Our Fun and Functional Playroom Reveal!

It’s time for another “final” room reveal in our most current home! After so many fits and spurts in this space, it’s amusing to me that our downstairs playroom is among the first few “final” spaces I have ready to show you. We’ve jammed a lot into this fun and functional playroom; and while it’s not quite exactly where I thought we’d end up when I first laid eyes on the space, it’s been a happy place for us to play and be as a family during our time here in Kansas!

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

As I like to do in all my room reveal posts, let’s take a quick walk down memory lane to remind us all where we started! This home is a standard split-level home, which means we have two living/family spaces: one upstairs and one downstairs. Before we even arrived in Kansas last summer, I knew the downstairs space would be perfect for a playroom!

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

The long back wall of the playroom was ideal for a row of cube shelves, both to create a focal point and provide ample storage. So before our things even arrived, we hit up IKEA for a few Kallax shelves and set them up so we could get toys loaded in (and off the floor!) right away.

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

And after just a few new DIY projects and storage solutions, many of our old belongings transitioned nicely into a fresh and happy playroom! I’ll link up all the projects in this space below, but first let’s take a full tour!

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

As intended, the row of cube shelving provided three things for the space: a focal point, much-needed toy storage, and a place to setup a television/video game system. Although there is an 8″ deep ledge in this room, the shelves provided a 15″ deep counter-type space that came in handy quit often!

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

It took me forever to determine what to do on the expanse of wall above the 8″ ledge. I knew I wanted something bright, colorful, fun and (of course) temporary on the wall, but was having the toughest time deciding what. Just a few weeks ago I pulled together this eye-popping mountain mural made entirely with ombre shades of cardstock folded in a really creative way! It was completely unintentional but really livened up the space.

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

As you turn to the right (toward the windows and the back of the house), we have our big blue sectional with a smattering of cozy pillows and blankets. The cornice box is from our old house just covered in some new cobalt fabric.

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

The blue trunk serves as both toy storage (more on that below) and the coffee table. I’m not sure the grasscloth was the smartest choice for a playroom, as it might need some touching up in the next house 😉

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

On the small wall back behind the sofa, I created a mini gallery wall out of a bunch of prints, paintings and photographs from our last house. I don’t love the white frames on the cream walls here, but it was better than leaving the frames all piled up on the floor for the year!

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

Back behind the sofa, we set up an old antique gate-leg table (that I inherited from my Grandmother) to serve as an art, coloring and game table. Paired with some wooden stools (that I meant to paint to match but never got to!) and a wooden coloring caddie, this little space did indeed see a lot of use!

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

If you have a floating sofa and need a way to add in a gathering/game/coloring/snack table, this setup has really, really worked so well for us! Fingers crossed we can manage a similar setup in the next house!

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

The fourth side on the left (which is super hard to photograph) was honestly just a place to hang some of the bigger/matching artwork we had in our last house so it didn’t sit in the garage. While the arrangement was a bit too big for this wall, it did allow us to get some color on the far side, balancing out the big mountain mural and dark blue couch! #lemonsfromlemonade

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

How We Are Storing Toys in Our Playroom

We love, love, love using the IKEA Kallax shelves for toy storage. Not only are the DRONA bins that fit in them so deep and fillable, but the size of the cubbies themselves really do allow for most (certainly not all, but most!) toys to fit nicely! We use 10 DRONA bins with picture labels cut from contact paper on the bottom row, and then a smattering of other bins, boxes and baskets (or nothing at all!) to store toys and books on the top shelves!

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

One of my favorite things we did in this space was put the IKEA Kallax shelves up on feet. Not only did this give us some room under the shelves to slide some long, flat items but helped the whole unit look more cohesive, intentional and decorative.

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

The turquoise DRONA bins hold all sorts of junk we don’t need toys. Some of the bins are just a big catch-all for a smattering of things, but we have implemented a few storage solutions that have worked really well!

Metal lunch boxes (also from IKEA) have worked great for corralling play food and Play-Doh rather than than letting it all float around the bins…

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

Our puzzles are contained in sets using these DIY Puzzle pouches. These have held up SO well, and I STILL need to make more for a few puzzles that don’t have them!

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

We also keep lots of little games and pieces together with these see-through toy bags I made last year. They are still holding up and working great!

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

My beloved flip-top plastic boxes (bought at the Okinawa version of the Dollar Store) hold a variety of figurines and sets of toys…also labeled with more contact paper images!

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

I snagged these green wooden boxes years ago on clearance at Target. Ever since I brought them home, we have used them to store Little People, Little People Animals, and other random mini toys that wander home from Happy Meals and birthday parties. They are super functional and look great, so I am pretty sure we will continue to use this solution for as long as we need it!

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

Last but not least, we store LEGO kits in Snapware boxes…a solution that has been a total game changer for our family!

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

Last but not least, inside the blue trunk…

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

…are all of Henry’s trains, track and train accessories. After using so many different solutions for Henry’s train collection over the years, this one has been THE BEST! Everything fits, it’s easy to open and close, and he can see everything he has!

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

All in all, thanks to a variety of storage solutions (boxes, bins, Snapware, trunk) loaded into our IKEA Kallax shelves, this space has truly been a super functional place for Henry to play and for us all to watch movies and play games together!

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

Room Resources

So much of what is in this room was brought forward from our last house. Nonetheless, I’ve done my best to round up the sources for what you see here! If it’s not on the list, it was a DIY (which are all linked up further down)!

  • Paint color – Sherwin Williams 6098 Pacer White
  • Blue ombre cardstock on mountain mural – Michaels Craft Stores
  • White Kallax shelves – IKEA
  • Feet on Kallax shelves – IKEA
  • Tall white vase – Target
  • Short white vase – Marshalls
  • Large brown lamp – consignment shop
  • Turquoise bread box – Target
  • Turquoise DRONA bins – IKEA
  • Green wooden boxes – Target
  • Blue sectional – Custom from Carleton
  • Pillow covers – made from body pillow covers from Target
  • Wood gate-leg table – antique hand-me-down
  • Wooden stools – purchased overseas in Okinawa, Japan
  • White frames – Michaels
  • Large abstract painting – Marshalls
  • Neon yellow abstract – Society 6
  • Watercolor abstract – Society 6

New Projects in This Space Since Moving to Kansas

How to Add Feet to an IKEA Kallax Looking for a really quick, inexpensive, temporary and EASY wall treatment idea? Try this 3D Mountain Mural maid entirely with paper! Get your Lego kits organized and labeled with this simple organizing project! Never loose a manual or piece again! Find an old wooden toolbox in your favorite antique store? Use this simple method to transform it into the perfect coloring caddie! Toy Storage Solutions on I Heart Organizing

Other Projects Seen In This Space

Ombre Deer Head- Puzzle Cases-001 Peek-a-Book Toy Storage Bags Small Toy Storage Grasscloth-Covered Trunk Image-Labeled Toy Bins Canvas Frame

Having a basement gave us each the space to spread out in this house, but I was actually surprised at how much the toys were dragged up and elsewhere throughout the house. I certainly LOVED having a dedicated space for all of our toys, but Henry is a super social kid (and likes to be wherever we are) AND is starting to play with more things in his room. I’m not sure we will have the luxury of a playroom in our next house, but I’m not convinced that’s a bad thing either! Nonetheless, we have sure loved having this extra family space this year!

Ready for one last look at our 1-year, totally temporary transformation?

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!
I’d love to know what you think of how this space turned out! What is your favorite part? Do you have a dedicated playroom in your home? What kind of storage solutions do you find work the best?

Check out how this military family transformed their rental basement into a fun and functional playroom complete with smart toy storage and whimsical DIY decorations!

I hope you all are having a great week! Coming up next week, that first installment of my Cricut Explore for Home Decor series and a quick roundup of my recent projects around the web! See you then!

Megan Signature

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Break Through Your Blogging Barriers with the Blog Boost Bundle!

Happy Tuesday, friends! I’m popping in with a different kind of post today…one that is geared specifically to my friends and readers who write their own blogs! (If that’s not you, I promise I’ll be back on Thursday with the basement reveal post I’ve been hinting about!) If you are a fellow blogger who is looking for a great resource to boost your income, traffic, confidence and more, there is a super exciting new e-course bundle launching today, and I can’t wait for you to check it out! Friends, let me introduce you to the Blog Boost Bundle!

*I am proud to be an affiliate for the Blog Boost Bundle, and this post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission for any purchases made via my links at no additional charge to you. You can read more about my policies here

Take your blog to the next level! There are over 24 hours of instruction across 6 amazing workshops with the Blog Boost Bundle!

The Blog Boost Bundle is a series of 6 intensive webinars created and assembled by 5 amazing bloggers (Lesley from Chaotically Creative, Angie from The Country Chic Cottage, Gina from The Shabby Creek Cottage, Tasha from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body, and Bre from Rooms for Rent). These ladies have assembled over 24 hours of amazing, detailed and crazy helpful video content across 6 platforms that we bloggers need to know and master including Google+, Instagram, Facebook, Email Marketing, Affiliate Marketing and SEO. Each workshop includes a series of videos, interviews, worksheets and more and goes in-depth into each of these all-important but often challenging and mysterious topics. I was given the amazing opportunity to access this course early so that I could dive in and give you all my honest-to-goodness review. And friends…I am just so blown away by all the content jam-packed into this bundle!

Take your blog to the next level! There are over 24 hours of instruction across 6 amazing workshops with the Blog Boost Bundle!

WHY I AM ALL IN FOR THE BLOG BOOST BUNDLE

I am passionate about what I do here and about getting my ideas in front of more people; but after 4 years of relative traffic and income stagnation, I finally realized that passion alone wasn’t bringing people to my site or helping me reach bigger goals. After years of ignoring the wealth of wisdom available from more experienced bloggers around me, last Fall I finally committed to learning the tricks, strategies, and techniques necessary to grow my blog, my readership, and my income. I poured myself into every blog post, e-book and e-course I could in order to learn all the tips and tricks I was missing. I started to create friendships and connections that I saw other bloggers making but could never figure out how to establish myself. And in the 9 months since I jumped all in, The Homes I Have Made has experienced some tremendous growth of which still makes me humble and giddy every single day.

But there are only so many hours in a day. Right now, I am still a One Woman Show and trying to learn and do everything I needed to know in order to grow my blog was zapping my energy and stealing my joy from creating the content and writing the posts that actually kept the blog chugging along. I had to pull away from the “growing” side of my business in order to get back to creating content I loved. And for the last few months, that’s what I’ve been doing: focusing on content. But that too came at a price…and since I’ve been slightly “neglecting” the business side of my blog, my traffic and income have suffered.

I knew I needed to get back to all the workshops and e-books I have invested in over the last year to learn and implement even more growth strategies, but I just didn’t have it in me. So when my friend and one of the expert bloggers on the Blog Goals team, Lesley, reached out to me about the Blog Boost Bundle, it didn’t take long for the overwhelm to set in. I was so eager to learn what these gals had to teach, but I was picturing more and more hours dedicated to ideas and techniques I just didn’t have time to implement. But as soon as I logged in for the first time, I couldn’t help but dive right into the first course and before I knew it, I had worked my way through almost the entire first lesson (I started with Google+). I was honestly blown away at how easy and digestible the content was. The videos were short enough to be engaging yet long-enough to be jam-packed with usable, easy-to-understand, and action-packed tips. With our upcoming move literally around the corner and what seems like a million other things going on right now, I knew I had finally found a way to actively educate myself and grow my blog without burning the midnight oil or stressing myself out!

MY FAVORITE PARTS OF THE BLOG BOOST BUNDLE

  • The platform! I don’t know about you, but when I’m taking e-courses, I get so frustrated when I can’t figure out what to watch first, which worksheet goes with with video or what I have and haven’t done. The Blog Boost Bundle is delivered on the snazzy, easy-to-use platform Teachable, and I am obsessed with it! The platform is so easy to navigate. Worksheets are uploaded right beneath the corresponding videos, and shading and percentage graphics tell you exactly where you are in each course. You can do each course in sequence or bounce around and never loose your place. The platform alone makes working through the courses in this bundle seamless, intuitive and downright fun!
  • The time commitment! As I mentioned above, when I was faced with starting yet another e-course to grow my blog, I just didn’t know if I could make the time in my already crazy schedule. I have worked (and am currently working) my way through A LOT of other e-course and there is just something about this one that feels so manageable and easy. The topics are focused, and the videos are a great length. The tips are implementable, and I know with certainty I will actually finish this one…and soon!
  • The topics! There are A LOT of topics that could and should be covered in a blogging course, but the Blog Goals ladies have zeroed in on 6 of the most important and toughest ones to figure out and get right. These ladies are experts in their particular topics and have a wealth to teach. When looking for efficient and manageable ways to grow your blog and your income, these 6 courses strip away the chatter that abounds on the Internet and focuses you on the strategies and platforms that will really make a difference.

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE BLOG BOOST BUNDLE?

There are 6 courses totaling over 24 hours of instruction, as well as expert interviews, worksheets, a private Facebook group, and 2 roundtable discussions. Here’s a quick breakdown of each course:

Simplified SEO

­ Confused about SEO? Let us help! We will walk you through everything you need for your posts and your blog overall. Plus we are spilling our secrets on how to plan for your blog so that you are going after the right keywords on every single post. Get more focused with your blog plan and implement our strategies for a website that ranks in those all important search algorithms. We have taken the mystery out of SEO!

Instagram

­ Bre has grown her personal Instagram following to over 100,000 followers and has used the platform to grow her blog as well. Learn her secrets for unlocking the power of Instagram! You can get hits to your blog from Instagram and even use the platform to make money. This workshop will walk you through everything you need to do to implement the strategy on your own Instagram account!

Affiliate Marketing

Learn all about how to build a steady stream of income from affiliate marketing by utilizing affiliate links on your blog, on social media and through your email list! In this workshop, Tasha will teach you about the logistics of affiliate marketing, how to comply with applicable rules and regulations and tons of strategies for rocking affiliate marketing on your blog and other channels.

Email Marketing

Learn all about email marketing and the strategies to use when building a list for your brand. We cover how to offer freebies to grow your list plus so much more. If you are confused by things like segmented lists and drip campaigns, let us take the mystery out of your email marketing strategy. Your email subscribers are your biggest fans! Be sure to grow and use your list in a way that will benefit your blog in the long run!

Facebook

­ Frustrated with Facebook? We have all been there! After a lot of research, and a lot of just trying crazy ideas, Gina finally found a method that works. In this workshop you’ll learn the bare basics bloggers need ­ plus more advanced strategies that will help you grow your engagement and reach.

Google Plus

­ Did you think Google Plus was going away? Guess what! It is not! Google Plus is actually very important for your blog! Google Plus is the one thing that most people overlook when it comes to SEO. Every post on your blog should be shared on Google Plus for maximum rank in Google search engines. Angie will show you how to use Google Plus for maximum effectiveness and to increase your rank in those all important Google search results. Follow along with the course from the beginner’s guide that will take you through all of that confusing terminology that probably made you leave Google Plus in the first place. Then deep dive into more advanced tactics including incorporating Google Plus into your overall SEO strategy.

HOW MUCH IS THE BLOG BOOST BUNDLE?

All 6 webinars, plus the roundtable discussions and private Facebook group (where you can interact with all 5 expert bloggers) can be purchased HERE for $299. Private consultations or individual courses on each topic could easily run you thousands of dollars…so this bundle really is a fantastic investment into tangible and applicable techniques to grow your blog from experts who know it and have done it.

Take your blog to the next level! There are over 24 hours of instruction across 6 amazing workshops with the Blog Boost Bundle!

If you are interested in individual courses, you can buy those too! Each individual course is available for $119 and can each be accessed at the links below!

GOOGLE+ | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | SEO | AFFILIATE MARKETING | EMAIL MARKETING

Take your blog to the next level! There are over 24 hours of instruction across 6 amazing workshops with the Blog Boost Bundle!

The content in this course is exactly as the title suggests: it’s a boost! It is not a step-by-step for setting up a blog and is not necessarily information for beginner bloggers who are just getting started and learning the ropes. BUT! If you are in a blogging funk, need expert info on a specific topic, and/or need a serious boost to get your blog back on track, this is the course for you! I do hope you’ll check it out, and if you do, be sure to come back and let me know YOUR favorite parts and how it’s helped you!

Take your blog to the next level with the Blog Boost Bundle - over 24 hours of amazing content include Facebook, Instagram, and Google+ Workshops!

I hope everyone’s week is off to a great start! On Thursday, I’ll be back with our “final” playroom/basement revel! See you then!

Megan Signature

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To Paint or Not to Paint? 10 Questions to Consider Before Painting Your Rental

It’s certainly no secret around here that I 100% believe in the power of paint to transform a space…especially a rental! Rentals are often bland, boring, lacking in architectural details AND are usually identical to others in the same building or on the same street. Paint is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to make a dramatic change…and with a bit of work and a few cans of white paint or primer, can also be “un-done” prior to moving out. Despite all of these wonderful qualities though, I don’t necessarily believe that painting your rental is the answer to making your house “your home” in every scenario. Today, I wanted to share how Greg and I typically go about deciding whether we will paint or not when we move into a new space…and offer you 10 questions to consider before you open the can of paint in your own home!

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

It might surprise you to know that we’ve only painted 50% of the homes we’ve lived in: our second apartment in Okinawa, our California condo, and our Cape Cod-style home in North Carolina. These three homes had a two key things in common: 1) we were going to be there for a long-ish time, and 2) we hadn’t painted in the previous house so we weren’t exhausted by the labor and cost of it all! I had a good time walking down memory lane for this post and was even able to dig up photographic proof of our painting escapades!

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

THE POWER OF PAINT!

Before we dive into the nitty gritty of whether to paint or not, let’s first look at a few examples of how truly transformative paint can be. All three of these spaces are from our last home in North Carolina where we painted the entire house. I took a lot of pride not only in the spaces I created, but also that our house looked and felt different than every other house on the street (because we were in base housing…every single house was the same…and that was a big deal to me).  In my mind, none of these spaces would have looked or felt the same with the standard yellowish walls we started with!

In our master bedroom, we painted to walls a blue-ish grey that played off the fabrics in the room perfectly…

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

In our dining room, we did a two-tone paint treatment with cobalt blue and white…

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

And in our living room, we took on our biggest painting project ever with horizontal grey-on-grey stripes! By far, the stripes were ALWAYS the first thing people mentioned when they walked into our home! (Look at 1 year old Henry!!!)

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

THE POWER OF FURNISHINGS AND ACCESSORIES!

While I do think the room transformations above are spectacular, I think it’s also valuable to see some examples of how color, style, and personality can be brought into a space through OTHER things! As I said, we didn’t paint our first apartment in Okinawa, our Virginia rental or our current Kansas house. And as I look through these room transformations, even I am amazed at how much can be done with white walls!

Even with light walls and carpet and a white couch, this living room felt vibrant and colorful in thanks to pillows and picture mats!

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

When there is no color on the wall, you have the opportunity to bring in color on almost everything else (which is great for renters who move a lot!). Chairs, window treatments and accessories provide ALL the color in our Virginia dining space.

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

And of course…we haven’t painted our current rental! As I get more and more design savvy, I’m learning that neutral walls really allow you to bring in lots of different colors and patterns since nothing has to compete with the wall color. We had no plans to paint this year so I REALLY experimented with other ways to bring in color to these neutral rooms…and I think I succeeded!

I haven’t shown you the full room reveal yet, but here is a glimpse of our “final” Kansas living room! Can I box this room up and ship it just as it is, please?

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

As most of you know, the playroom wall proved quite the challenge. Who knew a stack of blue paper could be so transformative!

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

Henry’s room is brought to life with a plethora of colorful accessories that are able to really shine because there is no other color(s) competing with them!

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

10 Questions to Consider Before Painting Your Rental

Now that I’ve made the case for both painting your walls AND leaving them neutral, here are 10 things Greg and I often consider when deciding whether or not to paint!

1. Are you allowed to paint?

Before you even start to look at paint chips, you need to determine if your landlord or rental agency allows you to paint. We have never come across a lease that says we can’t, but I’ve been told by friends and readers that they have! The first place to check is your lease – it will usually state what is and isn’t allowed for your walls (and may even offer some “pre-approved” colors that you wouldn’t have to paint back.) Even if your lease says “no painting,” it doesn’t hurt to double check with your landlord or agency. We’ve found that MOST will say yes, as long as you paint the walls back to their original color before moving out.

2. How long will you live in this rental?

This one is a big one for us! Painting can be a lot of work and a good chunk of change (depending on how many rooms you are painting), so you want to make sure your time and financial investments are worth it. There is no “one size fits all rule” on this. Only you can decide what length of time makes it worth painting your walls. For us, we don’t even consider painting if we’re going to be in a rental a year or less. I’ll never say “never” on this one – because you better bet I almost painted a wall in this house – but we typically save our painting projects for homes we will be in for the long-term (relatively speaking).

3. How much will it cost?

Yes…in the grand scheme of home improvements, painting is relatively low-cost and easy. And the transformative effect you get for less than $100 is often worth it. However, for renters, buying paint and supplies (and more paint and supplies upon move out) is almost always a sunk cost. You will most likely not be “investing into the home” with your paint job…as any changes you make will most likely have to be undone and/or painted over. You have to decide if spending a couple hundred of dollars on paint/supplies is worth the overall effect of having your walls a different color. Again…there is no right answer here. There are times when we say “Yes, the sunk cost is worth it to us!” And there are times we say “Let’s save the money.”

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

4. How inconvenient is it to paint?

I have been known to say “You’ll be surprised how fast painting goes!” to friends or family who are thinking about painting but fretting over the labor, chaos and time involved. It is indeed true that I am continually surprised at how quickly painting CAN go, but when you factor in shopping, setup, rearranging, taping, painting and clean up, the whole production can also cause a bit of chaos around the house (especially if you have kids!) When deciding if you should paint or not, consider how much of a disruption it will be and if it is worth it. I am often of the mindset the the temporary chaos is worth the long-term enjoyment of a new wall color, but that might not be true for your living situation.

To significantly decrease the hassle of painting, we ALWAYS paint empty rooms before our stuff arrives (and we re-paint after all of our stuff is gone). If we know we are going to paint, we schedule the delivery our our stuff for 2-3 days after we get the keys (and on the backend, we schedule checkout 2-3 days after our stuff is hauled away). Not having to move furniture away from walls and/or protect it saves us a lot of time and worry; and it helps us get the paint on the wall a lot quicker. Plus, when our stuff finally arrives, we can turn right to getting settled rather than having to hold off in order to paint.

Need to get a paint job done fast? See my tips for getting a whole house painted in just 4 days!

5. Do you have to paint it back?

I’ve already mentioned this a few times, because at least for us, it’s a big one. If your landlord or rental agency says that you can paint, be sure to clarify whether you will be expected to return the walls to their original color before you move out. In EVERY home we’ve lived in, the answer to that questions has been YES. Which means that in all three homes we painted, we also had to paint them back before checking out and getting our security deposit back.

Why is this such a big deal? For one, buying more paint and primer and tape and trays and plastic is kind of the LAST thing you want to buy heading into a move (when there are a lot of costs associated with your NEW place). Also, packing up, cleaning up, and moving out of a rental is a lot of work. Add in painting and it makes a busy and exhausting period even more so. Lastly, when you’re moving out, you kind of don’t care anymore. When you’re moving in and putting your own colors on the wall, it’s fun and exciting and you don’t mind the work. But when you’re on the way out, it just feels laborious and a nuisance. In all three apartments where we painted, the days leading up to our checkout were exhausting and a ton of work (which is why we often don’t paint our NEXT house – we’re still recovering from painting upon move out!). I still say painting our entire house in North Carolina was worth it, but repainting all the rooms was NOT fun when we just wanted to be gone!

That’s me getting ready to paint over my beloved stripes!

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

6. How bad is the current color?

Most of our decisions about whether or not to paint revolve how long we will be in a certain rental rather than having to camouflage an ugly color (our rentals have always been some version of white, which I can usually work with.) In fact, part of the reason we decided to rent our current house was because it was painted with neutral walls throughout the house. However, you might find yourself in a rental property (especially if it’s a house owned by another family) where the wall color(s) really bother you and/or seriously clash with your belongings. Part of deciding whether or not to paint includes evaluating how bad the current color is and if you can live with it in light of the other things I’ve already mentioned (cost, length of time). Sometimes you may not be entirely up for the cost, labor, inconvenience, but if painting an offensive color allows you to enjoy your home and your belongings more…it might be worth it!

7. Can you add color without painting the entire room?

Painting a single wall is an entirely different ballgame than painting an entire room. Likewise with painting JUST the ceiling, stripes, or the top/bottom half. This approach allows you to add a potent splash of color or pattern without the time, hassle, and paint required to do an entire room. Sure accent walls are a bit “out,” but if you’re living in a space that desperately needs a punch of something, just one (or part of a) wall might be the ticket!

8. Can you use something else on the walls instead?

A lot of you might remember back when we moved into this house that I took a friendly bet with Greg’s buddy that I wouldn’t paint this year. Admittedly, it wasn’t fair for me to take the bet because I KNEW we weren’t going to paint (because we’re here for just a year!), but I did use the bet as an excuse to REALLY stretch my limits to find and try techniques and ideas for adding color to walls without paint. Wouldn’t you know it that after trying wallpaper, fabric, wrapping paper, cardstock, and peel-and-stick wallpaper, that I really didn’t miss paint that much after all! These days, there are so many removable and renter-friendly products on the market. If you really hate your bland walls but don’t want to paint, there are other options!

Be sure to check out these 9 things renters can put on their walls!

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

9. Hire it out or DIY?

My sister uses a phrase that I have now adopted and use pretty regularly myself: you either have time or money! When it comes to painting, this phrase definitely holds true. You can save yourself SOME money by painting yourself; or you can save yourself SOME headache and hassle by hiring it out. In all cases but one, we have done the painting ourselves. Usually, the cost savings of hiring a professional is worth the 2-3 days of labor and chaos. On the other hand, the one time I paid for it a room to be painted, the entire room was done in 2 hours and put back together by bedtime. Worth.every.penny. Only your budget, your lifestyle, and your desire to have the job done right and/or fast can help you decide!

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

10. Does the wall color conflict with your vision?

Last but not least, wall color is indeed a valuable and important aspect of room design. It’s not only the backdrop for all the things you will place in the room, but it can also help set the tone and mood of a space. If you have a VERY specific design plan in mind for a certain space, you might indeed find yourself with a paint brush in hand. There will be times when you can make a less-than-ideal wall color work with your design vision, and others when the clashing and mis-matching just can’t be fixed, ignored or lived-with. If you just can’t pull your vision together within the confines of your current wall color, change it. It’s only paint. If you can justify the cost, inconvenience or other aspects discussed here, paint it, bring your vision to life, and be happy!

In Conclusion!

In our last home, Henry’s nursery was painted (as shown below left) with tone-on-tone stripes and a lime green ceiling. When I started to update his room as he got older, I tried to make everything work with the current paint treatment. But as element after element came together, I found myself pining for a clean, bright white room. After weeks of trying to make it work (and with only a year left in the house!), I decided to have the room painted fresh white for $100 plus the cost of paint. Sure my decision went against my pro-DIY/not for any time less than a year mantra, but having bright white walls completed my vision for the space and allowed me to enjoy it and all the projects I had made much more fully. It made me happy every single day I went in there; so for me and at that time, it was the best decision ever.

There is little that has the transformative power of paint...but should you paint your rental? This military spouse and perpetual renter shares 10 questions to consider before opening up the paint cans!

I tell this story only to illustrate that deciding whether or not to paint is not black/white or a one-size-fits-all formula. As you work through some of these questions, you may find that not only is there no easy or right answer, but they don’t all hold equal weight all the time or with every house. All the various aspects of our homes and our home life have different values to each of us. What is important to some may not matter to others and vice versa.  There are times when the cost or inconvenience is prohibitive, but you just can’t get over the wall color…so you find a way to make it happen. There are other times when the color isn’t your favorite, but you can make it worth for a certain period of life or until the next house. For us, painting is a tool in our Renter’s Toolbox to help us transform bland and boring rentals into spaces that feel more like us and more like home. But it’s not a tool we use every time. Painting does require an investment of time and money, and sometimes it doesn’t make sense to us to spend either.

Friends of mine here in Kansas know that if we were staying here longer, we’d likely be investing in some paint this summer. While neutral, the walls in this home have a slight pink undertone that drive me bonkers. Even though I don’t love them, I’ve done my best to work with them for our time here (knowing the “next house” is just a few months away has helped!) We don’t yet know what our walls will look like in our next home or if we will be painting or not…but now you know the things we’ll be considering when that time comes!

I’m checking out for the weekend! Next week I’ll be sharing our Basement “final” reveal as well as starting my Cricut Explore for Home Decor series! See you then!

Megan Signature

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How to Make a Coloring Caddie from an Old Toolbox

As we get ready to take this house apart in preparation for our upcoming move, I’ve been running around taking pictures of all the “finished” spaces. And as I’ve been snapping every last detail for the final room reveal posts, I’ve come across a few projects that were supposed to be shared here on the blog but somehow slipped through the cracks! Today’s project is one of those…and since it’s been working SOO well for us this year, I wanted to make sure I shared the idea so you can try it too! Today I want to show you how easy (and functional!) it is to make a coloring caddie from an old toolbox!

Find an old wooden toolbox in your favorite antique store? Use this simple method to transform it into the perfect coloring caddie!

I love putzing through thrift and antique stores whenever I can…and without fail, I always come across old wooden toolboxes or caddies. I swear, I’ve found them in every size, shape and price point; and I always want to scoop them up because I can think of so many handy uses for them (besides tools!) A few years ago, I came across this long wooden toolbox in a local thrift store. The size was great, but the handle really prevented me using it for anything that wasn’t long and flat. So I could use it better, I simply sawed off the handle and gave it a few fresh coats of spray paint to create a countertop caddie…

Find an old wooden toolbox in your favorite antique store? Use this simple method to transform it into the perfect coloring caddie!

In our last home, it was PERFECT for holding all of our laundry supplies! (You can see more of that laundry room here.)

Find an old wooden toolbox in your favorite antique store? Use this simple method to transform it into the perfect coloring caddie!

When we moved into this house last summer though, we didn’t have a laundry room counter and therefor didn’t really need the caddie to hold our laundry supplies anymore. I did, however, really want to set up an art station for Henry in our playroom. I knew with a few quick cuts of foam and paper, this toolbox could easily be repurposed yet again into a coloring caddie!

If you would like to do a similar project, here is what you need:

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission off the sales at no extra cost to you. You can read more about my policies here.

Start by measuring the width and depth of the INSIDE of your toolbox base. Then using a ruler and X-acto knife, trim a sheet of foam core down to the corresponding dimensions.

Find an old wooden toolbox in your favorite antique store? Use this simple method to transform it into the perfect coloring caddie!

TIP: Because these foam core sheets will essentially stand up on their own against the sides of the toolbox, it helps to cut them just a smidge too big.

Before going on, test the dividers in your toolbox to ensure they are tight enough against the sides and will stand up on their own!

Find an old wooden toolbox in your favorite antique store? Use this simple method to transform it into the perfect coloring caddie!

You can certainly leave your dividers plain, but to camouflage that they are foam core AND make them a little more durable, I wrapped mine in some leftover wallpaper I had on hand (from this project). Start by cutting strips of paper the exact same width as your foam dividers…but don’t worry too much about the length…

Find an old wooden toolbox in your favorite antique store? Use this simple method to transform it into the perfect coloring caddie!

If your paper doesn’t already have adhesive on it, use some Mod Podge to coat the back of the paper strips…

Find an old wooden toolbox in your favorite antique store? Use this simple method to transform it into the perfect coloring caddie!

Then place one of your foam dividers along the edge of one of the paper sheets and fold the foam divider down the paper so that the paper covers the both sides as well as the top edge of the divider.

Find an old wooden toolbox in your favorite antique store? Use this simple method to transform it into the perfect coloring caddie!

Use a craft knife or rotary cutter to trim away the excess paper along the bottom of the divider! Quick and easy without the hassle of a lot of measuring!

Find an old wooden toolbox in your favorite antique store? Use this simple method to transform it into the perfect coloring caddie!

When the dividers are wrapped and dry, slide them into the toolbox to create compartments. Use your various coloring supplies to determine how big to make each section so that it’s perfectly tailored to what you need to store!

Find an old wooden toolbox in your favorite antique store? Use this simple method to transform it into the perfect coloring caddie!

If your kiddos are big enough, place the caddie out in the open to encourage coloring and creativity! Ours’ was placed on a table right behind the sofa in our playroom. Not only does it keep all of our coloring tools easily accessible, but it also provides a place to catch remote controls and tissues!

Find an old wooden toolbox in your favorite antique store? Use this simple method to transform it into the perfect coloring caddie!

Find an old wooden toolbox in your favorite antique store? Use this simple method to transform it into the perfect coloring caddie!

When I first made this caddie, I honestly wasn’t sure how well it would hold up or how much it would get used. My little Henry is not much of a colorer, but having these markers and crayons out in the open has really encouraged him to color more. Boy do I love coming down the stairs and seeing this…

Find an old wooden toolbox in your favorite antique store? Use this simple method to transform it into the perfect coloring caddie!

What’s more…it’s been so great to have this for playdates and gatherings. Even though Henry isn’t an avid colorer, a lot of his friends are and it helps to have our supplies out and ready for use whenever they come over!

Find an old wooden toolbox in your favorite antique store? Use this simple method to transform it into the perfect coloring caddie!

I’m always amazed at how well some of the simplest projects hold up and function over time! All these months later, this coloring caddie (including the foam dividers!) has held up perfectly. We’ve rearranged the caddie a few times to adjust to our always-fluctuating stash….but all in all…this was one inexpensive and successful repurposing project!

I’d love to know…do you have coloring supplies out in the open for your kids? What do you use to corral them? Have you repurposed an old toolbox into something really useful? I have a feeling this toolbox will continue to see different functions as we move from home to home. Next time you see one at your local junk store, grab it and experiment with different ways to use it!

I hope your week is off to a great start! I’ll see you back here on Thursday with my next Renter-Friendly walls post…see you then!

Megan Signature

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Storage Solutions for a Skinny Linen Closet

Not that anyone is keeping track…but I think it’s been almost 2 months since I promised our Linen Closet “reveal” was up next. Ooops. It’s not that it wasn’t done…it’s been done for months and months. The problem was taking photos of it. #storyofmylife Our linen closet is in the middle of a long hallway that gets zero light. To get decent photos, I needed to drag my lighting kit out, which I hate doing. BUT! The clock is ticking in this house, so it was literally now or never…and so I finally present to you our small but pretty-darn-mighty skinny linen closet!

Make the most of every inch you have in your linen closet by using these smart and savvy storage solutions for table linens, batteries, medicine, towels, blankets and more!

Here is our upstairs hallway. The linen closet is the second door on the left…

Make the most of every inch you have in your linen closet by using these smart and savvy storage solutions for table linens, batteries, medicine, towels, blankets and more!

This linen closet is a pretty standard one (I think!), but after the double-wide linen closet we had in our last house…I really had to streamline what we stored and how we did so.

Make the most of every inch you have in your linen closet by using these smart and savvy storage solutions for table linens, batteries, medicine, towels, blankets and more!

With some purging, baskets (of course!), and a few other smart solutions, we’ve been able to make the most of every inch in this closet AND keep it this tidy the whole year we’ve been here!

Make the most of every inch you have in your linen closet by using these smart and savvy storage solutions for table linens, batteries, medicine, towels, blankets and more!

Let’s go top to bottom, and I’ll show you every last detail!

Make the most of every inch you have in your linen closet by using these smart and savvy storage solutions for table linens, batteries, medicine, towels, blankets and more!

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I was able to maximize space and the amount we stored by using…baskets! I know baskets (especially these Y-weave baskets from Target) are my solution for everything…but I have found that nothing else allows me to store a lot while keeping it all easily accessible AND looking tidy! I was pretty excited to see that 3 of our medium-sized Y-weave baskets fit across the shelves, allowing me to take advantage of every single inch. Even though they look snug in there, they are actually pretty easy to slide in and out without too much disruption. (NOTE: I don’t think this medium size is available anymore.)

Make the most of every inch you have in your linen closet by using these smart and savvy storage solutions for table linens, batteries, medicine, towels, blankets and more!

Over the years, I’ve been able to really whittle down the amount of linens we use and have on hand. As such, I now have a single dedicated baskets for Table Cloths, Cloth Napkins, and Table Runners. Since our linen closet is in the center of our house, it is also where we chose to keep the household items we need to access regularly. Namely: lightbulbs, extension cords, batteries,  and first aid supplies.

Make the most of every inch you have in your linen closet by using these smart and savvy storage solutions for table linens, batteries, medicine, towels, blankets and more!

Do my labels look familiar? I used the Linen Closet labels I shared in THIS post to make vinyl versions. I’ll be sharing the tutorial AND the cut files soon!

Use chipboard rounds and vinyl letters to labels linen closet baskets!

I simply secured the gold vinyl labels to chipboard tags I painted blue.

Use chipboard rounds and vinyl letters to labels linen closet baskets!

I then used brass paper fasteners to secure the labels to the basket fronts through a whole in the weave…

Use chipboard rounds and vinyl letters to labels linen closet baskets!

In our lightbulb basket, we also had a bunch of extension cords running wild and free. With a few sheets of gold+white cardstock cut into strips and about 5 minutes, our cords were contained yet still easily visible and accessible!

Corral un-tidy cords by wrapping them in cardboard tubes!

Corral un-tidy cords by wrapping them in cardboard tubes!

On the shelf underneath the baskets, we store our batteries, first aid supplies and medicines…

Make finding just the batteries you need quick and easy!

I am STILL giddy over our battery storage solution. Not only does it look so darn cute, but we ALL know where to find batteries when needed! (Read more about this project HERE!)

Make finding just the batteries you need quick and easy!

I found this huge, divided acrylic box at a junk store for $10 years ago. I didn’t know what I’d do with it when I found it, but it was too good to pass up. Ever since I dragged it home, it has worked perfectly for corralling various first aid and hygiene products.

Make finding just the first aid supplies you need quick and easy!

I labeled the box with my Linen Closet labels printed onto removable sticker paper.

Make finding just the first aid supplies you need quick and easy!

I tend to be a hoarder when it comes to certain things (ahem…fabric); but when it comes to linens, I tend to keep our stock at bay. I regularly purge out towels and sheets with each move, and keep extras in the bathrooms and bedrooms they belong to. As such, our linen closet only holds our beach towels and large bedding/blankets/quilts that only get pulled out during certain times of year or when we have guests.

Make the most of every inch you have in your linen closet by using these smart and savvy storage solutions for table linens, batteries, medicine, towels, blankets and more!

Our towels stay (relatively) nicely stacked on shelves…and our big and bulky blankets are stored into giant canvas totes (from Bed, Bath and Beyond). You better bet I was so excited to see how well all these baskets (from our old linen closet) fit into this one when we moved in!

Make the most of every inch you have in your linen closet by using these smart and savvy storage solutions for table linens, batteries, medicine, towels, blankets and more!

Although it’s been almost a year since we moved in, I still remember how excited I was to puzzle this linen closet together using all items from our old linen closet. I know I sing the praises of bins and baskets endlessly, but this is why…you can almost always get them to work in some form or fashion around the house. And since so many “builder basic homes” AND base housing have pretty standard-sized shelving, there’s a good chance items will work from home to home too. Thanks to some pretty sturdy and functional storage items, we’ve jam-packed a lot of things into this little closet!

Make the most of every inch you have in your linen closet by using these smart and savvy storage solutions for table linens, batteries, medicine, towels, blankets and more!

Admittedly, I often organize areas and only I know where items are. I did a few things really right in this closet, because both Greg AND Henry know exactly where to find what they’re looking for. First, the things stored in here are very logical for a linen closet (at least to us!). Items are corralled into clear categories and labeled intuitively. And finally, each container perfectly holds the items it’s containing. Even though I was initially bummed by the size of this closet compared to our last one…in the end…it functions perfectly for our needs and our family!

Make the most of every inch you have in your linen closet by using these smart and savvy storage solutions for table linens, batteries, medicine, towels, blankets and more!

Do you have a linen closet? What kind of things do you store in yours’? Do you use similar strategies that I’ve used here? If you need even more storage ideas for your linen closet, check out our last linen closet HERE!

Make the most of every inch you have in your linen closet by using these smart and savvy storage solutions for table linens, batteries, medicine, towels, blankets and more!

I hope you all have a great weekend! Next week, I’ll be sharing a quick and easy IKEA hack AND a quick coloring caddie DIY! See you then!

Megan Signature

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