Shelf Display: I’m notorious for getting an idea in my mind for a home project, only to whip it together on my own while John’s not looking. That project for me last year was our new set of vinyl records shelves in the family room. I’m so glad I went for it, though, because they have been so fun to change up with new records every other week or so.

How To Make A Macrame Wall Hanging

7. How To Make A Macramé Wall Hanging: I promise I’m not exaggerating when I say that I was astonished at just how easy it really is to macrame. I thought it was going to be a multi-day (maybe even a multi-week) project, but I was able to pull it off from start to finish in just a couple of hours. See the tutorial to try it out for yourself here.

8. Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets: If you’re feeling the itch to declutter now that we’re into a new year, this post is the perfect one for you. It’s packed with functional décor ideas, and even though it’s all geared toward a kitchen, you can probably adapt the tips for just about any room in your house.

DIY Yarn Wall Hanging With Brass Rings

9. DIY Yarn Wall Hanging With Brass Rings: This is the perfect DIY craft to work on when you have a free afternoon this month. It only requires a few supplies, but boasts lots of high impact style when complete. I also love that you could change up the yarn to completely customize the look. What color yarn would you use?

DIY Embroidery Hoop Earring Holder | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

10. DIY Embroidery Hoop Earring Holder: Finally, this is one of my favorite projects from my work for Oriental Trading last year. It was so cool to see just how many of you gave the tutorial a shot in your own homes, too! 

Our Functional Kitchen Décor Secrets | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad #TuesdayMorningFinds

Did I miss a past DGD post or project that you fell particularly hard for in 2018? Do tell in the comments below, and feel free to click here for a great big walk down memory lane. That page holds each and every one of my DIY projects going back years and years, so you’ll find plenty of creative inspiration to carry you through the rest of winter. HINT: If you scroll back far enough, you can see exactly where I transitioned from pastel DIYs, to my current more minimalist, earth-toned projects!

Top 10 Posts of 2018

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DIY Tissue Box Christmas Gift Tags

*This post was sponsored by Scotties Facial Tissues

DIY Tissue Box Christmas Gift Tags | dreamgreendiy.com + #ScottiesStyle

It’s definitely not a secret that everything inside our house is pretty thought-out. I think I have my OCD tendencies to thank for it, but not a single stack of books, piece of art, or patterned throw pillow is placed in one of our rooms without meticulous pre-planning. The same philosophy even goes for things like tissue boxes! Tell me I’m not alone in this, guys.

At any rate, John knows that if he comes home from the grocery store with a generic looking tissue box, it will inevitably end up inside a cabinet because I just can’t stand looking at it alongside our antiques and other décor. He’s gotten really good at taking the time to find patterned tissue boxes that actually match our aesthetic because he knows it’s the only way I’ll leave them out in the open. One brand that consistently checks that box (pun unintended) is Scotties Facial Tissues, and today I’m excited to be teaming up with them for a Christmas craft inspired by their seasonal box designs.

As you know, I ended up with a pretty bad cold a couple of weeks ago around Thanksgiving, and inevitably went through several boxes of Scotties tissues in the process. Instead of throwing them away (the wintery designs are just too cute!), I decided to hold onto them and turn them into DIY Christmas gift tags. Scroll on for the tutorial and craft supply list—printable template included.

DIY Tissue Box Christmas Gift Tags

DIY Tissue Box Christmas Gift Tags

DIY Tissue Box Christmas Gift Tags

Here’s What You’ll Need:

1. Scotties Facial Tissue Boxes

2. Printable Tags Template

3. Cardstock

4. Scissors

5. Pen or pencil

6. Rubber cement or tacky glue

7. Hole punch

8. Leather cording

9. Washi tape

10. Paint markers

DIY Tissue Box Christmas Gift Tags

Step One

Download the printable tags template here, and print the page onto regular computer paper. Cut out each shape, and discard the trimmings. Lay the larger circle, larger triangle, and the smaller star shape on thick cardstock, and trace the designs onto the paper. Cut them out. Note that I actually used a cream-colored cardstock because I liked the subtle contrast between that color (versus pure white) and the holiday tissue box patterns I used.

DIY Tissue Box Christmas Gift Tags

Step Two

Lay the remaining tag templates you first printed and cut out (the smaller circle, smaller triangle, and larger star) onto the sides of empty Scotties tissue boxes, and trace their shapes onto the cardboard using a pen or pencil. Cut the shapes out with scissors.

DIY Tissue Box Christmas Gift Tags

Step Three

Pair up the shapes, large with small, and glue them together using rubber cement. Allow the finished layered tags to dry fully for at least an hour (or more if you decide to use tacky glue) before handling or moving on to the next step.

DIY Tissue Box Christmas Gift Tags

DIY Tissue Box Christmas Gift Tags

DIY Tissue Box Christmas Gift Tags

Step Four

Punch a hole through the top portion of any tags that you want to tie onto your gift boxes. For these, you’ll loop through a piece of short leather cording or twine. On the other hand, you could leave the tags unpunched, and attach them to gift boxes using pieces of pretty patterned washi tape. You’ll see it both ways in these demonstration photos.

DIY Tissue Box Christmas Gift Tags

Step Five

Before attaching your finished tag to the gift box, though, make sure you write out the person’s name on the blank side of the tag using a paint marker. I like to go the extra mile with calligraphy-inspired handwriting, but don’t think—even for a second—that I know how to do that on my own. I just go on Pinterest, type out the person’s name and add the word “calligraphy” on the end, then see if the name pops up in an image that I can copy. Easy as could be, but looks a lot fancier than my own everyday handwriting.

DIY Tissue Box Christmas Gift Tags

DIY Tissue Box Christmas Gift Tags

DIY Tissue Box Christmas Gift Tags

DIY Tissue Box Christmas Gift Tags

The holiday boxes from Scotties made this project so easy to pull off, and I love, love, love that it made good use of something we already had lying around the house. I’m all about reducing waste and saving a buck or two.

I also think this would be such a fun excuse to get friends together for a festive craft night. It doesn’t have to be anything overly fancy or thought-out—just text a few best friends and invite them over for gift tag making, then get to crafting with Christmas music or a holiday movie on in the background. Which gift tag or box design is your favorite from the bunch?

DIY Tissue Box Christmas Gift Tags | dreamgreendiy.com + #ScottiesStyle

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How To Install Under-Cabinet Lighting

How To Install Under-Cabinet Lighting

This statement is nothing new to you if you’ve been a blog follower for a while now, but the lighting in our kitchen is really, really bad. Even with the overhead pendant on full blast, John and I feel like we’re squinting to see what we’re doing while cooking in the space. So, under-cabinet lighting has been on my to-do list for practically the entire time we’ve lived in this house.

As of this past fall, enough was finally enough, and I decided to splurge on a set of battery-operated lights for under the kitchen cabinets. Today, I wanted to talk you through the quick install process, and also share my thoughts on the lights themselves now that we’ve used them for a couple of months.

Oh, and just so you know, this post isn’t sponsored—I paid for the lights myself, and just thought you might like to know a little more about the exact ones we bought because (spoiler) they’re awesome!

How To Install Under-Cabinet Lighting

How To Install Under-Cabinet Lighting

Here’s a link to the set of six wireless puck lights I ordered off of Amazon. After reading the reviews, I decided to also order a few sets of rechargeable batteries. The puck lights themselves actually came with regular batteries, so I didn’t have to open the rechargeable ones right away, but I’m glad to know that, when the cheap batteries die, I’ve got a backup set that we can reuse over and over again.

How To Install Under-Cabinet Lighting

As for installation, all you have to do is remove the lights from their packaging, pull out the temporary plastic tabs to activate the batteries, and then decide where you want each light to go under your cabinets. Since you really can’t see the lights when you’re moving around in the kitchen, you don’t need to be super meticulous about measuring things out—unless you want to, of course. The lights are tucked far enough under our own cabinets to be inconspicuous, so I just eye-balled their placement every few feet around the L-shape of our kitchen.

You can actually tap these particular puck lights to turn each one on individually, but the set also comes with a remote so you can turn them all on at once, dim them, and even set them on a timer, which I think is pretty handy. The only thing you need to keep in mind because of the remote is that you need to install the lights with the sensor facing outward so the remote can trigger them accurately.

How To Install Under-Cabinet Lighting

How To Install Under-Cabinet Lighting

(Note: Please ignore the patchy yellowish drywall you see exposed between the backsplash and cabinets…We still need to paint it or add trim to cover it up.)

To install, I first held the assembled light up where I wanted it under the cabinet, making sure the sensor was facing forward. Then, I carefully lowered the light (with it still oriented the correct way), gently twisted the halves apart to access the screw holes on the top section, and then realigned it under the cabinet. After that, I made marks through the holes onto the cabinet with a marker, drilled through the marks, and screwed the top portion of the light to the cabinet. Finally, I twisted the bottom part of the light onto the top that I had just screwed in place.

As you can see a few photos up, I also drew on a quick arrow to help me remember which way the top portion needed to be aligned under the cabinet. This made sure the tabs that you twist the halves over are all facing the right way to get the sensor aligned properly. I promise this will make a whole lot more sense if you decide to purchase and install these exact lights, so don’t worry if it sounds confusing right now!

How To Install Under-Cabinet Lighting

How To Install Under-Cabinet Lighting

I went back and forth over whether to pay an electrician to come out and install wired lights, but am actually really glad I decided to go with battery-operated. Yes, they’ll eventually dim and die and we’ll need to stay on top of recharging batteries, but the lights cost less than $35, so the whole project came in way under budget.

Another reason I’m happy we went with wireless lights? They are an absolute GODSEND when the power goes out! That doesn’t happen too often around here, but it went out for 24 hours last month after an ice storm, and we were able to light up the entire kitchen without power thanks to our little set of puck lights. We also were able to twist a couple of them off the cabinets and keep them in the bathrooms so we had light in those rooms during the power outage, too.

How To Install Under-Cabinet Lighting

How To Install Under-Cabinet Lighting

How To Install Under-Cabinet Lighting

Have you installed under-cabinet lighting in your kitchen? If so, did you go with battery-operated lights, plug-in options, or fully wired versions? Let me know in the comments below. And, again, if you want to copy our set-up, these are the puck lights we bought, and these are the rechargeable batteries that we have on standby.

How To Install Under-Cabinet Lighting

*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.

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How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

First, I want to thank you guys for your patience with me last week while I was sick. I’m finally starting to feel like myself, and am longing to get back into the blogging groove with longer, meatier posts once again. I thought I’d kick things off with a big roundup of all my favorite Christmas decorating hacks.

This topic was actually one that was requested by name over on the DGD Instagram feed, and it really got me thinking: do I have any valuable perspective to share? I kept the thought in the back of my mind as I worked to decorate our home for the season, and it turns out that I really do have quite a bit to say. With 32 years of holidays under my belt, it turns out that I’ve managed to collect a handful of habits that, I think, make the process of decorating a festive home much less stressful. Scroll on to hear how I do it!

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

Box Things Up By Room

Instead of keeping one or two giant boxes of holiday decorations in storage, consider boxing items in smaller containers by section or vignette. What I mean by this is, for those of you who tend to put out your Christmas (or whatever holiday it may be!) décor in the same places each year, box those pieces up together and label the container with that specific spot.

For example, I always set out our hand-me-down nativity set, ceramic Christmas tree, and sleigh in the living room, so all three pieces are carefully wrapped and boxed together with the label “Living Room” on it. The garland I hang in the same room also goes in that box, as does the stack of collectible Christmas books I keep on the living room coffee table. By boxing things according to the room or piece of furniture they traditionally go on each year, I’m able to avoid having to schlep unnecessary boxes upstairs, and I don’t have quite as much digging to do once I finally have those boxes out of storage.

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

Make “Like For Like” Swaps

I know I’ve said this over and over here on the blog, but I’m actually not a huge fan of holiday decorating. I spend so much time and effort decorating for every other day of the year, I hate the idea of undoing all that hard work for seasonal items. That said, I’m Christmas’s number one fan, so I tend to grit my teeth a little bit and go through the motions in order to live amongst all that happy Christmas cheer for the month of December.

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to simplify the process is to make “Like For Like” swaps with my styling. In other words, if I generally keep a ceramic bowl out on the dining room console to hold things like linen napkins or pretty serving spoons, I’ll temporarily switch those out for a similarly sized Christmas-themed bowl filled with ornaments. That way I’m not having to start from scratch with my styling and tabletop arranging, but I still get the holiday vibes across.

A few other swaps I make every year: our stack of everyday coffee table books gets changed over to Christmas books, the hanging art in the dining room is swapped out for a faux evergreen wreath, and a tabletop Christmas tree takes the place of the tall tapered vase in our family room.

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

Reuse Storage Containers

One inevitability of Christmas decorating is that you do end up displacing a lot of your everyday items. In years past, I’ve always struggled with finding places to temporarily put all of our non-seasonal accents while we had our Christmas décor out, but this year I finally figured out the solution.

As I took down our everyday décor to make room for holiday items, I wrapped those everyday pieces up and put them right into the box that the Christmas pieces had just come from. That way, I’m not putting empty boxes away, and I don’t have to worry about finding spots for our year-round décor in storage.

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

Box It Up Whole

A few year ago, I started a new tradition of hanging a garland over the doorway to our kitchen. It’s a faux garland, so we can reuse it every year, and it’s now where we display all of the holiday cards that came in the mail from friends and family. I use wooden clothespins to clip up the cards as they arrive in our mailbox, and I also filled the rest of the garland in with shatterproof ornaments.

I almost hesitated to admit this, but instead of bagging up the clothespins and removing each ornament from the garland after the holidays were over last year, I gently took the whole thing down off the wall and put it into the box whole—clothespins and ornaments still attached! Being able to lift that pre-decorated garland out of the box to hang on the nails (that we discreetly keep in the doorway year-round) saved me so much time this year. Yes, it’s a little tacky, but the time it saves me is worth it.

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

Time It Just Right

I think we can all agree that there’s a right and a wrong time to decorate for the holidays. The right time is when you’re feeling energetic and motivated, when you’ve got plenty of time on your hands, and maybe even when you happen to have an extra set of hands nearby to help with those hard-to-reach areas or heavy items.

On the other hand, the wrong time to decorate for the holidays is when you’re hours away from hosting a Christmas party, you’re wiped out from a full day of work, or when you’re feeling a little stressed by other things going on in your life. Even if it means you don’t get around to it until mid-December, commit to choosing your moment extra wisely this year. As cheesy as it might sound, a good attitude could be the difference between a really chaotic Christmas decorating day and a simplified, enjoyable one.

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

I know that a lot of these tips might already be key parts of your seasonal routine, and seem like common knowledge, but I still thought it was worth talking through just in case one of you hadn’t thought to try these methods before. And, of course, I’m sure there’s still so much more that I could be doing to simplify our holiday decorating routine, so if you have ideas of your own, please tell us about them in the comments below!

How To Simplify Christmas Decorating

P.S. There’s still plenty of time to grab a handmade ornament for Christmas from the DGD Pottery shop! See what’s left of the collection here.
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5 Mason Jar Christmas Gift Ideas

*This post was sponsored by Oriental Trading

5 Mason Jar Christmas Gift Ideas

I’m so sorry to keep today’s post extra short and sweet, but I just can’t ignore the fact that I’m sick any longer. I need to take a bit of extra time off this week to rest and recuperate from whatever cold or sinus infection I managed to catch because I’ve got way too much on my Christmas to-do list to stay down for long. I’ve got peppermint lattes to drink, holiday lights to see, Christmas meals to eat, and shopping still to do! But all of that must wait until I get back to good health.

The good news is that my latest project for Oriental Trading Company was finished long before I started feeling under the weather, so I’m excited to send you right on your way to check out that extension of Dream Green DIY content today.

5 Mason Jar Christmas Gift Ideas

5 Mason Jar Christmas Gift Ideas

See the full step-by-step tutorial for my 5 Mason Jar Christmas Gift Ideas right here, and feel free to let me know in the comments below which one you’d make first for someone special on your list. My personal favorite? Gotta be those pumpkin bites! Boy, could I use one of those right about now…I guess that’s just another reason to get better sooner rather than later, am I right?

5 Mason Jar Christmas Gift Ideas

P.S. There’s still plenty of time to grab a handmade ornament for Christmas from the DGD Pottery shop! See what’s left of the collection here.

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DIY Faux Evergreen Christmas Wreath

DIY Faux Evergreen Christmas Wreath

Confession: The DIY Faux Evergreen Christmas Wreath featured in today’s post has been on our front door since mid-October. That’s when I finished and photographed the project for my editor over at Hunker, and I loved the final wreath so much I couldn’t wait! I actually just paused for a second after typing up that admission to triple check my timing because I started to wonder if it really was as far back as October, and…yup! I submitted the story on October 22, which means that the wreath has probably been on our front door since October 19 or so.

At any rate, I was that smitten with the fluffy green texture on this faux seasonal wreath that I just couldn’t wait until after Thanksgiving to show it off. The cool thing, I think, about this project is that, depending how you style it on your door, the wreath kind of works any time of year. It’s so simple and minimalist, it would even complement a springtime entry when paired with things like potted flowers and a pastel door mat.

DIY Faux Evergreen Christmas Wreath

This cold weather season, though, I would suggest pairing the DIY wreath with a cheeky Christmas doormat (this one is at the top of my own wish list right now), and potted evergreen accents. You could even add a temporary bow to make it feel extra festive for the holidays.

Hop over to Hunker here for the full tutorial, and let me know how you’d style the wreath. Would you keep it exclusive to Christmas and winter, or could you see it working in your spring or summer entryway, too? Would you put it outside, or use it to decorate your home’s interior, like I demonstrated in these photos? Do tell in the comments below!

DIY Faux Evergreen Christmas Wreath

P.S. There’s still time to grab a handmade ornament for Christmas from the DGD Pottery shop! See what’s left of the collection here.

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DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

*This post was sponsored by Snapfish

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen | dreamgreendiy.com + @newsnapfish #ShareWithSnapfish #snapfish

Okay, guys. No more stalling. If it wasn’t “officially” crunch time for Christmas shopping before, it definitely is now! With Thanksgiving 2018 memories in the bag, we’re turning our attention to crossing “gift hunting” off our holiday to-do list.

We actually keep things relatively low-key among our two families (John’s immediate family and my own) by agreeing to gift one item apiece to each other, but it’s still a task we take pretty seriously. We hate the idea of giving gifts they don’t really need, so we think long and hard about what we can give them that serves a purpose. The number one item on that list? Coffee!

This season, I’m teaming up yet again with my favorite folks over at Snapfish to show how you can treat the coffee lovers in your own lives to something fun (and functional!) this holiday. Scroll on to learn more about the custom photo mugs and other kitchen accessories I put together as experiments for gift ordering later this month, plus the step-by-step tutorial for our new DIY coffee mug rail in case you really want to wow them come Christmas morning.

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

First, the mugs. This was my first time ordering custom mugs from Snapfish, and I’ll admit that I was a little worried about being able to find designs among their pre-built templates that would suit our mod, clean-lined aesthetic. I’m not a big fan of ultra bright patterns, but I was excited to find out that that’s not all the website offers in terms of templates.

I was able to choose four really simple designs for our mugs—one with John’s initial for his daily cup of coffee, a wood-look labeled design with my own name on it, plus a couple of custom photo mugs with our engagement pictures printed on them.

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

I actually kept my cart open in its own separate tab in my browser so I could refresh it every time I completed a mug design and added it to my collection. That way I could be sure that the photos and designs I chose would look good together on display in our kitchen. That might be a little too OCD for everyone, but it worked for me!

Oh, and I should mention that the interface for creating custom designs was super easy to use, too. The do-it-yourself layout allows you to get really creative with multi-photo arrangements, and, whether your style is classic like ours or punchy (think: chalkboard designs, metallics, and even botanicals), the site has plenty of design options for you to play around with.

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

It’s also a cinch to upload your own photos to the product builder. You can pull directly from places like Instagram, Facebook, and Google Photos, which saved me so much time. If I hadn’t had that option, I would have had to dig out my external hard drive to access the older photos I wanted to include. Being able to pull from my social media accounts saved me at least an extra half hour of hassle.

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

Now for that DIY I promised! I wanted to figure out a way to really show off our new collection of custom kitchen items (did you see we also picked up a custom tea towel with our last name on it?!), so I built a quick DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail to go under our new open shelves. Scroll on to learn how to recreate the project.

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail

Step One: Figure out how long you want your rail to be. I ended up using a 1/2-inch unfinished copper pipe for my rail because we already had it handy, and I also really liked the look of the patinaed copper against our wood shelves with their matte black brackets. The rod was already cut to a size that worked for us (34 1/2 inches long), but if you need to trim yours down a bit, you can use a pipe cutter, like this.

Step Two: Next, choose your spot for the rail, and mark where you’d like the hooks to go that will attach it to the underside of your shelves. I used three 1-inch white hooks to support our copper rail, spacing them roughly 12 inches apart from each other under the shelves. Mark where your hooks will go with a pencil, pre-drill the holes, and then screw the hooks in place.

Step Three: Slip your rail gently through the hooks, making sure that it feels strong and sturdy. If you feel like the rail needs more support, screw in a couple more hooks between the others.

Step Four: Loop S-hook hangers over the rail, and then slip your custom mugs right over the hangers to allow them to swing freely for easy grabbing in the morning.

NOTE: When figuring out where to hang your rail, make sure you keep it away from the wall by at least a few inches. Otherwise, the mugs could bang into the wall and break.

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen

We love how the custom collection turned out (it’s such a treat to see them swinging there on our DIY rail every morning!), so I’m definitely planning on ordering more to give to friends and family this Christmas. Wouldn’t they make for the perfect personalized stocking stuffers? I vowed that this would be the year that we finally find functional gifts that look cool, too, and I think this idea definitely nails that criteria.

What types of personalized photo gifts would your family like? I love trying to think beyond the standard photo gift (remember my custom ’12 Reasons Why I Love You’ photo book from last year?), so if you have any clever ideas, tell us about them in the comments below. Whatever inspiration strikes your fancy, be sure to use the code ‘SANTA40‘ now through December 31, 2018, to enjoy 40% off your order sitewide.

DIY Custom Photo Mug Rail For The Kitchen | dreamgreendiy.com + @newsnapfish #ShareWithSnapfish #snapfish

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