Monday, January 18, 2010

My Previously-Boring Kitchen Wall

This is how a wall in my kitchen/dining area has looked for almost three years now:

My kitchen and dining area are one long space along the back of my house and for the longest time this wall just seemed so overwhelming that I just left it bare. I hated looking at it (which I had to do during every meal) but just could not come up with a solution for it. I went through several different ideas, but none of them ended up working out. For the longest time I wasn't even sure what kind of look I was going for, so I didn't even know where to begin. The whole thing was really frustrating and the wall continued to stare at me, as bare and empty as ever.

Finally I decided that I wanted to do something eclectic - some combination of something (very specific, I know) that would fill up the space but also look completely effortless. [Side note: I've realized that when it comes to me and decorating, I take the same mindset as getting dressed: I want to look put together, but I don't want to look like I thought and obsessed about it for a long time, even if I did.]

Once I made my decision about going the eclectic route, I started to think through what I could include on the wall. I remembered that I had the framed postcards that I had never hung up, that I had a plate needed a home and would work on the wall, a neglected red frame that I could work with... I knew I needed a few more things, so I decided to spell out a word. And, since the wall is in my dining area, "EAT" seemed appropriate. Finally, a friend of mine sent me a link to a wreath tutorial that looked really easy and my wall scheme was born.

I decided to take the red frame to a local glass shop and they fitted it with a mirror, so for $15 I had a brand new mirror, which felt like a steal. The letters were on sale at Joann's (I will give a tutorial later on how I prepared them for hanging) and for the wreath all I had to buy was a styrofoam wreath form. So, for about $25, I got a brand new wall. I have to say, I felt like it was a final exam for all the Wall Decor posts I have previously done!

Since I was hanging things of different shapes and sizes at different heights and wanted to get the layout right without putting a ton of extra holes in the wall, I did more prep work for this project than I felt like I had ever done before. I took each piece that would be hanging on the wall and traced it on newspaper and then cut it out. You could also use craft paper, alumunion foil, paper bags, wrapping paper - whatever you have around. Then my husband and I used painter's tape to tape the shapes on the wall until we had a layout we liked. See below:

Once we got a layout that we liked, we started attaching the art to the wall. Since the letters were cardboard, I used a wall adhesive that is supposed to easily peel off without removing the paint (we'll see). For everything else, I used nails or wall hangers. One tip: leave the paper on the wall, nail your hole and THEN remove the paper. That way you are ensuring each nail is going into the correct spot, saving you from having to patch your walls or hoping your art covers your wayward holes.
When we were done, I was more than pleased with the result:

A few things: I realize now that the mirror is too low and you have to bend over if you actually want to see your face (but it's very convenient for checking your torso!). This seemed minor, though. Also, I felt my wreath could have looked more like the site where I got the idea for it. I might go back one day and make another one, but for now it works and people comment/compliment it, so it can't be that bad. I cannot for the life of me get the two postcard frames level - that will just have to be a work in progress. At some point I might hang something in the space beneath the wreath and next to the postcards. But for now, the empty space is fine with me.

Hope this got some creative juices flowing for you!
P.S. I am loving clementine season right now - don't they make a great centerpiece? And how convenient when you're eating to reach out and grab one!
P.P.S. When we first moved in, that chandelier was bright brass and not my tastes at all. I got my husband to take it down for me and I spray painted it white. I don't have any pictures of this process, as it was pre-blog and thus pre-documenting projects, but it can be done. Let me know if you have any questions about doing this to your chandelier and I will help you as much as I can!

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