Slowly but surely, this house of ours is becoming a home.
I’m really proud of the progress we’ve made here. Someday I’ll do a proper before-and-after transformation tour, but until then, I’ll summarize: when we moved in, the house came with lots of built-in character that wasn’t for us, whether it was inherited smells or big-ass, ugly carpet drapes.
My favorite thing about home ownership (besides allowing us to finally get a dog), has been making slow and steady updates. A lot of it is cosmetic, changing the space with small and intentional pieces and décor. With good bones and fresh, bright paint, that’s all we need to drastically improve this house.
Check out some of our latest improvements to this space.
- Removed couch
- Removed two-person bistro table
- Added a new dining table
- Added new dining chairs
- Wall décor swap
We went several months in our home without having a dining area. We just didn’t have the space—the intended spot, marked by vinyl flooring a lighting fixture directly above, is too small and placing a table would impede access to our sliding door. We had furniture blocking other possible areas as well.
Thanks to the magic of Facebook Marketplace and our neighbor’s willingness to let us borrow his truck, I was able to clear out some of that space-taking furniture and purchase some used but new-to-us upgrades. Now, we have a gorgeous dining table that we scored for $100! And these super budget-friendly chairs from Walmart (a tough assembly, but worth it in the end) have completed the space.
Thanks to these improvements, won’t have to go outside to eat on camping chairs when my parents visit! We have actual, non-couch seating. When we need to, we can pull it away from the wall and have a real-life dining space.
We also swapped out my mountain art for the three-piece hanging planter and some faux ivy, which looks amazing and takes up the right amount of space.
Future upgrades to this space: wood floors, a rug, and a table centerpiece. I want some more greenery and vases as well. I’d love to also have some kind of a pendant light hanging over the table, but that’s a ways down the road.
- Painted the countertops
When we first moved in, we had several temporary fixes. For example, we placed contact paper on the counters and then peel-and-stick backsplash. We recently removed both of them and did a DIY countertop painting.
We have a fairly gross vinyl floor. I recently bought a rug from World Market to cover it up as much as possible. I’ve immensely enjoyed the addition.
I added a few command hangers to our counters, where we can now hang some of our glasses.
Future upgrades to this space: new (real) backsplash, painting the cabinets, new hardware, a sink and faucet upgrade, wood floors, a rug, better lighting, a new fridge (WAY down the line).
- Restored dresser
- Giant mirror
- Bar cart/greenery
- Wall features
- Boho hanging
- Hung hats
- Styled dresser
- Swapped out plant stand
- New light fixture
- Added a lamp
I’m digging the direction our bedroom is going, though my vision is always changing. It’s becoming a space that’s both cozy and minimalist, boho and classic.
Décor-wise, I replicated this wall feature on the other side of our window to add symmetry, inspired by my sun tattoo and a drawing inspired by my favorite painting, Klimt’s “The Kiss.” In other spots around the walls, I’ve added a boho hanger from Target, some hats, and my Mapiful art. There’s lots of faux greenery in here, especially because I don’t have a green thumb. Maybe someday we’ll transition to the real stuff.
We finally found a light fixture that we love, and hung it post-Black Friday. We repurposed a floor lamp and placed it in here to add a little extra lighting.
There’s new furniture in here as well. The restored dresser is the biggie (styled with neutral elements, like photos and casa beads and candles), followed by a bench and rolling bar cart that I spray painted a matte black. The best thing about the bench is that we can bring it out and use it for seating at our dining room table if we ever need to.
We moved the giant mirror from our garage into the room. It’s heavy! We used a painted block of wood as a base and secured the sides with clips. After a hefty clean, she looks almost brand new.
Future upgrades: change the colors from cool to warm-toned, find matching sconces and shelving for above the bed, paint our ceiling, add a wall feature of some kind, figure out how to style our bedside tables (lamps, vases?), maybe swap out our nightstands, add a hanging planter, swap out our laundry hamper, hardwood flooring, add a big rug. Much later down the road, we’ll probably want to replace our doors, paint our ceiling, change the curtain rods and curtains, and maybe get a bigger bed.
TLDR: I want to make a LOT of updates, but my mind changes all the time.
- Picture ledge
- Down-sizing decor
- Utilizing closet space
- New light fixture + floor lamp
The updates to this room have been gradual and slow. We swapped out a few pieces of furniture, like the bar cart and storage ottoman, and moved the bookshelf.
The big transformation has been the picture ledge, which replaced a bunch of frames hanging on the wall. I’ve styled it with some faux greenery and small items, and hope to add more eventually.
We changed the light, which also made a dramatic change and turned the lighting from yellow to bright white. A huge improvement! We also added a woven shade for the window, which both adds texture and a little privacy.
Behind the scenes, I created more storage in the closet This is key to really utilizing our space and decreasing all the clutter in our garage. I mostly use the closet to hold my seasonal clothing not in use, photo memories and non-essentials, my Sunshine with Savannah merchandise, and extra bedding and blankets.
Future upgrades: one statement piece wall art piece, remove the bookshelf (maybe replace with several bracketed wall shelves?), add sconces on either side of the bed, a new bed and headboard, a table lamp, hardwood flooring, a rug.
- DIY desk
- Sideboard cabinet
- Lighting fixture
The office is the space I envision changing the most. I have so many ideas, and it’s slow-going to implement just about any of them. (We’re balling on a budget!)
The biggest adjustment so far has been the rehaul of the desk. Before, it was Chad’s childhood air hockey table, modified with a scratched-up, heavy MDF composite board on top. This was the ugliest thing I had ever seen, and Chad finally was onboard with me that it needed to go.
In its place, we purchased two matching filing cabinets, and placed another MDF composite board on top, from Lowes, which we spray-painted black. We will likely have to do this again and add a sealant, because it has gotten many scratches in the few months since putting it together. Overall, it’s huge and spacious and a much-needed upgrade. Plus, the filing cabinets are organized and hold everything we need.
Our two office chairs took a lot of researching to find, and we love them. Wayfair came through!
Another change has been adding our beautiful Target cane cabinet to the space (I put it together almost all by myself!). Inside, it’s organized pretty well, hiding our printer and record player and some Sunshine with Savannah merchandise. Above it, I hung a beautiful framed print of Van Gogh’s “Night at the Rhone” (which took FOREVER to ship but it was 10000000% worth the wait), framed by some affordable Amazon sconces.
Above our mid-century modern chair, I put two matted frames and a stately picture light from Amazon. The stool and vase combination really pull this seating area together. It’s a beautiful upgrade I put together all on my own!
I also removed our bookshelf (which had been painted white and repurposed last year in our old office revamp), hiding the books in our guest bedroom closet for now. This space is open for a large floor vase or lamp or something. It’s to-be-determined at the moment.
Future Upgrades: wooden shelving above the desk, hanging a DIY bulletin board, adding a board and batten fall feature, more wall art, wood floors, a rug.
Home takes time
Let this be a reminder: home takes time. Though I wish I could snap my fingers and all my visions could come true—that’s not how it works. And that’s okay! Home ownership is expensive, and so are all the furnishings that come with it.
Slow and steady, we’ll win this race.
You have a terrific eye for design! In the time my wife and I have had our house, we have: remodeled the kitchen – redone all floors – remodeled the dining room – redone three bathrooms – added a new master bedroom and backyard terrace – nothing like home improvement!
Sunshine with Savannah says
Thank you! Those are some BIG projects! I love the idea of making a space your own, and actually being able to enjoy the improvements (rather than doing them prior to selling). It’s my favorite part of homeownership so far! Thank you for reading and sharing.
Wow – sounds like you’ve tackled a lot recently with your home. Congratulations! You have a wonderful blend of highlighting the old house character but with some modern décor that matches really nicely! Best of luck with your future projects list 🙂
Sunshine with Savannah says
Thank you so much! I was so resistant to all of the wood trim at first, but have found myself really enjoying the mix of original and modern. Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment! 🙂