DAY 17 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Make Your Bed

This here is one of those situations where my Airbnb bedrooms are top notch, but my home was not. As per usual. Kinda like my towel situation. But, I raised my standards last year and man has sleeping been better. And so has just walking into my bedroom! Today we make the bed of our dreams.

Click  here  for West Elm bed in photo.

Click here for West Elm bed in photo.

Another top client complaint is that they have worked on a lot of things in their home but have never put energy toward their bedroom. On Instagram we see beautiful pictures of people’s place of rest. But, for the rest of the world the bedroom is pretty much a square box with a sad looking bed, old discolored sheets, an ugly comforter and a depressing looking pillows. Sleeping pillows that is. Decorative pillows are likely a decade old or non-existent.

Let’s two-step (with mini steps in between) our way to a perfect bedroom retreat!

Strangers In My Bed

Let’s pretend some strangers are going to come stay at our house and sleep in our bed while we are gone. Isn’t that a little disturbing? It’s not if you call it Airbnb. Would you let someone sleep in your bed in it’s current status? I know I wouldn’t. So why am I sleeping in these “conditions”? Let’s follow these steps to make our beds stranger worthy. I’m sorry that sounds really weird. We’ll start from the base and work our way out.


Are you still sleeping on just a metal bed frame? It’s cool. You can keep doing that, but, did you know you can buy a bed with a headboard for pretty cheap? There are always our friendly neighborhood Craigslist and Offer Up deals to be had of course. You can even buy a bed at Goodwill. I have been binge shopping Wayfair for my Airbnb beds. I like that they are new and inexpensive. Keep in mind whether the bed you choose needs a box spring or not so you can avoid that expense if necessary.


Are you sleeping on that same mattress you inherited from someone and it sucked back then? Try adulting and getting something that actually helps you sleep. My favorite two mattresses are Tuft & Needle or Wayfair mattresses. I have them both in my home and my Airbnbs. Throw a padded mattress cover on and it’s golden. Gone are the days when you had to buy something for over $1,000 to actually be comfortable.


I’ve said it a thousand times but I don’t buy anything but these bamboo sheets anymore. When I find something I like, I stick with it. I think I’ve now bought about 20+ sets of these sheets for all of my Airbnbs and my own home. They are so soft and so inexpensive! I also buy extra pillow cases for back up.


I personally can’t stand down comforters with duvet covers. Even when I lived in Cincinnati and I was cold AF they made sweaty AF. Now in the desert it’s definitely not happening. They are also way to big to wash in Airbnbs so now I stick to quilts. White ones of course so I can bleach them. I also prefer the white backdrop for my ever changing pillow situation. White looks clean, fresh, bright and inviting. And all pillows go with it FTW. This is my favorite quilt that is comfy and priced well. As of this post, it is also 10% off with code HOME. I love this quilt because one side has raw edge type of ruffles, but not really ruffle-y while the other side is just stitched. Switch depending on your mood.

Strangers Looking At My Bed

Ok let’s now pretend we are going to show strangers our bedroom via Instagram. This may be silly to think of making your bedroom camera ready, who really cares? For some reason we do. If you really don’t care what your bedroom looks like, then don’t move forward. But, if you are tired of it looking the way it is, and thinking about showing it to others helps you allow yourself the simple pleasure of a nice bedroom, then do it. For some reason if it is just for ourselves we feel too self indulgent to go all out.


Go back to DAY 5 where we went pillow shopping and do the same thing with your bed. I’ve actually started to back off of the pillows all over the bed a bit. It’s just so much to take off at night and they end up just laying on the floor. One or two are nice, though. Decoratively speaking. We could all probably use a couple new bed pillows. I get these inexpensive ones from Target and they hold up pretty well for a while considering their price. Order online and ship or pick up in store so you don’t show up and there aren’t any there to buy. I find they are all sold out at times.


Go back to DAY 12 if you haven’t done it yet and add a painted accent wall behind your bed. This is one of my favorite places to put an accent wall because it helps anchor the room.


Ok not really your bed but it does have something to do with waking up in the morning. Doesn’t it just feel good to step off of your bed onto a rug? The answer is yes. If you didn’t do DAY 6 yet, get to it now.

Ok so with all of that your bed should be super fabulous. If I were to choose a place to start I’d go with a new mattress or sheets first then work to the “prettier” things after that. Below are all of the items mentioned in this post.

*Affiliate links included.

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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!

Saturday Six: Flippin Gift Guide Edition

I could probably write 6 gift guides. Instead of dragging this shopping on, I’m going to just jam all of them into this post. I think you’ll quickly learn this is more of a post about gifts you’ll want and maybe you should just forward it on to your loved ones as a hint.

There are affiliate links galore in this post. Thank you for your support!

ONE - vintage

Train Case - $20+

Train cases look like some kind of display piece but in actuality they are storage! I keep all of my paint decks and swatches in one and carry it with me to design consults. They can also hold sewing stuff, craft supplies, make up, all sorts of things! Sometimes they can smell a little so if you can’t do a sniff test ahead of time, consider asking the seller if you’re going to buy on Ebay or Etsy.

Toilet Paper Holder aka Vintage Phone Stand - $30+

It’s things like these old AF telephone stands that are perfect for other things like holding TP. They slide right in next to the toilet where it can get real tight. They hold extra TPs so you aren’t left stranded. They have a nice little shelf on top that can hold something like an old wooden box that in turn conceals those not so beautiful feminine products. Some even hold magazines for those of you that like to camp out for a bit. You could even rest your coffee on top if you are a weirdo that brings your coffee in with you. It’s a win all around. I found mine at a second hand store but you can easily find one on Etsy or Ebay.

Kaya Kilim Vintage Rug - $200-$800

So, if you don’t know about Kaya Kilims Turkish Rugs you must be dead or something. I’ve lusted after a KayaKilims rug for years. One of my friends just got one and then she mentions that she might get another and about threw my phone in jealous rage. But, also happy for her you know because I mean she’s my friend. NOTE TO EARTH: I want a Kaya Kilim. These can get kinda pricey and you won’t even know which one to get so if you want to surprise someone with this gift of love, start up a collection jar for them. Maybe a mason jar with a Kaya label? Throw in some bones. You’ll win at life.

TWO - gadgets

Cold Brew Maker - $18.99

Cold brew is delicious. What else is there to say? Also, I’d go for the bigger one today. The small one makes 2 drinks for me. I want more. I suffer through.

Upholstery Cleaner - $124.99 (but read on for discounts)

I bought mine for $10 at the thrift store, probably because the sprayer wasn’t working but I just poke that shit with a safety pin and boom cleared. I would pay $125 for it now, though. I like it that much (but no I wouldn’t bc why??? read on). I have cleaned many a used sofa with this thing. I’ve cleaned spills on rugs in my Airbnbs. The last sofa I bought, the teal one in my newest Airbnb (used to be flip) was so dirty you wouldn’t even believe it. It was not people/pet dirt but like actual dirt. Like maybe the people left it in their garage and just dust and garage type dirt layered all over it. I got it all out. There is a version that doesn’t have the heat button. I don’t think my heat button even works so I don’t use it.

PRO TIP: See the “Add to Cart” button? Scroll down slightly to the “Used & New from…. ” link. This takes you to other options like Amazon Warehouse deals. You can buy an open box or refurbished one for much less. Some have never actually been used or even opened. It will tell you in the description. See what’s available. This works on many Amazon purchases!

Kitchenaid Soda Stream - $229

—-> another good looking cheaper option —> $69.99

Stop the madness with buying and carrying all of the cans and bottles of sparkling water into your house. This is what drove me to buy this machine because we would go through so much and carrying them up the stairs into our house every few days was lame AF. I don’t need all the flavors, although you can buy some and um also though squeezing a freakin lime is not that hard. I also sometimes smash up some mint leaves or blackberries or whatever and throw them in. For parties I make a sparkling water garnish bar bc I’m fancy.

THREE - homesick

Need a little home State love? Here are a couple of ideas:

Homesick Candle - $30

Wow. These candles even smell like home. I hope your home State doesn’t smell like a dumpster fire.

State Eye Chart - $18.95 (Use Code FW17 for a discount!)

How many States are you celebrating? My mother-in-law has 2 of these in one of her bathrooms. I have one in each Airbnb. They are just great easy on the eye ways of fitting in a little home State love. And since it is the print only, they could also fit in a stocking!

FOUR - design books

Everyone knows I’m a design book junky. I’ve been hosting a low key Design Book Club monthly if you want to check out some of the past choices. Below are some of my favorite books that may or may not have been part of the book club.

Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon - $10

A book that could fit in a stocking — it’s 6 1/8” x 6” x 1/2” thick. It doesn’t fit in mine but it fits in my daughter’s so measure it out. Lots of great ideas about creativity and borrowing ideas.

The New Bohemians and The New Bohemians Handbook by Justina Blakeney - $19 each

If you like yourself some boho... I mean the person you are gifting does…grab one or both of these. They are super colorful and fun.

Urban Jungle by Igor Josifovic and Judith de Graaff- $20

A book for people who love to kill plants. Wait. Love them but kill them. If you are gun shy about buying yet another plant and murdering it, get this book. It’s pretty AND it tells you how to keep it alive.

The Modern A-Frame by Ben Rahn - $22

A book for A-frame fanatics. If you or your friend like MCM, retro style and lots of pretty pictures, you’re not going to regret this book.

Surf Shack by Nina Freudenberger- $35

A book for boho geeks. Add the beach and I mean what else is there? This is about surfer’s homes and lifestyles from the newbs to the lifers and everyone in between. Total house + decor eye candy.

Nomadic Homes by Philip Jodidio and Russ Gray - $54

A book for people who have a wee obsession with tiny/mobile homes. So many good photos. It’s huge and heavy and FEELS like a sizable gift, then you open it and your eyes are blown off from the awesome photos.

FIVE - pillows

DK Renewal Kantha Lumbar - $48

DK Renewal is like an explosion of boho. This is is just one of the hundred boho stuffs they have. Check out their other items like artwork, rugs, poufs, etc.

CB2 Zbase Pillow - $40

I’m finding myself gravitating towards the black and white pillows. They can just go with so many styles. This one even comes with an insert.

Circle Grid Tassel Pillow - $50

Good ole’ Target coming through with a really nice pillow. I had to have this one for my new Airbnb. So I got it. The end.

The Citizenry Lumbar Pillow - $199

A client of mine had one of these on her bed and I stopped in my tracks. I had been drooling over it for years, but the price tag was like whoa. She told me her mother-in-law had bought it for her for Christmas. So, that’s how this pillow made the list. Because awesome pillows would be a great gift. Not to mention anything else on their site. Their blankets and bedding also look to die for.

SIX - snuggle

Soft AF Blanket - $25.00 Amazon

This blanket is like luxury. I got it for The Lounge Airbnb and yeah it’s amazing AF just like the reviews say. Price is right, too!

Best Bamboo Sheets - $40 (but read on)

OMG I could punch something right now. I seriously just bought like 9 sets of sheets and I’m just noticing that there is a discount code for 2 sets, 3 sets and 4+sets hidden in their photos! GAHHHH the humanity! Anyway, these things are obviously amazing because I buy them for all of my Airbnbs and myself. Both the queen and king sets are around $40. On my screen there is also a 5% coupon and then of course the coupon codes if you are going to just go hog wild like I do. I’m so pissed right now. I’ve honestly bought 15 sets of sheets in the past 4 months. Q#$%@#$%@$%@ Merry Christmas.

Boho Upcycled Cotton Sari Robe - $50

I asked Santa for this robe. I mean it looks so freaking comfortable! Considering getting a couple for The Shack.

Bed Sized Blanket - $50

I bought this blanket for the camper (No, it’s not done yet bc life. GET OFF MY BACK! <—note to myself). I stole if from the camper stash and have been using it to cozy up with on the nightly. The king size one obviously fits my king bed and stretches all the way across. You may decide on the twin size one to use on your sofa. I love that the king one is so ginormous bc my whole family can sit on the sofa with it together. We are snuggly people. I know you don’t believe that about me but it’s true.


I know it’s supposed to be six but I have a couple stragglers that doesn’t have a home.

KEVA Contraptions Plank Set - $47

I saw this on the show New Amsterdam and was like yep gotta get that for my 5 year old. Santa will be bringing it to her this year. You see her self proclaimed super power is that she can build things. She’s been building all sorts of things like…a Starbucks…out of paper and tape and toilet paper tubes. My friend that’s a preschool teacher told me she has an invention box in her classroom. She throws random bits in there like mayonnaise jar lids, recycling stuff, egg cartons, tape, whatever and the kids get their time with the invention box, I have started the same thing with my daughter and created a Building Box. I throw random shit in there like coasters from a restaurant, recycling, straws, some of her school work and this colored masking tape. She goes to town building all sorts of contraptions.

Empack Travel & Fitness Backpack - $149

This backpack is awesome. I have it in orange and have been using it when I travel whether it to warm or cold climates. Mind you I’m not a fancy dresser by any means, but if you enjoy a good travel backpack, you’ll like this one. This backpack is built for WORKOUTS. Got a Crossfitter you need to buy for? Check out this bag. It has water reservoirs you can fill up to add wait to the bag. It has handles on all sides so you can use it sort of like a sand bag for workouts when you travel or hike. Really cool stuff for that fit him or her.

Airbnb Gift Card - $25+

Of course I can’t end a gift guide without the gift of travel and experiences! You’ll be hard pressed to find someone who won’t appreciate some mula toward their next Airbnb stay! And if your gift receiver is traveling to Cincinnati or Phoenix any time soon, you know where to send them. :)

Have anything to add to this list? Comment on this post so we can all learn about the coolest things!

My Update, Don’t Renovate Challenge is coming in January! Subscribe to join in and not miss a day! Your home will appreciate it.