decorate

DAY 29 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: BIG Art

Art can be tricky. The small art is so inexpensive and feels easy to buy. And so we do. Then we have 80 little shits all over our home. A collage of small arts can look and feel better if it is clumped together well to EQUAL one large art piece. This is why clumped art collages work because they feel like one big art piece. What doesn’t work is when you have something undersized on a wall that is big. The ratio is off. Furniture helps to fill in the space visually, but just having a small piece of art on it’s own on an expansive blank wall feels like the wall is swallowing it up. I find it easy to just feel this out. Does it feel awkward and lonely where this piece of art is? Then, it’s probably too small.

Today’s challenge is to place a large piece of art in your home somewhere. This could be to replace a small undersized piece or just to fill in a blank wall you never got to. Now, don’t freak out, this does not have to be expensive or cost anything at all if you happen to have something laying around. I’m not saying to go out and buy some legit artist’s piece, unless you’ve been waiting for me to give you permission to do so. All we really need is something we like looking at that fills the wall proportionally. Prepare to have fun with this challenge! Here are some ideas:

  • Buy a big canvas and throw some paint at it. This can be really fun. I did this recently with a huge ugly canvas painting I bought at Salvation Army for $5. I used leftover wall and front door paint from my Rattan Ranch Airbnb. Is it a masterpiece? Hell nah. But, it works. You can splatter paint, brush paint on, spill paint all over it, go for it.

  • Buy digital art, download and then print it at Costco, FEDEX or a local print shop. I buy digital art on Etsy or from Juniper Print Shop. Buy a big frame for it at Michael’s or IKEA. I did this at my Comfy Cactus Airbnb.

  • Have something made for you that isn’t a print or a canvas at all. Macrame and fiber art are great, can be custom sized for your wall, and can feel extra special if made especially made for you. Fringe Forty Four made this one for me and I love it in my Comfy Cactus Airbnb.

  • Use a large mirror to fill in a space. I love this when the mirrors line up in such a way to reflect more light into a room. I found this vintage MCM mirror that I have hanging in The Rattan Ranch Airbnb at Goodwill for $10!

  • Maps can make great art. The colors can be really great. If the map is small, frame it in a larger frame. This vintage map of Arizona that I have hanging at The Shack Airbnb was $5 at a yard sale. It’s delicate and flaky so i framed it so it won’t fall apart.

  • Get creative. Just about anything that you can hang on a wall can be art! I found this little rug at Goodwill for a few bucks and it found a nice home at The Rattan Ranch.

Other things I’ve hung on walls as art:

  • A rug or tapestry tacked onto a canvas to make it appear even bigger (see first photo).

  • Garden stakes (long sticks of wood) in a pattern

  • Blankets

  • Flags

  • Baskets grouped together

  • Hats grouped together

  • Signs

The more creative you can be with this, the more interesting your home. I find one of the best ways to dig up the most creative ideas is to give yourself some boundaries. After writing this post I realized that almost every one of these ideas were found in my Airbnbs, the place where I’m seriously strapped for cash. By the time I get to the art and decor, I’ve spent tons of money on the furnishings and feel like I have nothing left. Then I get creative. Give yourself a tight budget and allow your mind to wander outside the box. Have fun with it and show me what you come up with! Use #updatedontrenovatechallenge to share!

DAY 5 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Decorate Your Sofa

Day five we decorate our sofa! No I don’t mean we are going to color it or anything. I mean pillows of course!

Sometimes we can become comfortable with stuff we’ve had around for awhile. Comfort is good, ugly and gross are not. You may not have even noticed that your throw pillows are getting a little sad looking. Are they wonky shapes now? Are they dirty? Are they the pillows that CAME WITH THE SOFA?!? Gasp! No. This can’t be happening. Time to rectify! Believe it or not I have lots of ideas about just pillows, but first let me tell you my favorite:

Binge

One of the most fun things ever is to just go crazy binge shopping pillows. It will feel all sorts of wrong but also SO, SO RIGHT.

I give you permission.

I learned this when I started staging. Ain’t nobody have time to sit and ponder, “Should I get this pillow? Or wait a minute this one? What about this one? Should I do blue? But, oohhh what about this green one…” GAH. Shoot me now. I had to get that shit done like yesterday, but then I’d get to the house and be like, “HATE IT.” and have to go back and start all over. So, I learned to just go ape shit and grab EVERYTHING. Now, I head to Home Goods or Target (or both) and load up on all the pillows I have even the faintest love towards (and even mild confusion on it’s fugliness) and bring them all home. No thinking, just grabbing. Sometimes I’ll have 2 carts full, I kid you not. Leave one at the front, grab another. Once you have all of the pillows at your house you can mix and match and spend all night putting the look together (with a glass of wine of course). EVERY time I do this the one or two pillows I thought were shoe-ins end up going back to the store. The ones I was like “Hmmm is this pillow awesome or fugly?” end up being the big winners. Keep the tags on and take back the ones that don’t make the cut.

I offered this suggestion to one of my clients, Renee, and she took it and ran. I celebrated a little inside when she sent me this photo, followed by many more of the different styled options on her sofa. Grab some wine and enjoy this part!

Full Target Cart

I promise you you won’t spend a million dollars on this binge. BUT, in case you want to keep the budget to a minimum, here are some other helpful hints.

Pillow Inserts

I recommend feather inserts as they fluff and remold the best where as polyester fill can get lumpy and lame. Once your pillows get the lumps, it’s game over. So, whenever possible, buy a pillow that has an insert that can be reused and save dollars down the line. The covers can simply be replaced or cleaned, thus extending its lifetime. You can then swap out covers for the season or when the mood strikes. For a fuller, firmer fill, use slightly bigger inserts to pillow cover size.

Here are some options on acquiring inserts.

  1. Reuse: You may have some already! Reuse these and simply buy new covers.

  2. Previously loved: Grab an ugly pillow at a thrift store that has a removable cover, but a good insert. You may not like the cover but you can just take it off and donate it back. You’ll have an insert for only a couple bucks instead of spending $10-20. I just throw these in the wash and then the dryer. Make sure the insert fabric is in good shape physically or you may end up with feathers everywhere.

  3. New: If buying thrifted pillows isn’t your jam, you need to get a life. JK JK. Ok so you want new ones. Obviously you can grab these wherever you can find pillow covers. I like to buy mine on Amazon. Here are some that will work.

Thrift

Another budget friendly option is to buy the whole pillow at a thrift store. You never know! I’ve found so many pillows this way it’s unbelievable. I typically come home with pillows costing me $1-$3. I’ve found pillows from Target, Pier 1, Pottery Barn and West Elm at Goodwill. Check the hanging racks for pillow covers, too. Buy and throw them in the wash. If they get ruined, well then you are only out a buck or two. I also find covers with the inserts still in them. Win-win. I love thrifted pillows because you never know what gem you’re going to find. I have a pile of covers now that I swap out often BECAUSE I CAN WAH AH AH AH.

Splurge

If you’re super excited to drop some money on pillows, go ahead and splurge on a great one. My pillow landscape usually includes one pricier splurge pillow I fell in love with alongside thrifted $2 pillows. One of my favorite places to splurge on pillows are DKRenewel, Etsy and Pottery Barn.

Sew Up

Grab some fabric and sew yourself some new covers or have someone who knows how to sew whip them up. Obviously you can find fabric at lot of places, but don’t forget searching through thrift stores or estate sales for some vintage-y fun specimens.

Switch Up

If you already have pillows you like and this is old hat to you, maybe just give them a little switcharoo. Move some into the living room from the bedroom. Change the covers out for the season with some from your stash. Swap with a friend. Maybe just wash the covers you have to feel fresher after the Holidays.

Bonus

Don’t forget a new throw blanket! Do you have that pile of old blankets that are some obnoxious sports team colors or just not going to work with the new look? Grab a nice throw blanket or 4 while you’re out shopping. Home Goods and Target have good ones, but I also sometimes find these thrifted for mere dollars.

Mix

Ok so if you didn’t gather, I do all of the above on the regular. Grab your loot and line them all up in your living or family room, taking care not to get them dirty so you can return them if necessary. Start putting them all together to see which ones work well with each other. Return all the duds. Study photos from your favorite designers, Instagram accounts or on Pinterest to see the different ways people style them.

This sofa has a Target pillow, a splurge pillow, a thrifted pillow and a Home Goods blanket.

After seeing so many client’s houses over the years, one thing is for sure. Furnishings and decor can absolutely elevate or trash a home. Sometimes a nicely renovated home can look awful by the decor choices used (or lack thereof). Sometimes a home that hasn’t been renovated in decades can look awesome just because the homeowner has decorated it so nicely and keeps it well maintained. We’re going to try our best to elevate one day at a time this month so keep plugging through each challenge. I promise they will all make sense.

Show us your pillow progress! Tag your posts or stories with #updatedontrenovatechallenge so we can see all the pillow madness.

Don’t miss a day!