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DIY Friday - contact paper table top

To backtrack a little, I had been thinking for a while about a renter-friendly way of updating our landlord's coffee table. Importantly, in a way that could be undone easily in a matter of minutes. The wood on the table had a particularly awful orange undertone to it, not to mention hadn't been looked after so it had aged rather disgracefully. I decided to cover the table top with contact paper to not only protect my eyes, but to also protect the table from being ruined further. 

There were two other changes I wanted to make to this area [paint the cat basket and table tray] which I shared a couple weeks ago a peek in a little gif mock-up ... 

There was a resounding response to painting the cat basket black, faux-marbeling the coffee table and a majority of either painting the tray in either black or burgundy. I was the most unsure about the tray as I wanted it black and burgundy. Then it struck me - the inside was already burgundy, so I just sprayed the outside black. Boom. Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts! It really did help. I am massively indecisive sometimes.

I painted the tray and cat basket, rushed out and got some marble contact paper from Woodies. I bought one roll of d-c-fix's black and white marble contact paper and within 20 minutes, the table was covered. But I wasn't happy. 

I really like the strong black and white marbling effect, but for some reason it wasn't working in this situation. It was too strong in such a dark space. If our room was brighter it would work perfectly, but it kept catching my eye and in a bad way. It was fighting with our rug. It made the [ancient IKEA] TV unit look yellow. I didn't like it. I went back to Woodie's to see if they could order in a lighter shade of the marble paper [light grey veining vs. the darker black], but unfortunately they couldn't. We checked B&Q and alas, they had the exact role I wanted! We went home and I peeled off the darker marble contact paper that was already on the table ...

As you can see, some splinter-like pieces of wood from the coffee table peeled off with the contact paper. I panicked. Using a piece of fine sandpaper I lightly sanded the coffee table, wiped it clean and it was as good as before. PHEW. It was a damaged coffee table from the previous tenants to begin with, so I'd say that's more so why the wood peeled off. It was incredibly minimal damage and totally fixable, so it's not something I'm worried about, but for the sake of being transparent, I wanted to share this. I was hoping to reuse the darker contact paper to cover a couple of books, but thanks to the little flecks of wood, it was rendered very unsticky. Welp. It went in the recycling at the very least.

There was such a difference in the shades of the two contact papers [as seen below]. I waited for the coffee table to dry after I cleaned it, then got to work. Here's how I applied it. For a second time ...

What you'll need ...

- Contact paper in a colour of your choice
- A card to smooth any bubbles from under the paper as you apply it
- A pair of scissors to trim
- Something heavy to make sure the contact paper doesn't scooch while you're working [ie - a toolbox]

1. Remove the top of the coffee table and place it top-side-up onto something, like our storage box shown, so you can easily work on it. 
2. Centre the contact paper onto the table top and if you're working alone, place something heavy like on top so it wouldn't move. Peel back the paper backing about 6 inches and stick a strip of the contact paper onto one end of the table, smoothing the bubbles out as you go.
3. Continue in this manner by peeling the paper backing from underneath bit by bit, smoothing with the card as you go. If you encounter a stubborn bubble, just peel back the contact paper a bit and reapply it. Do this until you reach the end of the table top and trim the roll leaving a couple of inches overhang. 
4. When you're happy all the bubbles are removed, flip the table top over and secure the edges underneath using your card again to ensure it sticks securely. Screw the table top back onto the legs of your table, et voila! 

I'm actually overjoyed with how it turned out. It doesn't make my eyes want to bleed anymore and the softer marble effect really brightens and adds to our living room and doesn't fight with anything. This is one DIY I foresee happening over and over again. And our landlord will be none the wiser. 

Living room lighting plans

I feel that lonely light fixture's life story should be narrated by ze frank.

The more improvements and updates I make to our rental, the more ideas I get to make slightly more daring changes. Slightly. We don't own our apartment, but we've been living here for 7 years now so I'm getting a bit cheekier about making changes. Changes I will say, that can be undone with a bit of filler and paint. Like hanging our mahogany mirror, painting our bedroom and the spare bedroom [both white], re-caulk the bathroom and do something about the lighting in the living room are a few things on my list. 

Here's what I've had in mind to add to our living room ceiling to make things a bit fancier, while sticking as much as I can to some of my environmental resolutions ...

1. I'd love to add a ceiling rose to our sitting room. It's a big room, so adding a bit of interest might make the ceiling feel less vast. I've seen some second hand for fairly cheap, but a) I'm terrified of not installing it properly and a giant piece of plaster moments away from landing on our heads, and b) I don't know how easily it would be to remove.
2. At the moment the light is positioned in the centre of the room. When we sit at our couch, the light is slightly behind us, therefore anything we're holding or looking at is in shadow. It's incredibly annoying. So adding a swag is the most obvious option. I'm hoping to acquire some wire much like our upcycled bedside lamp to keep cost [and waste] down.
3. Should we securely fix a ceiling rose to the ceiling, I'd like to also add a pretty hook for the swag. 
4. I bought a couple IKEA ledare bulbs when I was updating our hallway, and have already added one to our living room. They're brilliant and light an entire room [unfortunately, IKEA don't seem to be stocking them anymore. Welp].
5. Said IKEA bulbs are lovely, but there are times when it's a bit too much. It's either all or nothing at the moment in our living room. I'd like to hook the light up to a dimmer switch so there can be a happy medium. While I'm at it, I might as well get a pretteh one. I was thinking of getting a G O L D dimmer, but then that would make all our other switches jealous. We'll see. The jury is still out. I've not had much luck finding one second hand, so this may have to be a new buy.

I'm still not sure on whether or not I'll get an actual light fixture as I get very indecisive about them and more times than not end up returning them. I have bare-bulb syndrome. But having a bare bulb in our living room [like we do in our hallway] isn't particularly obvious, so I'm fine with it. For now! 

Gettin' figgy with it

It's funny how trends* can burrow into our thoughts and over time alter what we like. For years I've spied big and beautiful fiddle leaf fig plants [or are they trees?! #Clueless] in some of my favourite roomscapes. In the beginning I didn't think much of them. But then they started to grow on me. Like a little bit something tropical in your living room. I hesitated for so long to buy one because I've heard they're tricky. And actually, because I don't think I've ever even seen a fiddle leaf fig in real life. I may not have been looking particularly hard because this week I spied loads of them in our local hardware store.

I've heard fiddle leaf figs can be a bit high maintenance. Therefore, it was only natural that someone with such a fantastic record for murdering plants would buy one! In all seriousness, I'm determined to keep this guy alive. So far I've read that one cup of water per week is a good starting point and polishing the leaves with coconut oil is a must (?). Do they like direct sunlight? Do they hate hot / cold rooms? Should I prune it? Re-pot it? Rotate the pot? Can they thrive in dark corners? [ie - our entire apartment]. If you have any fig tips at all that you wouldn't mind sharing, I would be hugely appreciative. At the very least I think I'll need to set an alarm on my phone for when to water it ... 

Standing at just 1ft tall and take pride of place on our dining room table already, he's just a widdle fiddle.

*Can plants be trendy? That doesn't sound right. I don't see them as something that should be treated as a trend, but you know what I mean. 

#MyBlogLife in Stellar magazine

Around this time last month the lovely Genevieve from Stellar asked if they could feature me as part of their #MyBlogLife series. I was excited and pretty humbled that they'd even ask, so I answered all the questions as best as I could, submitted my answers and a few photos. Everything was submitted before the Christmas holidays, so I kinda forgot about the feature [not entirely though - I'm not that bad! I was expecting it would be out next week]. So first thing this morning when I got into work my excited co-worker told me all about spying me in the current issue. Monday morning made! \o/

I shared my thoughts on decluttering, hygge, upcycling, DIY and design in general. You can check meowt on the last page of the February issue of Stellar magazine, on shelves in all main news agents now! And thank you again Genevieve for thinking of featuring me x

Little living room updates - cast your vote

Back in November while I was editing the photos I took of our new rug, the first picture I included in that post kind of made me uneasy. It was all the colours. And that end of the living room. It didn't really work anymore. There was too much burgundy, there was too much wood that didn't match and the rug made it more obvious. It all looked too thrown together and nothing worked. 

Since we're renting our apartment and are stuck with our landlords furniture [I wish I could burn it to the ground and start over trade it in for more comfortable and practical pieces], I'm forever hitting road blocks in our own home. Of the many pieces of furniture, our landlord's coffee table has been driving me up the wall. It's not the same colour as the 'wood' floors and it's quite distressed thanks to previous tenants. And I don't mean the good kind of distressed that's trendy. The bad kind. 

When Kimberly updated her vanity and then Linda updated her kitchen counters, both ingeniously using faux marble contact paper to do so, I filed that nicely in my brain [even check out my comment on Kimberly's post. Ha!]. Contact paper is beyond perfect because when we move out, I'll simply peel it off and it'll be immediately reversible. As with most things I'm a bit unsure of, I did a mock up to help me make up my mind. I edited the cat basket to black, slapped some faux marble on the coffee table, and as anyone who has updated their home will know, the design domino effect came into play so the tray on our coffee table got edited too. Many times. 

Here's what the above GIF is showing, frame by frame ...
1. Original living room as it is now
2. Cat basket edited black 
3. Coffee table marble-ised
4. Tray edited black 
5. Tray edited burgundy
6. Tray edited viridian
7. Tray edited pink [for the hell of it]

And to think, this was all done without disturbing Juniper in the slightest.

Here's where I need your help. Genuinely. Tell me what you think. Marble? Yes or no? A solid colour coffee table instead? And what colour tray should I go with? Or just leave it all alone? Srsly. I'll be thinking about this one for a while, but a change is defo going to happen. At the moment I'm going for the black basket + marbled table + black tray. But nothing's set in stone. Or faux marble. 
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