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It’s that time of year- turkey and sweet potatoes and pecan pie! Before our family Thanksgiving, I wanted to have our friends over for a Friendsgiving and celebrate the friendships we’re so lucky to have. I love hosting, and I love decorating my house for parties— especially the dining room table.

Pretty tablescapes are one of my favorite things and I’m constantly finding inspiration on Pinterest or in magazines of how I want my table to look for different events. For this year’s Friendsgiving, I wanted a table with a lot of natural elements like greenery and lit candles. I pulled some inspo from one of may favorite bloggers Living With Landyn, if you want to check out her gorgeous table!

I also didn’t want to spend a lot of money on table decorations, so was able to be a little thrifty and come up with some inexpensive ways to make this dinner table pop.

table, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving table, tablescape, Southern Style Diaries The lanterns were actually used at my wedding on top of the fireplace mantle, and I got them from an older sorority sister who used them at her wedding. They’ve been through a lot! I used little battery-powered votive candles inside, because our venue was a wooden horse barn and we couldn’t have real flames. I left those little guys in there and just switched them on. 

The real candles were unscented, so we didn’t have an overpowering smell on top of the cooking in the kitchen. I got a set of 20 of these small, white candles from Amazon for $10.99 and I know I can use them at tons of different parties we have! I lit them at 4 p.m. and they burned until my husband blew them out around 10 p.m. They’re surprisingly good quality!

      

The two little pumpkins are porcelain and from Target’s dollar section. Honestly I would have preferred the real, small pumpkins but Target didn’t have any and I definitely didn’t feel like going to another store…

The greenery is clipped from my mom’s garden. There is no need to buy greenery if you, your family, or your neighbor has a garden! You can clip several stems of greenery off a tree or bush and the tree looks no different. Plus, its free! (just make sure you ask first!) I tried to get a variety of leaves and stems, but I focused on laying the flat magnolia leaves across the table and then adding in the spruces in the more bald areas.

 

 

The stone and copper coasters were both gifts- the copper a wedding gift and the stone a Christmas gift from years ago. Here are some similar options for both!

Do you like setting up a pretty table, or are you more a grab-and-go kind of family? Let me know if you try this look!

Happy Thanksgiving/ Friendsgiving y’all!

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One thing my wedding registry— and my house— is full of is rugs.

Lots of colorful, interesting rugs always makes a house feel like a home to me. My parents’ house is absolutely packed with Turkish and Persian rugs. I grew up going to flea markets and antique stores with my mom, hunting for the best deal on an authentic piece.

While our budget isn’t exactly friendly to the authentic Turkish rugs right now, I am all about stocking up on ones that are identical to them without the hefty price tag! I think these rugs can totally transform a room with little effort, and also helps protect your floors from muddy paws and coffee spills (guilty!).

Our floors also could use refinishing, but that’s definitely more of an investment than we’re planning to make at this point. Until then, some strategically placed rugs is more than perfect!

Also what I love is when you get tired of it in one spot, you can move it across the house to totally change another room. It’s like a home redo without the money.

rugs, Ivana Hrynkiw, Southern Style Diaries

Lucky for me, my Arabic fiance is ALL about a good rug and actually enjoys hunting for them! One of my favorite memories is being with my mom and Mitri at a flea market in New York when my mom found an amazing Oushak rug, and Mit had to carry it all the way back to our hotel in Midtown. I don’t think he’s as fond of this memory though…

Where to buy

Some of my favorite places to shop for affordable rugs are HomeGoods and TJ Maxx, flea markets, and off-the-beaten path antique stores. I’ve also found some great sites recently I love to keep my eyes on—  jossandmain.com, luluandgeorgia.com, and appleandoaknash.com.

I’m linking some of my favorites below so you can check them out, and maybe you’ll become obsessed too!

Tan and pink rug: Great for the dining room!

Purple and red runner: I would use this going from our dining room into a little side room. We usually close that area off, but I wouldn’t with a runner like this!

Pink and orange rug: If you have a large bathroom, this would be amazing. It wouldn’t fit in mine, but I could use it in my office/makeup room where I usually get ready.

Multicolor red rug: To me, this is kind of a standard Turkish-lookalike rug. Great for the living room or bedroom! And, this is from the Joanna Gaines line at BBB, which my registry is full of.

Gold and pink rug: This beauty would be amazing in a front entry room, or mudroom as the kids call it these days. I have a front table I would love to use this underneath. The light colors are so welcoming!

White and yellow rug: I have nothing like this white and yellow rug, and I am obsessed with it. It would look great in a bedroom or in a room that doesn’t get enough natural light… those light colors would fool everyone into thinking you had tons of windows.

Blue area rug: This guy is huge, making it a great piece for the den or living room. It would be awesome if you had a neutral-toned couch and a glass coffee table, because the rug would be the star of the show.

Pink and yellow rug: I would use this smaller rug at the top of the stairs, leading into the kitchen, or in the space before our bathroom door. Rugs like this are so versatile, and when you get tired of it somewhere you can just move it!

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Spring is here, and nothing gets me more in the mood for warm weather than cute tanks, shorts, and swim suits. The problem is when you have accumulated so much junk in your closet that you can’t even see what you own!

To me, getting your closet in check is the main purpose of spring cleaning. I recently had a closet purge and I have felt so good about it every day since! Now, I can finally see what I own without having to dig for a certain shirt, and I know where each type of clothing is. I also color-coordinated my hanging clothes, which makes getting dressed for work so much easier!

Having a clean closet this spring has made me so happy, and I know it will make you happy too.

Here are my top 5 tips for cleaning your closet! Happy cleaning! 

Ivana Hrynkiw, closet, spring cleaning

Baskets are closet cleaning’s best friend

I know I say this a lot, but baskets are life, ya’ll! I bought five matching square wicker baskets from Target when I started my closet purge. They don’t have to match if you don’t care, but make sure they have some sort of handle so you can easily pull them out and see what’s in there! I also have separate baskets for my boots, my flip flops, and my bathing suits.
Keep in mind that variety stores like HomeGoods or Tuesday Morning always have tons of baskets, and will probably be more affordable. I just didn’t have one of those stores near me when I got the itch to spring clean my closet, so Target was my saving grace.

Trash versus donate versus keep

This is the part everyone hates, but its the most necessary part! Maybe you don’t realize it, but there are so many things in your closet you don’t wear anymore or probably even have broken zippers. If you keep stuffing these things in the back of your closet, either vowing to wear it or planning to get it fixed (but never do), it’s time for it to go. Remember, not every thing you don’t want is suitable to donate! Anything that’s broken, badly stained, or has holes in it, throw it in the trash. For me, the easiest way to differentiate these was to have three piles on my bed, and toss articles of clothing in each as I decided.

Sort, sort, sort

For me, this was a vital step. I sorted tank tops from short sleeve shirts and put them in separate baskets. I also separated t-shirts I sleep in from t-shirts I work out in, and put them different places. This helps me every morning to quickly grab the type of shirt I want without messing up every top in my closet!

You don’t need 17 gray sweaters

Again, this is a hard one and goes back to the donating versus keep step. As you’re sorting and putting everything in its new home, remember that you probably don’t need several different types of the exact same thing. A tan cardigan is a tan cardigan— you only need one. This is definitely how my closet gets overstuffed in the first place, because it’s so hard to resist! There’s nothing wrong with having several white t-shirts or a few black camisoles, but something that isn’t a staple doesn’t need to come in multiples. (No, jeans don’t count. I can’t stop myself on that one)

Find a system that works for you

Everyone is different, and everyone has a different vision for their dream closet. If you want everything hanging, find a way to install a second or third hanging rod or buy a standing rack to keep in your bedroom. I like to have some things folded, which is where my baskets came in handy. And, I HATE having pants hung so I keep mine on a separate shelf where they are easily accessible. My point is, find what works for you and stick to that! If you’re more comfortable hanging your shirts, then you’re more likely to do it… which in turn keeps your closet from looking like a hurricane hit.

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own.

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If you’re planning a wedding, you know your registry is one of the most fun things to think about.

We haven’t officially registered yet (fingers crossed we’re going tomorrow!) but we have a list of things we know we want so the process can go a little bit smoother and we don’t go sticker crazy with things we don’t need or have room for. We’re planning on registering at Bed Bath and Beyond, Macy’s, and either William Sonoma or Amazon. Haven’t quite nailed down that third one!

Here is a list of the top things I can’t wait to register for! If you’ve gotten married recently, what did you register for and what has ended up being the most useful thing you received?

Southern Style Diaries, registry, Ivana Hrynkiw1. AERIN Sea Blue Floral Salad Plates

Blue and white china is my FAVORITE china, and I think it looks great in a fancy situation or for a casual dinner party. There is so much you can do with this set and these colors, and I think it would look so pretty in our cabinets! Now, I just need a glass cabinet for them…

2. FirsTime Shiplap Wall Clock in White

The farmhouse obsession strikes again! I love shiplap, especially in this color combination. Wall clocks are the perfect combination of function and style– I have one in the kitchen, and we used to have a big one in the dining room, but it fell and we never replaced it. I think this would look so cute over our dining room table, and go so well with the wood detail on those walls!

3. Lucky Brand Embroidered Ikat Comforter Set

Bedding is something we always need (hello, sleeping with two dogs) and this cute Lucky Brand set is one of my favorites. I love white bedding, but the black detailing on this set won’t show as much dirt as a plain white comforter would. Also, the pattern is interesting without being overwhelming… which means I don’t have to redecorate our entire room to make this work!

4. OXO Stainless Steel Salad Spinner

This is the one thing my fiance wanted on our registry, so I don’t think I have much choice about including it. But, these are super helpful for mixing together a big salad and dressing so you can stick it in the fridge and eat on it for several days.

5. Fiesta Dancing Lady Cookie Jar

Ya’ll already know I have a Fiesta obsession, which you can read more about here. But, I don’t have this fancy cookie jar and I think I need it in my life. To be honest, I’m not sure if this is a typical registry item… but I’m going for it.

6. Magnolia Home Lucca Area Rug in Terracotta/Ivory

The line is by Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper, and the farmhouse look is my obsession, so this is a perfect line for me! I love rugs like this, especially to give a pop of character to an otherwise plain room. I want this rug in our bedroom underneath the bed, and I’m already visualizing it with the bedding mentioned above! Plus, I think most women will be excited to see her line on our registry so they can browse for themselves, too.

7. Philips TurboStar Digital Air Fryer

No words for this one. I have wanted one of these since I saw Living With Landyn (check out her blog if you never have!) use it in her Instagram stories, because she literally took everything in her kitchen and fried it. Being a southern girl, ya’ll know I love fried everrrrything, so this is exactly the kitchen gadget I need. Fried okra and fried Oreos are first on my list.
This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own
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I love the holiday season for so many reasons, and one of my favorite things is shopping for that perfect gift for my friends and family! Nowadays, there are so many products shoved in our faces that sometimes it’s tough to figure out what the best gifts really are. I put together a gift guide of some of my favorite things to get for Christmas, so maybe it will help you figure out what to buy that special someone (or to ask Santa for!)

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping Season to all, and to all a good night! 

Shop the gift guide

1- Mou Eskimo Sheepskin Winter Boot

I am slightly obsessed with these boots! The only thing I don’t love is the price point, so I’m working to find dupes on Amazon or a gently used pair on eBay. But, in a perfect world, I would have ordered these babies yesterday. A great gift for any woman is always a good pair of fuzzy slippers or comfy boots!

2- InkJoy Pens & Cambridge Notebooks
There is nothing I need more in life, or love, more than pens and a cute notebook to write in! Both my day job and this blog require lots of writing, and I am a person that would much rather write things down on paper than electronically.

3- Apple Watch

Truth, I asked my daddy for a gold Apple Watch with a pink band… I have a problem. But, everyone and their mother has an iWatch these days! I know, because my mom has one.

4- Nike Pro Warm Dri-FIT Leggings

Most of my days consist of going to work, to the gym, and home. If its not work clothes or gym clothes, I don’t need it! I have several pairs of exercise shorts, but I only have a few pairs of leggings that I rotate during the winter months for my workouts. I’m sure my trainers and my workout friends would really appreciate a few new, clean leggings.

5- Target’s Animal Print Design Faux Fur Throw

Every year I ask for a fuzzy blanket. I have never regretted it, and she won’t either.

6- Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette

I have fought the crowd so hard on this palette, but I’m close to breaking. It is just SO gorgeous! And, word on the street is, the colors are beautifully pigmented and have minimal fallout. Every beauty guru either wants this product, or already has it. Ya’ll know I love a good bargain though, and I have heard this Wet N Wild version in “Rose in the Air” is a complete dupe!

7- Copper Measuring Spoons

I have copper pots, an ice bucket, measuring cups, pans, you name it. They look beautiful hanging on my kitchen wall, and they’re useful too! The only thing I’m missing is copper measuring spoons… meaning I may have to buy these for myself.

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own. Some links may be affiliate links, meaning I could earn a percentage from your purchase.

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IKEA is a massive, amazing, headache. It just is, and there is no other way to describe it. There are millions of products that the store has you thinking you need (you don’t) but also several that you do need… and you end up buying a combination of both. Its just the way the world of IKEA works.

In the last several years of trying to get our house in order, we’ve made several IKEA trips. We’ve bought furniture (some great pieces we still have, others that fell apart in months) and décor, and I think overall IKEA has some really good products– and deals– if you can spot them in the madness.

Here are some of my favorite things we’ve bought at IKEA over the years that have stuck with us, and why we love them so much!

LACK tables

The LACK tables are one of IKEA’s best sellers, and for good reason. These tables are crazy inexpensive, yet totally versatile and so easy to put together! You can literally use these tables for anything– they’re great as end tables or small décor tables especially. I think we have four in the house, but don’t quote me.

IKEA, furniture, home, decor

The LACK tables come in several colors and sizes, but all of ours are black. Mine pictured here has a small tablecloth over it, but the top is a matte black wood finish.

I should warn you that they seem to scratch easier than other wood tables, but for $10 its completely worth it, and I can’t say totally unexpected.

Kitchen rods

The IKEA Grundtal kitchen rods were one of our first purchases from the store and definitely have been our favorite. We have shorter and longer ones, and also a spice rack and bucket that attach to the rods with hooks. If you buy these rods, buy more hooks than you think you need! I promise! We had to go back twice for more hooks.

As for the spice rack and utensil bucket, they are amazing. There are several different attachments for these rods, so you can make these work depending on your needs. (See the entire series here)

We also got the magnetic knife rack to go with our rods, and it worked perfectly for our situation. It’s useful, the magnets are super strong, and it also keeps our scissors in a handy spot!

Both the rods and knife racks are lifesavers for us, because we don’t have much counter space to store these things. I also think the rods transformed our kitchen to the point where everyone who walks in the kitchen says something about our cool, industrial, and insanely useful wall.

P.S.–Our knives are from IKEA too, and we have adored them.

Pillows and pillow covers

At the very end of the home goods department in IKEA, there is a goldmine. That goldmine is the pillow section.

There are (what seems like) millions of sizes of pillow stuffing, and dozens of pillow covers to go with the stuffing. When I last visited IKEA I had recently bought several really cool pillow covers from a local store, but I needed stuffing. You can buy them at a craft store, but IKEA sells them much cheaper.

While I went to the pillow section solely for the stuffing, I must admit I bought a cover. It’s a white, fleece case with a huge penguin graphic. I have a problem, but I do not regret it. There are tons of cute ones though, like this one and this one too.

Fake plants

I know this sounds like a ridiculous one, but I promise it’s not. IKEA’s artificial plants are insanely real looking, to the point where I spent 10 minutes touching them the first time we went, trying to decide if they were fake. Disclaimer: Some are real!

I got three plants, a rod to hook them on (similar to the kitchen ones) and matching white tin buckets. This little set is hanging in the bathroom– I love small plants and succulents in bathrooms, but I am so bad about remembering to take care of them! This solves that problem, and I think the set looks perfect against the sea blue wall.

There are dozens of size and types of IKEA’s fake plants, and also tons of different display options.

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own.

 

 

 

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If your house is at all like mine, there isn’t a whole lot of storage space. I also really hate (visible) clutter, so it can be hard to figure out where things should belong. When I started moving things from my parent’s house to my fiancés, I quickly realized what a lifesaver cute storage options really are.

There are millions of variations of the options below, but you can really take these ideas and make them your own! For example, I have some wooden crates I bought for $6 at a local hardware store– I’m going to stain them to match our bed frame and use them to store sheets. It just depends on your style and needs, but something similar to options can work for anyone.

I’ve listed and linked below some of my favorite storage options and how I use them. I hope this list gives you some inspiration, and let me know how you use them!

home, storage, home storage

1. Wicker basket: I have an addiction to baskets like these, and I have them all over the house. In the closet, in the pantry, under the sink… I love them. You can usually find baskets in the same color but in different shapes and sizes at T.J. Maxx or HomeGoods, and then you can create unity while getting the different sizes you need to hold your stuff. (Buy the one pictured here)

2. Marble lazy Susan: While most people think lazy Susan’s are only for the kitchen (which they are great for!), they can actually be used for so many things. A pretty marble one can be used for things like nail polish or jewelry holders, while you can keep the wooden one in the kitchen. (Buy the one pictured here)

3. Bamboo shoe rack: I have two of these racks and I probably could use another. I use them for my heels, Mit’s shoes, and even hats! They stack, too, which is great for shoe hoarders like me. (Buy the one pictured here)

4. Painted jars: I bought a can of rose gold metallic spray paint at Walmart and I’ve never looked back. It takes 5 minutes to spray a few Mason jars (or plain glass jars from the dollar store), but they look like you paid high-dollar for them at a boutique. I use mine for makeup storage (check that out here!) but you can also use them for pens if you have an office.

5. Wooden cart: This is something I showed in my office room makeover too, and I hadn’t even taken the tag off of it in the picture! I loved it so much, I just loaded everything in it without even ripping off that pesky price tag. Obviously, I kept it. I use my cart for makeup storage (again) and for my camera gear. Use it in the bathroom for washcloths and essentials, or try it if you have a walk-in closet for socks and tights.  (Buy the one pictured here)

6. Trunk: In my parents’ house, at my college apartment, and now, I have always had a trunk at the foot of my bed. As a kid, it held my stuffed animals and toys. In college, it held books. Now, it is used for sheets and duvet covers. I love the idea of a trunk at the foot of the bed, and I think its safe to say I will always have one. Literally, throw anything you need in there! (Buy the one pictured here)

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own

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You always want the places in your house that you’re in most often to look, and feel, the best. My favorite spots in our house are where we gather with our friends and families– in the kitchen, the dining room, and the living room. But, there’s one more room I spend a majority of my time… my record room and office. And recently, I got the urge to give that room a makeover.

When we first got settled, we bought a record player and put it in a small room down the hallway. We bought great records, and turned up the volume so we could hear it down the hall. Those were great memories— but eventually, we used that room for something else (a closet) and moved the records, and I combined that room with my sudo-office.

I’m slightly embarrassed to show these before pictures… but one thing led to another and this mess just got out of control!

BEFORE

I knew something had to give. So, I went to HomeGoods and the Dollar Tree and went to work.

Unfortunately, you have to make a mess to organize. First, I took everything out and laid it on the desk. I did a huge clean out, and threw away anything that was old or I didn’t use.

(I’m sorry for the dark pictures. I got the urge to start this makeover in the middle of the night… )
office makeover, office, home, decor

After

Then, the fun part.  After a day of work, I did it!

I knew I needed several plastic containers to organize eye makeup, foundation, lipsticks, etc. I bought a few in different shapes and sizes to see what worked best, and to keep things a little different.

I had painted these mason jars copper a few years back for my brushes, but they were just too big. I went to the Dollar Tree and bought glass marbles, poured them in the jars to fill the bottoms, and then stuck my brushes in. Viola!

I also bought this rustic little cart, where I put some the containers to keep everything more organized. I also have a few wicker baskets, and I think it looks really cool combined with the plastic containers and my white desk. The desk? IKEA! 

The jewelry holders are both from HomeGoods and also things I had at my parents’ house. The cute, boho rug is also from HomeGoods. Can you tell I’m obsessed?

And that cool green glass bottle? The Dollar Tree!

I hope this post helps you get some ideas to organize your office or desk. If it does, please let me know or send me pictures of your progress. As always, thanks for reading the Southern Style Diaries.

xoxo–

Ivana

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own

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Our closet is a mess. It’s a tiny, dark room that requires me to stand on a step stool anytime I walk in there. Recently, my fiancé and I decided that we were taking drastic action… and making a walk-in closet. Now, we couldn’t really build one on or expand the current closet (nor could I afford to) so we looked into other options.

He talked to a professional company about designing one, but that would cost about $2,000… which isn’t happening. After some pushing from me, we went to Lowe’s and bought an Allen and Roth closet system that we designed to meet our needs and measurements.

Disclaimer: We aren’t finished with the project yet, but I was so excited I couldn’t wait to share! Check back in the next week or so for an update! 

Getting started with your walk-in

I didn’t plan to buy anything when we went into Lowe’s.

But, when we saw the closet aisle, I was hooked. While several brands had similar closet systems, we were drawn to Allen and Roth because of the rich finish of their wood, the way the pieces were very customizable, and their prices.

For reference, everything we purchased was in the color Java.

The area we planned to make into our walk-in closet is a small room on the second floor, right across from our bedroom and bathroom. The location and size made it perfect for a closet. The room was not being used for anything, either, so there was really nothing to be moved out!

how we did it

For our room, and disastrous plaster walls, we didn’t want anything that had to be mounted. We picked the Ventilated Wood Closet Tower ($159) to be our focal point.

Then, we chose two 6-foot Ventilated Wood Closet Shelves ($69.98 each) to use next to the tower for more folded items or baskets. For our hanging clothes, we used the hooks that came with the shelves and purchased expandable poles ($13.98) to insert in the hooks and create racks.

As installation goes, we plan to put one of the shelf/rack combos a few inches above the top of the closet tower, because the pole hangs about one inch below the shelf. We will add the other about midway up the tower.

For a smaller wall, we purchased another Ventilated Wood Closet Shelf ($49.98)— but this time in the 4-foot option. We plan to hang that on a smaller wall that is virtually useless for anything else.

Last but not least, we decided on the Ladder Shelf Bookcase ($119) to give us a little more storage, but also because it looks so cute!

overall thoughts with our new walk-in closet

I was insanely pleased with what Allen and Roth had to offer in terms of a walk-in closet & just home organization in general. With all of the furniture we bought, and the nails/anchors we needed for plaster walls, we walked out of the store with spending just over $500. In comparison with other options, I think we really got the best bang for our buck!

Everything was also very well labeled, which made the putting together process not as bad as I expected. All we have to do now is finish hanging the shelves!

I think were going to really enjoy our new walk-in closet! If you have a spare room, I highly suggest you build it into something you will use and enjoy everyday. Let me know if you do, or if you try any of these products!

where to buy products

Everything in this post is from Lowe’s in the home organization aisle. Additionally, everything is made by Allen and Roth and is displayed right together and all on the same aisle! (At least it was in my store). Links to purchase online, or see whats available in your store, are below.

Wood tower

6-foot shelf

4-foot shelf

Ladder shelf

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own. 

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This weekend I went a little home improvement crazy… but I got so much done! Something I have been wanting to do forever was tile the fireplace surround in our bedroom, and I finally did it. No, I had never tried tiling, but I watched dozens of YouTube videos about it and got the confidence up to try.

We planted boxwoods and sodded our front yard this weekend too, but that’s another story…

Below I will share my process and the tips I learned through the experience. It might be a pain, but you can do it!

Choose your tile

I purchased mine at Lowe’s, but you can buy tile at any home improvement center. Make sure you know what form of tile you want when you go in- do you want uniform, square tiles that you have to individually place? Or do you want tiles arranged in a pattern on a mesh backing? I opted for the second kind, because I wanted a subway tile that has a stacked look.

Knowing what style or color you’re going for before you go to buy will make it so much easier!

tile, fireplace

Plan out your tiling area

The best advice I can give you is what my mom told me: Buy a big piece of cardboard and draw out the area you are planning to tile. Use the exact measurements and outline your area with sharpie, so you can see the edges while you’re laying out your pieces.

Now, lay down your tile! Figure out what pieces need to go where and which ones are going to have to be cut (if any). If you have to cut a few pieces, get a ruler and mark the spot that needs to be cut. I used pencil, but you can use sharpie on the back of the tile too.

While this part is the most tedious of the entire tiling process, I swear to you it’s worth it. You can play around and work out the kinks before it becomes a disaster.

TIP: If you buy your tile at Lowe’s, they will cut it for 25 cents a piece. All together, I got everything I needed cut for under $4, and I had to cut quite a bit. If you have to cut it yourself, you’ll need a wet saw or a tile cutter—- you need a wet saw, which is more expensive, if your tiles are natural stones like marble or granite, otherwise the tile cutter should be fine.

Lay the tile

Clean your surface, clean your surface, clean your surface! I used a vinegar mixture, but any sort of degreaser works fine. Now you’re ready to go!

Now, you can use mortar to lay the tile, but I found that to be a overkill for the small area I was working on. I used adhesive mats by Musselbound- I cut the shape I needed and stuck it to my surface, and then peeled the label off the front to stick my tile. It was the easiest part of the whole process. The sheets come in different sizes and can be cut to fit any area. I highly recommend it!

Now comes the tile. Make sure you know what pieces go where (thanks to your handy layout!) and start placing on the sticky mat (or mortar if you choose to go that route). Lay your tile from the bottom up and start every section from the bottom! A Lowe’s employee told me that, and it made a world of difference. Tiling is different for everyone because of your space, but I think that’s a pretty good rule of thumb.

My tiles were on a mesh backing, which was helpful because I could lay a sheet of 5 or so but also pull off one if I didn’t have space for it.

thumb_IMG_2556_1024thumb_IMG_2557_1024

Grout

If you used your new BFF adhesive mats, then you don’t have to wait to begin the grouting process. This is unfortunately much messier than I imagined, forewarning.

When you purchase grout, you can buy the separate products to mix together or you can buy it premixed. While premixed came out to be a little pricier, I went with that so I didn’t have to buy an electric mixer and go through the headache of mixing. The premixed comes in different colors, too- I bought white. You’ll also need a few sponges, something to spread with (I used a plastic putty knife) and a grout float.

Here we go! As scary as it is, you just kind of have to do it. I used my putty knife to spread grout on the end of my flout, and started rubbing it across the tiles diagonally, pushing it into the spaces between tiles. Safe bet that this will take longer than you planned for.

After each section, wipe down the tiles with a wet sponge. Try not to wait more than 10 minutes before wiping down an area, or the grout gets stuck on like glue. I learned that the hard way.

Once you’re finished, feel free to give it another wipe down with a clean, damp sponge. (I got the grout all over my fireplace cover, but I am planning to paint it anyway so I wasn’t too concerned.)

You’re finished!

Ah! While it’s a time consuming and labor intensive process, tiling was definitely not the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I bought my tile and planned it out on Thursday, cut it and laid it on Friday, and grouted Saturday. It’s the perfect weekend project, and won’t break your bank! For an idea, here is an approximate value of what the project cost me. It was SO worth it for me, because the fireplace is something I see every day and the tile makes me feel like my home is so much more put together.

$80 tile, $4 cutting, $49 premixed grout, $6 float= about $140

Before:

After:

Happy tiling!  

This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own

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