House Update: Woven Roman Shades

Today, I’m sharing my recent update in my living room & dining room a quick update I tackled over the weekend. This update in my home truly gives my home a refreshed look on a budget! I feel there are three top ways to change the look and feel of the room without buying all new furniture and spending big bucks. 

ONE. Update Paint: freshly painted walls and newly painted trim instantly refresh the look of a room. When you find the right paint color your walls just sing; when we tested Designer Grey on our living room walls we knew it was the one since then I’ve fallen in love with several amazing greys, click here to receive your free version of the Grey Guide. 

TWO. Add New Pillows: More pillows the merrier, swap out pillows seasonally to update your sofa on a budget, don't underestimate how beautifully patterned pillows, or solid pillows can refresh the look and vibe of a couch. 

THREE. Window Coverings: Window coverings are often overlooked when it comes to an updating a room. Old school style drapes, valances, too short curtains and metal blinds can quickly date the appearance of a room. 

Woven Roman Shades on a Budget

A few weekends ago, I removed our faux wood blinds and installed our new woven Roman shades. They look incredible! I'm loving the added element of texture these woven Roman shades add in my living room and dining room. We installed our old blinds fours years ago, right before moving back into our home after rebuilding. While I adore the clean look of faux wood blinds and the ability to open and close the slats with ease, I was ready for a change for three main reasons. One they're super heavy to raise and close. Secondly, they get dusty and cleaning blind slats is not my idea of weekend fun lastly, I was ready for a subtle change. I love the look of roman shades. In fact, I customized fabric roman shades for my kitchen and child's bedroom. More deets below on a DIY Roman shades.

Last year after we added a jute rug in our living room, I realized how amazing woven shades would look in our living room and dining room. I just knew they would look bananas good! I love how pretty woven blinds look and all the texture and color variations each reed has. Also, I love how easy they are to open and close.

These were super easy to install, this can be a quick solo project, but it's also nice having an extra set of hands to hold screws, etc. in place before drilling. Since we have a puppy and child and the cords get extra long once the blind is open, we installed the a cord cleat. I love that it's clear and totally out of sight thanks to our drapes + I can hide the cords. YAY for the illusion of cordless roman shades.

The woven shades are from Levolor and are ready made blind in stock Roman shades from Lowes. I had the blinds custom cut in the store (for free!) at Lowes to fit our windows perfectly. I’m thrilled, I got the look of custom roman shades without the custom price! Just a heads up, not every window needs a ‘custom blind’ trust me! I selected the Levolor Woven Roman Shades in natural with a pricey liner. Typically in-stock woven Roman Shades don’t come with liner; in fact adding a privacy liner to most custom woven Roman shades is an upcharge and not standard. I paid only $99 each for two woven Roman Shades that fit my windows perfectly. Below is a good color representation of the new woven Roman Shades look in my living room and dining room. 

A few things I quickly got used to, since we opted for an inside mount the woven shades stack into the window frame and if I want natural light in my home which I crave, we gotta open the shades. With our old blinds since they were so heavy, I often just opened and closed the slats. 

Back in the day, I used to sell custom window blinds and custom drapes below I’m sharing some insight on how to properly measure and when to go custom. 

How to Measure for Window Blinds

Inside mount: Measure your window in three places and use the smallest width of the three measurements. Whether your buying your blinds in-store or custom they will automatically adjust your blind measurement for you, no need to do any deductions! Measure the length in two places and use the longest length. *Remember its always best to measure twice for accuracy.   

Outside Mount Blinds: Measure your window and then add 3-4 inches on both sides for extra privacy, some with height. *Keep in mind that blinds & woven shades that are an inside mount stack inside the window, if you have a really short window consider going with an outside mount so the blinds/shade will stack above the window. 

Tips on Buying Ready-Made Blinds

Ready made blinds are you buy off the shelf, and they’ve come a long way in quality, style, and function! In fact, many of the big names in window fashions Bali and Levolor offer ready made blinds for standard window sizes - most homes have standard window sizes 24 - 36 - 48 - 60 and 72 in varying lengths. If your buying blinds, you can easily shorten the length of the blinds by removing slats. You can also easily shorten the length on fabric roman shades. If you have an extra long window, you can buy 2-3 blinds and but in them together on an inside mount, instead of buying a custom 3 on 1 header blind which can be very expensive! (3 on 1 header, means three blinds all connected to one head rail) 

If you have old windows or extra long windows or non-average windows you may have no choice buy to buy custom blinds. *Tip never pay full price for custom blinds, shop the sales! Check the return and restocking fee policy when buying custom blinds. 

DIY Fabric Roman Shades 

Above I mentioned how I customized basic Roman shades with fabric for my kitchen window and child's bedroom; this is an easy DIY to tackle in a weekend! Click here for the full how to on customize basic Roman shades. Please pin the Image below! 

Pin it! 

What do you think of my new woven Roman Shades? 

10 Brilliant Pinterest Strategies

I’ve got mad love for Pinterest. Every day I find another reason to love it, don’t you? Pretty inspiration for days, right? For me Pinterest is more than a site to view beautiful pictures, it’s a tool I use to help showcase my blog. A Year ago, I began to rethink my Pinterest account and how I used Pinterest for my blog. I decided to create a Pinterest Strategy to organize my Pinnable content, increase my blog readership, grow my email subscribers, attract new Pinterest followers, along with gaining more insight to who my readers are and what content they enjoy on my blog.

Today on the blog, Lauren from Color Hug and I are spilling some major tea about our Pinterest Strategies and how we’ve used Pinterest to grow our blogs. Fun Fact, Pinterest is our #1 Referral Source that helps drive traffic from Pinterest to our websites. Whether you're blogging for profit, fun or a mixture of both, it's important to implement a Pinterest Strategy into your blogging process. Enabling these tips outlined below will help you gain more clarity on how to effectively use Pinterest as a blogger.

Before jumping into the post, quick intros are in order! Lauren is the owner of Color Hug; teaching bloggers & creativepreneurs to maximize their time with E-course/tips and strategies. Lauren is my go-to girl for all things blogging + good friend! If you're joining me from Lauren's blog, welcome! I'm Katrina; small home design expert sharing design solutions for real life, I tackle design & DIY projects and share how you can do it too! 

10 Brilliant Pinterest Strategies 

ONE. Clarify Your Bio: Writing your mini bio for Social Media can be tough! You're only given so many characters to describe all your awesomeness. When it comes to your Social Media bio, keep to simple and to the point, consider it an abbreviated version of your blog bio. My old Pinterest bio was Editor and Chief of Chic Little House, lover of vintage furniture and creating a pretty life. But, what does any of that even mean? I clarified and simplified….my bio now reads ‘Small Home Design Expert // Blogger // Creative Design Solutions for Real Life. My new bio is much clearer and to the point. 

TWO. Join Group Boards and Create Your Own Group Board: When Pinterest changed their Algorithms in 2016, it changed how you would see pins. Meaning most the popular content is viewed faster and more often. Because Pinterest is like one big search engine it's important to join Group Pinterest boards with like minded content where you're able to re-pin your pins to the group boards. Participating in a group board gets more eyes on your pins, now everyone in the group is seeing your pins + the members followers. This increases your visibility on Pinterest. Also, consider creating a group board and invite other bloggers and pinners to pin to join, for the same reasons mentioned above. 

Pro Tip: The more you pin, you increase the eyes on your pins and boards. Don’t have time to spend online all day pinning? Tailwind is a paid service you can use to schedule out your pins. I use the free portion to view my Pin Data (more on that below). 

THREE. Create a Board Dedicated to Your Blog & Rename Your Boards and Get Them Organized. Instead of my blog posts being randomly sprinkled throughout my Pinterest Boards, I have a dedicated Pinterest Board specifically for my blog. After I write a new blog post, I pin my Image and save in the Chic Little House BLOG Post Board. Now new followers can quickly browse through my blog post board and get an idea of what I blog about and my style. Your dedicated blog post board must be listed first and be the first board people see when browsing on your page, this is crucial. 

Now that you have a Pinterest board dedicated to your blog posts it's time to get organized and get rid of those cutesy named boards that have zero meaning to a potential new Pinterest follower or blog reader. Let’s be real; cutesy isn’t searchable. A year ago, my boards were all randomly named and not searchable; I’ll get to that part in a minute. I was clueless as to why I wasn't attracting new Pinterest followers. For example, my one of my boards was Oh So Lovely Living Rooms; I renamed that board Living Room Style. Now giving Pinners a clear understanding of what the board is about. In fact, I added the word Style at the end of almost all my Pinterest Boards. Having my boards defined has helped me increase my Pinterest following. 

Make Your Boards Searchable in Pinterest; I updated the description of each of my Pinterest boards. Listing keywords appropriate for the board; for example small homes, living room, grey paint colors, etc. and updated the category the board falls under. 

Chic Little House BLOG Post - All Blog Posts Are Pinned Here! 

FOUR. Pin Your Own Pins: When I first joined Pinterest, I rarely Pinned my blog posts, why you ask? It just felt odd, like hey look at me and what I’m up too! When I flipped my mindset about my blog goals, I realized it's an absolute must to pin my images! I’m no longer shy; I want people to visit my blog! Pinterest is another tool for people to discover your blog. Think about it, Pinterest is a visible Google. When you're looking for a cute outfit idea, beautiful living room or workout plan nine times out of ten you're on Pinterest, looking at images that draw you in, you pin it to your board and then head to the post to read more. Going forward pin your images, to the board dedicated to your blog and then re-pin to related board and group boards

Pro Tip: Re-pin your images often to the same board, it helps to move those popular pins up 

FIVE. Know Your Stats: Regardless if you're blogging for profit, dipping your toes into sponsored content or blogging for fun, it’s important to know your Pin stats. By knowing what your most popular Pinterest Pins are you’ll have a better idea of what enjoy reading & pinning from your blog. I freaking love Pinterest Analytics! I have a Business Pinterest account, which allows me to view my top pins, see which boards are getting the most impressions, clicks and saves. FYI My most Pinned Baord is my Chic Little House Blog Post board! If you haven't already convert your Pinterest account to a business account. 
 
Pinterest recently got rid of the like button and replaced it with pin stats button! I’m so happy they did! I’m finding the pin stats button incredibly informative. I’m quickly able to see my Pin Stats on my Pins; it breaks down how many times the pin has been viewed since being pinned and the total number of engagements. The pin stats are a great indicator of what is currently trending on from my blog and re-pins. 
 

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When I first started using Pinterest, I thought of it as a place to visually save great ideas that I wanted to try (recipes, home decor, stationery design, etc.).  As time went on, I began to realize that Pinterest is an awesome search engine (even better than Google sometimes!), and as a blogger I should be using this to my advantage in order to attract my ideal audience.  I had a mindset shift from pinning for myself to pinning for others.  This means that instead of pinning awesome hairstyles for a rainy day, I started pinning email marketing, blogging strategies and other tips that align with the focus of my blog.  Now I think of Pinterest not only as a source of inspiration, but also as a marketing hub.  The 5 strategies below can bring your Pinterest account to another level and generate more traffic to your website:

SIX. Customize your Pinterest page by creating branded board covers: As you may know, you can choose an image that represents a Pinterest board.  It’s called a cover photo.  Why not brand your Pinterest account by designing your own cover photo?  I have custom board covers for my first three boards which represent the Color Hug brand.

Since the board cover photos are square, I used the dimensions 736x736 pixels which is approximately 10 inches squared.  If you do not have a design program to create this in, you can always create it using the free online design tool, Canva.

All Color Hug Specific Boards are Branded!

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SEVEN. Post your Instagram photos to a Pinterest board automatically: If you do not already, I encourage you to post your Instagram photos to Pinterest.  This is a simple way to cross promote and continue to attract your audience.  Since Pinterest and Instagram are both visual platforms, it only makes sense to use them in conjunction with each other.  The best thing about it?  You don’t even have to remember to pin.  You can create an automated task that will do the pinning for you as soon as you post on Instagram!  I blogged about this is detail (along with a few more reasons why pinning your Instagram photos is smart) and included step-by-step instructions on how to set the task up.  Here’s the link to that post

EIGHT. Promote your pins: I promote pins, and they have been a huge source of activity to my website as well as new email subscribers.  Pinterest makes it affordable to promote a pin, so any budget will work.  I usually pay $0.10 per click to my website from my promote pins (yep, 10 cents!).  I also give myself a $1.00 a day limit, so I spend no more than $30 a month.  Promoting your pins gets them seen by even more eyes and often adds you earlier to the search results than standard pins.  If you are going to promote a pin, you should be very strategic about it and have an end goal in mind.  For example, my most popular promoted pin is for my free resource library for bloggers.  As a result of this promoted pin, I have had hundreds of new email subscribers.  Without the promoted pin and getting in front of the specific audience that I chose in the setup process, I wouldn’t have nearly as many email subscribers as I do today.  If you’re interested in knowing more reasons why promoted Pinterest pins are an awesome tool to use, check out my blog post all about it.

NINE. Use CTA’s on your website to encourage people to pin your content: you may have heard the term CTA which means Call To Action.  This means that you are suggesting and encouraging someone to do something.  This is oftentimes done by using phrases such as “Click here to sign up”, “Join my crew by clicking here”, etc.  You can use the same strategy for the images on your blog to encourage readers to Pin the items to their board.  Maybe you have an image and underneath it there is a “Pin it” button and you say “If you loved this image, Pin It so that you never forget it!”.  Just including a simple CTA will give you a higher chance of having your images pinned from your site.  It’s also a great idea to make Pinning easier by including “Pin It” buttons that appear whenever someone hovers over one of your images.  Convenience is key!

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TEN. The Secret Sauce: Rich Pins: this is the tip of all tips!  Enabling rich pins for your Pinterest account will take your Pins to a whole new level.  Not only do rich pins have a better chance of appearing earlier in search results, but also they turn your pin into a powerhouse. A standard pin only shows your profile picture, the description that you type directly into the pin details and a button that says “Visit” that viewers can click to be directed to the image source.  The thing is, these days this just isn't enough (especially with the ever changing algorithms that Pinterest continues to tweak).  When you go through the process of enabling your account for rich pins, you are really doing the following:

  • Including more data on the pin that comes directly from your blog (this is also known as meta data and tells Pinterest things such as the headline/blog post title, the author and story description)
  • Adding a button that says “Read It” rather than “visit” if you post articles on your site (AKA your blog posts), “Make It” along with the ingredients and instructions if you post recipes, real-time prices and availability if you pin products, and “Install” if you are pinning an App.  Here is more info on the benefits of rich pins
  • Adding the intro of your blog post so that readers can start reading the post (and get excited about it!) before even clicking over to your site.

In order to enable rich pins, you must switch to a Business Pinterest account.  I love having a business account because I have more insight on pin activity, popularity, pinner interests and detailed reports.

If You Love this Post, Pin It! 

Do you love the Pinterest Tea we spilled today!! Lauren and I hope these strategies will help you in growing your readership, Pinterest followers, and re-pins! Don't forget to spread the love and Pin This Post. What tips did you find helpful and what strategies do you use on Pinterest?

#PaintFail, The Search Continues

Ever test a bunch of paint, then feel confident that you’ve chosen the right color and then painted the room or piece of furniture only to discover the color is all wrong? I had a recent #PaintFail, and it sucked. I’m pretty color confident when choosing a hue. I due my due diligence buy the paint samples and do large test swatches and then break out my good paint brush once I found THE color. However, sometimes colors just feel so differently once the paint dries. 

Here’s the backstory on my recent #PaintFail. In my backyard, I have a Tuff Shed, that I transformed into a Studio. It’s my little office tucked right in my backyard. Originally the front door to my cottage was painted a dark grey. You all know how much I LOVE the color grey. But after living with the color for almost two years, it just felt too dark for such a sweet door. I'm a huge believer that pretty doors should be colorful and not so-so. I gathered lots of inspiration on Pinterest and felt good painting my she shed door a shade of mint. These sweet minty doors were my inspiration. 

Mint Door Inspiration

I painted two coats and wasn’t feeling the color at all. I wanted to like the color, but the mint color felt too cold against my dark grey siding. It honestly just felt all wrong. I tried to love the door color, but honestly, while it looks better than dark grey, I’m so not feeling the color, like at all. For a brief moment I was considering painting the cottage door a shade of pink, but then nixed the idea. 

After seeing some lovely aqua and blue-green doors on Pinterest, I picked up a few paint swatches from Home Depot. The colors, I found just made more sense, I just knew the colors would work well with the grey exterior without forcing it. While I've decided against painting the cottage door pink; I still think it makes for a fun door color. 

Green-Blue Door Inspiration

image via Home Bunch

image via Home Bunch

From the paint swatches, I narrowed down three colors I loved the best: Deep Ocean Teal (dark teal color) Teal Lagoon (dark teal) and Northern Green Woods (a more warm green-blue shade) I painted three larges swatches of paint on poster board. TIP: buy cheap paint brushes for the dollar tree when need to paint test swatches, they can easily be tossed after one use.  

I'm pumped to repaint my cottage door, and I need your help! I taped the three large paint swatches on the door and would love your input. Top: Teal Lagoon, Middle: Northern Green Woods, and Bottom. Which color do you love the most? 

 My gut is telling me, Northern Green Forrest (middle swatch), is THE color, it's not too loud, feels like a cottage color and look how stunning this green-blue shade looks on an even darker home (pictured below) My husban is also on #TeamNorthernGreenForrest The runner-up is Teal Lagoon. I love it too. 

image via Modern Jane

image via Modern Jane

I can't wait to get my cottage door painted, so I can kick-off some other exterior updates I have planned of my cottage this Summer. I'm also thinking of changing the current door hardware from black to antique gold or brass. Trust me when I say the updates are going to be so good! 

What are your thoughts, what color do you love the most?