Sarah Dobbins

Sarah is a freelance writer and photographer and mother of four boys. Her hobbies include writing emails at 4 am, fixing up her century-old home, critiquing superhero spin kicks, and trying not to kill her garden.
DIY Printmaking: How to Make Your Own Linocut Print
image:c8d311ba7ad5355a925e26dd9cd5682f2c477829 w:540 s:"fit" class_name:"mt-image-center" show_pin_button:"true" show_image_credits:"true" With just a few relatively inexpensive items from your local craft shop, you can try your hand at printmaking — a fun process that begins with carving a design into linoleum, and then transferring the design onto paper. Channel your 11th grade art class and set up your own little printmaking studio at home; here’s a quick tutorial!1.
Jan 2, 2023
How To Remove a Light Fixture
Changing out a light fixture can be an easy, relatively quick way to update a room, and it can often make a dramatic difference. Here’s a quick guide on removing the old fixture, leaving just what you need to connect your new one. • safety glasses• circuit tester• screwdriver• step stool or ladderInstructions1. First, shut off the power at the breaker or fuse box.
Jan 2, 2023
Before & After: Closet Pantry Makeover
Mai’s pantry redo is a treat for the eyes — how many of us can relate to her “before” image? Standard wire shelving, jumbled up goods… essentially a dark hole in the wall that just gets the “keep the door closed” treatment. Come see this simple, refreshing makeover that will inspire you to tackle even the scariest of pantries!
Oct 13, 2022
Before & After: Laminate Countertop Goes Concrete!
Updating old laminate countertops without having to completely replace them can be a big challenge. Faux finishes can often look, well… faux, and tackling a DIY project (like pouring your own concrete countertops) can be tricky and exhausting. That’s why I was so impressed with this project from interior designer Kara Paslay.Kara managed a realistic concrete look without the hassle and weight of fully-formed slabs.
Jul 17, 2020
Warm It Up: Tips for a Cozy Dining Room
With October behind us and the winter season looming large, I start thinking of warm soups, fresh baked bread, and gathering around the table to share a meal — now’s the time to cozy up your dining room. Here are five easy ways to bring some warmth to your table.1. Add some fabric to the tabletop. Covering bare surfaces helps add warmth to your table. This DIY table runner is from Better Homes & Gardens.2. Think about some extra cushions.
Jul 16, 2020
Lofty Aspirations: Fifteen Lovely Loft Beds
image:1560a13d9144f675dfc09219b2e853bc0a2492ad w:540 s:"fit" class_name:"mt-image-center" show_pin_button:"true" show_image_credits:"true" In small spaces — and even in large spaces — nothing does double duty in vertical space like the loft bed! Whether it’s maximizing storage space, making the best of a crazy floor plan, or just because it looks cool, building your bed in the air is the way to go.
Mar 29, 2020
Before & After: Adding Color to a Boring Office Chair
We’ve all seen them and probably sat in them — the ubiquitous (and rather dull) standard-issue office chair. It’s hard to imagine even tackling a makeover of such a lackluster piece of furniture! But Kendra did — she added lots of color and as she says, “now it looks like a party is happening at my desk!
Mar 11, 2020
Before & After: Turquoise Front Door
Cream brick, neutral concrete, a white door — this little entryway was cute and welcoming, but it lacked a certain liveliness. With a little bit of turquoise paint, some new lighting, and more substantial hardware, this porch gained a generous dose of personality!Erin from In Between Laundry tackled this little exterior makeover to cheer up her front stoop; she shows how a few simple changes can make a big difference!
Mar 11, 2020
Before & After: Thrifted Microwave Cart Turned Bar Cart
With entertaining season upon us, what’s a more fitting project than a versatile little bar cart? A sturdy — but rather ugly — thrift store find, this little microwave cart gets to live on with an (arguably more fun) second life.The writer at She’s No Martha had a hankering for a sleek little cocktail station, and she dressed up her $20 find with some white paint and some handles on the sides.
May 5, 2019
Before & After: Obsolete Crib Makes a Fantastically Functional Set of Shelves
A sad, old crib sat at a thrift store — not useful as a baby bed for safety reasons, this piece seemed destined for the scrap pile! Until Cristin came along, that is… she saw some untapped potential in its pretty spindles and simple shape, and came up with a clever way to breathe new life into an old piece.She found some cabinet doors in a garbage pile that were the perfect size for shelves, and removed a few brackets and braces from the crib to help reinforce the new legs.
May 5, 2019
Before & After: Drab Armoire Gets a Whimsical New Face
If you live in an older home, you’re familiar with Adrienne’s struggle with storage — namely, that there isn’t any! Her 1930’s home is lacking in the closet department, so it was up to her to come up with some creative storage solutions for her four-year-old’s room.She found this old slightly warped and musty armoire at an antique store, and for less than $100 (including the armoire!) she created this fun, playful piece.
May 5, 2019
Before & After: Rocking Chair Makeover for a New Generation
This chair has been in Stephanie’s family for generations — she was rocked to sleep in it as a baby, and so was her granddad! She wanted to keep it around as a treasured piece of family history, but she also wanted to give it a little update — the result? A lovely chair with a fabulous new look, ready to rock the next generation… Stephanie’s new baby!
May 5, 2019
Before & After: Simple IKEA Wooden Bed Frame Gets a Luxe Upholstered Look
This little Ikea bed frame is cute and very economical, but it lacked a certain joie de vivre. With some MDF, batting, stylish fabric, and lots of clever planning, this little frame went from dull to delightful!Lisa from All Things Campbell had a design in mind when it was time to move her daughter to a toddler bed… she carefully sketched out her idea, and was able to complete the project in under two days.
May 5, 2019
Before & After: Pallets, from Scrap to Sofa
The ubiquitous pallet — just when you think you’ve seen every pallet project under the sun, one comes along and surprises you! This clever little toddler sofa is the perfect height for playing, reading, or resting — and it’s super cute, to boot!Griffin Carrick says this about her pallet sofa project: I stumbled upon some abandoned wood pallets (once used to transport sod) in my neighborhood and jumped on the pallet bandwagon.
May 5, 2019
Before & After: Kids’ Bathroom Gets Board & Batten Treatment
This bathroom isn’t terribly awful — but it isn’t terribly interesting, either. Come see what some new lighting, a framed-out mirror, and some board and batten walls can do for a rather ho-hum bathroom.Jenny from Project Maddox was determined to tackle her kids’ bathroom and make it just a little less “just moved in” and give it a more custom look.
May 5, 2019
How To “Fake” a Gallery-WrappedCanvas Print
This tutorial is inexpensive, easy, and best of all: low-risk. I was in need of some art for our bathroom, and it needed to be rather large and until I can afford what I’ve really got my heart set on — rather cheap.I decided to take a poster that I liked (picked up at a craft store for around $10) and skip the large expensive frame. Instead, I made it look like a wrapped canvas, using a cheap old thrift store canvas I had lying around.
May 5, 2019
Before & After: Little Boy’s Room Gets a Creative New Look
I love it when kids’ rooms look like, well… a room fit for a kid! This is a great example of a clean, organized, yet creative space for a little one to flourish.Kara Rosenlund designed this room to be a cheerful, relaxed space perfect for a growing little boy. From the dramatic floor-to-ceiling chalkboard walls, to the sunny ceiling fan, to the “grass” rug on the floor, there’s no risk of mistaking this room for a serious grownup space.
May 5, 2019
Mark’s Methods for Confidently Choosing Paint Colors
Mark’s home is fantastic with his (very) successful use of color. He very generously offered to take a trip to the paint store to share his knowledge and give some tips on how to choose colors that are right for you. • How to Choose Paint Colors Apartment Therapy
Feb 27, 2013
Before & After: Creative Uses for Horse Stall Doors
Lucianna collects and refurbishes unique stall doors for projects around the house. Below are pictures of a liquor cabinet and a kitchen pantry that she created by hanging the doors on modern sliding rails. • Creative Uses for Old Doors Apartment Therapy
Feb 27, 2013
Tile Inspiration: 15 Beautifully Tiled Spaces
When used well, tile has the ability to warm up a space like no other material. Here are just a few inspiring ways tile can be used to create dramatic, engaging and delightful spaces: • Beautiful Tile Gallery Apartment Therapy
Feb 26, 2013
Before & After: An Organized Mudroom
I love before and after projects that involve a good afternoon of organization — no paintbrush, no tools… just some motivation, a vision, and some hard work.I recently came across this mudroom makeover and thought it was a great example of how a before and after doesn’t have to be a super-expensive or super-involved affair. It’s encouraging to see how little changes can have a big impact!
Feb 26, 2013
Before & After: Rusty Flea Market Stool Makeover
You might walk by this unassuming stool at a thrift shop, but Charlotte saw potential. See how she gave this flea market find a fresh facelift. • Rusty Stool Redo Apartment Therapy
Feb 26, 2013
Renovation Guide: 10 Quality Tile Sources
In kitchen renovations, you can use tile to bring a lot of style to a little space. So where should you get started when looking for tile for your own project? Start with our list of 10 quality tile resources! • 10 Quality Tile Sources Apartment Therapy
Feb 25, 2013
Renter-Friendly Solution: Install a Removable Tile Backsplash
Kitchens are one of the spaces that could use the most help when renting. While changing out the faucet and fixtures is the usual fix, imagine if you could add a tiled backsplash with just a few screw holes! • Removable Backsplash DIY Apartment Therapy
Feb 25, 2013
Smart & Simple Housekeeping: 5 Ways to Use Old Candles
The simplest helpful household tips are the ones that I value the most. I love finding new uses for humble objects, and it’s exciting to share these tips and learn some in exchange. • Put Old Candles to Work Apartment Therapy
Feb 22, 2013
Before & After: From Discarded Spool to Amazing Dining Room Table
When Cheltz’s husband, Woo, found this discarded industrial spool, he imagined a new dining room table… for free. Check out how the transformation went! • Spool to Table Transformation Apartment Therapy
Feb 22, 2013
Make It: An Easy, No-Sew Window Seat Cushion
If you read the January Cure diaries, you probably saw my window seats, both bare and then with cushions. If you’re interested, here’s how I made the cushions in about an hour. • How to Make a Cushion Apartment Therapy
Feb 21, 2013
Before & After: Gallery Wall of Kids’ Art in the Dining Room
Lauren Liess had clients with a bland dining room looking for a stylish and personal upgrade. The family had a bold, cheerful style (and some budding Picassos!), so she came up with the perfect solution: a kids’ art wall! • Kids’ Art in the Dining Room Apartment Therapy
Feb 21, 2013
Three (Free!) Things You Need for Your Home Office
Working from home and being productive can be both rewarding and a challenge at the same time. Here are 3 free tools so easy to integrate into your workflow that you’ll be wondering what you did without them. • 3 Things for Your Home Office Apartment Therapy
Feb 20, 2013
Before & After: Colorful Kids’ Art in the Dining Room
Interior designer Lauren Liess had clients with a brand-new dining room looking for a stylish and personal upgrade. The family had a bold, cheerful style (and some budding Picassos!), so she came up with the perfect solution: a kids’ art wall!She added some new curtains, a new overhead fixture, and some sconces in the middle of the gallery wall — but the focus is the kids’ art, which adds a lot of color and fun to the room!
Feb 20, 2013
Before & After: Boring IKEA Billy Bookshelf to Rad Reading Bench
The great thing about Ikea’s Billy bookshelf is that it’s an inexpensive, versatile storage unit for any age — the downside is when you’d like it to be a bookshelf for kids but the height and reach is too much for little arms.Leave it to Lisa Campbell to fix that! She just turned it on its side, so that it not only holds books safely, it doubles as a bench! She added some decorative trim, secured the shelves, and sewed a cushion for the top.
Feb 20, 2013
Battling Throwawayism: A Low-Carb Furniture Diet
You are what you sit on. At Apartment Therapy we are always working hard developing our philosophy and working out the talking points that underpin the healthy, beautiful, organized home. • A Low-Carb Furniture Diet Apartment Therapy
Feb 20, 2013
Classic Kitchen Style: A Vintage Look in a New Build
We’re fans of a good before & after, but sometimes it’s nice to see a new-build with all the charms of an older home. This new kitchen, with the skillful addition of old and reclaimed elements, precisely fits that bill. • New Vintage-Inspired Kitchen Apartment Therapy
Feb 19, 2013
Making it Work: Working From Home With Kids
I love the way our world is changing. Gone are the days where you were either a work-outside-the-home mom or a stay-at-home mom, when rare was the woman who didn’t fit into one of those categories exclusively. With the integration of technology and innovation into our work and home lives, there are so many possible combinations of working environments for moms (and dads!).
Feb 19, 2013
Before & After: Side Table Gets a Herringbone Top On a Budget
Is this “before” image intriguing, or what? Yes, you can see the top of the old crusty side table, but what’s the point of showing it with all those paint sticks on top? This is truly a DIY project I would never have thought of on my own, and I love it!Truly, the folks over at Thistlewood Farms gave this little table an amazing facelift — with paint sticks. They cut them all down to uniform size, applied some stain, and laid them in a herringbone pattern, and the result?
Feb 19, 2013
Brooklyn Kitchen Gets an Updated Look
This small Prospect Park kitchen didn’t have much going for it. It had limited storage, poor lighting, and some odd half-height walls that cut it off from the rest of the apartment. It was time for a change. • Brooklyn Kitchen Redo Apartment Therapy
Feb 19, 2013