Budget-Friendly Guest Bathroom Makeover

Our guest bathroom has been pretty pitiful-looking for the past 4 years that we've lived in our home. We painted the walls and installed a new faucet and some cheap sconces right away, but otherwise it just kept getting knocked down the to-do list. As is the case with many young families, our time, money and energy have been spent on more important things for our children. During my recent maternity leave, I needed a creative outlet and decided it was time to tackle the guest bathroom. 

Although I have great plans to renovate and reconfigure our guest bedroom, bathroom and laundry room, those plans are on hold for the (distant) future. In the meantime, we have been making budget-friendly cosmetic and decorative improvements to put our stamp on these spaces without breaking the bank. Both personally and professionally, I try my best to be budget-conscious and respectful of my resources. You can read more about that on my Philosophy page

So I set out to design a budget-friendly guest bathroom - full of personality and classic sophistication - without doing renovations. I'm thrilled with the outcome, and I'm excited to share these photos with you! Keep scrolling to see some before and after images - including the original condition of this bathroom when we purchased our house.

The top photo is this bathroom's original condition when we bought the house 4 years ago.

The top photo is this bathroom's original condition when we bought the house 4 years ago.

Creating a Warm Home

The greatest compliment I can receive from a guest in my home is not “Oh, how beautiful your home is!” but “I really love how warm and welcoming your home is!” Yes, I’m a designer so I appreciate beauty and strive to create beauty in my clients’ homes, but more importantly I strive to create warmth and a welcoming environment. I’ve referenced this idea on my Philosophy page, but I think it’s important for me to expand on this topic...

I’ve had the privilege of being in a multi-generational Bible study of women where I’ve gained so much knowledge of God’s word and perspective from women who’ve gone before me. The book we are studying (True Woman 101) lays out God’s devine design plan for creating the male and female genders. In our most recent lesson, I was excited to read this quite perfect description of why it matters so much (especially to women) to create a home:

“Creating a home is not about checking chores off a list or about filling a house with material possessions – it’s ultimately about people. It’s about creating a warm, nurturing, orderly, stable place that promotes well-being and fosters physical, emotional, mental and spiritual growth. It’s about welcoming others in. It’s about ministering to the soul. It’s about community. It’s about cultivating relationships.

When we create a home, we provide a “cover” where family and friends can retreat and be sheltered from the cold cruel world outside. A place where they can rest and recharge from the daily grind. A place where they can flourish. A place that foreshadows the welcome believers will receive in heaven. A place that calls and beckons us to our eternal Home.”

Can I get an Amen? When I was reading those words in the book, I was like “Yes!! This is why I’m doing what I do!” What a sweet gift from the Father to read right there on those pages the very reason I feel called to help clients make their homes a warm, beautiful, life-giving retreat and safe-haven for all who enter. 

So what makes a home warm in addition to being beautiful? Each home requires a different amount of attention to the details that create warmth - depending on ceiling height, architectural features, finishes, lighting, etc. But there are a few common factors that I personally feel are required to create warmth:

How to Create a Warm Home...

1. Color: I know a lot of people are afraid of color, and I’m not saying you have to go all out with bright, bold, over-the-top colors. I’m simply saying that even subtle hints of soft muted colors go a long way - and by “color” I don’t mean black, white, or gray. It’s okay if you love neutrals (I love neutrals), and you can still have a generally neutral room - but that tiny splash of color makes all the difference in adding warmth to a room. See examples below:

All Images from Pinterest

All Images from Pinterest

2. Fabric: I love the softness that fabric and upholstery add to a room - especially fabrics used for window treatments and pillows. These details are critical in making a room feel warm, comfortable and more complete - not to mention that fabrics also help absorb sound and reduce echoes. See examples below:

All Images from Pinterest

All Images from Pinterest

3. Warm Wood Tones: I believe every room needs rich & natural wood tones - found most often in wood flooring and furnishings. But if you’re able to add some other natural wooden elements through ceiling beams, fireplace mantels, stained wooden doors, or even wooden roman shades - that takes it up a notch. I personally love adding warmth and character to a room with at least one antique/vintage piece of wooden furniture - in its original finish (not painted). See examples of warm wood tones below:

All Images from Pinterest

All Images from Pinterest

4. Lamp Lighting: You might say I have an obsession with lamps. During a consultation, I can sense when my clients start feeling uncertain about the number of lamps I’m recommending... but I just ask them to trust me! I think lamps are critical to creating warmth - especially at night. I hardly ever use overhead lighting, and when I do I have those lights on a dimmer. Warm lamp lighting creates a soft, cozy environment with just the right amount of light. I recommend at least 2 to 3 lamps per small room (larger rooms require more). See examples below:

All Images from Pinterest

All Images from Pinterest

5. Balancing Formal & Informal: I absolutely love French design and traditional antique furnishings, but I know that those styles can tend to be quite formal and stiff. So I always recommend balancing formal furnishings and details with more informal styles to create a space that’s rich with character but also comfortable. You want your guests to feel at home - not like they are in a museum where nothing can be touched. Comfortable seating is especially important - both in a living room and at the dinner table. I find myself constantly saying to my clients, “You want to be sure to balance rustic with refined.” See examples below: 

All Images from Pinterest

All Images from Pinterest

6. Layering Textures & Meaningful Decorative Items:  There is a very fine line between not enough and too much when it comes to decorating. Not having enough layers makes a house feel cold and too staged - like real people don’t live there. Having too many pieces makes a home feel cluttered and uncomfortable - like there isn’t enough room for you. The key is choosing thoughtful, meaningful and appropriately sized decorative items like rugs, art & accessories.  This is where most of my clients struggle because there is such a fine line (and it happens to be one of my favorite parts of my job). See examples of carefully curated spaces below:

All Images from Pinterest

All Images from Pinterest

I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a designer, and I love making homes beautiful - but more importantly I love making homes warm, welcoming, comfortable, and life-giving for the family and friends who enjoy them.

Why I'm doing what I'm doing...

I've been helping clients with their homes for about 2 years now, but I've mostly provided consultation services and design plans for DIY clients as well as renovation plans for contractors. I have loved offering design guidance and creative ideas that empower my clients to decorate their homes essentially on their own. But I rarely get to see a project through from start to finish... until now.

I recently met with a client who unfortunately struggles with health issues and needs my hands-on assistance from beginning to end - shopping, decorating, installation, etc. I'm thrilled to assist her with making her home beautiful, warm and welcoming. After presenting my ideas to her at our consultation, she smiled and said with excitement that she can't wait to love living in her home. I was immediately able to see a positive shift in her mood, and she shared her enthusiasm to entertain guests in her home once we have it decorated.

That consultation was such a gift for me - I felt God was telling me loud and clear exactly why I feel called to make homes beautiful. Our living environment can drastically affect us whether we realize it or not. And I want to improve people's lives by providing them with well-designed spaces that they love and can be proud to share with their family and friends. My client was grateful for my design ideas and services, but I was even more grateful for the gift that she gave me.

I look forward to sharing the before & after photos with you soon, but until then I'll share the inspirational design boards that I presented to my client...

Change is in the Air...

It's become pretty clear to me - it's time for a change. Although change can be so good for you in the long run, it doesn't always come easily... and I've been resisting this change for a while. Eight years ago, Beth Hart Designs was born - as a custom stationery & invitations business. I've learned a lot as a designer & entrepreneur, and my business has grown so much - thanks to your loyal support. I'm beyond grateful for the opportunity you've provided for me.

Over the past 2 years, my business has slowly been shifting... from Paper Design to Home Design. I've always been passionate about making our own home warm, gracious & beautiful, but I never dreamed I'd get to make a career out of helping others achieve that same goal. I really appreciate those of you who have trusted me and invested in my Home Design services as I've set out on this new journey - you've built my confidence and taught me so much along the way.

I've been trying to provide both services for a while - both Paper & Home Design, but I'm starting to wear thin. I've been working late, late nights and on the weekends just to try to keep up, but lately I've realized that no one is getting the best of me - not my paper clients, not my home design clients, and sadly not even my family. So something's gotta give...

I've been praying for God to show me clear signs for which direction to take my business, and he has answered these prayers in numerous ways. All of which point to Home Design. So change is happening - I'm taking a break from paper to fully invest in my Home Design business. I will still be offering Christmas Cards in October, November & December but no other paper products at this time.

I'm so very excited about this new business opportunity, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous and scared. In some ways, I feel like I'm starting all over again. Choosing Home Design is definitely the more challenging path to take, but I love it - my heart is in the work, and I'm passionate about helping others find peace & beauty in their own homes. You can read more about my love for Home Design & Southern Hospitality here

"Thank You" feels insufficient for how much I appreciate your support of Beth Hart Designs. I hope you'll stick around with me as I dive head-first into Delightfully Southern Home Design.

A photo of our fireplace mantle recently re-posted on  House Beautiful's Instagram Account

A photo of our fireplace mantle recently re-posted on House Beautiful's Instagram Account

Perfect Imperfection...

Making your house a home is a process - it doesn't happen overnight, and it shouldn't happen overnight. In a world that often demands instant gratification, it can be difficult to be patient and take your time when putting together the rooms of your home.

As a designer helping others renovate and decorate their homes, I find it difficult to accept the imperfect and unfinished state of my own home. I'm a designer, my house should be perfect, right? We purchased a 1950's ranch in 2014, and although many renovations took place before we moved in, our house is a never-ending project - which happens to be one of the reasons I love it so much. I follow many talented designers on Instagram, and I love browsing through the beautiful photos on Pinterest and Houzz - mainly to gain business knowledge and inspiration - however I'd be lying if I told you that I leave these Social Media platforms feeling completely satisfied with my own home. 

I'm reading Phoebe Howard's book Room by Room, and she addresses the importance of taking your time. "Always keep in mind that decorating is a complicated process that takes time, planning, and money. It is an expensive undertaking, and it is easy to make costly mistakes. The more planning and thoughtful collaboration that you allow, the better the result will be. Be patient and take your time - it should not happen overnight. Let your house show who you are, what you like, and where you are going." Well said, Mrs. Howard.

So now I want to (very hesitantly) show you some photos of unfinished spaces in our home - as an effort to accept this perfectly acceptable imperfection. Gulp. First up, the Dining Room: We opened up 4 rooms in the center of our house by knocking down walls - leaving a walk-around, see-through fireplace. I've only posted photos of the kitchen and what's on the other side of this fireplace because the dining space is so very unfinished. The table, parsons chairs and china hutch are from our last house, and like many couples our age, my husband and I are in the process of replacing our "newlywed furniture" with more lasting furniture. I do have a plan for this space which involves buying new chairs, painting the china hutch and the French doors, installing wainscoting on the walls and wood beams on the ceiling, addressing the mantle decor and replacing the table with a rustic trestle table in a lighter wood finish. But until we find the time and save the money to do all of this, the room will look like this:

And here are 2 other areas of this large open room - the Foyer and the "Clock Corner." Both spaces contain furniture that I found at the Nashville Flea Market, and these pieces are in need of some TLC. The mirrors need to be hung on the walls, wainscoting needs to be installed on the foyer wall, and the pair of lamps on the Jackson Press need more appropriately sized shades. The seagrass chair is also from our last house, and I'm saving up for the perfect sweep-arm slipcovered chair & ottoman. Oh and that picture frame needs a family photo asap... the list is long, but there is a plan so I know what I'm aiming to accomplish.

Hopefully, this blog post will encourage you to be patient and take your time when decorating your home. If you need help forming a plan to follow, I'd love to work with you... Nashville area residents can view my In-Home Design Services page, and all other clients can view the Virtual Design Services page. However long it may take, I hope you find contentment in the perfectly imperfect process of making your house a home.

Home Design Consultations in 2016

I'm so very grateful and blown away by the amazing support you've given me in my first year providing Home Design services. I'm thankful to say that I'm officially booked for in-home consultations & virtual design projects through the end of the year. A few changes have been taking place in my business, and those changes will be reflected on my website in January - be sure to check back then! 

I'm now booking consultations & virtual projects for 2016, so please contact me for availability. During this month of thanksgiving, please know how thankful I am for you!

Client home design plans

Hippity Hoppity...

It's Holy Week, the week of Easter, and I love this time of the year because I'm reminded of how much our Father loves us. It's fitting that Easter takes place in the Spring - a time to celebrate new life and resurrection. Nature (in my opinion) is God's way of showing us His own creativity... He is an amazing artist - especially in the Spring - painting canvases full of bright, vivid colors with clear blue skies, spring green grass, pink Cherry Blossom trees, yellow Buttercups and Forsythia, soft white & pink Dogwoods, and so much more. It's a magical time, and I'm thankful for the beauty that surrounds us.

While I realize that Easter holds so much more meaning than bunnies, eggs and pastels. I do appreciate these sweet symbols of this time of celebration. I'm not one to go crazy decorating for the holidays, but I do appreciate a decorative accent here and there.

We have a large L-shaped kitchen island that was desperately needing a focal point. I'm a huge, HUGE fan of the HGTV show Fixer Upper featuring the perfectly paired husband and wife team of Joanna and Chip Gaines from Waco, Texas. I'm inspired not only by their show and design style, but also by their love for God, family and adventure. Their business, Magnolia Homes, has flourished and expanded in many ways, including an online extension of their shop called The Magnolia Market. I spotted a reclaimed wooden tray that I knew would be the perfect focal point of our kitchen island. It provides a contained space to rotate seasonal decor throughout the year.

Below is a photo of the tray all set for Easter. The contents are as follows: 2 stacked hardback cookbooks, a white ceramic pitcher from our Juliska everyday pattern filled with flowers, a small green flower pot with fresh Thyme, a metal letter "H" I found at Michael's, a 3-wick candle from TJMaxx/Homegoods, and the rustic wooden bunny I found at the new home superstore, At Home. I look forward to changing out the decor of this tray throughout the seasons, and I hope these decorating tips inspire you to make your home a little more Delightfully Southern! Happy Easter!

Home Design Services Now Available!

Well, it's officially official! Beth Hart Designs is now offering Home Design services... It's only been a work in progress for almost 2 years! Some very gracious clients have offered to be "guinea pigs" along the way to help me figure out what services I would be providing. A huge THANK YOU to those of you who were so patient with me while I worked through your projects!

So what has led me to offering these services? You could say it started when I was a little girl - my favorite thing to do was "play house" by carefully planning my "set-up." This "set-up" consisted of lightweight furniture and decorative accessories that I gathered from around our home and brought together in my own formation to make up my pretend house. I still love the careful planning of choosing just the right items and bringing them together in one warm and beautiful composition. As a designer of paper and invitations which are a key part of Southern Hospitality, I see offering Home Design services as a way of extending my love for hospitality and making our everyday lives a little more delightful.

My husband and I are still working away on our "new" home, so I promise to post photos of before & after renovations along with a virtual home tour soon. I was waiting to have everything "just so" in our house before officially launching these services, but I realized that if I keep waiting for the perfect opportunity to dive in, I'd never do it. So here it is, the beginning of another beautiful and exciting way to make life a little more Delightfully Southern...

Home Design Services by Beth Hart Designs

Back To Work...

It's finally March - hallelujah! It means Spring is just around the corner - a sign of new life and fresh beginnings. I'm back to work after a wonderful time off with our precious baby girl (who's growing like a weed!) and time spent reflecting on business and settling into our "new" home. I feel like March is a fresh beginning for me, and I'm taking advantage!

I've made a few changes to my website - several categories and products have been removed. I used to think I should offer everything to everyone. But someone once said to me that just because you can do everything, doesn't mean you should do everything. I know that I'm a much happier person and a better designer when I'm working on things that I love... therefore I've removed products and categories that I don't feel allow me to offer the best version of myself.

I no long offer wedding invitations, but I still love designing invitations for wedding parties, showers, and rehearsal dinners. Frame-able Art Prints for your home have been taken off my website but in-stock and ready-to-ship options will be available in my Etsy shop very soon! I will no longer be offering logo and branding design, and I've removed address stamps, acrylic serving trays, and a few other products that weren't quite right for my brand. 

I know that seems like a long list of what I am no longer offering, but all of these changes will allow me to focus on what will provide you with the best service and best version of me as a designer. These changes will also make room for a new service that I've been wanting to offer for almost two years now - Home Design. I am still ironing out the final details, but I expect the official launch to happen next week! Stay tuned!

One last note: Beth Hart Designs has new office hours... Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Thank you for supporting my business and allowing me to make every day a little more delightful - one design at at time!