New Rug for the Hallway: Sewing 2 rugs together

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The hall has not even been on my radar as far as decorating. So many other rooms and projects were on the list before it. Our hallway is narrow and boring and the only thing I have done to change that is adding these lights, which was a nice start.

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Then one day I got an email from Joss & Main with really fun rugs and I couldn’t come up with a spot I needed a rug, except the hall. But with the no return policy I couldn’t pull the trigger. I really think the only way to tell if a rug works is to have it in your space so not being able to return is a no go for me. The idea seed was planted though and I turned into an obsessive rug runner shopper and ended up purchasing a rug similar to this one from overstock which I really liked. It added so much to the hall, was nice and thick and just so much fun. I had purchased the 12 foot rug because that is the longest they had. I thought it looked fine but Greg HATED the length. It stopped right before the hallway turned and he thought it needed to go all the way. Since he felt so strongly about it, I returned it and kept searching. I was disappointed when I realized it isn’t easy to find a colorful, fun, reasonably priced 14-15 foot runner. In Jbug’s room I had used rug tape to tape 2 rugs together and they had held up really well so I figured I could do the same for the hall. There were way more 7’ and 8’ rugs to choose from and I found this great one at overstock. They only had one in stock though so ended up ordering from ebay. I was soooo excited when I opened the rug and loved it and amazingly so did Greg. Unfortunately that excitement plummeted after I opened the second one. They didn’t match. Noooooooo!

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Hmmm, I thought maybe I could order a third rug and it would match one of them. Oh and Greg still wanted it longer so I figured I would order an 8’ this time around. On to the next hurdle, I went to open the closet door and guess what? It can’t open because the rug is too thick. Are you kidding me! By this point I am in love with the pattern of the rug and just want it somewhere in my home. I thought about Jbug’s big girl room but I didn’t have a real plan for her room yet. I also thought it may work for my closet makeover BUT with all the clothes and shoes back in the closet this crazy of a rug may just be too busy. So I am back to the hallway. Just remember where there is a WILL there is a WAY! I ordered a 3rd 8 foot rug from overstock and wished for the best. You have to just go for it sometimes, you know. Apparently this rug was not meant to be for me. The one from overstock somehow got lost and it had been the last one in stock. I ended up sending my ebay rugs back which cost WAY too much in return shipping. Then about a week or more later the overstock rug appeared on my doorstep. I had to peek just to see if it would have matched one of my original rugs. It didn’t so I was glad it was so late and declared lost because overstock then paid the return shipping. So now 4 rugs have been sent back and I have learned to only buy a rug I know I absolutely want to keep or that I can return locally. I was kind of giving up on the rug idea when I ran across these rugs on clearance at urban outfitters. We do have an urban outfitters in town so there was no risk plus free shipping over $50. I didn’t expect to like this rug as much as I do.

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It is light enough to brighten up the hall and I love the big scale print. Plus both rugs match each other AND it is thin enough for the door to open over it. Win, win. I did have to sew the 2 together which is not easily hidden on a flat weave rug but I think it turned out okay. For $39.98 I can’t really complain. To sew the two together I matched up the pattern as best I could, pinned and then just ran it through my sewing machine. I used a wide stitch since there was a lot of fabric. Next I trimmed off the excess. The patterns were a little off from each rug but I tried to match as best as I could.

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I also got a thin rug pad from rugpadusa to keep it from slipping and to protect the floor. I think it adds a lot to our hallway.The seam does bother me a little so someday when I do something about the closet door (I’m thinking sliding barn door) I will look for a thicker, plush rug where I can hind the seam. If you are in the market for a rug RugsUSA has a great selection and is having a huge labor day sale. I just ordered this one for Jbug’s big girl room for 70% off.

Here is a quick WAY before and after.

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I originally thought the hallway was too narrow for artwork but I couldn’t find anywhere else for this painting. I had it made for my husband as a wedding gift and the artist used a gloss coating. We have a lot of natural light in our home and everywhere we try to hang it there is always a huge glare across it. The hallway seems to be the only place it can actually be appreciated so for now that is where it lives. I’m trying to decide what I can add to the other wall to balance it out.  Do you think the hall is too narrow for artwork?

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Where’s Mom? How to get photos with your kids

One of my goals this year is to catch up with Jbug’s photo books. She isn’t even 3 yet so if I don’t catch up now I never will. As I was working on her first year book I realized that I am not in many pictures with her. Which is funny because she was pretty much glued to me 24/7 for the first 12 weeks of her life. She has always been a mommy’s girl and is still my constant shadow. But if you look at photos you would think she doesn’t even have a mom or maybe I work 100 hour work weeks and am never around. I think this happens to a lot of moms since we are usually the photographers of the family. Plus, I think the fancier your camera is the less likely dad is to want to use it. I have a few ideas if you find yourself missing from the pages of your family albums as well.

1. Get a tripod and a remote control
You can get a tripod or even a mini tripod for pretty cheap and the same goes for remote controls. Just make sure to get one that is compatible with your camera. You can also use the self timer on your camera if you don’t want to mess with the remote. It just makes it a little harder running back and forth and trying to get a natural, relaxed photo. Plus Jbug tends to run out of the frame after me so I have to get us both back in position before the camera clicks.

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2. Take photos that show your relationship without showing your face
Take photos of your feet next to your child’s or hands or even shadows. Get creative. There are lots of fun ways to show a bond without faces. These photos are great for splurging on canvases or large prints too because they don’t get outdated quickly as your children grow.

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3. Pass the camera to daddy
I think most husbands are more than willing to take some photos for you. You just have to ask and set up the camera so he just needs to push the button. Most guys don’t think photos are that important so I don’t think they are trying to leave us out. Just like many things- Men need it spelled out for them. TAKE MY PICTURE!

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4. Have another friend with kids take photos for you
Next time you meet up at the park with a girlfriend plan to look cute and snap some pictures of each other with your kiddos. That way you both walk away with some cute pics and help each other at the same time. I haven’t done this yet but I plan to very soon.
5. Hire a pro
Hiring a photographer is completely worth it to me to get the whole family interacting and hopefully looking like they like each other. Make sure to get poses of just you and your hubby and each parent with the kids too. Those types of photos make really nice gallery wall groupings.

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6. Most Important: Don’t be hard on yourself!
I think every woman is her worst critic. Don’t delete every photo that you feel you don’t look perfect in. Look at the interaction between you and your child and let the photo capture that memory for you. Think about what you look at when you look back at family photos of yourself as a child. Do you think “wow, mom should have turned her hips, they look huge” or “look at those double chins”. I’m guessing you don’t and you are just happy to have photos with your parents. Your children will feel the same way.

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Sorry, no posts lately. I’ve been working on a biggish project which is almost finished and I will be posting it soon.

 

Another Rub n Restore Review: Leather Westnofa ottoman

Another Rub n Restore Review: Leather Westnofa ottoman.

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I was buying some craigslist 70s dining chairs in a town about an hour or so away and decided to stop by a little thrift shop I had read about online. The shop had so many neat furniture pieces. It was packed full of furniture, 3 floors worth. Some of it was new, outlet items from Home Decorators and lots of vintage finds as well. I saw a lot of interesting pieces if only I had the basement finished or more room. The way our house is configured there just isn’t a lot of room for extra furniture pieces. Plus I am trying to be good and only drag home things I have a place for right now. Here are some of the things I wish I could have brought home.

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And here is the one thing I did. Future makeover to come!

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Honestly it is all that would fit in the SUV with my chairs. Anyway, I just forgot what the point of this post was….oh, I also saw a bentwood ottoman with a leather pad. The leather was stained and faded and was priced at $49 so I passed it up.

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But I kept thinking about it and figured out a place for it to live. I was going back to visit family a month later and decided to swing by and see if it was still there. It was so I offered $35 and happily took it home. Jbug helped carry the pad to the car and we ran across the other owner of the shop on the street. He said he was glad someone finally bought it and that he had one just like it at home, it just needed a new pad and it was by a well known designer. So besides the store owner I guess I was the only one who saw the potential in this little ottoman. Mainly because I now know how to dye leather to the color I want with Rub N Restore. Check out my desk chair I made over with Rub n Restore. It is holding up really well so far. I still had over half a bottle of the ivory left so that is how I chose my color. Plus it will go with anything. I actually did like the faded flesh colored leather but it had some gross looking stains which wouldn’t scrub off.

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The original color which I could see on the inside of the cushion was actually this cognac color. I found a pic of this ottoman online.

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That is some major fading! Anyway here is the makeover of my Westnofa Siesta ottoman. Start out by stirring the rub n restore well, then squirt a little on a damp sponge. Rub it over the piece in a thin layer and let dry. It will take quite a few layers. I think I did 7 or more. It dries really fast. I had a harder time with this piece than my office chair because the leather was soft and there were creases in the cushion. A few of the creases had a little build up and were crusty. I lightly sanded them and added another light coat. For the seams and around the buttons I found it was easiest to use a tiny paint brush.

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I used the brush to apply the final coat in areas I was having a hard time getting coverage as well. After it was all dry I applied the top coat which I had decided not to use on my office chair. The top coat made it a little more shiny than I wanted so I added another thin coat of Rub n Restore. That muted the shine and left the perfect soft satiny leather look I was after. The leather is still soft to the touch and looks new.

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It looks like leather, feels like leather and in no way looks painted. The bentwood was in great shape so I just used a little Method Wood for good polish to clean it up.

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As of now this little ottoman is going to live in my closet but it may end up in Jbug’s big girl room next to her bed. We will see if I want to give it up by then. If you want more info on Rub n Restore please see my original post which addresses nail head trim as well. So what do you think? Would you have passed up this little ottoman?

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I wanted to add some outtake photos too. This is why it sometimes takes me awhile to get projects up on the blog. As soon as I try to get some nice daylight photos someone rushes in for an impromptu photo shoot of her friends.

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She also has to “approve” each photo taken and says “AHHHHWWWW”.

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So getting these photos actually took a week and three separate attempts! The photos don’t do it justice either. It looks much better in person.

 

Succulent Planter and DIY Hanging Solar Lights

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I’m having fun adding some life to our porch this year. We have had these 3 candle holders hanging on the porch for a couple summers now. They look fine but the problem is you can pretty much never burn real candles because of the wind, plus I wouldn’t want to catch our outdoor curtains on fire (See this post to find out how to keep your curtains from blowing in the wind). I tried to use battery operated candles but it was a hassle to turn them all on and take them in during bad weather. So my candle holders just hung there empty all summer long. This year that all changed.
Let’s start with the large orb candle holder.

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I thought this would make a great succulent planter so I ran to home depot and bought some cute succulents. I planted them all and they looked cute for a short time. Then they started dying. I know I have a brown thumb but I really thought I could keep succulents alive! I’m guessing they were getting too much rain or beat up too much by the wind or the pots were too small. Obviously I have no idea why they were giving up on life. Anyway, don’t worry no plants were harmed in this project. I replanted them in a large pot and placed it under the porch where it won’t get rain. Amazingly all the plants bounced back. Maybe my thumb is more tan than brown after all.

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Actually I have to give my husband credit for saving the plants lives. After the 10th time of him telling me they were dying and needed repotted I finally did it. Notice all the other beautiful plants in the yard?

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Yeah, I have nothing to do with that.

As luck would have it I was browsing Michaels and found cute little faux succulents already potted in white planters. I think I can maintain fake plants pretty well. I hadn’t been to Michaels in a bit and was surprised to find a little section with all kinds of cute miscellaneous items for a few bucks each. The succulents came 2 to a pack and were $3 I think. They look a little fake if you are too close but they are perfect for what I needed them for. Because the planters were square they didn’t quite fit all the way down into my candle holder. To remedy this I used E600 glue to glue metal washers to the inside of the candle holder and then glued my planter to the washers. I tried hot glue but it didn’t stick to the metal. I really like how it turned out. So far these little plants have been able to stand up to the rain, sun and wind with no problems and the best part is I can’t kill them.

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The smaller wire candle holders honestly look just fine without anything in them but I wanted to make them more functional.

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First I brightened them up with some rustoleum spray paint I had in my spray paint collection. It was really easy to turn them into solar pendant lights taking about 5 minutes and $3 worth of materials purchased from dollar tree. All you need is a solar light (the kind that have stakes) and floral wire. Take the cup that holds the candle out of the candle holder and flip it over. After removing the solar light from its stake it will fit right into the candle holder. Then use floral wire to secure the light in place and shape a loop to hang it by.

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I wasn’t sure if the solar lights would get enough sun but they do. They actually stay lit all night too which really surprised me, especially considering they cost a buck each.

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I peek out at them every night before bed, they are just so cute. Now I want to turn everything into a solar pendant light!

My One Year Blogiversary

Wow, I can’t believe I have actually kept up with blogging for an entire year! I really didn’t know if I would stick with it at first. My whole purpose for the blog was to kind of force myself to stick with a project and not hop to a new one before the old one was finished. I do think I’ve become better at this the past year. I tend to jump between 2 to 3 projects until they are finished. Unlike before when it was like 7 or more at a time. It is also fun to have a record of all my projects from the past year. I’m surprised I actually posted 51 times. Granted a few of my projects were from before I started blogging, but I am still amazed so many projects were actually completed. Yay, starting a blog has helped me! Here are a few of my favorite projects from the past 6 months. For even more projects you can check out my favorites list from 2013. I also included some preview pics of upcoming projects at the end of the post!

I really love these bedside lights, maybe because of the remote control

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Bedside Pendant Lights

This has to be one of the most functional projects I’ve done for our home. It was so simple but has made such a big difference.

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Wall Peg Shoe Organizer

This is the project I’m most proud off. It took a while and was frustrating but turned out so well.

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Diamond Tufted Ottoman

These 2 projects were fun because they made someone else smile.

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Minion Twinkies

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Princess Anna costume

One downside of blogging for me was that once I started my own blog I also started reading a lot more home/DIY blogs. Before I started blogging I felt inspired by other blogs but now I felt like I had to keep up. So many bloggers seem to have perfect, gorgeous, organized homes and can spit out new projects like crazy. I loved all the eye candy and inspiration but I found myself frustrated and unhappy because I couldn’t keep up with the list of projects in my own head. I drove myself (and husband) crazy trying to do too much and got burnt out. Then I remembered why I started my blog. I blog for my projects I don’t do projects for the blog. I also don’t do this for a living, I don’t have to post a certain amount of times or get a certain amount of hits. Realizing that really helped take the pressure off and I was able to enjoy my home and blogging again. Feeling discontent about your home isn’t fun. Sometimes you need an attitude adjustment and sometimes some elbow grease. I needed a little of both and am loving my home more than ever now. I want to make it a nice inviting space that is “us”. I want it to function well, and be beautiful. I’m working toward that and I feel lucky just to have such a nice home to begin with.

One thing, I am hoping to change this year, is to focus more on redecorating entire rooms. I do so many random projects that sometimes it doesn’t feel like anything around here looks different. Last year I did get our bedroom redecorated and the playroom partially done but this year I’m hoping to do more. I’m going to go ahead and list a few of my goals for everyone to see then hopefully by year 2 I can check them off. First off, I want to give the living room a whole new look. Right now I’m working on a floating media cabinet. I also plan to build a console table, make some floor poufs, finally do something about the fireplace wall (I ripped the mantel off almost 2 years ago with no plan), add curtains and some various other projects. So hopefully I will have a whole before and after room to show you in the not too distant future. I also really want to make our laundry room more functional and attractive. It is one of the things we really didn’t like in the house so I am hoping to change that. Maybe we can even love it, I’m hoping. I also want to reupholster some dining room chairs. Of course, I have WAY more plans than that but I’m going to keep it safe and make my public list small.
Here is a little preview of some of my to do list and some in progress projects.

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I want to thank everyone who reads my blog and all my friends and family for being so supportive! I hope you find inspiration here to make your home your own.

No Blow DIY Outdoor Curtains

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The first time I saw our porch I knew I wanted to put outdoor curtains around it. I love the breezy, vacation feel they give a porch. I did not however think about how windy it is around here. They seriously just put up a sign on the interstate which reads, “Gusty Winds Next 8 miles”. It took me about 3 years to finally figure out the best hanging method for my curtains so I will share it with you. Here is how I keep my outdoor curtains from blowing away here in Tornado Alley.

The Curtains
I will start with the curtains. Our porch is 10 feet high so I had to sew them myself because most don’t come in that length. I bought marine canvas off ebay for around $5 a yard. This is the 4th year I have had them up and they have no tears and are in good shape. I take them down in the fall, wash them and store them with the patio furniture until spring. The first 3 years I used metal curtain rings to hang them. Each year I had to replace some of them and some had rusted and left small rust spots behind. This year I decided to add tabs from outdoor fabric. I like the look much better so hopefully they will hold up well.

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Hanging the Curtains
I first hung my curtains by stretching a cable through eye screws we put on the frame of the porch. The problem with this was it was really hard to get the cable tight and it always sagged in the middle. The curtains would slide to the middle instead of staying where we put them.

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Tightening the line and hanging the curtains was also a pain. It usually took me about 30 minutes or more of balancing on a ladder to get them up every year. Next, I decided to give conduit pipe a try. They are cheap and pretty sturdy. The short side of the porch is the perfect length for one pipe so I just drilled a hole in each end, threaded a spring link through and hung it from my already existing eye screws on the side of the porch.

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For the long side, I used 2 sizes of conduit pipes and just placed the smaller one inside the larger. We can hang all the curtains within 5 minutes. It is sooo much easier plus it looks much nicer than the cable and no sag. Win, win, win!

Keeping the curtains from flying away

I discovered pretty quickly why many homes don’t have outdoor curtains around here. They fly all over the place. My first attempt to fix this was to weight the bottoms. I sewed twill ties spaced out along the bottom and tied washers on. I tied them on so they can be removed and the curtains washed. Unfortunately, the washers weren’t heavy enough to beat the breeze. Next, I strung a cable through the washers and used camping stakes to hold each end down.

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This worked better but the stakes would still get pulled out occasionally. Then I spotted the dog tie out in the garage.

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I picked up a few more and they worked perfectly. They stay firmly in the ground all summer and have yet to be pulled out. I do tie our curtains to the posts when storms are coming.

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I love our curtains. They give a little bit of a vacation feel to the porch plus add privacy and shade from the afternoon sun. So what do you think? Would you go to all this trouble for outdoor curtains?

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Lighted Wood Accent Panel (and cord hider)

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I meant to post on this much earlier but my keyboard and trackpad decided to stop working on my laptop. After some phone calls with apple support, a trip to an authorized repair person an hour away, and finally shipping it to apple it is fixed. So here you go! A post on how to make wood accent light panels.
These came about because I wanted something decorative to take up some white space on the wall but also wanted something to hide the cords from my bedside pendant lights. While designing the panels I came up with the idea to add lights behind the panel for accent lighting. To start you will need to decide how large you want your panel. I used 1.5” primed mdf for my frame but if I was to do it again I would use 3” pine and stain it. I was originally planning to use canvases so the primed mdf frame worked well with the canvas.

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Then I decided the room needed a little bit more of a rustic accent so I ripped the canvas panels off and added the wood.
To make your own you will first need to build a frame using a pocket hole jig.

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Next, determine the angle you want for the design and affix your first piece of lath with a nail gun.

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I used lath because it is cheap and already cut in thin pieces. I got a whole bundle for $12. It is not however even or smooth. For a less rustic look you may prefer to use a different type of board. After the first board is in place, nail on the rest of your boards leaving a small gap between each one. After you finish this step your piece will look like this.

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I used a jig saw to cut off the overhanging boards but a circular saw or table saw may work better.

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Next I nailed lath pieces all around the outside of the frame.

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I stained my panel after it was put together but pre-staining the lath would ensure all the edges are evenly stained. I used four different stains I had on hand and just randomly stained boards so there was no defined pattern. After the stain was dry I used coax staples and attached Christmas lights around the perimeter of the frame.

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The lights looked okay but as Christmas lights tend to do one string burnt out within a week. I picked up these lights on a recent IKEA trip and they look much better and were easier to install. Plus the cords aren’t lighted and can be hidden behind the bed more easily. To install the lights use the included hardware and screw into the frame. These lights are plugged into the remote I described in this post. Now the bedside lights and accent light are all controlled by remote. Here are what the panels look like during the day

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and at night

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We surprisingly use these lights every day. In the evening we turn them on so we can pass through our bedroom without turning on the overhead lights. They are also nice to turn on in the morning to acclimate your eyes. I like how the panels add a little bit of rustic to the clean white and navy of the room. They serve the purpose I wanted them too, adding some interest to a blank wall and hiding the bedside light cords. The added accent lighting is just a great bonus.