7 Things to Know Before You Use Peel and Stick Wallpaper

7 Things to Know Before You Use Peel and Stick Wallpaper

I decided to give our laundry room a facelift and wanted to do something bold on the walls. I’ve been hearing a ton about peel and stick wallpaper and found a pattern that I loved. The reviews were good. The Youtube videos looked easy enough. So I decided to give it a try, this is what I learned.

This post has been updated for 2020.

Peel and Stick Wallpaper Graphic

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! I never link to anything that I haven’t actually used. 

The laundry room is complete! See the full reveal here!

How long will it last?

I originally did this post two years ago and I’m happy to say that I haven’t had one issue with the durability of this wallpaper. It is installed in a high traffic area and I’ve been able to keep it relatively clean. All of the corners are staying put and the color is just as vibrant as it was when I installed it.   

What I learned about peel and stick wallpaper

Pick an easy space. Don’t do what I did and pick a small room with three doors, cabinets, and a washer/dryer to maneuver around.

Pick a simple pattern – or better yet, no pattern at all. I feel like I wasted a lot of wallpaper trying to match up the patterns between rows. The good thing about a busy pattern is that it hides the imperfections. Speaking of which…

Throw out your perfectionist tendencies. I wouldn’t have considered myself a perfectionist before starting this project. But holy hell. Lining up the pattern while trying to keep the wallpaper from sticking wrong…or to itself…or to your hair…was a bit of a time-consuming nightmare. I came to terms with it being close enough and promised myself that I wouldn’t stare at the spots I knew where a little off when I used this room.

Peel and stick wallpaper pattern

Don’t do this project in front of your kids. Or just go and put $100 into your swear jar now. I believe I cursed everything from the wallpaper to the builders of our nearly 40 yr old home. Bite your tongue and take deep breathes and repeat after me “it will all be worth it”.

Just hang. I tried to follow the directions and precut my pieces but I couldn’t do it right. Nothing was matching or I cut them short and wound up wasting a ton of material. What worked for me was to pick my starting spot – I chose a corner part of the wall with zero obstructions – and get the top lined up and start sticking. I didn’t cut the piece at the bottom until I had about a foot adhered at the top.

Wallpaper installers are underpaid. I do think installing normal wallpaper is easier than installing peel and stick because you are able to move the wallpaper before it sets. Regardless, getting this done right on a consistent basis is an art.

It’s worth it. For all the swearing and sweat and cost….it looks amazing. It’s exactly what I wanted for this space. See the full reveal of the new laundry room here.

peel and stick wallpaper room

Where can I buy it?

I bought this wallpaper from Target, and they carry lots of different prints. There are also plenty of options on Amazon, you can see a whole list in my Amazon Store.

9 Tips to Survive a Water Leak in Your Home

9 Tips to Survive a Water Leak in Your Home

Finding a water leak in your home can set off an instant wave of panic. Knowing these steps will help you minimize the damage and the stress of putting it all back together.

There is a Smell in Our Kitchen…

Around Christmas, I started to smell something a little musty around our kitchen sink. We checked under the sink itself and the faucet. Nothing was leaking. Fast forward a week and the smell was getting worse. We emptied everything out from under the sink and found that the back of our cabinets had mold. There was a leak in the wall and it was causing all sorts of destruction to our kitchen.

You would think that since this is the second time we have gone through a water leak, the first with our dining room, that I would be a seasoned veteran. But this was a lot like having a second child, the baby is born (or the leak happens) and you vaguely remember what to do but it’s still a little hazy. There aren’t any clear answers on Google – for the baby or the water leak – so here is my handy list of what to do when the leak happens. I’m still working on the concise parenting list…

9 Tips for a Water Leak

  1. Locate and stop the water leak if possible. We had to shut our water off for a few days until the plumber could get out here. BUT, the plumber won’t come if there is mold so you need the mold remediation company to come out first.
  2. Call a mold remediation company. Get a few quotes also. Even though your homeowners’ insurance will most likely cover this, you want someone that you feel will get the job done right and understands how the process works.
  3. Call your insurance. Ours didn’t send an adjuster out until after the mold remediation process was complete. The adjuster will come out and write up an estimate of what it will cost to fix the damage.
  4. Save receipts! Our insurance will reimburse us for a portion of our cost of eating out since we don’t have a kitchen.
  5. Ask your friends for help. We borrowed a microwave and hot plate from a friend. We also had a few great recommendations on contractors from friends.
  6. Set up your back up space. If the leak was in your kitchen, this is going to be more complicated than if the leak was in your dining room or some other non-essential place. Since our’s was in our kitchen, we set up shop in our garage with a folding table filled with a microwave, hot plate, toaster oven, electric skillet, and Instant Pot. I created a must-have list here of all the essentials we are using for our back up kitchen.
  7. Rethink your space. Once you can assess the damage, start to think how you are going to rebuild. Walk the big box stores and take a look at what’s out there. I was shocked at how fancy kitchen drawers are now compared to the 1979 builder grade cabinets we had.
  8. Start to contact contractors. This process is not fast so get some companies out to give you some preliminary quotes. Get at least 3 quotes for the work that needs to be done.
  9. Have patience. Easier said than done, I realize.

Stay tuned for before and after photos. Perhaps a few posts on how to renovate a kitchen. Leave any kitchen renovation tips or things you’d like to know in the comments!

Scared you have a water leak in your plumbing, maybe behind a wall in your home or in a basement? Here are some tips on how to make the damage and cost as minimal as possible, especially if you are dealing with mold. Great hacks on how to set up a temporary kitchen too. Don’t worry, no real DIY skills are required - just a sense of humor, someone who knows pipes or toilets and patience with insurance and contractors and everyone else who is affected by the water leakage. #DIY #waterleakage #renovation #mold

Reading Nook Under the Stairs

Reading Nook Under the Stairs

When we first looked at this house, I always thought that the open space under the stairs would make the perfect reading nook for the kids. Fast forward three years and I finally made it happen.

Reading Nook Under the Stairs Before

When we bought this house, the lower stairs were open and wrapped in carpet. In fact, the banister was completely different, and completely dangerous for small children, you can see the before pictures here. This space served as a catch all of toys, random storage boxes and the only space for our large dog’s crate. That dog is crate trained and if left out while we are gone, will destroy a few of the kids toys as retribution. So the crate has to stay put. It’s only been recently that the girls have started playing under here which is what’s motivated me to finally make this space more intentional. And fun.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

Reading Nook beforeReading Nook Under Stairs BeforeReading Nook Before Wide

Reading Nook Under the Stairs During

I’m actually surprised that the carpet was even able to be ripped off of these stairs since there were about 5,729 carpet staples under here. I removed them all, patched, sanded and caulked before I used my favorite primer.

Reading Nook Before Primer

I used leftover navy paint for the walls (mostly SW Naval with a touch of SW Salty Dog from our dining room makeover) and acrylic craft paint for the back of the stairs.

Reading Nook Paint Only

I used these cloud decals and put my kiddos to work. They were so excited to finally be able to help and it took every bit of restraint in my body to no go back and “fix” their cloud placement. It’s so fun to include them in the design and implementation of these house projects, especially in a space that is exclusively for them.

Reading Nook Girls Helping

Since this is a fairly dark space, it needed a light and this wall scone was the perfect size. It wasn’t quite the right gold so I sprayed it with this and copied Nesting With Grace’s Magic Light Trick so that I wouldn’t have to hard wire the light. I used it in our laundry room makeover and it works so well. The rainbow photo holder I found for $2 in the Target Clearance section.

Reading Nook Clouds

Reading Nook Under the Stairs After

I couldn’t be happier with the finished product and the girls absolutely love it. I let Big Nugget pick out what pillows she wanted (all from Home Goods). The rainbow curtain is tulle that I wrapped around a tension rod and tucked under the dog crate – you can see how I made it in this video.

Reading Nook Under Stairs After

No rainbow reading nook is complete without a rainbow unicorn.

Reading Nook After

Big Nugget also picked out this basket to hold her favorite books.

Reading Nook Rainbow

I think both of the girls are happy with their rainbow reading nook and I have a feeling lots of memories will be made under the stairs.

Reading-Nook-Big-Nugget.jpg

Reading Nook Girls ReadingRainbow Reading Nook Pinterest

How to paint a front door

How to paint a front door

If you are a design junkie like me, then you see people paint a front door all the time and poof, the space is transformed. They make it all look so easy.

It’s not, especially when you have two young kids and two dogs, but I did it and want to share what I learned.

I love doing DIY projects around the house. I love to improve my home. I love to transform spaces. I’m not afraid to make mistakes and get a little dirty. But let me tell you what I don’t love….not being able to devote the time and attention it takes to get a job done well and quickly.

So I’ve learned to maximize the kid free time I do have and embrace the chaos when they are around. I remember “helping” paint the columns on our front porch when I was little and I want my kids to have those same memories. So when it was time to tackle that front door paint job, I mustered up all the patience I could and made it a family affair.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! `

Must Haves to Paint a Front Door

  1. Baby Gate
  2. Good paint scraper like this one
  3. Stripping Gel
  4. Sander
  5. Old towel
  6. Some good podcasts – I binged Armchair Expert and Slow Burn during this DIY
  7. Patience

Here is where we started. Lovely color but a little dated, starting to chip and the handle was somewhat broken.

front door before wide shot

Strip Before You Paint

I knew that there were LAYERS of paint on this door so it had to be stripped. I used the CitriStrip gel based on the recommendation from the guy at the paint counter. The smell wasn’t bad but did give me a headache after awhile.

front door paint stripping gel

I got a little excited and slathered the gel all over the front door. What I should have done, is do a small area at a time so that the gel wouldn’t full dry. You want it to soak in but still be a little gooey so it peels off. It says it stays wet for 24 hours, maybe in some other climates that’s true, but not in coastal San Diego.

front door paint stripping

My kids wanted to get involved and I tried to let them scrape off paint when the gel was removed or completely dry.

Sand That Door Down

Once you have the door stripped as much as possible and fill in any cracks and dings with wood putty, make sure it’s exterior and stainable/paintable, it’s time to get the sander out. I used both the power sander and the hand held sanding block to get all the nooks and crannies of the door and frame. Surprisingly, my girls slept through this.

front door sander

Prime it

I used two coats of Killz Primer on the door and I let it sit for a few days in between so that the primer could cure on the front door. Logistically, it made sense for me to change the door hardware at this step.

front door primed

Paint It

With two dogs and two small kids, I can’t just paint a front door without some sort of barricade and this baby gate worked perfectly. I also couldn’t stand the big thin plastic tarp on my floor so I opt’d for an old towel. This was the perfect size and weight to protect my floors without annoying the crap out of me or creating a giant tripping hazard.

front door paint set up

It took three coats to get the door the color I wanted and, once again, I waited a day between coats two and three. I also switched out the porch light to something a little more modern and scored some new pots in the Target clearance section so I added some new plants to make the space a little more fresh. Boxwood Wreath is on Amazon for way cheaper than I bought it on Wayfair (sigh) and the welcome mat is from Target last spring.

Finished Product

front door after little nugget

It was a LOT of work and took WAY longer than I had anticipated but I couldn’t be happier with the results. Would I paint a front door again? Absolutely. See more images for the transformation here.

Paint a Front Door 2

9 Things to Know Before Painting Cabinets

9 Things to Know Before Painting Cabinets

When we did our laundry room makeover, I thought that building the shelf or hanging the wallpaper would be the most challenging part of the design plan. I was surprised that painting the cabinets was actually the part that gave me the biggest headaches.

I love the look of painted cabinets and now that I’ve learned some lessons, I’m ready to tackle the rest of the painted cabinets we have in this house. That is, as soon as I finish our front door makeover.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! 

9 Things I Learned Painting My Cabinets

Buy some sawhorses – This is a garage/workshop must-have if you like doing any sort of home projects or even crafting. They are perfect to stage your cabinets on when you are prepping them and painting them. I use these on my projects, I love the lower table.

Before and after painted cabinet transformation. This easy DIY project, with or without sanding, can take old drap cabinets into a high impact statement. Ideas for your kitchen, bathroom or laundry room. 9 things to know when you are painting cabinets with with a sprayer or with brushes. #beforeandafter #DIY #kitchen #bathroom #laundryroom #colors #interiordesign #farmhouse

Scrape off excess paint – If you have old or layered paint on your cabinets, take the time to scrape it off. It will make your finished product look great and help your primer and paint stick.

Before and after painted cabinet transformation. This easy DIY project, with or without sanding, can take old drap cabinets into a high impact statement. Ideas for your kitchen, bathroom or laundry room. 9 things to know when you are painting cabinets with with a sprayer or with brushes. #beforeandafter #DIY #kitchen #bathroom #laundryroom #colors #interiordesign #farmhouse

Sand them down – Also another important step that shouldn’t be skipped. I sand them really well before I put on primer and then gently with a fine sandpaper once the primer is dry.

Use a good primer, maybe twice – I love Killz primer. It’s worth it to put a layer of this on even if your paint includes a primer in it. Especially on cabinets that are going to get a lot of use.

Invest in paint – This was my biggest mistake in our laundry room makeover, I used crappy paint. If I had to do it over again, I would have had my paint store color match the crappy paint and used a higher-quality brand. It’s worth the time and money.

Use foam brushes – On cabinets, if you are hand painting them, you want to use foam brushes so you eliminate brush marks. I like having a few different sizes, like in this package. If you want to get super fancy, use a sprayer. This is ideal for bigger projects but for the four doors in my laundry room, brushes were fine.

Have a small bowl or cup nearby to keep all the loose screws – Painting your cabinets isn’t a one day project so it’s nice to be able to keep all the screws and hardware in one central location so you have it once you are ready to reinstall.

Before and after painted cabinet transformation. This easy DIY project, with or without sanding, can take old drap cabinets into a high impact statement. Ideas for your kitchen, bathroom or laundry room. 9 things to know when you are painting cabinets with with a sprayer or with brushes. #beforeandafter #DIY #kitchen #bathroom #laundryroom #colors #interiordesign #farmhouse

Painters tape is your friend – Use painters tape to mark off what cabinet door go where (very important thing to keep track of) and it to measure and mark drill holes for the new pulls. Very important to GO SLOW when you are drilling into your doors. Using light pressure and taking your time will make sure that your doors don’t split or crack when you drill through them.

Before and after painted cabinet transformation. This easy DIY project, with or without sanding, can take old drap cabinets into a high impact statement. Ideas for your kitchen, bathroom or laundry room. 9 things to know when you are painting cabinets with with a sprayer or with brushes. #beforeandafter #DIY #kitchen #bathroom #laundryroom #colors #interiordesign #farmhouse

Load up on patience – Take your time and do it right. Trust me it will be worth it.

Before and after painted cabinet transformation. This easy DIY project, with or without sanding, can take old drap cabinets into a high impact statement. Ideas for your kitchen, bathroom or laundry room. 9 things to know when you are painting cabinets with with a sprayer or with brushes. #beforeandafter #DIY #kitchen #bathroom #laundryroom #colors #interiordesign #farmhouse

How to Build a Laundry Shelf

How to Build a Laundry Shelf

Featured on Hometalk.com

Our laundry room makeover is complete and the project that I’m most proud of has to be the DIY laundry shelf over the washer and dryer.

When I was pulling together the design board for this room, I knew that I wanted something over the washer and dryer. We had already used that space as a landing area, the laundry shelf would make it feel more intentional. It would also help muffle the sound of the washer and dryer a bit.

This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! I never link to anything that I haven’t actually used. 

DIY Laundry Shelf

The plan was fairly simple. Line the surrounding walls with 1×2 boards and lay common boards on top to make the shelf. Here are my tips for creating a DIY laundry shelf.

1. Invest in sawhorses. If you don’t already have them, get some. They will make staining and cutting infinitely easier.

laundry shelf stain one coat

2. Measure obsessively. I was so worried that I was going to mess this part up that I probably would have finished the project a lot faster if I only measured twice. Labeling the back of each wood piece helped me keep track of what went where. Leave room for any hoses or cords that are above the shelf.

laundry shelf cut mounts

3. Cut everything first. We had the large boards cut at Home Depot. The wall supports and the hose cutout I did with a jigsaw. Be picky when you are buying your wood. Make sure your 1×2’s are straight and that your common boards are not warped and have some character to them.

laundry shelf home depot

4. Sand down the edges – it will give everything a more finished look.

laundry shelf sanded

5. Stain last. Follow the directions on the stain container and stain the edges and under parts if there is any chance it can be seen. I used the Minwax Polyshade in Espresso.

laundry shelf stain options

laundry shelf steel wool

6. Use a good level and stud finder. All of the support boards were mounted at 30 inches high using either stud screws or drywall anchors/screws.

laundry shelf mountslaundry shelf mounts installed

7. Connect the boards underneath to prevent sagging. Attaching a small piece of 1×2 across the boards will help support them. Pre-drill the hole through the support and be careful not to go too far into the common board.

Laundry room shelf for over the washer and dryer that makes a huge impact. An easy DIY project that creates storage and folding space. This stained wood shelf is perfect for small spaces. See our full laundry room makeover for more ideas.

See more pictures of the finished room here.

DIY Laundry Shelf