We like to keep our Christmas tree simple and, as a lover of all things cottage and farmhouse, the goal for our tree decor is to reflect themes of natural, neutral, old-fashioned charm.
Our secret ingredient? Potpourri!
It all started when we were newly weds and poor as mice. Our tree was given to us by some amazing neighbors who were upgrading. We went to Hobby Lobby but nothing suited our unique tastes and tiny budget so my amazingly creative husband thought outside the box. We came home with this box for $14.99 and after an afternoon of hot gluing Christmas hooks we had a unique and (incredibly cheap!) tree!
Since then we’ve added a few homemade, DIY ornaments and store bought favorites. The tree’s charm and simplicity grew as we added glittery wicker balls from Pier One, wood slices (cut by D himself) with handwritten words, and pine cones which I picked up on an afternoon walk.
I love Christmas time. There’s something so good about it all — the snow, gifts, hot chocolate, family time, shopping, traditions. It’s all so good. — How do you decorate your tree? Are you a clear or colored lights sort of gal? Tag me in your pics on Instagram — I’d love to see your creativity! 🎄
Home sweet home … it’s the creative renter’s heartbeat. But what happens when your home isn’t home-y? How do you make your house feel like a home when it isn’t your dream home?
(Or in my case, when you live in an adorable but grungy rental where the landlord forgets to mow the lawn and you’re not allowed to paint?)
After living in three rentals over the last (almost) five years, I’ve learned a few tricks that have warmed and welcomed our hearts and bodies. In other words, let me show you a few ways you can turn that cold and ambiguous rental into a space you love. Because, we want to love the home we have — we want to be joyfully content in the space we’ve been given.
Here are my 5 secrets to making your rental feel like home sweet home:
Keep what you love — pass on what you don’t
This one can be so hard especially when you are a saver (hoarder?) like me! 😉 I’ve never struggled with keeping unused items until we had Uriah. Now, I have trouble tossing a stained onesie away!
(Let’s all do ourselves a favor and vow to throw out the stained onesies!)
It can be challenging pairing down items because we think we’ll use them one day. But one day could be years from now and your family’s peace of mind needs space and lack of clutter in order to thrive.
Unless the items you are saving are truly treasures give yourself the freedom to say, “When one day comes I’ll replace this item. Until then, I’ll give it a good home.”
There are many ways to pass on items you don’t need. Post a Facebook ad, have a yard sale, or (if you’re busy like me) find your local Habitat for Humanity or Goodwill and pass on the items. (I especially like the first because they will pick up large items from your home! Woohoo!)
A clean + organized home = love
This is probably the most important way to make your rental feel like a home you want to come home to. Our current home is a beautiful, charming 1940’s brick with adorable built-in china cabinets, a yellow insert oven, and a gorgeous mantle.
But as beautiful as our home is, it was also equally dirty. Grime from prior tenants was caked in the metal pieces which separate rooms (what are those called?). My stove fan was covered in grease from others’ messy cooking. And the kitchen floor was literally discolored from improper mopping.
Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.
It took me an embarrassingly long time to catch up on these projects. I hated (hate?) the idea of cleaning up someone else’s irresponsible messes.
But the projects begged to be done and the difference once done is amazing! I try to keep the house clean but really getting into the grime really made a huge difference! Just keeping our bedroom free of clutter makes a world of difference!
We have better things to do than cry over the “no paint” rule
I understand how frustrating a “no paint” rule can be — I’m currently living in a home which forbids me changing the colors and it used to drive me nuts! (Not to mention the giant cracks in paint!)
After a few creative meltdowns I started finding rental-friendly ways to brighten and fill my walls without breaking the contract. In our living room, I’ve created a gallery wall. And in other rooms I’ve put up baskets, instruments, and unique frames. Check out this link full of budget-friendly ways to make your walls beautiful!
Breaking up with ugly fruit wallpaper
Ugly wallpaper breaking your beauty-loving heart? Me too … our dining room was bordered in a hideous, dirty fruit pattern that matched nothing in our home. After a year and a half I got desperate and found contact paper cute enough to pass the test. $10 and 30 minutes later, I had brand new walls cute enough to stop me from gagging every time I looked into the dining area.
(I know that sounds dramatic but here is a before and after as proof to the wallpaper’s hideousness. And my OCD).
Temporary, budget-friendly decor
I’m thinking all about colorful rugs, pillows, DIY window swags (I love my burlap!), and Ikea plants that bring joy into your space!
For a long time I was against any large rugs in our living room … I tend to be a matchy matchy kid of girl and bold colors make me feel claustrophobic and overwhelmed. (I know … weird).
But when I found this rug just perfect for Uriah and within my dream color scheme I had to take the jump. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with splashes of color and have bought complementary pillows.
Ah … friends, hello. I’ve had the most glorious weekend. Good coffee and great music flowed generously during my quiet hours. I think I wore the same grey sweater all weekend but that doesn’t matter.
It’s my last day and I’m sitting with my favorite mug next to me and basking in the glory of finished projects and planning future endeavors.
Here’s what my weekend involved … I’d love to hear about yours too.
Don’t laugh but I woke up at 4 o’clock Sunday morning, made a cup of coffee and settled onto our ottoman and played Minecraft with my beloved. (Talk about quirky!) 😉 We also watched a sermon by one of our favorite pastors and had snuggles and breakfast in bed … the perfect start for Valentine’s Day. (Waking up to a neighborhood covered in snow was also delightful.)
Saturday, I started the day in Hobby Lobby trying to find some crafting odds and ends I could make into loveliness.
I settled on two jars of Americana Decor’ chalky finish paint, paintbrushes, a package of nails, polished wood pieces and two doll rods for diy curtain rods.
I pinned, hot glued and banged nails into the wall (with a large rock no less … lol, were tool illiterate in this house 😉 ). In the end, I decided to copy these beautiful window swags. I keep laughing at how satisfyingly beautiful and simple the draped burlap ended up being. Hearts.
Next, I began a three hour drama by painting our armoire. I’m not sure if it’s forgiven me for painting it when it was already perfectly lovely. My love for shabby/recycled/cottage/hobbit-home style décor (plus our newlywed budget) means our home is furnished with many mismatching pieces. And while our bedroom furniture was already quite lovely we both yearned for a lighter hue.
Hence, the two jars of paint.
There were moments when I had my doubts and almost broke into nervous “What have I done!” tears. But in the end I’ve decided everything in our home should be painted white … I mean, look at how beautiful it is! 😉
I still need to add one more coat, distress the edges and wax. But again, hearts, hearts, hearts.
Friday found me sweeping, budgeting, Periscoping, and watching a delightful library find. I also needed to stock up on stationary so I busied my hands with bits of paper and glue sticks. Making my own writing supplies works a lot of delight in my heart.
Overall, the weekend was a grand success full of quiet moments, busy hands and planned out endeavors. Every once in a while this introvert needs time alone to create, read and write; thank You, Lord, for giving me these few days of quiet and rest. You are so good to know each of our delicate frames and give such tailored gifts!
What did your weekend involve? Leave me a comment and I’ll leave you a reply! 🙂