my favorite home projects of 2020

by | Jan 11, 2021 | All Things Home, My House | 28 comments

We were home a lot last year.  I’m a homebody, so it suited me to some extent even though it wasn’t under ideal circumstances.  As many of you did, we made the best of it and used the time to get some projects done around the house that have been hanging out on the to-do list for a while.  I had the extra incentive of working on projects for my upcoming book.  Looking back over 2020, we got a ton of home projects done and completely transformed a few rooms in our house including the living room, sewing room, and ensuite bathroom.

Here are a few of my favorite DIY home projects we finished last year…

fireplace surround

This is one of the easiest projects I did in 2020 and it’s one of my favorites!  I have disliked that shiny granite since we first moved in, but I felt a little stuck as to what to do with it.  It seemed excessive and unnecessary to remove the mantle and rip the tile and hearth out and replace them.  I knew that paint was going to be the best option, but I was hesitant to paint perfectly nice granite that simply wasn’t my taste.

AS a flurry of other projects were happening in the house, I finally just went for it, priming and painting the fireplace surround and hearth to look similar to slate.  And, man, it looks so convincing!  It doesn’t look like a painted surround at all, which was my concern.  It looks like a natural stone and now it’s perfect for my style.

You can find the tutorial and materials I used in THIS POST.

And, it’s only been about six months, but it’s held up very well.

painted granite fireplace surround | home projects | miss mustard seed

installing paneling & wallpaper in the office

This was a project that I added to my list when my parents were visiting to help with projects.  We already had enough on the list to keep us busy, but I wanted to make the office a little more interesting.  I spotted this beaded paneling while making a trip to buy lumber and made a decision that day to install it in my office.  The decision to hang wallpaper above it came just a few days later and I just love how it turned out.  It looks fresh, bright, and clean, but it’s still interesting.  You can see the full transformation HERE.

vintage style home office makeover | home projects | miss mustard seed

sewing room makeover

I know that you haven’t seen this full room (I’m saving that for the book), but the sewing room turned out so good!  It was a little gutsy to starch toile fabric to all of the walls, but it is fitting for the room and frames the antique pine pieces beautifully.  You can find progress posts and resources HERE.

antique pine wardrobe | blue and white toile fabric walls | antiques | miss mustard seed

ensuite bathroom makeover

This is another full reveal that I’m saving for the book, but I shared a lot of the process along with the materials used HERE.  Our bathroom was such a typical suburban master bathroom (of about the past 15 years or so.)  They are big but are mostly finished with cheap, build-grade finishes and fixtures.  I had been wanting to give this room a makeover for years, but it was like a row of dominoes.  You couldn’t work on one thing without working on the rest.  So, we saved up and finally went for it.

And I love it!  I don’t regret one decision.  What I like most about this makeover is that we didn’t do any major construction.  We didn’t move or rearrange and we used most of the existing pieces, like the cabinetry and bathtub.  The big splurge was all of the tile work and ordering a custom glass door for the new shower.  Without moving any walls, though, we gained several inches in the shower and it looks and feels like a more luxurious master bathroom.  We also did a hybrid of DIY and hiring out to keep the costs down.

suburban master bathroom makeover | home projects | miss mustard seed

checkerboard floors in the studio

I did this project in February, so I almost forgot I did it in 2020!  This project was a killer on the back and knees, but I am so glad I took the time to do it.  I absolutely love how it turned out.  You can find a tutorial HERE.

master bedroom textiles

My mom and I did a massive amount of sewing when my parents were visiting, including new pillows and a bed crown for the master bedroom.  This room had me stumped for a while and the mix of textiles really brought it all together.  This room now feels like a properly finished room.  You can see the progression of the master bedroom makeover HERE.

And, for those asking for them, there will be wide room shots in the book!

blue and white master bedroom | miss mustard seed

Boxed Beams

This was one of the home projects that I envisioned for this room when we first saw the house.  This room already had some nice detail with the fireplace, built-ins, and arched doorways, but I felt like it needed more.  We added picture frame molding in 2019 (you can find that tutorial HERE.)  But, I knew boxed beams and trimming out the ceiling would be a perfect way to add even more architectural interest to the room.

The beams aren’t painted or trimmed out in this picture, but you get the idea!

This was a DIY home project and Jeff and I thought we might be in over our heads with the precision and math involved, but we worked slowly and carefully and it turned out better than we even expected.  A tutorial will be included in the book and I will be making a video tutorial companion as well.

blue and white living room | miss mustard seed

furniture projects

I know that I don’t do anywhere near the number of furniture projects that I used to, but I did give a few pieces a makeover last year.  I make slipcovers for several chairs including two desk chairs, the chaise in our bedroom, and the end chairs in the eating area.

slipcovered desk chair | home projects | miss mustard seed

I also made a “make-do” cushion for an antique daybed I bought off of Facebook marketplace…

antique daybed | home projects | miss mustard seed

painted a sweet little antique chair in MMS Milk Paint for the sewing room…

pine sewing desk | home projects | miss mustard seed

refinished and waxed and antique pine chest that had some water damage…

waxed pine chest | home projects | miss mustard seed

…and gave an old dresser a makeover to use as Jeff’s nightstand…

milk painted dresser makeover | home projects | miss mustard seed

When I start thinking back over home projects I worked on during the previous year, I initially feel like I didn’t do very much but listing them out always proves me wrong!  We got a ton of projects done this year!

And, believe it or not, there is still more I’d like to do in this house and I’ll share some of my plans in another post…

I also have a new tutorial up on my YouTube channel for you.


  1. Anita

    Nice advertising for your book!

    • Marian Parsons

      Ha! I didn’t mean for it to be that, but I suppose it is. I wish I could just share it all now, but I want the content in the book to be fresh, even to my regular blog readers.

  2. Jenn

    Wait, you’re writing a book? I totally missed that!!

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes! I have a new book coming out in the fall!

  3. Jo

    Marian, I’m curious as to how your studio floors are holding up, now that it’s been almost a year.

    • Marian Parsons

      They are holding up very well. The only trouble area was under my desk chair. It was already peeling when I painted it and it continued to peel. I put a clear chair mat on it and that’s fixed the issue. I’m pretty sure the paint will peel up with the mat if I move it, though! Otherwise, it’s been great.

  4. Diane

    Marian, I love all of your projects! Thank you for sharing with us!
    Have a great day!

  5. Maureen

    Everything’s lovely. When is your book scheduled for publication?

    • Marian Parsons

      It comes out in the fall of 2021.

  6. Bea

    You are very accomplished to get all of that completed in a year! It all looks so well done and attractive. I can paint and do some sewing but that about the extent of my skills. Very impressive!

    • Marian Parsons

      You can do a lot with paint and fabric! Good for you for learning those skills. 🙂

  7. MaryLisa

    Your home is so lovely.

    • Marian Parsons

      Thank you!

  8. Reta Lehman

    I love the wallpaper in the office! Can you tell me the name?? I already have the beadboard. Thanks in advance.

  9. Roberta

    Cant wait until your book comes out!

    • Marian Parsons

      I am so excited about it, too!

  10. Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm

    The bead board is lovely and what I’ve decided on for my powder room. The master bath is fabulous and I’ve only seen the half done photo! The tile work is beautiful and looking forward to seeing the completed project.
    Well done!

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh, thank you!

  11. Jackie B

    Looking forward to purchasing your book. I am a long time follower and love your home. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Marilyn Barbeck

    Marian, don’t forget all the work you did on the landscaping around your house and patio!

  13. Lisa P

    Oh my, it all looks great. Your home looks so beautiful! It’s warm, welcoming and has so many interesting details—fabrics, wallpaper, furniture, accessories. So much inspiration! I’m looking forward to getting your book when it comes out. Just let us know when it’s available for preorder 🙂

  14. Susan

    I know it helps that doing some of these spaces is actually part of your business. The rest of us dont need to feel bad about how little we accomplished in comparison. It’s an impressive amount you completed

  15. Vanessa Prohaska

    Ah, all that, plus: the landscape outside and live oil painting classes that I totally missed! 😪
    You are amazing ! I love your art room and I’m trying to use some of your decor on mine. (like the target picture shelves, with an edge to dry and display my paintings). How do you keep your easel so clean? Do you wipe it down immediately? Use painters tape?

  16. Leila

    Can you explain how you decided the height of the bead board in the office. Is taking it up to the window height not proper? Should you always stop it lower?

  17. Heather L Kleiner

    ?I love all you do! Can you tell me where you got the tall bookshelf in your office

  18. jamie

    Happy New Year! Your home is so lovely. I really like the green apothecary/cubby(?), is there a tutorial for how you painted it?


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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