Around the Web: DIY Storage Unit Transformations

I wish I had more advanced DIY skills.  I can handle a paint brush and staple gun on my own, but don't leave me alone with the power tools!  Fortunately, it all works out on the home improvement front since my hubby is quite handy, and I'm great at visualizing and directing.  Ha! :)

Unlike myself, these ladies have their DIY act together.  Check out what they made:

ikea hack diy legs

Love this dresser/changing table that Sarah created for her son's nursery.  Can you believe this is an Ikea dresser?!

diy organization storage unit

Dana transformed an armoire into a functional storage unit for her studio.  She packed some serious organizational style and function on the inside.

diy kitchen cabinet storage solutions

I'm not the only one who prefers having countertops free of small appliances.  Ashley built a pantry, and carved out space on the inside for a coffee station, microwave, and cleaning supplies!

diy ikea hack storage unit

This is a great DIY rustic industrial shelving unit that Lisa built for her son's room.  Its Ikea origins are unrecognizable!  Lisa is a DIY guru, and her blog is filled with several clever and inspiring DIY projects.  Go visit her when you have a chance!

How to Approach a Room Design on a Limited (or Any) Budget

Does budget hold you back from creating a beautiful environment for yourself?  Do you feel paralyzed (by budget or otherwise) when pulling a space together?  Well, you're not alone.

interior design tips budget decorating

Many people face budgetary constraints when it comes to designing their interiors.  But it should NOT prevent you from creating a home environment that you crave and deserve.  After all, home is where you begin and end each day.  Make it yours.

Here are some ways to approach a room design on a limited (or any) budget:

1.  Acknowledge the fact that there may never be the "right" time for a room makeover.  We all have life priorities that will always take precedence.  Nonetheless, it is important to give yourself a soothing environment in at least one space in your home.  It can go a long way towards your comfort and well-being.

2.  Create a design plan assuming budget wasn't an issue.  Sound counter-intuitive?  Well, this is more about helping you get your creative juices flowing.  Envision how you want your space to look, feel, and function, then start finding pieces that fit your vision.  Once you see everything together on screen or paper, you can mix, match, and ultimately, edit/streamline.  How many times have you purchased something, only to realize it doesn't work with the other room elements?  See how everything visually looks together first!

interior design decorating transitional boho chic e-design

3.  Prioritize what you really want/need in your design plan, then establish a REALISTIC budget.  Allow yourself to splurge on some of the "must haves" in your design plan, and then dedicate the funds towards it.  Tailor the rest of the design elements around the remaining budget.  This could entail sourcing budget-friendly alternatives to the "lesser priority" items.  I typically suggest investing in quality "bigger ticket" items, like sofas or dining tables, since those aren't easily swapped out.  Compliment your investment pieces with more affordable accent pieces and decorative accessories.

interior design plan classic modern bathroom design plan moen fixtures all modern vanity herringbone marble porcelain tile

In our main bathroom remodel, we decided to make the tile work the priority and focal point.  A significant portion of the budget was allocated towards tile and the related labor to install it.  Alternatively, I sourced budget-friendly options for the vanity, fixtures, and lighting.

transitional classic modern bathroom interior design

4.  Take measurements and create a floor plan.  Measurements (of the space and furnishings) are critical to ensure that your floor plan can accommodate what you intend to incorporate into the space.  Consider scale and proportion too.  There is no point in buying a sofa that's too bulky for the area... or getting a coffee table that will make your seating arrangement feel cramped... or purchasing an end table that isn't in scale with the adjacent chair...  You get the idea.  Factoring in all these considerations will help you save time and money in the long run.

iinterior design decorating california boho chic transitional room design floor plan

5.  Make purchases over time, and implement your design in stages.  You don't need to buy everything all at once.  Implement your design plan as your budget permits.  I would recommend, however, not waiting on purchasing the less common items in your plan.

interior design eclectic bohemian modern transitional vintage decorating boho chic

Because of ongoing renovations, I have to implement the general design plan for our family room in stages.  It's okay for a room to evolve over time!

6.  Don't limit your shopping to retail stores.  Shop flea markets, thrift stores, online marketplaces (Ebay, Etsy, etc.), estate sales, etc.  Visit your local shops too.  Rooms that are dynamic and well-crafted look collected and layered, rather than straight out of a Pottery Barn or West Elm catalog.  CAD Design Tip: Thrift stores in "higher end" neighborhoods may offer beautiful treasures at discounted prices.

7.  Shop your home first for furniture or decorative accessories.  Furnishings and accessories can take on new light when moved from one space to another.

8.  Don't underestimate what you can DIY or transform.  Don't overlook something just because it's the wrong color, needs to be spruced up, etc.  Look at proportion, scale, shape/lines, etc., especially when it comes to second-hand furniture.  Paint can also do wonders for instantly transforming a room or updating something - and it's an easy DIY!

trim mantel CAD INTERIORS family room makeover

modern farmhouse dutch door transformation

9.  Get creative.  Here are a few of my previous posts on budget decorating:

10.  Be flexible.  Designs are fluid.  Your design plan should serve as a guide, not an "end-all-be-all".  It is important to stay flexible!

Sharing with: Home Stories A to Z

Favorite Things: Bold Built-In Bookcases

colored library bookshelves cabinets
original source unknown

colored bookcase bookshelves library
original source unknown

colored cabinets cabinetry bookshelves libary

colored bookcases

Built-in bookcases add an architectural element that any home can benefit from.  They provide depth, dimension, and character where regular wall surfaces otherwise fall flat.

I prefer an "updated traditional" bookcase style with cleaner lines.  Simple, classic, and timeless.  However, when it comes to color, that's open game.  The bold, deep, rich hues I've seen trending on bookcases recently inject a contemporary flair that has me swooning.  So much moody richness and design impact.  They strike that balance of traditional and modern, elegant and cozy, classic yet unexpected... design characteristics that I absolutely love!

Click here to read about more of my "Favorite Things".

Storage Solutions for (Pot/Pan) Lids

CAD INTERIORS kitchen renovation remodel home improvement

One of the largest, yet most inefficient, drawers in our kitchen is where I store our pots and pans.  We store our cookware in a big, deep drawer right next to the range (seen above).  Bakeware is kept in the other drawer. Drawers are great for stacking and storing, plus I can easily access everything without "digging" for it like I used to when we only had cabinets.

While the actual storage space for our cookware is great, the issue is how the lids for the pots and pans are being stored.  Right now, they are half-hazardly stacked and wasting space.  I came across a few possible solutions for storing lids that I thought I'd share:

Use dowels or tension rods as dividers for lid storage.

kitchen storage solutions for lids

Insert a divider that runs the length of the drawer, and stack the lids vertically.

kitchen storage solutions
image via Houzz

Install a pull-out shelf to separately store lids if your drawer is deep enough to accommodate it.  You can also install multiple pull-out shelves in a cabinet to serve the same purpose.

kitchen storage solutions
image via Houzz

Use a tiered shelf to add an extra level of storage in a cabinet.  Contain the lids in a tray or basket and store on one tier.

kitchen storage solutions for lids
image via BHG

Take advantage of any vertical space in a cabinet and install an actual lid rack.

kitchen storage solutions for lids
image via HGTV

Use wire or metal racks to store lids (pans and bakeware too!) vertically.

kitchen storage solutions for lids

Try a CD or dish drain rack for lid storage!

kitchen storage solutions for lids
image via Good Housekeeping

kitchen storage solutions for lids

If you have a walk-in pantry, build a rack on the door to store your lids!

kitchen storage solution for lids

I'll let you know which solution I end up trying as I continue to get our kitchen cabinets organized!

E-Design Special Promotion!

special discount pricing promotion interior design decorating services

Hurry, hurry!  Take advantage of this special promotion on e-design services.  This special rate is being offered for a limited time only, so don't wait to book your package!  You'll get a completely customized e-design room package - which includes a design board, product source list, to-scale space plan, and written plan description - all for $250.00!!!*  Click here for more details about my e-design services, or e-mail me directly at

*Living/dining or "combination" type rooms may incur an additional fee depending on project scope.  The special promo rate only applies to e-design packages purchased during the limited time promotional period (design service is redeemable anytime).

Midway Point of the "No Spend" Month

Hi everyone!  Hope you enjoyed a nice Valentine's/President's Day long weekend!  We had a typical busy weekend filled with the kids' sports, house projects, and... school assignments?!  My second grader has been working on a research report, and he's finally almost finished.  His older brother took joy in seeing his little brother do school work since he had to work on a science fair project the weekends prior.  Brothers...

CAD INTERIORS no spend month

Anyway, onto what's happening around here!  We are at the midway point of our "no spend" month.  To refresh, I did a self-imposed spending fast on NEW home-related (home improvement/decorating) expenses in order to focus on wrapping up unfinished in-process home projects that have been lingering on the "to do" list.

Well, we are getting stuff done, albeit slowly!  It's been a moderately productive month thus far.  Some spending did occur since my hubby did have to buy some materials.  Here are a few cell phone photos to give you an indication of the tedious tasks we've been tackling. :)

CAD INTERIORS diy home improvement projects

Walls and moldings/trim around the house got touched up.  I also gave all the baseboards a final coat of paint.  Of course, we still need to case out the passageway between the living room and dining room...

CAD INTERIORS diy home improvement

I have been most productive on the purging front.  I have purged my way through my own and my kids' drawers and closets.  I also unpacked a few boxes that have been sitting in our storage "shed".  There are still plenty of boxes to empty, but I am making some headway.

My hubby cleaned up some paint that got on the dining room wood beam using this product.

CAD INTERIORS diy home improvement
No more paint on the wood beam!

Perhaps the "biggest" thing that finally got done was painting the window area in the kitchen.  This minor detail has held up our kitchen reveal, which is now scheduled for next week!  There is still a myriad of other items on the "to do" list, but it's been nice to knock out some of the tasks that have been lingering.

Colorful Chic Girl's Bedroom Design (with Sources)

I'm sharing a fun new bedroom design that would transition perfectly for the tween/teen girl to the adolescent woman.  It could also work for a guest room.  Sources are included below.

e-design mood design board interior design girls room guest bedroom boho chic bohemian eclectic transitional design

This design board was inspired by the fun accent chair.  The floral pattern is whimsical and chic, while the colors are completely on trend!  The fabric gives "vintage-y" character to the mid-century lines of the piece.

mid century modern seating chair accent furniture home decor floral pattern


Bedding $119 (queen duvet); $30/ea (standard shams)
Accent Table/Nightstand $127.45 (sale)
Upholstered Headboard $168.75 - queen (sale)
Area Rug $499.00 (5'x8')
Accent Chair $285.99
Table Lamps $176.99 (pair)
Pouf $79.95
Throw Blanket $24.99

Total: $1891.12

Please e-mail me directly for accessory pillow sources.

If you would like a customized design, which includes a design board, to-scale floor plan, product source list, and written plan description, contact me for a complimentary quote!

My Top 5 FREE or Inexpensive Art Sources

When it comes to designing interiors, I like to mix high and low - with the "high" usually budgeted for investment pieces (like furnishings), and the "low" spent on more budget-friendly decorative accessories.  When it comes to art, however, I think it can fall in both the high and low category.

I am definitely not an art "snob".  I am one of those people who would likely mix museum-quality art with candid photos taken by my amateur self.  That's because I think that whatever art you choose for YOUR home should be what personally speaks to YOU - irrespective of cost or origin.

CAD INTERIORS design tips art budget design

Today, I thought I'd share five free or inexpensive art sources that are geared specifically towards budget design:


One of my very favorite "tricks" for getting professionally photographed prints to use as "art" for very little money is to buy a pretty calendar.  Carefully remove the printed image from the calendar and stick it in a matted frame!  Book stores usually have a decent selection of pretty calendars.

design tips inexpensive art calendars photography

design tips inexpensive art photography calendars

Etsy is another great resource for unique calendars filled with beautiful photographic images.  Check out this shop! The images of various California "spots" (shown above) were especially inspiring to me since California is my home state.  Frame and mount several individual images to create a gallery wall with a cohesive theme!

CAD Design Tip:  Use wide-bordered mats to elevate the appearance of any framed art piece.

There are so many free printables out there.  Do an internet search using keywords that include the art "subject matter" (i.e. botanical/floral, beach/ocean, inspirational quotes, etc.).  Print them at home, or have them enlarged and printed at your local office supply store.

design tips free art budget design

Pinterest is another great resource for printable online art sources.  This blog, which I recently came across, offers free weekly inspirational printables.  Lots of free printables can regularly be found here too.  Finally, here's a great round-up of free online art.


Have any leftover fabric hanging around?!  Turn it into a work of art of any size, big or small!  Hang it as a backdrop to your bed or use it as a focal piece!

design tips fabric art inexpensive budget design

While I didn't use leftover fabric for this project, you could certainly create a similar look with a fabric remnant.

CAD Design Tip: For larger installations, or when working with "thinner" fabrics, it is best to mount it on a frame first if you plan to hang it on a wall.  This will help prevent the fabric from "moving" or "stretching lopsidedly" while you are hanging it on the wall.  We DIY'd a wood "frame" for the art installation above before attaching it to the wall.


I once hoarded "good quality" thick wrapping paper when my kids used to sell them as part of their school fundraisers.  It was the only thing I liked to buy from "those" catalogs.  Well, while some of the gift wrap did actually get used to wrap presents, others fell prey to home decor.  I've used "prettier" designs as frame fillers or to cover generic cork bulletin boards which can be "art" too.

design tips budget design decor art inexpensive

Textured papers can also be wonderful art sources.  I cut down some graphic silk paper (shown above) that was just sitting in my craft stash and used it to style our bookshelves.  It was just one of the "free" elements that I used to style our bookshelves completely cost-free.


There is nothing more customized than "personalized art" in the form of family photos or real-life shots of places that are special to you.  Get your camera out and snap some photos!  Capturing the "subject" or "moment in time" is incomparable to anything else.

...and last but not least, whip out some craft materials and MAKE YOUR OWN art!

Sharing with: Home Stories A to Z, Inspire Me Tuesday