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All Boxed Up


With the millions of options for storage and the astronomical costs, here at DMO we are always in pursuit of more economical options for storage solutions. Today we have a fun and easy project to contain your unruly wrapping paper using a recycled box.

What you will need:

  • Slender box (we used a 32” TV Box)
  • Knife or blade
  • Scissors
  • Straight Edge
  • Packing tape (optional)
  • Contact Paper (enough to cover the portion of the box you be using, we needed two 17 in X 1.8 yard rolls)

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  1. Measure your box to the height you need on all four sides (you can also put your box on a level surface and use a level to make your line rather than measuring and marking on all sides)
  2. Use your straight edge and knife to cut the unneeded portion of the box off
  3. Ensure all remaining sides are taped securely if necessary
  4. Place the first layer of contact paper so that it overlaps the opening of the box by about 5 inches
  5. Cut straight down in each corner of the contact paper so that you can wrap the paper into the interior of the box
  6. If your box is large enough (or contact paper thin enough) to need a second wrap, then overlap the paper, keeping in mind matching pattern lines, so that the paper hangs off the bottom just over half the skinny width of your box (like you would when wrapping a present)
  7. Then, just like in step 5, cut the overlap in each corner to fold over the bottom of the box (starting with the slim edges)

Your final product will be able to hold many rolls of wrapping paper and will look good doing it.


Here are some more ideas from others to get your recycled boxes in shape:











**In no means is this a review or endorsement of above mentioned products, they are merely suggestions of potential solutions. It is always best to do research in regards to the quality and standards of products, reading through reviews of others who have purchased the items as well as fully understanding the products limitations and warrantee information.


The above mentioned items not designed by DMO can be found at the following websites respectively (as websites are outside sources, I apologize if any link becomes inactive in the future):


Wall Decor Shelves

Desk Caddy

Shelving Drawer System

Hanging Clothing Shelf

Shoe Cubbies

Fabric Cube Boxes

Underbed Storage

Handle Totes


A Trendy Update for a Laminate Table

Facelift Upcycling

Welcome to another installment of Facelift Upcycling from one of our designers. Please view our other projects for more ideas.


In today’s Facelift we tackle the dreaded laminate surface!! Picking up “that perfect piece” at a garage sale needing some TLC, only to later realize that the surface is a laminate can be heartbreaking. Laminate surfaces are often a super thin layer of wood, or worse yet, plastic, over a cheaper material such as particle board, press board or plywood. These thin layers make re-surfacing a piece extremely difficult and very easy to destroy completely. You want to be able to sand any piece that you are going to stain or paint to ensure a clean absorption of the product you will be applying; however, taking a sander to laminate can result in breaking through, cracking or melting the laminate.

Today’s find was a piece with a beautiful detail applique and turned legs. The top was a laminate with that all-too-familiar rubber faux-wood border to keep the piece from chipping, often seen on commercial tables.


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With the various materials, and the delicate detailing of this piece, sanding would have been tedious and difficult, if it didn’t destroy the top. The solution was a liquid deglosser. This product takes any surface and modifies it to have a coarser texture and removes any top layer or stain, varnish or paint that is high gloss, allowing for paint to adhere to the surface. The deglosser is used on the surface 30 minutes prior to painting and only works for a short 12 hours, so it is not something to do well before you intend to paint he piece. The deglosser is simple to apply using rags or old t-shirts and coating the surface well, ensuring all nooks and crannies are thoroughly wetted. Make sure to wear gloves, and have multiple pairs as this product will eat through you skin as well as multiple pairs of gloves, so disposable works best.


Once the surfaces were deglossed, a specialty paint specifically made for furniture pieces by Valspar was used. This paint is oil-infused, not to be confused with oil-based, meaning that it is more difficult to clean from your brushes (be prepared for it to stain your brush), has a more potent smell, and takes longer to dry, but creates a thicker, harder shell-like surface when the appropriate number of coats has been applied. This paint creates a scratch- and stain-resistant surface that is perfect for any item that may see high-traffic use.


A specialty round brush was used on the detail applique as well as the turned legs. The shape of the brush allows you to push the paint into the deep divots created by the detailing and when used in a circular pattern around the turned legs reduces the potential of brush lines in the paint. (Shown here after project completion, started as white bristles)


This particular piece took 3 coats of paint over most of the surfaces, and four in areas were the grain of the wood was more prevalent; the fourth coat in these areas was not necessary, but created a smoother, more solid appearance. The end result is a beautiful, trendy piece of furniture that will stand to the test of time.


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**In no means is this a review or endorsement of above mentioned products, they are merely suggestions of potential solutions. It is always best to do research in regards to the quality and standards of products, reading through reviews of others who have purchased the items as well as fully understanding the products limitations and warrantee information.

Layout Fix with Built-Ins

Poor layout in any space is a very difficult, sometimes impossible (depending on load bearing of a home) feature to fix. So rather than worrying about busting down walls and moving beams, perhaps a simpler fix is built-ins.

Built-ins are any fixtures or furnishings that are literally built onto the walls, floors or ceilings of a space. They can include a massive array of items, including but definitely not limited to: shelving, cabinetry, beds, tables, seating, entertainment centers, desks, and storage solutions.

DMO was recently presented a rather challenging project, that if looked at without the knowledge of built-ins, could have resulted in a total overhaul of the basement structure and layout in an effort to turn a misshapen room into a functional teenager’s sleeping space.

The overall square footage of the room was sufficient for a sleeping space; however, at first glance the room seemed too small. This was because the homeowner was attempting to place traditional furnishings within the space, including a bed, a desk and shelving. DMO realized the potential of the space if those elements were better integrated into the layout of the space through built-in.

Here you can see the layout of the space is very oddly shaped, with an L-shaped configuration consisting of the main room area and a hall-like access to a standard size closet set on a perpendicular to the main room rather than the standard parallel setup that would be seen in a traditional room layout. Because the main portion of the room is smaller than a traditional square-shaped room, standard furnishings would completely diminish the walking floor space within the room.

DMO’s solution to the problem was a series of built-in shelving with space to include a standard size twin bed (could also fit an elongated twin bed if the teenager was taller as well) and a full size desk-top surface. By creating the shelving with “cube” storage as well as longer shelves for display and other forms of storage, a sense of symmetry was created without diminishing the ability for various storage. The small odd space at the end of the closet access hall was filled with a tall slender storage cabinet, and the hall was given some shelving of its own, complete with hooks mounted to the studs for jackets, backpacks and other hanging needs.


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By understanding what elements could be, not only built flush against the wall, but also using the full height of the room (to include the space over the head of the bed – an often neglected area) DMO was able to provide a growing boy a perfect area to call his own.

If you are needing help with a strange layout and can’t see yourself tearing down walls, contact us, built-ins may be your perfect solution as well.

Controlled Chaos

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As a mom, it is not unusual to be overwhelmed by the “mess” that our kids can create. With toys all over the floor, crayons scattered on the table, and jackets strewn by the door, we can feel like we live in chaos; however rather than removing the chaos all-together, the balancing act that we should strive for is controlling the chaos that is around us and opening the world for creativity and exploration in our children.

I once had a teacher come into my home and I did the natural thing – I apologized for the mess of toys on the floor. Her response was this:

“Don’t ever apologize. Seeing a kid’s mess lets me know that they know how to play and you know how to let them!”

A Reflection of You

We all have been told, and likely feel that our home and children are a reflection of us as homemakers (stay-at-home moms or not), wives and mothers; and really they are. But that doesn’t mean that our children have to be perfectly clean or our homes as that of a magazine page to display what we are made of; rather just as “beauty is fleeting,” the “outward” of our children and our home doesn’t matter nearly as much (or often at all) in comparison to the “inward” reflection. Our focus should be that of personality traits we want to instill in our children—love, excitement, strength, creativity, curiosity, etc.—and the love that our home shares with others—family and friendly gatherings, a place for those in need, a place to call home, etc. In fact, this magazine-perfect, stereotypical representation of control could actually hinder expected outcomes if you strive to achieve them in the wrong manner.

Fun Chaos—Not Crazy Mom

Children are the embodiment of chaos, and to think that you can completely control that is a lie. Those who try, in fact, create environments that are stiff and strict and do not invite the creativity and experimentation that is needed in growing children. Finding a balance between teaching your children to explore, create and play and expecting everything in its place at all times can be a difficult task. You want to be able to feel comfortable having guests over, or feel relaxed in the space that you call home; but at the same time, you want you children to feel comfortable being themselves, creating cherished memories and exuding laughter and excitement. This comes with understanding that children will make a mess, your house may not always look the way you want it to, and that is perfectly fine! Real life is not Pinterest and real homes are staged before appearing in HGTV!

Accessibility is Key

In your strive to make you home a place where relationships and character building come first, an important key is accessibility. If children can’t get to things—or worse, think they will get in trouble if they do—then they won’t. This is where organization, if tackled as though children were adults, can hinder progress. It’s not bad to be organized, and have a home for everything—in fact that can help a child grow in a different way, with understanding responsibilities, knowing boundaries, etc.—but we don’t want to stifle a child by making the organization process too difficult.

Have you ever walked in to a good daycare or preschool class before the children arrive. Generally what you will find is a clean, organized place. Sure, there will still be toys everywhere, but they have accessible homes, and this should be our endeavor with young children in the home. We want toys, activities, projects, etc. within their reach, but not all over our kitchen floor—unless of course they are in the process of playing with them.

Finding organizing solutions that are accessible to your children will save everyone’s sanity. Not only will these solutions make their toys accessible to play with, it will also make clean-up time easier. If they are needing less help to put things away, they can do a better job when asked to do so.

Labels Kids Can Understand

Making sure everything in your house has a home of its own is the rule of thumb in organizing; but if you are the only one who knows where that home is, you will be stuck doing all the cleanup. Labels are your lifeline! But it is important that labels are understandable by everyone in the home. Making labels clear, perhaps using pictures, will help everyone to know where things belong.

When cleaning up with your children, you can reinforce the labels. Rather than saying, “Put the Legos in that bucket over there,” you can say, “See the bucket with the picture of Legos that matches what you are holding? Put it in that bucket.” A few times of this will help children understand your labeling system and be more likely to follow it.

Set the Tone

We all want our children to pick up one toy before playing with another; however, if we look at our own actions, can we always say that we do that? Rather than harping on our kids to learn something, it is always best to set an example. This starts with our “toys.” Whatever your pastime activity may be, having an organization solution that is easy to access—and therefore easy to clean—is a great first step at helping your children learn to clean up after themselves.

In situations where you are working on something and your child would like you to do something else—so long as they are old enough to understand—explain to them that you must clean up your mess before you start something new. Put things away before moving on, then when you tell them to do the same they will have seen your actions as a model.


What is clutter? And how do we keep it from dominating our space? Put simply, clutter is anything that is never or rarely used.

  • Is it broken?
  • Have you used it, within the last year?
  • Would you take it with you if you were moving?
  • Do you have multiples of the same item?
  • Has it been replaced by something better?
  • Does it have a home or is it worth creating a home?
  • Does it hold sentimental value?
    • Is it associated with a happy memory?
    • Is it the only and best item regarding this memory?

Once clutter has been sorted out, your best bet is to let go immediately. If an item is held on to—to sell at a garage sale, give to a relative you hardly see, donate in large drop-offs, etc.—you have the potential of allowing it to reintegrate into your home and remain a nuisance in your space. Instead, part with it quickly, through donations to charity or sale through local online used sales (such as Craigslist or sale groups on Facebook).


Open Storage

  • Open storage is great for visibility, accessibility and choice; however, in a centralized location, open storage can get mottled and messy.
  • Great for area specific items, like craft supplies on a desk or bath toys in a tub

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Closed Storage

  • Closed storage is great for less often used items
  • Clear containers or drawer work best for children
  • Make sure you use a container that can easily be opened and closed by the child, or else you will be the one opening and closing it for them

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  • Items in containers change, often, so permanent labels should not be used
  • Be creative, fun labels encourage children’s use

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Mommy’s Storage

  • This is the best stuff to go in those higher, harder to reach places, allowing for lower spaces to be accessible to children
  • Use storage solutions that are as pretty as they are functional to make it fun to use them

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Drop-off Zone

  • Have a “drop-off” zone where shoes, jackets, backpacks, purses, etc. can be set and stick to it—or else the closest empty surface will be used
  • Make the area within reach of the entry door your family uses the most
  • Use hooks, shelves or some other solution to keep things off the floor
  • Have an area for mail to be dropped

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Remember, not everything will work for everyone. Find what works for your family, focusing on spiritual, emotional and physical needs first, and the rest will fall in place.



**In no means is this a review or endorsement of above mentioned products, they are merely suggestions of potential solutions. It is always best to do research in regards to the quality and standards of products, reading through reviews of others who have purchased the items as well as fully understanding the products limitations and warrantee information.


The above mentioned items not designed by DMO can be found at the following websites respectively (as websites are outside sources, I apologize if any link becomes inactive in the future):

Open Desk Storage

Adhesive Label Holders

Frame Labels

Clothing Tags

Corrugated Labels

Label Punch

Dry Erase Tape

Dry Erase Removable Labels

Entry Locker

Docking Station

From $5 Find to Rich Focal Piece

Facelift Upcycling

Welcome to another installment of Facelift Upcycling from one of our designers. Please view our other projects for more ideas.


One of designers here at DMO has a husband who loves the thrill of finding at deal while garage sale-ing, and on one said occasion, he came across a steal of a deal on a vintage drafting table. All the pieces were intact and the hardware, though rusty, were fully functional and very charming. And can you believe it, he picked it up for only $5.

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Well needless to say, it needed a facelift. The legs were worn through years of kicking (and maybe even as a cat scratching post). The top had 20-year-old masking tape permanently adhered to the surface and was dinged and gnarled. But that didn’t matter, our designer fell in love with the piece and knew right where she wanted to put it, after a couple changes of course 🙂

Because of the tape and dings on the top, the surface had to be sanded down to the raw wood. First our designer hand scraped and filed the old masking tape off (simply sanding a material such as tape will gum up your sandpaper very quickly, so it is best to remove this in another manner first). Then she used a radial sander starting with a very coarse grit of 80 to flatten out the surface and remove the old varnish and stains. Then she went over the surface (and edges) with finer and finer paper until the raw wood was exposed and fully smoothed out. (When completing a project like this, going down to fine grit, usually 220, sandpaper allows for the smoothest surface; however, if you are finding dings that cannot be sanded without taking the wood too far down, then find a good wood putty and fill in the ding before sanding with the finer grits and smoothing the surface)

After pulling the table apart (the vintage hardware actually allowed for very easy dismantling of most of the pieces), our designer lightly hand sanded the other components. Now with this particular piece, on one of the visible components there was a manufacturing stamp from the original furniture maker. Our designer took note of this and knew that if this stamp was damaged, the value of the piece would greatly diminish. That being said she paid very particular attention to not sand over or too close to the stamp, and she knew that she would have to use a surface stain rather than a penetrating stain. (Penetrating stains bleed into the wood and require a fully sanded, raw surface. They are generally applied with a brush or a rag and the excess of each application must be wiped off with a rag. They also need a coat of sealer such as polyurethane after the surface is stained. Surface stains are applied over the surface using a brush and can be applied to previously stained or varnished pieces so long as a light sanding has been completed to ensure adhesion. Surface stains can also be purchased with a polyurethane mixture making it unnecessary to cover the piece again with a sealer)) When choosing a stain color, our designer wanted something that would work well with the dark floor that she would be putting it on, so she went with a dark walnut color.

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After the stain was cured, our designer was thrilled with the outcome. She was able to take her husband’s $5 garage sale find and turn it into a rich focal piece by repairing the damage, darkening the wood to fit in her room and still leaving the charm of the vintage piece intact.

Ordinary to Funky

Facelift Upcycling

As you probably know we here at DMO absolutely love bringing new life to old products. Here is another installment of Facelift Upcycling from one of our designers. Please view our other projects for more ideas.


When moving into her home in 2009, one of our designers was left a single ordinary dining chair in the work room of the basement. In semi-decent condition, she didn’t see a reason to throw it out, so it became her sewing and craft-room chair. Well for the longest time, her craft room was hidden in a room in the corner of her basement, so the simple (and a bit beat up) chair was just fine. However, when it came time to move her craft room (due to a growing family) into a space that was visible to all her guests, she no longer wanted plain and ordinary. But why waste money on a new chair, especially when fun and funky chairs can cost you upwards of $300! So instead she decided that her old chair would work fine once it had a facelift.

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First she took to sanding down the chair. She stared with a larger grit (around 80) to get the old shiny lacquer off the surface. Then she worked her way down through a couple more grit becoming finer and finer, until she finished off the sanding at a 220 grit. Doing this allows the courser grit papers to remove the old finish and the finer grits smooth out the surface allowing for a smooth paint application.

When picking a color for the chair, she knew that it would be against white cabinetry and atop a dark wood floor, so she could be bold in her color choice. She had found an amazing piece of fabric at the store and was inspired by the color palate. So with that, along with her knife stand that she had for some years (the craft room was going to be affixed to the kitchen, so it made the most sense to run the color scheme through both rooms), she chose a vibrant lime green color for the base coat of the chair. Because of the uneven surfaces of the chair (spindles, legs, curved seat and back) she decided to go with a spray paint for the base coat. Because of the bold color choice, it took more coats than normal to provide complete coverage, at 5 coats total.


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Once the lime green was completely dry, our designer knew it needed a funky touch. She went back to her inspirational piece of fabric and pulled more colors out that she wanted to use for wall colors, accent colors, and the like, coming up with this color palette:

Color Palette

She then got a few sample sized cans of each of the paints in a satin finish and decided to create an accent on her new chair. Using painters tape, she taped off varying sized stripes in different directions on the chair and painted them different colors from her palette. (With this, you must complete each stripe separately if there is any overlap, and allow paint to dry for a minimum of 24 hours, or the paint’s curing time, before applying the overlapping tape for the next stripe. Also, due to the curves of the chair, measuring for straight lines was a moot point, rather you would need to just eyeball what looks straight because it may actually need to curve a bit to appear straight to the eye… and what you see is more important than a measurement you took.) Once all the stripes were fully cured, our designer used a spray polyurethane to cover the chair to prevent scratching, chipping, and most importantly to make the surface smooth for sitting.

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With a little work, our designer’s ordinary left-behind chair was now as fun and funky as she was, making for the perfect focal point to her new space.

Out of the Covers

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Do you have that perfect scrapbook page that is simply too good to hide away in a book? Well there are ways to pull that page out of between those covers and let it shine for the world to see. Here are some ideas.

Scrapbook Page Wall Art

Retailers sell frames that are specifically made to hold 12” x 12” scrapbooking pages for those better-than-a-book projects (there are also frames for your less common scrapbook page sizes, you just have to dig a little bit more). Some of the frames are meant to only hold paper, while others are set in a bit, more like a shadow box, to ensure that keepsakes don’t get damaged. Find a frame that does one of two things, either directly compliments the page you intend to insert, or compliments the furniture or current frames of the room in which you intend to hang it. Choosing a light colored frame with a dark page or dark color frame with a light page will help it pop.

Shadow Box Conversation Pieces

Shadow boxes used on coffee tables, as center pieces or hanging on a wall are great ways to show off your creation. Many shadow boxes are deep enough to add large items to compliment the page, such as seashells for the page of your family’s trip to the beach, a folded American flag for that page honoring a loved one’s service or metals, ribbons or awards won by your child graduating college. Choose a shadowbox that is right for the application. If your shadow box may be picked up and moved around then you will want some way to affix the items in it; many shadow boxes are backed with a cork like material of which you can pin down your items. However, if your shadow box will be permanently in its location, then you can get a box without the specialized backing.

Shadow Box Furniture

For those really special pieces, a simple frame or shadow box might not cut it. Instead what you might want is a piece of furniture with a built in shadow box. There are many coffee tables, side tables and similar items that have a shallow drawer or compartment covered by a glass insert allowing a shadow box effect for displaying your prized possessions. When buying a piece of furniture there is a bit more to take into consideration. First you will want to ensure that the page you are wanting to display will fit. Most manufacturers will list the interior dimensions, but if you are not sure, steer clear, as you would not want to have to trim down your page just to get it to fit. Second, as with the other options you will want to choose a styling that will coordinate with your other furnishings. Third, you will want to make sure that you have space for the piece of furniture. Do not buy a piece of furniture without knowing where it will fit in your floor plan. Doing this may cause the piece to be pushed into a corner or placed in the way of traffic flow. And fourth, but still very important, make sure that the piece of furniture would not be a gathering place for items on top of it. It would be a shame to get something to display your page, only to have the piece covered by books, bags, keys, etc.

Get Creative – Out of the Box Thinking

Don’t like the ideas listed above, maybe they are too predictable for you. Well here is your chance to think outside of the box. Be creative. Find an interesting item that would fit your pages, then make some simple medications to keep your page safe. Perhaps you found an apple crate on your trip to Washington State and you want your memories to stand out. Simply line the crate with acid free paper or other liner and affix a glass or Plexiglas cover to keep the page dust free (affix a hinge rather than glue the Plexiglas down to allow access to your page).


No matter how you store or display your page the most important thing is protection. Ensure that the items are stored in an acid free location protected from sunlight. If you intend to place the item on display in a sunny room, you should use a UV protectant covering (glass, Plexiglas, plastic, etc.). Be creative. Have fun. And be proud of your handmade art piece!

Cheap to Sophisticated

Facelift Upcycling

We here at DMO absolutely love bringing new life to old products. With America generating over 254 million tons of trash per year, and anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of that is building materials (with only 20% of the building materials making it to a recycling facility), it is extremely important for designers to be aware of the waste they create. And more and more homeowners are doing the same. Upcycling products, as a substitute to trashing them, is a great way to do your own little bit of good for our environment; and what a great way to let your creativity soar!

Periodically, when we here at DMO have completed an upcycle project, we will share it with you in a hopes to inspire creativity, and new ideas for your dated, worn out, or unused products. Remember, you can be making any of these items for yourself, as gifts, or to sell; anything to keep usable materials out of our landfills. And we will always say, if you can’t think of something to do with that worn out product (or you don’t have time, money, energy, etc.) then there are always other options, such as donating them to Goodwill, Salvation Army, the ReStore, or other charitable organizations. Be on the lookout for future installments of Facelift Upcycling!


One of DMOs designers was given a used truck to store toys for their growing boy; however, the obnoxious turquoise color was not very well liked by said boy. Additionally, the clasps, hinges and corner casings were done in a shiny chrome metal. The combination of colors, though the styling of the trunk was intended to be that of antiques, made the piece look cheap. So our designer set out to give it a facelift, because the trunk itself was solid, worked well, still had the key and could hold plenty of toys or collectables.

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So first step was choosing a paint. Because the trunk had so many seems, divots, peaks, brackets, rivets and other applications that made the surface anything but smooth, a spray paint was going to be the best choice. With the right amount of patience, this project could have been done in two different colors, painting the case one color, allowing to dry, taping it off and painting the metal another color; however due to time constrains and ease, our designer chose to paint it all one solid color. So because the paint was going to cover metal pieces our designer chose a metal spray paint (one that gave a slight texture as if it were wrought metal). Then for the color, honestly, she just let her 2-year-old daughter choose 🙂

The most important and most tedious step in this facelift was sanding down all the shiny chrome. In order for most paints to adhere to shiny surfaces you must either use a primer that is made for shiny surfaces (very few exist) or you must rough up the surface. Our designer hand sanded all of the pieces of chrome with a 220 grit paper, ensuring coverage of all of the nooks and crannies. Once sanded, our designer inspected the piece for any place in which she would not want to get paint and taped it off. For this particular piece because the interior of the trunk was just particle board, she was not concerned with getting paint on it; however, she did want to make sure that the locking mechanisms were not ruined by the paint, so she folded a piece of painter’s tape over itself several times and stuffed the keyhole with it. Generally, to protect a keyhole, you would place the key into the lock as far as it could go and then tape up the visible portion of the key; however, with this project the key was too loose and would not stay in the keyhole if done in this manner. She also used painters tape to cover the black plastic handle; places where constant motion or friction take place may become worn down quickly depending upon the paint chosen.

Now it was ready to paint. Our designer laid out large pieces of cardboard and started with the trunk open and face down in order to cover as many surfaces as possible in the first run. Then after following the spray paint’s instructions she let the coast dry before flipping the trunk over and painting the sides that were missed. It took a total of 3 coats to cover this piece.

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The resulting product is exactly what she was hoping for, and her son loves it too! The spray paint took on two different textures due to the materials that it was being spraying on, where the metal pieces look similar to wrought iron and the trunk surface looks like expensive leather. Something as simple as a can of spray paint turned this trunk from looking cheap to looking sophisticated!

Pulling Double Duty

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When talking furniture with multiple purposes, most people think of the extreme Murphy-bed style furniture which completely conforms from one object into another in order to be productive with the space that it consumes; however, you would be surprised how making conscious decisions about items that we would have bought anyways could double our space by providing more than one purpose in our living spaces.

In order to make conscious purchases you must first fully know what your space will be used for. Will the family room only be used by the house members to watch TV, or will it have multiple purposes as a game room, informal entertaining, study, etc.? The best way to determine the full extent of a room’s purpose is to pay attention to who uses it for what for a week or two. Jot down notes when you see someone doing something that is not the original and main purpose of the room, like reading in the dining room, playing on the computer in their bedroom, playing chess in the den, etc. The same can be done for outdoor spaces. Also take note of things that you would like to be able to do in a room that currently isn’t set up for that activity, or if you see someone using a space for something that you feel would be better suited in a different room if there were accommodations.

Once you know how your rooms will be used it is time to figure out furniture pieces and storage solutions that can serve double duty in the space.

First think about the items that would make each task or activity enjoyable and accessible in the space. So go back to your list of activities and write what each activity would need; i.e. playing chess would need a small table and 2 chairs, reading a book would need a comfortable chair and a task lamp, a gaming area would need a place to store all the games, a table to play them on and comfortable seats, outside a gardening area would need storage, a planting table, etc.

Once you know all the pieces needed, see if any of them are duplicative (chairs, tables, etc.) and determine how many you need. Then from there find ways to creatively make double use of items, storage inside other pieces of furniture, whole room lamps with affixed task lighting, chairs that are easily moved from one area or purpose to another, wall shelving to pull items off the floor for more square footage, etc.

Have fun and be creative when finding solutions, just always keep in mind that the end goal is to love your space, so make sure that what you find is something you will also love looking at, making the room more enjoyable for everyone.

Here are some great solutions that pull double duty:

Coffee Tables with Storage:

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Gaming Tables:

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Video Gaming Storage:

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Seating with Storage:

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Bedroom Solutions:

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Hide-Away Office Solutions:

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Outdoor Solutions:

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Other Interesting Solutions:

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**In no means is this a review or endorsement of above mentioned products, they are merely suggestions of potential solutions. It is always best to do research in regards to the quality and standards of products, reading through reviews of others who have purchased the items as well as fully understanding the products limitations and warrantee information.


The above mentioned items can be found at the following websites respectively (as websites are outside sources, I apologize if any link becomes inactive in the future):


Match Maker, Match Maker, Find me my Color!


Ok, so it doesn’t rhyme, but how often do we wish there was someone out there that could find us the perfect color. Have you ever considered color matching?

Color matching is taking an item that you already have, or are purchasing and matching your paint choice to a color found on that item. This technique is great when you find that perfect set of throw pillows at the import store, set of dishes at the cooking store, amazing bedspread at the home goods store, or (guys this is for you) you need to match the colors of your favorite football team for the man cave.

Here are some tips to make color matching successful:

Choosing What to Color Match:

  • If the item that you are wanting to color match has several different colors in it, choose the color that would fit the mood of the room, as well as a color that you would be comfortable with surrounding you. Blues and greens create calm, while reds and oranges create excitement. It is also a great idea to color match neutral tones if you are bored of white but aren’t real sure about bold colors.
  • If the item is a very large prominent piece in the room (such as a comforter), it is actually best to compliment the color rather than to match it. If the walls and the item are the same color, then that perfect item that you loved so much when you picked it out will get lost in the background. Choosing a secondary color from the item rather than its most prominent color could work in this case.

Finding the Right Color:

  • Color matching can be tricky, so it is first important to be patient and to be ok if you don’t get it right the first time. No matter what steps you take to find the right color, make sure to buy only a sample of it to start, and paint a small area of the walls you want to paint. Allow these sample areas to dry fully and compare your color choice to your item at several different times a day to ensure that it matches. If it doesn’t you haven’t wasted the time and money to paint the whole room, only a sample size.
  • To start you will want to find a color that you feel matches. Some stores have a computer imaging kiosk that you can hold your item up to in order to find a similar color; however, sometimes it is easier to just start pulling the paint sample strips off the wall and compare them to your item. You will want to hold them close to you and far away so that shadows and vision aren’t skewing your match. Pick 3 or 4 that you feel are the closest and, if you have time, take them all home and compare them in the space you intend to use them.
  • Understand that lighting plays a huge role in the way that colors appear. When finding your color, many stores have light boxes that you can hold your paint sample strip and item into (if the item is small enough) to ensure that the lighting type you have in your home won’t significantly change the look of the match.
  • Another factor is texture. If the item that you have chosen is a smooth surface, it will be much easier to color match than one that is rough or fuzzy. Items with high textural quality have highs and lows in their color (or highlights and shadows). The best way to color match these textural items is to view them next to the color in many different lightings and distances. At this point, it is more of a matter of opinion, what you feel matches the closest.
  • And speaking of opinion, if you are still having a difficult time in determining, then get some outside opinions. Family, friends or coworkers are generally happy to help, and having more eyes on the item could help you come to a decision.