question: dear design*sponge, i’m currently planning a budget wedding, so my fiance and i don’t currently have much (ok, any) extra cash with which to feather our nest. i’m wondering if you have any ideas for wedding decor that could transition into adornment for our sparse apartment once our country chic-themed fall 2010 wedding is over? there’s so much that I love about this concept- decorating our home with fond memories, being green and frugal- but I have to admit that i’m design-challenged. help! -sarah
answer: thanks for your question sarah! for your answer i went straight to one of my favorite wedding sources- abby larson of stylemepretty. her expert wedding advice is spot on. so i’ll let her take it from here…
This is a great question. One that every bride should ask themselves! Making your dollars really count when planning your wedding is much easier to digest when you know that the materials you buy will go to good use in making your home a more beautiful place. Here are some creative ways to stretch your dollar…
1. Your Linens. Collecting vintage, elegantly mismatched linens is such a great way to add a bit of depth to your wedding decor. Plus, you’ll always have them as a keepsake to enjoy when entertaining guests. Or you can go one step further and sew them into a gorgeous quilt that you can use when you snuggle up with your new hubby. [image above by sedona bride]
2. Your Dessert Plates. For my own wedding, we scoured ebay for pale pink cut glass dessert plates. We ended up with around 200, so I packaged them up in groups of 6-8 and gave them as housewarming gifts for the first year we were married. I kept quite a few, as well, which have been perfect for cocktail parties as well as pretty little dessert plates. They would also look pretty stunning arranged creatively on an accent wall.
3. Your Guestbook. Use a vintage postcards rather than a traditional guest book to have your friends and family write well wishes. After the wedding, tuck them in and around a vintage mirror or make an amazing collage for your walls that is as whimsical as it is meaningful. Great impromptu art. [image above by sedona bride]
4. Your Centerpieces. Whoever said centerpieces HAD to be fresh flowers was flat out wrong. Bowls or vintage trays filled with peaches, cherries or mandarin oranges would be gorgeous. Potted herbs, small topiaries or vintage lanterns would also be stunning and perfect for recycling into home decor.
5. Your Decor. Handmade throw pillows are a gorgeous accent to any seating area, particularly with weddings. They bring a sense of intimacy and warmth to any space. A collection of framed photographs, a chalkboard with your menu handwritten on it, beat-up wooden signage…all would make for pretty incredible wall decor in your home.
We have some really great budget-happy, DIY inspired weddings on SMP that you will definitely love…our real weddings are filled to the brim with gorgeous ideas and practical, swoon-worthy inspirations. -Abby
[have a design question you’d like answered? just shoot us an email right here with the title “dear d*s”. if you’re asking a specific interior design question please include a picture of the space in question and your budget for any new projects.]
CLICK HERE for the second question about restoring a vintage chrome oven hood after the jump!
question: i have a question for the DIY crew out there. i purchased a 1953 ranch house with a killer NuTone exhaust fan in the kitchen. the issues are (1) the previous owner painted over the original interior chrome with a thick white paint and (2) the exterior has a fantastic little door you prop open to allow the exhaust outside and it is rusting. i’d like to remove the inside paint as much as possible and restore the original metal/chrome and also restore the rusting door. advice? -kristin
answer: first off, congrats on the vintage nutone score- those exhaust fans are seriously adorable. when it comes to removing paint and restoring chrome- it’s going to get a little smelly, but it’s possible. i’ve been asking around and searching for details advice and found this fantastic set of paint removal steps at e-how. i would start with these for removing the paint, since you’re dealing with the same sort of chrome underneath as a bike or car. the instructions involve wrapping things in a bag so if you can’t remove your oven hood my handyman suggested using a plastic tarp that you can tape around your hood. obviously, you won’t be cooking or lighting any flames anywhere near this- you don’t want to mess with the chemical process happening inside. so perhaps this is a great excuse to eat out for a night or two ;)
for restoring chrome, the jury seems to be divided on a few different methods. so i’m going to lay them all out here so you can try each one to see which works best for you:
- vinegar method: just dip a clean cloth in undiluted vinegar and wipe over chrome to clean
- soapy water, silver polish + toothbrush: this less abrasive method was favored by a number of the designers and reno-experts i polled. most of them were against the idea of using anything like aluminum foil (which i heard a lot about) to remove stains. they suggested starting with soapy water and a tooth brush to move grease, oil and stains. if that doesn’t work they suggested silver polish to follow up on tough spots.
- baby oil: baby oil was commonly mentioned by designers to use on tough spots. apply a thin coat, let it sit for an hour, then go back in with a cloth or soft toothbrush to remove tough stains
- mother’s chrome polish: a decorator favorite for getting tough stains off chrome and restoring shine
for the rust, everyone suggested using a crumpled piece of aluminum foil to get tough rust spots off- but to be careful not to scratch the newly cleaned chrome. a few designers suggested dipping the foil in coca-cola first. i’ve never tried that but 3 of them swear but it, so i’d give it a try. best of luck with your restoration!