Airbnb can be a great source of additional income, and if you get the strategy right, you can make a great business from it. In this 5 part blog series, we’ll walk through our top… More
I love the coziness Boho style brings to an outdoor space. With its almost tropical feel, it can bring the vacation vibe to your patio or screen porch without you ever having to leave home. Let’s face it, who isn’t dreaming of a tropical beach vacation right now?
Boho style isn’t as easy as it looks though, while it may look almost thrown together, it’s actually quite a difficult style to get right. I recently decorated our screen porch in this style – well my muted version of it – and here are my 5 styling secrets to creating a beautiful Boho outdoor space.
Secret No.1: Boho Vintage Furniture
Boho style shouldn’t look new and squeaky clean, it’s meant to look well-worn and lived in, and most importantly comfortable. Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Craigslist or your local thrift store are fantastic places to find second-hand treasures. Look for things made of wicker, cane, leather and wood that are well-loved, not only will they look instantly vintage, but they’ll also save you some precious pennies. I found this vintage wicker bar cart from Facebook Marketplace for just $38! If you can’t resist buying new, I also bought these vintage looking wicker garden stools from Kohl’s recently for just $80 in the sale.
Secret No. 2: Boho Colors
True Bohemian style embraces color, lots of it. Clashing patterns, clashing colors, an array of tassels and embroidery, like this vibrant Boho patio space by Jungalow. If you’ve seen any of my designs, you’ll know I don’t usually use a lot of color, mainly because I change my mind so often. I prefer to use muted color palettes or monochrome designs, however you can still achieve the Boho look with a paired down palette. In this design I chose natural wood, off-white and accented it with green. For some of the green accents I bought this ceramic garden stool also at Kohl’s in the sale for just $70.
Secret No.3: Boho Fabrics
You’ll see a lot of fabric used in Boho style outdoor spaces. I love the tulle curtains in this design by Hammock Town, it creates an enclosed cozy space which would otherwise be wide open to the rest of the yard. I did a similar thing with our screen porch using Lill curtains from IKEA costing just $4.99 per pair.
Try also using plenty of rugs, throws and cushions too. Layer them on top of eachother to get a cozy lived in feel.
Secret No.4: Boho Plants
Boho style tends to incorporate lots of greenery from plants, large and small. Again, use lots of them! If you’re lucky enough to live in a climate where tropical plants will grow year-round, then opt for plants like Split Philodendron, Birds of Paradise, Banana Leaf or Palms, like this beautiful patio from Magnolia Lane. If you live in a place with harsh winters like Minnesota, or you’re just not that green fingered, then opt for artificial plants. There are some great options out there, and again check out the second-hand options first. I bought this Ficus tree for just $15 off Facebook Marketplace.
Secret No.5: Boho Lighting
To make an outdoor space feel cozy and inviting after dark, think about lighting. Candles, lanterns, festoon lights and fairy lights add a cozy warm vibe to an outdoor space. I recently bought some festoon lights from Amazon for our outdoor patio area. We still have to finish laying the new deck boards before I can put them up, but stay tuned for a blog post on that shortly, I can’t wait!
This Boho patio looks great at night with the wicker lanterns and paper lanterns hanging from the tree. Get creative with the lighting, and make your Boho outdoor space feel magical and romantic.
I hope your enjoyed this week’s tips for creating a beautiful outdoor Boho style space. Even though many of us can’t get to a beach for a vacation at the moment, we can still enjoy some rest and relaxation in a warm and cozy tropical inspired getaway in our own backyards. If you’d like to learn more about creating the perfect outdoor space, check out my blog Using Color and Texture to Bring the Inside Out.
I’d love to see the Boho style spaces you create, tag me @britflipper on Instagram.
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Thanks and until next time,
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You may have wondered how to add some interest to your room when you sit staring at those bland four walls. You could add art, which is a great idea, or you could create more of an impact with an accent wall. However, accent walls can be expensive, and difficult to install. So what are the best options for DIY accent walls? I think it comes down to three basic options: wood, paint and wallpaper.
Why add and accent wall?
First of all, why should you add an accent wall? An accent wall helps create interest and a visual focal point. They can add a pop of color to a room, or create added texture. They’re a great option for the wall behind the bed in a bedroom, behind a freestanding tub in the bathroom, or on fireplace walls in living rooms. They draw the eye to this part of the room and can help create balance and cohesion in a design scheme.
However a full slab of porcelain, stacked stone marble tiles or even some wooden accent walls can be very expensive to buy and install. Here are some ideas of cheaper and easier accent walls you can DIY over a weekend.
Cost: $-$$ / Ease of installation: Easy – medium
Wood accent walls can be installed pretty easily, and for low cost. There are so many different looks you can create with wood from traditional farmhouse white shiplap, to a more rustic barnwood look, to modern slat wall designs. The possibilities are endless. Here are some of my favorite ideas to inspire you.
Shiplap is a great traditional staple, but why not mix it up a bit and paint it black for a more modern feel like this one by A House We Built.
You can get creative with it too and create patterns with strips of wood like this stunning design by Madsen Remodeling.
A personal favorite of mine is this accent wall by Katie Kurtz of Adorned Homes. I love the warm color of the wood and the herringbone design adds interest.
Or for a more modern look, I love (correction, I’m obsessed) with slat walls. They add so much interest and texture, and make your home look like it was created by an Architect. Here’s a really easy and affordable how to guide to creating one by Simply Aligned Home.
Cost: $ / Ease of installation: Easy – medium
Painting a wall is probably the easiest way to add a DIY accent wall. All it takes is paint, tape, a roller, a paint brush and a steady hand! It’s also probably the cheapest way of adding an accent wall, as it’ll probably cost you less than $100, and only take a few hours, depending on what you do. Here are some creative ideas that you can try.
If you have a very steady hand and an artistic eye, why not try this spectacular painted accent wall by My Style Vita.
If painting an an entire wall by hand is too daunting of a prospect, try using a stencil to create an interesting design like this one by The Tattered Pew.
Or another easy option would be to use painters tape to map out a design. This one by Lolly Jane is super easy and looks fab!
Or for the easiest way to add an accent wall, just simply paint one wall a different color. You can read my tips on how to do this here.
Cost: $-$$$ / Ease of installation: Medium – difficult
I… am… addicted… to… wallpaper… There I’ve said it. I love the stuff, can’t get enough of it! I could literally write an entire blog on wallpaper, but today I’ll spare you. I deliberated about whether to include it in the ‘cheap and easy accent walls’ list though, as I personally have never tried to apply traditional wallpaper myself, as I’ve always thought it looks quite tricky. However friends have told me that it is in fact easy. So I tried my hand at a vinyl mural wallpaper that we had custom made for us, and well, you can read how that went here. However, if you are handy at installing wallpapers, here are a few of my favorites.
It’s important to note that wallpapers can be quite pricey, so use them sparingly on a smaller wall ideally. They make great accent walls for downstairs toilets or other small rooms like this one by Paige Pierce Design. She used Tibet by Clarence House Wallpapers.
We used a wallpaper accent wall in our kitchen. I love this wallpaper by Harlequin in Limosa pattern in Mustard / Charcoal / Stone color way. I color matched the background color of the wallpaper to the paint we used on the rest of the walls to make it look like a hand painted mural.
Or for something a little more modern, Omara is an affordable peel and stick wallpaper by Wayfair.
I could go on, and on, and… There are literally thousands of wallpaper designs out there. Emily Henderson does a great job in this blog rounding up the best wallpaper designs out there, and is a good place to start your search.
I hope you found this post inspiring and motivating to try your own DIY accent walls. With all this time at home, what are you waiting for!?
Thanks, and until next time.
If you’re like me, you’ve got to have a house project on the go at any one time. I’m literally itching to get started on the next as soon as I complete the last! This week I’ll be sharing ideas of small Quarantine DIY Projects you can do with paint. This one focusses on how to paint an easy feature wall.
Tools You Will Need
This is a super simple DIY project, that I dare even the most inexperienced DIY-er to do!
- Paint roller and tray
- Paint brush (I’d recommend a 1″ angled brush)
- Painters tape
- Dust sheets
- Spackling, fine sandpaper (I’d recommend 180 or 220 grit) and a spatula – only if the wall needs repair before painting
It’ll probably take you 1-2 hours to complete, depending on the size of your wall and your level of experience. Afterwards you’ll have a transformed room for less than $100! Worth a try right!?
For my feature wall paint project, I used the spare bedroom. These rooms have been somewhat neglected since we moved in. A lick of paint and the furniture from our old house and they were good to go. We kept the Golden Oak windows and trim, but after watching countless hours of HGTV, I’ve come to realize that white is definitely the way to go with trim. So we also replaced it during this mini-makeover.
So that the wall decoration didn’t get lost on the dark wall, I chose to swap the existing decor for some white trophies which were unused from another part of the house. They definitely stand out on the dark wall.
Step by Step Guide to Painting a Feature Wall
Here are 7 simple steps on how to paint a feature wall. You can save this to your Pinterest board to find it easily in future.
I’ve also compiled a handy Pinterest board of painting pro tips. You can check it out by clicking on the Pinterest link to my profile or here.
I’d love to see your mini-makeovers of easy painted feature walls. Share them with me in the comments below or on social.
Home gyms tend to accumulate many pieces of equipment, and don’t always have the space for furniture to store them in. In addition home gym storage equipment can also look a bit unsightly in a residential setting. To keep your home gym looking stylish and organized, here’s my round-up of the best practical yet stylish home gym storage ideas available at Amazon.com.
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Wall Storage Basket
This wall storage basket adds some rustic charm to your home gym, while being super practical. It comes in four sizes and three different colors, and is great for storing small items to keep your home gym looking clean and tidy. Priced between $9 to 18 each, they’re an affordable and stylish way to bust the clutter in your home gym.
Yoga Mat Storage
One item you may have in your home gym is a yoga mat for floor exercises, or a foam roller for warm-up or cool-down. These can be tricky to store and keep tidy, but with a wall-mounted rack like this one at just $28.99 you can keep them organized and your floors clutter free.
If you have the space, and have a lot of equipment, this storage cubby by ClosetMaid makes a great furniture option. Available in 3, 4, 6 or 9 cube options, and in four different colors – white, black walnut, dark chestnut and weathered grey, there are plenty of options to fit your space. Prices range from $63 to $165.
Fitness Band Storage
Organizing your fitness bands on the wall means they’re readily accessible and easy to find the right one. I like these individual wooden hooks, as they’re stylish and practical. Available in beech or walnut, and in different pack sizes priced from $13 to $39.
Likewise to tie in with your new wall baskets, you can also get a basket with hooks, for multi-purpose storage options. Available in bronze or industrial grey finishes from $20 to $27 each.
Dumbbells can be stored in the large furniture cubby recommended earlier. Or if you prefer to have a specific place to store them, you can opt for one of these racks specifically designed for dumbbells. The first option is $27.48 and is suitable for lighter weights. The second option from CAP Barbell is $49.99 and suitable for heavier weights.
Fitness Ball Storage
Fitness balls can be large and cumbersome to store neatly. I like this ball base for a single ball priced at $17.99 as it stops the ball rolling around while being stored. It can even be used as a stability enhancer when exercising with the ball.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my round-up of the best practical yet stylish home gym storage options available at Amazon.com. If you’re planning your own home gym, be sure to read my Step by Step Guide to Plan a Home Gym. If you enjoyed reading, please subscribe so you don’t miss out on any other tips or shopping guides.
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The final room to renovate in our 1969 Prairie style renovation was the family bathroom. It was ugly, dated and very green. For our master bathroom we took an IKEA Godmorgon vanity and did an IKEA hack on it using oak live edge. It kept the cost down, made something unique and we loved it. So it was natural to do another IKEA hack on a Godmorgon vanity in our family bathroom. This one was a little different though…
The bathroom before was very green, and very dated. It was original to the house, except for the new grey door that we hung. The toilet area had a small pony wall, which had to go. And the bath was so shallow you could never have a decent soak in a bubble bath, which we both love to do. And even though it’s a decent sized bathroom, it felt small and cramped with the oversized vanity.
The new bathroom is lighter more modern and fresh. I wanted to use very natural colors and textures and keep everything light and airy with white tile and off-white paint.
The vanity reflects the light with white high gloss from IKEA Godmorgon. To upgrade it to something unique and more luxe we added a waterfall countertop in quartz for this IKEA hack. This may sound expensive, but we chose remnants from a local store. TIP: Given that a bathroom vanity is relatively small compared to a full kitchen, it’s easy to find quartz remnants that fit. The extra waterfall sides just add that extra wow factor, and turn something everyday into something special and unique.
We chose a textured sink from Kraus to add more interest to the bathroom. It has a subtle wave pattern which ties in with the wave tiles we used in the bath niches. TIP: If you’re using all white, it’s good to add texture to add some interest, otherwise an all white room can look a little flat and boring.
The mirror adds the obligatory element of glam. If you’ve seen my other room makeovers, like the kitchen or master bathroom, you’ll know I love to add a bit of glam. I love this mirror from Lamps Plus with all the angles, it looks so glamorous yet still modern. My husband actually surprised me with it. I really wanted to buy it, but I was trying to stick to a tight budget of under $6000 for the entire bathroom renovation. I was going to buy a simple round mirror from IKEA instead, which would’ve looked good too, but definitely not as wow. The Griffin mirror at $330 is expensive, but I’m so glad we got it as it really does make a statement. (Thanks hubbie!)
We kept cost down by opting for a simple white subway tile from Lowes, and adding interest by opting for the coordinating wave tile inside the niches. We also got the floor tiles from Lowes on clearance. They were about 50c per sqft and I love the color of them. I wanted something that resembled concrete for a modern look, and these were perfect and a bargain!
The bath was from Home Depot and I love how simple it is. Most alcove bathtubs I found had some sort of shape to their panel, which I think looks old fashioned. I wanted a really simple clean modern look so opted for the Grayley bathtub by Wyndham Collection.
Another thing that’s really important to add warmth to an all-white room is to use wood tones. We added a feature wall behind the vanity in the same flooring that we used on our vacation rental. It’s 100% waterproof and can be installed vertically, so was a great option from LL Flooring.
I’m in love with the teak towel rack from Signature Hardware. This was probably the biggest splurge in the bathroom (after the mirror) as far as cost. At $168 it was definitely one of the more expensive towel racks we could’ve chosen, but the teak wood just ties everything in so nicely and adds oodles of warmth to the room and gives it a true spa-like feel. A chrome towel rack just wouldn’t have had the same effect.
I hope you enjoyed seeing the final renovation of our 1960’s Prairie style home renovation. I challenged myself to renovate this last bathroom entirely on my own (except for the plumbing) and I did it! It was so rewarding to learn how to hang, tape and skim dry wall, and how to prepare and waterproof the shower area. This renovation literally came down to the studs, which is why $6000 sounds like a lot, but that was to rebuild the entire room from scratch using professional plumbers. If you want to see how to do this yourself, stay tuned for more blog posts on that. You can subscribe to my email list so you don’t miss them.
Thanks for reading!
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If you’ve wondered why I’ve been quiet the past few months, it’s because we’ve been busy: buying, renovating and setting up a brand new vacation rental business – The Hygge Suite. It’s been a dream of mine to get into property investment for a long time, and ironically we chose 2020, the year of COVID and chaos, to jump in.
There’s a lot to learn in setting up a business of any type, including setting up a vacation rental business. We wanted to share what we learned in setting up our first vacation rental to help you by avoiding the same pitfalls.
1. Don’t underestimate how much stuff you’ll need to buy
After multiple IKEA trips and carefully stacked truck bed of stuff, it felt like we were students again, moving to university for the first time. We bought a fully furnished vacation rental, complete with furniture, knives, cork screws, and door mats. But that didn’t mean any of it was worth keeping.
It depends on the standard you want to set for your guests, and where you want to be positioned in the market. If you want to offer a budget bed for the night, then buying an existing vacation rental that’s a few years old and using the equipment it came with will probably be fine. However if you want to create a higher-end experience to generate more rental income, you’ll need to assess the condition of the existing items and take a call on whether you need to buy new.
The place we bought had been a vacation rental since the 90’s and I don’t think much had been updated since then. We wanted to create a higher-end rental that would stand out, so we ended up replacing everything, even the cork screw!
2. Careful planning
If you’re buying a vacation rental in a remote place, or even one that’s not familiar to you, this will create some challenges. We bought our vacation rental in Northern Minnesota on a ski resort, with very few stores locally, and a three hour drive from the city where we live. We quickly found out that this required a lot of pre-planning. Add to that the challenges of COVID and it creates a project management nightmare.
I highly recommend creating a project plan up front, and if you’re doing the work yourself, you’ll need to plan it down to every last detail. You don’t want to be running to the hardware store every five minutes buying that tool that you left at home. Not only does it waste time, but it also wastes money. Which brings me into my next learning tip – return on investment.
Look out for a blog in the near future on Project Planning.
3. Think like a business owner
Unless you’re buying your vacation home primarily for yourself and don’t care about the profit you make on it, you need to treat every decision you make as a business decision, i.e. what’s the return on investment.
This means you need to save money wherever you can without jeopardizing the overall look you’re trying to achieve. It’s important to understand the market you’re in and the standard of decor and amenities that’s expected. If you’re trying to match the market and everyone around you has laminate countertops, then maybe you don’t need to splash out on quartz. But if you’re trying to appeal to a more premium market, and stand out from the competition then maybe quartz would help with that.
There’s also the maintenance aspect. Quartz will likely outlast a laminate countertop as it’s scratch resistant, stain resistant and hardwearing. So you need to factor in the total cost of ownership, i.e. the upfront cost vs the replacement cost, and how long it will last.
Some questions to consider when making decisions about your rental are:
- How many nights does that take to earn back?
- Can I charge more for having this feature / amenity / upgrade?
- Does this need to be purchased new or can I buy this second hand and save some money?
- Will I be upset if this gets damaged?
- How often will I have to replace this?
- Is this something that only I want? Or that guests would enjoy too?
4. Utilize smart technology
Being remote hosts, we explored ways to manage the property remotely. One thing we did invest in was a Nest thermostat, allowing us to control the temperature of the condo from anywhere, therefore saving money. This came down to the ROI decision I was talking about. We didn’t need to change the thermostat, the old one was working perfectly fine. The $250 it cost to buy though, plus the $100 rebate from our electricity provider, and the money it will save us from turning off the HVAC when we are not at the property, means it will pay itself back within the year easily.
We also upgraded all the smoke detectors in the condo to Nest smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Not only is it required by local code, but having these detectors in every room with remote capabilities gives us peace of mind to know what’s happening at our remote rental in case of emergency.
Another thing we considered was an August smart lock. This is a remote door lock that you can change the code from anywhere, and costs about $200 to buy. We decided not to go for one, even though we love the functionality. We already have a keypad lock on our door that is easily changed by our cleaning staff each time they clean. It only takes them about a minute, so doesn’t cost us anymore in cleaning fees. So for now at least, the investment doesn’t seem worth it. We’d love to hear from more experienced hosts though to see if you think differently!
5. Try it out yourself
Something we learned from the Thanks For Visiting podcast was to try out the rental yourself before renting it to others. Even though we’d been living there through the renovations, I’d still recommend this as a great idea. Live a day in the shoes of your guests. Can you reach all the glassware? Is it easy to find the trash can liners? Do you have enough space for all your clothes? It’s the little details that count, and having a small detail not considered can mean the difference in a good vs a bad review. Even better, have some honest friends stay at your place before you launch it to the general public. That way you get someone’s fresh eyes on it that you may not have considered.
6. Invest in marketing
Another thing we learned is that even if you buy an existing vacation rental business, you’re really starting from scratch in terms of marketing. The first year is probably going to be the hardest year in terms of raising awareness of the rental, and getting people to book a property with zero reviews. We listed on Airbnb and VRBO, because the research we did via AirDNA told us that 50% of guests booked through each platform in our particular location. And that’s great, but you can’t rely solely on these platforms to get your listing seen.
I’d recommend you set up your listing on Google Business, Facebook and Instagram, and get your own website as a minimum. That way you can control your own destiny. Don’t be shy to talk about your listing on your own personal accounts to friends and family too. Word of mouth is a powerful (and free) tool that can help get your listing noticed and talked about in a potential pool of guests.
You may have to spend some money on getting noticed though – make sure you have a marketing budget. Facebook and Instagram have easy to use ad tools where you can quickly and easily set up a paid ad for a few dollars that can potentially reach thousands of potential guests. Same goes for Google AdWords too. Research keywords, start testing, and see what works.
Look out for a blog in the near future on Marketing Your Vacation Rental.
Our vacation rental business journey
We’re only two weeks into our vacation rental business journey. Our listing The Hygge Suite went live to our first guests last weekend. We bought the condo 3 1/2 months ago, and since that time it’s been a wild ride. From living like students again, camped out on an air mattress for weeks. To having to adapt our designs due to availability issues with products caused by the pandemic. One thing for sure is that we’ve learned a lot, and we’re sure there’s still so much more to learn.
Are you interested in setting up your own vacation rental business? Or listing that spare room on Airbnb? Or maybe you just did? If so, We’d love to hear about it, and what you’ve learned, or have questions about. Message us, or comment below.
Thanks for reading!
Jo & Harv
Summer doesn’t have to be over just yet. Adding a Boho style light can extend the feeling of long summer days well into the winter months. Check out my pick of the 10 best Boho lights.
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For a cheap and easy update, try this plug-in rope light from Amazon at just $12.99 for a 15ft length or $27.99 for a 27ft one. Pair with a vintage bulb and no shade for an industrial take on the Boho style (bulb not included).
If you prefer to have a shade, try this seagrass shade from Overstock for $59.49, you could even pair it with the plug-in rope light from Amazon above.
The IKEA Sinnerlig shade is probably one of the most popular bamboo shades out there, and for good reason. It’s large bold design for only $69.99 is a powerful statement piece at a very affordable cost.
This hard-wired beaded pendant light from Safavieh creates a stunning focal point. Try hanging it over a dining table or kitchen island for full effect. It’s available from Amazon at just $132.48, RRP is $401, so hurry while stocks last.
For a more impressive statement shade, this seagrass pendant shade from World Market can be paired with a plug-in pendant light to create instant impact for little effort. It’s available for $129.99.
For a more premium alternative to the plug-in rope light, this on-trend macrame plug-in pendant light from Anchor Stitch is an impactful and unique way to add Boho chic to any room. Available for $190 on Etsy complete with oversized bulb, they would look great paired either side of a bed.
This hard-wired wicker chandelier from Amazon looks great above a kitchen island in pairs, or in a set of three if you have the space. The chain can be adjusted to suit the length you want to a maximum of 30″. At $245 it’s worth the spend.
For a more modern Boho feel, the Cabo small woven pendant light from Crate & Barrel is a great option. It’s a hard-wired option with an extra long cord of 108″ and is available for $249.
If you really want to splash out the Cambria rattan pendant from Pottery Barn is a stunning option. It’s a hard-wired pendant crafted of rattan and abaca rope with an iron chain and a clear cord. At $499, it’s not cheap, but it would certainly make an impact.
For a versatile option that can be used indoors or outdoors, this Pacifica Outdoor Pendant from Serena & Lilly comes in two colors Harbor Grey or Driftwood (pictured here). It’s made of a powdercoated steel frame and weather-friendly wicker for a durable finish and is on sale now at $498 (RRP $548).
I hope you enjoyed reading this round up of the 10 Best Boho lights, if you’d like more inspiration on Boho style, check out this blog for 5 Styling Secrets For A Boho Outdoor Space.
Until next time, thanks for reading!
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