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for your home & life
for your home & life
I love popcorn. (Extra butter, please). But when it comes to the ceiling, I do not love popcorn ceilings.
The frumpy, bumpy, cottage cheese looking ceiling has been the bane of many a homeowner.
What do you do if you have a popcorn ceiling? Well, you can go with a pro, but just know that it’s rather pricey to have it scraped by a contractor. And, I know you love to take on DIY projects, but this is one project that you’d probably rather not do. It’s messy. The scraped bits go everywhere and it’s difficult to clean up. (No wonder contractors charge so much to remove it!) Plus, popcorn finishes and paint applied before 1979 could have asbestos and lead. If that’s the case, there are safe alternatives to scraping the popcorn.
There are options. Beautiful options, in fact.
METAL: Yes, metal. Armstrong makes metal ceiling tiles that would look stunning. If you have a hard time envisioning this, remember the gorgeous tin ceilings of the Victorian era. It can be a stunning look, especially if your ceilings are taller. At the time of this blog post, Armstrong metal panels run $4-6 sq'. Sure beats scraping popcorn ceilings. Love this look.
WOOD LOOK: If you’re home has more of a cottage feel, the neat pinstripe look of beadboard would look beautiful. When you’re covering up the old popcorn ceiling with beadboard, this is one of the few times I’d recommend a white ceiling. A white beadboard ceiling would create a clean, fresh look. Armstrong panels run $3-4 sq’. Check with your local supplier. Clean, fresh and delightful.
MDF: Another alternative to consider would be to have wood looking planks made out of MDF, medium density fiberboard. It look like engineered hardwood you’d see on the floor. On the ceiling in between beams, (or vigas as they're called in New Mexico), it’s a gorgeous look. These are about 5” wide and with their tongue in groove installation it can be done by the experienced DIY’er. This runs about 2.50 - $4 sq’. Makes you just want to sit and look up at that gorgeous ceiling instead of watching TV.
WOOD: If you prefer the real wood, our friend DIY Steve did a great job covering up his popcorn ceiling with wood fence material. (Clever!) This is a much more economical solution, and it looks great. You did it, Steve!
So if you are tired of your popcorn ceilings, consider some of these exciting alternatives. That 'fifth wall' is awaiting your creativity.
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If you want your home to look cleaner, feel fresher, bigger, better…. Three words: LESS is MORE.
TAKE THIS TEST: When you walk into a room in your home, listen to how your heart responds to that room. Does the room lift your spirits? Or do you avert your eyes, because there is too much stuff in there? Do your shelves and surfaces contain objects that are full of meaning to you? Great! If your eyes don’t know where to look because it’s a tchotchke explosion, I would gently encourage you to only keep out a few things that really make your heart sing. LESS IS MORE
LESSONS FROM STAGING HOUSES: I’ve staged many, many homes for sale over the years, and in fact teach how to stage your own home. Whether the property was a cozy 900 sq.’ manufactured home or a generously sized 3K sq.’ home, there is one thing that they ALL had in common. Stuff. Clutter. Tchotchkes. Bric-a-brac. Keepsakes. Trinkets. Whatever it's called, it’s amazing how much stuff we all tend to have in our homes! The longer we’re in a home, it seems every surface becomes jammed, crammed, and stuffed full of knickknacks, dust-catchers and remnants of days gone by. When preparing a house for sale, I’ll have the homeowners pack up at least 50% of their décor. That’s right, at least 50%, and sometimes 75%. Then we keep out only a select few pieces for display. Every single time the clients will say, “Wow – it looks so much better in here!” In fact, I’ve had clients decide NOT to sell their house after all. Why? “We didn’t know this place could look this good. We don’t need a new place...... This feels like a new home!” You too can achieve this sense of euphoria simply by storing the non-essentials out of sight. Viola!
BUT I LOVE MY COLLECTIONS: Please do not misunderstand me. I love collections too. We need to have décor items that have meaning to us – but sometimes we have too much of a good thing going on. Let’s say you collect dolls or action figures. (Yes, they are two of the most collected items.) You don’t just have one or two - you have a collection of 100's! If you have ALL of them on the counters and on top of the kitchen cupboards, on shelves around the great room, spilling out of closets and filling up every surface, you stop seeing them after a while. Unless you have a museum, here is a simple suggestion for you.
EASY 3: If this is you, I would encourage you to go through and choose your favorite three from your collection. And put the rest away for now. A simple grouping of three is more visually stunning. Can you just see that in the middle of your coffee table? Delightful. Or perhaps you could display those three treasured items at eye level on your bookshelf, surrounded by a curated stack of books on either side, essentially framing your three treasures. Keep just those three out for the rest of the month. Every time you walk into the room, you’ll appreciate those three so much more. Next month you can choose a different three to display. Using this method of rotation, displaying only a few at a time, you’ll eventually see all of them. When you have fewer on display, your appreciation for them is far greater. And your place will look amazing. Don't be surprised if your friends ask if you have new furniture, if you redecorated or hired a designer.
FOR MORE INSPIRATION: If you want to take it further and could use some help dejunking and decluttering, I recommend the informative and highly entertaining books “Clutter’s Last Stand” and “For Packrats Only” by Don Aslett. If you’re thinking about downsizing, I recommend the book “Downsizing the Family Home: What to Save, What to Let Go” by Marni Jameson. (Hint: the kids don’t want your stuff.)
Whatever you collect – when it comes to displaying your treasures, remember LESS is MORE. You'll feel like you have a new home.
The best part? It costs $0.