Where Do I Start Decorating In A New Home?

Where Do I Start Decorating In A New Home? via Charleston Crafted

 

When we moved in July, we knew that we wanted to makeover our entire house. Some rooms, like the kitchen, needed major work, while other rooms just needed paint and decor. However, our time and money are limited. We needed to know where to focus and where to start when decorating our new home. Here is my advice, it’s what we did and it worked great for us!

Where Do I Start Decorating In A New Home? via Charleston Crafted

First, address anything un-safe or un-livable. This should be done prior to move in. For us, the day after closing on the house and the day before we moved in, we had the whole HVAC system replaced. It wasn’t a fun way to spend money, but it was full of black mold and so very nasty.

Now the fun part. When it comes to decorating and design, I suggest that you start with the master bedroom. It might seem unimportant compared to more visible areas of your home, but hear me out. Your bedroom is your sanctuary. Even when everything else is in chaos, it’s so important to have a beautiful, comfortable place to retreat to at night, especially if you are escaping messy renovations or projects elsewhere in your space.

You first new furniture? A king bed and mattress. The first room you paint? Your bedroom. Trust me, you will appreciate it during phase three.

Phase three is all of your public spaces. Living room, kitchen, entry, dining room, deck – where ever you plan on entertaining. You’ll have to prioritize these by budget and time requirements and by how bad they each are.

Finally, work on other more private spaces. Guest bedrooms, kid’s rooms, laundry room, play rooms. You’ll get to them, but you probably want to work on the areas that your guests will see first.

This is the method that works best for us. I would love to hear what you think and what has worked best for you!

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The Three Saws for a New Homeowner

If you’re a new homeowner and you plan on making updates to your new home, both inside and out, I have the three saws you need to have to get the jobs done. There is a freaking saw for everything, I swear, and they all do different things well. Very few construction projects can be done without a saw, and there is a saw for every occasion, but these are the three saws for a new homeowner in my opinion.

Three Saws for the New Homeowner - Charleston Crafted

  1. Miter Saw – this is the single most important tool that I have purchased since becoming a homeowner. I use my miter saw for almost every single project I do. It’s great for cutting perfectly straight lines very quickly. You can make everything very even, very quickly. Plus it’s great for making angled cuts and beveled cuts. I’ve used it for everything from cutting crown moulding to extend our fireplace to cutting wood for our barn door to all the precise angled cuts for our dining room table and benches. The range in size, but I have the 7 1/4 inch blade which works perfectly for me to be able to move it around and adjust it since I don’t have a designated saw station.
    DIY Raised Pet Feeding Station: a Nice Gift for Naughty Pets - Charleston Crafted
  2. Coping Saw – I could have chosen a hand saw or a hack saw, which both have their own unique uses, but a coping saw is super cheap and easy to use for lots of things. I originally bought it to cut the interior angles of our crown moulding in the front room and dining room, but this little thing is great for cutting natural wood, like driftwood, or for cutting little pieces of anything. It has small, close together teeth, which makes it a great tool for using in a pinch.
    The Three Saws for a New Homeowner - Charleston Crafted
  3. Reciprocating Saw – I’ve had a reciprocating saw from our time in the condo. I first used it to rip apart a pallet to build a shop table on the porch and have used it so many times since, including cutting a door into a Christmas tree stand to making a wood shed from old fence. It’s great for making quick, rough cuts when you don’t need to be precise. Don’t expect to get a smooth, precise cut with a reciprocating saw, but you can tear apart doors, fences, pallet and lots of other stuff quick, so it’s great to have in your arsenal.
    The Three Saws for a New Homeowner - Charleston Crafted

There are so many other great saws out there (table saws and circular saws for long, straight cuts, hand saws for outside lumber, jigsaws for design cuts, etc) and I have a bunch of them, but being a new homeowner and trying to get projects done around the house, these are the three that I have relied on the most for different projects. I’ve borrowed a lot of stuff from neighbors for one time uses as well, so this is not a “these saws can accomplish all projects” but if you’re looking to get started, these are what I recommend.

Three Saws for the New Homeowner - Charleston Crafted

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Why This Married Couple Keeps Their Finances Separately

Why This Married Couple Keeps Their Finances Separately - Charleston Crafted

One of the biggest causes for divorce or separation is money. So, it’s one of the things that you really have to figure out early in a relationship or marriage. The default seems to be that couples share a joint account. That is not and never is how we have operated – we keep our money separately. I have heard radio segments and podcasts lately bashing couples that keep their money separate – saying that they must not trust each other or that it’s too secretive. I think that this is a really judgmental attitude! Trust has nothing to do with why we keep our money separate!

Why This Married Couple Keeps Their Finances Separately - Charleston Crafted

Now, there are a few things that make us good candidates for keeping separate bank accounts. I wouldn’t say that you have to have all of these characteristics, but they certainly help.

  • Income equality – We both make about the same income. If one of us made a lot more than the other, it might make it feel “unfair.”
  • Debt equality – We have both paid off all of our debt (student & car loans) and our only debt is marital debt – the mortgage.
  • We are both established – we both already had careers, bills, and ways of managing our money when we met. Had we been broke, it might have made sense to pool our limited stash, but we both were already set up and it was very easy and comfortable to stay that way.
  • We have different saving styles – Sean keeps 2 accounts – a checking and a savings. His paycheck goes into his savings account and he transfers money to pay his credit card bill at the end of the month as he needs to spend it. On the other hand, I have nine savings accounts. Yes, nine! The people at the bank always say “Wow you have a lot of accounts!” I use savings accounts like the “envelope method” and automatically transfer certain amounts to each account weekly or monthly to save towards goals. Sean couldn’t handle this – it’s too much for him! I would have a hard time budgeting and saving without it. This is the biggest reason that we keep our money separate.
  • We have a similar money philosophy – Neither of us have debt. We charge everything on credit cards for the points and credit but pay them off in full at the end of each month. We both are really big savers but value spending money on big vacations and smaller house projects. Our priorities are aligned so no one feels like they are carrying any of the big burdens.

Now, with that being said, how do we actually manage our money? Sean and I not only keep our money separately, but even keep it at different banks! But, we do have one joint bank account. To determine how much we needed in that account, I added up all of our monthly bills over six months and took a maximum. You could do an average – but I didn’t want to fall short! I then divided that in half and that was how much each of us “owes” towards the bills each month. We allocated that amount to come out of our direct deposits, and by never “seeing” the money in our personal accounts, we don’t really miss it.

Our method is not much different than a more popular method, whereby couples add all of their money to a joint account and then transfer an “allowance” to each of their personal accounts. Our method is just the opposite of that!

What do we pay for out of the joint account?

  • The mortgage
  • All utility bills (water, solar, cable, and cell phone)

What don’t we pay for out of the joint account?

  • Groceries
  • Restaurants
  • Clothing
  • Home projects
  • Vacations

So how do we pay for those other things? We take turns. We “treat” each other to dinners at restaurants. I buy what is important to me and Sean gets what he needs. I think that for some people it might cause resentment or anger, but because of those points above – our relatively equal income means we know what we have to spend and what we need to save.

Just because this works for us doesn’t mean that it would work for you. But I wanted to stick my neck out and share why separate bank accounts works great for us!

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How To Determine Your Decorating Style (6 Quizzes!)

How To Determine Your Decorating Style (6 Quizzes!) - Charleston Crafted

Sometimes my friends ask me for decorating advice. Usually it’s right after they have moved to a new place or go through some sort of life change that makes them decide that they finally want to make their apartment or home feel more like them. The biggest question that I get is Where do I begin? With so many stores and shops and websites, we are overwhelmed with affordable decor options. It would be easy to walk up and down the aisles of HomeGoods and just put things in your cart, but if you really want to make your home feel like you, you need to figure out what you like!

How To Determine Your Decorating Style (6 Quizzes!) - Charleston Crafted

Ever since I was a tween, I have loved taking quizzes – you know, pre-buzzfeed, the kind in the back of magazines. With that being said, here are my very favorite free quizzes for determining your style. I shared my results from each, just for fun!

Laurel and Wolf – Coastal, Mediterranean, and Contemporary

Decorista – Modern Eclectic

BHG – Cottage

Lonny – Trad with a Twist

Homegoods – Set Sail

My Domaine – California Eclectic

So what did these tell me? Even without seeing my results, I could tell by the photos that I was drawn to that I love color! I prefer bold patterns to subtle ones, and I like clean lines. I keep those things in mind (and some of the keywords above like coastal, modern, eclectic) when shopping in stores or online.

Now you have somewhere to start! Use your style as a keyword to search on Pinterest and create a board filled with things that inspire you. Use that as a guide when shopping. Hold each item and say – is this my style? Is it me? Do I love it? It sounds scary, but I promise, you can do it!

So tell me, what’s your decorating style?

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Phase One is Better than Phase None – A Staircase Gallery Wall

A Staircase Gallery Wall - Charleston Crafted

I am usually fast to get to projects. I make a list and I don’t sit around and talk about it – I jump in and do it! Though we had our whole downstairs painted within 3 months of moving in, we still have a line where we quit painting at the landing of our staircase. We plan to carry that gray color (Sherwin Williams Online) up the staircase and into the upstairs hallway. But… it remains unpainted.

When you should start a DIY home project even if you know that you can't finish it right now - when phase 1 is better than phase none - Charleston Crafted

Why? Well, we need to scrape the popcorn ceilings, which is a full weekend project plus we will need to borrow some kind of intense ladder. Then we can paint. And while scraping the ceilings is a very low cost project, it’s hard to squeeze a full weekend long project into my current project schedule – the stairwell just isn’t our top priority at the moment.

We have been planning a gallery wall for our sunroom, and sometime in the process Sean said that I really shouldn’t be buying more frames and printing photos when we have a huge stack of them waiting to be hung on the staircase. I thought about it and said that we couldn’t hang the photos until we painted the walls and we couldn’t paint the walls until we scraped the ceilings and we couldn’t scrape the ceilings until we finish the kitchen.

So, we couldn’t hang the frames until the summer. At which point we would have been living here for a year! It struck me how sad it was that all of our wedding photos would be in a closet for a full year (they were on full display in our condo).

But why? Why not just hang the dang pictures already? Who cares if the wall isn’t painted yet! So I decided to go against my own grain and start a “phase one” staircase project.

A Staircase Gallery Wall - Charleston Crafted

What is a phase one project? It’s something that you do knowing that it’s not how you want it to look in the end. It’s a quick fix, a band-aid, and usually I am really against them. Phase-ones can quickly become phase-forevers and fall into the rut of “good enough.”

But, sometimes, Phase One projects are good.

  • When Phase One is free
  • When you have a time or money constraint holding back the full project
  • When you know that you will definitely follow through on the whole project once you have the time and money

So, here’s our temporary, Phase One staircase gallery wall. As always, my tip for gallery walls is to cut out newspaper the size and shape of each frame and use a marker to label which way is up. Use painters tape to re-arrange them on the wall until you are satisfied.

A Staircase Gallery Wall - Charleston Crafted

A Staircase Gallery Wall - Charleston Crafted

A Staircase Gallery Wall - Charleston Crafted

We hung them with small nails that, yeah, we will have to take out when we paint. But, I am so glad that we got these frames out of the closet and up on the wall. It’s starting to feel really homey!

How do you feel about Phase One projects? 

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