Tag Archives: home decor

Making It Work

Moving Boxes at #wfwhitehouseOne thing that I’m really good at is making something out of nothing. It probably stems from not having a choice most of my life. I can remember my mom saving everything. Every single thing. There was never a scrap piece of wood or fabric too small. If there was a remote chance that it could be used for a future project, we kept it. I still do this. Continue reading

A 100 Year Old House That Could Be Yours

As you know, I recently started rehabilitating a 100 year old house for myself. Saving old houses has been a dream of mine for many years and I’ve been so thrilled to get to bring this one back to life. Before I purchased this home, I set my eyes on another 100 year old beauty in Monroe’s Garden District. I’d shown the house to a few clients and it had not worked for any of them. I began thinking about purchasing it myself and what I could do to update it without losing any of that old-house character. I even started a Pinterest board for it! Long story short, I decided I wasn’t quite ready for the project at that time, and shortly after, a different set of clients had the opportunity to make it their home. Continue reading

#mapfirsthouse – After

Shiplap Fireplace Living RoomShiplap Fireplace Living RoomNavy Kitchen CabinetsAntique Pie SafeLast Sunday we opened up our “new” home for those who’ve watched the flood recovery process to come and see the finished product. We worked insanely hard to tie up what felt like a thousand loose ends to be ready to have people over. For example, when I announced the get together, we didn’t even have a hall bathroom sink. Or master bathroom door. Among a handful of larger items, there were 1,000 small things that still needed to be done. Hence the reason we decided to have the party in two weeks…a hard deadline makes things happen magically fast. We pushed hard to get a lot done in a short amount of time and now we can rest for a bit. There’s still a few larger and smaller things that we want to complete, and those can wait for a bit.Navy Brick HouseNavy Kitchen CabinetsNavy Kitchen CabinetsMid Century Modern Dining RoomGold Fixtures & Barn DoorsI’ll go through all of the changes in each room with you eventually, and here’s a few snapshots of the finished product to hold you over for now. If you want to take your own before and after tour, you can look back on the before photos and a tour from one year after we moved in.Emerald Green Hall BathSinger Sewing Machine Table as a VanityWalk-In Closet RoomWalk-In Closet RoomI can’t wait to break down all the before and after details because this house has come SO. FAR. And as with most things, I feel like the beauty is in the details. We worked very, very hard to add as much of our personality to this home as possible and just thinking back on what it once was…at all of the different stages…is quite mind-blowing for me. Navy Master BedroomMarble Master BathroomThere are a ton of things that I LOVE about the new remodel. I’m thrilled to come home every day and I want to host all the parties. I made a few bold moves with remodel decisions and after seeing the finished product, I’m so glad that I did. What do you think so far??

When to Buy Expensive & When to Go Cheap

Updated Navy KitchenThis post is basically when to be fancy and when to be basic. Keep in mind, these are my thoughts and what I use for myself, so you definitely don’t have to agree or even care about my rules. That being said, this post is my tell-all handbook for how I remodeled our home on a budget.

First, a little backstory. Our home flooded and left us with about ¼ of the items we owned and a completely demoed house. We saved the top ½ of the sheetrock, the studs, and the roof – actually, we ended up replacing the roof too. That’s pretty much it. After the initial shock, we were forced to start making all the decisions about rebuilding – basically our lives where a whirlwind of who, what, where, when, and how. (You can read about how that was a nightmare for me here.) Now that construction is finished, I thought I’d share a bit about how I made what decisions and where I chose to splurge versus not.

For this project, we had a budget. We basically had XX number of dollars to rebuild the entire house, do any upgrades we’d been dreaming about, AND replaced all of the personal items we lost. There was simply that number of dollars. We weren’t taking out a second mortgage or selling a car to pay for things. We had to make tough decisions CONSTANTLY about where to splurge and where to save.

An old adage to note here is, “you get what you pay for.” Most of us have heard that since the beginning of time and unfortunately for our pocketbooks, it’s true. We simply don’t get high quality items for pennies. This, of course, doesn’t count the occasional sale or lucky find. And, that being said, you can usually easily tell the difference in how the quality version of something performs compared to the lower quality one. I noticed this immediately with my car. It simply drives and feels different than any other vehicle I’ve ever had. This was a fact that I didn’t understand until I drove one myself, which was the day I drove it off the lot. Have I mentioned that I love that car?? I digress.

Back to the house. One of the first examples of quality difference that I noticed in the “new” house was the faucets. We chose to put Delta faucets and Kohler sinks throughout the entire house. (Please make a note of this if you’re considering buying my house in the future and you’re doing your research on the property. Upgrades throughout! A lovely place to call home! *wink wink*) Back to the faucets. When I first used the new kitchen faucet, I nearly swung it off the countertop because it swiveled so easily! The last faucet we had was much harder to rotate, and to be honest, I often thought I was going to break it. I was also super impressed with the new pull down sprayer. When I released it from spraying out the sink, it just popped right back into place and looked as beautiful as ever! After the first use on the last faucet, I felt like it never fit back together properly and you always had to force it back into place. It was better that what we had previously, though this Delta faucet makes the old one feel like an ugly stepchild. (No offense, ugly step children.) Expensive definitely doesn’t always equal quality. However, in most cases, the “pay for what you get” rule does apply.

Gold Delta FaucetSo, how does one know where to upgrade and where to not? I’m glad you asked. I feel like sort of an expert on this topic because I’ve always applied these principles in most areas of my life and used them daily lately. My wardrobe, for example, is a compilation of quality where necessary and inexpensive where people won’t notice. When it comes to the house, we splurged on some items like the faucets and I won’t splurge on other things like door mats or paper towel holders. I’ll wait until I find adorable options at a discount store like TJ Maxx or Ross. (So, stay out of those stores until I find all of the cute, cheap items that I need. Then you can return to your normal shopping pleasure.) Here are a few rules I applied to splurging on our house renovation that I’ve used over and over again in other areas too:

  1. Splurge on items that you use often. An example here would be the faucets. They’re touched and turned on and off every single day. Delta faucets even come with a lifetime warranty so if something goes wrong, you just call them. You don’t get that with cheaper brands. I also applied this principle to our bed which I’ll never, ever regret. We could have gotten a cheaper mattress. However, you spend almost half of your life in bed. That should definitely be an area to splurge. (If you need a suggestion for someone to talk to here locally, let me know!) A third example here is the washer and dryer. Even for just the two of us, I do a LOT of laundry. And I’m very, very particular about my clothes. (Ask my friends. “Yes, you may borrow this. Don’t mess it up and bring it back to me dirty so that I can wash it myself” is basically how those conversations always went.) By investing in a nice, larger washer/dryer, I have more options for caring for our clothes AND I’ve cut my laundry time in half by being able to do larger loads.
  2. Splurge on items that will otherwise deteriorate quickly. The first example that comes to mind here is towels. Sure, you can buy cheap towels at the dollar store. However, it’s important to think about how long they’ll last. Towels certainly fall into the first category too, because ideally (hopefully) you use them every day. While I’m not ordering imported, fancy towels from wherever you import fancy towels from, I certainly won’t buy the cheapest version. This way, the bath experience feels a tad more luxurious and the product will last longer. If you have to repeatedly replace the cheaper version of something, you’re likely spending more money and having more headaches than if you’d have just upgraded a bit in the first place.
  3. Splurge on items that you LOVE. Clearly, we can’t splurge on everything we love. If so, I’d basically own Anthropolgie. However, sometimes you come across something that speaks to you, even though it might cost a little more than a similar version. Most of the time when this happens, it’s probably something you’ll use repeatedly for years to come. For example, Matthew and I found a rug that we both liked and it was neutral enough and high enough quality that we knew we’d use it for years to come, even if it was in a different room later. We decided to spend a little extra there because based on the years we’d use it, the cost was completely justified. Get this though – when he got to the checkout counter, it was 50% off!! We didn’t even know it was on sale when we made the decision to purchase. *Insert 1,000 dancing emojis.*
  4. Splurge when the process of trying NOT to splurge is more trouble than it’s worth. This is a big one for me. If you’re not naturally anxious like me, you can probably skip this one. To be honest, this rule has only become part of my splurge versus not conversation since I married my super chill husband. One day when complaining about how I just couldn’t find an affordable version of *insert random object here,* he asked if I’d wasted enough time already looking for a deal that I could have just bought the original version. It was a light bulb moment for me. Time is definitely worth something and I might be sacrificing way too much of my time to save just $5, $10, or $20. Now, I try to ask myself – could the time I spend looking for a “deal” actually be costing me time. Could the time I’m using be used in a more productive or profitable way? If I realize that the answer is yes – it’d be better to spend $10 extra dollars here than driving across town, spending time and gas, then I “splurge.”

Gold Delta FaucetNow, where should you not splurge? These “rules” will vary greatly depending on what’s important to you. If you’re passionate about soap dishes or kitchen sponges, then so be it. I’m just not, so these tips are based on my personal preferences. In a nutshell, I feel like you should generally avoid splurging on the less noticeable things. However, here are some more specifics:

  1. Do not splurge on trendy items. We’ve all seen it. One day everyone is raving about mesh wreaths and the next it’s wall weavings. Trends ebb and flow constantly. My general rule of thumb is to never, ever splurge on something too trendy. If it happens to fall into #3 above, then maaaybe. However, if you go all out on something too trendy and the trends change, your home is going to look dated instantly. You need to be able to practice “out with the old and in with the new” in regards to trends and if you’ve mortgaged the house on that item, it’s going to be a lot harder to do. Actually, while we’re at it, I generally try to avoid anything that’s gone mass trendy anyway. If everyone you know is using it/wearing it/has it, it’s probably going to be lame in a matter of minutes. If you struggle with picking what’s classic and cool (and not overly trendy), watch your artsy friends. They’ll be doing trends before they’re cool and then likely abandon them once they’re widespread. The moral of this story is to not splurge on trends. And to avoid gangbuster trends altogether (if you wanna be supa fly, that is).
  2. Do not splurge on the small stuff. I’ll use the paper towel holder as an example again. There is most likely a marble or handmade stone paper towel holder out there that is breathtakingly beautiful. And most likely, I’d love to have it. However, I’ve never hosted a party and had guest ooh and ahh over my paper towel holder. Or the rags that I clean with. Or the front door mat. Or the light switch covers. There are definitely high quality, expensive versions of these things out there and again, if they fall into #3 above, go for it. Chances are though, most people don’t even notice the small stuff. AND most of the time you can find nice, less expensive version of these items either at a discount store or on sale somewhere. I have never paid more than $10 for a door mat and I’m quite proud of that fact. Usually by waiting, you can come across cute versions of these smaller items for less money. It’s how I create balance.
  3. Do not splurge simply for the sake of splurging. I know some people who simply spend money for what seems like no reason. They buy the expensive versions of everything because they equate dollar signs with value and worth. I do believe that quality comes with higher prices the majority of the time. However, the quality of my light switch covers is just not important to me. If you find yourself splurging on every single thing or spending money just to spend it, you should probably speak to your therapist. And cut up those credit cards.
  4. Do not splurge on a temporary solution. If you desperately need a dresser to hold your unmentionables and you really, really want that vintage chifferobe that will take you a bit to find, don’t splurge on the temporary solution. Buy something that works alright for now so that you can replace it without hurt feelings and a hurt pocketbook when you find the thing you really want. Similarly, I wouldn’t suggest spending a ton on something that will only work in this one spot in this one house. If you won’t be able to reuse that item, then it probably shouldn’t be a splurge item. My most recent example is our master bedding. I think that it’s important to get your bedroom set up and comfortable ASAP after a move, or remodel in our case. I haven’t chosen my permanent bedding yet, and rather than spending a lot on something temporary, we purchased an Ikea duvet to use in the interim. The room will be “fixed” and functional for now, and when I find my permanent bedding, I won’t have wasted a ton of money on the temporary.

As I said above, these guidelines are just how I personally approach spending money on my home. These tips were fresh on my mind since I’ve been employing them every single day lately, so I thought I’d share with the class. There will sometimes be exceptions (but pay close attention to #3 on what NOT to do) and there will always be differences in budgets and opportunities. You might want to be jealous of my Delta faucets (cause they’re  awesome). However, I’ll kindly remind you that I had to go through one of the most traumatic experiences of my life thus far to get those faucets. If I had to spell out the biggest thing for you to take away from this post, it would be this – never spend more money than you have and never, ever compare yourself and your situation to someone else’s. Save where you can and treat yo self sometimes. If you’d like some inspiration on building a lovely home on a budget, this book and her blog is a great resource.

If you have any guidelines that you follow when deciding when to splurge and when not to, I’d love to hear them. Most of us don’t have the luxury (or are responsible enough to not to use it) to simply buy whatever we want, whenever we want it. I’d imagine that we all have strategies that we use, maybe without even noticing it, when making purchasing decision. I’d love to hear your tactics!

#mapfirsthouse- One Year Later

These are in no way “after” photos. However, it wasn’t until I looked through the before photos that I really realized how far we’ve come. Sometimes the slow progress towards my big ideas can be a bit discouraging. It feels like we’ll never finish everything or get it to a point where I can say it’s at least somewhat done. Now that it’s been a year since we’ve owned our first home together, I thought it would be nice to look at its current condition compared to where we started.

The kitchen

I think that you have to take a gander through the before photos to really appreciate the current state. I certainly did. While I felt a decent amount of anxiety of showing off my home in this awkward half way done stage, I’m thankful that I did. Honestly, if I wouldn’t have set it as an August goal, I would have continued to put it off! However, I do want to remember this stage. When I’m closer to finished, I’ll enjoy looking back and remembering this portion…the time when so much had been done and yet there was still so much left to do. If nothing else, forcing myself to share these photos inspired me to keep making progress. As I mentioned last week, we’d been at a bit of a standstill. With so much traveling, Matthew changing jobs, and no money tree in the backyard, it was hard to be inspired and find the time/money for house projects. However, I’m back in the game. I’ve started working on a few projects already, and I’m making a timeline for finally turning some big ideas into a reality.

The master bedroomBedroom pillowsCorner chair in the master bedroom with a sneak peek into the master bathroomMaster bathroom sinkMaster bedroom fireplace

I mentioned lately that we’ve been working on a few big projects in the house. We’re in the process of turning our old guest room into a guest room/home office. We’re also FINALLY revamping my closet room to be more useful. This means you’re seeing strategic shots of my house right now. There are currently mattresses standing in the foyer until they make it to their new home. There are IKEA returns living in the corner of the dining room until we can make that 5 hour trip again. Speaking of IKEA, they were out of a portion of my new shelving system (that I’m so very excited about), so that project is only partially done too. The hallway to the bedrooms includes bags of clothes to be donated. The parts I’m showing you today certainly aren’t perfect. However, just remember you can make anything look decent from the right angle. (And with black and white photos.)

Home office in progress
Home office desk in progressCloset room progressCloset room progress

I really wanted to wait until everything was perfect to show you anything. (Shame on me.) I have to keep reminding myself that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. I’m happy that I shared a progress report because it’s encouraged me to keep pushing forward. It also made me address those boxes of photos/memorabilia that were moved to the dining room from their safe little home under the guest bed (the one that’s now living in the foyer). It also reminded me how badly I want everything to have a place. I feel soooo much better when everything is tucked away nicely and neatly. I’m currently reading this book which is helping a ton with clutter…and is also the reason for the bags of donation items making a home in the hallway.

Carport hallway in progressCarport hallway in progressBreakfast area

So far we’ve scraped the ceilings, painted every single surface (literally not one single thing was left unpainted), replaced all of the flooring, and did what feels like hundreds of small projects.  Some of the big items still left to do are:

  • all new light fixtures (I salvaged one here.)
  • paint the fireplace brick and instal a wood header
  • paint a very big wall a very bold color
  • paint the hallway from the carport
  • add kitchen hardware (It’s been ordered!)
  • new appliances
  • bathroom upgrades – no more seashell sink!!
  • install my mirror gallery wall
  • all of the decorating everywhere – curtains, pillows, artwork…you name it!

Living roomKitchen view of the living roomLiving room back wallAs I prepared for this post, I did make several decisions on different elements that I’ve been stewing over. This means I’m ready to make some magic happen again! I’ve decided that I’ll tackle these projects one little piece at a time. Waiting until I had all the money and all the time has obviously slowed down progress. Just like unpacking,  I’m going to start doing one thing at a time! Speaking of boxes, there are officially NO BOXES left in my house that are not intended to be there. Not even one little box hiding in a closet. That last box has been sent on its merry little way and that alone is something to celebrate.

Breakfast area and carport hallway from the kitchen

That’s a wrap for now. I’ll hopefully be sharing even more progress very soon! If you’d like to read more about the journey, check out our new couch, tips for changing flooring, and why I’m thankful for a new home.

Bathroom Gallery Wall

Bathroom Gallery Wall (9)It is no secret that I love a gallery wall. I’ve learned that I’m very far from a minimalist. Instead, I love a collection of several things together…in an organized and uncluttered way, of course. Ever since gallery walls started popping up on Pinterest, I’ve wanted to do one on every wall. I think it’s a great way to showcase multiple things you love, fill a large space, and add an ample dose of interest to your décor. Today, I’m showing you the wall I’ve done in our master bathroom.
Bathroom Gallery Wall (12)The master bathroom is one of those “big projects” on our renovation list that will likely be done in the year 2072. We did a few small things to make it work better for us, like taking out a closet in the sink area to add more standing room. I’ll show you the full bath eventually. Today, we’re just taking a peek into the shower/toilet area.

Bathroom Gallery Wall (10)While we wait on the bathroom remodel fairy to arrive, I needed some sort of plan for giving this small space a bit of personality. One way to add some pizzazz to a small space is through the paint color. I did neutrals (all shades of gray) throughout the house because I had no idea what colors I wanted and a limited amount of time to decide. I did a lighter gray (Sherwin Williams light french gray) in here because I wanted the room to feel as large as possible, especially since there are no windows. The basic light gray, though, left the room feeling pretty bland.

Bathroom Gallery Wall (13)For the first several months, this room only had the light gray walls and plain white shower curtain. (It turns out that extra-long shower curtains are hard to find! I caught this one on sale at target.com and thought it was that fancy waffle knit fabric. It’s totally not, yet has served its purpose until I find something different.) After months of using the bland bathroom, I knew I had to do something bold in there. I found the marbled rug at TJ Maxx and started pulling together items for the wall that matched the rug’s crazy colors.

The collection started with that George Washington board. From there, I pulled together items that I already had and only had to purchase a few small things to fill in holes. I also made or re-purposed several items. Immediately after getting so many colorful items on the walls, I let out a sigh of relief. The room feels so much more alive and inspiring now…just what you need when you’re struggling to wake up in the mornings. I’ve included a list of resources below in case you’re curious about a certain piece.

Bathroom Gallery Wall (5)Bathroom Gallery Wall (7)In addition to adding the gallery wall, I also added photos of Matthew and me as babes in the tub over the toilet. I came across this idea in the early days Pinterest, and the link has since been removed. (If this was your original idea, Random Person on the Internet, here’s a high five for you!) I had the photos printed in black & white, because let’s face it, late 80s film photography isn’t known for its outstanding quality. I also decided to do them in light gray frames so that they wouldn’t take away from all of the color on the nearby wall. I didn’t want the toilet wall to be blank, and doing monotone art there would add something without distracting from the chaos on the adjoining wall. I must say, I absolutely love seeing our baby photos every day. I think it’s adorable, and I’m sure my husband is thrilled to have his naked bum on the internet. Shhhh…it’ll be our little secret.

Bathroom Gallery Wall (16)In other bathroom news, adding a curved shower rod made a huge difference in making the shower feel more spacious. It didn’t make the room feel smaller like I thought it would, and made the shower feel 100x bigger. The extra-long curtain also made a difference. Adding the extra height made the ceilings feel taller and gave the impression of extra space.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with the outcome of the gallery wall. I’ll probably adjust some things here or there as time passes. For now, I’m happy with the outcome considering how little the project cost. If you’re interested in other walls I’ve done, check out my mirror wall and the small collection in my rent house living room. I certainly have more collections planned for this house and will share those as they’re completed!

Sources: 1. Nashville Flea Market 2. gift from Australia from Matthew’s grandmother. 3. Elise Blaha Cripe 4. frame – Hobby Lobby with our second photo ever taken! (I intended to replace the photo with something else and then decided it could stay.) 5. vintage 6. framed marketing piece from one of my Elise Joy purchases 7. my Mom’s house (I think.) 8. Hobby Lobby 9. free printable from the A Beautiful Mess newsletter 10. Hobby Lobby sale isle ($2!!) 11. TP Outdoors warehouse & it’s a favorite! 12. DIY painting 13. thrifted 14. Hobby Lobby ($2!) 15. DIY 16. Hobby Lobby 17. DIY & it’s a favorite. 18. thrifted 19. Hobby Lobby 20. DIY 21. Hobby Lobby (purchased right after this post)

Hanging all the things.

chalkboard artSunday was my only day off this week. This means I had one million personal items that needed to be done on Sunday, including not setting an alarm and slowly drinking my coffee…you know, the important stuff. Somehow amidst trying to squeeze in enough rest to make it through the upcoming week, I made quite a bit of progress on the home front.

I’ve mentioned before that hanging things on the wall gives me a bit of anxiety. After writing this post (and reading that fantastic book), I made a tremendous amount of progress with decorating. I was inspired and encouraged and even a bit fearless with making things happen. Then I hit a wall. Several months have passed where I’ve done very little decorating at all. The ideas were still coming, yet I was overwhelmed and not actually doing anything. I seemed to have hit that decorating paralysis where I was too afraid to do anything until I was certain. Or until I had a perfect plan.

gallery wallThankfully, I snapped out of that over the weekend. I mentioned that one of my August goals is to share a home tour, showing my home in its current state. (I feel my blood pressure rising just typing that sentence.) Even though we’re not even close to finished, we have made a ton of progress with our renovation. Knowing that I want to share a progress report this month, has forced me to really think about the unfinished portions of my home. In addition to the one million projects we haven’t started, there are also one hundred projects that just need to be finished. With our busy schedules, it’s easy to put off finishing things because we actually need time to rest or spend time with family/friends.

bedroom artWe’ve also started several new projects lately. We are currently in the middle of turning our guest room into a guest room/home office. This means we have mattresses standing in our foyer…totally normal. All of the items that were safely hidden under the guest bed are piled in my dining room. We’re also FINALLY making some progress in my closet room. We purchased a new storage system from Ikea that I’m so very excited about. However, some of the pieces were out of stock, so we’re at a standstill on that project too. This means there are piles of clothes here and there that don’t have somewhere to live just yet.

kitchen wallStarting two new, major projects while I still didn’t feel settled in the other rooms has made me feel a bit crazy. Sometimes, I’ve wanted to throw my hands up and quit. Or move. There has been a certain amount of chaos around our home lately that hasn’t been very conducive to progress for me. (Just imagine folded laundry piled up not far from the protruding mattresses.) I know that you have to start somewhere and tackle a bit at a time. However, sometimes I reach a point where I just can’t think that rationally. Finally, I started chipping away at the chaos today. I started in a corner of the dining room and worked through things one piece at a time. Shortly after squaring away a few items, I began feeling inspired to hang some things. I’d had a few lingering ideas lately and had not had the time (or the courage) to actually start putting nails in the walls. I recruited Matthew to come along, and we hung several new things here and there. It transformed my entire day and my outlook on our home.

First, we hung a new (and slightly dangerous) Hobby Lobby find over our bed. We finished my bathroom gallery wall that I’ve been working on for months. We hung two sets of curtains (!! – even though one is just temporary). We hung the pallet hanger that Matthew made for me for our second Christmas, and I played with chalk on an old chalkboard to hang there. I also ordered a print for the kitchen from Etsy and hung a frame to put it in.

bedroom curtainsAfter so long of a creative funk, it felt amazing to make some progress. Several of the projects still need some attention or are temporary, yet it still feels great. I am reminded that I CAN get this home looking how I’d like and that I WILL eventually be happy with it. I never intend to be “finished.” However, I want it to feel good enough. After yesterday’s progress, I’m feeling much better about the possibilities. I’m also wanting to paint everything deep, bold colors. (Thanks, Pinterest.) I’m fairly certain that at least a wall or two will become this green color. Brace yourselves! If you haven’t seen a home tour here by the end of the month, you might need to prod me a bit. I’ll probably be hiding in a corner somewhere…next to something that most likely doesn’t belong there.

(P.S. These aren’t the best photos, because I was running out of daylight. Please forgive me.)

How to Create a Relaxing Master Bedroom

a relaxing master bedroomThere are so many theories on what a master bedroom should be like. I like to think that I have my own set of theories and that they’re likely a combination of the massive amount of rules out there. There’s also a chance that they’re complete, polar opposites and totally contradict the “rules.” Doesn’t matter.

Here’s what I think a master bedroom should be like. It should be calming and relaxing. It should be a safe haven to hide away in. It should either be filled with light or dark and moody…whichever you prefer most. It should be free of clutter and distraction, and it should be a private, comfortable, functional space where you can easily wind down.

Our last bedroom was none of these things. I never “finished” that room (or really even got a good start) . I was immensely stifled by the horrible beige walls, and I had no motivation or inspiration for the space. We had so much extra crap in there and nothing really made any sense. I HATE thinking about that room. I loved it’s beautiful corner windows. That’s it though…nothing else.

master bedroomWhen we moved to this house, I knew I’d pick a dark color for the master. I wanted the room to feel dark and moody…the total opposite from the rest of the house. If you browse my inspiration board on Pinterest, you’ll get an idea of the look I was going for. I finally chose a deep, gray paint color (Sherwin Williams Peppercorn), and I think this is the color that my dreams are made of. I think it’s 100% perfect for a master bedroom (It’s also in our dining room.), and I absolutely love it.

I made a commitment when we bought this house that I’d finish our bedroom first. Practically everything you read says that in a time of transition, you should stabilize your bedroom first. It gives you a haven from the madness and ensures that you still sleep well. Besides, we had lived with a chaotic bedroom for so long that I desperately wanted a nice space.

As we began getting squared away, it felt like the master bedroom wasn’t coming together liked I’d hoped. Other rooms were feeling more put together than this one, and I felt like I was slipping into that same messy-bedroom trap. I’ve learned that I absolutely cannot force inspiration, so I just had to be patient and wait for things to come together in my mind. It turns out that our bedroom still ended up being the first room that I felt was complete! I am so, so happy about that.

master bedroom pillowsI’m only moments away from sharing the full room tour, as there are just a few finishing touches that I want to complete first. For now, enjoy these sneak peaks! If you’re feeling like your bedroom is the exact opposite of a safe haven, consider these few items:

  1. Remove any unnecessary clutter. Try not to stack thing in corners or on tops of dressers. Clean corners and surfaces, provide a much more relaxing space.
  2. Fold laundry somewhere other than the bedroom! Baskets of clean (folded or unfolded) clothes spilling over onto the floor, create the feeling of chaos. The first choice wood be to go ahead and put the clothes away (obviously). If that’s not an option, consider storing the clothes baskets in another room until you can handle them.
  3. Use lamps instead of overhead lighting. The light of a lamp or two provides a much more calming environment than harsh, overhead lighting. I almost never use the ceiling light in our bedroom. Lamps are much more relaxing (and romantic!).
  4. Decorate with your favorite items. Some “rules” say to keep things minimal in a bedroom. While that’s an option, I don’t think it’s mandatory. Instead, I say surround yourself with things that you love. Use your favorite pieces and highlight the things that make you the happiest.
  5. Choose a good paint color. As with any room, the paint color can either make it or break it. Like I said before, the awful beige of our last bedroom sucked the life right out of me. I don’t believe that your room color has to follow the traditional guidelines. Instead, choose whatever color relaxes and inspires you the most. I simply love our dark gray walls, and I couldn’t be happier with the color.
  6. Choose good bed linens. Regardless of the style of your room, having comfortable, appealing linens makes a huge difference in how the room looks/feels AND how well you sleep. If you’re going to splurge on anything, choose a good mattress and nice sheets. (Read how much of a difference our new sheets made in last month’s post, and they weren’t even expensive!)

Again, the actual style or color scheme that you choose for the room isn’t as important as how the room makes you feel. The ultimate goal is that you end up with a space that you can retreat to and relax. Our best night’s sleep come from a space in which we feel totally comfortable.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by creating a relaxing space, start small. Remove a few items or tackle one small project at a time. Ending up with a space that you love usually doesn’t happen overnight. However, if you don’t start somewhere, you’ll never reach the finished product. What one, small thing can you do today to work towards a happy space? What one, small thing could you do tomorrow? That’s all you have to focus on….one tiny task at a time.

What will you do today to get started?

Inspiration for Decorating with Flags

In honor of Memorial Day, I thought I’d share a links to a few of my favorite flag finds. Lately, I’ve really been digging American flags as home decor. I’ve actually been looking for a good spot to incorporate the look into my own home, and these links offer some great inspiration.

As with anything kitschy or trendy, the trick is to only implement it in small doses. If you brought in a flag, for example, it’s best to only use one. If you hung a flag on the wall and also added flag pillows and a flag rug, your room would begin to look too “themed.” Similarly, if you added a flag to a room that was primarily red, white, and blue, your room would look like it was decorated for a patriotic holiday. Instead, the flags look best in neutral rooms or mixed with other types of design elements. They work great as a focal point in a room that doesn’t have any similar pieces. The photos below show examples of flags incorporated well.

Here are links to a few of my favorites:

A lot of the flags that you’ll see used are vintage. This photo shows how a newer flag (which will likely be cheaper and easier to find) can be used, as well. I love its contrast against the dark, wood wall.flag on dark wall

Source: Kelsey Williams on A Beautiful Mess

This is another good use of a flag in a bedroom. Using it on the white wall provides a strong focal point for the room. You’ll also notice that there aren’t any similar elements in the room. If you don’t care for the boldness of the first photo, this option shows how a more muted color scheme could be used. (Also, I love the mid-century/modern vibe in the rest of this home!)flag in bedroom

Source: Brooke Fish on A Beautiful Mess

This example shows how a flag can be used in a more polished and modern manner. Framing the flag gives it a more put-together look. As you can see, it’s also a great way to cover a large wall.flag in dining room

Source: Eden Passante on A Beautiful Mess

The use of the flag in this retail store is another good example. Again, it looks great on the wood wall and coordinates well with the industrial vibe of the store. flag in a retail store

Source: Gant Rugger via Retail Design Blog

Here’s another good example of using a flag without any similar elements. Since there aren’t other flag or red/white/blue decor in the space, the flag stands out and looks trendy instead of themed.flag on white brick wall

Source: The Selby

One of the easiest ways to include a flag in your decor is through a pillow such as this or this one from Etsy. A pillow is a good way to test whether or not you like the look without committing to a large flag to hang on your wall. Remember though, just add one and don’t pair it with a star or striped pillow unless you want it to look like you’re planning a 4th of July BBQ!

If you notice from the links above, several of my inspirations were found through the At Home series on A Beautiful Mess. If you enjoy looking at inspiring, well-designed homes, I highly recommend checking out this feature. I could spend hours looking through and admiring these homes!

Speaking of patriotic decor, I’m thinking of going back for this wooden eagle. What do you think?? Have you seen any other good examples of ways to decorate with flags? Leave a link in the comments!

Edit: I hit publish on this post and then saw this beauty on Instagram. It was too perfect not to share!


New Sheets

30New SheetsI’ve written before about trying to live a beautiful life, and I’ve made a diligent effort towards slowly replacing the less-beautiful things with items that are more fulfilling and inspiring. I didn’t realize, though, that new sheets were going to be part of this quest.

Matthew and I purchased our first new bed several months ago and we’d still been using the hand-me-down sheets that came with our old bed. We only had one lonely set (other than a flannel set that we can only use when it’s freezing), so we always had to strip the bed down, wash the sheets, and put them right back on. These golden yellow sheets were super comfy, yet they’ve never matched our bedroom. They didn’t match in the new house or our previous rent house.

In keeping with my don’t-replace-it-because-it-works-just-fine mentality, I continued using these comfy, gold sheets that didn’t match. I actually wanted to have a second set of sheets and never purchased any because I couldn’t commit to a color theme.

coffee and new sheetsThen finally it happened, our beloved hand-me-downs ripped straight down the middle. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t consider trying to patch them or sew up the tear. I had SO MUCH anxiety over buying new sheets. I’m not even sure where it came from. I guess it boiled down to the fact that sheets are expensive (!!), especially for a king bed. I was so afraid that I’d drop a ton of money on new sheets and then switch the color scheme of the room or hate the quality of them. (Part of the problem was also that I really, really wanted fun, patterned sheets, yet most of the pretty ones felt a bit like cardboard.)

Whether I was plagued with anxiety or not, the reality was we had to have new sheets pronto. I finally made a decision at Bed, Bath & Beyond and had to take a nerve pill at the checkout (kidding!). I spent 45 minutes making a decision only to get them home and they not fit the bed. Turns out, our fancy, new mattress is only 15″ deep and most new mattresses are 18 or 20-something inches. So…back to the store we go and we came home without new sheets.

One glorious morning I ordered a second pair online, thinking they were the right size. We waited for over a week for them to be delivered, while still sleeping on ripped sheets. Guess what? They didn’t fit. Finally, on a quick trip to Target, I was determined to leave with sheets or something of the sort. Our options were limited since most of the nicer sheets have deeper pockets, and we made a decision and left the store.

We ultimately decided to give a jersey knit sheet a shot. (I’ve always been a fan. Matthew…not so much.) We were concerned about them being hot, yet that hasn’t been much of a problem. Adjusting to the jersey feel has taken some time. However, the important part is, we have sheets that aren’t ripped!! Plus, these were a fraction of the cost of the ones I’d bought earlier.

New SheetsThe purpose of this post isn’t really about shopping for sheets though. Instead, it’s about how I unintentional brought more beauty in. Without realizing it, those gold sheets had been taunting me. Seeing them was a constant reminder of something I hadn’t marked off of my list…buying new sheets. The gold color stood out like a sore thumb against the rest of the room and as silly as it sounds, they sucked the beauty right out of the place.

Within moments of replacing the sheets, the room felt quiet and put together. Every time I crawl into bed, I feel relaxed and accomplished. I may still be adjusting to the feel of jersey, yet I’m very well adjusted to the “look.” As a matter of fact, it almost makes me happy to look over and see a scattered, unmade bed with these new, lightly patterned sheets peeping out at me. Without realizing it, I had replaced something good-enough with something great.

I do still need a second pair of sheets. For now, though, I’ll relish in the accomplishment of finding one new set. (If you know of somewhere to get good, quality sheets with a 15″ pocket that aren’t a full million dollars…please share!)

If you sit and think for a moment, you can probably think of a few things that you could replace with something more beautiful/functional/inspiring. The fact of the matter is, what we surround ourselves with controls our overall mood. What do you have around you that could be tweaked to create a more inspiring space? Making little changes here and there can certainly make a big difference!