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Filed in PROJECTS & DIY — March 28, 2022

I hear so often designing for clients or on Instagram how refreshing the home feels overwhelming and like it will never get to where we want it. For so many of us I think big, healthy full reno budgets takes quite a bit of time to grow. Unless of course, it’s a new build. Even then though a lot of people choose builder grade finishes to keep costs down with goals to renovate down the road.

My approach to simple room refreshes and big renovations is often the same. We choose to pay cash for our projects and DIY most ourselves. We’re able to save so much money this way. It also requires us to save up for projects. I’m a firm believer in loving our homes now in the in-between, and EVEN IF it’s not our dream home. There are so many ways to make our homes a space we love to be in and enjoy them while we wait for the big renovations. Smaller projects and refreshes in phases are often times how I tackle the spaces in our home. Although, we hope to move soon there’s no reason to not tackle some of these projects on our 2021 list now, helping us invest wisely in our home while creating a space we enjoy and love to be in.

I start with my project wish list for the year. Then, narrow it down in order by necessity or what will help us live better in our space function wise. Next, I create a design board for these spaces and source products. Once I have a vision for my projects it’s easier to watch for sales on certain products needed. If there’s a significant sale like for lighting, or a mirror etc. it definitely helps add cushion to the budget for those projects. Planning ahead makes all the difference.

The great thing about being a designer I’m able to do this for myself. If you’re hoping to refresh or take on a larger renovation this year it pays to hire a designer to help you execute the vision, source products and curate a fully styled design for your space. Often times an E-design (all virtual design service, more affordable approach with hiring a designer) is sufficient in executing this from small refreshes to large renovations. See more of our design services here – if you’re tackling projects this year, we’d love to help you!



A small refresh is headed for our newly updated living room. Often times our refreshes go in phases. I’ve said this many times before. When we completed our fireplace makeover, I hadn’t decided on including built-ins yet, and wanted to live with the space a bit before pulling the trigger. I’m glad I did – as I waited and lived with it my original plan to add shelves on both sides, I believe I wouldn’t have loved long term. I’m really excited about the design I crafted and am loving the look so far. Follow along on stories here to see more of it, it’s really taking shape!

Here’s a look at our design for the built-ins. A cozy bench on one side and beautiful shelves I get to style and curate with all my favorite accents on the other. Best of both worlds! I like this set up best for our particular space as each side isn’t exactly symmetrical and I’m a very big symmetry person. So, in the end I think having both sides be a bench or shelves would throw me off with it not being the same exact size. This gives us a little variation and I love it!

We’ll be moving some furniture around, new artwork, few new décor pieces and definitely replacing the coffee table. This is the look I’m going for. We’ll most likely DIY and dupe this gorgeous Pottery Barn table, and of course share the tutorial with you all.


Our kitchen has been in several phases. I shared more on IG last week, check out my kitchen refresh highlights. In the fall I finally decided on new brass lighting. Lighting for this space has been the biggest design hurdle for me because I loved so many options and couldn’t narrow down a favorite. I think I got it! Lighting, hardware and paint are some of the easiest changes to make that are very cost friendly!

I’ve also been itching to update the wood door with a solid warm greige including the island shiplap. This accent color is throughout our home and will make all our spaces feel more cohesive by bringing it to the kitchen. Our kitchen is very high contrast black and white, so I wanted to add a little warmth without adding wood tones and break up the contrast. Our hardware, sink pendants, island pendant and some accents are brass bringing in that warm tone. I’m also hoping to update our vent hood and take down the microwave finally. Last year we weren’t in a phase of life where we could get rid of the microwave all together, and we don’t have a large pantry to relocate it to.

I have the perfect spot now (I hope!) for a smaller microwave. I’ll be refreshing the vent hood, larger size and different style. Then, we’ll be adding a set of lower cabinets next to our pantry to create a coffee bar. I’m really excited for this! Freeing up some counter space next to our sink and getting another area to house all my pretty coffee things!


I’m hopeful we’ll get to our hall bath renovation before baby this year! I’m envisioning stacked glazed white tile with white grout for a beautiful organic look as a feature for the vanity wall. Large matte black hex floor tile including black grout. Existing shower will remain but adding millwork for a wall treatment. New vanity, lighting and mirrors. I’m so excited to really makeover our boy’s and guest bath!


And finally, a neutral nursery fit for a sweet little boy we’ll be welcoming in June! This project kicks off next and I’m getting excited about it. Paint, millwork, dresser makeover, and all the cute tiny baby things! I know nurseries aren’t for everyone if that’s not the phase of life you’re in, but we’re just as excited for this project as the others. Stay tuned for designs coming soon.

I can’t wait to share these projects and more this year! Follow along on IG to see behind the scenes.

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Founder and Principal Designer.
I created Grace Oaks Designs based on a need for attainable design. I kept coming back to my signature style time after time and realized, this is it! We bridge the gap creating attainable design for the modern family. Home tells our stories. It's the cornerstone of where we're going and where we've been. Where beautiful style meets comfort and functionality. For an elevated everyday. It's our safe haven. Which is why I'm so passionate about creating refined casual interiors. Elevated yet livable. Because I want you to love coming home. 

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Grace Oaks Designs is an interiors and lifestyle brand located in Central IL. We offer inspiration and design services to help you elevate your everyday.