10 clever small space living hacks that will transform your home

Habitat and Topology Interiors - small space living

 Are you in need of some achievable, cost-effective ideas for making small spaces look bigger? Whether you’ve got a tiny living room or bedroom, or you’re living in a shoebox sized flat in the city, there are lots of clever ways to enhance the space.

Interior design gurus, Athina Bluff and Amy Brandhorst of Topology Interiors, have teamed up with home furnishings brand Habitat for a new small space living campaign to help you get the most out of your space.

Topology Interiors


Hang a mirror opposite a window. Whilst this is a simple hack, it’s extremely effective in terms of cost and visual impact. ‘The mirror will reflect natural light and instantly brighten up your space, as well as making the room appear more spacious,’ explains Topology Interiors. ‘If you’re feeling creative, play around with different shapes or multiples to reflect as much light as possible. More light equals more sense of space.’

Habitat - small space living with Topology Interiors - bedroom mirror



When it comes to floors, create an unbroken flow of space. Topology’s top trick is to continue the hallway flooring into your small room. This will ‘make it appear as though it’s one big area and it also creates the illusion that the floor is expanding’.

Flooring - hallway - Habitat - small space living with Topology Interiors



Get the paint brushes out! The interior designers suggest painting walls, skirting boards and door frames all the same colour. But why? ‘Painting them different colours can actually break up the space and emphasise the shape and (small) size of the room,’ Topology explain. ‘If they’re all the same colour, they will blend in and make the room appear bigger.’

Habitat - small space living with Topology Interiors  - living room



This is one for the brave, but don’t be afraid of going dark in small spaces.’ It may sound daunting but dark shades – navies, greys – can actually disguise the perimeters of a room, blurring boundaries which can make a room appear bigger than it is,’ say Bluff and Brandhorst. ‘So, don’t feel like you have to “Brilliant White” absolutely everything to achieve a sense of more space – trust us, it works.’

Habitat - small space living with Topology Interiors - dining room



Go for multipurpose furniture that can be folded or expanded as and when you need them. ‘If there’s only two of you most evenings, opt for a folding table by weekday which can be turned into a four-person dining table by weekend,’ they suggest. ‘Same for when you invest in a sofa – check to see whether there is a sofa bed option which will turn the sitting room into a bedroom for guests to stay. And always think about storage – storage ottomans, pouffes, attractive looking trunks, coffee tables etc. If there’s a design that also hides clutter(the enemy of small spaces), then do it!’

Orange sofa living room design - Habitat and Topology Interiors - small space living



When you’re considering furniture for a small living space opt for ‘weightless’ or transparent furniture. ‘The more you can see around the object (or through the object) the bigger the room will look as you’re allowing light to flow through the room and maximising the sense of space,’ explains Topology. ‘Glass furniture, sofas raised on legs, skinny framed shelving – these will all help.’

Habitat - small space living with Topology Interiors



Maximise light at night with multiple light sources. Topology says you should ‘aim to have around six light sources around the room which will “replace” natural daylight and flow through the space, as well as being reflected from mirrored and metallic surfaces’. Metallics are also great to reflect warm light, and again, creating a sense of space.

Habitat - small space living with Topology Interiors



Bedrooms can be tricky if you don’t have any built-in storage and your bed seems to take up most of the space. But, Topology says you should follow the ‘weightless’ idea. They advise: ‘Avoid bulky, heavy furniture. Instead of a wardrobe how about a clothes rail for a lighter, more compact look? For bedside tables look for wire mesh, Perspex or floor lamps that have a shelving element to them.’

Habitat and Topology Interiors - bedroom - small space living



Sliding doors are a great alternative to traditional doors in places where you’re short on space and can’t install a 90-degree open door. Bluff and Brandhorst say it’s particularly great for en-suites and small bedrooms which just fit a double bed, and also for wardrobes – if you don’t go down the clothes rail route. ‘Sliding doors mean you won’t have to fight for space with other pieces of furniture (or people when you’re trying to get ready!)’

Habitat and Topology Interiors - small space living - sliding doors


HACK #10

‘As you don’t have a lot of floor space to play with, think upwards and make use of walls instead,’ advise the experts. ‘Think floating shelves, wall lights, clothes hooks, wall mounted magazine racks and bike hooks.’ This will allow you to store folding chairs or display belongings without taking up valuable square floor footage. And don’t forget to make use of dead space such as corners – adding wall mounted shelves into corners is a great way of maximising storage space.

Habitat and Topology Interiors - small space living


8 modern oriental decorating ideas for your home

Modern Oriental decorating ideas - style inspiration
Styling by Marisa Daley. Styling Assistant: Amy Neason. Photography: Carolyn Barber


1Relaxed approach

Modern Oriental decorating ideas - style inspiration
Styling by Marisa Daley. Styling Assistant: Amy Neason. Photography: Carolyn Barber.


Cushions in golden hues and sky blue shades look stunning piled on a grey sofa. Furniture with clean lines allows light to circulate around the room.

2Quiet spot

Modern Oriental decorating ideas - style inspiration
Styling by Marisa Daley. Styling Assistant: Amy Neason. Photography: Carolyn Barber.


Striking black wire furniture balances beautifully with soft seating and light oak pieces.

3Wood pile

Modern Oriental decorating ideas - style inspiration
Styling by Marisa Daley. Styling Assistant: Amy Neason. Photography: Carolyn Barber.


Soften white walls with artworks featuring gentle patterns and ceramics in a variety of shapes. Add wood for natural colour.


4Tea ceremony

Modern Oriental decorating ideas - style inspiration
Styling by Marisa Daley. Styling Assistant: Amy Neason. Photography: Carolyn Barber.


Take inspiration from traditional Japanese rituals, and add modern touches with this season’s new colours – ochre and indigo.


5Soft light

Modern Oriental decorating ideas - style inspiration
Styling by Marisa Daley. Styling Assistant: Amy Neason. Photography: Carolyn Barber.


Create a sense of calm with a striking textured pendant lantern in a natural colour, surrounded by soft tones and textiles.

6Casual eating

Modern Oriental decorating ideas - style inspiration
Styling by Marisa Daley. Styling Assistant: Amy Neason. Photography: Carolyn Barber.


Dark wood and glossy cabinets get a lift with a serene teal hue above the work surface and on the rattan bar stools.


7Captivating layers

Modern Oriental decorating ideas - style inspiration
Styling by Marisa Daley. Styling Assistant: Amy Neason. Photography: Carolyn Barber.


Contrasting patterns in muted tones create a restful bedroom, while wall-mounted lights keep the bedside clear.


8Cosy corner

Modern Oriental decorating ideas - style inspiration
Styling by Marisa Daley. Styling Assistant: Amy Neason. Photography: Carolyn Barber.


Turn a small space into a quiet reading area with a simple bench. Install your own dark panelling or use wood-effect wallpaper. 


12 really useful Ultra Violet decorating tips from interior designers and style experts

Ultra Violet

 Whether you lean towards lavender, soft iris or aubergine, purple is indeed a versatile colour – one that symbolises elements of confidence, counterculture, unconventionality, mindfulness and mystical and spiritual qualities.

Late musical icons David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix and Prince brought shades of purple to the forefront of pop culture, whilst expressing their own personality. Prince was even honoured with his own purple colour ‘Love Symbol #2’ in 2017, which bears a striking resemblance to Ultra Violet.

Hillarys and Sophie Robinson team up to style a home with Pantone's Ultra Violet


Ultra Violet is a bold, vivid shade, that on the one sense evokes a sense of creativity and fantasy, and on the other, a sense of balance and harmony.

Speaking to HouseBeautiful.co.ukLeatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute, offers a friendly reminder: Context is always a major issue when it comes to colour – it’s where and how you’re using it.’

So how can we effectively use this shade in our home? ‘Violets can be stimulating and sexy, while blue violets can be cooling and spiritual,’ says Anna Starmer in The Colour Scheme Bible. ‘Shades of violet can work well together, but may be too overpowering for most.

‘Violets also look great with greens. Blue violets work well with cool blues, and red violets look beautiful with soft pinks.’

Sheridan Australia - plum accessories


Interior designer, Sophie Robinson, adds: ‘The great thing about Ultra Violet is that it can hold its own with a diverse range of colours. It can act as a dark foil for acid brights, a cool partner for hot hues and a safe anchor for delicate pastels.

‘Leave behind all thoughts of Cadbury’s Creme Eggs, Barney the Dinosaur and Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen in all his purple suited glory and embrace the new power of purple.’

On that note, get some Ultra Violet decorating tips from the experts below and find out what they really think about the colour of the year:

1. ‘Pantone’s electrifying colour of the year sent shockwaves through a nation acclimatised to neutral and natural colour codes. It signifies a seismic movement in the way we decorate our homes; grounded tones will still be in demand in 2018 but artificial shades that embrace technology are set to lead the way to a brighter future.’ – Lorna McAleer, Interiors Expert at Style Studio

FARO kitchen in matt aubergine finish by ARAN Cucine


2. ‘A welcome change from Pantone’s 2017 nature-hued colour of the year, Ultra Violet is the perfect shade to inject life and a dramatic pop of colour into your home. If you’re feeling bold, create a focal point in your room with a stunning ultra violet sofa. Not quite ready to go all-out purple? This statement shade works well when introduced through soft furnishings like cushions and throws. Balance out the look with gold metallics and add some vibrant plant life to give any room a fresh, contemporary style.’ – Shelby Pearson-Hendry, Interior Stylist at Sofology

3. ‘Purple is made up of warm and cool elements, both blue and red. Red being very exciting and blue very relaxing and tranquillising, but when you put the two together, you create a really interesting colour and this particular purple leans a little bit more to the blue side. It’s a very creative, exciting a colour, but there’s a little drama attached to it too. I think for other colours, it’s a matter of working your way around the colour wheel. Ultra violet across greys of any variation – from the lightest to the darkest – is spectacular. It’s a wonderful punch of colour to use across neutral tones.’ – Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute

Debenhams bedroom - J by Jasper Conran


4. ‘This exciting choice for colour of the year works brilliantly in many different ways, for all different interior schemes. For the brave, go hard on block colours and mix this vibrant hue with other visceral and stimulating colours in your home in a Mondrian style. This will give your space a stylish edge – a heady cocktail of punkish rebellion and regal opulence. Alternatively, the intoxicating purple sits wonderfully with the popular grey, earthy tones of 2017’s interior trends. Alongside these greys and ochres, the tones are softened and are much more seamlessly introduced to pre-existing interiors. Another great way to introduce a softer version of Ultra Violet is to opt for cashmere or wool soft furnishings in the punchy tone. For splashes of Ultra Violet, add a silk or satin piping to cushions, curtains or armchairs.’ – Brian Woulfe, Founder and Managing Director of Designed by Woulfe

5. ‘For 2018, purple and the spectrum that Pantone’s Ultra Violet encompasses will be dominating sales. It is both a warm and cool tone, depending on the rest of your interior scheme. Pair with ochres and warm oranges for warmth, or with greys for a cooler décor.’ – Natalie Littlehales, Consumer Marketing Manager at Brintons

Damson carpet from the Bell Twist range, Brintons


6. ‘The great thing about Ultra Violet is that it can hold its own with a diverse range of colours. It can act as a dark foil for acid brights, a cool partner for hot hues and a safe anchor for delicate pastels. Don’t be tempted to simply paint a feature wall in Ultra Violet and leave it at that. Instead, keep your walls neutral and let the soft furnishings do the design work for you. Avoid going all matchy matchy and instead mix florals with geometrics to give a more interesting look.’ – Sophie Robinson, Interior Designer

Hillarys and Sophie Robinson team up to style a home with Pantone's Ultra Violet


7. ‘Inspired by the night sky, Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2018 is full of possibilities. We love pairing Ultra Violet with serene shades of blue for an ethereal effect. For a luxurious take on the trend, we recommend sofas and armchairs in inky navy and midnight black, with amethyst cushions and throws throughout the space to provide subtle pops of colour from the same palette. Finally, try a pendant light or a table lamp in soft copper to catch the light and add brightness to the overall look.’ – Hannah Thistlethwaite, Textiles Buyer at Heal’s

8. ‘Lots of people are rather daunted by the colour purple. But used with confidence, Ultra Violet can help you create an exciting and original interior. From a design perspective Ultra Violet offers a whole spectrum of opportunities – from highly original interiors full of texture and contrast to blended shades that subtly express one’s own design personality.’ – Susan White, Marketing Director, Hillarys

Original Style - Odyssey Collection - tiles - Alhambra - Indigo and dark Blue on Dover White


9. ‘Pantone’s 2018 colour choice speaks to the growing popularity over the past year of bold jewel tones, and the shift away from the softer pastels that have recently dominated the world of design,. While many may think a deep violet is melancholy, it can also be playful in its references to science and space travel. For example, pair ultra violet with metallics to elicit a whimsical and celestial atmosphere.’ – Eleonora Valle, Art Director at Onefinestay


10. ‘Ultra Violet looks spectacular on window blinds, especially when backlit with the sun shining through the blind. Experiment with Ultra Violet as solid blocks colour on blinds and other key pieces around the room. Alternatively incorporate with a bohemian design that reflect the colour’s spiritual/creative nature.’ – Mike Stephen, Design Director at Apollo Blinds.

Eco-friendly paints from Lakeland Paints


11. ‘I just love this intense and insightful colour – it’s bursting with curiosity and optimism for the future. 2017’s colour palettes were characterised by grounded colour choices that connected with the natural world – this bright, sparky shade flips that idea on its head, crashing through boundaries, celebrating creativity and revelling in the unchartered realms of technological advances.’ – Alex Whitecroft, Head of Design at I Want Wallpaper

12. ‘Strong purples certainly give a room a feeling of uniqueness, and this year’s colour of the year, Ultra Violet, sees the darker blues of 2017 move on to reveal a warmth and richness for 2018. As this shade evokes different responses from different people, there are a number of ways it can be interpreted and used too. For some, purple adds a feeling of energy, whereas for others, their perception of purple is more luxurious and in some aspects quite regal. Wherever you fall on this spectrum, the shade gives you the freedom to use as much or as little colour as you want.’ – Lucy Shore, Creative Designer at Swish

Highgate and Kensington Ultra Violet Dining Set


The 5 golden rules for choosing a sofa

Stocksund two seat sofa - Ikea


The average sofa has a seat depth of at least 60cm, which gives plenty of room to manoeuvre if you have long legs, and allows you to tuck them under if you’re shorter. But seat depths do vary, so try out different styles to ensure you get good back support. When it comes to seat height most designs are between 45cm and 50cm high. There’s no right or wrong height so try before you buy to make sure it suits the whole family. Finally, check the total width, excluding armrests, if you like to stretch out.



House Beautiful DFS Cassidy sofa


Spend as much as you can afford on a quality frame – it will see you through many years of lounging. Take note of the guarantee before you commit, some manufacturers are so confident about their frames that they offer a lifetime guarantee. A solid hardwood frame is a good option, but be wary of a particleboard or metal construction.


Remember that what’s inside a sofa is just as important as what’s used on the outside. Feather-filled cushions are high on comfort but they will need regular plumping, while foam or fibre fillings may flatten out and lose their shape over time. The team at Sofa.comrecommends choosing a combination of feather and foam as ‘feathers give the squish while the foam provides structure’. A good combination is back cushions filled with feathers and seat cushions filled with foam or fibre.


Yellow and grey colour scheme living room - styling by Kiera Buckley-Jones, photography by Rachel Whiting


Whether you go for a bold colour, pattern or a neutral, your choice of upholstery fabric will have a huge impact on the room, so choose carefully to ensure it fits with your scheme. Natural materials may fade in strong sunlight so go for a synthetic fabric if the sofa will be near a window. It’s particularly important in a busy family home, and if you have a dog or cat, opt for a fabric that’s easy to spot clean. Loose covers are worth investigating, as they can be removed for cleaning and some are washable.


Get out the tape measure and make sure you’re certain of the maximum sofa dimensions that will fit, and suit, your space. Also, check the dimensions of any doors and stairways the sofa will have to pass through on delivery. If access is limited, you may need to opt for a low-back style, one with removable legs or even a modular design that can be delivered in sections.

How to make gilded gold vases

Gilded gold vase
 Gold vases add a touch of glamour to any celebration. Whether for a wedding or lunch on Mother’s Day, create the perfect table setting for with this easy DIY that looks far grander than it is.

You can be as messy or as adventurous as you like with this make. Create clean lines with masking tape or simply apply the glue to where you’d like, for a more natural look – you can even seal it so it will last a long time too.

gold leaf vase


We love the vintage style that bridal blog The Nuptial has gone for, but Sas and Rose’s version is just as fancy.

This tutorial uses a simple vase or jar and some gold leaf to create a dip-dyed look. It’s inexpensive and you can use any type of vase with liquid gold leaf or gold leaf sheets to spruce it up ready for your Mother’s Day lunch – it’s as easy as that. Here’s how to make it.

You will need:

  • Vase (clean jars will work for this, too)
  • Gold leaf (either liquid gold leaf or gold leaf sheets)
  • Metal leaf adhesive
  • Sealer or varnish to seal
  • Paintbrushes
  • Masking tape (optional)

To make:

1. Mark out where you’d like to place your gold leaf. We liked the dip dyed look as it’s simple to make and looks great. If you’d like clear edges, mark this out with masking tape. Apply the adhesive to the bottom of the vase and wait for it to become tacky. It should change from white to clear in colour and this should take at least 15-20 minutes.

Turn jar into a vase


2. Apply the gold leaf either by using your fingers to place small pieces onto the vase, painting it on with a paintbrush or by placing the gold leaf sheet with the shiny side facing up directly onto the vase. Since the gold leaf is delicate, it’s best to work with small pieces and keep adding to your vase as you go along, covering all the empty spaces.

How to apply gold leaf


3. Once you’re happy with the positioning of your design, smooth it down with a clean, soft paintbrush. It doesn’t matter if your vase doesn’t look quite perfect – the imperfect edges and finish will give it a rustic look.

4. Apply a sealer to secure your gold leaf design and allow your vase to dry fully before using it. Once it is dry, fill your vase with water and fresh flowers to make a beautiful table centrepiece for your Mother’s Day lunch.


How my mood board keeps me inspiredNow, I’m a huge fan of Pinterest, and I have my fair share of project inspiration folders scattered all over my desktop… and my phone. 

But even still, there is just SOMETHING about tangible, physical inspiration that stands the test of time. This is why I still buy design and art books, and it’s why I couldn’t wait to put up an inspiration board in my office! 

Today we’re partnering with our friends from Canon USA to share why making a mood board in your workspace can keep you fresh and inspired! 

As per usual, I used my favorite printer—the PIXMA iP8720. I love it because I can print a whole bunch of photos at once on my 13×19 paper, which is perfect for making mood boards! I typically use the Luster paper because the color comes out so lovely on it. 

How my mood board keeps me inspired This is my autumn mood board. It’s full of memories, color, texture and photos that are inspiring to me right now! 

The best advice I have ever heard about keeping a mood board (and forgive me, I can’t remember where I picked this up) is to change it up whenever you stop “seeing it”. You know how if you leave something in a room for long enough (whether it’s beautiful or a mess), you eventually stop noticing that it’s even there? That’s when you know it’s time to refresh your mood board. 

I like to do it every season, but if I’m designing product or in another big project, I might do it as often as every month. 

Keep your mood board personalized, fresh and surprising! 

How my mood board keeps me inspired How my mood board keeps me inspired Here’s a list of the kinds of things I collect for my mood board: 

-Favorite photos and memories 
-Vintage inspiration 
-Textiles and colors that inspire me 
-Color, pattern and texture 

How my mood board keeps me inspired How my mood board keeps me inspired I hope this post inspires you to set aside some time to create a mood board for your own workspace. The older I get, the more I realize that my dad’s frequent quote, “You don’t have time, you make time.” is so true. I never HAVE time to do fun creative projects, I have to set it aside and guard it with a vengeance! 



11Some of my favorite DIYs have been born from the need to solve a problem. In this instance, my problem was needing more tabletop space in a studio that was always needing to be rearranged depending on the task at hand. As it usually happens, I realized it would be easier for me to build my own and get exactly what I needed than to pay top dollar for something that mostly worked. I thought about it for weeks before coming up with a way to make a transformable desktop that would not only be easy to adjust by myself, it would be simple enough for you to build without owning a lot of power tools. I’m so proud of how this one turned out!

12Some days I need as much floor space as possible to work on a DIY, so a corner workspace made the most sense. Other days my husband needs a space to have a conference call or finish a project for grad school, so we both need a clear work surface at the same time. I’ve also been using this space for my first employee (yay!) to put together fiber packs and package looms, so I need a long surface for those assembly line days. This transformable desk is perfect because it is made of two pieces of plywood on each side that overlap like a perfect puzzle piece in the middle. You can have a corner workspace one day and an extra long workspace the next. Thanks to the beauty of powder coated hairpin legs, my new desktop space looks like a million bucks and retains that light, airy feel needed in such a small room.

-one 3/4″ x 4′ x 8′ sheet of Purebond plywood. This specific plywood is thick enough for a beautiful desktop but is also formaldehyde free, so you can breathe easy. You’ll want to get this cut in half lengthwise so that you get two 2′ x 8′ lengths. Then cut each of those lengths at the 5′ mark so that you end up with two 2′ x 3′ cuts and two 2′ x 5′ cuts as shown above.
–six powder coated hairpin legs
–24 #6 x 3/4″ flathead screws
-10 #6 x 1 1/4″ flathead screws
–four 1/4″ 20 x 13mm threaded insert nuts
–four 1/4″ 20 x 1 1/4″ flathead machine screws
–1 qt. Varathane Triple Thick Polyurethane in semi-gloss or preferred sealer
–Gorilla wood glue
–3″ natural bristle brush
–power drill
-5/16″ drill bit
-1/8″ drill bit
–orbital sander (optional)
-80 grit sandpaper
-120 grit sandpaper
-clamps (optional)
-2 to 4 clamps (optional)
–carpenter’s square ruler

1Here’s a visual on the threaded insert nuts that you’ll need. They allow the two pieces to be screwed together and unscrewed a number of times without stripping the wood. Shout out to Dustin Stewart for introducing me to these little workhorses.

1-2Your one sheet of 3/4″ x 4′ x 8′ Purebond plywood should already have been cut at the lumber store so that you end up with two 2′ x 3′ pieces and two 2′ x 5′ pieces. This plywood has a birch veneer (blonde), but you can see the other side has a reddish finish. Pay attention to the sides you want to use as you are glueing and screwing all of your pieces together for consistency’s sake.

Step One: This step is merely to double check your angles are all nearly perfect before gluing in place. Place one piece of 2′ x 5′ on the floor. It doesn’t matter which side is up since this will be the bottom piece and it will not show. Then place a 2′ x 3′ piece of wood on top of it so that three of the edges are flush. Be sure you have the blonde side up.

Step Two: Place your second 2′ x 3′ cut of wood down so that it creates a right angle with the 2′ x 5′ cut of wood from Step One. This bottom piece will not show so it doesn’t matter which side is up.

3-Step Three: Place the second 2′ x 5′ piece of wood on top of the piece from Step Three. Be sure the blonde side is right side up. Check to see that all edges are flush with each other and fit tightly together where they overlap.

4.Step Four: Repeat a similar process with all of your pieces but instead of placing them at a right angle, overlap them so that they form a long 2′ x 8′ desktop. Again, you are merely checking to make sure all of your angles are straight and right so that there are no gaps. If there should be one piece that is shorter than the other, fit things together so that there are no gaps where everything overlaps and just sand down or cut off the overlap on the outer edge.

5-6Step Five: Pull your separate puzzle pieces apart. Place Gorilla glue intermittently around the space where your 2′ x 3′ cut of wood will rest on top of your 2′ x 5′ cut of wood. Gently place your 2′ x 3′ cut of wood on top of your 2′ x 5′ cut and make sure your three edges are flush. You can clamp these together if you have clamps available, but you can also skip that and move quickly to the next step.

Step Six: Measure in 6″ x 6″ from each corner of your 2′ x 3′ and pre-drill a hole that drills into the 2′ x 5′ plywood beneath it but doesn’t go through it. You don’t want holes coming through your desktop! You can measure about 1 1/4″ from the bottom of your drill bit and mark that spot with tape so that you don’t press to far. Repeat this process of measuring and pre-drilling holes in all four corners of your top 2′ x 5′ cut of wood (which is the bottom of your table on that side), and then make a mark in the center and pre-drill a hole there as well.

7-8Step Seven: Use a screwdriver or the appropriate bit to screw five of your #6 x 1 1/4″ screws into these holes. This will secure the two pieces of wood together. If any glue squeezes out between the two pieces, quickly wipe it off with a wet paper towel or sand it off later. Repeat the process with the two other pieces of wood. You will likely have to flip them over at some point in this process to get to the bottom sides where you’ll screw them together. Just be sure you keep the blonde sides of the wood on the unscrewed side of both pieces.

Step Eight: Fit the two pieces together so that they overlap at a right angle. They should both be upside down at this point. Measure out a perfect square so that it’s centered where the two pieces overlap. It needs to be perfectly centered, so measure twice (or three times).

9-10Step Nine: Just for visual’s sake, I’ve drawn where the square needs to be positioned when you remove the two puzzle pieces so you can see how you’ll be drilling through the top one and halfway into the bottom one.

Step Ten: Prep your drill with the 5/16″ drill bit and mark it with tape so that you only drill down about 1 1/4″. With your two puzzle pieces still overlapping, pre-drill a hole in each corner of your square. Wiggle it around a bit as you drill out of it to give yourself a slightly larger hole. This will help your threaded inserts to go in but still fit snugly.

11-12Step Eleven: Separate the two puzzle pieces where they overlap. Set aside the piece that you drilled straight through. Hammer your threaded inserts into the piece that you didn’t drill all the way through. They need to be flush with your wood.

Step Twelve: Place the two puzzle pieces back together as they were in Step Ten and screw the two pieces together with your four 1/4″ x 20 x 1 1/4″ flat head screws. This will bolt your two puzzle pieces together in the center. You should be able to unscrew these, place your two table pieces into a long table shape, and bolt them together again through the same screw holes as long as your measurements were centered.

13-14Step Thirteen: With your tabletop still upside down, measure 1 1/2″ in from each corner on both short ends and mark where your screw holes will be for those four hairpin legs.

Step Fourteen: For a stable table, you’ll need two hairpin legs attached to the area where the pieces overlap. For this design to look nice and be stable in both a corner position and a long position, I suggest placing your last two hairpin legs centered over the square you drew so that they are about 1/2″ away from the square and facing each other. Mark your holes, pre-drill about 3/4″ deep, place your legs in the appropriate places, and then screw them in.

The final steps include sanding your table down on the tops and edges with an orbital sander or by hand using two different grades of sandpaper. Then wipe the table with a damp cloth and apply your stain, paint, or polyurethane following manufacturer’s directions. I chose a poly because I love the look of natural blonde wood, but you may prefer a darker stain or even a painted tabletop. Just be sure you stain or paint all of the edges when they are not bolted together because if you transform them, different edges will be showing.

89I designed this table knowing I’d use these beautiful mint hairpin legs from DIY Hairpin Legs. I’ve always used vintage black legs but have noticed my style moving away from such an industrial feel. These still have that mid-century charm with a bit of polish, and since they are powder coated, the color won’t scratch off like they would if they were just spray painted. This table may look dainty, but it’s a workhorse!

67Once you are ready to transform your desk from one shape to another, clear your desk top, unscrew the four center bolts, reposition your two ends so that the holes align again, and screw it back together. It allows for a beautiful desktop space by keeping it’s lovely lines in either position.

12All in all, this project may end up costing about $225 as long as you already have the power tools and a brush. You’ll end up with tons of polyurethane left over for other woodworking projects, too. The legs are the most expensive part of this table, but I also think they add the most impact for making this look like a polished, finished piece of furniture. THE GOOD NEWS is that DIY Hairpin Legs is offering 10% OFF every purchase over $50 through the end of January 2017 when you purchase through this affiliate link.

If you’re not into hairpin legs, you could easily use the same tabletop design and attach a variety of IKEA legs (here, here, or here), or even a drawer unit for an even more customized end result.

I’m so pleased with how this project turned out and hope some of you will enjoy how functional this design is as well! 


Tips for Organizing Your Craft Supplies (click through for more!) If you are a serious or novice crafter, you probably have some sort of craft room or corner of your house devoted to your DIY stash. My office also doubles as my craft room, and since making things is a full time job for me, you can believe I have quite a few supplies on hand. When we first moved into the house a year and a half ago, it took a while for me to figure out where everything should go in the new space. So it was a bit unpleasant working in here until I got it all sorted out. Organization makes life so much easier, you guys! I know it’s a pain to actually DO, but I’m always glad I took the time to do it. Here’s are the top things I use that make my DIY life so much easier…

Tips for Organizing Your Craft Supplies (click through for more!) Add some shelves: There’s a bit of an odd cubby shape in one wall due to the bathroom closet on the other side, but a previous owner was smart enough to make use of the space by adding in some really simple shelves from floor to ceiling. Shelving is great because you can spread them throughout a room wherever you have the space, and you can stack several above each other like I have. Mine hold a ton of storage boxes and bins, and they have been a big help overall in the hunt to find storage space.

Tips for Organizing Your Craft Supplies (click through for more!) Group (and label) by category: It took a night or two to organize, but I basically spread out all my boxes and containers and then grouped all my items into categories like paint, sewing supplies, tape, glue, jewelry making, leather tools, beauty product ingredients, etc. And yes, it’s totally OK to have a few “miscellaneous” boxes as well if there are items that don’t fit anywhere else. It’s a good idea to have a variety of box sizes since not all your categories will have the same amount of items, and you can also group all your items first into piles, and then go out and get containers in the appropriate size and number. Don’t forget to label your boxes (especially ones that you don’t use everyday) so you can find items quickly when needed.

Tips for Organizing Your Craft Supplies (click through for more!) Keep most used items accessible: There are a few categories that I use the most that I chose to put into drawer-type cube storage for easy access. Having smaller stacked boxes on my shelves keeps items together and organized, but would be a bit annoying if I had to get a box on the top shelf (that’s also under two other boxes) every time I needed glue or tape. So keep your most utilized items within reach.

Tips for Organizing Your Craft Supplies (click through for more!) Make use of hanging storage: Making a large scale pegboard was probably one of the best things I could have done for the craft room overall. There are some items like cutting mats and rulers that are a little awkward to store (they don’t really fit in boxes), so hanging them from the pegboard is the perfect solution. Just use a crop-a-dile or other punch tool to punch one or two holes in a mat and it’s ready to hang! It’s also good for hanging sharp objects like scissors, especially if you need to keep them up high and away from little hands.

Tips for Organizing Your Craft Supplies (click through for more!)Use large baskets for rolls: For a while I didn’t really know what to do with large pieces of paper, vinyl, and leather, but I discovered that rolling them up and then using a large basket on the floor is a great way to keep them all together and organized. Some people will store rolls laying down on long shelves so there’s no weight directed on one end of the roll like there is when it’s standing up, but I think you probably don’t have to worry about that unless it’s really special material. It’s also a good option for craft paper or wrapping paper rolls as well.

Tips for Organizing Your Craft Supplies (click through for more!) Tips for Organizing Your Craft Supplies (click through for more!) Find unique storage options: Most craft areas will have their share of easy-to-find storage solutions like shelves, boxes, and cubes, so it’s a good idea to throw an unexpected storage solution into the mix as well. I got these lockers from Elsie when she didn’t have a need for them anymore, and they’ve been such a cute addition to my craft space. I added shelves in some of the compartments to create more levels, and it’s a great place to store some larger items I have like sewing machines, my overhead projectors, print and art papers, or some taller objects that wouldn’t fit into a box. Items like old lockers, card catalogs, or even dressers can be an unexpected way to stay organized while getting a cool piece of furniture into the room as well.

Tips for Organizing Your Craft Supplies (click through for more!) Spread out when needed: If you don’t have a whole room to devote to DIY supplies, no worries! You can also spread your supplies throughout your space, and as long as you know where to find what, you’ll still feel just as organized. This is a great example of when it might be helpful to have a piece of furniture (like lockers or a dresser) double as craft storage. If you have to keep them in a living room or bedroom area, they will blend right into a room without sticking out as a storage solution. I have a few decorative boxes around our home that are rather unnoticeable to others, but in reality they contain craft supplies I didn’t have room for in the craft room (I have scrapbook supplies and stamps in the grey boxes above). No one needs to know…

Tips for Organizing Your Craft Supplies (click through for more!) Tips for Organizing Your Craft Supplies (click through for more!) I really do think that the more organized you are, the easier simple tasks and life in general becomes. Knowing where to find things and having a home for all your supplies will help you max out on your creative hours instead of spending half of it going, “Now where did I put that…?” Whether you can use one or all of these tips when it comes to organizing your supplies, I hope that it helps you find the best craft space that works for you! xo. 


Love this! Acrylic Hologram Calendar DIY (click through for tutorial)              I don’t know about you, but my life and schedule has felt extra full lately. Maybe it’s because I’m 7 months pregnant, working full time, preparing for baby, completing side projects… phew! I’m tired just thinking about it! Anyway, there have definitely been more appointments and events than usual, so I’ve been wanting to make a calendar for my office to keep track of all the activities. And why make a plain calendar when you can make one with holographic glitter and gold accents?? That’s exactly what I thought too…

Love this! Acrylic Hologram Calendar DIY (click through for tutorial)           Supplies:
–18×24″ sheet of acrylic (x2)
-hologram paper (like this or this)
-1/2″ long brass machine screws (x4) and corresponding hex nuts (x4) (Your local hardware store should have them.)
-1″ long brass s-hooks (x2)
–gold card stock paper and white card stock paper
–glue dots
–X-Acto knife, metal ruler, and cutting mat
-washi or thin painter’s tape
–1″ circle punch
–drill and drill bit set
-thin brass chain (optional)

See all our must-have craft tools here!

Love this! Acrylic Hologram Calendar DIY (click through for tutorial)            You’ll want to start by removing the protective film from one side of your acrylic sheet. Using washi or painter’s tape, tape off a 12×22″ area at the bottom of your calendar. Cut your hologram paper into 35 rectangles that are 2.25″ wide and a little less than 3″ wide. Space them into 5 rows of 7 and use glue dots to secure them in place. When spacing out things like this, I like to get the top and bottom rows spaced evenly and lined up with the tape marks, then fill in the first and last vertical rows, and then do the middle squares. It helps keep them all spaced out nicely.

Love this! Acrylic Hologram Calendar DIY (click through for tutorial)
Punch out 35 paper circles with your paper punch and use glue dots to affix them into the top left corner of each rectangle (this will be where you can write the date for each day).

Love this! Acrylic Hologram Calendar DIY (click through for tutorial)
Use your gold paper to cut out large letters for the first day of each week. You can also use large gold stickers if you like. I traced some chipboard letters I already had in my scrapbook pile, but you can also pick a font and size you like in Word or Photoshop, reverse the letters, and then print them on the back side of your gold card stock (when you cut them out they will be facing the right way!). 

Love this! Acrylic Hologram Calendar DIY (click through for tutorial)           Use glue dots to adhere the letters in place. 

Love this! Acrylic Hologram Calendar DIY (click through for tutorial)           Now that your squares and days of the week are attached, peel off one side of protective plastic from your second piece of acrylic and place it exposed-side down on top of your calendar. Use clamps or painter’s tape to hold the two pieces together while you drill. Use your drill and drill bit that matches the width of your 1/2″ long machine screws (mine were 1/4″ wide so I used a 1/4″ bit) to drill 4 holes about 1″ in from each corner (you can just mark each spot with a marker).

To drill into acrylic, you just need to drill with the drill in reverse and apply a moderate amount of pressure to the plastic as you drill. Speed up if you don’t feel it’s going anywhere, but try not to go faster than you need, as too much speed can melt your plastic a bit (although the head of the machine screw will help cover up hole imperfections). I like to drill with a scrap piece of wood underneath the hole so the drill has something to hit once it’s gone through the plastic. When you have all 4 holes drilled, you can add your hardware to keep it all together.

Love this! Acrylic Hologram Calendar DIY (click through for tutorial)           Peel back the remaining protective sheets from each corner of your calendar and use a machine screw and hex nut to secure each corner together. If the screw needs a little help going all the way through the hole, you can actually use a screwdriver to screw it in as far as it needs to go (it will self thread into the plastic). On the top two screws, add an s-hook between the back of the acrylic sheet and the hex nut so you have something to hang your calendar from. If you want to add a gold chain, you can also cut a section and hang it from these two hooks as well.

Love this! Acrylic Hologram Calendar DIY (click through for tutorial)      Hammer in two nails to hang your calendar from, and you’re ready to write in all your important dates!
Love this! Acrylic Hologram Calendar DIY (click through for tutorial)           Love this! Acrylic Hologram Calendar DIY (click through for tutorial)           Love this! Acrylic Hologram Calendar DIY (click through for tutorial)           I simply love how this project came out! The glitter effect is even prettier in person, as I’m sure you can imagine, and I think it adds a little something special from just having a plain color or white behind each day. And in case you’re wondering, I know this calendar doesn’t have a month space across the top. I kept playing with proportions to fit the month area and just felt like it looked so much cleaner without that area added, and it makes the big gold day letters the star of the top space. You can totally shrink the size of the squares and the day letters though if you want to add a space for the month—go for it! I always feel like it’s a double win when I can make something that’s helping me keep my life organized and looks pretty too, so this was a big success in my book. xo. Laura


5 Ways to Update an Old Photo Frame (via abeautifulmess.com)5 Ways to Update a Thrifted Frame (via abeautifulmess.com)Let’s start off with a confession: yes, I am changing around my home office area AGAIN. What can I say? I’m one of those types that just loves rearranging furniture or painting things over and over again. My mom and my sister are basically the same way. If you live alone and have an unlimited budget, then this habit is no problem, but for the rest of us, this can sometimes be annoying to the people we live with. And of course, you can’t redo the whole house if you’ve already depleted your decorating budget for the year. Ha! And if you hate to redo things, well, I don’t know what you tell you. 🙂

So, I’m changing around my home office area again. I’ve been working on it for a few months already. If you want to see what it looked like before, check here. I’m not 100% done with the new look, but I promise I’ll share (whether you want me to or not) when it’s done. But today I want to talk photo frames. So get ready! I moved my desk area around, so there’s a LOT more room for bulletin boards, to-do lists, photos, and artwork.

I partnered with our friends from Canon USA on this project. I used my PIXMA TS9020 to print all of the photos in the frames I’m about to share. Most of the photos are black and white, and I love how sharp the blacks print, but a couple are colored and the bright colors truly POP as you can see from the golden creme brûlée photo (a recipe in our upcoming cookbook). But not only is it a great at-home printer for photos and documents—it also matches my new office color scheme (black and white!). So it gets bonus points for that too. 🙂


Canon printer5 Ways to Update a Thrifted Frame (via abeautifulmess.com) 5 Ways to Update an Old Photo Frame (via abeautifulmess.com) As you can see, I created a kind of mini gallery wall above my desk area. I love it! It’s bold, stimulating, but also super functional as I check the calendar and to-do lists I hang on the bulletin board daily to keep myself on track. I am a hardcore list-maker and goal-setter, so having places where I can SEE it all at once is something I always like to have in my work spaces.

All of the photo frames in my mini gallery wall I thrifted. I knew I was OK with a few random sizes (and in fact I knew I didn’t want it to look exactly uniform), so I thrifted and used the following few techniques to update the frames. The techniques are SIMPLE. Anyone out there who is all, “I’m not crafty,” this project is still for you. It’s easy and fun.

Ideas for updating a thrifted frameHere are the frames before. They are pretty mismatched and were mostly one or two dollars each. The main thing I look for when thrifting picture frames is that the glass and frame are in good shape (dirt is no problem, but if anything looks cracked or broken, avoid that) and that the back looks easy to open for swapping out the photo/art. Some frames will have hanging hardware or even the entire back papered over. If it’s a great frame and you think you can handle it, go for it, but I tend to stick to frames that look super easy to swap the art out. Just my two cents.

After taking the frames apart and cleaning them, here are five techniques for updating their look.

Add wallpaper1. Add wallpaper.

I like to buy wallpaper samples sometimes just to use for projects, as wrapping for small gifts, or even to hang as artwork itself (see the eye design in my gallery wall, that’s another wallpaper sample). Just use an X-Acto knife to cut the wallpaper to fit the frame and glue in place. Some wallpapers are removable (they are like giant stickers), so those may not need glue at all.

How to marbleHow to marble a picture frame2. Marble the frame.

This one was probably my favorite if I had to pick one. I just love the process, and it’s so fun to pull your frame away and see the results because each time looks a little different. Just follow the directions here for your photo frame. One thing to keep in mind is the colors. If you plan to marble with black and dark colored nail polishes (like I did), then you may want to prime your frame with a coat of white paint first. Otherwise it may not be visible.

Tips for painting a picture frame3. Speaking of priming the frame with paint—the third technique I used was painting the frames.

I know, super simple. But I love that this can give the frames a whole new feeling! Since I was sticking to a mostly black and white theme, I painted my frames part white and part black by using painter’s tape to mask off areas. This gave them a more modern feel. And when you use a little spray paint on an already inexpensive frame (that you thrifted), you end up with a super cute AND super affordable piece.

Add tile4. Add tile.

You can buy just one sheet (one square foot) of tile and get quite a few frames out of it! I bought a sheet of these small, rectangle marble tiles and simply glued them to my primed frame (use a glue that says it works with ceramic and wood). You could use other tile shapes or colors to give this a fun mosaic feel. Easy!

Add moulding5. Add embellishments.

This could be any number of things, like adding hardware, or (in my case) adding a bit of moulding. This was a moulding accent I bought at the hardware store, but you could easily add moulding trim to a frame as well. You could leave it raw or paint it to match other frames you might already have and plan to display in the same area. Lots of possibilities depending on the look you want.

Funny couple portraits5 Ways to Update an Old Photo Frame (via abeautifulmess.com) Here’s one of my favorite prints and frames from the bunch. Reminds me to keep taking myself very seriously.


5 Ways to Update a Thrifted Frame (via abeautifulmess.com) That’s it for my little wall, but if you want even more ideas for updating a frame, try these: wood burned photo frames, add a belt to a circle frame, and why not add paint and patina.