Category: My Home

150 is a Magic Number and Cash is King

MOST of us have very little expendable cash. We get by every month paying the bills like a good American, with very little left over, if any. How people afford lavish vacations seriously boggles me. I’ve always been under the impression that budgets are great, yet realistically they can be super difficult to stick by. I’ve learned that in every relationship there is usually a spender and a saver. I bet you can guess which one I am.

When it comes to furnishing your home, for most it falls near the bottom of the priority list OR it just seems to expensive. I have a solution for you. I know it works, because I’ve tried it, and I am currently doing it.

My husband asked me, how much is a reasonable amount for home furnishings per month? Knowing that we are a modest one income family, I said my magic number is $150. Now, this is what is doable for us (everyone is different). He actually smiled and was happy I didn’t go too overboard. My thoughts…You mean I get $150 a month to spend on home furnishings without you questioning???!!! Sweet!!! So this is what we have been doing, and it works well for us so far. I have been wanting to update my master bedding for a while now, so here is the progress:

Month 1:  3 new Euros from Anthropologie.  It just so happened to be my birthday month and they give a discount on your birthday month, so that is why I bought these first. But for you, they are now on sale, so yippee! They are a beautiful, crisp white, in person.

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Month 2:  Organic Blanket from West Elm.  I mentioned how much I love it in this post. I got the white as well (much needed after 10 years with cream colored bedding).

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West Elm White Blanket


Month 3: Belgian Linen Duvet Cover. Because I had a little left over from the previous month, I saved it for this bigger purchase and of course, as always, bought it during a sale. I went for the color “platinum”. Contrasts with the white well and looks worn-in comfy, yet luxurious, triple folded at the end of my bed. If I was more daring I would get the blush color.

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Month 4:  I had to take a break from the master bedroom. I re-stuffed my 2 back couch cushions. This was not a fun purchase, but definitely needed. I have a cool story about this….why I called this post “Cash is King”.

About 5 years ago Phillip and I took the Financial Peace University course and learned so much. I’ll go into more detail about that in another post. One of the classes taught us the Power of Cash, so I decided to use that power.  I was nervous that when I took my couch cushions in to be re-stuffed that it would exceed my $150 limit. So I decided to go to the bank and withdraw $150 in cash and walk in the upholsterers with confidence. I have used a very trustworthy upholsterer that is very reasonable several times. As I was watching him measure my cushions and plinking in some numbers on his calculator he said each cushion would be $85. I also knew that did NOT include tax. So that would be $170 +$15ish for tax. That’s $185, or in my current calculation, $35 too much. So I pulled out of my wallet $150 Cash and placed it on the table. I said with pure confidence, How about $150 Cash? Without even hesitating he said YES, counted the cash, rolled it up and put it in his pocket. I smiled and said great, but, give me a receipt saying “Paid” on it. I was out of there in less than 5 minutes with a paid receipt and smile on my face. He was so nice to me, had my cushions done in 4 days, and kept asking me to come back. Don’t worry, I will. Cash is King. Try it.

Month 5:  This is the month I am currently in. Since I have all the bedding basics, it’s time for the statement pillow(s).

Here is my current, lucious, comfy, white, relaxed, bedding (the picture doesn’t do it justice)…

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Here is what I’m currently trying to decide for the statement pillow(s)…

A// Group of Danielle Oakey Pillows

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B// Group of Studio McGee Pillows

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C// One Large Lumbar Pillow- Keeping it Simple with a big splashy art piece above the bed
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What do you think?  A, B or C?

So…did this post help you? Are you going to figure out your current Magic Number? I’m just glad I came up with one to start the ball rolling. It requires a little patience, because we want it NOW. I remember watching my design crush, Nate Berkus, teach a lady on how to transform her master bedroom for $35 a month over 8 months. It’s totally doable. You can do it. 




My House- Master Bedroom

Master bedrooms are important to me.  They are supposed to be a sanctuary.  Yet, I find that many people put the master bedroom as low priority, a storage room, and last to decorate.  So sad.  If that’s you…change it right now!  If your bedroom is pulling dual duty, and also an office, that’s okay, it can still be relaxing and beautiful.

Here are some pictures of my Master Bedroom in it’s current state.  It’s been this way for a while and I think I may be ready for some updates.  

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One of the first things I would purchase is a bed/headboard.  It grounds the space (usually a rug does this, but a bed does this for me in a bedroom) and sets the stage for the rest.  A bed also looks official, like your staying awhile and you’re an adult.  I recommend an upholstered headboard.  They are comfortable to lean on and have become quite affordable these days.  Here is my favorite upholstered bed.screen shot 2016 05 16 at 11.08.45 amI know that in my room I have a wooden bed.  It’s the Pottery Barn Farmhouse bed and I absolutely love the look of it.  I eyed it in the catalog for years then saw it at an outlet and didn’t even think twice and bought it.  As far as comfort level, its terrible.  I have a huge stack of pillows to lean against every night and that can be annoying.  So this is why I recommend an upholstered headboard.  If you are worried about it getting dirty, then get one with a slipcover or one made out of a more durable fabric like leather, tweed or grasscloth.

Bedding.  Bedding can be expensive.  I say go affordable on your duvet cover.  IKEA, West Elm, and Target have great choices that are under $100.  I bought my cloud duvet over 8 years ago from Anthropologie (similar) and I still love it, but I am ready for a new one.  That was when it only came in the off-white color, but since then so many other companies have copied the look for less.  I love a solid color or something simple for the duvet to serve as the backdrop for the pillows.  This quilt from West Elm has especially caught my attention lately.quilt

Pillows.  I love pillows.  I want you all to realize that this is where I think you should spend some money or even better, learn to sew, because pillows are the centerpiece and make the biggest statement in the room.  Twin=one Euro, Queen= two Euros, King=three Euros.  Euros are those giant square pillows near the back of your headboard.  Group a few pillows in front, or my favorite, one long lumbar.  Here are a few looks I love lately as I redesign my room. Blue Batik Pillows and Mongolian Lumbar.

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From My Room: I bought the blue and cream Ikat fabric at Home Fabrics discount store and sewed the two Euros in the back.  I bought one Euro from Anthro to match the duvet.  The floral lumbar I made from IKEA fabric.  I took the stuffing from two cheap standard pillows and made the lumbar insert.

Art.  Keep it simple above the bed or don’t do anything at all.  I also love art flanking the bed behind lamps. If you do this, skip the art above the bed, negative space is okay.  I am so done with these boring lamps I have.  I have my eye on some sweet swing arm lamps right now.

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Window Treatments. Again, IKEA, Target, and West Elm are affordable places for these.  If you have the means, splurge for my favorite curtain rod…the oversized polished nickel rod from WE.  It seriously makes a difference in a room and is so much better looking than the cheap $20 ones.

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Other.  Keep it simple and classy.  Edit your chochsky’s.  Only have 1-3 displayed.  Nightstands should be different…don’t get sucked into sets.  Keep them clean and clutter free.  Add a live or fake plant.  Dust often.  Vacuum frequently.  Have enough lighting/lamps that you never have to use the ceiling light (unless it’s amazing).  If you have your computer in your room, buy an attractive desk, one with storage.  Keep it clean and organized.  Nate Berkus for Target has wonderful desk accessories to keep it good looking yet functional.  If you have a TV in the room, it’s not a big deal, I have one so no judgement here.  Just keep the electronics dusted often and try not to have the TV be a focal point in the room.  Paint.  Keep it light, do not go dark.  screen shot 2016 05 16 at 12.25.29 pm

Any questions?  I know that was quick.  I love designing rooms and helping people get their sanctuary in order.  Hopefully you are inspired to update yours.

This post is not sponsored.  All opinions are my own.


My House- Girls Bedroom

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I have just recently updated my two daughter’s (ages 6&8) room.  I kept the walls Revere Pewter because I’m too tired and cheap to paint…let’s be real folks.  I separated the white bunk beds to be parallel to each other and got excited for my kids to actually make their beds now (making your bed and bunk beds does not go well together, unless you can afford Bedeez).  I fortunately live near a West Elm outlet and bought most of the bedding there.  I love color, and I love florals, so I had fun by purchasing the duvet and coverlet for a steal. To personalize it more for each daughter, Jane has Flamingo sheets, and Paisley (of course) has Zebra sheets.  The sheet sets were found at Macy’s in the Martha Stewart Collection.  The Flamingo is still available here, along with so many other cute novelty print choices.  Have fun with your sheets!

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I painted an old $60 craigslist mid century dresser about 5 years a nasty yellow I never liked. Now I look back and LOVE the original stain dang it, why did I have to paint it???  To get rid of the nasty yellow I decided to paint it a more neutral color, Affordable Gray, by Sherwinn Williams.  I polished the brass handles and it felt fresh again.

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Thanks to the new Pillowfort and Threshold line at Target, I accesorized, bringing in the modern feel it was needing.

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I love the way the gallery turned out.  I found this darling print of the girl laying in the grass at an Etsy boutique in Dallas.  It reminded me of Jane.  The Zebra watercolor was done by my artistic sister but you can purchase one at Land if Nod. “Oh the Places You’ll Go” gold foil print was purchased from this Etsy shop.  The lamp on the dresser was purchased at JC Penny years ago and was part of the Jonathan Adler Collection.

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The oversized basket is from Home Goods and holds all the stuffed animals and blankies.  Above the basket are hooks from Target and a print found here.

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I’m tempted to get a rug to lighted up and ground the space, but financially it was low priority.  It really is a small space, so I don’t allow any toys in the room, just stuffed animals.  The toys stay in the toy room.  Overall I think the updated girls room turned out happy and complete.

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This post is not sponsored.  All opinions are my own.



My House- Paint and Carpet

I love my home.  It was built in 2007.  It first belonged to a neat and tidy English lady whom everyone loved on my street. Her husband passed away and she moved to California to be with family.  Meanwhile she rented it out.  For one year the renters TRASHED it, turned it into a daycare, and left it in shambles.  Summer of 2013 we stumbled across it.  At first I was disgusted, then my realtor asked me if I liked the layout.  And…I really liked the open layout.  Hmmmmm.  It had four bedrooms like I wanted, was a one story rambler, and backed up to a beautiful green space which meant privacy.  Like so many home buyers looking before me, they probably had a difficult time looking past the white-turned-brown carpets, water damaged hardwood floors, filthy walls, and bugs everywhere (someone left the back door open for a month!)…but I saw the potential. I knew it would be a smart choice because it was the worst house on the best street.  Here are some before pictures.

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Back 3 Bedrooms and Living and Dining Room Paint

So…Before moving in and replacing the carpet, my sister Lindsey and I painted all the bedroom walls and ceilings.  I wanted a warm gray, so I chose Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore.  I had to decide fast and although it’s a beautiful color, I still think it’s too dark for me.  There is only one window in each of the bedrooms, so not much natural light comes in.  So we also painted the ceilings to help with add more reflective light.  It felt so good adding a fresh coat of paint on those filthy walls.  I even added a fresh coat of paint on the baseboards.  I’m glad we did this before we got new carpets because a whole gallon of paint spilled and we did nothing but laugh!  The Revere Pewter looks really good in the front Dining/Living room because there are lots of windows and natural light.  Again, I like this color, I don’t love it.  I wish I had joined the white paint train instead but almost three years later and the thought of repainting exhausts me.  Now you see my lazy side.

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My sister Lindsey aka “The work horse”. She helped me paint every inch of my house. This room has the Revere Pewter paint and white ceilings.

Master Bedroom Paint

I wanted to paint my bedroom a different color, so I went with one of my favorites, Wickham Gray by Benjamin Moore. I.Love.This.Color.  It’s the epitome of fresh, yet so neutral.  We painted the ceiling as well.  Remember, all of this painting happened in one week because we were getting new carpet.

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This is the master bedroom with Wickham Gray on the walls and white ceilings. Ready for new carpet!



Then, we got new carpet.  I chose a low pile with a gray-brown color.  I love the color to this day.  But I do wish I chose an even lower pile, something more interesting with a square pattern, but at the time I was being very money conscience. Lowe’s has this Stainmaster lowpile that I still think about today.


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Main Corridor Paint

My sisters and mom were in town one week, and we pulled together and painted the main corridor of my house which includes the entryway and hallway that leads to the kitchen, dining nook, and great room.  I almost went white but chickened out at the last minute.  I then chose a Sherwinn Williams color called Eider White.  It’s white with a hint of gray.  I really do love this one.  I’m glad I went with a little shade of color.  This time, I enlisted my husband to paint the ceilings white.  If you have ever painted ceilings before, you’ll probably never do it again.  It’s awful hard on your body, but totally worth it!

Just by changing the carpet, and painting almost every square inch of this house, it began to feel like me.  It went from dark terra-cotta tuscan, to fresh and modern.  I probably spent about $500 on paint and supplies.  Small price to pay for such a HUGE difference and to personalize the space.  Stay tuned for a video and pictures of the AFTER for the main corridor and all the spaces in my house.  Keep in mind I did everything myself and on a next to nothing budget.

BEFORE Sept. 20013 (Phillip and my relator, going over purchasing papers)

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