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Three Easy Wallpaper Projects

I flew out to New York a couple of weeks ago to film a segment at the Meredith studio for Better TV. (I went to six cities over the course of a month while in my third trimester, so I’m glad to be done with traveling for a while!) I shared a few wallpaper project ideas for the video below — ways to use it besides on your walls — using the allen + roth line from Lowe’s.

Filming with Better TV


Decoupaged Letters

We spelled out “LOVE” to give the basic idea in the video above, but I think it’s the kind of project that would be great for personalizing a nursery or kid’s room (either with their name spelled out in full, or just their first initial).

Materials Needed: metallic brocade wallpaper • water and a small brush (to activate paste) • scissors • craft letters

Instructions: Place a letter face down on your wallpaper, trace the shape, cut it out, and set aside. Next, begin covering the sides of your letter — a little water will activate the glue on the paper’s backing. (If using paper that isn’t prepasted, Mod Podge works well for this project.) Long strips of paper are fine for straight sides, but smaller pieces work well for curves. After all of the sides have been covered, affix the top piece and smooth into place.

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Drawer Liners

Lined drawers are always a nice touch, right? You could use adhesive paper made for drawers of course, but wallpaper comes in so many more colors and patterns. Lined shelves, in a closet or otherwise, are another opportunity for customization. And if the wallpaper has a nonwoven backing like the allen + roth line does, it’s easy to remove if you ever want to change the style.

Materials Needed: striped wallpaper • water and a small brush (to activate paste) • scissors and/or razor blade • metal ruler or other straight edge • drawers or shelves

Instructions: (Pretty sure you can figure this one out without instructions, but here goes!) Cut a piece of wallpaper to the size of your drawer or shelf. Activate the paste on the back of your wallpaper by applying water with a brush, and place the paper in your drawer. Smooth, then trim edges with a razor.

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Bookcase Update

We used grasscloth to add texture and change the color of the back of a bookcase, but obviously you can use any style you like, depending on the look you’re going for. And that bookshelf? Truly a quick and easy project. We had actually started with a white bookshelf on set and the grasscloth looked great on the back of it, but it wasn’t reading well on camera. In a very quick, very last minute switcheroo, we swapped out the white bookshelf for a black one instead. I think it took all of 15 minutes from start to finish!

Materials Needed: grasscloth wallpaperwallpaper paste • razor blade • metal ruler or other straight edge • bookcase

Instructions: Remove the backing from your bookcase if possible. Trace it onto your wallpaper and cut out. If the back of your bookcase can not be removed, measure and cut a piece of wallpaper to size. Activate the paste on your wallpaper by applying water with a brush, and place the paper on the back of your bookcase. Smooth, then trim edges with a razor.

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Come Say Hello

Remember, I’ll be at my local Lowe’s this Saturday, offering one-on-one design consultations and doing another fun project with wallpaper that you can make and take with you! RSVP to to make sure you’ve got a spot.

Style Saturday Invitation

Ombré Nesting Tables (With a How-to Video)

Vintage Nesting Tables at the Renegade Craft Fair, Chicago

I found these vintage wooden nesting tables at the Renegade Craft Fair, here in Chicago, a couple of months ago. I loved the shape of them, and that they nested together, but they looked a little plain in my library.

I decided to paint them in an ever-trendy ombré/gradient effect, figuring that when the trend moves on I can always repaint them again later. As I was preparing to paint, I look more closely at the tables and realized that someone had already painted them at some point, in a faux-bois effect. At least I didn’t have to feel guilty about being the first one to take a paintbrush to them!

I gathered everything I needed to get started: a lead test, sandpaper (150 and 180 grit), a mask, painter’s tape, paint and primer, a drop cloth, paint stirring sticks, and a good 2″ angled paintbrush. Below is a video showing the whole process.

I didn’t know how old that painted surface was, so I used a simple lead test to be sure that the tables were safe to work with. Then I sanded the tops with the rougher sandpaper, wiped them down, and taped off the edges. It would have been ideal to disassemble the tables and just work on the tops, but they were held together with a combination of dowels, glue, and magic. Prying them apart would have been difficult — possibly disastrous — so tape it was. Next I primed them, painted, sanded again with fine sandpaper, and applied a final coat of paint.

Painted Vintage Nesting Tables in Making it Lovely's Library

The three colors are Benjamin Moore’s Coral Gables and Petal Rose, and the third was a 50/50 combination of the two. I was careful to do a thorough job of sanding, and I made sure to abide by the recommended paint drying times (16 hours between coats because it was oil-based). I think that’s going to make all the difference when it comes to durability.

Ombré Painted Nesting Tables

I love the way the tables play off of the new red pot of the fiddle-leaf fig tree, and the whole area feels a whole lot happier. Bringing that pillow up from the living room certainly helped too! It feels right to add a little more color to the area, since the kids play there a lot. August has already taken to using the nesting tables as stairs for his little animal figures.

Making it Lovely's Library


This post is a collaboration with 3M DIY.
To learn more about safety and preparation, visit

Three Apartment Makeovers

I write for Glidden over at MyColortopia, and a while back I was discussing a few ideas with them that I had for projects. I was already answering advice column questions and recommending paint colors, and I wanted to take it a step further and actually help someone with a makeover. I had no idea that my little idea would lead to me flying to New York and spending three crazy long days painting three different apartments while being filmed! Remember this sneak peek of what I was up to last month? Well, the videos are ready and I can finally share them with you.

I had a very small budget for each of the makeovers, a five-minute phone conversation with each of the renters beforehand, and only three photos to go off of before choosing paint colors and accessories for each of them. First up is Lisa. She loved hot pink, so I was excited about helping her find a good shade of it for her entryway. She went with Very Berry, and I brought in some red-orange to liven it up a little further with a ceramic lamp and a bar stool. I also gave her a black and white hook to bring in all of the black and white accents, but it didn’t make it into the video.

Here’s Lisa’s makeover.

So fun, right? I love that she picked such a vibrant color, and the entryway was the perfect place to do something so bold. Her black and white art looked great against the new color, and I love the hits of orange in the space. Lisa loved it too, and I think it really suited her!

The next video features Cassandra. She wanted to repaint her bedroom because she was tired of the yellow that had been on the walls since she moved in. She had red curtains (that she’d made herself), vintage dressers, and brown, white, and teal bedding with an overscale graphic pattern. She mentioned that she liked gray in our phone conversation, so I selected three shades for her to choose from and she went with Dolphin Gray. I also chose a giant multi-colored wall art piece, a small glass lamp, and a pillow with subtle red dots.

Here’s how her makeover turned out.

I don’t think she realized that the gray she chose had some purple in it, but I thought it looked great! She hated that art though, yo. She was a good sport about it and she tried to live with it, but I knew she wasn’t going to keep it. Even though the scale of it was perfect, and it tied all of the colors in the room together, it just wasn’t her taste (I thought she’d go for it, based on her bedding and fabric choices, but no). I also grabbed that fantastic yellow lamp from her living room, and she has since moved it back. She wrote all about her side of the story on her blog.

The last video features Eliza. Her living room walls and trim were all the same shade of white. Eliza hates clutter and wanted to keep an open, airy feeling, but she was having a really hard time choosing a color for the room. I helped her select Sea Spray, a blue/green/gray hue. I gave her a new nesting coffee table (I fought hard to get that in the room, by the way), a beautiful new pillow on the couch, and an adjustable floor lamp.

This is Eliza’s makeover.

I don’t normally do accent walls, but it works in her apartment because we did the two long walls opposite each other and the architecture had recessed areas that lent themselves to the look. The white wall of windows feels like a wall of molding now, and the other white wall had a large doorway in it and a bookshelf. I did want to hang larger art over the sofa (Eliza had a great collection of art, just sitting in boxes), but we didn’t have the proper hardware. Still, I think the new color added so much to the space, and the blue is gorgeous and changes depending on the light.

My short New York trip was a whirlwind, but it was a great experience. The Newfangled video crew, Apartment Therapy team, Glidden people, and renters were all fantastic to work with, and I’m proud of the work we did! I hope Lisa, Cassandra, and Eliza will enjoy their rooms, and I hope you all enjoyed following along.