Decor | DIY | Guest Posts

Turn Design Dreams into Reality


Hey everyone, I’m Mandy, and I’m really excited to have the opportunity to write for ToolBox Divas. I’m a lifelong ToolBox Diva and an artist who was fortunate to grow up with a “can-do” attitude that has carried me through today. I honestly believe everyone can
accomplish anything with some simple tutorials and some confidence, no need to “call the fix-it guy”. I’m thrilled to be able to share DIY and design ideas, and collaborate with you all on home improvement projects. Together, we can all save some money, create the living spaces we’ve always dreamed of, make some interesting decor pieces, and conquer projects we once thought impossible!
I don’t know about you, but every month when my favorite design and home and garden magazines arrive in my mailbox, I get some serious design envy. Everything seems so perfectly paired, colorful, drool worthy, and worst of all, it seems like something mere mortals could never achieve in their own homes. Right? Gleefully, I get to say—no, proclaim—that this is wrong!

We can turn our design magazine dreams into reality! And, we can do it without sacrificing too much time, money, or patience. How? Honestly, whenever a spread in a magazine speaks to my nesting soul and I know it’s time for a change, I take a moment and follow these steps:




Break it down.

First thing’s first, take a look at the space pictured in the magazine. Break it down into its most basic elements. What about it do you like, is it the color palette? The style? Does it have more function than your current space? Think about why you reacted the way you did, and envision how you’d like your space to transform.
Make a list.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a list person. I make lists on lists, because I’m one of those people who is thinking forty things at once and who has fifty projects in mind at the same time. Without lists, my head might pop off like a bottle rocket. So, I keep a little notepad for my ideas, and I scratch down things that aren’t working for me in my space, but that I imagine would work better from my “design dream”.
Write down inspirations from the photos you’re looking at, impressions, sketches, Pinterest, things that might help you when you’re entering your own design process.

Take key elements.
We all know we’re not going to copy a room design from a magazine exactly as pictured. Since every space is different, and all tastes vary slightly, it’s nigh impossible! But it would also be boring. Instead, I propose you pull key elements from the magazine spread that you enjoy. Say the wall color is a dusky purple, and that would really work for your bedroom vibe, but there are lemon accents throughout the room, and you hate yellow. Keep the wall color, ditch the lemon for something that pleases you. Maybe there’s a $400 comforter on the bedding, but like me you have dogs and don’t dare risking nice bedding on potentially muddy paws. You can find bedding that matches the theme and spirit of the design inspiration without being the design. It’s all about working with what you have; which brings me to my next item.
Go on a scavenger hunt.

Estate sales, antique stores, eBay, tag sales, yard sales, Craigslist, Goodwill, Salvation Army, your grandma’s
attic… there is potential for the next great design piece everywhere. While
there are some things I need new (see: bedding), I hate to buy something new
and perhaps in lesser quality than something I can find or make myself. The
magazine I’m looking at has great antiqued bureaus? Your probably wondering what is a bureau? Well it’s a fancy way of saying chest of drawers and it looks a little fancier.  You can find bureaus off Craigslist and refinish them, and it’s all set. There are knick-knacks of a certain flair filling out bookshelves. Auction sites and tag sales are perfect for that. And most finds can also be painted a solid color or refinished in some way to add a nice twist.

Make it happen!
This one’s obvious: time to break out the paint, and start moving furniture around. Usingyour magazine as inspiration, and all of the great finds you have gathered together, it’s time to clear out your space and re-build it up from the walls in. This is the most exciting time, because everything starts to come together and you realize you really can make your space home-and-garden perfect.
Use an editing eye.
You know how the old adage goes: After you get dressed, take off one accessory before you leave and your outfit will be perfect? After you stage your space, use an editing eye and really see what does and does not belong. Try to avoid clutter! I find often when people are designing towards a motif or inspiration, there is a tendency to try to
pack so much into a room to really hit the mark, but at that point, your space risks becoming what I call “theme park”. So don’t be afraid to have some blank spaces. They will fill in over time. And also, if you find you have a lot of items you want to include in your redesign, don’t be afraid to swap out items every so often to keep your space fresh and exciting.
Enjoy your space.
Finally, sit back and enjoy your work. Making your design dreams into reality can be a lot of work and time-consuming, but it is absolutely worth it to be able to spend time in a space that really speaks to you and makes you happy. And it should, after all, your home is where the heart is, so why shouldn’t you love it?
It’s pretty much as simple as breaking it down into key ideas and taking some time to find great pieces. Follow me and allow me to guide you through a magazine-inspired redesign step by step, and see how I work through each step listed to take my design inspiration a reality.


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