A Blogger on a Budget Transforms Her Home With Modern DIY Designs

By Vanessa Brunner of Houzz

Blogger Dana Frieling designed her home to tell a story about her family. “A stranger could walk into our house and immediately begin to know us,” she says. “Natural elements show our love for nature and the outdoors, and personal artwork displays the talents of my father and our daughter.”

DIY solutions were often the best way to get what she wanted and stay within her budget. See how she personalized her home with everything from an ambitious midcentury-style wall paneling to a faux arbor in her daughter’s room.

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: Dana Frieling, her husband and two children
Location: Round Rock, Texas
Size: 3,000 square feet; 5 bedrooms
That’s interesting: The DIY dining room wall installation features a midcentury-inspired diamond pattern made from 1×4 boards.

Learn the Basics of Midcentury Modern Style
Black spray painted frames above the fireplace hold scrapbook paper in a pattern Frieling loves. For a 3-D effect, she installed the mirror with L brackets.


A leather couch, an industrial coffee table and a cowhide rug reflect Frieling’s rustic style. The unique piece against the wall was a tithing booth in an old church; now the family uses it for storage and as a prayer box. Art on the gallery wall is a combination of Frieling’s father’s pencil drawings and various prints.

Couch: Rooms To Go; coffee table: Pottery Barn; cowhide rug; Overstock.com

“I like the challenge of the hunt,” Frieling says. “So I shop at places like Marshalls, T.J.Maxx and Salvation Army.” She made the graphic curtains using discount fabric.

DIY wood paneling and a cute chevron pattern transformed this formerly awkward nook into a built-in TV center. “It’s fun to have something truly different that can’t be purchased in a store,” Frieling says.

Read more about how she updated this built-in here.

Find Your Perfect Rustic Coffee Table

The entryway is Frieling’s favorite room. “The curved walls that create the rotunda are a bit unexpected and help to make it dramatic,” she says. Stripes, which Frieling painted, exaggerate the curves.

Wall paint: Senora Gray, Benjamin Moore and Early Morning Mist, Behr; rug: The Rugstore; table: Pottery Barn; vase: Charlotte’s

An eat-in breakfast nook in the kitchen gets a splash of midcentury-modern style with DIY wood paneling, designed by Frieling and her husband. The twosome carefully measured pieces of pine strips, attached them to the wall and painted the entire thing in the same gray hue from the entryway. See how they did it.

Wall paint: Senora Gray, Benjamin Moore; table and chairs: The Dump

Frieling installed a few subtle wall shelves to hold rows of dainty vases and prints in the dining room. An elaborate chandelier and graphic floral chairs give the room a fun and feminine touch.

Table: Four Hands; bamboo tray: Tuesday Morning; chandelier: Z Gallerie

The curved countertop in the kitchen serves as the perfect place for after-school snacks and weekend lunches. Frieling stayed to the same neutral palette, accessorizing with brighter shades for the table and chairs in the eat-in nook.

Countertops: Taylor Morrison; color under bar: Bayleaf, Benjamin Moore; bar stools: Star Furniture

Contemporary Chandeliers Add a Feminine Touch

Frieling went brighter and bolder when it came to her two kids’ spaces. The deep navy playroom feels grown-up but is also playful with a colorful arts and crafts display.

Wall paint: Restless Sea, Behr; pillows: Burlington Coat Factory

In the master bedroom, a traditional frame gets dressed up with mirrored side tables and zebra-patterned ottomans that the family’s pugs find comfortable.

Frieling just finished redesigning her daughter’s room. While she wanted the room to work with the rest of the house and for years to come, she also carefully considered her daughter’s passions while designing the space.

Frieling gave a simple desk chair a fresh coat of cheery green paint, and a bare wall got a makeover with blue paint and cork circles for a colorful and stylish bulletin board.

Mother and daughter worked together to find a theme that would be fun and personal. Frieling’s daughter loves being outside and playing with animals, so they took their theme from nature. An “arbor” of faux greenery hovers above the bed, and a hammock becomes the perfect reading spot. Nature-inspired artwork and bedding round out the look.

Hammock: Bonanza.com; bedding: West Elm

HouzzLogoHouzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. You can also find Houzz on Facebook and Twitter.

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