Home Decor · Home Improvement

Twist of Lime: How We Created A Bright Study and Office Space On A Budget

Our need for a big change in our house came along gradually, but this year we finally decided enough was enough with having a huge space that we weren’t really using ninety percent of the time. The space was our oldest daughter’s bedroom. She went to college at 18, and never lived at home since except on semester breaks and some summers. She’s now a PhD candidate. It’s still a big priority for us that she has her own space each time she comes home, but we also needed the space to be more usable at some point.

Add to that that our youngest daughter is in her first semester of college, studying from home (a hundred percent of the time now because of the pandemic), and occupying a small bedroom, and the time was right to give this space an overhall.

Don’t get me wrong, I love all those modern farmhouse and shiplap designs, but I also never want to have a cookie-cutter approach in my interior. I love a shot of bold color in a room, and I like my home to be personalized.

My goals with the space were to improve it for the oldest when she visits home, provide a great study space for our at-home college student, and make the space a functional guest room if needed. I designed this space for my daughters keeping in mind what would work for them and what elements they would appreciate.

The first choice was the color scheme. The oldest had picked super bright colors when she was a kid, and that’s what was there when I started. We decided to keep the lime green (a shade called lime rickey, still available) because it would be a connection to her design rather than just changing the whole thing, and I really felt it could look awesome paired with black and white. The ceiling of this room is lime green, and it does look cool that way. We chose very light gray on all of the walls with white trim to give everything else a neutral background.

And of course, my next step was starting a pinterest board full of ideas!

The first item I chose was the large pineapple botanical print. When I first saw it, I knew that was my color scheme and what I wanted to build the room around. It had the bright green and black I wanted, and featured pineapples, a huge favorite of the younger daughter, both for eating and as decor. 🙂

Next, I brainstormed what kind of furnishings I felt would work in the room. When the oldest comes home, she’s always working, and the youngest would be doing zoom calls and studying constantly. So job one was finding a great desk. I really wanted a white, completely grown-up desk with lots of storage and dark hardware.

Believe it or not, we found someone who was moving and giving away the perfect desk for our space! My husband and son were great, as usual, about taking a drive to go lift something heavy for me so that I could continue the quest for the perfect study lounge update! The desk did not come with a hutch, which I thought was key, so I continued my search.

I found a big solid wood hutch on Craig’s List that was the right width for the desk. I really debated whether or not to even go see it, because it was very 1980s looking and wasn’t even a desk hutch. I’m not sure what it was. Also it was all wood and did not match the desk. But, for $15, I once again talked my husband into going with me to pick up something heavy. 🙂

I painted the hutch, except for the top surface, with an ivory furniture paint. To make the hutch look the same as the desk, I combed the paint some and gave it a grain. The desk has an antiqued or weathered look, so I added some glaze over top of the paint until both pieces matched. I changed out the dated knobs for some that matched the desk. It worked better than I expected! I ended up with the exact big desk I wanted for $15 plus painting supplies!

We already had a vintage mid-century round coffee table in the room, so we kept that. I felt the ideal solution to having a comfy study lounge would be to have a sofa in the space. I wanted a sleeper sofa in case we ever needed it. The mid century style sofa in dark charcoal is perfect with the coffee table. My son also gave me a vintage end table with an iron magazine rack that he and his wife didn’t need anymore to finish out the seating area.

The other furniture pieces in the room are a daybed and a roomy metal bookshelf to store all those academic materials.

I really feel that changing the lighting style in a room changes the whole feel and that lighting is one of the most important design choices. I chose black farmhouse industrial style pendants with edison bulbs. For one thing, they are an absolute steal on Amazon. They also perfectly combine the trendy with the traditional, which is what I was going for.

Beyond that, I personalized the space and tried to throw in touches that are special for my daughters. The pineapples are one of those. I have a small “welcome home” sign on the desk to let the older know this is always her place, too. I looked around for an elephant to feature prominently because she graduated from the University of Alabama where Al the Elephant roams the sidelines as the mascot. We bought some handmade flowers of the kind she always liked to buy from a local craft fair. There are some global touches because we have a multicultural family. Both girls love plaids, checks, and warm fuzzy blankets. And we all traveled to New Orleans together at Thanksgiving a few years ago which was an amazing family trip, so as soon as I saw the French Quarter sign, I knew it would be perfect.

This room was really a whole family effort. My husband was kept busy with fixing some water damage in the drywall most of the time, so I did a lot of the other aspects myself on this one. It was so fun being creative together and coming up with a really great room in the end.

Now, we are using the space every day and it’s also much better for guests if needed.

We have lots of other projects to do in this old house, but I’m thankful now given the study at home situation that we completed this one!

I decorated this space relying heavily on Amazon, so I’m going to provide the shop the look info. I am an Amazon affiliate too, but there was not one purchase I was disappointed in, and I was going for budget-conscious shopping.

Click on links for the full details.

Have a beautiful day, and try something colorful! 🙂

Cozy at Home · Home Decor · Home Improvement

10 Great Ideas for Nostalgic Vintage Kitchens: The Ultimate Happy Place

Most of us would agree that a great kitchen occupies the top of our wish list when it comes to our dwelling place. I’ve seen a ton of the “chef’s kitchens” all over home improvement shows and real estate listings, but there is another way to go with a kitchen redo. An amazing vintage-style kitchen has a decidedly cozier vibe than the stainless steel and granite look that is so prevalent. Especially if you want to stay in character with your home’s architecture and build date, a vintage kitchen might be just what you’re looking for.

The kitchen really is the heart of the home, the place where you make your morning tea or coffee, where all those aromas of Christmas cookies, homemade soups, and weekend breakfasts originate, and where you sit around the kitchen table and catch up with the family after a day’s work.

I have fond memories from my childhood of hanging out in my family’s kitchen, laughing the night away with my sisters and mom, playing a game of yahtzee, or getting out my big box of crayons and doing an art project. I absolutely love the feel of a comfortable nostaligic kitchen.

If you’re looking to add some vintage charm to your kitchen, there are a ton of great ideas and products out there to help you achieve the perfect retro kitchen.

Ideas for a vintage style kitchen

  1. Color

With any interior space, color really sets the tone. This is especially true in a vintage restoration. Bright, cheerful colors dominated design choices in the forties, fifties, and sixties. Our first home, a brick ranch duplex built in the 1950’s, featured yellow formica countertops in the kitchen and aqua and black ceramic tile in the bathroom! Pink was a huge trend in the 1950s as a result of Mamie Eisenhower’s fondness for the color. In fact, like many midcentury homes, the 1950s home I grew up in had a pink-tiled bathroom. For color ideas for your kitchen, consider these great options:

Pastel pink

Way before millenials discovered this fabulous color, pink was all the rage for decor in the 1950s. Once the shade was popularized by the first lady, everything was in the pink until the early sixties.

Black and white

Stark black and white are bold accents in a vintage kitchen. Often, black tile was used against a bright or pastel. Checkerboard and octagon and dot patterns in black and white are perfect.

Red

Bright cherry red is an excellent choice, especially combined with chrome for a diner feel.

Turquoise

Turquoise blue provides a cheerful hue in a vintage kitchen. Lighter tones are gorgeous on cabinetry or appliances, and bold tones combine well with red.

Green

In the 1940s and 1950s, jadeite glassware become popular, along with other lines of green dishware. Mamie Eisenhower also employed quite a bit of green along with her pink. Green is a terrific option for a vintage kitchen with shades ranging from spring green to muted jade.

2. Cabinetry

The first two homes my husband and I lived in were both circa 1950s. They both had windows over the sink with small shelves and a decorative valence as seen in the top photo of this post. They both had really tall cabinets.

If you are lucky enough to live in an older home you want to restore, I would say try to keep the cabinets, or at least some of them. Cabinets can be painted, updated with storage features, or partially salvaged to add to the authenticity of your home. Sometimes you don’t need a whole new kitchen.

For new cabinets and cupboards, you can think about ways to make sure they are in keeping with your overall design. Consider going extra tall with your cabinets. On a plain door design, adding nostalgic glass knobs and drawer pulls provides a beautiful look and an accent of color. Cabinet manufacturers do carry pastel colors, or choose white and add color in accessories, walls, and flooring. Consider adding some glass-front doors as well.

Add some free-standing painted furniture cabinet pieces to continue the vintage charm.

3. Flooring

Tile flooring is ideal for a kitchen restoration. If you really want to be authentic, genuine linoleum tile might be a good option and it’s also colorful and durable.

Ceramic tile offers limitless choices. I love the bold graphic tiles with a bit of black or an octagon and dot mosaic look.

4. Walls

Wallpaper featuring vintage patterns that brings together your color scheme is an awesome choice for your retro style kitchen. Solid painted walls can look great as well, especially with some amazing vintage artwork or advertising.

5. Appliances

There are some truly remarkable vintage-style appliances out there that combine modern functioning with all the charm of a nostalgic kitchen. If you’re commited to the restoration of a period home, it’s definitely worth looking into these great appliance options.

Can you imagine looking at these every time you walk into your kitchen? It’s like being in that cool diner that serves great eggs all the time.

6. Dishware

Small details make a huge difference, like choosing your dishes to complement the design of your kitchen. Consider pink glassware, jadeite, atomic designs, nostalgic florals, whatever suits your style best.

Display some dishes in a glass-fronted cabinet if possible.

7. Textiles

Patterned dish towels and tablecloths that are genuine vintage or vintage-inspired will add tremendously to your decor. Aprons, oven mitts, and kitchen curtains are all elements to consider.

8. Lighting fixtures

Authentic lighting fixtures can really make all the difference in design. Consider what the overall theme is in your room. In a bold red kitchen, chrome may be a great choice. Schoolhouse lights are really great in any 1950s kitchen. Atomic fixtures can be awesome too if that goes with the rest of the decor. There are so many great reproduction lighting options out there to choose from.

9. Furnishings

A vintage kitchen is definitely an eat-in kitchen, so make sure to take a look at vintage-style kitchen tables. A cozy booth like your favorite diner or a built-in banquette would be amazing. Bar stools in a snazzy vintage design are also perfect.

10. Accessories

This is the really fun part if you ask me. The possibilities for retro accessories are almost endless. Wall clocks, radios, old school fans, menu boards, lighted signs, rotary phones, it’s just all too much fun!

I think the time is right for designs drawing from the past. Young people are nostalgic these days, and many of us would just like to return to a simpler time, even if it’s just in our home. We’re craving peace, stability, and some comfort food. Yeah comfort food, that’s it. How about a nice meatloaf sandwich with a side of mashed potatoes? 🙂

Have a beautiful day, and add something fun to your life. 🙂