Easy Way To Brighten Up Dark Decor

I have always liked a natural, earth-tone look in my home, and I still do. But lately, I’m getting really sick of all the browns and darker colors. I know the transition is going to be gradual, so I’ll share it in stages.

My first area to tackle is the entryway.


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Before and After-Laundry Room

I love a good before and after renovation, but when it’s in my own home, I really love it.

I actually enjoy doing laundry but I always dreaded going down into our basement laundry room to do it. You will see why.

Here is what it looked like before (on a bad day, when detergent had just spilled and storage was piled up).

Basement Laundry Redo before and after


But I do love my attempt from a few years ago to redo this area. I stapled up some curtains and then gave up.

Basement Laundry Redo before and after

But this time, I decided to put in the work and do it right. They key is to just do it in small chunks so it doesn’t feel so overwhelming.

We started by moving everything over in sections and cleaned and painted everything. Paint is what made the biggest impact. That’s where most of the expense was, but it really wasn’t too bad. You’ll want to talk to the paint specialist where you buy your paint because there are specific paints to use for concrete walls as well as flooring.

Basement Redo-before

Then once one section was done, we just moved things back over and tackled the next section.

Basement redo-before

Then it was time to cover up any unsightly areas. I wanted to cover up all the cords and pipes behind the washer and dryer.

Basement redo-before

Since the pipes went into the machine midway, I needed curtains that stopped before the piping. I just shortened a fabric shower curtain by pulling the bottom of the curtain up and pinning it in the back. This way there was no sewing.

Basement redo-during

Then there was this unfinished area between the wall and the ceiling. I could have painted plywood and installed it for a professional look, but this really needed to be super easy.

Basement Laundry Redo before and after

So, I just hung curtains to cover the area up. Like the other curtains, I just pulled the bottoms up and pinned them in the back to avoid sewing. It’s not perfect because there were some cords and ductwork in the way, but it was good enough for me.

Basement Laundry Redo before and after

Then I was ready for the fun part…decorating.

I primed and painted this rusty, old star a metallic silver.


I also painted this frame, which I’ve used for a Love Note Board and a Love Wall. I’d say I’ve gotten my $3.99 out of it!


Then I just hung the star and added some letter cutouts behind the frame to spell, Eat, Play, Clean.

Laundry Room redo-after

Then, I painted the paper inside of these dollar store frames with chalkboard paint and wrote, Lights, Darks, and Towels on them.

chalkboard paint framesThen I glued ribbon to the back of the frames and hung them on baskets.

laundry baskets

I bought a decorative rug and added a vase of dried sticks and that was about it .

Laundry Room redo-after

Laundry Room redo-After

Now I don’t have to wear a hazmat suit whenever I want to go into our basement to do laundry. In fact, now I sometimes grab a drink and a book and head down to “do laundry” for a few hours. 🙂

maggie may's laundry room redo


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Just Add Paint

This is a story about a little can of paint that saved an old owl’s life.

owl before

Normally, I would look right past this old 70’s owl light switch plate, but lucky for him, he was my grandma’s so I gave him another look.

I wanted to see how this little guy would look with a hot pink update. All I needed was some primer and spray paint. In the end, I realized I needed a Sharpie marker too.

First, I painted him with primer so his surface wouldn’t be so slick and the paint would stick better.

owl primer

After that dried, I sprayed him with hot pink spray paint.

owl painted

Then I realized I painted over his eyes so I used a purple Sharpie to give him eyes.


I purposefully made both of his eyes facing the bed because I thought it would be cute to tell my daughter that the owl was saying, “Owl be watching you while you sleep.” But then I decided that was a little creepy.


So don’t forget the power of paint the next time you see something that you don’t think is attractive. You just might start looking at things in a whole new way.

entryway before


Before After Owl Collage

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Design Your Own Umbrella

I don’t know about you but somehow we have accumulated about a dozen umbrellas over the years. And considering I usually just sprint from the car to wherever I’m going if it’s raining, most of them have never been used.

Since they all looked alike, I thought it might be fun to decorate a couple. For the type of smaller design I wanted to do, I decided that a fabric marker would be the best choice. It would adhere well and the marker would give me good control.


If you wanted to do a larger pattern or something using more paint, you could use acrylic paint with a paint brush.

Here are my umbrellas before.



First you will want to wash them well with water and mild soap and let them dry completely.

Here is where you can get creative. Do you want to do polka dots? A striped pattern? Animals? Raindrops?

For my first umbrella I decided to make ladybugs along the edge. I just used an old toy to use as a template for the body.


I traced the toy and then colored it in. I did two coats for a brighter look.


Then I just drew the head and legs on freehand with the white fabric marker.


Easy, easy.

On my other umbrella I did polka dots. I used the lining of stickers to give me a template.


I peeled the backing off and cut them into pieces to place on the umbrella. Then I just colored inside the sticker for uniform dots.


If you have any college age kids (or you’re in college) you can personalize it with your school’s letters or your sorority letters. I just traced a stencil template.



This would be a fun project with older kids. Let them each design their own umbrella so there is no fighting in the morning. 🙂

If you have a clear, cup shaped umbrella, it would be adorable with a painted design.

Lots of options with this…enjoy!


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My Repurposed LifeYoung and Crafty, Five Simple Things


Glass Jar Fun

In an effort to replace our plastic food containers with glass, I started saving all of the jars from sauces, jelly, pickles, etc.  It’s a cheap (well, free) way to get started rather than buy a bunch of new glassware all at once. They are a great, non-toxic alternative to plastics, especially if you like to heat your leftovers up right in the container.


I decided to play around with them using paint, Mod Podge, and some printouts from the computer just to see what would happen, especially on ones with stubborn labels that just will not come off.

After sanitizing the jar really well (dishwasher with hot cycle is enough), I painted directly on the outside of the jar with acrylic paint, which I think I bought in the craft section of Wal-Mart. You can paint the whole jar or just a section, whatever you want.

Don’t forget to paint the lid, too.


Once that dries (usually 12-24 hours) you’ll need to do another coat. You may have to do several coats to get the coverage you want.

Once it’s painted how you want,  spread a layer of Mod Podge over the painted jar with a sponge brush (or paintbrush-whatever you have). You now have a layer of glue on your jar and you can place whatever cutouts you want on it. I went with a veggie theme.


Place your cutouts wherever you like painting on top of them with the Mod Podge, which acts as a glue and a sealant so it goes under and over everything. Be sure to paint Mod Podge on your lid, too. It will look white-ish and goopy, but don’t worry, it dries clear.


Let that dry (again 12-24 hours) and repeat so you have several coats of Mod Podge. You want the paint and the cutouts to be completely sealed. Let dry at least 48 hours before washing.

After washing, they are ready to be used!


Note: Hand wash only. The dishwasher will melt the paint right off in one big clump.

Note: If you mess up or don’t like how it turned out, put it in the dishwasher. It will melt the paint right off in one big clump and you can start over 🙂

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