Blog, Good Advice, Home Decor

Everything You Need To Know About Paint

Are you ready to spruce up your home? The fastest and most inexpensive way to do so is with paint! There is something so promising about opening up a new can of paint. It has the power to transform walls, and freshen up a room almost instantly. Here you will find everything you need to know about paint and pro-tips on how to make your next painting project a success.

As you know, if you have visited my website previously my favorite color is aqua, hence the name “The Aqua Cottage.” Aqua blue reminds me of my favorite tropical beaches but; Did you know that the color blue is tranquil and calming? That’s because it’s the color of the sea. The word Aqua is not only a color, but in some languages also means water. The color blue  promotes relaxation which makes it ideal for bedrooms and bathrooms.

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

Before you choose colors consider the function of the space. For example kitchens are high traffic areas and bathrooms have high humidity. Living Rooms and bedrooms are more restful. Do you want your paint color to spark creativity or encourage rest and relaxation? Before you pick up a brush, let’s look at the different types of paint and finishes first.

Types Of Paint

Primer: A coat of primer lays the foundation for a lasting paint job. Primers are formulated with special binders that help paint adhere to it. You can have your primer tinted to match your paint and ensure even coverage. There are also many new paint options that have primer already combined into the paint.

Latex: Today most paint is vinyl acrylic or one hundred percent acrylic latex. It’s water soluble and DIY friendly because it cleans up easily with soap and water. Latex paint dries quickly, usually in two hours or so and cures in a matter of weeks.

Oil: Oil paint is known as alkyd or solvent based. It dries slowly and must be cleaned up with mineral spirits. Oil paint also hardens well to create a durable finish. 

Low VOC: This paint has ingredients that contain volatile organic compounds to eliminate the gas which creates that familiar paint smell. It’s best for those with breathing or health issues where as regular paint fumes may be hazardous to your health. Today there are many low to no VOC lines on the market that still offer great color and coverage.

Paint Finishes

  • Semigloss: It’s less shiny than gloss and almost as easy to clean. It is the finish of choice for most kitchens and bathrooms. For the bath, choose a paint or primer with mildewcide such as Kilz (see below) to handle high humidity.
  • Flat: This finish has little or no shine creating and even tone and hides surface imperfections. It is harder to clean than finishes with sheen, also good for ceilings and living areas.
  • Satin, Eggshell: Good for foyers, family spaces, and high traffic areas: This finish has less sheen than semi-gloss. It also cleans up more easily and resists “burnishing” or shiny spots that result after being rubbed and scrubbed.
  • Matte: This is a low gloss finish that can help camouflage tiny cracks and bumps in the walls. Good for bedrooms, livingrooms, and dining rooms, this finish delivers a rich coat of color.
  • Milk Paint: This powered paint formula comes in dozens of colors and gives walls and furniture a vintage look. Just add water and mix with a blender or a hand mixer.  It can go right over sheetrock.

Find it here: https://amzn.to/2mZ9Dol

Painting 101

Now that you know the type of paints and finishes, and how much you’ll need, it’s time to get started! Before you open that can of paint or dip that paint brush, here are some application techniques and secrets to giving your walls and trim a flawless finish. Painting walls is a delicate balance of cutting in with a brush around trim, outlets, inside corners, and the ceiling. Only cut in as much as you can roll while the paint is still wet. Otherwise you may notice a difference in sheen or a stripe that occurs where the wall meets the ceiling.

Click image to find list items here on Amazon.

One gallon of paint covers about 400 square feet. To figure out how much paint you’ll need, add up the lengths of all your walls, then multiply that amount by the room height. Subtract 20 square feet for each door and about 15 for each window. Divide the result by 400 to get the number of gallons you’ll need for one coat.

Now it’s time to paint! Follow these basic steps after applying painters tape.

  1. Cut in around the edges with a 2 ½ inch angle brush. Only dip the edge of the brush into the paint or less than half way in  to avoid over saturating the brush. Shake off excess paint, to prevent drips down the wall or floors. Draw the tip up to meet the edge, then drag the brush steadily along. Reload brush when the paint starts to fade. To prevent overlap marks avoid working the paint brush back and forth. Finish with a light pass across the area.
  2. Use the roller once you’ve cut in around a wall to fill in the field. Damped the roller before using it (with water for latex and paint thinner for oil). Dip the roller into a lined paint tray with just enough paint to reach the grate. Roll it back against the grate to distribute the paint evenly and squeeze of the excess. Make sure the roller is covered completely before using it on the walls to avoid dry spots. Start out rolling by making a W on the wall and then fill it in using short easy strokes. Now you’re painting like a pro! Aim to cover a 3-by-3 foot patch with each rollerfull. Keep a damp cloth handy to wipe up any drops along the baseboard. Continue painting until fully covered. Overlap the edge to avoid visible brush marks. Wait an hour to retouch the wall before applying a second coat.
  3. Remove painters tape pulling it off slowly while the paint is still wet. If you wait for it to dry the tape can gap causing damage to the finish or surface.

Once all of the walls are completed and the walls are dry, step back and take look at your work. See if there are any touch ups needed. Now, enjoy your newly painted space and decorate accordingly. If you love coastal decor, see The Ultimate Guide To Beach Cottage Style. I hope you found this article to be helpful. Save time and money by ordering online and have one neat pro-painters box shipped right to you door. You can easily find all of the painting supplies on the list through my link here on Amazon. Also, If you are planning to renovate your kitchen, see The Ultimate Kitchen Renovation Guide.

Blog, Home Decor

The Best Fall Cottage Decor On Amazon

Can you believe that Fall is already here? There is a crisp chill in the morning air here along the New England coast, and the leaves are starting to change! Some people refer to it as “Pumpkin Spice Season.”  (haha) It’s my favorite time of year although I’m still not ready to let go of summer thanks to my love for the beach. It’s time to reflect back on the year, gather with family and friends and be grateful.

As for the beach lovers who just aren’t ready to let go of summer yet don’t worry, I have also added in some fall coastal decor items to inspire you too; and they are all budget friendly. It’s also time decorate for Halloween if you haven’t started already.  Pretty soon the leaves will begin to fall from the trees and then before you know it, the holidays will be here. Save time and money with this list of inspiring fall cottage and trending coastal farmhouse decor ideas from Amazon . These items transition well into the holiday season. 

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.*** 

  1. Nothing says fall like pumpkins and tons of cozy pillows! I cant get enough of them, so I started buying pillow covers instead.
Pumpkin Decoration Cotton Blend Cushion Cover Set of 4

Find it here: https://amzn.to/2mze88L

2. Everything really is better at the beach, including pumpkins!

Custom Decor Coastal Pumpkin Garden Sign

Find it here: https://amzn.to/2nmN38R

3. Don’t you just love white pumpkins?

White Pumpkin with Gold Centerpieces (3 Piece Set)

Find it here: https://amzn.to/2lRppkq

4. This indoor/outdoor wagon comes in 3 lovely colors and can be display all year long.

Amish Wagon Decorative Indoor/Outdoor Garden Backyard Planter

Find it here: https://amzn.to/2nw9atn

5. You can never go wrong with pumpkins and lanterns.

 Coastal Fall – Welcome – Garden Size, Decorative Double Sided Flag

Find it here: https://amzn.to/2lRvBca

6. This wreath is perfect for that coastal farmhouse look.

 Lamb’s Ear Wreath with White Pumpkins Pinecones Cotton Bolls Fall Front Door Wreath

Find it here: https://amzn.to/2nupoDm

7. Don’t you just love the color of these aqua and white mason jars?

3-Piece Vintage, Retro, Farmhouse Chic, Mason Jar Inspired Ceramic Kitchen Canister Set

Find it here https://amzn.to/2lSg9wx

8. This door banner also comes in other styles for Halloween and Christmas.

Welcome Happy Fall Yall Large Hanging Flags Signs Porch Banner

9. Honestly, you can never have enough throw pillows!

 Welcome Fall Throw Pillow Covers Autumn Harvest Pumpkin Starfish Coastal Decor

Find it here: https://amzn.to/2o2gxcl

10. Pumpkin spice and everything nice!

Fall Decorations for Home Set of 4 Fall Pillow Covers 18 x 18 

Find it here: https://amzn.to/2lWDBJ4

11. These real wax Birch Bark battery operated pillar candles with remote are a safe way to make any corner of the room look warm and cozy.

Flickering Candles, Candles Birch Set of 4 5″ 6″ Birch Bark Battery Candles Real Wax Pillar with Remote Timer

12. So cute, kids and adults alike will not be able to keep their hands out of the candy jar!

1 X The Pumpkin Express Train – Decorative Accessories

Find it here: https://amzn.to/2nrUhbF

Check out some these decor items and many more coordinating items on Amazon. Many of these items make great gifts for fall October and November birthdays! Enjoy your fall!

Blog, Good Advice, Home Decor, Lifestyle

The Ultimate Kitchen Renovation Guide

Are you looking to create the perfect kitchen of your dreams? The first step is to figure out your must haves and create a wish list. Proper planning is the key to success. You can use this guide and free printable checklist to plan any style kitchen renovation. I created this article as a guide for my own future renovation and sought expert design advice from contractors and renovators. Now I am more than happy to share it with you! A kitchen is an investment that impacts your quality of life and the value of your home, so you’ll want to invest wisely.

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

The kitchen is the most important room in your home. It’s where we live, entertain, and make wonderful memories. Whether you’re creating a brand new kitchen or updating an old one, the key is to tailor it to the way that you live. When planning a renovation, consider choosing eco-friendly products and finishes that are beautiful and sustainable. You want to design a kitchen that not only makes the most of your space and budget, but also improves your quality of life. The modern kitchen is the new command center where we handle most household affairs. Designing a kitchen involves lots of choice. As you start to weigh all of the elements think about longevity.

Before you get started, ask yourself these important questions.

  1. How do use your current kitchen?
  2. What kind of kitchen will suit your needs? 
  3. Do you like the current layout or do you need more space?
  4. Does your kitchen need updating or and extensive remodel?
  5. What is your budget with contingency?
  6. What permits will you need if any?
  7. Are you going to do any of the work yourself or hire a contractor?
  8. What is your time table to complete this project?
  9. Are you renovating with intent to sell?


Are you wondering how much all of this should cost? Of course! Here is fairly accurate prediction of what each part of the renovation should cost. This should give you some ideas on how to break down your initial budget.

Source: National Kitchen & Bath Association.

Assessing The Project

If you are working with a small budget and your kitchen is functioning properly, then you may want to consider a moderate make-over. The easiest and least expensive way to change the look of your kitchen is by applying a fresh coat of paint on the walls and painting the kitchen cabinets. Remember to update the hardware. These minor cosmetic changes plus updating the appliances can dramatically improve the look of your kitchen without spending a fortune. If your floors need updating, consider using durable yet affordable eco-friendly linoleum, not vinyl. All of these projects can be done without having to hire a contractor.

A full or partial renovation means a more time consuming and costly undertaking. The advantage is that you can expand the layout, knock down walls, move the appliances, add more counter space, and update the style. For example relocating the stove may involve installing another gas hook up and vent.  Moving or adding a sink will require additional plumbing. Anything that requires venting plumbing, gas or electricity requires a professional. You can easily remove walls, but if the wall is load bearing you will have to take special precautions to support the structure during the process. I suggest hiring a designer or and architect who can assist with the renovation and assure that you get the best kitchen for your money. Re-configuring space means buying new cabinets, which is the biggest portion of the budget.

A major overhaul is the most expensive type of renovation because it involves adding space to enlarge the footprint. There are many ways to open up and reconfigure most kitchens within their existing space. If you have a small kitchen and you want to add an island, breakfast nook or home office, you will need to consider building and addition or taking part of an adjacent room  such as a den or spare bedroom. I personally prefer knocking down walls to create one cohesive open space such as a kitchen, living and dining room combination. Any additions will require and a new foundation and roof, so you will need to factor the labor, materials and permit fees into your budget. I recommend hiring and experienced architect who can design and integrate your new kitchen seamlessly into your home. 
When planning a major overhaul, you will need to be prepared for any plumbing, electrical or structural issues before you begin. Usually these surprises sometimes sprout up once you begin opening up the walls. Don’t skip on fixing any issues that arise just to save time and money. You want your renovation to add value to your home, so be sure to hire a good contractor and make smarter choices. Yes there is lots to think about, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Your renovation does not have to be a nightmare, there are new innovative products and materials on the market everyday to make it go smoother. 

Before you start planning, think about the following questions. Are you looking for low cost or best quality? Do you want to use the kind of products that will last a lifetime? Will you use eco friendly products that have a low impact on the environment? The truth is although there are lots of choices, there is no right answer for everybody. That because everyone has a different budget. What matters most is figuring out what’s more important to you and why. 

Now that you have answered those questions, it’s time to plan. Whatever the scale of your project, first organize your ideas to allow you to make smart decisions along the way. I highly recommend using Pinterest for inspirational ideas! Don’t focus on trends, but think about both style and function before you make any choices. Think about what would suit your households needs in the future.

  •  Do you cook in your kitchen often, or entertain regularly?
  •  Do you need space for more than one cook? 
  •  Do you have enough cabinets and countertop space?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ll need to incorporate them into your design to make sure the kitchen of your dreams not only comfortable but functional. Remember, you’ll want your kitchen to have lasting value. There are lots of options, but for now you can start planning by answering these questions

Next you will need to consider:

  • How old is your house?
  • Any Asbestos or Lead Paint?
  • What kind of electrical wiring is in place and how old it is.
  • What kind of lighting will you be adding in the ceiling?
  • The kind of insulation in the walls if any.
  • What kind of plumbing is in place, how old is it and is it functioning properly?
  • Are you adding wiring for computers, smart homes and audio and visual components?
  • Can your heating, cooling and Hvac systems handle the changes you want to make.
  • Are your walls plaster or sheetrock?

Now let’s think about the style. What style will you choose? There are over sixteen different types such as Modern, Traditional, Contemporary, Rustic, Craftsman, Industrial, Mediterranean, and Beach to name a few.

My personal favorite design is Beach Cottage Style. A beach cottage style kitchen should be light and airy reflecting the colors of the sea. Your design plan should include white cabinets, but if you have dark cabinets that are paintable, consider lightening them up by painting them in a cool coastal blue.

See list below to shop this look.

Add shiplap, wainscotting, engineered wood, wood look ceramic tile, or bamboo floors for warmth, and chunky open shelves to display pottery and give the kitchen a cottage feel. Next include natural elements in the decor such as flax and linen, and nautical elements such as seagrass, sisal and driftwood.  Remember to add comfortable seating to keep it cozy and casual. I hope you enjoyed this post. View my Pinterest board Coastal Style Kitchens for more design inspiration.

Shop or find items in Image on this list here.

  1. Safavieh Jute Area Rug –https://amzn.to/2lpWAeO
  2. Dining Room Chair – Wood Seat – Set of 2 – Blue/Green- https://amzn.to/2mRyyK6
  3. Solid Wood Dining Table- https://www.jossandmain.com
  4. Kitchen Cabinets- http://www.willowlanecabinetry.com
  5. Wood Look Ceramic Tile Flooring- http://www.BuildDirect.com
  6. Golden Lighting 3602-L-CH-WH http://www.build.com
  7. Seaglass Bottle- https://www.pinterest.com/pin/421368108887254088/
  8. Emerald Coast Countertops- https://www.vetrazzo.com/inspiration/sea-and-sand/?lang=en
  9. Seagrass Baskets- https://amzn.to/2mYktu6
  10. Glass Back Splash Tiles- https://amzn.to/2nyURVd
  11. Cabinet Hardware- http://smarthomekitchen.com/black-kitchen-cabinet/black-kitchen-cabinet-hardware/
  12. Kitchen Canisters- https://amzn.to/2lm00PH
  13. Moen Faucet- https://amzn.to/2ljY3TK
  14. Sink- https://amzn.to/2nyTGVN
  15. Cabinet- http://www.willowlanecabinetry.com
  16. Wall Clock- https://amzn.to/2nsXRlO
Home Decor, Lifestyle

The Ultimate Guide To Beach Cottage Style

Beach Cottage Style is discovering how to turn your home into a comfortable coastal style retreat. Following this simple guide will help you easily create a home that you love, even if you don’t live near the beach. When it comes to home decor, people always focus on trends, but before you start wondering about the latest trends and techniques, I can assure you this decorating approach will be a breeze. It’s all about creating fresh, clutter free spaces that are cozy and livable. Your home should reflect who you are and what you love. If you are reading this, then most likely you love the beach!

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

When I think of the beach, I automatically think about the sun, sand, sky, sea. pale yellow being the sun, tan and white represent the sand, light grays and blues represent the sky and the color aqua represents the sea. These are colors inspired by nature that are easy to incorporate into your home to give it that serene coastal feel. 

I am always amazed at how paint can change a room instantly. Choosing paint can be daunting for some because there are just so many colors! It doesn’t have to be, just keep it simple. Remember the colors of the beach and use that as your paint palette like in the sample below. You don’t have to use these exact colors, try creating you own palette and use this example as a guide.

Here is a guide to help you find the right style for your home.

  • Paint: First you’ll want to lighten up living spaces with fresh coats of neutral paint keeping the rooms light and airy, and always, always paint the trim in white. White trim adds nice clean lines to the room and naturally compliments and enhances the wall color. Paint ceilings in light tinted blues to make the room feel light and airy like the sky.
  • Flooring: Add a sisal rug to lighten up dark floors and make the room feel larger. If you have dark wooden floors, consider painting them a creamy white to lighten up the space and give the room a finished look. If your walls are painted white you can keep the dark flooring to add contrast.
  • Furniture: Next, add time honored furnishings such as a light slipcovered sofa that will keep the room bright and fresh. You can also find potential in things that you already own, for example try adding a fresh coat of paint to old furniture instead of buying new.      
  • Accessories. Add natural materials such as wicker and seagrass baskets for decorative storage. They are great for hiding clutter and warm up any space.
  • Decor: Consider adding subtle nautical decor such as lanterns, sea glass bottles, and coastal wall art. Display your personal collections of sea shells to add unique character to your room. Use memorable beach and vacation photos and have them framed. Surround yourself with the things that you love that make you happy, and remind you of the beach. 

Here is a room by room guide to beach cottage style.

The Kitchen

Your kitchen is the heart of your home, it should nourish you and feed the senses. If it is small and dark then I suggest painting it white to enlarge the space. If you have dark cabinets that are paintable, consider lightening them up by painting them in a cool coastal blue. Not only does it give your kitchen a breath of fresh air, but it will look fabulous against clean white walls.

Then update the hardware on your cabinets with nautical knobs such as seashells, and starfish as shown below. Next, choose window treatments in natural colors such as linen, flax, driftwood or bamboo. Add a sisal or sea-grass rug to tie the rooms together. Style your kitchen with open shelves, aqua or ocean blue colored dishes and accents, and large coral and shell displays.

Joyindecor Ocean Cabinet Knobs

Click here to shop: https://amzn.to/2n1XUoA

The Dining Room

This is the place where family and friends gather together to share a fabulous meal, formal dinner parties, or where crafting and homework is done. Make this a warm and welcoming space filled with lovely things to look. For furniture ideas, start with a large white or light oak table and lots of comfortable seating such as slip-covered or upholstered chairs. Mix and match fabric chairs with rattan or wood. If you have an open floor plan kitchen/dining room combo, you’ll want to stick with like colors in the dining room to tie the two rooms together and make it feel like one cohesive space. 

Upholstered Parsons Chair w/Cover

Click here to shop: https://amzn.to/2lhWjdT

The Living Room

Less is more when it comes to the living room. Beach cottage living is creating a cozy, open and inviting space that reflects you. Opt for flexible seating plans such as a large overstuffed sofa with surrounded by one or two comfortable armchairs. Add in some upholstered poofs or an ottoman with pop of color to add visual interest. 

There is no need to overcrowd the living room with furniture or too many things. A couple of nautical paintings and  artwork here and there and a striped rug will make the room feel very coastal. I personally love the look of a white white slip-covered sofa. It’s so versatile and easy to change up the look in any season. Add a large coffee table or sea grass storage ottoman in front of the sofa. Decorate the top with a large sea-grass tray and place sea glass bottles, flowers, candles and nautical shells. Curtains, drapes and pillows with the same or like colors will add texture to the space and define the room. When displaying collections, group items together for a more unified look.

Click here to shop: https://amzn.to/2l0hBwq

Bedrooms

It’s easy to create those dreamy coastal bedrooms we all see on Pinterest. Remember to stick with the nature’s color palette to create a soothing environment for rest. Furnish the space with things that are warm and soft to the touch. The main focus of the bedroom is the bed itself, so you’ll want to choose bed linens that add visual interest such as a nautical pattern or stripes. You can also use neutral coastal colors such as aqua, coral, yellow or sea blues, just be sure to use lots of fluffy pillows, textures and patterns. 

Choose colors textures and lighting that feel soothing and calm such as a sea glass lamp. Keep window treatments simple with curtains light enough to allow in a cool breeze. Heavy curtains and drapes way the room down. Try bamboo shades to add an appealing textural element to the room. Adding ship-lap to the walls gives them an instant nautical look. 

Nautical Floor Table Lamp, Aqua

Click here to shop: https://amzn.to/2l0Zd6E

Bathrooms

If your bathroom is already a neutral color than its easy to give it a beachy look. If not consider painting it in an ocean blue color. If you bathroom is small then paint it white and add sea-blue candles and accents.  Then, accessorize your bathroom with apothecary jars filled with seashells, sea glass beads, or add starfish, anchors and nautical art to the walls. Add soft and fluffy navy, white or tan bath rug. Update lighting with nautical style wall sconces and vanity lights, and add a nautical bathroom mirror.

 Set of 3 Seashell Handle Clear Glass Apothecary Jars

Click here to shop: https://amzn.to/2mtR4rE

I hope you found this article inspiring, see my blog page “Cottage Decor” for pictures and more inspiration or follow me on Pinterest and check out my board, “Beach Cottage Home” for more design inspiration.