Why I’ll Never (Again) Do Temporary “Phase 1” Decorating

October is halfway over.  October!!  I still can’t understanding how it’s even October already, much less how it’s already halfway over.  Our weather isn’t helping any.  Our temps are still getting into the mid- to upper-nineties, so in my mind, it’s still summer.  But in reality, it’s fall, and there are only 78 days left in this year!

Last night I was reviewing my house goals that I made for 2015.  Remember those lofty goals that I set for myself at the beginning of this year?  I had this idea of making every room/area in my house at least presentable with lots of temporary decorating ideas, and then I was going to actually finish (i.e., implement my final plan for) the dining room (which was still the living room at the time), entryway, and breakfast room (which I called the dining room at the time).  Well, I still have two-and-a-half months, but something tells me I won’t be meeting those goals.  🙂  And really, I’m okay with that for a couple of reasons.

First of all, its good to have goals, but it’s also good to be flexible.  When I made those goals, I didn’t take into consideration that I’d need to spend several weeks getting the condo ready to put on the market.  I didn’t consider that my father-in-law would spend a total of five weeks here helping me with not-so-fun but really important things like insulating and installing drywall in my garage, music room and front room/entryway.  And I didn’t take into consideration that I’d be spending three or so weeks working on my niece’s room (which still isn’t finished…*sigh*).  So when I start out with 52 weeks to work on a long list of goals, spending about twelve of those weeks on other things really puts me behind.

But I’m also okay with it because I’ve come to realize that “Phase 1” or temporary decorating really just isn’t my thing.  First of all, it feels like a complete waste of time to me for the most part.  I’m actually completely content living with hideously outdated rooms as long as I know they’ll eventually get done, so for my own personal happiness and contentment, I have absolutely no need for temporary “Phase 1″ decorating.

Also, since I share my remodeling and decorating adventures publicly, I very often feel like I have to justify my decisions to quite a few people who have no concept of Phase 1” decorating and simply cannot understand why I’m redecorating a room that was “already finished”.  Oh, how I wish I had $10 for every time someone has asked me why I’m “wasting time and money redecorating a room that was already finished” over the last few months!

When I was working on my living room (which is now going to be the dining room), I kept saying things like, “This is just “Phase 1,” and, “This isn’t the final design,” and, “This is temporary until I have the time and money for what I really want in here,” and, “For now, I just want it looking presentable for when people stop by,” and “This will all be redone in the future,” and on, and on, and on, and on.  And yet, here I am, after living in this house for two years, finally able to implement my long-term plan for these rooms, and I still have people saying things like, “I like your blog, but it drives me crazy when you waste time and money redoing a room that was already finished.”

Already finished?  I have never even once in my life redone a room in my home that was already finished.  It astounds me that this room could have ever been considered “already finished.”

living room with all big projects finished - 6

The main piece of furniture in that room was a painted sofa.  Literally…painted with latex paint.  That was obviously meant to be a temporary placeholder.  (It served its purpose for a year-and-a-half, and still looks just like it did the day I finished it, but I would never want a painted sofa to be part of a long-term design plan.)  I got the (cheap and cheaply made) chairs for free from Overstock.  I also got the rug for free, and while I do like it, it’s better suited for our bedroom, where it currently resides.  The fireplace was never finished.  I wanted an overmantel from the very beginning, but couldn’t build it until the ceiling tiles were taken down and new drywall installed.  So that has been “on hold” for almost two years.

The windows are mismatched.  The one on the left is an aluminum replacement window.  The original wood window on the right has a window unit air conditioner that’s still there because that window has been painted and is stuck in that position and I can’t get it to budge to remove the a/c.  The front windows have so many layers of paint on them that only the right casement window will open, and only if I turn the handle to release the latch, and then go outside and pry it open the rest of the way with my fingers.  I have to close it by turning the handle so that the latch catches, and then going outside and banging on the window with my fist to get it to close.  The left casement window won’t budge at all.

The ceiling was covered in polystyrene tiles covering a grid of 1″ x 4″ lumber attached to thin, old, cracked and crumbling drywall.  But again, the visible part was polystyrene.  That’s Styrofoam!!  I literally had a Styrofoam ceiling.  The light was swagged over because the junction box was right over the sofa.  None of the outlets were grounded (they were only two-prong) and so nothing could be plugged in without an adapter.

I’m sure there are things that I’m forgetting, but no, that room was never finished.  Far from it.  That room was the very definition of “lipstick on a pig.”  That’s all it was ever meant to be until I had the time and money to actually do things right in there.

It took two years to get here, but that time is now.  I finally have the money, the time, and the help (e.g., f-i-l’s help with drywall and insulation, the finances and the perfect contractor to install my new windows, etc.) to get things done right in here.  The only thing I regret spending money on in there is the drapery fabric.  That wasn’t cheap, and it wasn’t meant to be temporary.  But I changed my mind on those, and unless I sell those window treatments, I’m out that money.  Oh well.  You win some, you lose some.

It actually made me laugh to look back at my goals for the hallway bathroom.

Hallway bath - before 02

My make-it-presentable, lipstick-on-a-pig plan was to:

  • Cover the floor with peel and stick groutable tile
  • Cover the wall tile with beadboard
  • Paint the walls
  • Finish removing the ceiling tiles and 1 x 4’s, and patch and paint the ceiling
  • Paint the tiles around the bathtub
  • Add a new, inexpensive vanity and faucet
  • Add a new mirror
  • Rewire and install new lighting
  • Install a new toilet
  • Add a pretty shower curtain
  • Remove the door to the linen closet (behind the entry door) and make that area open shelving

Can you imagine how that would have turned out?  I still laugh that my temporary plan included beadboard.  I don’t even like beadboard!  But it’s cheap and easy to install, so that’s what I was going to do.  That cheap and easy temporary plan probably would have cost me about $400-$500, and I still would have been tearing everything out to the studs at some point down the road in order to do the job right.  That would have been money completely wasted.

Instead, I put that $400 or $500 that I would have spent on a temporary makeover, and I put it towards the remodel.

vanity from hallway

I took it down to the studs, I did it the right way the first time, and I ended up with a bathroom that I love.  And best of all, it’s done.  Completely.  And an added bonus is that I’ll never have to justify to people why I’m “wasting time and money redoing a room that’s already finished.”  🙂

So…yeah.  I said that other day that designing and decorating this house has been a journey of self-discovery, and this is just one more layer of that.  Those goals I had just a few short months ago were fine, and probably would work well for other people.  I’m sure I disappointed quite a few people this year by not sticking to it and getting my whole house looking presentable with temporary decorating plans.  But for me personally, I’ve just learned that I don’t need temporary “Phase 1” decorating.  I’m perfectly content sitting in my horribly outdated rooms, dreaming about what they will one day look like, while working diligently on one project at a time, and getting things done right.

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  1. You never, ever disappoint me! I look forward to your blog everyday! It is your house and your decisions. I just love being able to follow along. I remember being exhausted after cleaning my condo, one day recently, and thinking I wonder what Kristi has done today. I was sure it was so much more than I could ever accomplish! Just wanted you to know how much enjoyment you bring to my life. Thanks!

    1. I ditto that…!! I’m about to be busy with moving and doing less then that and I’m worried about my body being able to handle it.. I don’t know how Kristi does it but she is FANTASTIC at all that she does…!!!

  2. Atta Gal!

    Knowing yourself, who you are and what you want as an artist will never dissapoint. Be true to thine own self. ~:0)

  3. Kristi, for some people your living room does look done. They don’t see the odd windows, they accept the fake ceiling, probably forget that the sofa is painted. They see a room with window treatments, a rug, furniture and a fireplace. So that is fine for them. You taste has evolved. Things change and nothing more than our minds. If you can live with your house the way it is or was then tough boogies to those who can’t. You do what you can when you can. If it is in the 90’s I hope you have the AC on! Also, I do not remember seeing a finished picture of the storage area next to the tub in the bathroom. I would love to see that, since I missed it. Slow and steady wins the race. Do what you have been doing, save pictures of things you love, wait three to six months and go back. You may find yourself wondering what was I thinking! Blessings

    1. I think this goes to show how readers can be confused by a pretty photo without knowing the whole story. Sometimes I find myself having a pity party when I see pretty photos (such as the phase I living room with the painted sofa) and I long for a finished house myself. Yet there is always a story behind a pretty photo–whether it’s all the clutter stashed behind the photographer or the fact the windows are mismatched and painted closed. This is so good for me to hear the story of the living room broken down to the real story of what is going on. It’s easy to assume a room is done if it is full of nice, coordinated decorations and furniture. If the pretty phase I living room had that many problems then I’m sure there are dozens of other photos all over blog world with just as many problems. And my view of these perfect homes is actually completely wrong. 🙂

  4. Yay! No more Phase 1 Temporary Fixes! In my mind that creates a never-ending list that keeps circling back. Never disappointed by your changing mindset … Nice to share that cubicle with you! Lol

  5. I agree. I tell myself that other things are more important and I just gradually add. I love the saying You can afford to do it twice but you can’t afford to do it right! You go girl!

  6. Kristi,
    Thanks for the post about temporary decorating. While you’ve learned not to settle for temporary solutions (and taught me the same), I’m really greatful for all the ideas, technical information and inspiration I’ve gleaned from those posts. I’ve even learned NOT to leave something that makes me unhappy, even if it means making something over (once in a while). Finally, lots of people have budgets or situations to prohibit them from the choices they’d really love and for those folks, some of your short term ideas are perfect. Every choice and every post has provided someone with something they need, so THANK YOU!

  7. I totally agree with you on Phase I decorating. But it sure seems to bother my family and they don’t live here. With a full time job I often have no energy at night to work on things and weekends are often needed for relaxation. My house may take ME forever. But it is MY house. Good for you Kristi.

  8. I can’t say have ever or would embrace the concept of Phase 1 decorating. I think it’s a waste of time (and money) unless you have a specific reason for doing so in a specific space.

    I do get the concept of cosmetic fixes for the short term – but only if they’re going to take a modest amount of time and expense. You have to live in a space and it can be very wearing to live in the middle of something that to you is an eyesore. That’s a real issue for those of us who are visually attuned to our spaces. But I think cosmetic investments have to be thought out carefully in that context.

    What you did in your living room was a bit beyond what I’d consider to be a purely cosmetic fix – but then at the time you did that you still intended that space for a living room and so the investments (curtains, ottoman) made sense. Obviously that’s changed and the whole space needed a rethink. That’s a little different from what I take “Phase 1” decorating to mean.

    But then again – maybe we’re talking about the same thing… LOL

    1. I agree about cosmetic fixes. I love my condo, and like most things about my kitchen except for the horrible teal counter and three inch backsplash. It’s Corian, so I don’t mind the material, just the color. And I personally HATE the three-inch backsplash look. Eventually I will replace the counters and add a complete tile backsplash. As a quick and easy temporary fix though, I painted the three-inch backsplash the same neutral/creamy yellow color as I had painted the wall between the counters and cabinets. It was fast and free (had paint left over), and made that short backsplash disappear, negating some of the horrible teal color. For me that’s a great phase 1 fix. Replacing all the countertops, knowing that someday I want to rearrange the layout slightly, would NOT have been a worthwhile temporary fix for me.

  9. When you first posted your to-do list, I thought you had to be wired differently than me because I never could do all that work knowing I was going to tear it out. One or two rooms, sure, just to have a place to live, but never all of them. It makes more sense to me now, definitely. I think it’s one of those things where the idea of a goal is much more appealing than the actual doing of it.

  10. I’ve been waiting for this post! I figured at some point you’d sit down and do a recap of the year. While I understood wanting to get some cosmetic fixes done just so you and Matt didn’t have to live it a demolition zone, once you tore up your bathroom, I knew you were going to end up throwing those goals out the window! I’m glad you did. Since you don’t mind living with the reno and this is your forever home, I don’t see any reason for you to do things in a phase 1 way. (Although you may have to do some phase 1 work in your sun/living room and master until you can afford to do that full remodel back there. With your insanely fast pace, you might get to those spaces next year!) Yay for doing it right the first time!

  11. I bet if you put your curtains up for sale they would be gone in a flash!! So many people commented on how much they loved them and the size could be just right for some lucky reader!

    1. I absolutely love that fabric. I was looking at the same one for my master bedroom. I’d love to do it in a calming tan and pale aqua. Please let me know if you’d, indeed like to sell it. I’m very interested.

      I also love so many of the projects you’ve done and wish I had the time and strength and talent to do what you have. Keep it up and I’ll keep admiring.

      Love, love, love it all.

  12. Great post. I learned this by making the same mistake. I spent a little bit making a very old kitchen tolerable. Then just a year later, we were ready for a full gut job. I don’t necessarily regret it, but would much rather have dropped the several hundred dollars I spent on temp fixes on a splurge for my permanent kitchen.

    Your space in progress is gorgeous! 🙂

  13. Hey, self discovery is always a good thing! And, you are definitely “hip deep” in it! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Every one of your readers has either been there, is there, or will be there. So, don’t worry about peoples’ comments! They just haven’t crossed the same bridges that you’ve crossed…yet. 😉

    I agree with pretty much everything you wrote today! I would much rather live in “the before picture” stage (and do the job right – when time and money allows) than spend time, energy, and money on the “make it presentable” stage! If people don’t “get it” when they come to your house…who cares! You get it. Matt gets it. And, your house is going to be GORGEOUS!! It already is! 🙂

    I’ll leave you with my daughter’s favorite Bible verse. I love it, too!! It just energizes me to read it! “Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.” Esther 4:14

    Soldier on! You’re doing great! 🙂

  14. What is this “finished room” idea? How can room ever be finished? Once I think I’m nearing completion I look back and discover something that needs to be tweaked – or maybe styles have changed – or I have changed – or I’ve seen something new that absolutely must be incorporated – or it’s broken/dirty from kids. Whatever it is, it certainly never done.

    For people like us who instinctively, uncontrollably decorate – it would be a tragedy if it were! Here’s to never, ever, ever being finished!!

  15. I like how you can change your mind and not be embarrassed about it! We all change our minds sometimes!
    I think that with the living room, it was just so much nicer than many of us have (speaking of myself, at least) that it looked “finished.” Know what I mean?

  16. I totally understand why you did temporary fixes to the living room, it was awful when you moved in and I wouldn’t have wanted to live in it that way either!… Especially knowing I wouldn’t have the money to replace the windows for a couple of years. Some may see it as a waste of time, but, it was your time to waste and it made you feel better about your living space. I enjoyed watching you paint a sofa! A temporary fix to be sure! …but a useful one if you have a huge koolaid stain in the middle of a couch you can’t afford to replace! I’m not a faithful follower, but I enjoy dropping in to catch a look at what you’ve been up to…and I’m never disappointed! Your bathroom is fabulous! Thanks for letting me see!!

  17. Hi Kristi: Phase 1, Phase 2 or Phase 3, it would’nt matter to me, because along every step I have learned right along with you. I appreciate that you show the good , the bad and the ugly. So many bloggers show everything perfect all the time. Thanks for the inspiration.

  18. I have followed you long enough to know you will, and do, change your mind frequently. Others not so much. They just see a pretty photograph and assume that its going to be the final product. The original living room photographed well…pat yourself on the back for a job, albeit temporary, done well.

    Enjoy your home. Its your canvas! Not someone else’s 🙂

  19. A lot of people knocked Young House Love for Phase One decorating and taking a year to live in a house to decide on major changes. I think that your blog proves that both are actually smart. . . for them. You don’t have little kids and you can leave your tools out and rooms half done and you are fine with it. They couldn’t with kids. Also, that it took you quite a while to figure out that you want the dining room in the front shows that living somewhere for a while can be the right way to go for some people. Sure, there are the Lauren Liesses of the world who go in and redo before moving in and know exactly how they want it from the beginning. Most people can’t do that or don’t have the money to do it. So I’m totally down with what you are doing because it works for you. Different strokes for different folks.

  20. My mom once told me it’s a blessing not to have the time/money to do everything at once because your vision is going to change with each completed project. As well it should! I admire your courage to redo a project or change your mind regarding the direction of your design if the project doesn’t come out the way you envisioned. It has helped me do the same… and I only have my husband to answer to, not thousands of blog readers! Keep up the good work 🙂

  21. Hi Kristi, great post on stage one or temporary decorating. I fall somewhere in between depending on the room. I have a master bath and laundry room that are going to be total gut jobs. They are falling apart and ugly. I have thought of going the lipstick on a pig route but can’t really justify it in my mind. Wasted time, money and energy for me so I’m living with it until the funds are available to do it right the first time. I’ve been living with them for four years. Other areas like the living room I have done in stages as I feel getting them presentable makes for comfortable living so I pick at it bit by bit. So I guess you really have to know just what you can live with. Rooms I can shut the door I can deal with. Open daily living spaces I have to have least make presentable so I totally understand your living room being done the way you did it.
    Anyway love your blog. Cheers

  22. As long as you don’t disappoint yourself, it doesn’t matter what we think. It is your home and you can do what you want with it. I happen to think your goals to make it livable were good ones BUT you have to start somewhere making it permanent. Goal setting is always good but goals are always changing for almost everyone all the time. Reset your goals and move ahead. I’m betting that you have accomplished a lot of things that you didn’t anticipate, right? I am always waiting to see what you can do so I am happy.

  23. Kristi, I mostly get what you said. I hope this does not come across negative, but I don’t quite get why you focus on some of the things you do. When you focus on artwork or drapes, it seems premature to do that until you know mostly how things are going to end up. I know you consider art and drapes as the fun part, so maybe that is why you do that. It is a fun but kind of productive break between harder projects. I have a different way of thinking. I would probably, for example, not spend a whole lot of energy on what to put over your entry way buffet. I would wait until the right thing presents itself. That may be a bad example, but over time of reading your blog, you have taken actions that did not seem to be at the time I would have thought logical. Hope this makes sense. It is hard to explain!

    1. You are right that skipping to decorating when all the bones aren’t even done isn’t logical. However, Kristi has explained various times that those decorating projects are a break that helps her stay motivated. It’s just the way she works, though it may not be how others would approach it. I will say that I wouldn’t come back to read every day if she were posting on drywall and mudding and putting in molding for an entire year (or two). As a reader I need the breaks too. Yes, sometimes Kristi ends up redoing things (the tile on her kitchen wall when she opened up the new doorway), but I think that is amazing. Most of us would be too freaked out to do something like that because we already finished the other room and the thought of messing it up and creating more work would paralyze us. She doesn’t hesitate to take on more work (and redo her kitchen floor 3 times!), which is incredible. It just isn’t in her to be stuck with something she hates even when she put in all the work (nailhead walls in the music room). I like that she doesn’t get it right the first, second or sometimes 5th time but that she keeps working until she gets it. It’s way more common for people to just settle for OK and not strive for what they know could be great.

  24. Hi Kristy,

    My guess is you are hearing comments from the “Peanut Gallery” aka people who have never picked up a hammer or a screwdriver and may be a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic, if you get my drift.

    I showed your bathroom renovation to my boyfriend and he was amazed at your skill! He was very impressed.

    I just bought a lakefront cottage in Tyler, east Texas and it has not been touched since it was built in 1984. The kitchen was all boxed in and the cupboards were completely useless, and I took a bunch of them off the studs as well as opening up the blocked off area to make the tiny space galley style. It has by far been the most difficult home renovation project I have ever attempted and I don’t know if I will ever “finish” it. I realize now I have to take it one section at a time. So, I think I get what you are trying to convey.

    Like you, I have pinned and saved every inspirational picture online I can find in my computer to glean ideas. Sometimes in my searches I come across your pictures or something you have posted and I smile. You need to ignore the public nonsense and keep being you. And thanks for all the wonderful information you provide. I am so impressed!

  25. I have never met a person who built their home, that didn’t say they wish they had done this or that, so I like the way u have taken the time to figure out exactly what u want, even with the temporary things, it gave u the time to decide what u really wanted, I say u rock girl !!!!!! I love seeing your progress and can wait to see it finished, because it will be what u want. God Bless u as u continue on this journey ,

  26. I used to watch a show on Discovery from a designer named Christopher Lowell. He stressed the importance of beginning with the shell structure of a room, and focusing on the walls first, then floors and he called it “The seven layers of design”. You can find it on youtube and it is very informative. He likes way more “stuff” than I do but the first part of the process is especially intriguing. I just wish I could find his kitchen ideas to watch again, that man was a champion of creating built ins.

    My tiny 1,144 square foot ( no garage) 2 bed, 1 bath cottage has a great floor plan but a tiny kitchen and eat in dining attached, shaped like a retangle and open. Beautiful beadboard wainscotting and chair rail throught most of the house, but it only goes waist high and it is driving me crazy because I would prefer to start over with good old fashioned batten board with a shelf on top, since I don’t have much storage or furniture space. I am considering adding batten board over the chair rail but not sure if it will look right.

    Designing a space is very difficult. Hence, if you see alot of interiors you notice not everyone has good taste. You are a visionary, Kristy. Sometimes translating that vision, something is lost or mistranslated or doesn’t quite come out as planned. It’s all a learning process and now that I am trying to to do the same thing myself, I understand your process. Kudos to you for letting us see how it all transpires.

  27. The way I understood it back then, “presentable” mostly meant getting the tools out of the way, making all spaces tidy (and consequently clean), and fix the most basic of things, like not having bedroom walls painted with trial swatches of colour, or patching the hole in the bathroom ceiling. I guess I didn’t realise you meant to do things like you did with your living room, temporary decoration and all. And to be honest, the first one is an idea I like a lot, the second doesn’t really make sense. What the point in decorating if your heart is not in it? And I think it would actually decrease the impact of the final re-making (mostly blog-wise, but also emotionally, a bit).

    That said, do you still intend to go through with the tidy things up now that your garage is cleaner? And what about all the ideas about portable tool carts?

  28. While I agree that in a perfect world it would be best not to waste time, energy and creativity doing a “lip stick on a pig” job in your home, most people cannot afford to go from project to project that cost several thousands of dollars each. I say, do what you can when you can and love every minute of it!

  29. I’m so glad you decided to forego temporary fixes. Good for you!

    For a long time, I lived with a hideous kitchen…hideous esthetically and hideously inconvenient. Once the money was there, I completely redesigned it; and it still cheers me every morning when I walk into it. It never occurred to me to spend time, effort, and money on a temporary (and ultimately not very good) solution that still would have left me dissatisfied. When I first read your plan for the year, I just knew you’d change your mind.

  30. I guess I am in the same boat you are. You are doing a great job by the way and I love your blog. I redid my front (guest) bathroom so it would look nice, but all that did was spur us on to say, we should just go ahead and put in a new cabinet and sink, one we really want, and insulate the walls better and also install a vent fan while we are at it. So we took some stuff back apart and now we are still working on it long after. I didn’t feel we wasted too much money tho since paint is not too expensive, I liked my new shower curtain, towels, light fixture, toilet, and tile so they are staying anyway. I really am hoping we can finally finish it completely before the new year tho. I sometimes lose interest because my hubby is disabled and has to do certain things so I have to wait on him, but your blog keeps me thinking about it and the other rooms so I keep my hopes up.

  31. I don’t think I ever made a comment here about you doing temporary fixes until you had the money to come back and do it the way you wanted however, I did think to myself that it was a waste of money to do that. I’m glad to see you taking the time and doing your house the way you want even if it takes more time in the end. Who cares what anyone else thinks when they come over? They aren’t the ones living there and you’re not decorating or designing it for them but for you and your husband so you should do it just the way you want.

    Also, don’t beat yourself up over the fact that it’s taken longer than you originally intended. You also changed the layout from the time you set your goals so that also made a difference in the timeline, as well. It’s just like any other remodeling if you were using a contractor – things never go according to schedule and usually take longer than the original plan. Don’t feel the need to justify your decisions to anyone out here. There will always be naysayers no matter what you do. Take those comments with a grain of salt. Just do what you do and make yourself happy!

  32. If I were you I wouldn’t care one little smidge what people think…..it’s your money, time, effort and energy that is going into remodeling your house.A job done right the first time saves money in the long run. You have great taste,more energy than the energizer bunny and your home will be spectacular when you’re finished

  33. I still like your idea of phase 1 because for myself, I can’t live with a project in-progress to for too long. I like having some parts of the house “done for now”

  34. Kristi, you go do your thing girl! It’s your house, your time, your dollar, your energy. You do more in a day than most of us could do in a week. And when you do it, you do it fabulously and most of us sit in awe and amazement, wishing we had a smidgen of your skills. I learn something every time I visit your blog.

  35. I thought nothing of your phase 1 concept, lol. When you open the front door, the rest of the house can be a shambles, but if the front room looks “acceptable” then I don’t feel embarrassed! I agree, maybe it’s not the best idea for every room in the house, but sometimes it’s trial and error until you discover the right combination of decor.

    We’re going to band-aid our kitchen this year because I don’t have the money to do a gut job (which is desperately needed!) but we have family coming out for my daughter’s graduation in June who have never seen our home. The kitchen is beyond an embarrassment, and I have a definite long term plan. But it’s not financially feasible by June. So I’m going to repaint the MDF cabinets and replace the 80’s formica counter tops with 2015 formica counter tops. At the end of the day, it will be refreshed, and $200 well spent on a modern looking counter (we found them on clearance at Lowes!) but by no means will it be “done”. 🙂

    1. See, I think that’s a smart use of “temporary” or “phase 1” decorating. Not too much time or money spent, but it will look SO much better in the meantime, until you can afford a bigger fix. Not to mention having a place you don’t mind showing people. I was to replace the teal countertops in my condo kitchen, but want to flip-flop the position of the sink and DW as part of that, so it becomes a bigger process. In the meantime, I painted the three inch section of teal countertop that extends onto the wall as a backsplash. I used the same glossy paint as I did for the rest of the space between the counter top and cabinets, and it just makes that teal part disappear. Makes the whole countertop more bearable because you don’t notice it as much now.