One furniture piece styled three ways

Back in August, I explained my top two strategies for choosing thrifty furniture. The pieces must be affordable and they must be versatile.

Today I want to prove I’m not just giving lip service. I’ll show you how to style one bookshelf three different ways and also share three key strategies I use to ensure the furniture I buy remains useful for years to come.

I recently snagged a tall bookshelf in a salt oak finish from Sauder¬ģ furniture. The finish sort of mimics the driftwood finish that’s popular right now. The piece retails for $209.99, priced lower than others of its size because it’s made from engineered wood and comes to the door requiring some assembly. I don’t mind some minor assembly if it means saving money. ūüôā

I originally set up the bookshelf between our living room and breakfast area. Here it is styled with some items that fit in with the living room decor:

Since the piece stood in a transition area, it was easy to transform it into a china cabinet of sorts by adding some food-related decor. Here’s look No. 2:

After a few months of enjoying it downstairs, we hauled it upstairs to the office/bonus room so it could serve as an actual book shelf and storage piece for my office supplies. Here’s look No. 3:

When I’m on the lookout for furniture, I try to keep the following three key strategies in mind to ensure I pick pieces that will be versatile and useful for years to come.

1. Select a finish that will work in multiple rooms.

You don’t necessarily have to match a finish exactly to everything else you own. Simply choose a piece that has a color or detail somewhere on it that goes with other stuff in your¬†rooms. For example, the salt oak-finished bookshelf works in our living room/breakfast area because it has hardware on the front that matches the color of the knobs on our living room furniture as well as the legs and backs of our dining room chairs and stools.

2. Choose pieces with similar lines as other furniture in your home.

Experienced designers can break this rule elegantly. For the rest of us mere mortals, I’ve found it’s best to pick pieces with similar design structure. For example, you could pair a desk with straight legs and minimal detail with a simple, modern-style bookshelf. However, an ornate, Victorian-style dresser would look out of place next to that same desk.

In other words, if you keep a similar style throughout your home, you increase the chance that multiple pieces will work together in multiple rooms.

3. Avoid pieces that can only serve one purpose.

A baby changing table is one example of this. Instead, why not purchase a dresser at the right height, then add a changing pad to the top? After baby is out of diapers, you can ditch the changing pad and the dresser remains useful.

Spending some time thinking and planning out how pieces will work in my home is how I save money and end up truly satisfied with the furniture I buy.

What steps do you take to choose the right furniture for your spaces?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sauder. The opinions and text are all mine.

DIY Ballard Designs knockoff message board

I love the look of these burlap message boards from Ballard Designs:

Burlap message board


I could definitely use one in my office/guest room. But I didn’t want to pay $39-$169 for mine, so I decided to DIY one instead. I’m not the first blogger to attempt this project, but my Ballard Designs knockoff message board may be one of the cheapest!

I started with a piece of melamine board left over from our closet re-do. (You could use the back of an old picture frame, a mounted canvas, a piece of plywood or just a thick stack of cardboard for your message board back.)

Then I cut two pieces (the same size as the board) out of a cardboard box.


I applied some 3M Hi-Strength 90 Spray Adhesive to the melamine board and the cardboard pieces.


Then I stacked the cardboard pieces on top of the board.


(The cardboard pieces are what help the pushpins stick properly in the finished message board.)

Next I centered a piece of burlap over the whole piece and used spray adhesive to stick it to the cardboard. (My burlap came from the Online Fabric Store.)


I didn’t worry too much about how the back looked. But I am a stickler for crisp corners, so I cut a 45-degree-angle line in the fabric at each corner and folded down the fabric, making sure the corners were straight and tight before I stuck them down with adhesive.


After everything dried, I inserted upholstery tacks (aka furniture nails) about 2 inches apart around the border. You can get a pack of these at Walmart for $1 in either nickel, bronze or black finish. It took about a pack and a half to do my board.


Here’s my finished message board:



What do you think of my knockoff version? I think these would make great, inexpensive gifts. To hang mine on the wall, I’ll be using a few Command‚ĄĘ¬†velcro strips. But a few saw-tooth hangers would work well, too.

By the way, can you spot our pooch in one of the pics?

I’m linking this up to My Repurposed Life,¬†Craft Dictator,¬†House of Rose,¬†Be Different…Act Normal,¬†Classy Clutter¬†and Fluster Buster.

No-spend office gallery wall

Perhaps you’ll recall our upstairs office/music/guest room got a makeover awhile back which included paint, new curtains and pillows, and an organized desk space.

After that, my husband sort of claimed that space as his office, so I created a makeshift office downstairs¬†for myself.¬†Well, now the hubs has been doing most of his work downstairs on his laptop, which means I’ve slowly and stealthily re-claimed the upstairs office as mine again. ūüėČ

My first order of (new) business has been putting together a little gallery wall above the desk that can offer inspiration to both of us. I wanted to do it without spending any money, so that meant hitting up the basement art stash.

Office-gallery-wall-My gallery wall includes two framed butterflies from my aunt and uncle, a signed copy of the Resolution, a “With God, Nothing will be Impossible” print, and an easy, DIY art piece reminding us of Proverbs 16:3.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. РProverbs 16:3

To create the Proverbs 16:3 piece, I started with this print (found in the basement collecting dust, of course).


I used Frog Tape around the edges, then gave the whole thing a base coat of blue/silver acrylic paint.


After that, I free-handed a landscape, using colors similar to those found in the curtains in the room. My goal was to sort of create an abstract sea, sand then grass idea.


I used my Silhouette electronic cutting tool to print out the verse reference on adhesive black vinyl. Then I stuck it on the canvas.


I used Command strips to hang all the art on the wall. I prefer using Command strips and hanging hooks because they don’t damage your walls. And since I change my artwork out a lot, it’s best if I don’t go around hammering a bunch of holes in my walls all the time.

Tip: When I have trouble getting my adhesive backs lined up, I use a touch of lipstick on the wall strips. Then I push the back of the artwork against it and it marks where I need to add the other side of the strips.


Here’s another view of the office space with my new, inspirational gallery wall.


And lest you think I’m incredibly neat and organized, let me show you what was going on behind the scenes of this photo shoot.

Home-office-behind-the-scenesThe little booger you see innocently eating his snacks managed to empty all the bookshelves he could reach, completely ransack the TV console, and leave a trail of Cheerios behind as evidence of where he’d been. Unfortunately, I can’t blame him for that hot mess of a closet or the stacks of papers and books on the tabletop (hanging head in shame).

Oh well, at least one corner of the room is clean and organized, right?

Office-gallery-wall-What do your rooms look like “behind the scenes?”