HOW TO | Edit Your Photos

How I edit my photos for Instagram

I get a lot of questions about how I edit my photos for Instagram so I decided to put together an easy step by step guide to what I do!  I'm definitely not a professional photographer or editor by any means, but I do try keep the look of my photos consistent- bright & airy feeling.  I've gotten these steps down through a lot of trial and error- which I think is the best way to find the look you want!  The main app I use is called Snapseed, and then before I post to Instagram I usually also use Instagram's edit tool to sharpen the image a little bit.  I will list out the steps and then post the photo below so it is easy to reference.

Step 1: Open the Snapseed app and open the photo I want to edit.
Step 2: Click on tools, then the "Curves" option.
Step 3: I usually click on the line more towards the top of the photo and just pull it up a little bit until I'm happy with the amount of brightness. Click the check mark in the lower right to save your changes.

snapseed steps 1_3.jpg

Step 4: After you press the check mark to save, you will be brought back to the home page. Click on "tools" again and then "White Balance".
Step 5: It should automatically be on the Temperature Adjust control, but you can click the middle button at the button to make sure.
Step 6: Depending on your photo's needs you may need to either make it cooler or warmer.  Slide your finger across the screen to the left will make it cooler, and the other way will make it warmer. Click the check mark when it looks the way you want it to.

Step 7: Click on tools again, and then "Tune Image". 
Step 8: In here, I usually adjust the Brightness, Contrast, Ambiance, Highlights, and Shadows. I don't really have an exact science behind what I choose -- I usually just play around until it looks right. Press the check mark once you're happy.
Step 9: In tools, select the "Brush" tool.

Step 10: You may not always need or want to do these next steps, but it's good to know it's an option. I wanted to lighten up the corner of the counters where the vase is, and I also felt like the backsplash to the left of the window had too much of a warm tone. The brush tool is great for pinpointing specific problem areas without having to apply filters to the entire photo.
Step 11: I used the Exposure brush at +0.3 to lighten up the corner just a little bit.
Step 12: Next, I used the Temperature brush at -5 to cool down the backsplash. 

snapseed steps 10_12.jpg

You can see below in the before and after, I was able to touch up the image to make it look more like how it looked in real life- versus what my camera captured.  I try to keep my edits as natural looking as possible, just the best & brightest version of the space!

before and after snapseed.jpg

HOW TO CUSTOMIZE YOUR RENTAL

Before buying our house last year, my husband and I rented a couple of different apartments.  Rentals definitely have their pros- you don't have to pay for repairs or upkeep, you have the flexibility to move easily, etc.  They also have their downsides, one of them being you lack the freedom to make any major cosmetic changes.
Unless you are renting in a brand new building, most rentals have a very outdated, builder grade type feel.  Even if you only plan to stay a year, there are plenty of easy DIY upgrades you can do to make coming home a little more enjoyable. 

Image via  Home depot

Image via Home depot

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1.) Temporary Wallpaper

There are so many different amazing options for peel and stick wallpaper right now!!  These are designed to be temporary- so no worries about getting your security deposit back when it comes time to take it down!  The one here is from Anthropologie, but you can also find plenty of designs at places like Target & Wayfair.  If you don't want to commit to full sheets of wallpaper, there are also different wall decals you can put up that will mimic the look.

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2.) Marble Contact Paper

If your countertops are an eye sore, there are a ton of tutorials online (like this one) that show you how to cover them with CONTACT PAPER!  Apparently it's durable enough for bathroom vanities & kitchen counters!  I wish I had heard about this when we were renting!  Amazon seems to have a pretty decent selection of contact paper.

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3.) Hardware

This is something I did do when were renting- switch out the super basic hardware in the kitchen/ bathroom with prettier knobs.  It's such an easy change and really makes a huge difference.  Just make sure you save all of the original hardware in a bag for when you move out.  The hardware in this picture is from SchoolHouse.  I have also found really cute knobs from Target and Amazon at amazing prices!

4.) Plug In Sconces/ Pendants

Adding some plug in wall sconces (like this one from Urban Outfitters) is a great way to make a space feel more custom.  In our last rental, I was able to use command strips to attach two sconces on either side of our bed.  They also sell pendant lights that you can hang from the ceiling (again with a command hook- no damage) and plug in.  If you happen to find a pendant light that is only made to be hardwired, I found this awesome tutorial to show you how to make it a plug in.  AND if your apartment has one of those awful ceiling lights that they all seem to, I found this tutorial on how to temporarily make it look a million times nicer!!  Just remember: make sure to save anything you take down from your rental so you can make sure to put it back at move out!

5.) Area Rugs!

Area rugs are one the quickest ways to transform a space.  They help define to define an area.  If you don't love the color of your wall to wall carpet, or if your hard wood floors have seen better days; area rugs can help cover some of these problems up.

6.) Peel & Stick Backsplash

I have been seeing so many cool options for stick on backsplash lately!  A lot of rentals either have dated backsplash or no backsplash at all, so this is a great way to add your personal style in without fear of causing any damage!  The one picture is from Home Depot.

7.) Paint

Last, but not least, you can try to paint.  You'll have to check with your landlord on this one, but a lot of times you will be allowed to paint the walls if you paint it back when you move out.  If the walls are in pretty rough shape, you could even try to talk to your landlord about taking some money off of one month's rent if you paint the walls for them.  At the very least, if you choose a neutral color, they might not make you paint it back at move out.  These are a few of my favorite shades of white by Sherwin Williams.  A fresh coat of paint makes a huge difference and brightens up a room more than you'd think!

DIY (NO SEW) CAFE CURTAINS

As promised, here is the super anticipated DIY guide for creating your own café curtains!!  These were super inexpensive to make (about $17 per pair) and the easiest project ever.  These curtains are great in bathrooms and kitchens, and I also plan to make a pair for the door on the side of our house.  Please note that a few of the links below are affiliate links, meaning I may make a small commission from your purchase at no additional cost to you.

Materials:
1. Fabric Fuse Tape -- Yes, I even skipped the ironing!
2. Tension Rod
3. Ring Clips -- I used these metal ones from Amazon and they worked well on my size window, but if you need to use more clips for a bigger window,  the tension rod *might* not be able to hold the weight so I'd recommend plastic ones.
4. Plastic Ring Clips -- I've used these before and they work pretty well.
5. Fabric -- I purchased mine at JoAnn Fabrics, but I also recommend Fabric.com.  The amount will obviously vary depending on the size of your window.  I decided I wanted my curtains to sit just above where the window opens and wanted them to just barely touch the window sill. ***When measuring, be sure to leave a little extra for hemming.  You'll also want the width to be a little more than needed so they have a bit of fullness to them and don't lay completely flat when closed.

Steps:
1. Measure the window and cut two panels from the fabric accordingly. (Remember to leave extra width for fullness and extra length for hemming)
2. Begin your hemming by rolling the fabric tape a little bit above the edge. I ran the plastic part of my scissors along the top of the tape to really make sure it was pressed down. (If you start to take the paper backing off the tape and it's not pressed down enough, the tape will come up and it is extremely sticky and becomes a mess-- not that I know from experience or anything!!)

cafe curtains + hemming tape.jpg

Steps (continued):
3. Cut the tape and slowly remove the backing.
4. Starting from one end, begin carefully folding the fabric up until your hem is complete. Press along the edge to get it flat.
5. After I hemmed one side length wise, I held it up to the window to see how much the other side would need to be hemmed.
6. After you hem all sides for both panels, it's time to clip on the curtain rings.  You can either clip them straight on like in my photos, or for a pleated look, pinch the back of the curtains and clip there.  You can mess around with how many rings you want to use, I used 8 on each side for mine.
7. Hang your curtains at the height you wanted, step back, and enjoy!!

cafe curtains + bigger view.jpg

HOW TO STYLE A BAR CART

Please note this post contains affiliate links, which means I might make a small commission from your purchase at no extra cost to you.

With a little bit of extra thought and planning, it’s easy to take your bar cart from just a functional piece of furniture to a piece that mixes effortlessly into your design.  I’m always re-styling our bar cart but usually use similar ideas.  I styled mine three different ways and pointed out the different elements I tend to use the most.  I would say my number one tip for styling would be to layer different heights and shapes.  Also, try to keep the glassware displayed to your prettiest pieces and liquor to your favorite bottles -- no need for the entire liquor cabinet out on display!

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HOW TO DECORATE FOR CHRISTMAS ON A BUDGET

This year is our first Christmas in our first house.  Coming from smaller apartments, this means that we were basically starting from scratch in the Christmas décor department.  We had to get our first big (artificial) tree, ornaments, lights- everything!  I had to exercise some major restraint and stick to the essentials (mostly)!  I listed out some tips below that helped me stay focused while walking through the extremely distracting Christmas aisles.

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The first thing I did - before looking at anything online or in stores - was list out what kind of decorations I wanted in each room.  I browsed different pictures on Pinterest for inspiration and decided on an old school red & green color scheme.  Normally I would go for more neutral colors, but I wanted to do something more fun since this is my son's first Christmas!

After deciding on the color scheme and everything I needed, I began price comparing online.  I ultimately decided on an 7ft unlit artificial tree from Target (pictured above + linked below).  I found it on sale for just under $50.  I then planned out what ornaments I needed, the tree skirt, lights, and tree topper.  As I was planning this all out online, I was keeping a tab of the cost of everything.  Once I had the tree all priced out I started deciding what "extras" I could get to sprinkle in some Christmas décor around our house.  I bought most of the décor during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.  For the things I didn't buy but want to have for next year, I'm definitely going to scope out the after Christmas sales!

I put together a collage below of some extremely affordable Christmas decorations (including my tree) and a few more tips!  The links are located under the picture.  Please note that there are some affiliate links, meaning I may make a small commission from your purchase at no additional cost to you.

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HOW TO LAYER AREA RUGS

I decided to do this post when I really wanted to take a picture of our new playroom rug but the playroom isn't fully decorated so there's nothing too interesting to photograph.  I decided to move the rug into our living room and layer it over our shag rug for the picture.  I didn't think I would like it as much as I did!  It added so much interest to the room and made it feel complete.  Layering rugs is a great option if: 1.) you found a rug you love but the big size is too pricey, 2.) you think a certain pattern might too overwhelming for the room , 3.) you want to change up the look of a room without spending too much... and so many other reasons!  Keep reading for my tips on how to easily layer rugs in your home!

My first tip is that almost any rug will look good layered over top of a jute rug.  Jute rugs are a great neutral base, and have a flat weave that make it easy to layer.  The vintage rugs that are so popular right now have major price tags - with layering, you could get a smaller version and save money but still have a rug big enough for your room.

Mixing in different textures will add dimension to any space.  It's also a great way to make a room a little more cozy during the colder months.  Mixing longer weave and shags over a flat rug is the easiest way to achieve this look.

Mixing a solid rug over a patterned works great if you think the pattern in a big size would be too overwhelming for the space.

Layering patterns is definitely more of a boho/eclectic type look and can be trickier to pull off.  You want to make sure the rugs are in the same color family and try having one smaller scale pattern + one larger scale pattern.  This will make it easier on the eye.

For those of you who like the cowhide look - it can be kind of tough to work around since they're an awkward shape.  These look great layered over a neutral rug, just make sure the tones in the cowhide match the tones in the larger rug.

HOW TO DECORATE AN AWKWARD CORNER

Everyone has a corner in their home that they don't know what to do with.  You know it's missing something but not quite sure what.  I put together some ideas that could work in most rooms!

1. Image via  The Glitter Guide  | 2. Image via  Refinery 29  | 3. Image via  The Glitter Guide  | 4. Image via  SF Girl by Bay  | 5. Image via  Almost Makes Perfect

1. Image via The Glitter Guide | 2. Image via Refinery 29 | 3. Image via The Glitter Guide | 4. Image via SF Girl by Bay | 5. Image via Almost Makes Perfect

CORNER FLOATING SHELVES// floating shelves are a great use of space for corners. they add interest, you can switch up the décor on them when you feel like a change, and they're functional.

FLOOR MIRROR// a floor mirror is not only functional, but will reflect light and make your room appear bigger & brighter.

via My Scandinavian Home

via My Scandinavian Home

CHAIR// if the space allows for it, a chair or chaise would be great in a corner. add a floor lamp and small side table to create a cozy reading nook.

GALLERY WALL// if there is not enough floor space for a piece of furniture or decorative object, hanging a corner gallery wall is a great way to make a room feel more complete.

PLANT// my personal favorite solution to weird corners! adding greenery into a room is never a bad idea, and if you have a black thumb (like me) there are plenty of artificial options available!

SHELF STYLING 101

Styling shelves is probably one of my favorite things to do.  I love taking everything off, gathering other accessories from around the house and starting fresh.  I always look to Pinterest or some of my favorite designers for inspiration – I’m including some images that inspire me below.  Also, keep scrolling for some pointers on creating your own beautiful shelf!

Design by  Amber Interiors

Design by Amber Interiors

Design by  Amber Interiors

Design by Amber Interiors

Design by  Emily Henderson

Design by Emily Henderson

Design by Studio McGee

Design by Studio McGee

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HOW TO MIX THROW PILLOWS

I love throw pillows – it’s so easy to change them out whenever I get bored of a look (which is ALL the time)!  I especially love buying pillow covers, that way I can just unzip, fold them up and put them in a cute basket in my living room for easy access.  When adding new pillows into the mix, there are some guidelines I try to remember in order to make sure that they flow with each other and don't clash.

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