Celebrating 14 Blogging Years With My Top Ten Renovations!

My ten top room makeovers over my 14 years as a DIY and decor blogger. 

This month marks 14 years of blogging here at Thrifty Decor Chick! 

I started this blog in 2008 to share my DIY and home projects with friends and family…I never DREAMED it would turn into what it has! 

Blogging has become one of the biggest blessings in my life. I’m so thankful for it! I’m also so grateful to so many of you who come back month after month to read what I’m up to!

To celebrate TDC’s 14th birthday, I thought it would be fun to gather my top ten biggest DIY room transformations over the past 14 years. I specifically chose rooms from our two houses that I did all or the majority of the work on. 

The first one may be how many of you found me…

1. STAIRCASE MAKEOVER (Goodbye carpet!)

Ripping the carpet off our stairs and refinishing the wood was my first major DIY project and definitely one of the most physically demanding. The updates went on for years, but the first part was the hardest. 

taking carpet off stairs

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I had the idea in mind for years, because I remembered when we were building that the treads (the actual steps) had a nice bullnose edge. I considered just having them stained and painted then!

When I went to peek under the carpet years later, I was thrilled that I remembered right! Because of the nice rounded edge, this project was easier than most step makeovers. 

I didn’t have to replace the treads or risers, just refinish them!

After pulling the carpet and staples, I sanded then painted and stained the stairs. 

stairway makeover wood stain paint


After living with our very dark kitchen in our last house for more than ten years, I decided to take on this HUGE project! 

We picked out all of the finishes when we built the house, but the overwhelmingly dark details were feeling heavy. I wanted to update this room and brighten it up!

This is the space we started with:

dark cabinets black backsplash

It was an eat in kitchen, but the table area was VERY tight. Because of other changes we made in the house (that I’ll share in a bit), I was able to change that area into a dreamy window seat
two toned kitchen cabinets peppercorn


One of the areas I was most excited about in our current home was our large pantry. It was DREAMY after having a small pantry in the kitchen pictured above. 

The melamine shelving was great at first, but we quickly discovered it didn’t function well and we were wasting a ton of space: 

melamine open shelves in pantry

Almost immediately I knew I’d want to customize this to fit our needs better. I had an idea in mind for years, and finally started tackling this redo last fall. 

I took down all of the open shelving (that I kept to use later) and installed kitchen cabinets and open shelving instead: 

DIY butler's pantry makeover

Not only does it look so much cleaner, this space now holds just as much if not more because of the deeper and taller cabinets. 

We were able to move all of our small appliances out of the kitchen and into this space, and because of all of these DIY pull out shelves, we can store a TON of food and supplies in this pantry now: 
DIY sliding drawers in pantry cabinets

This small room took as long as much bigger projects because of the all of the DIY and decor details I added as well. You can read all about those and see the reveal of this huge pantry redo process here!


I hated that wall between the shower and sink area from the moment we moved in:

yellow little kid bathroom

It made the back part of the bathroom feel so dark and cramped. I loathed that wall. ๐Ÿ˜‚

I did a ton of research and finally one day decided it was time…I knocked the wall down and started this HUGE renovation. 

DIY wood open vanity round mirrors

Gosh, I loved that room!! I plan to repeat a few of these projects in our son’s current bathroom. 


I talk all the time about how important it is to live with a room as is before deciding on a renovation. You’ll really figure out how you want to make the room function for you and your family. 

One of our problem spaces in our old house was the mud room and laundry combo. This small room was trying to be way too many things:

small laundry mud room combo

Over the years I dressed it up by adding a beadboard wall treatment around the room, but it didn’t help the function much. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

When we starting finishing the basement in that house we were able to create a new laundry room and move the washer and dryer down there. It was the HAPPIEST DAY!

DIY mud room bench with sconces
That light blue and white combo is so classic and timeless. This room truly shined after those changes, and I got a great dedicated basement laundry room out of it too!


I loved that our friends and family would ask how I was going to keep busy with a new and “finished” house when we moved into our current home. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

All I ever saw was a beautiful blank canvas to tweak and personalize just for us — my favorite thing to do! 

Our basement was just that, an empty space just waiting for some drama! We started with our cozy sectional on one side:
Lazboy large gray sectional

And the other side was a loooong empty wall that was just begging for some color and built ins:

agreeable gray neutral wall

I started by painting the walls a dark gray called Westchester Gray. It
instantly cozied up this large room. 

The TV hangs over a bench for electronic storage and I built bookcases over the side cabinets. It made such difference in this room!:

dark gray DIY entertainment center

Yet again, doing this myself saved us a ton of money!

blank wall agreeable gray 
jasper green DIY electric fireplace


The kitchen renovation I shared from our last house kicked off a bigger project in the adjoining family room. The corner fireplace in here made what was a good sized space feel cramped: 

working around corner fireplace

We tried a few furniture layouts to try to open up the space, but over time we craved a more open space to entertain and spread out in. 

Problem was, adding onto the back of our house was WAY more than we wanted to spend. Just finding a contractor to give us quotes was daunting. 

It was a reader who suggested taking down the wall between my office and this room to open up the space. We could place the fireplace flat against the wall and make the room almost twice as big. Her idea was brilliant and we started that process instead of adding to the house. 

We made the fireplace the centerpiece of the room:

Peppercorn gray fireplace

I finished off the fireplace TV wall, trim on the front and sides of the cabinets and fireplace, herringbone tile surround and paint (Peppercorn by Sherwin-Williams). 

We were able to move the furniture around and it functioned so much better:

open family room with gray fireplace

I continued the board and batten wall trim around the room as well. 


We had a great open loft space in our last house that served many purposes over the years. When our son was young it was a playroom: 

using loft as playroom

As he got older and the toys lessened, we reevaluated how to use the space. Since we had taken down that wall between the family room and office downstairs, I needed a dedicated area to work and store my craft supplies. 

I also used butcher block and a small DIY bookcase to create a large desk that we could use from either side: 

open loft craft room office

We all utilized this space — my husband worked up there often (instead of his dark basement office) to enjoy the sunshine. Our son also used it to work on Lego sets or homework. 


We have a laundry and mud room combo in this house as well, but I knew it would function so much better just because of the size: 

mud room bench laundry combo

The other side of the room just had a countertop…I knew I could make this function so much better!

laundry mud combo folding table

We moved the upper cabinets that were over the washer and dryer (and hard to reach) over to that wall. 

drawer base cabinets in mud room
That gorgeous blue floral wallpaper was a HUGE statement in this room and I absolutely love that it’s the first thing we see when we walk in from our garage. 
Whitestone shiplap wall mud room


Finally, my first built in bookcase project that took me FOREVER. ๐Ÿ˜† We had lived in our last house for a few years when we decided to make our rarely-used dining room into a cozy library space. 

Did anyone else use the gold and red combo in their decor all those years ago?: 

red and gold dining room decor

This is where it all started folks…my Dad helped me with this first set of built ins. We created the kitchen cabinet bases and worked on this project here and there for months. 

I recently told a friend of ours working on a similar project how long this took for me as a newbie. When I got to the basement entertainment wall (above) nearly ten years later, I was an expert and completed it in a few weeks compared to EIGHT months. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

library with chairs and bookcase

We used this room all the time! I was so happy with this transformation. The great part is it could easily be transformed back to a dining room by adding a table back to the room. 

Don’t be afraid to tweak your home to fit how YOU use it! 

I promise you’ll enjoy your spaces so much more. 

In my opinion, there aren’t many rules on how to use rooms in our homes. Do what you want! Yes, you may have to adjust some things when you move, but you might be surprised! 

It didn’t hurt us one bit moving our laundry room to the basement, removing an office to open up the family room, or getting rid of the dining space to create a comfy sitting area.

Well that’s my top ten room makeover over the past 14 years — do you have a favorite or have you used any of these as inspiration in your home?

I can’t even believe how quickly the time has passed! Our son was just a year old when I wrote my first blog post, and now he’s 15 (and a HALF!). It’s been such a joy to share my DIY and decor escapades with you over the years. 

Thank you so much to those who have joined me along the way!

Original Post – Thrifty Decor Chick