Beauty and the Budget

Decorating Tips from a Military Wife: Part II

                                                                  –written by Megan, a military wife soon to be a graduate wife

Welcome back! You can find Part 1 of Megan’s post here.

6. Clean the hardware of your doors, windows, and cabinets, or if that’s too labor intensive just replace them!  The easiest thing would be to replace handles with handles and knobs with knobs because the boring holes would be the same.  If you are in a rental, just make sure to save the old ones to re-replace before you move out.


7.  Take down any boring old lighting fixture and replace it with a funky, beautiful one of your own!  This is a little more complicated than some projects but is a lot easier than you’d imagine.  If it makes you too nervous you can always call a professional (or your dad.)

8. Definitely shop places like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and thrifts shops.  Be sure not to take furniture and accessories that you see at face value.  A $20 side table that’s pretty fugly now could be gorgeous with a can of Chinese red spray paint.  And if it doesn’t fit into the next place you move into or your tastes change, you won’t be heartbroken to get rid of it because you didn’t spend an arm and a leg on it!  Besides its fun to hear people’s reactions when you told them “Oh yeah I spent $17 dollars on that fabulous chair!” Whaaaattt??

9. Want instant coziness in your space?  Add a rug!  Seriously, you’ll be amazed at how much it can change a space.  Personally I’d ignore all those silly rules about how many sofa legs need to be on the rug, if it makes you happy go for it!  Also, if you have wall-to-wall carpet, don’t be afraid to put a rug on top of that!  Layering rugs is super popular right now and is an easy way to bring texture and color into a space.   One more thing, don’t shy away from using a real rug in the bathroom or kitchen.  In these two rooms, which typically have a lot of “hardscaping” (cabinets, counters, appliances) a rug will make the space feel much more warm and inviting.  I promise you, unless you have a few truly rambunctious rugrats (God bless you), a real rug will hold up to the normal wear and tear that bathrooms and kitchen have to endure.

10. This last one is more of a mental tip but its something that I constantly find myself having to do.  Step away from the blogs, Pinterest, and HGTV.  These are great resources and really allow you to focus in on what you really like but they can also intensely stress you out.  I worry about the state of my home plenty of the time, but I can assure you that your friends don’t care that your dishtowels don’t match or that your curtains aren’t silk.  And as my friend told me, if they do care about these things then they aren’t your friends in the first place.   They say, “Love the one you’re with!”  And its true, one day you’ll move and have totally new design dilemmas to solve.  In the meantime embrace the perfect imperfection of your home now.  It’s where all the good stuff in life happens, whether or not it is perfectly decorated!

Beauty and the Budget

Beauty and the Budget: Project Lighting

It was kind of a strange surprise to me when I arrived in England to a fully furnished flat complete with white paper lanterns in every room.  I was a bit confused, because in the states paper lanterns as light pendants are somewhat associated with high school girl’s bedrooms or college dorms.  I quickly realized as I peeked into the windows of other flats and houses on our block, that indeed everyone has the paper lanterns up.  They have definitley grown on me over the year and once I realized how inexpensive they were, I decided to get creative. As I was looking for some inspiration online I came across the below.



I then ran across this…and sadly I can’t recall where I found it.


So instead of using cupcake liners like the first one (as I thought it had a bit of a harsh effect) and not wanting to cut out hundreds of circles of tissue paper or felt as in the second image above,  I bought some £1.89 eye make-up remover pads from Boots and went to town on my £2 paper lantern from Ikea.

I spent an evening watching a movie with my husband and slowly but surely glued on around 50 little white pads to the lantern.  I held the pad flat and put a dab of  hot glue in the center then scrunched it up like a flower bud.  It stuck together and then I put a dab of glue on the back of the ‘flower’ and glued it down on the lantern.  I started out wanting to cover the entire surface of the lantern, but it would have taken a lot longer than I had planned and I ended up liking the ‘trailing’ effect that I created when I followed a curving trail as I moved around the lantern.


I turned out with a lovely light fixture for my daughter’s nursery.  The little scrunches look like flowers and then all together it looks a bit like a cloud.  It softens her room immensely and looks great with the green and white color scheme I have in there.  I also added a small row of ‘flower scrunches’ to the trim of her bedside table lamp, so that they coordinate.  Not bad for £4!  Enjoy!

p.s. It would look great in a little boy’s nursery as well or even in your bedroom!