Whether your children are going back to school, being home schooled, or participating in online learning, they’ll need a spot to feel inspired to do schoolwork and homework. Are you trying to keep their school work off the kitchen table? Why not turn your dining room into a homework station with these important supplies.

Turn Your Dining Room into a Homework Station

Dining Room Makeover – Homework/School Work Station

We’ve decided to sign our boys up for the online learning option in our school district. (I have great empathy for anyone who has to make the tough decision on where to school kids this year. This was a decision made based on lots of discussions with other parents, our children, and friends that are teachers.)

If we didn’t carve out a dedicated spot to work, our boys would either sit in bed all day, or spread out all over the kitchen table. In the past, all the books and notebooks ended up on the kitchen table until I asked my sons to put away their homework in time to serve dinner. I’ll admit, some nights I didn’t ask, but barked orders. Can you relate?

Besides cluttering the table we eat at, the kitchen table was not a space without distractions. Like most kitchens, ours is the hub of activity after 5pm. Brother may be watching TV in the adjacent living room, hubby might be on a phone, and I am usually cooking. Obviously, it wasn’t the best location for focused studying and work. Two years ago, after moving pencils and books off the kitchen table (for the umpteenth time), I came up with this plan:

Operation Dining Room Converted to Homework Station

dining room makeover into homework station

The idea was to create a space so organized and inviting that my boys would create better work habits and be able to plow through their school work efficiently. Here’s how I achieved the perfect school or homework station and freed up our kitchen table for other things…like eating!

Creating the Perfect Homework Station

If you create a space that is clean, organized, and comfortable; you can set your child up for good work habits from the start. Having a space that is neat prevents distractions and keeps your child more focused. Personally, I have a hard time working in a messy space. Normally I have to clear my desk completely before I can start writing or taking on a focused task.

To clear the clutter, put writing utensils and other necessary supplies in the center of the table in jars or trays. This puts things at your student’s fingertips and prevents the need to get up and get off track. (Obviously, sharpen those pencils ahead of time, and add eraser tops to any worn pencils.)

Supplies for a School/Homework Station

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

dining room table set with homework supplies pencils, paper, pens

You can use any tray or even an old tool box as a utensil organizer:

Get organized before the school year creeps up on you. This toolbox homework caddy will help your kids find everything they need. | Toolbox Homework Caddy

Papers Galore

In the center of the table is a paper tray filled with lots of looseleaf paper and 3×5 cards. I also salvaged paper from half-used spiral binders. My sons helped me tear the pages out and trim the ragged edges with a paper cutter. Now we have an endless supply of scratch paper and I don’t feel guilty having to throw away half-used notebooks.

The non-essential supplies are nearby on our dining room hutch.

calculator notebooks and other office supplies for homework station

A dish corrals the little things in one space keeping them neat and organized. Earbuds are also stored here for my teenagers who love to listen to music while they work (or maybe to help tune out brother or Dad on his Zoom calls.)

office supplies in pie dish

Proper Chairs

Making a space cozy and comfortable can be as easy as pulling up some upholstered dining chairs (if the seats are hard, just add cushions or pillows.) But, for a full day of learning, it is best to use comfortable and supportive office chairs. We just assembled two new office chairs for the boys (after they tested chairs at Office Depot and Staples. These are the two chairs we bought them for this year of virtual learning: (Dexley Mesh Task Chair and Brenton Radley Mesh Task Chair)

Brenton & Dexley Task Chairs

I completely understand if purchasing new chairs is out of your budget. If so, you can try scouring Craig’s List or Facebook Marketplace for a sturdy used chair. Don’t let the condition deter you, because you can always recover it following this tutorial:

For kids that have a hard time sitting still, you may want to let them try either a wobble stool or an exercise ball (with weighted bottom).

Decorating the School Work Space

Working in a space that has some decorations or art makes a space more appealing. Decorate the homework station with art, flowers, or anything that makes the space feel beautiful and relaxing.

dining room hutch with mark twain eat the frog quote

While decorating the room, I added a wood block calendar and a quote from Mark Twain. Have you heard this quote before?

Eat your frog first thing in the morning Mark twain quote

The gist of the message is to stop procrastinating. Do your least favorite task first thing in the morning and put the worst behind you. This leaves the rest of your day with tasks you don’t mind as much or with the tasks you actually enjoy doing. So, go ahead and eat your frog every morning.

If you like this quote, you can download the printable I made here:Eat your frog first thing in the morning Mark twain quoteSpeaking of eating, you can add snacks and water to the space if you feel it will help your kids avoid leaving to raid the pantry. Plus, if kids grab snacks in the kitchen, they are more likely to set up their workspace there. Snacks already accessible lure them into the homework station and keep them there. Don’t forget to keep fresh water close by. All those salty snacks can make you thirsty.

homework station complete with drink dispenser and snacks

This space has been perfect for my sons to use for focused homework time. I don’t know why I didn’t change the dining room (which rarely gets used) into a more usable space sooner. But, now that we have signed them both up for the online virtual academy, I’ll be creating a second space for my other son. Having a high schooler and a middle schooler means they each need to be able to focus on their work.

dining room reused as homework station also good for home schooling

I’ll be sharing an update on how we are turning the guest room into another school/study zone.

Now, speaking of my sons, here comes my oldest now.

motion blur of boy coming home from school

He loves having a spot to spread out and get his homework done. He has asked me to cut a piece of plexiglass or masonite to top this rustic farmhouse table, because it’s a little too rustic to be a smooth writing surface.

boy doing homework at table with school supplies in foreground

What about dinner guests, you ask? If at some point we have family or close friends over, I can move the supplies onto the hutch and set the table for dinner. Or we could serve Chinese and let our guests use pencils instead of chopsticks. LOL.

Do you have a homework/school work space set up in your home? Where is it? Did I forget to include anything in this functional space?

If you liked the dining room makeover, you might like to see it decorated for the holidays:

Colorful Fall Dining Room:

Pretty Handy Girl Fall Tablescape 2016

Christmas Tablescape:

Holiday Home Tour 2016 | Pretty Handy Girl

If the birds are out in your area, chances are they are looking for a place to nest. Try your hand at doodle-painting a cute little birdhouse to help them start a family. Who knows, they may be lurking in your yard like a depressed House Hunter’s couple who can’t get past the color on your neighbor’s birdhouse. Check out this cute Doodle-Painted Birdhouse.

Doodle Painted Birdhouse

Doodle-Painted Birdhouse

Have you lost your mind Brittany? This looks like a Christmas tutorial in May? No, I haven’t lost my mind and yes, this is May (for those of us who have lost track of the days. But, this is the perfect project for anyone who has a simple birdhouse that needs sprucing up for those discerning House Hunter birds.

Although I created this little painted birdhouse to function as a tree topper, you can forgo drilling a hole in the bottom and add a hook to have a fully functional birdhouse for those bird watchers in your home.

This is a project you can do for fun or meditation. And kids can also get in the fun. All you need is some acrylic paint and a paint pen and you can have a blast making this Doodle-Painted Birdhouse for yourself or as a gift.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Optional:

 

Instructions:

Spray prime the unfinished birdhouse and allow it to dry thoroughly.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Sketch a star shape on the sides of the birdhouse. Mark the location where you wish to drill holes. (If you are using this for an outdoor birdhouse, it’s nice to have a little ventilation for the house. But, feel free to skip this step if you wish.)

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

If your birdhouse is a double-decker, you will probably want to drill holes through the sides at angle and down into the first floor roof. This will allow some of the light to come through the top story holes as well.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

For Tree Topper Only:

Mark the center location on the bottom and drill a 5/8″ hole through the bottom of the birdhouse. (Skip this step if you want a functional birdhouse.)

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Dump any wood shavings out of the birdhouse. Set up the birdhouse on the drop cloth for painting.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Paint the sides of the birdhouse red (or any color you like.)

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Paint the roof, steeple, and perches gold. Add a star and tree shape on the sides to accentuate the drilled hole patterns.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

After the gold and red paint has dried completely, use the white paint pen to doodle-paint all over the birdhouse.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Afraid to Doodle-Paint?

Nonsense, there is no rhyme or reason to the doodling, just make lots of little curly q’s, c’s, and loops. You can start by outlining the window structures. Then embellish them. Regardless of your doodle-painting style, it’s important to have fun!

You can see how I used the same technique on the chalkboard ornaments on my Feathered Nest Christmas Tree and they came out really cute.

Doodle Chalkboard Ornament | Pretty Handy Girl

When the paint pen lines have dried, add a few coats of an outdoor sealant.

Birdhouse Tree Topper:

You can use it as a tree topper by feeding the top branch(es) into the hole on the bottom of the birdhouse.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Outdoor Birdhouse:

Add the screw eye hook and hang the birdhouse from a tree in your yard.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Décor Birdhouse:

If you simply want to display your birdhouse as décor, set a little battery-powered light inside the hole in the bottom and enjoy a homey birdhouse on a shelf.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Want to decorate your birdhouse more? You can see how I created this little Christmas painted birdhouse and embellished the roof.

Christmas Wreath handpainted birdhouse | Pretty Handy Girl

Doodle-painted birdhouses are adorable gifts and very frugal. Make it May is almost over, but stay tuned for one more project!

PHGFancySign

Pin for later!

How to Make a Painted Bird House Tree Topper | Pretty Handy Girl

A common decor item with farmhouse style is a wood serving tray. Trays are an easy way to add style and function. This DIY Farmhouse Style Serving Tray with handles is so easy to create, I can’t wait to show you how it’s done!

DIY Farmhouse Industrial Serving TrayDIY Farmhouse Style Serving Tray

Hi there! Chelsea here from Making Manzanita, where it’s all about making your house a home! I’m so excited to be with you today. I love renovating and incorporating farmhouse style decor into our home. One of the easiest ways to decorate is with a serving tray. You can set it on a coffee table to protect surfaces from drinks, use it to style with a plant and a candle, or use it for serving!

Let’s get busy making this super easy DIY Farmhouse Style Serving Tray!

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Instructions:

Step 1: Paint edges of wood

Using a foam brush, paint the edges of your wood with black acrylic craft paint. You may be wondering why this is the first step. I didn’t love the freshly cut raw edges of the wood I used. To give the serving tray a distressed industrial farmhouse feel, I painted the cut ends and corners with black paint.

painting wood slats with black paint

Step 2: Emphasize the texture of the wood to add character

If the wood you use for your farmhouse wood tray has a raised wood grain, dip your paintbrush into the black paint and lightly run over the top for a rustic look. This step enhances the rustic texture of the wood.

foam dry brushing black onto wood siding

If your wood has a smooth surface, you can get a similar look by using a dry brush technique with a bristle brush. This works best if you use an old, ratty-looking bristle paintbrush. You put a little bit of paint on the brush and then wipe most of it off on a rag or paper towels, so the brush is essentially dry. Then lightly run the paintbrush over the top of the wood. The result is an enhanced grain pattern and a distressed farmhouse look!

Step 3: Assemble farmhouse wood tray

Once the paint has dried, it’s time to assemble your farmhouse wood tray. Start by laying out the three larger pieces of wood horizontally. Next lay the smaller pieces of wood on top vertically at each edge. Allow about 1 inch from the edge of the tray.

brad nail gun laying on top of assembled wood tray

Before you start nailing, make sure everything is square. Use a nail gun to nail the smaller pieces of wood into the larger from the top of the tray with a couple of nails into each board.

Step 4: Add handles

Measure the center of the vertical pieces and lay painter’s tape on top of them. Measure the width of your cabinet pull and mark where the holes should be drilled on top of the tape. The painter’s tape helps you see the marks on darker wood.

mark handle sides centered on tray

Line up your drill bit (match the diameter of the bit to the handle screws) on the marks and drill holes through both pieces of wood on your serving tray.

To get a flat surface on the bottom of the farmhouse wood tray, use a countersink bit on the underside of the tray. (If you don’t have a countersink bit, use a larger drill bit to create a recess for the screw heads to sink into. This helps protect any surfaces you set the wood tray on from getting scratched.

Countersink drilled into wood tray bottom

Flip the tray over and admire your new farmhouse style industrial serving tray.

rustic gray painted wood farmhouse tray

You can stop here, but to add a monogram, keep reading.

Step 5: Cut stencil

Using a vinyl cutting machine, design your monogram and cut your stencil.

Budget Tip: Use contact paper from the Dollar Tree as a cheap one-time-use stencil material.

adhesive shelf paper for vinyl stencil

To recreate a monogram like mine with an industrial farmhouse style, here are the details:

  • Font: Baskerville Old Face
  • Font Size: 489
  • Circles were created by drawing two circles with the shape tool around the letter

Step 6. Apply stencil

Cut and apply transfer tape to fit over your stencil. (Using transfer tape will help keep everything lined up and centered as you’ve designed it.)

weed excess vinyl from letter J stencil

Peel the stencil and transfer tape off the backing and remove the part of the design that you would like painted (in my case, this is the circle border and the letter).

remove transfer paper from adhesive stencil

Measure the center of your serving tray and press down your stencil. Carefully peel the transfer tape away from the stencil. (I found that the ghost wood I was using didn’t really “grab” the stencil very well, so this part was kind of tricky for me. If you’re using a smoother wood, it should be a little easier.)

center adhesive stencil on tray

Step 7: Seal stencil

There’s a magic step that I use for all of my wood signs and stencil projects that prevent stencils from bleeding. Before painting the stencil, seal it with Mod Podge. Rub a little Mod Podge over the stencil edges once it’s adhered to your wood. Wait for it to dry to the touch before painting (usually about 15-20 minutes).

seal edges of stencil with mod podge

You can read more here about this awesome hack for how to stencil on wood. (I did find that this rough ghost wood required more Mod Podge than normal because of the grooves in the wood and the stencil not sticking as well as it normally does.)

Step 8: Paint over stencil

Once the Mod Podge is dry, paint over the stencil with acrylic craft paint using a foam paintbrush. Blotting the paintbrush up and down many times rather than brushing across the stencil will prevent the paint from bleeding under the stencil.

painted letter j on tray

Step 9: Remove stencil

When you’re done painting, you can peel up the stencil immediately except in areas where there are small intricate details that may smudge. In those cases, wait until the paint is dry to the touch before removing the stencil entirely.

remove stencil

Look at those nice crisp paint lines! So pretty!

finished rustic wood serving tray with J monogram in circle

Step 10: Seal serving tray

To protect your serving tray, seal it before use with 2-3 coats of a spray sealer.

J Monogram Rustic wood serving tray

There you have it! A DIY Farmhouse Style Serving Tray with handles that adds style and function to your decor!

Industrial pipe handles on serving tray

I love the industrial vibes that the handles and the gray textured wood bring to this serving tray.

The best part about this wood farmhouse tray is that no one else will have one exactly like it (just one of the many reasons I love making my own home decor).

farmhouse serving tray close up view. Letter J Monogram

Next time a friend comes over for a cup of coffee, you can grab this serving tray with handles to serve up coffee and snacks.

Farmhouse rustic wood serving tray on couch

She’ll surely ask where you got such a cute wood tray. You’ll answer proudly that you made it yourself!

rustic wood serving tray on black couch, pillows in background

Thanks for joining me today while I showed you how to make this DIY Farmhouse Style Serving Tray.

Chelsea - Making Manzanita

My name is Chelsea and I am the founder of Making Manzanita (www.MakingManzanita.com). I’ve found that many women don’t know how to start decorating or updating their homes, which is why my passion is helping others make their house a home they love. At my blog, Making Manzanita, my readers enjoy decor inspiration, craft & DIY tutorials written in plain English and simple homemaking advice to run their homes more efficiently. One of the things my readers love most is my perspective of working with what you have because your house doesn’t have to be perfect to feel like home.

I’m mama to the most adorable little man (with a little baby girl coming soon!) and wife to my DIY partner. We love our life in the beautiful Central Oregon as we continue our journey to renovate our 2nd fixer upper. We love to inspire others with budget-friendly renovation projects, like our faux shiplap wall and wood air conditioner cover made with pallets.

You can connect with me on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest.

What a great tutorial! If you like this DIY farmhouse tray, I know you’ll also love these other DIY trays:

How to Build a Quick DIY Tray & Gift Box | Pretty Handy Girl

DIY Wood Slat Tray and Gift Box

 

DIY Scrap Moulding Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

DIY Scrap Moulding Tray

 

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray

Look around your house or the next time you’re at a thrift shop. Find either an unpainted tray or a tray that needs a makeover. This is a quick project to create a Painted Trays with Scrapbook Lining for a beautiful and elegant tray to display or organize things in your home.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

Painted Trays with Scrapbook Lining

Today I have a really adorable and easy DIY idea for you! Scrapbook paper lined and painted trays. These trays are so versatile, they can be used in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, or anywhere you want to corral items or have a flat surface available. And best of all, you can change their look in a snap.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

As I mentioned above unfinished trays can be purchased at many places. If you want a new one, look at your local craft supply store or order one online on Amazon for cheap.

You’ll also want some decorative scrapbook paper, gift wrap, or fabric to line the bottom of your tray.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

Materials:

Instructions:

Lightly sand and wipe off tray with a damp rag.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

Prime tray (if using non-chalk paint.) Paint tray desired color. For this tray I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French Linen.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

After the paint has dried, brush antiquing wax onto your tray if desired. Buff off excess with a dry rag.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut scrapbook paper to fit inside the tray. When overlapping paper, make sure to line up the repeating pattern.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

For the best durability, line the tray with a piece of plexiglass cut to fit inside the tray. (Ask your local home improvement store to cut or order online.)

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

The paper you use to line the tray doesn’t have to necessarily be scrapbook paper. I got this paper from Ballard Designs. It’s actually cheese paper, but I loved the design. It doesn’t quite match up, so I just rotated the paper.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

When you put something on top of the tray, you hardly notice the seam.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

The nifty thing about these trays is the decorative paper can be swapped out when you bore of the design.

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

Once again, I’m loving this idea too much…I might be keeping this one for myself ;-).

Scrapbook Paper Lined Painted Trays | Pretty Handy Girl

Do tell me, are you enjoying the Make It May series?

Check back tomorrow for yet another great DIY gift idea!

PHGFancySign

Pin for later!

DIY Painted Trays with Scrapbook Lining | Pretty Handy Girl

Can you think of anything more spring-like than a nest full of blue eggs? Today I want to show you how to make Faux Blue Speckled Bird Eggs and a Nest!

Faux Blue Bird Eggs and Nest

Spring has arrived in North Carolina and I want to dance and sing and tiptoe through the tulips. Now that Valentine’s Day has come and gone, it is the perfect time to start decorating for Easter! A nest of Blue Speckled Bird Eggs makes a beautiful centerpiece! Mother Robin sure does create beautiful blue eggs, but we’d never think of disturbing those precious eggs.

Instead, I’ll show you how to turn regular chicken eggs…

…into a beautiful nest of blue speckled eggs to decorate for Easter or Spring.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Instructions:

It’s time to get messy. Put down a drop cloth or tarp to cover your work area (and beyond.) First, I’ll show you a magic trick! Learn how to remove the white and yolk out of eggs without breaking the shell. Rest an egg inside the empty carton. Gently tap a nail into the top of your egg.

Turn the egg upside down and put another hole into the other side. Typically you’ll need one hole slightly larger.

Faux Robin's Egg Spring Nest | Pretty Handy Girl

Pucker up and blow through the smaller hole until the egg white and yolk drain out the larger bottom hole. (Of course, you’ll probably want to save the eggs for omelets or scrambled eggs.)

Once you have emptied your eggs, clean them off. Then close your egg carton and flip it upside down to create a raised support for your eggs.

Faux Robin's Egg Spring Nest | Pretty Handy Girl

Gather your blue, black, and white acrylic paints. Paint the egg a robin’s egg blue color and allow them to dry.

Put on rubber gloves. Pour a small amount of black acrylic paint onto a paper plate. Add a little water to create a runny consistency. Dip the toothbrush into the paint mixture. Aim the toothbrush at the eggs and stroke your finger along the bristles to spatter black dots all over the eggs.

Allow the black speckles to dry and repeat the process using the white paint.

While the eggs are drying, pull out your pasta maker. (Am I the only one who never uses my pasta maker for making pasta?) Cut the paper bag into sections wide enough to fit into the pasta maker.

Feed the paper bag through the pasta maker to shred it. (You can shred the bag with a paper shredder or scissors if you don’t have a pasta maker.) Arrange the shreds into a nest form in a bowl, urn, or basket.

Set your faux blue bird eggs into the nest and admire your beautiful Spring décor!

This centerpiece can be left out until you are tired of looking at it. Then store the eggs in the carton and bring them out again next year.

 

Have a great week! I hope the weather is warming up where you are!

 

Pin for later!

This DIY nest of Blue Bird Eggs makes a beautiful centerpiece for your Easter decor! | DIY Easter table centerpiece | Pretty Handy Girl #prettyhandygirl #easterdecor #tablecenterpiece

Mid-Century Modern design is a trend that is sweeping the design world by storm. While researching lighting options for Millie’s Remodel, I curated a list of possible light fixtures. Here are some of my favorite mid-century modern lighting options.


Mid-Century Modern Lighting Options for Millie’s Remodel

Mid-Century Modern design style is filled with sleek lines, golds, wood tones, and shapes reminiscent of galactic constellations. While looking for lighting options for the Millie’s Remodel house, I spent a fair amount of time curating lighting to fit with the modern style. Luckily I found a fair amount of light options and a few ceiling fans that would look perfect in any mid-century modern house.

Disclosure: Kichler Lighting is a Millie’s Remodel gold sponsor. I was provided with complimentary fixtures for the house. 

Mid-Century Chandeliers

Chandeliers are often the focal point in a room and for good reason. Typically they are larger in size, elegance, and number of light bulbs than other fixtures in the home. Why not steal the show with one of these mid-century modern style chandeliers?

Aura 7 Light Chrome Chandelier | Pim 6 Light Oval Chandelier | Cirus Wood Pendant Style Chandelier | Eris 8 Light Nickel Chandelier | Branches 7 Light Chandelier | Linara 6 Light Black Shade Chandelier | Armstrong 8 Light Chandelier | Trentino 9 Light Chandelier | Alden 6 Light Chandelier | Maclain Brass Shade Light

 

Mid-Century Modern Pendant Lights

Pendant lights might be my favorite light fixtures after chandeliers. With their smaller size, pendants can fit perfectly over a sink, paired in a set of two on either side of a mirror, or in groupings over an island or bar. These are some great options for Mid-Century Modern pendant lights.

Mid-Century Modern Pendant Lights

Kordan Matte Black Hourglass Pendant | Elias 14″ Black Penant Light | Alscar 4 Light Foyer Pendant | Taubert 3 Light Foyer Pendant | Rocklyn Hexahedron Pendant | Antonia 1 Light Chrome LED Pendant | 1 Light Undulating Line Bronze Pendant | Maclain Brass Pendant Light | Sorno Mini Gold Pendant Light

 

Mid-Century Modern Ceiling Lights

When you have low ceilings, flush mount and semi-flush mount light fixtures are a necessity. Meet a whole crop of beautiful mid-century modern inspired ceiling lights.

Mid-Century Modern Flush and Semi-Flush Mount Ceiling Lights

Trentino 4 Light Brass Lights | Alscar 4 Light Semi-Flush Light | Taubert 4 Light Square Light | Alton Flush Mount Light | Sylvia Brass Rail Light | Sorno 3 Light Semi-Flush Mount | Beckenham 2 Light Chrome Cube Light | Armstrong 3 Light Brass Flush Mount Light

Mid-Century Modern Wall-Mounted Lights & Sconces

Bathrooms are the primary location for wall-mounted lights, but look close for other opportunities to use wall-mounted lights. Sconces are right at home on either side of a window, doorway, or to add lighting on a staircase. Regardless of where you want to install them, here are some great options for mid-century modern wall-mount lights.

Mid Century Modern Wall Mounted Sconce Lights

Alden Brass 1 Light Sconce | Indeco Linear Bar | Jasper 3 Light Bath Light | Linara Black Wall Sconce | Armstrong Brass 2 Light Sconce | Kordan 2 Light Wall Sconce | Charter Black Sculpture Wall Sconce | Pim 1 Light Gold Wall Sconce | Beryl 3 Light Vanity Light

 

Mid-Century Modern Ceiling Fans

Those of us that live in warmer climates know sometimes you need a ceiling fan paired with your light. There’s nothing like a hot and humid evening to encourage some airflow over your skin to cool off. Below are several sources for ceiling fans that pair nicely with mid-century modern furniture and fixures.

mid-century ceiling fan options

Bisc LED Fan Polished Nickel & Black Fan |Lucian 52″ LED Old Bronze Fan | Ridley II 52″ Brass & Wood Fan | Flyy LED 60″ Fan Olde Bronze | Jace 60″ Walnut Fan | ArkWright Customizable Fan Motor | Incus 56″ Bronze & Brass Fan | Zenith 60″ Polished Nickel & Black Fan

 

Are you embracing the mid-century modern design trend? I’d love to hear which are your favorites.

Disclosure: Kichler Lighting is a Millie’s Remodel gold sponsor. I was provided with complimentary fixtures for the house. 

The kitchen at Millie’s Remodel has been opened up by removing a wall and the moldy drywall and subfloor have been replaced. Now it’s time for me to start thinking about the kitchen design elements for this very important space.

Millie’s Remodel: Kitchen Design

Do you remember what the kitchen looked like when I first started working on Millie’s Remodel? The room was closed off and had two doorways from the house plus a back door.

The wall behind the refrigerator needed to come down in my opinion. This would allow for a much more open concept.

After tearing down that corner wall, it was amazing how much more light flooded into the kitchen area. Plus, it made the kitchen feel more spacious.

view into kitchen showing half wall for bar top

You may recall I worked with a local designer to create a fresh vision of the kitchen layout.

kitchen layout of Millie's Remodel project

Pencil sketch of Millie's Remodel Kitchen

 

I still have some issues to contend with (like a very sloped kitchen sub-floor). But first I need to create a design plan for the kitchen. A design board will allow me to order cabinets, lighting, and other fixtures. I am leaning toward a mid-century modern vibe in this house, especially since it was built in 1957. Simple fixtures and graphic lines will maintain a minimalist modern look.

Sources:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Floating Shelves (DIY) | Misha Hex Tiles | Rocklyn Pendant LightsGold Kitchen Faucet | Via Lactea Granite | Schlage Black Modern Door LeverCharleston Driftwood Cabinets | Gold Cabinet Pulls

I’m excited to start putting this Humpty Dumpty of a kitchen back together soon and see the finishes installed. I think they’ll look beautiful together. What do you think?

P.s. Schlage, and Kichler are sponsors of the Millie’s Remodel project. I am so grateful for their support of this project.

A special thank you to the Millie’s Remodel Sponsors:

The Millie’s Remodel project sponsors have donated materials for the Millie’s Remodel project. As you know I am very particular about the brands I work with and recommend. As a general contractor, I choose the products used on my projects wisely to make sure they last a lifetime. Therefore, I have no reservations putting my name behind each and every one of these sponsors.

millies remodel sponsors logos

10 Unique Ways to Decorate for Valentine's Day | Pretty Handy Girl

Valentine’s Day is around the corner. It’s time to put away your Christmas decorations and welcome some romance into your home. You could surround your home with bouquets of roses, but who wants to spend money on flowers that don’t last more than a few days. Instead I’d love to share with you 10 Unique Ways to Decorate for Valentine’s Day.

All You Need is...Valentine String Art | Pretty Handy Girl

Grab some scrap wood, a few nails and string to make this All You Need is Love String Art.

Make wool roses out of old sweaters, some branches, and scrapbook paper.
Plus, learn how I used these flowers somewhere else.

Make a book page rose for your mantle using an old book and a ceiling medallion.

Make this adorable house shaped door decor with a few scrap wood pieces and some paint.

Who knew PVC pipe could look this good? With some paint and hot glue, you can easily make this heart decoration for Valentine's Day!

Decorating for Valentine’s Day can be as simple as hitting up your local plumbing parts store. What? Click here to make a gorgeous PVC Heart.

 

For a rustic look, learn how to make a wood slice heart.

Do you have some scrap fabric and maybe a placemat lying around?
That’s all you need to make a garden flag out of a Dollar Store placemat.

DIY Wooden Arrows

Conjure cupid-themed art by making this DIY Wooden Arrow. Luckily, this art is perfect for displaying well beyond February.

A coat hanger and ribbon seem an unlikely pair for a wreath, but you’ll see how combined they make a beautiful Double Ribbon Wreath.

Why does your home have to have all the romantic decor?
You can make your neck happy with this pretty DIY Leather Heart Necklace.

Of all these decorating ideas, which is your favorite from the 10 Unique Ways to Decorate for Valentine’s Day?

How-to-faux-paint-a-fake-pumpkinHow to Fake a Fake Pumpkin

Have you seen those neon orange fake pumpkins and nearly vomited because you wouldn’t dream of decorating with them. I mean—get real—everyone would know they were fake. Ah ha, but have you seen the price tags? $1 – $6? For that price you might just be willing to take a leap of faith with me, wouldn’t you? Awesome, because I’m going to show you how to faux paint a fake pumpkin so you can decorate with them year after year and fool your friends.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

materials

Instructions:

Start by painting all the pumpkins with Chalk Paint (use gray, white, green and blue paint.) Allow the pumpkins to dry.

paint-pumpkins-french-linen

Painting Realistic White Pumpkins:

It helps to look up some pictures of real pumpkins to refer to.

pure-white-country-grey

Using the stencil brush, paint a mixture of grey and white on one of the pumpkins.

paint-white-mixture

Before the paint dries, dab some of it off with the sea sponge. (Keep your sea sponge dry, not wet during the process.)

sponge-off-white

Dip the stencil brush into the white paint and add paint on the outer most bumps on the pumpkins. This is adding highlights.

highlights_on-white-pumpkin

Dab the highlights gently with the sea sponge to blend.

sponge-off-white-2

Use the fan brush dipped in a small amount of green paint inside the pumpkin ridges. Dab the ridges with the sea sponge to blend.

white-gourd-pumpkin

Have you ever seen a truly unblemished pumpkin? I think not. It’s time to add some spots or marks on the pumpkin to truly fool your friends. Dip the end of the paint brush into brown paint and dot it onto the pumpkin. Blot the spot with a sea sponge and maybe even transfer a few new spots with the sponge.

add-blemishes

Paint grey around the base of the stem and into the grooves with the round paint brush.

add-dark-depth-around-stem

Paint brown and green paint onto the pumpkin stem. Blend slightly with the sea sponge.

paint-sponge-stem

Can you spot my fake white pumpkin? Well, of course you can because I just showed you how to paint it. But, it will definitely fool your friends!

grouping_left_pumpkins

Painting Realistic Blue Pumpkins:

Painting blue pumpkins uses the same technique as painting the white pumpkins, only using a few different colors.

Use the stencil brush to paint blue onto another pumpkin. Dab the blue paint while it’s still wet with the sea sponge.

add-duck-egg-blue-sponge

Use the fan brush dipped in gray and brown craft paint to fill in the ridges.

darken-crevices

Dab the paint with the dry sea sponge to blend.

sponge-crevices

Add some highlights with a mixture of grey and white. This serves two purposes. 1) It adds dimension. 2) It tones down the excess blue on the pumpkin.

add-highlights

Paint the stem the same way you learned above.

To truly fool people, set up your fake pumpkins with some real pumpkins and real gourds. Sooo, can you spot the fakes?

guess-the-fakes

How many did you get right? The metallic gourd is simply spray-painted with copper spray paint. But, I did try my hand at faking a green and yellow gourd using the same technique as the pumpkins, but adding green to the top and yellow to the bottom.

the_fakes

Okay, I’ll give you a second shot. Guess the fakes:

vertical-fall-vignette

How did you do this time? Ha, you can now apply for a job as an art forgery detective ;-).

truth_fake_gourds
Now seriously, how many people will be viewing your pumpkins that close? Umm, next to no one. Normally they’ll view them from afar.

full-living-room-shot

Get your paints and palette out and go fake some fakes! It will be our little secret.

fall-vignette-grouping

PHGFancySignDid you like this painting post? Ahhh, then I know you’ll like this Ballard Pear painting tutorial:

Or if you’re feeling like taking on a larger scale project…how about Faux painted bricks!

Or perhaps you’d like to perform some faux zinc painting magic:

You can do it! I know you can.

How to Choose Color Harmonies | Pretty Handy Girl
Color Harmony in Decorating

One of the most frequent complaints from homeowners is struggling to choose colors for their home. When you walk into the paint store, the color selection can seem overwhelming. Choosing a rug or furniture can be equally daunting. Today I’ll give you some tips and tricks for creating color harmony in home decorating. You’ll learn a little knowledge about color theory, complements and harmonies that make choosing colors much easier. Plus, you can use the same theories in almost any visual field. From  graphic design and web design to choosing your outfit for a big event. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to put together pleasing color palettes with ease.

I’m sure you’ve stumbled across art, paintings or photos that use visually stunning color palettes. Chances are that the artist or designer put thought into each color and how they work together. Let me introduce you to color relationships and harmonies!

You’ve heard the term complementary colors, but do you know what defines a complement? Here are the definitions of the various color relationships or harmonies and some great sample palettes you can use in your home!

Complementary Colors:

One of my favorite color combinations are the gorgeous pinks in a bouquet of peonies paired with an aquamarine ball jar.  Something about this palette stops me in my tracks every time! The reason this pair grabs my attention is that those two colors are complementary.

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo courtesy of Two Twenty One

Red/orange and blue/green are directly across from each other on the color wheel which makes them complementary or a perfect pair. (Kind of like wine and chocolate…right?!)

Complementary Color Palettes

Here is another example of a complementary color palette. Blue and orange are stunning together. All the blues are balanced by a few pieces of fiery orange that demand attention in Sarah Richardson’s nursery below.

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo courtesy of Sarah Richardson via HGTV.ca

Complementary Color Palettes

 Split Complementary Colors:

Elise from Grow Creative is my newest favorite eye candy blog. She is a watercolor artist and photographer. You should definitely subscribe to her blog for a visual pick me up every time she posts! Her watercolor painting of a cactus contains a great example of the split complementary relationship.

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo courtesy of Grow Creative

Although, she only used a little of the bright red-orange color at the tips of the cactus, the bright color holds its own opposite the blue and green split. Without the orange, this painting would still be beautiful with an analogous palette (see the explanation of an analogous palette here.)

Split Complementary Color Palettes

In the photo below of the Thistle from Grow Creative, the opposing colors have a wonderful split complementary relationship.

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo courtesy of Grow Creative

The purples and green steal the show for sure, but the small hint of yellow gives this photo more complexity.

Split Complementary Color Palettes

Analogous Colors:

While attending the La-Z-Boy event, I fell in love with Beth from Home Stories A to Z’s room design. The dark and light contrast of the navy with the crisp white doors stole my heart for sure. But, the decor colors really complete this stunning palette.

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo courtesy of Home Stories A to Z

The key colors in her room are navy, light green and yellow. The white and grays are neutral therefore, they work with any color. Together you have a great example of an analogous palette.

Analogous color harmony | Pretty Handy Girl

Another example of an analogous palette is seen in this photo of a paper floral table runner by Fiskars:

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo courtesy of Fiskars

Choose colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel for a gorgeous analogous palette. These colors together are sunny, warm, energetic, but most of all harmonious.

Analogous Color Harmony | Pretty Handy Girl

Tetrad and Triad Palettes: 

Now we’re getting into a few of the more complex palettes. They aren’t hard to use, but do require a little more thought in terms of amounts and value. The bold palette in this dining room works well because they are presented against a neutral black and white backdrop.

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo courtesy of John David Edison Interior Design in Toronto, ON

The blue, yellow and pink colors form a perfect triangle on the color wheel making them a great example of a triad relationship.

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl

This bouquet my husband gave me for my birthday is a wonderful example of a Tetrad palette at work.

Tetrad Color Hamonies Split Compliment Color Palette | Pretty Handy Girl

The four colors (red/yellow/blue-violet/green) are equally spaced on the color wheel. Using all these colors in a room design can be gorgeous, but you should choose one main color and a secondary color that will dominate and let the other two colors take up less visual space. As an alternative, you could balance the bold colors with a large amount of a neutral color(s) as shown in the dining room above.

Tetrad Color Hamonies Split Compliment Color Palette | Pretty Handy Girl

Monochromatic:

After explaining some complex color relationships, I wanted to leave you with a very simple palette. The monochromatic palette is comprised of one color used throughout a room with differing values (shades of that one color achieved by adding white or black.)

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl

My screen porch has a monochromatic palette. Using a variety of shades of blue with white creates a calming palette that’s easy on the eyes (and invites one to sit for a while and relax.)

Monochromatic Palette | Pretty Handy Girl

For a little more punch, you can pair one color with black and white.

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo Courtesy of MintSix Boutique Homewares and Styling in New Zealand

Mint Six Boutique creates a beautiful example of a monochromatic palette with several shades of red and coral in this bedroom.

Monochromatic Palette | Pretty Handy Girl

The coral color steals the show, but is highlighted by the contrasting black and white in the room. Using strong contrasts in your home are sure to create visual impact.

Where to Get a Color Wheel:

Creating new color palettes is easy if you use a color wheel. You can purchase a color wheel on Amazon for less than $10! Once you have one, you can use it to choose colors for a room palette, coordinate your outfit for a big event, tablescapes, logo design and much more.

Artists Color Wheel | Pretty Handy Girl

Before you have one of these great color tools on hand, you can visit ColourLovers. It is a website that allows you to browse color palettes:

ColourLovers.com | Pretty Handy Girl

(Feel free to follow me on COLOURlovers, as I upload my new favorite color palettes.)

Or you can create your own palettes. One of the best tools on their site is Copaso (found under tools). You can use it to upload pictures and/or create color palettes from scratch. To see suggested complements and harmonies, select one of the buttons below the color wheel.

Copaso color palette | Pretty Handy Girl

Find photos that have color palettes you love (Houzz and Pinterest are two great places to start). Then upload the photo in the Copaso program. The program lets you pixelate the photo so you can select exact colors (you can also fine tune the hue and value until you reach your desired color.)

Copaso Pixelate Picture | Pretty Handy Girl

I uploaded this beautiful seaside home from Houzz to create a new palette of seaside colors that appeal to me:

How to Choose Colors in Your Home | Pretty Handy Girl
Photo Courtesy of Donna Elle Seaside Living in Nantucket, MA

Next time you are thinking about shopping for home decor, paint colors or furniture, have a plan before you go. Use color harmonies and complements to help you solidify your color palette. Planning ahead will help avoid that overwhelmed feeling.

Pin this post to refer to next time you are trying to figure out good color harmonies!

How to Choose Color Harmonies | Pretty Handy Girl

Enjoy picking fabulous color palettes from now on!

PHGFancySign