design inspiration

A few Favorite Retailers for the Home

When it comes to shopping and sourcing items for my design projects, there's not really a single place where I find items. I work hard to find just the right chair, table or piece of art, and sometimes, that means hunting it down at a few different stores (or maybe a dozen! Ha!) I have made a list of some of my favorite home stores and retailers below. This post is not sponsored or endorsed by any of the brands below:

Source: West Elm

Source: West Elm

-Pottery Barn: Always a classic, this store has both brick-and-mortar locations, as well as online inventory, which means you can find nearly everything you may need. Rather than purchasing their "entire room looks", I like to choose some larger, more dramatic pieces to accent design plans. They also have amazing light fixtures, throw blankets that hold up in the washing machine, and occasionally, really unique wooden furniture that you can't find anywhere else. Lastly, their duvet covers hold up incredibly well, for years and years, without shrinkage. 

-West Elm: If you want a lighting fixture or chandelier that will be a total showstopper and the center of your home, West Elm is the place for you. They have stunning lighting fixtures, although the price tags make them a true investment. Their sofa and sectional couches are also beautiful, not too trendy, and made to last for generations.

-Target: Yes, it's true! Not every item at Target is well-made, but for smaller items like the occasional throw pillow, faux plant, and anything from the Magnolia collection, it's a great option and very budget-friendly. Avoid furniture and large pieces, as they are often made of particle board and the paint chips off very quickly. 

Source: West Elm

Source: West Elm

-Home Goods: If you have the time to dig through a bargain marketplace like Home Goods, you can find some treasures. When you're searching, look for quality fabrics and nice frames, artwork for children's rooms or places where you may want to change it up in a year or so, and smaller items like candles and vases. We have also found gorgeous faux trees and larger plants, such as faux Fig leaf trees in baskets for under $100. It takes some digging through the unorganized aisles to find the right items, but it's possible!

-Thrift vintage stores and yard sales: When you're on the hunt for something very specific, or something vintage or retro, thrift shops can be a goldmine. We suggest taking a full day to hit up larger thrift stores, and go with a specific list of what you're needing. Don't forget to measure your space beforehand, especially if you're trying to find large furniture items that need to be in an assigned room or area of the home. Bring along a tape measure and notebook, and never be afraid to haggle down prices if you're yard-saleing. Estate Sales can also be a great place for solid wood furniture and large armoires. 

If you keep an open mind, you can find gems for your space just about anywhere. You can even do it in a tight budget, if you're willing to put the time and effort in. 

How to Make a Rental Feel like Home

When you’re renting, there is a feeling of your house not being quite yours. Whether you’re renting for a short time or for years, it’s never fun to feel like you’re always waiting for the next step. It can be even harder to make your rental property feel warm, cozy, and full of your personality. You want your rental to feel like home, and for it to feel like YOU and your family’s space to relax and unwind. Here are our best tips to making your rental space feel homey without losing your deposit or making changes that can’t be undone:

Source: Apartment Therapy

Source: Apartment Therapy

-Peel and stick decals: These are awesome for infusing some design and inspiration into spaces like small bathrooms, kids rooms, or large blank walls, especially if you can’t paint. You can even do peel and stick backsplashes. Be sure to test out the adhesive and removal process, so that you don’t damage any paint when you move out of your rental. We also love things like little polka dots, name monograms, and simple, neutral patterns to give your blank walls a little panache!

-Utilize stand-alone shelves and furniture: If you are hesitant to nail things into the wall, try stand-alone shelves (ladder style ones), and over the toilet cupboards to increase your storage space, and give you the look of bookshelves and mantle shelves without the commitment and damage to the wall. We like the look of this one for small bathrooms. Aim for higher, taller pieces for more design impact in small apartments and townhomes, because they will draw the eye upward. 

-Mirrors and wall hangings: If you do decide to hang items on the walls, try using the 3M removable tape and hangers that come off without damage. Mirrors and large paintings can make a big impression, especially in small rooms that don’t have a lot of natural light or windows in them. Look for round or square mirrors in neutral colors, like distressed wood, white, and dark wood tones that will go with your decor even if you change color palettes.

-Add cozy elements: If you want to make your rental feel cozy on a budget, look for textured throw blankets, pretty pillows, and curtains. Look for curtains that are the proper length (ones that are too short or bunched up on the ground will draw the eye to that first and will look cheapy), and use neutral tones to make a small space look larger. We love places like HomeGoods and TJ Maxx for inexpensive items that look more high-end. 

Source: Apartment Decorating

Source: Apartment Decorating

-Incorporate plants and fresh flowers: Purchasing fresh flowers is a great way to add a little life to your apartment or rental home, and also can add a pop of color. Faux plants in little pots are another way to get some greenery into your rental without the upkeep of real ones and the watering duties that come with them! If you have a patio or backyard area, large potted plants and trees (faux) can add a little more personality as well.

No matter where you call home, these tips can help your rental feel like the place you can’t wait to come home to!

5 Easy Ways to Add Farmhouse Style to Your Home

The farmhouse aesthetic is my favorite thing. I’ve had some of the most fun in my life just thinking of ways I can make my home more and more rustic and homey, and so far, I’ve haven’t run out of ways to add more farmhouse into my home. Transforming my home into a more rustic and warm place to live has taken a long time, though, and it could end up being quite a commitment. Thankfully, there are many easy ways to bring a farmhouse style into your home, if you want to explore it a bit at a time. Here’s five to get you started:

Farmhouse artwork

source: countryliving.com

source: countryliving.com

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of ushering in that farmhouse feel is picking up some artwork that really encapsulates the rustic aesthetic - which is easier than it sounds. It’s as easy as perusing some art websites for prints, or going down to your local art store and picking out a couple farm-inspired paintings to bring home. Anything that will accent your decor, and give it more of a rustic feel. It’s up to your personal taste, so pick out something that you really love!

Display your decorative plates

source: pinterest

source: pinterest

Chances are, you already have what you need for this one. Maybe you inherited some nice dinnerware from your grandmother, and they’ve been lying around collecting dust ever since. The farmhouse style is all about vintage decorations, and your antique plates might be just perfect to bring that rustic feel into your home. Spend some time thinking about where best to showcase them, and plan out a nice pattern before you hang them up. Often, it’s the kitchen or the dining area where they fit best, and it’s sure to add that rustic and sentimental atmosphere you’re looking for.

Rustic cupboards/hutches

source: pinterest

source: pinterest

This one might end up requiring a bit more effort from you, but the result is worth every minute. It’s so easy to find a nice, older cupboard or hutch on websites like craigslist or etsy, but it might need a bit of restoration to bring them back to life. Thankfully, the distressed look is what you’re wanting to get out of them, and you’ll get as much love out of them as you put into them. They can be the perfect piece to pull a room together, and set the mood for the whole floor. It might be the perfect project for you, and it’s one of the most useful ways to add farmhouse to your home.

 

Hang your pots and pans

Could it be as simple as this? It sure is! The farmhouse aesthetic is about your home looking lived in, and hanging up your cookware will not only accomplish this, but also serve to make your kitchen more efficient. Your cast-iron skillets will have never looked better, and it’ll help keep the that rustic flow consistent throughout your whole home, kitchen included.

Get a farm table

source: countryliving.com

source: countryliving.com

This is one of my all-time favorite pieces of furniture in my home. Not only is it the epitome of what a farmhouse aesthetic is all about, but it’s a place where my family comes to share our lives over a meal. That’s what the rustic way of living is really trying to recapture, that lifestyle focused on slowing down to appreciate the things that really matter, like family and good food. Fortunately, it’s easy to track down a farm table, and as far as tables go, they’re durable and look fantastic. If you’re going to do one of the things on this list, do this.

The farmhouse style isn’t just about going back in time, it’s about bringing that olden time into today, and recapturing that lifestyle that we’ve seemed to have lost. It’s about slowing down and really appreciating what matters most, and for me, that’s family. I think you’ll see that once you start adding some of these rustic options in your home, you’ll start to appreciate what you love more and more.

Making Your Home a Haven of Self-Care

We know, life is stressful. Your home shouldn't be. But how do you curate a home that makes you walk in and immediately drop all your stress and burdens? That's what today's blog is all about. Here are five ways to help your home become the place you always want to be:

Diffuse essential oils: Even if you don't believe in the medicinal properties of essential oils, they smell delightful and can really lift your mood. We recommend lemon or lavender oils for a very relaxing feel. They are also less toxic than some candles, which may be great for those with asthma or who are sensitive to strong candle scents. 

Source: Budget Decorator 

Source: Budget Decorator 

Mix up textures: We like the idea of mixing up textures in your living spaces, especially with pillows and throws. It's no secret that we love a good throw blanket, because they add instant coziness to a space. Plus, little ones love making forts or beds with them, and they're great for curling up with a good book or a movie! If you need a new throw, try this affordable, machine washable twin blanket from Target. It's bigger than a traditional blanket and extra warm. It comes in plenty of pretty neutral colors.

Get some fresh magazines and books to read: In the digital age, it can be hard to step away from your phone and laptop, but a good book can be just the ticket. Check out Oprah's book club for some great reads that will keep you inspired and expand your mind. A magazine like Real Simple or Southern Living is a relaxing read for a long bath, and you don't have to be too worried if the pages slip into the bathwater!

Source: Craftatholics 

Source: Craftatholics 

Try a bath bomb: The bath bombs from LUSH are our absolute favorites. They are cruelty free and made with organic ingredients that are good for your skin. They are definitely a pricey luxury, but you will love the way they instantly relax your muscles and make you feel capable of handling anything that comes your way!

Change out your photos: Studies show looking at photos can improve our mood and make us feel more energized! Swap out old photos in the frames and shelves in your home for newer memories, and make your home a place where your family can always look around and feel loved! Order fresh canvases or framed prints for photos that have been languishing in drawers or on your computer or smartphone...they will definitely make your home feel more personal and relaxing!

Shiplap Love | Trend Watch and Inspiration

Since the rise of Fixer Upper, the TV show that America has fallen in love with, shiplap has become a household name! The pretty technique of overlapping boards to form rustic looking walls has become the go-to for the perfect farmhouse look. The boards and the style are traditionally used as siding on exteriors of sheds and barns, but it looks amazing inside as well. Whether you whitewash it, or leave it natural, it can add a subtle cohesion to any room (yes, even a bathroom).  Joanna Gaines adds quite a bit of white shiplap to her project homes, but there’s a lot of other ways to use it to freshen up a space. Here are a few of our favorite inspiration photos:

Image via: Left- The Inspired Room | Right- Jenna Sue Designs

We love the calming blue tones and gray shiplap in the bathroom above; it makes us feel like we are at the beach! Not every room has to have a farmhouse look, though. Shiplap can even be incorporated into a much more modern look.

This was my favorite home on the Portland Street of dreams tour.  It is a mix of Farmhouse meets the Hamptons.  I love the mix of textures in the shiplap, marble countertops and flooring.  The added glow from the barn pendant light fixture keep it fresh and industrial. Here, the shiplap extends across the walls and is mimicked in the gray built-in-hutch. This is such a gorgeous take on the style!

Lastly, a beautiful take on shiplap in the kitchen, placed as the backsplash instead of the classic subway tile. The mix of white and brass keep the visual interest, and the stainless steel appliances add highlights as well as function. Did you know you can also fake the look of shiplap? If you’re on a tight budget, you can try faux shiplap like THIS blog did, with beautiful results (not as long-lasting as true shiplap, so beware if you’re trying to invest in a long term look). 

Recently, we are having shiplap run horizontal above a fireplace in a room with 20' ceilings.  In the same house, running down a long hallway, we have had a very tall wainscoting made out of vertical shiplap boards installed.  This is going to be the prettiest hallway ever!  The wainscoting will be topped with a beautiful patterned wallpaper in a neutral hue.  I will share photos from this house once it is all complete!

Love shiplap like we do? Where would you hang some in your home?