We’re halfway through November. Kids’ sports are winding down, and the supply chain issues have forced me to start my holiday shopping early. I also just learned that home goods will be going up in price, so I’m passing this warning on to you: Now is the moment to refresh your home with new furniture and decor.
This episode, I answer questions about…
[7:24] Decorating a kitchen without the budget for a renovation (Nicola)
I’m super excited because I’m moving out of my dad’s house and into my own flat for the first time, and I finally get to decorate how I want to! However, I do have a few issues with the space I’m moving into. The issue is that I really hate the kitchen! My two word phrase is relaxed preppy, and the cream high gloss and black granite just isn’t doing it for me. I will eventually redo the kitchen entirely, but it’s in great condition and with the expense of moving means I won’t be doing it any time soon! My dream kitchen would be more of a shaker style with pale counters. Any ideas on how I can make my new kitchen feel more me?
It is a very austere kitchen, and if you squint, it’s pretty much all cream ad white with exception of the appliances. There’s a sterile and contemporary backsplash behind a few of the appliances. It sounds like Nicola owns this place, because she is considering renovating in the future. One thing I would think about is adding hardware to the cabinets. By adding pulls, it’s going to give it an updated look. It will look fresher and add some style, while also making this flat front cabinet seem less flat.
There are also little pieces of wall between the kind of gray backsplashes, and I would consider putting either a peel-and-stick backsplash, a peel-and-stick wallpaper that is washable, or just installing a backsplash in these areas. With handyman and tile costs, it wouldn’t be that expensive and it could add some additional color, texture, and style that isn’t already in the room. Those would be the quickest ways to make some updates to the kitchen.
I also see the dining table and chairs, and those present opportunities to bring in style as well. It’s such a contemporary kitchen, with those glossy, flat front cabinets and sleek, dark cabinets. I would think about offsetting some of that sternness and bringing in Nicola’s “relaxed preppy vibe with furniture. She could also bring in artwork.
In the pictures, we can see two rugs: one in front of the sink and one in front of the stove. Personally, I don’t love that look. I would rather just have a rug under the dining table instead of two small, runner rugs. The textiles, though, are certainly another amazing opportunity to bring in color, pattern, and texture, and to infuse some style into this otherwise blank canvas.
[11:58] Making a full length piano keyboard look good in a small space (Nicola)
I am also a very musical person, and have a full length keyboard (piano sort, not computer sort!). It’s about 1.4m long (sorry, I don’t do inches!) and it’s ugly black plastic with wires and a pedal underneath. Currently, it’s on one of those x-style black metal stands but it’s just so ugly! Do you have any ideas of how to make it look a little less ugly when it’s not in use? Eventually I’d love to get a beautiful piece of furniture that can be made to accommodate it, with a lift-up lid to keep the dust off, but I suspect I can’t afford that right now!
There is something I have seen on the market, which isn’t too expensive, that looks sort of like an upright base that you set the keyboard on top of. Instead of that X base, which I really hate, that might be a good alternative. I’m glad Nicola has her eye on different solutions in the future, as well. Another consideration is putting th keyboard away in between jam sessions. The joy of the X base is that it can collapse and fit into a closet.
Another cool idea would be to create a shelf installed on the wall that could hold the keyboard. The shelf could even have some kind of panel that comes down into an L-shaped part perpendicular to the wall so it could potentially disguise or conceal the cords. That could be a really cool and very affordable piece of furniture: just two slabs of wood adhered to the wall.
From all of this advice, you can clearly tell that I stopped playing piano in third grade and never looked back. I apologize if these solutions are not acoustically acceptable. Sometimes we have to think outside the stand and do something that’s a little bit more unconventional.
This reminds me, I had a client who lived in a very small studio apartment and he had a very long desk. That is where he kept all his monitors for working from home. I found a very long keyboard tray that pulls out, and then he was able to play the keyboard on his desk. It wasn’t the right height, however, so we got one of those lift top desks and latched the keyboard tray on. Then he could pull out the piano at the appropriate height and play anytime he wanted to. So, that could be another affordable and multifunctional solution.
[16:21] Designing a combination living room and home office space (Desiree)
I am in the process of designing our family home on a very tight budget. We moved in 18 months ago with our now 4-year-old girl & 6-year-old boy. My current issues are the layout of the living room. Currently, we have the couch facing the east wall but it just doesn’t feel right so I cannot rest. The fireplace is centered on the east wall, which for me is making it difficult to find the right layout.
My other problem is the side room which was the dining room, however, it is far too small to be a dining room. We desperately need an office for my husband’s business that I can hide his book work in. Do you have any suggestions for this space that would also work in the living room?