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2015 Year in Review: Home

2015 Year in Review: Home

Decoration Inspiration: Thanksgiving / Spooky Fireplace / Holiday Decor: A Compromise / Home Office Makeover

My home-related posts this year were…not great. While I enjoy decorating our home, this year was challenging. We moved from a tiny, one-bedroom apartment that I lived in alone half the time, to a much larger two-bedroom apartment.

We have more space than we really need, very little storage, and I’m back to compromising with my husband. Add a tiny budget to that, and I’ve had to get very creative!

This is also the year I discovered Pinterest. It has been both a huge time-waster, and a great way to gather inspiration for future projects. I think it has helped me figure out what my home decor style really is, and I’ve enjoyed all the DIY projects they have on there to make my home amazing on a very, very tight budget!

2015 Year in Review: Home

Maintaining Wooden Cookware / Recent Thrift Store Buys / Thrifty Fall Updates / Easy Green: Potting House Plants

Even though I spent most of 2015 fantasizing about what I would love my future fantasy home to be like, I did also tackle some projects around the house. I learned how to take better care of my stuff, killed a few houseplants, and found some amazing thrift store buys.

I hope that next year I can tackle more DIY projects (I have one already in the works), figure out our storage problems, and since we’re planning on moving again soon, maybe find a place that meets more of our needs (like light…not that it’s easy to find here).

What are your home goals for 2016?

Home Office Makeover

So it’s confession time:

I suck at decorating in apartments. The main reason is that we move too often – it’s hard to commit to anything for less than a year. Each place I’ve lived in is different from the next, from the layout to the paint color. It just seems like a huge waste of time and money to decorate a space, knowing that a year from now I’ll be somewhere else where my stuff may not work…or fit.

Another reason I am terrible at decorating in apartments is the awful color schemes I’m often stuck with. While this is one of the nicest apartments I’ve lived in, the paint color on the walls is the most boring yellowish-beige. It’s also in our lease that if we paint, we’ll owe them $250 per wall…yes, per wall…to have it repaired or repainted when we move out – which means I don’t even want to attempt it. I’ve also lived in spaces with walls ranging from white, to grey, to 80s wallpaper – which makes it tough to find pieces that work anywhere.

In spite of this, I’m doing my best to make certain spaces work. My home office space is the place I spend most of my time, and staring at a blank wall every day just wasn’t cutting it anymore. So I took this month to work on a super low-budget update of my office area!

Home Office Makeover: Final Reveal!


Home Office Makeover

The biggest motivation for me to fix up this space was the uninspiring blank wall I stared at every day. I’m also not a big fan of having a desk facing the wall, which is why I loved our last apartment, where my desk looked out a window. If I turn my desk around in this room, however, my view is my husband’s work area, which means I’d spend my days starting at a wall covered in action figures. I don’t want to spend my day staring at the equivalent of a toy store, so for now I have to find ways to spice up the wall I’m stuck with.

Home Office Makeover

The other space that was driving me nuts is to the left of the desk. I really want to put a small cabinet there for my printer and office supplies, but that’s not in the cards for now. I also wish I hadn’t put the photo collage over there, but again, it stays for now. For now, it’s a catch-all area for bags, which is a bit of a hazard with all the spiders who like to live in things I put on the floor!


Home Office Makeover

I started off my makeover by taking everything out of the room, which gave me a good idea of what to bring back in, and what to store away. After reorganizing my desk drawer and decorating my bookshelf, I found that I had a much cleaner and calmer work area.

Next, I stole the panda poster out of the living room and put it up in here, which added some color and interest to such a big wall. The bulletin boards to the right were something I picked up at a crafts store for 70% off, which meant that I got more visual interest and a place to put important or inspiring clippings for only $6 total! I’m so glad I got both of them because it fills up the wall and adds a nice balance with the poster.

I wrapped up my makeover by using one of my brass dragonfly hooks to hang up my leather bag, instead of leaving it on the floor. Again, it’s another trick for filling up wall space, and I feel better knowing the bag is safely hung up and away from the spiders we keep seeing around the apartment.

Home Office Makeover

While I wouldn’t say this makeover is complete, my new office area is in much better shape than it was a month ago! I still want to find something to put to the left of my desk for the printer, find a small basket to use for office trash, and figure out how to wrangle all the wires better. For now, though, it’s a much easier space to sit down to every day!

Office Makeover: Bookshelf Refresher

(I’m going to apologize ahead of time for how bad these photos turned out. After months of sunny days, we’ve had a week of partly sunny or full cloudy days. While our grass appreciates it, it also makes photographing my office space terribly difficult. So please bear with the fuzzy photos, and hopefully the sun will be back soon and I can get some better pictures of my new office space!)

Bookcases are kind of the bane of my existence. I wish I could have one that looks like a Pinterest dream, full of vintage books, trinkets from world travels, and family photos. So far, all I have for my small office space is a cheap Ikea bookshelf full of things I either use a lot, or couldn’t find a better place to store. The shelves are also way too far apart and can’t be adjusted, so there is also a lot of wasted space. Sure, it does has a few knick knacks, but they’re too small and don’t usually have a good story to go with them – I just thought they were cool at the time. I also don’t own many books anymore, since I had to get rid of them when I moved last year. So for now, this is what I started with:

Office Makeover: Bookshelf Refresher

When we first moved in, I set this up in the corner and just piled it full of things I had no other space for, and threw in a few random birds to make it seem more “homey.” I also have a lot of wires to contend with, and still can’t find a good solution for them, except for maybe hiding them under the bookshelf.

My first order of business when refreshing any space is to take everything out. I started over with a blank bookshelf, gave it a good clean, and started by replacing the things I couldn’t move anywhere else for the time being.

Office Makeover: Bookshelf Refresher

One thing I’m learning here is that earthquake safety is a real concern with most people here. The first step in my bookshelf redo was to make sure it was properly mounted to the wall (which it is now). Next, I loaded the bottom shelves with the heaviest stuff – my cookbooks. I’d love to have them on a higher shelf so I can get to them more easily, but it’s not very safe, and the bookshelf isn’t very sturdy. For now, they get to stay on the bottom.

The other thing I couldn’t move for now is the printer, since I don’t have any other place for it or the cords. One solution that I found was to put a Command hook on the wall for the printer cable, so at least that’s now out of the way when I’m not using it. At some point, I want to put it on the other side of the desk, but for now, it works here. It’s ugly and totally functional, so there goes my plans for a pretty, perfectly styled bookshelf!

Office Makeover: Bookshelf Refresher

Here’s the final product! Nothing too different here, just found new homes for some of the notebooks I never use, and the blank space in the middle is where my camera sits when I’m not using it. It’s a lot cleaner and easier to look at than before, and I have so much more room for new things as I collect them. I even have a space in the middle shelf for library books, so I don’t forget to return them (which was a huge problem of mine when I was younger). 

It’s nothing great, and definitely not Pinterest-worthy, but it works for now, until I can finally get my own office space, built-in bookshelves, travel the world for amazing art and sculptures, and a library of leather-bound books – so basically never.   

Home Office Makeover: Organizing The Desk Clutter

One project I wanted to take on in the month of August is getting my home office area finished. After we moved in, I threw everything together without considering how the space would function. Now that we’ve been here a few months, I’m quickly realizing that my office area is cluttered, disorganized, and not helping me stay productive – so it’s time to change that!

I started my makeover by going through my desk drawer. It’s where I keep everything I use on a daily basis, and I like that it keeps everything off the desk and hidden away. The main problem with this drawer is that I can’t reach the back third of the drawer because it doesn’t open completely, so anything in the back goes ignored, or I have to remove several things to get to the stuff in the back. The other issue I have is that the trays inside the drawer slide around a lot, so everything ends up shoved around as I open and close the drawer. On a budget of zero, I did my best to solve both problems!

Home Office Makeover: Organizing The Desk ClutterThe first thing I suggest anyone do when re-organizing your drawers is to take out everything. You can give your drawer a good clean, and easily see which things should be there, and which need to go.

Home Office Makeover: Organizing The Desk ClutterAfter taking everything out, I realized that there were a lot of things hiding in the drawer that needed to be thrown away (like the old candy), and things that needed to find a new home (like the tissue paper). Even though we’ve only been here for a few months, the drawer has already gotten cluttered and messy, so it was great to find new places for many of the things I don’t really use that often. 

Home Office Makeover: Organizing The Desk ClutterI also fixed the problem of the sliding trays with a cheap and easy solution – poster putty! I put a tiny dot in each corner, and now they stay put when I open and close the drawers. It seems like such a minor thing, but when you’re working at home, it can get annoying when everything slides to the front when you just want to grab a pen. You could easily use double-sided tape, those command strips, or rubber pads, but I didn’t want to ruin the drawer, and used what I had around. Hopefully it will hold up over time!

Home Office Makeover: Organizing The Desk ClutterIn the end, I now have plenty of storage for my everyday office supplies, notebooks, and even some extra room if I need it later on! Everything I got rid of was either thrown away, or put in a storage bin in the closet (where it probably should have stayed). While this was a small change that took maybe 20 minutes of my day, it has made a huge difference in the functionality of my home office!

Home Office Inspiration

Since I am “working” from home these days (job hunting and blogging totally count, right?), my home office space is where I spend the bulk of my day. While I have my basic furniture already (desk, chair, and bookshelf), I’ve held off on getting anything else until I knew for sure what I would really need.

Now that I assume I’ll be spending me foreseeable future in my home office, I thought it might be time to give the place a little makeover. I’m currently sitting at my desk, staring at a blank, beige wall – and it’s sucking my will to live.

As with any good home project, I will start by obsessing over some of my favorite office spaces on Pinterest! Here are some ideas I’d love to incorporate into my office!

(*As usual, all photos link directly to their sources)

Home Office Inspiration

I really just want Jenna Lyons’ office…like, all of it. While I don’t have a pink desk, I’m sure I could easily do an inspiration wall like the one she has in her office. It would be the easiest (and cheapest) way to cover up the horribly ugly tan paint on my walls! (For those of you thinking I could paint the walls, my apartment complex will charge me $250 per wall to repaint when I move – so until I’m willing to eat the cost, it stays for now.)

Home Office Inspiration

Another idea I had to help cover up some of this gigantic wall was a bulletin board. I had one in my last apartment, and loved being able to fill it with things I loved (and some things I needed). It would also be a lot less damaging to the wall than tacking up things directly, I guess. This is a project I could easily do on a budget, and it would make a huge impact in the space!

Home Office Inspiration

In addition to covering up the beige walls, I thought about adding a rug to hide the beige carpet. Even though the carpet is new, it’s also very boring. This isn’t a cheap fix, so I probably won’t do it for now, but it’s something I’d like to do in the future!

Home Office Inspiration

Our home office gets a lot of light during the day, so of course one thing I’d love to add more of is plants. I love the idea of a hanging pot, or a shelf above the desk for some succulents or vines to hang down. This is another project I could easily do on a budget, and it would make a huge impact in such a large, open space.

So with a tiny budget, and all the time in the world, I think I can tackle making my home office more fun to be in over the next month or so! Now, off to find a super cheap, really big bulletin board!