New Year, New Home Organization Tips

Home organization is something I always strive for, and I feel like every couple of months, I say “enough is enough” and deep clean a closet or whatever seems to be a mess. Then I step up a new, systematic approach to that space. Fast forward a few months, or even weeks, and I’m back to a jumbled mess. Sound familiar?

It’s 2024. Enough is enough (for real this time)! If everything has a spot, it’s quick and easy to organize your home!

Organizing doesn’t have to be a big overhaul; truly, a few small adjustments can make a big difference. Here are some products and tricks I am trying to get my home organization under control this new year:

QR Codes for Streamlined Home Organization

Organize your home with QR codes on boxes, totes, or even a freezer

We have all seen QR codes in public over the past couple of years and it’s time to start using them at home too! These handy stickers are great for garages, basements, storage rooms, or even deep freezers. All you have to do is download an app, place a sticker on a box, scan the sticker, then you can add pictures and descriptions to everything in that box in the app! One feature I’m most excited about is the search tool…I often know I bought extra painter’s tape or glue sticks. but can’t remember which storage box it’s in. Now, with this tool, I can look up products in the app and find them easily!

Pegboard in Drawers and Cabinets

Pegboard is a useful tool for almost any area of the home. Although they are most commonly found on the wall, laying them down on the bottom of deep drawers or cabinets can help keep things orderly. You can customize the spaces between pegs to keep your dishes stacked or your lids upright for easy access. I’ve seen so many creative ways to organize kitchenware using pegboard; what would you use it for?

Here are two great options:

Organize your home with pegboards in drawers and cabinets

I like this pegboard and peg system because it offers pegs and a rack, because it really lets you get creative with what you’re storing!

Organize your home with pegboards in drawers and cabinets

This pegboard and pegs are less high-tech but are far more versatile. They can fit in more places than the larger sheets of pegboard!

In my kitchen, I use this pegboard from IKEA and it has been so easy to keep organized!

Organize your home with pegboards in drawers and cabinets

Use Your Door for Home Organization Products

We all know to keep our most used items toward the front for easy access, but what if we take it even further? 

Use hooks to hang up cleaning products on a closet or cabinet door

Using the back of doors as a grab-and-go space can help clear up room in closets or cabinets for other items. For my cleaning supplies closet, I’m thinking about using these hooks on the back of the door for my all-purpose cleaner and glass cleaner, my two most used. 

Hang baskets on the door in your bathroom for toiletries, towels, and other items

This over-the-door organizer has been a game-changer in my son’s bedroom! It helps us organize books and extra toys AND see them so they get used more often!

Hang baskets on the back of the door for more storage space

Make Your Own Drawers

In my house, small bottles like medicine, spices, or art supplies are so hard to keep organized. This cabinet caddy answered all of my prayers to get these mini bottles in line! The two-tier “drawer” eliminates stacking so it’s easy to find whatever you need without making a bigger mess!

Stack Nicely

Clear closet shelf dividers

Closets are such a pain point for me! It’s not necessarily due to lack of space, but just general maintenance and organizational upkeep. These acrylic shelf dividers would be so nice when it comes to sweaters, jeans, or anything that tumbles when you grab something from the bottom. They could be useful for towels, sheets, or anything that gets folded!

On the Go or Stay At Home (Diaper Version)

A gray felt diaper caddy is a great way to keep all your baby's items in one place

If you have children, you know that going anywhere takes some preparation. Using an organized diaper caddy has been a game-changer. Traveling with a caddy and returning it to my son’s room after our trip has simplified our lives greatly! We try to keep it stocked constantly so when it’s time to hit the road, we can grab it and go! It has the Perkins family stamp of approval!

Organize your home by utilizing a grab and go diaper caddy

What is amazing about a new year is the breath of fresh air that comes with it. It’s a full reset, and this year, I’m channeling some of this energy into home organization! If you feel the same, what are some of your organizing goals this year? We’re in this together!

Feeling inspired? Here are some more articles on how to organize your home and storage solutions!

Have an awkward space under your stairs? Try this storage solution!

Affordable and Unique Baskets

Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission or have a sponsored relationship with the brand, at no cost to you. We recommend only products we genuinely like. Thank you so much.

Christmas Decor that Brings Joy | 11 Colorful Ideas

The holidays bring childlike cheer every year and our homes should reflect that! This year, I am noticing that I’m drawn to more colorful, Scandinavian Christmas decor than in years past. We are entering our color era here. 

With becoming a mom, I’m throwing “trendy” out the window this Christmas and focusing on things that feel special to me and my family. I make the holiday magic for my son now and as he gets a little older, these are the moments he will remember for a lifetime. We all remember pieces of the holiday season from our childhood, it could be the cereal bowls that your mom got out as soon as she cleaned up the kitchen from Thanksgiving or putting your favorite ballerina ornament on the tree. 

I love the search to find holiday decor that feels like me. Here are some of my favorite, whimsical decor pieces.

Garland

Envelope Advent Calendar

advent garland in red, yellow, and green colors with numbered embroidered on each fabric envelope

These little envelopes just pull on my heartstrings! They’re a sweet twist on a traditional advent calendar and I can see opening them up becoming a favorite tradition.

String Lights

Glass Lights

blue bulbs are evenly spaced on a sparkly garland

String lights are a staple in holiday decorating! They add the light we crave all winter long, so these blue glass bulbs do the trick in style!

Textiles as Christmas Decor

Pillow Cover

a seafoam green pillow has a white tree decorated with red ornaments on the front

Pillow covers are such an easy way to transform your living room into a winter wonderland! One of my favorite color combinations is this light blue and red – so fun!

Stockings

Colorful Stockings

quilted stockings in various patterns are hanging from a simple mantle covered in candles and pinecones

Mixed-matched stockings are always a great way to add personality to your home during the holidays. These brightly colored beauties caught my eye and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them since!

Tree Skirt

Quilted Tree Skirt

a velvet green tree skirt is quilted with a sawtooth design

Nothing is as cozy as a quilt. Add some warmth to your tree with this beautiful skirt! The colors are so deep, all of the fun ornaments and gift wrap will really pop against it.

Dishware

Holiday Mugs

christmas mugs are decorated with nutcracker, santa, and christmas tree themes

These mugs are absolutely stunning and sprinkle the magic of the holidays into your kitchen. The colors are a classic Christmas decor motif, but something about the style makes it feel fresh and fun!

Trays

Serving Trays

serving trees depict snowy villages

The idea of a Nordic village is as cozy as it gets. I love these because they’re playful and remind me to slow down and enjoy every cozy moment this season.

Colorful Christmas Decor Around The House

Candle Stacks

colorful candles are displayed on a table

These stackable candles are just as fun as they are festive! Every day you can come up with a new arrangement, doesn’t get much better than that!

Paper Stars

paper stars in different shades of green and white

The most magical thing you can do is hang something pretty from your ceiling. These paper stars are classy and playful all in one and I’m adding them to my cart immediately!

Seasonal Print

a whimsical picture shows an apartment building from the outside and its occupants celebrating Christmas through the windows

You know I love a good print, so having some festive ones in my house is a must! These colors aren’t the traditional green and red, but feel Christmas-y just the same!

Mini Trees

snow-flocked bottle brush trees in green, white, and pink

I love everything about this pack of mini trees! The colors coordinate perfectly with each other while still feeling relatively neutral, making them easy to spread around my whole house!

I feel like I’ve waited long enough, it’s officially time to start decorating here in the Perkins household! As we are fully embracing our color era, what are you drawn to this holiday season? If you are looking for a fun Christmas craft to try check out one of my favorites here!

Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission or have a sponsored relationship with the brand, at no cost to you. We recommend only products we genuinely like. Thank you so much.

How to make a wooden Christmas garland

When I walked into the Dollar Tree and saw these wooden trees and snowmen I knew I had to make something with them! A festive winter wooden Christmas garland immediately came to mind. Last year during the fall I made a mushroom wooden bead garland and it turned so cute. I love incorporating wood decorations into my holiday decor and bringing more nature inside. I’m very inspired by Scandinavian design and they love their wood elements. My garland consisted of all trees while my mom decided to create a snowman version, both turned out so cute! This DIY is super beginner friendly, can easily be done in an afternoon or evening.

A fireplace is decorated with pine boughs and a garland made with wooden trees

Supplies needed:

Wooden snowmen and wooden Christmas trees
A closeup of the wooden garland hanging on the fireplace mantle

Create your own wooden Christmas Garland:

Decide how long you want your garland to be

Lay out and plan your design

Drill a hole

A hand is drilling a small pilot hole into one of the wooden trees
The small pilot hole in the wooden tree is pictured

Screw the Hooks In

Screw eye hooks are placed inside the top of the wooden trees and snowmen

Gather all of the needed beads to create your garland.

Tie a loop knot.

The cotton cord at the end of the garland is tied in an overhand loop

Start your garland by adding 1 tree or snowman.

A hand holds out the wooden garland
A closeup of the wooden Christmas garland made of wooden trees and beads

Finish!

If you want to see a video on this project… watch the reel here!

I hope you like this DIY! If you aren’t into mushrooms check out my wooden vase DIY that has gone viral many times over.

Another closeup of the wooden garland hanging above the mantle

Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission or have a sponsored relationship with the brand, at no cost to you. We recommend only products we genuinely like. Thank you so much.

Is the Stanley cup worth it? A Superfan’s List of Pros and Cons

As a self-acclaimed Stanley Tumbler expert (I’ve earned this right after years of loyalty), I can confidently say this cup changed the game! I have done my research and after collecting 10+ different colors, I’m ready to share my thoughts with you all. Is the Stanley cup worth it?

In short, yes, it’s the best tumbler in the market, but I have a few mini notes to make it even better. *Note that this post is all about the 40 oz. Adventure Quencher.

Seven different Stanley Cups are displayed on a countertop in various pastel colors

PROS OF THE STANLEY CUP

I’ve shared why I loved the cup before, but with the holiday’s quickly approaching, I thought it would be helpful to expand on my love for the Stanley Adventure Quencher and why I do believe this cup is worth the hype!

Colors + Styles

Since hitting the market in 2016, but gaining popularity in 2020, Stanley has released new colors, collaborations, and patterns each season. There are now options for customization so there is truly something for everyone (including yourself – treat yourself!) 

Thoughtful Design

Aside from all the aesthetic colors, the design of the cup is such a selling point for me. The obvious, but arguably the most important, design detail is the shape. It’s such a hassle having a water bottle in the car rolling around the seats or the floor, so having a large bottle fit in the cupholder is amazing! Another lesser known detail is the lid can be screwed on left/right to accommodate the handle – This may not seem like a game changer but it is. When I am driving I need the straw and handle one way, and when I am a passenger I need it exactly the opposite. It makes it easy to grab and enjoy without trying to get the straw in the right place.

High Quality

It’s easy to see why this cup has become so popular. Having an ice cold drink waiting for you in the car here in Texas is a luxury, and one that I now have thanks to the Stanley tumbler! I have been able to keep ice frozen in mine for up to 24 hours. Not to mention, the materials used also keep it looking nice, while still being dishwasher safe. Win win! Did you see this viral video where a woman’s car caught on fire and the Stanley STILL HAD ICE IN IT?!

Stanley itself

Supporting a company who shares my love for the environment will always be a priority, and I’m so happy that Stanley does. They focus on using sustainable materials and their amazing warranty keeps water bottles out of the landfills! They will try to fix your tumbler before they replace it.  

Customization

Stanley just launched a new offering where you can customize your cup. You can upload a graphic, logo, or text and they will etch it directly into the bottle. So cool! Would make an amazing gift.

Original

You can read more about this cup origins here – but it is a true testament to the buying power of women. I love that this cup was something that was actually discontinued but The Buy Guide willed it back into existence. And look at its popularity now!

CONS OF THE STANLEY CUP

Nothing is perfect, including my favorite cup. Here are a few notes to consider before buying the Stanley Adventure Quencher:

Portability

This cup is perfect for sitting upright in a cupholder, however, one weak spot is it not being water tight. It’s not the best for throwing in your bag and going about your day. Also due to the shape, it doesn’t fit the best in the water bottle pouch in backpacks. Although the Adventure Quencher wasn’t designed for this, Stanley has several travel cups that are perfect for on the go (away from cup holders, that is). I always grab my IceFlow Flip Staw Tumbler for day trips. I mean, just look how cute it is!

Weight

When filled with ice and water, it can get heavy! Not a dealbreaker by any means, but it can grow uncomfortable to hold for too long. 

Price

I do believe you get what you pay for with this cup, but there are cheaper options out there. Copying is the sincerest form of flattery right?

With all of this being said, this cup has been a part of a hydration movement! I was even quoted in the New York Times about it! By now, everyone has seen someone holding one of these either online or IRL and whoever has it will say they love it. 

Like I said, there are so many styles to pick from, but I thought I would share some of my favorites!

Green Stanley cup

The Perfect Green

I told myself that I had to start to restrict my collection to only green cups… and they just keep coming out with so many amazing green cups!

White stanley cup with neon yellow accents

Yellow Neon

Neon is very in right now, but paired with the white makes this tumbler timeless! Stay hydrated all year round with this two-toned beauty.

What’s your experience with the Stanley Cup? Do you think that the Stanley Cup is worth it? Share your thoughts in the comments below and let’s keep the conversation going!

Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission or have a sponsored relationship with the brand, at no cost to you. We recommend only products we genuinely like. Thank you so much.

Creating an Organic Modern Thanksgiving Table Setting

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and it’s that time of year when we gather around the table to give thanks, stuff ourselves with turkey, and probably engage in some slightly awkward family conversations. I don’t know about you but I am glad it’s not an election year… This year, I am going for an organic modern Thanksgiving table setting, and I have some tips that will help you nail the balance of warm and cool, modern and inviting. So, put on your party pants, and let’s get started!

A collage of Thanksgiving table setting ideas

1. Moody Modern Color Palette

We’re embracing the moody vibe this Thanksgiving. Think of it as the “I just binge-watched a season of my favorite drama series” color palette. Succession anyone? Muted shades of green, brown, and rust will set the stage for your fabulous feast. The only thing missing is the dimmer switch.

2. Natural Tableware

You know you’re an adult when you get excited about dinner plates. Opt for something like stone or ceramic to match your muted theme. Black and brass accents are your BFFs here. Just remember to eat your mashed potatoes and gravy, not your plate.

3. Textured Table Linens

Linen, like a fine wine, adds that touch of sophistication to your table. I love this linen table runner and don’t forget those linen napkins. They’re like the stylish manicure that completes your Thanksgiving outfit. With the napkins don’t forget the napkin rings… I don’t want you to experience the disappointment my MIL expressed last time she was here and I didn’t have 12 matching ones haha.

4. Moody Lighting

Dim the lights AND bring out the candles! My husband is danish, and you better believe we aren’t getting through a meal without some hygge. You want your table to look so good that it makes your guests wonder if they’ve accidentally walked into a fancy restaurant. light those taper candles that you have been saving in a drawer for years, it’s time.

5. Seasonal Decor

Pumpkins, pinecones, and autumn leaves are your festive friends. Scatter them around for a touch of autumn magic.

6. Personalized Place Cards

Let’s add a personal touch, shall we? Personalized place cards will make your guests feel special. It’s also a sneaky way to ensure Aunt Mildred sits next to the cousin she can’t argue with!

7. Modern Table Centerpiece

Create a centerpiece that says, “I know how to adult.” A low-profile arrangement of florals paired with candleholders is the fresh whipped cream on the pumpkin pie.

Now, drumroll, please! We’ve curated a list of organic modern Thanksgiving table setting products available on Amazon to save you from a turkey-induced panic. From elegant dinnerware to quirky decor items, you’ll find everything you need to make your Thanksgiving table the talk of the town.

Daisy Wavy Plates

A stack of scalloped white plates

Wavy Silverware

Wavy silverware

Dried Orange Slices

Dried orange slices for decorating the table

Modern Gold Silverware Set

Gold matte silverware set

Brown Gauze Napkins

Brown gauze napkins

Napkin Rings

Wooden two-toned napkin rings

Ceramic Vase

A white ceramic vase

Green Candlestick Holders

A set of green glass candle holders

Linen Table Runner with Fringe

A linen table runner is draped across a table

Gradient Taper Candles

Taper candles in muted sunset colors

Natural Linen Napkins

Linen napkins

Marble Candle Holders

Marble candle holders

Stripe Linen Table Runner

Striped linen table runner

Brass Taper Candlesticks

Brass taper candlesticks

Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission or have a sponsored relationship with the brand, at no cost to you. We recommend only products we genuinely like. Thank you so much.

How to Install Laminate Flooring

If you have been wondering how to install laminate flooring in your home I am here to say that YOU CAN DO IT. I have spent the last week installing Pergo Laminate wood flooring upstairs and it looks incredible. Let’s walk through what I picked, step by step installation, and tips & tricks I learned along the way. But first, let me explain why we were looking to upgrade.

A smiling woman stands on laminate flooring, holding a hammer above her head

I have been dreaming of swapping out our flooring upstairs for years. Originally when our first contractor laid our carpeting upstairs, he did a poor job. We didn’t notice until we moved in and had to live with this lumpy wonky carpet #nothanks.

Due to the circumstances with our downstairs remodel we ended up just learning to live with it because we didn’t really have another option. We could’ve paid someone to come stretch it but didn’t want to invest anymore into the carpet because as it turned out, the carpet quality was also super poor. So when I was given the opportunity to partner with the Home Depot on their flooring campaign I knew this was going to be the perfect opportunity.

This post is sponsored by The Home Depot. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Perkins On Parkway.

How to Install Laminate Flooring

STEP 1: Picking the right flooring

Going into this I knew I wanted something really durable yet cost effective. I wanted it to feel good, but I also wanted it to look good. I have had experience with laminate and hardwood in the past, and great experiences with both. Knowing that we might have kids living upstairs someday, I opted for laminate because I know it is extremely durable while giving the appearance of hardwood.

Color is also EXTREMELY important when I am deciding on a flooring because it impacts every other aspect of the room design. I was so impressed with Home Depot’s expansive colors options. Everything from warmer to cooler, light to dark, and everything in between. For me it is super important to see the flooring in person before making a decision. The color can change depending on the lighting in the room and often will look much different in real life than on screen. I narrowed down my selection to 5 different options and then ordered samples:

A comparison photo of different Pergo flooring options

When they arrived in person, it was a super easy decision. The Pergo Outlast+ in Sunbaked Sand Oak was the clear standout. You can see in the online images it is really a little more pink, in person it comes across with more of a warm yellow undertone. I am in love.

A hand holds up a sample of the final choice, a light colored laminate

For my flooring project I was also planning on tackling the stairs so we had to order the coordination stair treads and quarter round molding in the color Pearl. I didn’t know this, but often instead of producing those pieces in every single color variation they will produce a smaller collection of colors meant to go with multiple flooring options.

STEP 2: Prep

A before and after of the flooring with carpet and without

Because we were installing the laminate on a wooden subfloor, when we pulled up the carpet we had a lot of work to do in order to get the subfloor ready for laminate installation. You want as flat and as level of a surface as possible. Here is what we did:

  1. Removed the carpet. This was pretty easy since it wasn’t installed super well. We started in the corner, pulled it up, cut it into sections and removed it from the room. TIP: we were working on the second story so instead of walking the carpet downstairs, we threw it out the window.
  2. Removed all carpet tack strips, popped nails and staples. For this part of the process we leaned heavily on our painters multi tool and our staple remover.
  3. Removed the baseboard. Because our baseboards were installed over carpet they didn’t have enough clearance for the laminate flooring to slide underneath. I didn’t want to add shoe molding, so we opted to remove all of the baseboard. TIP: if you plan on reusing the baseboards, label the back of the baseboards and the wall so you can easily identify which board goes where.
  4. Fix squeaky areas. We added screws in several parts of the flooring to fix squeaking plywood.
  5. Fill in holes. Our subfloor had several indentations/holes so we used wood filler to fill those areas to create a level base for the laminate flooring.

STEP 3: Prepare the Door Jams

Because our door jams were installed with the baseboards we removed, they were too low to accommodate the new flooring. In order to prep these for the new flooring, we used to a dremel multi tool to remove the bottom portion of the trim using the new floor as a guide. You can find the video for how we did this here.

STEP 4: Install Underlayment

This was the easiest part of the process. We used Pergo Floormate Premium Underlayment and it was super easy to cut to size and attach together. It comes with pre tapped sides so you don’t have to use anything extra.

A closeup of laminate underlayment
A wider shot of the laminate underlayment installed on the floor

STEP 5: Install Laminate

  1. You will need some tools to install your laminate flooring. We used this kit that included everything we needed to lay the floor. It came with a mallet, tapping block, pull bar and spacers. In addition to these tools we used a jigsaw, miter saw and table saw to make cuts. You could definitely get by with just a jigsaw, but we liked having all three options for the different cuts that we needed to make. A laminate install kit is pictured
  2. All laminate will expand/contract so you will need a 3/8th spacer on the wall of your first row. You will also need to measure your flooring to make sure that your first and last piece will be the same width. In our room we needed to cut down our 7.5 inch boards to 5.5 inches. Spacers along the walls prevent the laminate from getting warped
  3. As you get ready to install your laminate you will want to use boards from different boxes. Pay attention to the patterns of the board, ideally you don’t want two identical boards ending up near each other. Laminate boards are laid out on the floor
  4. One you have your boards ready for the first row you will install the tongue side of the board against the wall. We started in the far right corner and moved our way across the room. The flooring is super easy to click into place.
  5. We opted to float the flooring through the door frames instead of using a door transition. This made it a little hard to get the flooring through the door frames but I think it is worth it for a super clean look. Laminate flooring installed in the doorway
  6. You will want to stagger the seams of your flooring. You do not want the flooring to have a noticeable pattern. You want it to look random. The staggered seams should be at least 12 inches apart.
  7. Overall this laminate is super easy to install and click into place. The tongue and groove system makes it super easy. Before you install each board you will want to double check for damage. We installed a couple boards and then had to remove them due to a chipped corner. Avoid this mistake! A closeup of the laminate flooring with all the seams lined up and clicked into place

Here is the final result for our upstairs area. Such a HUGE upgrade. I am so happy with how natural it looks, the color, and the product. I told Michael several times that I like this flooring better than what we have downstairs in our home. Mostly I just can’t believe THAT I DID THIS. I laid an entire floor of new flooring in my own house! Feels incredible. Up next I have to tackle the stairs, which seems a little more difficult so here is hoping we can get it done. But now that I know how to install laminate flooring, it shouldn’t be too bad.

This laminate is such a great base for the guest room remodel that we are doing that I can’t wait to get the room painted to see how much more elevated the flooring looks!

Laminate flooring installed in a white bedroom A before and after of the guest bedroom with carpet and then with laminate flooring A woman stands on laminate flooring holding a hammer and smiling

DIY Under Stairs Storage

When we bought our home in 2018 it came with a wet bar in the living room that I immediately knew we were not going to need. During our extensive renovation I asked the contractors to gut that space and leave it plain so we could have the space back. Then we were left with an awkward space under our stairs that I didn’t know what to do with. Our home also didn’t have a dedicated playroom space for toy storage so they were easily getting out of control in our main living area. I immediately thought DIY under stairs storage could be an awesome solution and solve our toy problem in one shot.

Before and after of an under the stairs nook. The before shows a wet bar under stairs, and the after shows a minimal storage solution.

A Solution for Clutter

My hope was by adding some infrastructure it would give everything a place eliminating the clutter. One challenge I faced is that this area is right off of our main living area so it has to be visually pleasing while still serving its kid toy storage focus. I am very inspired by clean Scandinavian design and gravitate towards white and wood tones. I searched for inspiration and landed on this wood slatted wall nook design! It has beautiful wooden slats, with open shelving and is visually appealing to anyone in our living area. Right now we are using this to store toys but I think it could be used as a decorative element as well. I love the Montessori approach to storing toys.

A closeup of the toy storage under the stairs shows light wooden slats on the wall behind three shelves, all storing some toys.

Below I will walk you through step by step how I implemented this under the stair storage design. This was one of the first woodworking projects that I ever attempted, so know that this is super beginner friendly. You only need a couple tools, some elbow grease, and you can make this come to life in your own home. I want you to feel empowered to make your home your own. If you don’t have the tools below on hand you can easily borrow from a friend (that is what I did! I actually didn’t own any tools when I did this project with the exception of a drill) or you can even rent them from you local hardware store. You’ve got this 💪

Supplies:

Tools:

DIY under stairs storage is pictured with toy shelves and wood slats on the wall

Slatted Wood Kids Nook Steps

Take Measurements

1. The first thing you will need to do is take the measurements of your nook, this will help you identify how many pieces of wood you will need to complete the project. I opted to use 1×2 boards with a .5 inch space in between each board. You can use a board and batten calculator to help you figure out how wide you want the spacing in between each board.

The measurements of the side and back of the nook are pictured

Cut the Wood

2. I gathered all my select pine wood pieces and cut them to fit the space. Which turned out to be harder than I anticipated, no one warned me there would be this much math involved. I haven’t taken a math class since 2011… but I made it through! Each board required two cuts – a traditional cross cut where you just bring the miter saw down cutting the wood to the correct size, and an additional cut at the top of the wood matching the angle of the nook. For the pieces of wood on the back of the wall this was an angled miter cut, and for the pieces of wood on the left size it was a beveled cut. It is important that all the boards are the correct size before they are sanded/stained/seal.I wanted to get all the boards cut to the right size before we nailed them into place. Watch this youtube video before you start measuring and cutting your wood to size. I opted to cut first before treating the wood that way there would be less to do overall.

  • A miter is an angled cut made across the face, or width, of a board.
  • A bevel is an angled cut made through the thickness of a board.
  • A cross cut is a 90 degree cut made through the face and width of the board.

Sand

3. Now that all of your boards are cut it is time to sand. I sanded all the slats. Even though I purchased the select pine and they felt smooth. Sanding the boards removes a yellow sheen that reveals the beautiful natural color of the pine. I highly recommend sanding all of your wood that will remain exposed before starting any project.

Stain

4. Let’s Stain! Because I wanted to keep the natural wood look, I used the stain simply white by minwax. I put on a light layer and wiped it off after 5 mins. This just cut down on the natural yellow color of the pine, making it  more neutral. Then because pine is a softer wood, I decided to put 3 coats of polyurethane on each piece. Talk about time consuming! But also kinda therapeutic? I put on a light coat, allowed for it to dry, sanded it down, and did it again. Will she ever stop sanding and staining? That is a question I kept asking myself. After the polyurethane I gave the boards one final sand until they were smooth to the touch.

A picture of the wood before and after being stained

Install the Slats

5. Time to install all of the slats. I pulled out my brad nailer nail gun and started putting the slats up and boy was that satisfying! I used a spacing board to ensure that each slat was the same distance apart. Watching all the slats fit just like pieces in a puzzle was one of my favorite parts. Once I got all the slats up and nailed to the wall I grabbed my natural and white putty from Minwax and filled the nail holes. 

Children are shown playing with the toys in the new DIY under stairs storage area

Install Shelves

6. Last, I installed shelves. I gave each of the shelves the same treatment as the slat, 1 coat of stain, 3 coats of polyurethane, sanding lightly between each coat. I used smaller pieces of wood to create brackets, installed those directly onto the slats, and laid the shelves just lay on top. Once the shelves were in place I used my nail gun and nailed down the top to the brackets to ensure it stayed in place. 

The shelves are pictured with more toys, and a wider shot of the room shows a Scandinavian-style living room area.

And there you have it, I have the kids nook of my dreams! I am so happy that this unused space under the stairs has become a completely functional space for our family. It is such a great feeling to have an idea and then execute it with your own two hands. Do you have a space like this? You can check out a video I made of the process on TikTok. Let me know if you have any questions.

@perkinsonparkway My first woodworking project that made me fall in love with DIY. You are more capable than you know! #diyer #womanwhobuild #womanempowerment #montessori #kidsnook #playroom ♬ World’s Smallest Violin – AJR

You can shop everything that I used for this project below along with some of my favorite Montessori Inspired toys. I think kids projects are some of my absolute favorites. Remember this kitchen makeover from last summer?!

If you would like to check out some more DIYs you can find them listed here! More interested in some design inspo? Check that out here. Thank you so much for reading and supporting Perkins On Parkway.

DIY Gift Guide – Must Have Tools for DIY Projects

This is the gift guide for people that want to start DIYing, have already started, or someone looking to level up their tool collection. These are 14 must have tools needed to start DIY projects in your own home, plus bonus tools and gadgets for those more experienced!

It can be super overwhelming if you are just starting your DIY tool kit. Not only are tools expensive but it can be hard to know what you REALLY need to get started with DIY projects in your home. I want to help you cut through the noise and give you the information that is going to help you get started on your tool journey today.

I have been doing projects in my home for a little over three years now and when I first started I borrowed tools! For my first kids nook project I borrowed a saw from my friend and a brad nailer from my dad. For my birthday I was given my first drill and my collection has slowly increased overtime! When I am budgeting for a new project I love to include $ to add a new tool to my collection if possible.

You also have the option to rent tools if you want to get a feel for something before you add it to your collection. These are an investment so sometimes its nice to try before you buy.

The main piece of advice before you buy anything is to pick a great brand. The reason you want to pick one brand and stick with it is because all of the batteries are interchangeable. It is super convenient to pick a brand because then you have a great collection of batteries that can swap between tools. 

Just Getting Started, Tool Box Essentials

A collage of tool box basics, including a tape measure, screwdriver, pliers, level, and a hammer

These are items that no matter what type of project you are doing will probably be necessary and useful. These are the items you need for doing simple projects around the house like hanging picture frames or putting together flat pack furniture.

  1. Tape Measure
  2. Hammer
  3. Level (a longer level can also be really useful)
  4. Utility knife 
  5. Pliers
  6. Wrench
  7. Screwdriver

There are some tool sets that will give you a bunch of these tools at once and could be a great option. Here are a few that I think look great:

  1. Stanley Tool Set
  2. Tool Kit

Ready to Level Up, Power Tool Essentials

A collage of power tool basics, including a drill, miter saw, a sander, and nail gun

These tools are going to be useful from drilling into your wall to hang curtains to building your own custom shelving. All of these tools have a lot of functionality and will serve you well. These are in order of importance, so if you can only afford one tool now start at the top and work your way down. 

  1. Drill – A drill will allow you to drill holes and drive screws. I have the craftsman drill because my dad was a craftsman guy and he gifted this to me for my 30th birthday. I have used my drill for everything from building shelves in my studio to putting together my first custom piece of furniture. A lot of drills come in a drill and driver combo pack. A driver is going to have more power and be great at sinking in longer screws. I still don’t have a driver so it isn’t absolutely essential, but it is for sure a nice to have! If you find a deal on a combo, it’s only marginally more expensive so I say go for it. This Makita set is on sale right now and I have heard amazing things about the brand! Dewalt has a driver and drill for $150. Do you research and pick a brand! You really can’t go wrong. 
  2. Miter Saw – You are going to use this to cut down longer pieces of wood into the correct dimensions for your project. This allows you to create straight cuts or can be adjusted to cut on an angle. I have the Hart saw from Walmart, which is a fabulous price and works great. I have my eye on this Dewalt extended miter saw for my next upgrade!
  3. Orbital Sander – This will save you so much time! I sand everything, even select boards, before I use them in my projects. It just makes the finish so much cleaner. 
  4. Nail Gun – This is probably my favorite tool to use. It is perfect for trim work and feature walls. Super easy to use and makes a project go fast. There are a couple different types of nail gun but a brad nailer is the perfect place to start. I use mine to attach baseboard, trim, and slat feature walls. I have a battery operated one which is perfect so I don’t have to haul out a huge air compressor. I have my eye on a pin nailer next, perfect for super small detail work.
  5. Circular Saw – This is a great alternative to a table saw which is a more advanced and expensive tool. A circular saw can cut down large pieces of plywood. I have also used this for some stubborn demo. 
  6. Jigsaw – This is perfect for cutting irregular shapes into wood, for example I just used mine to cut an arch into a piece of plywood for a bookshelf build. Anything that needs a curve is perfect for a jigsaw. You can check out a wide variety of jigsaws here, the biggest differences will be brand and cored/uncorded. I personally have a corded jigsaw, it was cheaper and the cord doesn’t bother me. I know a lot of people prefer cordless.
  7. Dremel – This multi tool comes in SO handy. I use it to cut baseboards, through smaller pieces of wood, cutting into drywall, and sanding. It does it all!

BONUS: Kreg Jig – This is super helpful if you are wanting to build your own furniture, shelving, etc. It allows you to create pocket holes so that you can attach two boards together with screws that end up hidden. There are several different versions of this tool available depending on your budget. I started with the least expensive (you will need a separate clamp with this) and recently upgraded to this version, it’s amazing! Both do the same thing, one is just a little easier to use than the other. Don’t forget the special screws that you need to work with the kreg jig!

Other beginner Power tool set deals:

A set of Ryobi power tools

This Ryobi tool set has 3 of the tools mentioned above plus a few more for only $200!

A set of Craftsman power tools

This Craftsman combo kit is an incredible deal!

Some more must have tools for DIY, including a table saw, a laser measurer, and a universal socket.

Skilled DIYer:

For the DIYer that already has a pretty stacked tool kit, but maybe not some of these handy tools and gadgets!

Table Saw – This is the one that I have and I love it!

Kreg Jig – I just upgraded to this model and its AWESOME.

Laser Distance Measurer – Use this all the time.

Folding Word Table with Clamps – Just bought this to use with my miter saw and I am a huge fan.

Laser Level – I don’t have this, but it is on my list. 

Universal Socket – Michael got me this for christmas last year and I love it! 

Bluetooth Safety Ear Protection – I have these and love them! Perfect to protect my ears and listen to music. If you haven’t checked out the Perkins On Parkway Spotify playlist, you can listen to that here!

Marshall Speaker – Perfect to turn on while you are working in the garage or painting! 

Magnetic Wristband – I can’t even tell you how many screws and nails I have dropped… This is game changer!

Dickies Tool Belt – I got this recently and its perfect for making sure my tape measure, pencil, and hammer don’t get lost (most of the time).

Jumpsuit – These are the best for tackling a project! I have one that I use for all my painting so I never have to worry about my clothes.

Laser level Level – a lever with a laser?! Needed this for hanging my gallery wall.

Clamps – You can never have enough. I have these and really like them.

Whew! Hopefully that gives you some great ideas of what to ask for if you are just starting your DIY journey or some ideas for the DIYer in your life. Make sure to take advantage of all the incredible deals that are taking place this week. Home Depot is running all sorts of insane tool deals for Black Friday so head to their site and check out what is on promo! Make sure to check out our other gift guides here.

How to Find Free Art

Putting art on the walls of your house makes it feel like a home, but art is expensive! Wondering how to find free, beautiful art? The secret is the Public Domain! For example, this print from Lulu & Georgia can be found here to download FOR FREE. Is your mind blown yet?

Wondering how this is possible? Let’s talk about what Public Domain is.

Q: What is Public Domain?

A: When someone creates a piece of art, it is given a copyright. In most countries, the term of protection of copyright expires on the first day of January, 70 years after the death of the latest living creator. So while the artist is alive + 70 years, the artist or their kin own the rights and can charge for usage. Once that 70 year period is up, their work passes into the “Public Domain” and it is available for free usage without having to pay the original creator.

For example, if someone wanted to use a Taylor Swift song in a commercial today they would have to ask her permission to do so and if she agreed, compensate her.  In 200 years they would be able to use it without her permission (assuming the laws stay the same and she doesn’t live forever, which she totally will).

So what does that mean for you?

That there is a TON of free art available for your use right now! There are several catalogs curated by museums that are available for you to search – The Met, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Smithsonian, Wikipedia, etc. These museums have scanned images of the original artwork and are available for you to download in extremely high quality.

My favorite place to source pieces from the Public Domain is the A Home Is Announced Print Shop. Kadie, who runs the shop, does an incredible job scouring all of the public domain archives to curate specific collections. I bet you can guess that the modern and abstract collection is my favorite. I also love this collection of landscapes that she has pulled together. She does this all for free and she is just the best. Follow her on IG here.

If you choose to use something from Public Domain you are going to have to find somewhere to print it. I like using Artifact Uprising, but if I am on a time crunch a local FedEx or Costco will foot the bill.

Above is a sneak peak of a gallery wall that I am working on. Including this type of art in your home is an amazing way to layer in texture as well as history! I hope you find a piece of art you love that makes your home feel more like you. If you can’t find one there, check out how to make your own fiber art here.

The Best Gifts for Crafty People in Your Life

Need some gifts for the crafty people in your life? Those people who are always learning a new skill or starting a new hobby? These gifts will keep their minds stimulated and inspire their creativity! From DIY kits that will help them kick off their newest obsession to tools that will help them along the way, we have options at multiple price points to get you inspired. I would love to get any of these gifts!

A photo collage shows different gift ideas for crafty people, like a punch needle kit, a Cricut machine, a notebook, and a glue gun

13 Gifts for the Crafty People in Your Life!

A floral-themed punch needle kit is the first option in the gift guide

For the Fiber Arts Lover

Punch Needle Beginner Kit – This is something I have wanted to try out forever! I love all of the designs that you can make with punch needle. This kit has all you need to get started!

A mint green Cricut machine

For the Jack of All Trades

Cricut Explore 3 – This isn’t just for your grandma that likes to scrapbook! There are so many things you can do with a Cricut machine. I just made t-shirts for a party I went to a few weekends ago.

A charcuterie board kit that includes some coaster, a cutting board, and some glass cups

For the Foodie

Charcuterie Board Kit – Perfect for the person that likes to level up their holiday or party spread.

A blue cordless glue gun

For the Hands-on Crafter

Cordless Glue Gun – This makes DIYs so easy when you don’t have to worry about the cord getting in the way!

A beginner's crochet kit teaches you how to crochet

For the Novice Crafter

Learn how to Crochet! – This small cat is so cute but they also have tons of other animals that you can choose from.

A block printing kit includes all the supplies you need to block print

For the Printing Lover

Block Printing – I love how geometric this kit is! An elevated experience from the potatoes that we used to block print while I was in school.

Wireless headphones are great for crafters who need something to listen to while they work

For the Focused Crafter

Bose Headphones – I am always listening to music while I work and I love these headphones! So sleek and have great sound quality.

A carpentry pencil is a must-have gift for a crafty friend!

For the Perfectionist

Carpentry Pencil – these are a must have for when you are working on projects!

Graph paper notebooks are perfect for note-taking

For the Note Taker

Graph Paper Notebooks – Never enough graph paper! This is perfect for jotting down ideas or drawing up plans for all of their crafting ideas. I love the colors of these!

The book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is a perfect gift for creatives

For the Reader

Big Magic – This book is one that I return to over an over again. I love how Gilbert talks about creativity and ideas. It always inspires me! Would be perfect for a crafty person, or really any person on your list!

For the Person Who Always Has a Pencil Behind Their Ear

Troika Carpenter Pencil – This pencil is beautiful and useful! It feels so good in your hand. I love having this in my pocket while I am DIYing or crafting. Perfect for making quick measurements.

For the Organized Type

Multi-Purpose Storage Box – These are perfect for storing all of their craft supplies from all of their different hobbies. I love the color of this smoked green one but they also have one that is clear. Both are super cute!

For the Meditative Crafter

Wood Burning Tool Kit for Beginners – This is such a fun and therapeutic hobby. I love using mine for small crafts.

We hope that helps you with gifts and ideas for the crafty person in your life. If you are shopping for someone else you can find our other gift guides here: