Command Hooks are a Renters Best Friend: command hook window treatments

I am not receiving any compensation for writing about 3M Command products, I just happen to really love them, and Ill be showcasing some of my favorite uses for them over the next few weeks.

Just like with painting policies, every landlord/housing management office has its own rules about holes in the wall. Some dont want any, some dont mind small ones as long as theyre filled before you go, and some dont even care if you fill them. Whatever your limitations, command hooks can help.

I believe that hanging window treatments, bringing in nice lighting and putting art on the walls are three of the most important things you can do to make your house feel more like a home. But for today were just going to address the window treatments. How do you hang curtains without nails, screws or at the very least thumbtacks?

Given the title of this post, I think you know the answer.

command hook hung curtain rods

Morgan of The Handcrafted Life hung these curtains using these hooks. She painted the base of the hook to match the wall and the hook portion to match the curtain rods. [tutorial]. Keep in mind that each hook has its own weight limit, and is should say what the limit is in the upper right hand corner of the package. I believe that the weight limit for these particular hooks is 3lbs each. Since there are two hooks per curtain rod, the weight of the curtain rod combined with the weight of the curtains needs to weigh less than 6lbs. If you had heavier curtains, or you were using a longer curtain rod, you could put a hook in the center for extra support.

diy curtain tie back

If you want to be able to tie your curtains back, follow Ashleys simple instructions over at Homemakers Challange, and just replace the screw in hook with a removable one.

french doors with curtains

Abby of Steals+Deals used command hooks (right side up and upside down) to hold the curtains on her offices french doors in place. For more details click here.

oddly shaped front door window treatments

Steph of Hearts and Laser Beams used a single store bought curtain panel, cut up, stitched up, buttonholed and secured in place with small command hooks to cover the oddly sized windows flanking her front door. [tutorial]

faux roman shades

Meredith of Welcome to Heardmont made these cheater roman shades using small command hooks to create the folds. Her tutorial calls for nails or screws to secure the top part to the wall, but you could probably get away with using 3M picture and frame hangers to keep your walls hole free. [tutorial]

black out shade before and after

This last one is more for function than form, but as someone who likes to sleep past sunrise, I think it deserves a mention. Lori of Family|Love|Home made these no-sew/no wall damage blackout shades to keep her kids, and by extension herself, in bed just a little bit longer each morning. [tutorial]

Blog Note: I wont be able to do any of my own home projects for a few weeks, so you can expect mostly round ups and maybe a mood board or two until mid April.However, if you have a question, tip, or submission, I would love to feature it here. At the top of this page there is a link to my submission page. Please dont be shy. I promise I dont bite.

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Tiny Dining Room vs. Big Dining Table

If you recall from my very first post, I posted the layout of our house, and I made a few notes on it about the dining room.

floor planIt only made sense for the dining room to be connected to the kitchen, rather than out in the carpeted living/dining room. Unfortunately, as you can see, the dimensions of the dining room are already pretty small, but its made even smaller by that breakfast bar (that is way too tall to be an actual breakfast bar) jutting out into it. This is our current set up.

our dining room now

Our dining set is a bit on the big side (48 wide 30 tall, and those chairs are pretty bulky), and thats without the extra leaf and 2 additional chairs. We did discover that with this configuration it is possible for 4 people to somewhat comfortably eat a meal together, but Im not a fan of the way it looks, and I dont like that the person sitting on the far side of the table closest to the wall is kind of trapped there, until the person sitting next to them gets up. Well be keeping this dining set regardless of whether or not we continue to use it in this house. Its too nice, and we got it at too good of a price for me to be willing to part with it. I have a few ideas for what we could do.

As far as keeping the table and chairs, we could just remove one chair so theres a little more room. Its typically just the two of us, and we usually eat dinner on the couch anyway, but I would like to be able to have people over for dinner sometimes. We could move the table out into the giant living room/office when we want to be able to seat more people, but the thought of having to do that really annoys me for some reason.

Now, if we opted to put the whole thing in storage and start over fresh I have a few ideas and because I cant stand the thought of buying a crappier, smaller dining set for more than we paid for this one, most of my ideas are at least partially DIY.

Im going to go ahead and backtrack now. When I said that the idea of pulling the table into the living room annoys me, I only meant if its normally residing in out dining room. If we had a more suitable table for our dinging room, I wouldnt mind pulling the big one out for dinner parties or holidays. Is that weird?

At this point I think everybody already knows that Im more than a little bit in love with hair pin legs. So it should come as no surprise that Im a big fan of these two tables.

hair pin round table

Kate, of For Me, For you, made this round dining table with a premade table top, some stain and 4 hairpin legs. I can do that! Too bad I cant also score those sweet chairs on craigslist. [instructions] She also made a desk using hairpin legs, which I think might also make a really nice dining table.

square hairpin table

Same idea, different shape. This one was made by web designer Ashli Nixon. She also made (and by made I mean painted) that striped rug. Check out her website for more details.

pipe table

Ive also considered doing pipe legs like Mark of marybicycles. Obviously I would do this on a smaller scale, probably a square table instead of rectangular, but its the same basic idea. [instructions]

Other than that, the only thing Ive come across that seems doable is readymade unfinished furniture. Like this. And I havent even started thinking about chairs yet

What do you think? How do I make my tiny dining room both functional and stylish?


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Wall Mounted TV with Hidden Cords

Over the weekend we mounted our TV, and sunk the wires into the wall. This isnt really going to be a tutorial, because we used kits (will provide links) for both projects, but I did take some process shots.

tv before

This is the before shot. I actually didnt mind it like this (aside from the fact that it was a little messy that day), but my husband really likes mounted TVs, and since I dont really have much of an opinion on the subject, mounted TV it was. My only requirement was that he sink the wires into the wall, because I didnt want to have a bunch of ugly wires hanging down below the TV like we did in our last place.

attaching wall mount

We used this mounting system, which comes with full instructions. It  mounts very close to the wall, and we ended up deciding not to use the safety straps after my husband poked himself in the eye with a wire hanger trying to get the TV off the wall.

(Insert picture that I forgot to take of the TV mounted on the wall before we sunk the wires whoops. Im slacking guys. Sorry)

We used this kit to hide the wires in the wall. Now we may actually be violating the terms of our lease my doing this, Im not sure. It does require cutting two sizable circles out of the drywall we should be able to patch them back in and paint over them when we move out, but if you arent willing to take that risk, then Ill be giving you some alternatives at the end of this post.

holes in the wall

So, like I said, the kit comes with a circular drywall cutting tool. You cut two holes, one hole behind where the TV will be, and another down by where your outlets/dvd players/gaming consoles/etc are. In our case the lower hole will be covered by our media console thingy (technical term).

wires coming out of top hole wire coming out of bottom hole

The kit comes with a hook to help pull the wires through the wall, and these white plastic covers to make things a little prettier. The top one even has an electrical outlet in it that you can plug the TV into.

behind the tv

This picture shows that when they say flat mount, they arent kidding. This thing is practically one with the wall.

tv mounted

and the after. Look Ma, no ugly cords. I know that the TV isnt centered over the media console, were actually planning on moving the console over so that the right side lines up with the right edge of the TV, and then maybe mounting some shelves or hanging some art on the left side. Looking at this, Im even kind of tempted to do another IKEA leg makeover but thats for another day.

As promised here are a few alternatives for those of you who dont want to cut circles out of your drywall.

1. You could just leave your TV on a media stand. Really, it looks fine, and its a lot less effort.

2.  You can get a wire cover like this.

wire cover

3. You could try to prettify them like Jen of InsideWays did. [tutorial]


And a few ideas that I dont have pictures of, but I still think might work:

– you could wallpaper a piece of plywood, cut out a hole for the TV mounting device, attach the plywood to the wall, and have the wires run underneath it.

– you could try strategically leaning or hanging framed art work around and under your TV to conceal the cords.

If you have any other ideas about how to hide not so attractive TV cords, please share them in the comments.


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Small Successes and Project Plans

I got the second lamp detached! It was way more simple than I thought it would be. After a little work with a razor blade, I realized that the damn thing wasnt even glued together. I just had to snip apart some of the crappy wiring, unscrew a stubborn nut, and the whole thing just came apart. Check this out, no breakage like the first one.

lamp bottom

Im still not sure I can bring myself to drill into the lamp itself, so I think Im  going to re-purpose part of the original base.

lamp base

Im going to clean it up, paint it and have my father in law drill a hole in the side for a cord (we dont have the right kind of drill bit). Then Ill  just rewire it and screw the whole thing back together. I will post all the dirty details.

Other projects on the to-do list:

I want to turn these into lamps as well. Ill be taking them to my FIL for some help too. I really should have taken pictures of this thing disassembled so that I could better explain the changes I plan to make. There will be a hole drilled in the side of the base for a cord. and a hole drilled through that plate that currently has the candle spike on it. (yes I know that one of those magnifying glasses is missing its screw, but I know its somewhere in this house I just have to find it)

I want to use either an Edison bulb, or one of these Flame Candelabra Bulbs.

edison bulbs

I got these lanterns at Daiso (which also happens to be where I got the background paper) a few years ago, and theyve started to yellow a bit. Thats fine, because I never really like the color in the first place. Luckily the glass pops out really easily, so Im going to spay paint them like I  mentioned in my bathroom plans post.

white lanterns

My Grandmother in law got me this jewelery box 2 Christmases ago, and I have yet to really use it. Im thinking about refinishing or painting it, and doing the inset hearts a different color, removing the flower decal from the front window, and maybe changing out the hardware. I think it would make a nice addition to my night stand, since my nightstand doesnt have any storage/drawers.

jewelery box


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I Love Lamp, Part 1

I dismembered a lamp today, and Ill admit that I had more fun doing it than any adult ought to.

yellow lamps

I bought these lamps awhile ago if two years can be considered awhile. I saw them at St. Vinnies, and I fell in love. That love only deepend when I was informed that it would only cost me $15 for the pair. The bases were ugly and the old yellowed wiring looked easily combustible, but I still needed them in my life. So I bought them, and then they sat in our junk room until we moved. When all of our stuff arrived at our new house, and I opened the box containing these lamps, I found that one had broken off its base. I would usually be pretty miffed by movers breaking my stuff, but I had always wanted to find a way to get the lamp body off of that ugly brass base, so they kind of did me a favor. Now if I could only find a way to break my other lamp in the exact same way .

broken lamp

This is what the broken lamp looked like before I dissected it with the enthusiasm of an 8 year old hacking apart a broken clock radio.

cutting top cord

First I detached the light socket and neck* from the rest of the lamp. There was a brief second where I worried that an unplugged lamp could still electrocute me and then I just got embarrassed for myself. * yes, those are the technical names, and yes, I did have to look them up.

Once the socket was removed it was easy to slip the lamp body off of the base. This is what was revealed.

Speaking of removing the body, the only reason the body became detached from the base was because a few pieces at the very bottom had chipped off (I found them rattling around inside the lamp). Im trying to figure out how to replicate this effect with the second lamp without totally destroying it. Any ideas on how to accomplish that would be greatly appreciated.

I was having a hard time figuring out how to remove the pipe from the base, so I decided to rip the paper off the bottom and see what I could find in there. Once I did that, the rest of the disassembly was easy. I just pulled the wire out of the pipe, and then out of the base itself. The pipe came out of the bottom as well.

all lamp parts

These are all the parts laid out. The wire and old socket will absolutely be trashed. The pipe seems like a necessity, so it stays. I havent decided yet whether or not to keep the neck and base parts. If I do, theyll need a make over, because I dont like the brass.

This last picture is totally unnecessary, I just really like the way that the lamp body looks without all of those extra parts.

I want to pick up some lamp rewiring kits this weekend, but I still have a few things to figure out:

1. How the hell do I remove that second lamp from its base without causing serious damage?

2. Do I paint the lamps or leave them yellow? Im leaning towards the option that requires less effort plus, I kind of like the color.

3. Should I try to work with the old bases, or find new ones? I would love to just go without a base, but I think the cord would keep the lamp from lying flat, and it would end up unstable and/or broken.

4. If I do stick with the old bases, what should I do with them? Obviously clean them and paint them, but do I try to make them look like another metal (silver, or maybe ORB) or do I go with a color?

Seriously, if you have answers to these questions, GIVE THEM TO ME! please and thank you.

And just a reminder: I switched over from to my own hosting, so please remember to subscribe to this blog, as I will be deleting the one in about a week. Also, thanks for caring enough about me and my house and my blog to actually read this stuff. It gives me warm mushy feelings.

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DIY coffee table inspiration

I am determined to DIY rather than buy a coffee table for our living room. I dont really like anything that Im seeing in stores (style or price), and honestly I think it would be much more fun to build my own. We dont have a proper wood shop or anything, but I think weve got enough tools for what I have in mind. These are the current contenders:

wire coffee table

This is by far the easiest option. Id replace the acrylic sheets with a custom cut piece of glass or wood, and maybe make it longer by adding another V shaped base. [instructions]

hairpin coffee table

Next up is a pretty easy option as well. Take a nice piece of wood and slap some hairpin legs on it. So simple and so perfect. [instructions]

herringbone hairpin coffee table

If I wanted to get a bit fancier, I could do a herringbone pattern for the table top. Oh how I love me some herringbone though Im not entirely sure that I have the tools and/or skills to pull it off. [instructions]

cb2 herringbone coffee table

I could also do something like this. Same table top idea, different legs. This one is actually from CB2, but I think I could make it as long as I could get the  herringbone top figured out. Legs like that cant be too hard to come by or make, right?

The next two are IKEA hacks. Ill be close to an IKEA next month, so I could conceivably pick up any needed parts.

lerberg leg coffee table

Easy option this one is just a board mounted on some Lerberg trestles.  [source]

concrete coffee table

Finally, and this one may currently be my favorite, is a concrete topped coffee table. Ive never made a mold for or poured concrete before, but my best friend has, so hopefully she could talk me through it if we decide on this one. The base is an IKEA Klubbo. [instructions]

I probably wont get around to starting on this for at least another month, so I may end up finding even more options by then, but whats your favorite of the ones that Im currently considering?

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