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Design, Space Savers

Your brick fireplace is a dependable source of heat and,

if it’s wood-burning, also helps keep your heating costs low.

But the outdated design may have become an eyesore,

and years of soot can make it look even worse.

Here are a few ways to make your brick fireplace look better

Porcelain tile

Floor-to-ceiling, large, textured tile surrounding a fireplace wall is trending. The design brings the outdoors inside

Stacked stone/stacked stone veneer

Nothing beats the look of a stacked stone fireplace, but a stacked stone veneer is easy to install and less expensive. And it’s hard to tell the difference between the two.


Wood mantel with small tiles

A wood mantel and substantial corbels can add a sense of warmth and provide visual separation between the fireplace’s front and the upper wall.


Paint and art to update your fireplace. You can give your plain brick fireplace a modern rustic makeover if you paint it white.

Floor-to-ceiling mantel

Extending the woodwork up to the ceiling. The black and white contrast works well in the photo.

Mixed materials

Can’t choose just one material? You don’t have to with this fireplace that combines stone, tile and stainless steel, which work well against the warm, natural colors in the room



Design, Space Savers

Fireplace Makeover Using Ship-Lap

A Fireplace Makeover Using Shiplap Appearance Boards
Use Home Depot’s shiplap appearance boards for your fireplace makeover like DIY blogger Amanda Hendrix from Love and Renovations.

A Fireplace Makeover Using Shiplap

I recently used The Home Depot’s shiplap appearance boards to give my fireplace a major makeover. I was pretty blown away at how simple it was to install (I’d consider myself a beginner when it comes to power tools, but I did the entire makeover by myself!) and the fireplace makeover is absolutely incredible. I’m so glad we got this done just in time for the weather to cool off a bit, and I can’t wait to light the first fire of the season! A Fireplace Makeover Using Shiplap Appearance Boards


Shiplap appearance boards (measure your wall(s) ahead of time to know how much to order) Corner trim Baseboards Stud finder Marker Level 2-in. 18 gauge nails Caulk Caulk gun Paint


Nail gun Miter saw Jigsaw (if you have outlets on the wall you’re covering)

Step 1: Tile

For us, the first thing we that needed to happen was replacing the tile on the fireplace surround. Here’s a quick before of what our fireplace looked like when we were getting started (and yes, the tile on the bottom right had been missing for at least three years). After demoing the tile, much of the drywall behind it was destroyed. I cut new drywall to fit, screwed it into  place, and did a quick taping and mudding job. It was really simple to replace, and only took about an hour or so. A Fireplace Makeover Using Shiplap Appearance Boards
A Fireplace Makeover Using Shiplap Appearance Boards
Then it was time to tile. I won’t go into all of the specific details for this (that’s a whole separate post!) but the basics are: apply thinset, add tile, let it dry, then grout. When we were finished tiling, it looked like this (although, I hadn’t grouted yet when this photo was taken): A Fireplace Makeover Using Shiplap Appearance Boards

Step 2: Mark Your Studs

A Fireplace Makeover Using Shiplap Appearance Boards
Once the tile was done, it was time for the fun part – shiplap! These shiplap appearance boards from Home Depot were so easy to use, and look much more authentic than DIY alternatives. The first step to installation is to mark the studs on your walls so you know where to place your nails. Your boards will be much more sturdy if you nail directly into the studs rather than drywall, and things will hold up much better in the long run. Use a stud finder to locate each stud, then use a pen or marker to draw a line down your wall where the studs are.

Step 3: Getting Started

A Fireplace Makeover Using Shiplap Appearance Boards
You’ll want to begin laying your shiplap along the top of the wall, and use a level to make sure that first board is straight. It’s highly likely that your ceiling is not level, so don’t trust the ceiling line or your entire wall may be crooked. Simply hold the first board up, use a level to make sure it’s straight, and nail it into place. The next board will fit right up against the first one – these boards are tongue and groove and, once you install them, they’ll have a perfect gap between them. The beauty of something like this over a DIY shiplap is that you don’t have to paint the wall behind it – since the tongue of the bottom board will fill the gap, all you can see is the boards and the wall is not visible at all once you’re done.

Step 4: Continue Mitering the Corner Boards

A Fireplace Makeover Using Shiplap Appearance Boards
Since our shiplap would be wrapping around the fireplace, that meant we needed to miter each corner so they came together at an angle. You can accomplish this with your miter saw – just tilt it at a 45-degree angle, measure your wall, and cut so that the back of the board meets your measurement – the front will stick out slightly past the end of the wall. When you place the board on the other side of it, the ends will meet and create a corner. I’m not a professional by any means, so not all of my corners were perfect. However, since I planned to add corner trim around the fireplace, it wasn’t a big deal. The edges of these boards can be sharp, and it may not be a great idea to just leave them bare (not to mention how difficult it would be to get every single corner to line up perfectly!). Thankfully corner trim can cover a lot of mistakes and will make the finished product look much more polished.

Step 5: Keep Going!

A Fireplace Makeover Using Shiplap Appearance Boards
A Fireplace Makeover Using Shiplap Appearance Boards
Continue laying your shiplap until the entire space is covered. I had to cover all 4 sides of my fireplace, including a little cove on the front. If you’re covering up any sort of outlet or light switch (we had an outlet, a light switch, and the starter for our gas fireplace), you’ll need to use your jigsaw to cut a hole in the board for the outlet. You’ll also likely need to use outlet extenders when you re-install the outlet covers so that everything fits correctly. At this point, things may still look a little bit crazy – just remember that adding trim and caulking makes a world of difference.

Step 6: Add Trim

A Fireplace Makeover Using Shiplap Appearance Boards
Now it’s time to add any trim pieces. I added corner molding on all of the outside corners and cove molding on the inside corners (which were just in the little nook on the front). I also added some flat trim along the ceiling, and baseboards along the floor.

Step 7: Caulk

A Fireplace Makeover Using Shiplap Appearance Boards
You can see in the image above how much of a difference caulking will make. This is where things start to feel really good! To caulk, just use your caulk gun to apply a thin bead of caulk around the seams where the boards meet, then run your finger (it helps if you wet it down a bit first) along the line of caulk to smooth it out. You’ll also want to put caulk in all of the nail holes.

Step 8: Paint

A Fireplace Makeover Using Shiplap Appearance Boards
Once your caulk has dried (which only takes about 30 minutes to an hour), you’re ready to paint! I went with a white that had some slight yellow undertones to warm it up a bit (since it’s a large amount of white in the center of my living room) and to help provide some contrast to the bright white baseboards. Once your paint dries, you’re ready to style it and call it done! A Fireplace Makeover Using Shiplap Appearance Boards
A Fireplace Makeover Using Shiplap Appearance Boards
I’m so impressed with how simple this shiplap fireplace makeover was to install and how absolutely beautiful it looks in our home. This quick little makeover (it only took a few days!) completely transformed the entire first floor of our house!

Restoring, Space Savers
  There’s nothing like a DIY home improvement project to make you feel like a real homeowner. If you’ve never tackled a DIY project before, though, it can seem pretty overwhelming. Don’t sweat it! Your first projects don’t have to be anything fancy and time-consuming. These five projects are perfect for first-timers.
  1. Turn a Drawer into an Electronics Docking Station

    This project is a clever way to add some usable space to your home. You probably have a ton of electronic devices lying around, many of which need to be charged nightly and take up precious counter space. You probably also have a drawer that either isn’t used for much or is filled with junk. Let’s kill two birds with one stone. First, go through the junk drawer, empty it out, and get rid of whatever you don’t need. Next, you’ll want to put some divided storage in the drawer. You can get fancy and build your own or purchase premade tray storage that is often used in kitchen drawers or office desks. This divided storage is perfect for phones, wallets, keys, iPods, and whatever else you may have lying around that needs to be stored and charged. Drill a hole in the back of the drawer for cords, and put a power strip in the drawer next to the storage. Plug in your chargers and rope up the cords with a zip tie, and you’re done. Now you can plug your devices in, close the drawer, and enjoy a clutter-free night table or dresser.
  1. Switch to Smart Lighting

    If you want to start with something a little simpler, this might be the easiest DIY project of all time. Smart lighting seems expensive on the surface, but if you take a look at the rated life spans of the bulbs, you’ll see it’s actually pretty economical. Many of these bulbs will last fifteen years or longer, and the convenience (and cool factor) of being able to turn on or adjust your lights with your phone can’t be beat. The most common systems can also be hooked up to Amazon Echo for voice control, which takes the convenience to a whole new level. Philips Hue is definitely the most popular brand, but there are other choices if you aren’t a Philips fan. LIFX, GE, and even IKEA all have options for a variety of needs and budgets.
  2. Install a Security System

    This upgrade can add both safety and convenience to your home. Because many home security systems come with smart home features like connected lighting, smart door locks, and wireless cameras, they can control and keep tabs on your home no matter where you are. There are two routes you can go with a security system—professionally monitored and self-monitored. Professionally monitored systems can be a little pricey, but you get the benefit of someone keeping an eye on your home 24/7 from a staffed monitoring center. Self-monitored systems are usually cheaper, but you don’t get the benefit of someone receiving an alarm signal and calling the authorities for you. Systems can be as simple as a few wireless cameras that send alerts to your phone or as complex as a whole-home alarm and automation system. That means the first step is deciding what features you want. Once that’s done, you can purchase the components separately or as part of a kit. These days, thanks to wireless technology, installation is often as simple as sticking cameras and sensors on the wall, but the kits all come with detailed instructions if you need additional guidance.
  3. Convert a Closet into an Office

    Re-purposing storage spaces can give you a little more usable space. Of course, your results here depend on the size of your closet, but even the tiniest nook can give you room for a laptop and space to write. The simplest way to turn a closet into an office is to remove the door and install a shelf at desk height. Put your laptop on the desk and pull up a chair, and you have an instant desk! You’ll want the shelf to be deep enough to accommodate your computer and other materials, and you probably want it to be a solid surface so that you can write on it. If you want more storage space, you can add some smaller shelving above the main “desk.” And if your closet is a big walk-in type, you can go all out, with L-shaped shelving and storage bins to provide plenty of work space.
  1. Build Raised Garden Beds

    Raised garden beds don’t just look nice—they actually help solve a number of challenges gardeners can face when growing their produce. Raised beds can help keep bad soil out, prevent erosion, increase drainage, and give your plants more sun exposure. This project is truly as functional as it is nice to look at. Building a raised garden bed sounds complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. One of the simplest ways is to lay logs in a rectangular shape in the area you want to plant and then fill the area with soil. You can use pre-cut firewood to help make things even easier. The same thing can be done with bricks or cinderblocks, depending on what you have available and the sort of look you’re going for. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
These simple projects should get you off to a great start in the world of home improvement. With a little creativity and elbow grease, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish

Design, Space Savers

Tiny House Space Saving Tricks

Looking for a few space-saving, clutter-reducing, design enhancing, tips and tricks for your home? Many of the same clever hacks that can help a 200-square-foot micro apartment or shed-sized tiny house feel livable translate beautifully to more average-sized living spaces. Pack in an extra guest bed, create a movie theater in your living room, organize your kitchen and hide stuff you don’t use often like the tiny house pros! The Minim House by Minim Micro Homes puts a bunch of high-impact yet simple and affordable tricks to work. This results in a compact, portable home that doesn’t rely on a loft to save space.

Tuck Away your Sleeping Quarters

Lofts are a common feature in most small homes and apartments for a reason. They really do make a world of difference when the ceiling is high enough, taking full advantage of vertical space. A bed isn’t needed for most of the day, so there’s no reason to let it commandeer a huge swath of valuable floor space 24/7. However, lofts aren’t accessible to everyone. Even the slimmest of ladders and narrow, double-duty stairs can still get in the way. The Minim House was built to fit within the constraints of a road-legal trailer, so it has a relatively low ceiling. The solution? Tucking the bed beneath a platform that serves as the floor to a music studio. The low-profile bed is on casters, so it’s easy to pull out when you need it. This concept could easily be adapted so that home offices and studios can do double-duty as a guest room. In this case, the end of the mattress is left exposed, but you could modify it with the addition of an end panel, and even add a step that functions as a side table when the bed is pulled out.

Use Window Treatments as a Movie Screen

Think you don’t have room in your living room for a projection screen to create your own private movie theater? If you have windows, you have more space than you realize. Minim anchored this screen just above the four large windows that line one side of the tiny house. Not only is it unobtrusive when it’s not in use, it functions to block out daylight if you want to watch movies while the sun is shining. Mounted on a single pedestal, the portable table can be placed in front of the couch as a dining surface, lowered for use as a coffee table, moved to the window as a work surface or placed off to the side to free up floor space.

Mount a Shower Head from your Ceiling

The entire bathroom is clad in stainless steel. The reason for this? To fit a shower into the stall-sized space, with the shower head mounted on the ceiling. When the water is on, you just pull out the shower curtain to keep the toilet from getting wet. Able to go entirely off-grid, the Minim House has a 900-watt solar array on the roof. The home is also equipped with a battery storage system. This system primarily runs 12-volt appliances like LED lights and a marine refrigerator. It’s clad in cypress, gathers its own rainwater. The original is located at the Micro Showcase in Washington D.C., if you get a chance to check it out in person. See Pictures Here: Get Space-Saving Ideas From This Clever Tiny House  

Design, Space Savers
  Whether your space is just too small or your storage options lacking, you might find yourself in the position of figuring out where to store pots in your kitchen. Don’t despair if there’s no cabinet to tuck them away in; there are ways to store your pots out in the open that won’t hurt your eyes. For your storage inspiration files: 14 examples of real homes storing pots stylishly.