DIY to Try

Every bedroom needs a dresser for clothing and apparel storage, and one style that’s caught my eye in the past year is the two tone white and wood combination. Crisp white and stained wood combine to create beautiful contrast, and the partnership on a piece of furniture adds a stylish modern look to any bedroom space.

two tone dresser


There are several dressers sold by retailers that will give you the two tone look similar to this credenza, but it’s one you also can mimic with a do-it-yourself project. 

two tone furniture


Last year I found a little chest at a thrift store and thought it was perfect for office supply storage for my husband’s office. I refurbished the stained drawers and painted the surround and pulls in a crisp white. (Full details here.)


stained wood and white chest


Duplicate Aubrey and Lindsay’s DIY dresser project with an inexpensive Rast dresser from IKEA, paint and stain from your local home improvement store, and brass ring pulls.

diy two tone dresser


Or skip the DIY and invest in one of these four lovely pieces!


two tone dressers

  Austin / Bleecker / Patchwork / Italian


Each makes a modern statement in your bedroom with a chic two tone finish!


Announcement & Invitation -  for those of you on Twitter I’m hosting a chat on spring decorating on April 2nd and BH&G is giving away $300 in prizes for those participating!  Follow me here!


april bhg twitter party


Mark your calendars for the event on Tuesday!



Remember in the old movies when the ladies would disappear behind the folding screen to change their clothes while continuing a conversation with another character? Folding screens continue to serve the purpose of functional room divider but in this century we use them for more than just privacy – now they serve us in decorative ways to add visual interest to bare corners and walls.

For residences without a dedicated foyer, a partitioning room divider creates an instant entry and convenient drop zone when a hall table is added on one side. 

folding screen room divider bhg


Folding screens are a creative option for minimizing any part of a room you wish to disguise and when painted a bright color they add a dose of personality too.

folding screen divider bhg


Folding screens can be reinvented as unique headboards – an ornate or carved version will introduce an exotic or global vibe into your bedroom space.

folding screen style headboard bhg


Distressed in a cottage style finish, folding screens make charming props for outdoor plantings and add character to covered porches.

folding screen outdoors bhg


You can get creative with basic bifold doors from a home improvement store by attaching a set together with hinges and embellishing as you please with traditional molding or creatively with layers of shims painted a pretty color.

shim folding screen bhg


Make a style statement by upgrading a basic room divider with patterned wallpaper.

diy new impressions screen bhg


For an easy DIY project, follow Diane’s great tutorial for making a room divider out of bifold doors. If you prefer a store-bought version, here are six fabulous folding screens from budget to splurge that are sure to bring style to any of your spaces.

fabulous folding screens


blue cottage/carved wood/distressed gray/reclaimed wood/white geometric/gold leaf


Do you decorate with folding screens in your home?  If so, where and in what style?



The middle of February is about the time when I’m absolutely craving those weeks of spring when everything outdoors begins to bloom again. One of the ways I soothe that anxiousness for greenery is with indoor gardening and miniature terrariums.

winter orchid and terrarium


Assembling a terrarium isn’t complicated and with low maintenance succulents, even those who profess to lack green thumbs can have an indoor garden with this technique that dates back to the Victorian age.

Last year, I started mine on a small scale with a glass vessel and some river rocks. To that I added a few varieties of succulents nestled carefully among the stones. This setup takes very little watering, just a few sprinkles or drops once a week. One year later, the terrarium is still thriving!



One of the best ways to make a space come alive is with the presence of something green and growing. Posing a terrarium on an endtable, a bookshelf, or in front of a main window in your living room is way of capturing that feeling with a unique combination of miniature plants.


tabletop terrarium bhg


terrariums in vessels bhg


There are simple techniques to create a layered indoor garden with terrariums formed out of several shapes of glass containers.

terrariums bhg


For instructions on how to assemble your own terrarium at home, follow these helpful step by step instructions.

step by step terrarium


In addition to succulents, here is a list of plants that will thrive in your terrarium.

Happy indoor gardening!


The other day I did something I do a lot and that is to drag home a cool old piece of furniture from a thrift store with every intention of giving it a fresh new look with paint. It’s one of my favorite things to do!

As you know, just about anything can be refurbished with paint to suit your style, how fantastic is this bright turquoise hall tree? 

painted coat rack bhg


Painting furniture is a quick and easy weekend project that will bring a fresh dose of color to your home with just a few hours of work.  A smaller piece of furniture like this bar cart can even be spray painted in a jiffy if you give it a coat of primer first. 


yellow painted barcart bhg


Larger pieces like this cabinet and hutch are more difficult to spray paint, so in those circumstances I typically use a good quality brush for a smooth and even finish. 


gray painted hutch bhg


You can paint your pieces one uniform color or opt for a more creative combination – at two color paint job pulls together separate pieces in a bathroom space but still distinguishes them as their own unique elements. 

combined desk and hutch bhg


If plans to paint are in your near future, here are the supplies you’ll need:  tarp, sanding wedge, wood filler (for dents or holes); adhesion primer; foam roller, high quality angled paintbrush; water based enamel paint.  Optional protective coat: polycrylic or clear furniture wax. 

The basic steps for painting wood furniture are these:

1)  Repair any holes or dents with sandable wood filler.  If you’ve opted for new knobs, often they will fit right in the old holes, but many modern pulls are sized differently than the old hardware and wood filler is also your best bet for starting over with new hardware. Once it’s dry sand it smooth before proceeding.

2)  Prime with a high adhesion bonding primer, you can find them in brush on or spray on formulas made by Zinsser (my personal favorite), Kilz, or specialty paint companies. 

3) Once you’re primer is fully dry, sand away any drips or residue and wipe your piece down with a soft cloth. Apply two thin coasts of water based enamel paint – use a foam roller for quick application and follow it up with a high quality angled paintbrush for angles, trim, or hard to reach spots.  Note with darker colors you may need three coats, but the thinner the better to avoid drips and brush strokes. Allow 6 to 8 hours for your paint to dry between coats.

4)  With enamel paints it’s not always necessary to use a protectant as the enamel paint has a harder finish compared to ordinary latex paints. However, for a high use surface like a coffee table or desk, an extra coat of protection will help protect the paint.  If you opt for a protective coat, use a water based polycrylic in satin or gloss – do not use an oil based polyurethane, it will amber or yellow over time.  An alternative that results in a hand rubbed matte finish is clear furniture wax buffed to a soft glow

For greater detail, and images to accompany refer to this article on how to paint furniture!

If you seek a more distressed look, with the original wood peeking through underneath, you can follow the basic steps I mentioned last week for distressing furniture with water based paints, or consider a product I’ve worked with several times and that is Annie Sloan Chalk paint, not to be confused with chalkboard paint.

Chalk paint is a special formula designed to give you a European style distressed look without priming. The formula is water based and easy to use.  Specialty chalk paint or milk paints will give you a lovely distressed finish when you lightly sand away the thin layers revealing parts of the wood underneath. 

distressed armoire bhg


Have you repainted anything special for your home lately?  Feel free to link to your project, and happy refurbishing to those with plans to paint in the near future!



I’m drawn to old things that are unique, pieces that aren’t fresh out of a box or showroom and don’t look shiny and new, but are instead from another time.  Often these pieces are distressed in that their paint has worn down over the years, and in those chipping layers there is story to be told.  Old pieces of furniture often leave me wondering where it lived in its past life and what purpose it served.   


salvaged desk bhg

One of my favorite things to do is dream up new uses for old things found by scouring flea markets or thrift stores and then bring them home to reinvent them.  Sometimes the doors or drawers are squeaky or in need of a small amount of repair, but with a little attention and care, they can be fully functional and make a one-of-a-kind statement in your home.

Using salvaged furniture is one of the current trends in home design and for good reason.  Rescued pieces bring character to a space and are also an eco-friendly opportunity to use what exists in a new and creative way. 


patina island bhg


It’s always an adventure to hunt for treasure in the form of used furniture and if you’re lucky, you’ll chance upon the perfect piece at an antique fair, flea market, thrift store or on Craigslist, but what if your piece is the perfect size, but not necessarily the right finish?  Good news, it’s easy to give your new find a distressed look with a just a little paint. 


rustic console bhg


Achieving a layered distressed finish is a technique easily mastered with a little practice and patience.  I created a planter for my yard in a look very similar to this stool below by simply dry brushing different colored sample pots of paint onto pieces of wood.


painted distressed stool bhg


Whether you’re whitewashing wood or layering with a more vivid patina, the first rule is choose a water based paint in a color you love, then add just enough additional water in a separate container so that the paint has the fluidity of milk. 

Dip the brush in the paint mixture, scrape most of it off on the edges of your container, and slowly apply the color in very thin layers until you achieve your desired look.  Having a sanding wedge on hand is also useful if you apply too much and want to reveal more of the wood tone underneath. 


patina technique


Layering two to three colors in similar shades will create depth and character, and will give your piece a time worn look.  When dry, finish it off with a coat of clear furniture wax and you’ll have a focal point that will please you for years to come.


distressed green armoire bhg


Are you a fan of salvaged or distressed furniture?  What pieces have you found while treasure hunting and how have you reinvented an old piece to suit your modern needs? 



Square footage is of prime value in apartments, townhouses, and smaller homes and those who dwell within always seek to maximize every square inch of space.  Thankfully there are clever affordable solutions for those who reside in spaces where storage is limited.  Here are ten savvy small space solutions to inspire a weekend makeover in your condo or casa. 

1. Purchase a small console that fits on an entry wall, and remember a lower shelf is an added bonus!  Use the top as a desk and baskets below for a centralized solution designed to hold everyday necessities for grab and go convenience.  

entry console with baskets bhg


2.  Avoid clutter taking over your countertops by installing a charging station inside a drawer.  Drill a hole in the back of a dresser or desk to accommodate the cord of a hidden power strip.  

door divider charger bhg


3.  Transform an armoire into a pantry or dish and linen storage center perfect for a small space kitchen or dining zone. 


4.  Turn a stock cabinet into a rolling kitchen island that offers both a prep surface and valuable storage below.  If designed with casters, it can roll out of the way when the countertop is not in use.  

rolling kitchen cabinet island bhg


5.  Install a recessed medicine cabinet between the wall studs for bathroom toiletries and necessities.

recessed bathroom cabinet bhg


6.  Maximize vertical wall space by hanging a pegboard above a desk to store craft or office supplies. Paint it a cheery hue for a punch of color!


7.   Two bookcases plus a wood countertop multitask in any space by providing storage and a writing desk for catching up on email, paying bills, or for hobbies such as scrapbooking or crafting.

bookcases to desk bhg


8.  Inexpensive wood crates painted in bright colors bring fresh style to a bathroom.  Multiply the number of crates to create affordable and unique bookshelves in an office or as media storage in a living room. 

stacked colorful crates bhg


9.   Stack two shipping pallets and top them with a solid surface to give yourself a coffee table with storage for reading material inside.


10.  Create your own room divider between entry and living space by combining three ready-to-assemble cabinets and positioning them next to each other to divide the singular space.  You’ll create an instant entryway and multiply your storage as well.  Here are the details on how to make a room divider with cabinets.  

cabinet room divider bhg


Wherever you reside and whatever your living situation, there are always creative ways to conquer clutter and store your stuff!  Stay tuned for even more articles on the topic coming in January with a focus on getting organized and maximizing storage! 




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