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    Affordable Christmas Mantels at 3 Pricepoints

    In our little corner of the world, winter is here and Christmas is coming. This morning there was a windchill of -1 (what!) and all I want to do is decorate my house for the holidays, eat soup, and listen to Bing Crosby.

    To hold myself over, I'm planning our Christmas mantel (and some fictitious ones too) and turning them into shopping guides at three price points - $60, $100, and $200. Build a fire, have a look, and get your shop on!


    $60 Holiday Mantel

    How to Style a Christmas Mantel for $60

    Photo: Tracey Ayton

    My favorite thing about this mantel is the color palette. I love the peachy, blush-colored accents mixed with the traditional Christmas greens. The garland situation is level 10, and probably costs a whole lotta clams. But, the idea is totally replicatable (I just made that word up) for a fraction of the cost. 

    Christmas Mantel for $60


    $100 Holiday Mantel

    How to Style a Scandinavian Christmas Mantel for $100

    Photo: Martha Stewart

    I was raised on straight-up Scandinavian Christmases.  Lefsa, lingonberries, and lutefisk. My mom still lovingly prepares the same Swedish Christmas Eve meal she's been cooking for the entire 38 years I've been alive. Therefore, when I see a well done Scandinavian Christmas mantel, I give it a little wink of approval. Straw sunbursts and snowflakes are not my favorite look, but IKEA's vast collection of paper stars are - and they're affordable.  

    Scandinavian Christmas Mantel for $100


    $200 Holiday Mantel

    Christmas Mantel Styled for $200

    Photo: Anthropologie


    Sometimes the simple things are the best things. And sometimes they're the most expensive. The swaggy mantel garland in the above photo is abundant and from a Sherwood Forest-like dream. I love it so. And those brass candlesticks are probably two-hundred years old and straight outta Monticello. But, you can modernize the look a bit for just under $200. We own several sets of those glass taper holders from CB2 and they are glorious and whimsical. 

    Christmas Mantel for $200


    If you're feeling all the Christmas decoration feels, tell me about your plans to deck your halls in the comments below!

    Holiday Mantel Shopping Guide: 3 Mantels at 3 Affordable Pricepoint



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    When we started Curbly in 2006, saying that your job was 'blogging' was a recipe for confusion. Lots of people didn't even know what a blog was. Fast forward a decade or so, and blogging as a profession is so well-accepted that you probably have a blogger or two living in your own neighborhood. That why we were excited, but not entirely surprised, when we discovered that prolific food bloggers Bjork and Lindsay Ostrom, from PinchofYum, lived about a mile from us.

    Bjork and Lindsay are famous for their gorgeously-photographed recipes (their chocolate-chip-cookies are the best), and for helping hundreds of new bloggers get their start through their FoodBloggerPro program (seriously: it basically teaches you to be a blogger). 

    Today, we're excited to share a tour of Bjork and Lindsay's bedroom, which they recently finished remodeling. When we met up with these two to talk about their space, they were well on their way to designing it. They'd chosen paint colors, laid flooring, and picked out the major pieces, so styling was the main thing they were looking for help with, and we were more than happy to oblige.

    Here's a look at how we styled the space, along with some of Lindsay's take-aways from the whole remodeling process: 


    How would you describe your style?

    Bringing your style to life is difficult on your own, but it's even more difficult when you're combining two styles to create a shared space. 

    Our combined style is somewhere between Scandinavian, Mid-Century, and Urban Modern, with Bjork leaning more towards the clean-ness of minimalist Scandinavian and mine leaning more towards warmth of Mid-Century Modern.

    Our indecision on a handful of the final design style decisions was the main reason we reached out to our Curbly friends to step in and help us lock in a few of the finishing touches. We needed Curbly to give us some suggestions and point us in the right direction, which they did!

    Why did you to transform an attic into a master bedroom?

    We live in a Post-War Cape Cod, which we didn't know was a thing until we bought it. As HGTV describes it, these houses are "are more functional than fun."

    Small closets, small bathroom, small rooms ... you get the idea.

    We love the house and especially love the neighborhood, but when we had friends over, or guests staying with us, we really felt the "small and functional" side of the house, especially given the fact that we all were sharing one bathroom.

    Finishing the attic allowed us to add some fun to our functional home and make it our own. 

    And as we much as we love brushing our teeth next to our guests at end the day, there's something that feels a little bit more adult-ish about going to separate rooms and having separate bathrooms.

    What was your design inspiration?

    We went on a Europe Trip at the end of 2016 and stayed at the one of the cutest "hostels" in the world: Hotel Tannenhof

    They had recently remodeled their rooms, and we loved the look and feel, so we snapped a few photos to bring back home for inspiration.

    What was your biggest challenge?

    We worked with (the awesome! amazing!) McDonald Remodeling. They did an incredible job with digitally laying out what the space would look like with all of the major pieces put together. We could easily play around with how the space would look before committing to anything. While it wasn't easy, putting together the major pieces wasn't quite as hard as we had thought it would be.

    The biggest challenge was the last 20% of the design decisions that we had to make. What pictures would we hang up? What should we put on the shelves? Where should our dog Sage's bed go?

    Yes, we actually had this conversation. And it's next to Bjork's side of the bed, in case you'd like to know.

    What's your favorite part of the space?

    Every house we've ever owned has had the master bedroom on the main level. With our current house, we had a sidewalk and a street right our the bedroom door, so having a master bedroom that's above ground level feels like such a luxury! 

    And, there's the whole don't-have-to-brush-your-teeth-next-to-your-friend-who-is-staying-over benefit that comes with having two bathrooms.

    What was your biggest indulgence?

    Zoned heating! The temperature different between the attic and the main floor is extreme. Combine that with Minnesota's hot and humid summers or freezing cold winters and you can get some pretty uncomfortable temperatures.

    The zoned heating allows us to fine tune the heating for each level. It was something we weren't initially sure that we wanted to do, but we're so glad we did it. Plus, we have our Nest thermostats hooked into an Amazon Echo, so we can change the upstairs or downstairs temperatures by simply talking to Alexa. It's the future!

    What’s one thing you would do differently the next time?

    Add a hidden bookshelf door that opens to a secret gaming room where you can only play classic Nintendo games like Tecmo Super Bowl (this is Bjork's idea that, believe it or not, didn't get added to the final plans).

    In all seriousness, we love the space. Maybe add a heated floor in the bathroom? It's a small thing, but it's -5 degrees today. A warm bathroom floor on a frigid Minnesota day would just take everything to the next level.

    Product List

    Want to see more or my favorite bedroom makeover projects? Check out the 2017 Curbly House Master Bedroom, or Chris' cozy northwest guest bedroom

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    How using this tool organizer in the playroom can keep your home tidy
    This post is sponsored by The Home Depot

    If you live with a child between the ages of 4-10, chances are you have a tremendous collection of stuff lying around your house. In our case, many of the stuff comes in the form of tiny LEGOs and 4-wheeled Matchbox cars that serve as accidental (but totally legitimate) booby-traps in our home.        

    Have you ever stepped on a LEGO with your bare foot? It's absolutely terrible. Have you ever lost your footing and rolled your ankle on a small metal car? It's absolutely terrifying. This is what life with small children is all about, and we've learned to be prepared.

    How using this tool organizer in the playroom can keep your home tidy

    Not just for tools! The Dewalt Small Parts Organizer was basically built for Legos

    I'm a huge proponent of organization and keeping things tidy. Fortunately, my children seem to have inherited this gene, but it only manifests itself in fits and starts. The overall picture in their bedrooms is acceptable, but when they want to build with LEGOs or build a racetrack, everything is dumped from its large "organized" bin and deposited on the floor so that they can find the pieces they need. This method is works pretty well for larger toys, but it's the pits for teeny-tiny toys. But, my friends, there is a way to keep all those LEGO steering wheels organized and easy to locate. Let me show you the way.

    Not just for tools! The Dewalt Small Parts Organizer was basically built for Legos

    We recently became the owners of a DeWalt Compartment Pro-Small Parts Organizer, and it's a mighty game changer.  The piece is intended to help you organize small tools and construction bits (nails, screws, wires, and the like), but it works so well for all those tiny, hard to keep track of toys.

    We've tried craft organizers in the past, and they haven't proved durable or secure enough for the task. Their lids too easily popped open, and their compartments were generally too small to hold the majority of the pieces we wanted to organize. But, not this guy. This one is sturdy, hefty, spacious, and best of all, super secure. When it's closed and latched, it stays put (it's actually waterproof!).

    Its clear plastic lid makes it easy to identify what's where, so our kids can easily identify what's in each compartment before opening the box. And best of all, it has removable dividers that allow you to create custom compartments to fit your storage needs. Do you see how important and significant that is? It's the real bomb-diggity. 

    Has your bare foot ever met a LEGO in the middle of the night? AKA, get a small-parts organizer and save your toes the pain!

    Gone are the days of small toy explosions all over the living room. Gone are the whispered curse words uttered on a minefield path to the bathroom in the middle of the night. And nevermore are the accidental roller skates on the stairs. All those tiny pieces are safely tucked away in a secure box. We can all rest a little easier.  

    This post is sponsored by The Home Depot, but all opinions are mine alone. Working with great brands like The Home Depot enables us to pay for all the content you see on Curbly. Thanks for supporting us, and them!

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    These days, no party is complete without a diy photo booth. They're not only a fun addition to any shindig, but they're a great way to capture memories and they create the most meaningful party favors in the world. Everything You Need to Set Up A DIY Photo Booth For Your Next Party

    While renting an old-timey booth or hiring a company to run one are both nice options, they cost a pretty penny. The reality is, creating a custom photo booth using the electronics most of us already have around the house (e.g. your computer, digital camera, printer, phone) isn't very complicated. In fact, it's relatively straightforward. And, when you combine the "photo taking device" with some custom photo props or easy DIY backgrounds, your photo booth becomes the life of the party.

    Follow along as we share everything you need to know about creating a custom diy photo booth for the party of your dreams! 


    Curbly's Ultimate DIY Photo Booth Props Collection

    For just $1.99, you'll get 30 ready-to-print photobooth props, including:

    • Food
    • Emojis
    • Social media frames
    • LOL speech bubbles
    • Crazy hair styles
    • Funny eyes and glasses

    Buy Now ($1.99)

    Photobooth props

    Photobooth props


    DIY Photo Booth - Taking the Photos

    Apparently, since we wrote our DIY Photobooth post (four years ago!), the world has caught on and there are now hundreds (thousands?) of results in Google for this sort of thing. Our photo booth seems to work fine on Mac OS X 10.6 and 10.7. Newer versions may get glitchy (sorry!).

    Here's the thing; a diy photo booth is not a person standing there with a camera taking pictures of people in front of a backdrop. But that's what many of the solutions out there offer (like this one, from HGTV, for example). Ideally, what you want is a real photo booth! A "booth" where you press a button, and then the camera takes three or four pictures of you, automatically (and without warning ... that's how you get those fun candid/weird/awkward moments that photo strips are known for). We also think your version of a "booth", should put the photos into a vertical strip, and print them!

    There are a million ways to do this, and if you want to spend some time, you can figure out a way to make your own for free (you could start with our Apple Automator script and see if you can update it). But, honestly, there are some great paid options out there that don't cost much:


    • Sparkbooth - This seems to be the most popular option, and costs $55. It allows you to customize the photo layout, print automatically, and auto-post to Facebook, Flickr, etc. ($55 might seem like a lot, but depending on how you value your time, you'll definitely spend at least that much DIY-ing something like it).
    • DSLR Photo Booth - This looks great for those of you who don't want to use a web cam. The basic version starts at $50, and you can try before you buy!
    • Pocketbooth for iPad, iPhone and Android is only $.99! It can print (via AirPrint) or upload to your social networks. Unfortunately, all of this has to be done manually, so it's not an ideal setup for a party. 
    • And finally, RasterWeb sells a pretty awesome USB button you can hook up to your computer to give your digital photo booth an analog vibe.

    Going to use a full-featured camera? You'll need these gadgets:



    Intervalometer: This handy accessory connects to your camera (find the one that works for your camera) and with easy setup becomes a button you can press for timed shutter release, giving you that "four-photo strip" you want. Buy for around $15-$20.

    Photo Booth Button Intervalometer


    Eye-fi SD card: Configure this card's built-in WiFi network to beam images straight to your computer, and with an Automator script, or one of the apps mentioned above, print them in a flash. Buy for about $30 for the smallest memory capacity. Set to auto delete after printing if storage capacity is a problem. 

    Eye-fi Photo Booth Streaming

    Backdrops to Set the Stage for your DIY Photo Booth

    Creating a backdrop for your photo booth is essential because it adds a ton of personality to your photos. The best thing about backgrounds is that the possibilities are endless and they are easy to DIY. We recently shared 11 clever backdrop ideas, but here are a few more of our favorites:

    Streamers Backdrop

    DIY Streamers Backdrop from Lovely Indeed: Nothing says par-tay like a boatload of streamers.

    DIY Confetti Backdrop

    DIY Confetti Backdrop from Studio DIY: Confetti + Parties = A match made in party heaven.

    Sequin Photo Backdrop

    DIY Sequin Backdrop from Oh Happy Day: Adding shimmer and shine to your bash is never a bad idea.

    Balloon Backdrop

    Neon Balloon Backdrop: No party is complete without a bunch of balloons!

    PVC Pipe Frame

    If your party is outdoors or you don't have a wall to dedicate to a backdrop, making a freestanding one out of PVC piping is surprisingly easy to do. Here's a great tutorial!


    Props to Set the Tone

    Photo props are an important addition to your DIY photo booth because they give people something to do! They are easy to customize to your party's theme, and they are simple to put together using a printer, tape, wooden dowels or party straws.

    Now, there are plenty of free printables out there, and we list some of the ones we like below. But if you want to skip the searching, check out our Ultimate Photo Booth Collection, which you can buy for just $4.99. 



    Here is a collection of some of our favorite free printable props:


    Photo Booth Props

    DIY Props from Oh Happy Day: This adorable set features cartoon-y hats and headpieces that are perfect for every age! The super creative Oh Happy Day has several general and themed sets to choose from; take a look at them all!

    Liberty Print

    DIY Liberty Print Props from Le Blog de Madame C: These printable props in a Liberty print are garden-party-gorgeous!

    Disguise Kit

    DIY Disguise Kit: Spies, secret agents, and April-foolsters rejoice; your party is now perfect. It appears the original downloadable file for this is no longer available, but you should be able to expand and print the image using good ol' fashioned trickery.

    Photo Booth Signage to Set the Direction

    Adding a sign to your photo booth is the cherry on top of your booth's sundae. Because, frankly, it makes your booth legit! Here are some free printable signs to point your guests in the right direction:

    Oh Snap

    Oh Snap! Sign from No. 2 Pencil

    Step Right Up

    Step Right Up Sign from Elegance and Enchantment

    For a host of other photo booth ideas, backdrops, and free prop printables, check out my Pinterest board!  

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    Wagner Paint Sprayer patio chair makeover
    This post is sponsored by Wagner

    We are in the season of outdoor lounging. Here in the upper Midwest, summer is at a premium and we live outside as much as possible. There's no better way to indulge in this time of year than to sit on the patio and soak it all in. 

    My parents have a stunning backyard with gorgeous gardens, fruit trees, and fountains. They live outside in the summertime and spend hours on their patio. Though their backyard is spacious and lovely, there's nothing special about the patio itself. They have a set of Adirondack chairs that were in need of a refresh. These chairs remain outside in the spring, summer, and fall and were in bad shape. Their paint was peeling and wearing off of the armrests. 

    In order to refresh them, we needed to remove most of the paint from the chairs in order to give them a clean base from which to work. The task of removing paint is generally a real pain. This is especially true with Adirondack chairs because they have so many angles and nooks and crannies. We immediately knew that sanding the chairs would take forever and be a messy job.

    Instead, we used a Wagner Furno 750 heat gun to strip the chairs, and it was a game changer. The gun blasts high heat in a targeted stream and blisters the paint. Once the paint bubbles, you simply scrape it off with a straight edge. We've stripped furniture with chemicals and with sandpaper before, and this method was by far the best. It was easier, faster, and created way less mess.

    Once most of the paint was peeled from the chairs, we gave them a light sanding to prep them to take the paint. Hand painting the chairs would have taken us days to finish, and the chairs would have showed all the brush marks.

    Wagner FLEXiO 3000 Paint Sprayer

    So we decided to turn to our trusty Wagner FLEXiO 3000 paint sprayer.  The FLEXiO 3000 can spray un-thinned latex or oil-based paints, primers and stains and gives a light-textured, roller-like finish. It's perfect for jobs like this, where rolling is simply not an option, and brushing would take forever. But we've used a Wagner paint sprayer indoors as well, and were pleasantly surprised by how great they were for doing an interior wall. 

    Spraying a patio chair with a Wagner Paint Sprayer

    A few tips for using a Wagner FLEXiO 3000 Paint Sprayer Properly
    - Keep the nozzle tip clean! Carry a damp cloth around with you and wipe it frequently. This helps avoid spattering
    - Spray closer to the surface than you think you need to. These sprayers don't overspray very much, and its best to get pretty close (6-8 inches) to make sure the paint covers sufficiently. 
    - Use high quality paint. 
    - Find the right paint volume and fan power settings. Read the instruction manual that comes with the tool to learn how these settings affect your finish. 
    - Use the right nozzle head. The FLEXiO 3000 comes with two heads, a detail nozzle and a wide area nozzle. Use the one that's appropriate for your job

    Wagner FLEXiO air power settings

    Wagner FLEXiO operating instructions


    This is the third Wagner paint sprayer I've used on DIY projects, and it's definitely my favorite design yet. The updated FLEXiO provides more even coverage with less overspray, and the new, numbered paint flow dial is really handy. Best of all, they reduced the number of parts in the nozzle, which makes it a lot easier to clean.

    We wanted our chairs to have a satin, smooth finish, so we sprayed them using  Sherwin-Williams Tempe Star SW 6229

    The painting process was a breeze. We were able to paint six chairs in about three hours. We did two coats, plus touch-ups, allowing for some drying time in between coats. The paint process was quick and easy, and the finish was smooth. 

    Freshly-painted Adirondack patio chairs

    And! Since we had another Wagner iSpray head lying around, it was really easy to pop in another color, and whip up another quick DIY project for this makeover: a stenciled outdoor rug. 

    We grabbed an old jute rug that had seen better days, and taped out a simple border on it. Then, we used the FLEXiO 3000 to spray a bold, black border on the rug, giving it a super quick refresh:



    The After!

    First, a reminder of what the patio looked like before:


    Now, here's a look at how the chairs turned out:


    Want to see a few other paint sprayer projects?




    This post is sponsored by Wagner, but all opinions are mine alone. Thanks for supporting the great companies that make all the content on Curbly possible.



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    This post is sponsored by BLANCO. Pictured here: The BLANCO EMPRESSA Bridge faucet


    There's a lot happening in kitchen design these days, and everything from countertops to cabinetry to faucets are at your fingertips. While I love trendy kitchens, what I appreciate even more is a timeless kitchen that feels like the people who use it.

    We don't often think of kitchens as having a "lived in" feel, but I think they should, and I'm especially smitten when they do. One of the best ways to achieve the look - even with a brand-new state-of-the-art-bells-and-whistles kitchen is to focus on the details of the small finishes. Faucets are a perfect place to do this, and I recently found a gorgeous line that excels in this kind of design.

    BLANCO has a new line of faucets inspired by vintage European wine presses - which are completely classic and impressive. The line is called EMPRESSA, and the faucets it features are especially gorgeous because they work with almost any style and strike a perfect balance between vintage feel and a modern function.

    While these faucets would be a great choice for a bar, I love thinking about how I'd incorporate them into a kitchen. Here are some inspiration rooms paired with the faucets I love the most from the Empressa line. 

    The Bridge Faucet

    Blanco Empressa Bridge Faucet
    BLANCO EMPRESSA Bridge Faucet


    A farmhouse-style kitchen highlights the best of the style. It's inviting and cozy, and layered with a variety of different styles, making it feel eclectic and homey. The photo at right would make the perfect home for the BLANCO EMPRESSA Bridge faucet because of its traditional look and clean lines. I love it in the polished nickel finish because it's warm and bright, and the bridge gives it vintage feel, but the pull-down faucet head is modern magic.  

    Farmhouse Kitchen

    Photo: HGTV



    The Bar Faucet

    Blanco Empressa Bar Faucet


    This faucet's sleek profile would be perfect as part of a sweet wet bar tucked into a kitchen nook; the perfect place to store wine and spirits.

    I love the bar nook design because it's tucked away and unassuming, yet gorgeously accented with gray tiles, glass shelving, a narrow sink space and artwork.  

    The BLANCO EMPRESSA Bar Faucet would be right at home in this bar nook because it has a low profile that's packed with high-function (like a pull down head with dual spray that comes in several finishes).

    Wet Bar

    Photo: Eric Piasecki 



    Above - the BLANCO EMPRESSA pull-down faucet, with a dual-spray head, makes cleaning and rinsing dishes a breeze.


    The Semi-Professional Kitchen Faucet

    Blanco Empressa Semi-Professional Faucet
    BLANCO EMPRESSA Semi-Professional Faucet


    I'd place the Semi-Professional faucet in a space that's sleek and clean, with warm wood cabinetry and furniture to make it feel unexpected, personal, and styled.

    The BLANCO EMPRESSA Semi-Professional faucet would fit seamlessly into this space because it's sleek and sculptural. It comes in four different finishes, each one highlighting that gorgeous black arm.

    Modern Kitchen

    Photo: Luc Remond



    Pairing Kitchen Accessories for Wine Lovers

    One of the most interesting parts BLANCO's new line of faucets is the wine press inspiration. When working a theme into your design, it's important to keep subtlety in mind. I think it's fun to think about some wine details and accessories that could be worked into any kitchen to play on the wine inspiration. Here are some of my favorite accessories for the wine-lover's kitchen:

    Wine Accessories for the Kitchen
    Marble Chiller / Geo Wine Charms / Wooden Stoppers / Brass Corkscrew / Herringbone Wine Rack / Decanter


    How to Incorporate Your Passion for Wine Into Your Kitchen

    Wine isn't just a complement to a good meal. For many, it's a full blown passion that evolves over time, as you develop your palate and learn the ins and outs of wine making and its history.

    If you're really serious about wine, you're going to want a wine fridge in your kitchen. These days, you can get a wine fridge in almost any size or configuration. A freestanding wine cooler works well for spaces that weren't designed with one in mind. But if you're planning a kitchen remodel, consider building a wine chiller into the design.

    A wine rack is another feature you may want to consider adding. While the bulk of your best bottles may be stored in a cellar, out of sight, it's nice to have quick and easy access to bottles you'll be cycling through regularly. 

    Here's a rustic-leaning table-top wine rack that could pair well with the EMPRESSA BRIDGE faucet (without going too heavy on the farmhouse vibe)

    Source: Wayfair 



    This simple, contemporary wine rack design is perfectly subtle. It'd go nicely with the EMPRESSA SEMI-PROFESSIONAL faucet:

    Source: Behance 



    Need even more space for your bottles? Consider adding a clever toe-kick wine bottle storage drawer, like this one:



    Wine-Inspired Colors for Your Kitchen Remodel

    Want wine on your walls (not literally!)? Pantone has you covered with their color called "English Sparkling":

    Like something a little bolder? Here's a nice, deep, red-wine-inspired palette from Sherwin-Williams:


    Wall Decor Ideas for a Wine-Inspired Kitchen

    Don't let the theme lead you astray here, folks! Just because you want to incorporate wine, doesn't mean you have to get too cheesy! (Get it? Cheese? Wine? Wine & Cheese?)

    Wine-themed wall decor triggers visions of horrible stock images and bad thrift-store oil paintings of grapes. Just don't go there, ok?

    You can key in on the perfect wine note without going overboard. For example, I love this vintage poster for a sleek, modern kitchen:


    These wine press patent diagram posters would complement a more traditional styled space:


    Or, if you're into something really classic, go for one of the old masters, like this Vermeer:



    Learn more about the BLANCO EMPRESSA line of kitchen faucets:




    This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of BLANCO. The opinions and text are all mine.

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    100 Best IKEA hacks of all time.

    We've rounded up one hundred IKEA hacks that prove you can have champagne tastes on a beer budget. Each of these hacks illustrates the power of transformation - basic warehouse pieces are cleverly altered in beautiful ways that make them feel custom. This round up has me feeling like Aladdin on a magic carpet ride - so come along with me! I can open your eyes, take you wonder by wonder, over, sideways and under on a magic IKEA hack ride. All hacks are listed in alphabetical order by their original IKEA birth name. 


    IKEA Hack ALEX - filing cabinet
    Sugar & Cloth


    IKEA Hack ALEX - desk DIY
    A New Bloom


    IKEA Hack ALEX desk
    The Lifestyle Directory


    IKEA Hack ALEX storage unit
    Full Time Fiesta




    IKEA Hack ALSEDA ottoman
    Curbly via Mormorsglamour


    IKEA Hack BESTA credenza
    Sugar & Cloth


    IKEA Hack BESTA credenza
    Petite Apartment - IKEA hacks



    A Beautiful Mess  -  BESTA IKEA hack TV console idea (entertainment center)


    Place of My Taste


    IKEA Besta cabinet hack
    The Vintage Guru Shop - IKEA cabinet with vintage legs


    The Makerista


    IKEA Hackers- built in book case


    Golden Boys & Me IKEA hack DIY kitchen island



    Thou Swell


    Note: we tried to find all of these and make sure they're still available on Some models have been discontinued, but you can usually find a similar item to substitute.





    IKEA Hack EKBY
    Teste De Lengo


    IKEA Hack EKBY
    Nalle's House


    IKEA Hack EKBY



    Sarah Sherman Samuel


    Amy Krist


    Honey Bear Lane


    IKEA Hackers - platform bed with storage


    IKEA Hack FAS
    IKEA Hackers - table lamp


    IKEA Hack FIRA


    100 Layer Cake-let


    IKEA Hack FOTO
    Lulus - floor mirror 


    Design Sponge







    Apartment Therapy




    Just a Girl and Her Blog


    Apartment Therapy - wall mirror



    IKEA Hack HEAT
    Curbly - IKEA hack gold wall mirror with



    Curbly via Instructables


    The Vault Files


    Proverbs 31 Girl




    IKEA Hack INGO
    East Coast Creative


    IKEA Hack INGO
    IKEA Hackers


    IKEA Hack IVAR


    IKEA Hack IVAR


    IKEA Hack IVAR
    Nur Noch


    IKEA Hack IVAR
    Style by Emily Henderson


    Teste Di Legno




    IKEA Hack LACK
    Hommie UK


    IKEA Hack LACK
    Triple Max Tons



    The House that Lars Built


    Weekday Carnival


    Burlap & Lace



    Advice From A Twentysomething  - simple desk


    Curbly - music production desk



    IKEA Hackers - standing desk


    IKEA Hack MALM
    A Beautiful Mess


    IKEA Hacks MALM


    IKEA Malm bedframe hack
    Sugar & Cloth



    The Kitchy Kitchen 









    Kristi Murphy


    A Beautiful Mess - bench


    IKEA Nornas table hack
     Kicsihaz - bar cart


    Curbly - simple cutting board


    A Little Bit OCD


    Lovely Indeed


    IKEA Hacks RAST
    Bliss at Home


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    Painting a room with an indoor paint sprayer sames time and results in a more consistent finish. Here's how we used one to transform a spare bedroom.

    Cozy Den Makeover Using a Paint Sprayer Indoors
    Sponsored by Wagner and Trimaco

    One of my favorite things about interior design and home improvement is discovering tools that help us do our job better. Painting is one of those jobs. We paint things all the time - walls, furniture, floors, baskets. Why? Because nothing transforms a space (or an object) quite like paint does.                 

    But painting can also be a chore. It's time consuming, messy, and unforgiving. And it requires careful prep work. A few months ago, Bruno and I took part in a painting event at Wagner Spray Tech. Wagner specializes in paint sprayers that are total game changers. We had always been hesitant to use a paint sprayer indoors, but the folks at Wagner took us into their painting 'lab' and taught us some tricks, and I painted two large walls in less than 10 minutes. Then I looked at Bruno and said, "I'm never rolling a wall again." And I meant it. 

    Not only did the indoor paint sprayer make the process go speedy-fast, but the paint coverage was flawless. No streaks, no thin areas that needed another coat, and no thick, drippy areas that needed to be retouched. It was the most satisfying painting experience of my life.

    We recently completed a room makeover in our home, transforming an empty bedroom that served as a storage/play/catch-all nightmare room into a cozy den. The foundation for the whole room was a fresh coat of paint, and we were eager to experiment with spraying the walls vs. rolling and cutting in. 

    From Catch-All Room to Cozy Den: Room Makeover

    The Prep Work

    Spraying the walls of a room will save you loads of time - like, hours. But, you have to prep your room in order to ensure total success. And that prep work depends on having the right masking and surface protection products. We used a few key supplies from Trimaco to make sure our room was prepped correctly.

    Trimaco makes all the painting jobsite protection products professionals use, and they have something for everything you can think of. When spraying a room, don't be intimidated by the prep work - the truth is, even if you're just rolling and cutting in, you'd have to do the same amount of prep (taping around windows, trim, and baseboards).

    We used two products that are an absolute must if you're spraying a room: 
    - Tape & Drape: pre-taped masking film makes covering windows, doors, and other surfaces super fast and easy.
    - Cling Cover: self-adhering protective plastic sheeting. It clings to almost any surface and also attracts over-spray and dust.

    Here's how it all went down:

    Prepping the Room: Tape and Drape Painter's Tape

    We taped around all the windows and baseboards using Trimaco's Tape & Drape painter's tape. This tape it the bomb! Why? Because it comes with plastic attached to it. You simply apply the tape to the trim, then pull the plastic out to create big swaths of coverage. We applied this same tape along the ceiling line. 

    Prepping a Room for a Paint Sprayer - Flooring

    We covered our floor with a giant, non-slip drop cloth from Trimaco. Adding a tacky back to underside of a drop cloth was somebody's masterstroke because it stays put! 

    Cover your shoes for paint job prep.

    Bruno is gaga for gadgets and he likes to keep his work area super clean, so he insisted we wear plastic coverings on our feet. This was not totally necessary for a job like this, but this floor guard for shoes would be a great addition to a winter cocktail party where people want to keep there fancy shoes on in your house. I'm kidding ... maybe. 

    Using a Paint Sprayer to Paint a Room

    How to use a Paint Sprayer in an Interior Space

    We used the Flexio 590 Handheld Paint Sprayer. It's perfect for an interior paint job like this, because it can cover an 8x10 foot space in 5 minutes! Before spraying, we added our paint to the sprayer and mixed in a bottle of Wagner's Paint Easy additive to thin the paint and help it go on smoothly. Don't let the notion of thinning your paint fool you into thinking the coverage will be poor. When paint is applied through a sprayed mist, the super-fine droplets land and attach to one another, making the finish smoother than the voice of Barry White.

    Despite the fact that it was freezing when we painted the room, we opened the windows a bit for ventilation. I think anybody who paints indoors does this, but it's especially helpful when spraying a room, because you have paint particles hanging in the air. Wearing a mask is also important - it keeps the misty-fine particles out of your lungs. That said, the Flexio 590 doesn't over-spray nearly as much as you might guess. You won't feel like you're painting in the clouds.

    Painting Walls with a Paint Sprayer

    Bruno painted all four walls of the room in 20 minutes. That's it. 20 minutes and he was D-O-N-E. No second coats, no touch-ups. Can you even?

    Here are some of our best tips for using an indoor paint sprayer:

    1. Keep a damp cloth in your pocket to periodically wipe the tip of the sprayer - it can get blocked as the paint begins to harden. This is important! You'll need to wipe the tip more often than you think ... but doing so will keep the sprayer from clogging and splattering.

    Paint Spraying Tip: Keep a Damp Cloth with You to Wipe the Tip of the Sprayer

    2. Learn how to adjust the sprayer nozzle to change the spray pattern. A horizontal nozzle position creates a vertical pattern; a vertical nozzle creates a horizontal pattern. Putting the nozzle at a diagonal will generate more of a round spray pattern.

    How to Paint a Room Using a Sprayer

    3. Stand close to the wall and keep your sprayer 6-8 inches from the wall. The further back you go, the wider and thinner your painted area becomes. Standing close to the wall helps you get a nice, thick coat on the first try. You want to keep the sprayer closer to the wall than you think; if you feel weirdly close, you're probably doing it correctly. 

    4. Apply the paint in strokes (we like horizontal strokes), and pull your finger off the trigger at the end of each pass to let the paint trail off (rather than doubling up an application by continuing to run the sprayer row-after-row). Overlap each spray pass by about 50% to ensure full coverage. 

    This video on how to use a paint sprayer was extremely helpful in getting us up and running:

    We let the paint cure for an hour, then I removed all the painter's tape and plastic film. We folded up the drop cloth, and the room was a perfect blank canvas set to become all denned out!

    Before we show you all the pretty pictures of the finished room and talk about the design process, I really want to make sure you understand how smooth and efficient the painting process was. I feel like we have a golden key to Paintsville, and we have an obligation to pass on the ease of this method. It is a game changer. It makes painting so quick and easy. Try it out. I promise you'll breakup with your roller and your old ways. 

    A Little Bit About the Den Transformation

    For years, Bruno and I have been unsure about how to use the empty bedroom on our second floor. When we first moved in, it served as our baby boy's nursery, because our house was still under construction and our master bedroom was not complete. Once our remodel was done, we moved him into a larger bedroom, and this little room met an ugly fate: The room where all the misfit toys and furniture lands. I know many of you have a room (or closet) that's befallen this same sort of fate. It's a luxury to have a room like this, especially because you can close the door and kind of forget about it. But, it's also a big bummer. It bothered me that this totally legit room was being used for such a lousy purpose. 

    Catch-All, Unloved Room

    Bleh... what a shame of a room.

    We wavered between making it a guest bedroom (it wouldn't get much use that way) and turning it into a den. Bruno was fairly opposed to having a television on the second floor near our peaceful bedrooms. But, our current first-floor TV situation wasn't working. Because of the configuration of our sunroom, the only furniture we could sit upon to watch a movie was a loveseat. We did this for years, spending many Friday movie nights with kids on our laps. But, our kids are now way too big to do this comfortably, and it was becoming more and more apparent that we needed some kind of family-friendly sofa in our lives. 

    So Bruno got onboard with the second-floor den idea, and we made it happen in two weeks! We ordered a rug, chose a comfy sofa with a chaise (the best seat in the room), and bought a slightly larger television (but not a giant screened beast, because I'm completely opposed to them and don't ever want to feel like I have an actual movie theater in my home - I like going to the movie theater for that kind of thing). 

    Here's how the room came together:

    After: Cozy Den Makeover

    I really love it. It feels a little more country/boho than anything we've designed before. But, this is exactly what I love about it. It's super cozy and understated, but a little hideaway-y and retro (the wall of wicker baskets is very 60s & 70s). And yet, it still feels like it belongs in our house.

    Cozy Den Makeover

    Cozy Den/TV Room Makeover

    Cozy Den Makeover

    Cozy Den Makeover

    Cozy Den Makeover  

    We're in love with our sweet, little den and thrilled with the ease and swiftness of the room's transformation. I hope you'll give spraying a try the next time you paint a wall because it'll save you so much precious time, and the results will be stunning!

    Product List


    Thanks to Wagner and Trimaco for sponsoring this post; all opinions are mine alone. And thanks to you, for supporting Curbly and the brand partners that help keep us going!

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    Adult ADvent Calendar DIY project idea - materials

    I'm going to use this platform to declare this: advent calendars are kinda the best. They capture all the excitement building in the hearts and minds of children and they temper it by delivering it in small doses the 24 days leading up to Christmas. Growing up, the method my parents employed was a drug store calendar filled with tiny poor-quality milk chocolates that my brother and I retrieved by poking our fingers through a small perforated square. And, we loved it! We looked forward to receiving those calendars every year – and I'm sure the small morsel of so-so-chocolate helped tame us a little bit.

    Seeing the complete joy my own children get out of the advent calendar tradition got me thinking about why we don't give them to adults. I know we're the mature ones who have the composure and will-power to wait until Christmas to open our gifts ... but, c'mon, that's no fun. So this year I decided Bruno was going to partake in the slow trickle of magic that is advent.

    Read on to see how I put an adult advent calendar together; maybe it'll inspire you to try one of your own. 





    • 24 boxes (envelopes or pillow boxes would do the trick too)
    • Numbered stickers
    • Twine
    • 24 knick-knacks (Most of mine were $5 and under) 


    Number your boxes 1 to 24.



    Fill them with treasures*.


     What to Put in Those Boxes for Your Adult Advent Calendar:


    The sky's the limit, and yet, you want to keep those 24 treasures affordable. Here are some of the items I put inside the boxes:



    Wrap them up in twine whilst humming "My Favorite Things"



    Take great satisfaction in the knowledge that you are knowing you are making someone's day...


    What special gifts or gestures or kindness are you planning this holiday season? I love to hear all the fun ideas our readers come up with, so please share yours in the comments!


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      Wood Block & Test Tube DIY Advent Calendar Village
      Photo: Bruno Bornsztein

      It's advent calendar time! As I write this post, the Midwest is being walloped by a snow storm. Nothing inspires holiday decorating like many inches of snow, and to stave off decking all the halls, I created a little diy advent calendar village for our children. Read on for the full tutorial.

      Using blocks of wood and test tubes, I assembled a village full of tiny treasures to help our family celebrate the season. The great thing about using test tubes is that it ensures each day's surprise is small.

      advent town

      Creating your own diy advent calendar village is simple. We originally created 24 houses for this project, but the result was overwhelming, so we scaled back to a set of seven houses (to represent each week leading up to Christmas). 

      Wood block advent village



      Materials for DIY wood block advent calendar




      • Wood: We used Basswood carving blocks.
      • 24 Test Tubes + Cork Stoppers
      • Drill + 3/4" Forstner Bit
      • Miter Saw
      • Acrylic Paint: We used gold and white.
      • A set of number stickers.
      • Tiny treats to fill your tiny test tubes.


      make Your DIY ADVENT CALENDAR:

      1. Cut your wood to size. Our houses ranged in size from 3.5" to 6" tall, and were about 2" thick. 
      2. Drill your holes into the blocks of wood. We used a 3/4" bit. It's important to drill the holes before you create your angled roofs because it's much easier to keep your holes plumb this way.
      3. Cut angled roofs on your houses. I think it works best to create a variety of peaks, slants, angles. Because, you know, houses come in all shapes and sizes.
      4. Lightly sand your houses.
      5. Using painter's tape, mark off the areas you'd like to paint on each house.
      6. Paint your houses. We used white paint on the faces of the houses and gold paint on the rooftops.
      7. Fill your test tubes and place them in their homes!




      I used a variety of small treats to fill my tubes, and I'll share some of my favorites with you because it was a challenge to find goodies small enough to fit inside a standard test tube. 



      What to put in your DIY advent calendar?


      • Edible Treats: Candy like M&Ms work well. Hot cocoa with marshmallows is another winner.
      • Crafts: I filled many tubes with beads and ribbons that came in $1 craft store sets. Some of these sets were too big to fit the test tube, so I placed only a part of them in the test tube (e.g. mini colored pencils).
      • Notes: In a few tubes, I placed a note indicating a special thing we'd do together as a family (e.g. "Bake cookies.", "Wrap presents.", "Take an evening drive to look at holiday lights."). Notes are also a great way to incorporate a service component into your calendar (e.g. "Shop for gifts for children and donate them to Toys for Tots"). I filled the tubes containing notes with confetti to make them more festive.



      The final result is a sweet village to help us count down the days until Christmas.


      If you like this how-to, do us a favor and share it on Pinterest:

      Pin this! DIY Wood Advent Calendar Village
      Thanks for helping us share this project on Pinterest!