Never Underestimate the Power of Accessories!

I’ve found that as I change as a person, my decorating style changes, too.  And when this happens, I sometimes find myself looking around the house thinking, “This room doesn’t look like me!”  As fun as it would be to say out with the old and in with the new, that’s just not going to happen within my budget.  This is where accessories come into play!

I like to think of the big furniture pieces (i.e. sofas, accent chairs, cabinets) as the backdrop and the accessories as the actors.  Accessories can communicate so much about a room and can contribute so much to the overall feel.  Sometimes, they reflect the season.  Other times, they can communicate the decorating style.  Is the room modern?  Is it traditional?  Accessories can also reflect the homeowner’s color preferences and personal taste.

I made the image below using Olioboard  to demonstrate just how different two rooms can feel based on the accessories alone.

Two

Believe it or not, the big items in these rooms are exactly the same, as are the layouts.  The sofa, coffee table, flooring and doors do not differ between the two rooms and yet the feel is completely different.  The room on the left utilizes bold colors and patterns to create a modern yet chic look.  On the left, the colors are more subdued and texture comes into play giving it a more traditional and vintage feel.  Again, the accessories are the actors and are setting the stage for the room!

There are several ways you can work to switch out your accessories to reflect your current style, season or mood.  Yes, shopping is a fun way, but you can also reuse what you already have.  Find a fabric you love and recover your pillows.  Or try painting some of your accessories in your new favorite color!  (BTW, I just bought Annie Sloan’s chalk paint and have been testing it out on some scraps of wood and plaster.  So much fun!  More to come on this in another post.)

Remember, just because your budget may not allow you to start over with decorating your house doesn’t mean you can’t have your home reflect your style.  Never underestimate the power of accessories!

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DIY Vintage Book iPhone Charger for $2.17!

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I’ve had an alarm clock/radio on my nightstand FOREVER!  I had one as a kid and as I’ve grown up, I’ve always continued to keep one next to my bed.  At first, I actually used it as an alarm but as technology changed, I started using my phone as my alarm.  So of course, I then upgraded my clock/radio to include an iPhone charging station.  Recently, though, the charging portion broke and I was then left with just a clock/radio.  What?  When was the last time I even used it as a clock/radio?  Really, all I need is a spot to charge my iPhone and since it will be on my nightstand, it might as well look good, right?  I was then on the hunt for the perfect charger!

I came across these vintage book chargers on Anthropologie’s website.  Love these but don’t love the $68 price tag!

anthropologie vintage book iPhone charger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instead, I decided to make my own.  Here’s what I did:

Materials Needed:

  • 2 Hardcover Books
  • iPhone charging cord
  • Craft knife
  • Glue

Instructions:

1. Find a Book: I bought a used hardcover book on sale for $2.17.  I could have used a book I already had, but since I’d be destroying the book and because I wanted it to match the decor of my bedroom, I decided it was better to buy a used book.  Remember that the color of the dust jacket doesn’t matter since you’ll be removing this to expose the hardcover below.

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2.  Measure: Please the head of the plug on the book and trace around it.  This is a bit tricky because of the cord, which doesn’t allow you to place it flat on the book’s surface.  I choose to put the metal side of the plug on the book and then eyeball the dimensions of the plastic part.  My advise is to not place your plug too close to the edge of the book; otherwise, as you’re cutting (especially for the cord channel), you’ll wind up ripping some of the pages and exposing the cord through the side of the book.

3.  Cut the Cover:  Once you have your plug outlined, it’s time to cut through the cover of the book.  I used a craft knife  (X-Acto knife) to make my cuts.  I used several small, smooth cuts until I finally made it through the thickness of the book’s cover.  Once the hole is made, push your plug through from the back to the front to ensure that the hole is big enough and that you have a snug fit.

4.  Cut the Pages:  Once you have your hole in the cover, start to cut through the pages below.  You’ll need to cut down far enough to accommodate the entire depth of the plug head plus the bend in the cord.  If you don’t cut down far enough, your plug will sit up high on your book and won’t look as clean as it otherwise could.  Also, I would advise that you cut at a slight angle so that they plug can sit angled slightly back for a better fit on the charger.

5. Cut a Cord Channel:  Once you have cut a space for the plug, you’ll then need to cut out a channel for the cord to run to the back of the book (so that you can plug into the wall).  Again, make sure it’s deep enough into the book so that the cord doesn’t keep the book from closing all the way.

6.  Put in Place and Glue:  When all of your channels and cuts are made, feed the plug through the book up through the cover.  You’ll need just a bit of the white plastic head to protrude from the book’s cover in order to ensure a full connection between your phone and the plug.  Once in place and you’ve tested to ensure that it works, glue the plug in place.  For this, I chose to use my hot glue gun because it’s what I had readily available, although any glue appropriate for plastic should work.  This step is important, though, otherwise, when you try to remove your phone from the charger, you’ll pull the plug out through the cover.

 

Ta-da!  You’re done!  I chose to put the charger on the bottom book I was using so that I could use the top book for added stability of the phone.  Also, my top book isn’t actually a book at all but rather a book box that I always keep on my nightstand to hold the little mementos my kids bring my (i.e. magic rocks, flowers, gemstones).

Chargercomparison

 
 
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Make Your Accessories Work for YOU

I love rearranging decorative accessories in my home to keep it feeling fresh and new!  And as much as I would love to buy new things ever time I had a whim to redecorate, it’s just not possible.  Not only would I go over budget, but I’d run out of room to store everything!  (And let’s be honest, my “extra” decor has already spilled out into a cabinet in the garage…)  Instead, I like to find new ways to use old accessories so that they do double duty.  Never be hindered by what the item was intended to be used for!

Years ago,  I purchased a wooden pedestal from Pottery Barn.  The description of the items says that it can be used for “festive presentation of everything from cheese plates to birthday cakes.”  If I limited myself to using it according to the description, I’d only get it out of storage maybe a couple of times a year, and to me, that just isn’t worth the expense.  Instead, I use it year-round as a pedestal for an olive branch display in my dining room!  The vase and olive branches alone just weren’t quite tall enough to be in scale with the mirror I have, but placing them on top of the pedestal gave me just the added height I needed!  I’ve also used the pedestal in my Thanksgiving tablescape to add some interest and height variation to the dishes, as well as to allow for more dishes to fit on the table.  Having a party?  Use the pedestal underneath a beverage dispenser to allow room for cups to fit underneath the spout!

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Similarly, wreaths look great on front doors, mirrors and even windows, but if you’re ready for a change, try using them as a centerpiece on a table to surround a display of candles.

You’ll always get the biggest bang for your buck if you make your decor items do double duty, so never hesitate to think beyond their intended purpose and make them work for you.

 
 
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