Month: July 2017

How to Design a Girl’s Room

For my daughter’s 9th birthday, the only thing she asked for was her room to be updated to look more “her”.  Before she was born, when I first found out I was having a girl, I spent forever picking out the perfect shade of pink for her room and was thrilled with my choice of a soft, muted raspberry.  I picked out sweet, flowered bedding and french-inspired furniture.  A perfect room for a girly girl…..except that as she got older and developed her own personality, it was obvious that she is anything but a soft, girly girl!  My little lady likes clean lines, bold colors, glitz, glam, and lots of pattern!  I truly believe that your bedroom should be your sanctuary, a place that looks and feels like you, so my husband and I decided to grant her birthday wish.


Time to start a design plan!

I’ve written before about the importance of creating a design plan before tackling a big project, so before we started buying anything, we made a plan for her room.  {You can click here for the full article Creative a Design Plan in 4 Easy Steps.}


Step 1: Signature Piece

My daughter loves fashion and dreams of being a fashion designer in Paris one day, so I thought it might be easier for her to look at pictures of fashion for inspiration, as opposed to pictures of rooms.  I let her loose on Pinterest and this is what she came back to me with.

{via Ink361}


Okay, so maybe you’re thinking, “How are fingernails going to help design a bedroom?”  Well, actually, they told me a lot about her style!  For one, she likes turquoise!  But a color doesn’t really tell anything about a style or how to decorate, so beyond the color, here’s what I learned from this picture:

  1. She likes contemporary designs
  2. She’s not afraid of bold patterns
  3. She likes a little sparkle
  4. She likes a bold look that is also glamorous
  5. She’s not afraid to have a lot going on in a small space!


See, did you ever think painted nails could tell you so much about your decorating style?  If you’ve never look in your closet for decorating inspiration, you should!  That favorite top of yours might just have a story to tell!


Step 2: Function

My daughter loves clothes, but hates to hang them up.  She also likes to draw and sew and display things that are important to her.  Plus, she feels bad when her friend’s sleep over and they sleep on the floor {although I don’t know why….when I was a kid that’s what was expected at a sleepover!}.  Anyway, she wanted a bigger bed so her friends could sleep on the bed instead of the floor.  We made a list of everything she needed and came up with the following:

  • Bigger bed
  • Lots of drawers for storage
  • Display areas for items as well as her artwork
  • Full-length mirror to admire outfits
  • Large work space for drawing, coloring, and sewing
  • Able to function as she grows and as her tastes change, without having to redo the entire room


Step 3: Style & Feel

Some of this we already determined just from the nail art, but some other words my daughter used to describe her dream room included:

  • Clean
  • Bright
  • Bubbly
  • Lots of Energy


Step 4: Find

Obviously, shopping is my favorite part of this step!  Now that we had a basic idea of what she wanted, it was easier for us to shop and find items that would fit the bill.  Actually, the hardest part was finding furniture because I didn’t want to spend a fortune and wanted it to be super functional for her.  I ended up customizing a ready-made piece to make it work better for her.  I can’t wait to share it with you!

For my daughter, the hardest part was finding bedding that she liked.  She was pretty excited about this reversible duvet, though, so this is the first thing we bought.

{Image via Pottery Barn Teen}



We’ve been slowly plugging away at her room trying to get it finished.  I am just finishing it this week and preparing to take photos so that I can share the AFTER with you next week!  Keep your fingers crossed that I can photograph it before she gives it her usual “lived in” look.  Lol!

Stay tuned for the big reveal!!

28 Creative Decorating Ideas for Tall Walls

Popular for many years now are homes with those coveted high ceilings.  Although 8′ ceilings are still standard, many homes now boast 10′, 12′ or even more!  And even homes with lower ceilings still might have vaulted ceilings in some areas.  While the added height makes a room feel bigger, it also creates a dilemma…..what to do with those tall walls!

If you’ve ever tried to decorate a space with tall walls, you’ve probably quickly realized that standard techniques and decor items don’t work very well – they’re just too small for such a large space!  If your decor ends at the standard 8′ height, the room will likely feel unfinished and cavernous.  Instead, embrace all of that wonderful space!  Thankfully, there are several, easy ways to tackle those big blank canvases and make them feel incorporated into your home.

With all of the ideas below, the goal is to either bring the eye up to include the entire space, or bring the eye down to a more human scale.


1. Artwork

Standard-sized artwork will be too small for tall walls, but you can still use it if you create a large-scale gallery wall.

{via Lonny}


If your style is more symmetrical, consider using a grouping of matching frames to create the illusion of one, large piece of artwork.

{via ElleDecor}


Alternatively, you can use one, oversized image to fill the space!  In this case, be sure your artwork shape is proportionate to the wall in which you’re trying to fill.  {For example, a skinny, rectangular canvas would look too small in this space, no matter how tall it was.}



2. Mirrors

Similar to artwork, mirrors can be used to fill the space.  An added benefit of using mirrors is that they can help brighten an otherwise dark area, or when placed near large windows, they can help create a sense of balance.  Here, a collection of mirrors has been used to fill the entire space above a staircase.

{via House Beautiful}


Similar to artwork, you can create an eclectic display using a mix of  mirrors and artwork.

{via Erika Brechtel}


One, big mirror can also fill the space and create a WOW factor!

{via Pinterest}


3. Millwork

A plain, sheet rocked wall isn’t all that interesting, but add a bit of millwork and you’ve got a different story!  Trim elements add interest and architecture and help bring the eye up so that the wall is part of the overall space.

Below, the artwork itself isn’t all that big, but it’s surrounded by trim that helps to fill up the wall.

{via Patricia McLean Interiors, Inc.}


Below, the lack of decor on the walls lets the millwork speak for itself!

{via Dering Hall}
{via Better Homes & Gardens}


4. Shelving

Tall walls provide ample space for storage, whether built-ins, freestanding or just floating shelves.

{via The Design Walker}
{via Historika Hem}
{via Pinterest}
{via Transitoinicial}


5. Murals & Wallpaper

Adding wallpaper or paint elements to the upper half of the wall is yet another way to draw the eye up.

{via JBMA}
{via D Home}


Below, an oversized vinyl decal does the trick to fill this space!

{via Pixers}


6. Display Pieces

If you don’t find artwork you like, consider mounting an oversized display item, such as a clock, old shutters, or even a hanging rug!

{via Pinterest}
{via Traditional Home}
{via Makely}
{via Talloor}


7. Use One, Tall Focal Point

You don’t always have to fill the space.  Depending on your decorating style, sometimes less is more.  If adding millwork isn’t your style and you don’t want to fill your walls with items, consider using one, oversized item as a focal point to help draw the eyes up.  Below, the walls are bare but the dramatic fireplace is balanced by the tall curtains, filling the volume of this room.

{via Hush Homes}
{via Jane Lockhart Interior Design}
{via Pinterest}


8. Cut the Space in Two

While the other ideas listed above are all aimed at helping bring the eye up to include the tall wall as part of the overall space, this idea is more about bringing the eye down to a more human scale for a cozier feel.  That doesn’t mean you leave the upper half of the wall blank, but rather that you treat the upper and lower portions separately.  {And although I say in “half”, I don’t necessarily mean that literally because it depends on your space.}

{via Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles}


Below, the walls has been cut to ceiling height of the surrounding space and the upper portion has been give its own, unique treatment.

{via Toll Brothers}
{via Boston Design Guide}
{via Kathryn Scott}


A simple piece of trim cuts this wall down and makes a frame for the canvas art.

{via Collins Interiors}


And a bonus #29….This bathroom treatment is simple, yet absolutely stunning, and the wallpaper at the top is a great way to break up the white walls!

{via Milestone Building}


You might have noticed that several of the above photos use more than one decorating technique to fill the space.  For example, artwork and millwork, or paint and display items, or millwork and wallpaper, etc.  Regardless of whether you use one idea or several, the goal is to utilize the entire volume of a room, and if that includes tall walls, be sure to keep the scale of the room in mind and decorate up accordingly!








Overcoming Decorating Paralysis

You are not alone!  Let me repeat.  You are not alone!  Even professional designers second-guess themselves from time to time.  It’s human nature.  And yes, while making decorating and design decisions come easier for some than for others, there’s a learning curve, and the more you do it, the easier it will become.  But what should you do when you get stuck?

Read on for tips to be confident in your decorating decisions and avoid costly mistakes.


You might want to decorate or redesign a particular space in your home but not even know where to start.  If that’s the case, read {THIS POST} first to help to create your design plan.  Once you have a plan, though, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and be afraid to make a mistake, especially since most of us can’t afford to just have a do-over if we don’t like what we did the first time!  Here are 8 tips that I use to help ensure that I’m making the “right” decisions for my space and give me the confidence I need to go from Mental Plan to Finished Product.


 1.  Take a Test Drive

There are a couple of ways to get a sense as to whether something will work in your home before you fully commit.

Get a Sample

For larger, bulk orders, like tile, paint, carpet, hardwood, etc., take a sample home and make sure you like it!  And if it’s a natural product, like travertine for example, make sure you get a sample of the current batch, because with natural products, they sometimes vary from batch to batch depending on how they are sourced.  No samples available?  Buy the smallest quantity possible and try it out at home.  Sometimes, a small upfront investment is worth it in the long run when you’re working on a big, expensive project.

Use a Design App

There are  all sorts of design applications to help you visualize how your space will look decorated.  My favorite is Olioboard because you can actually use a picture of your room as the background and then drag and drop furnishings in.  For a step-by-step tutorial, read {THIS POST}.


Take Advantage of a Lenient Return Policy

I’ll admit that I buy and return in order to test things out at home.  Many stores have a 30 day return policy so long as you save your receipt and the item isn’t used.  This is a great way to truly test something in your home without commitment!  See a rug that might work under your bed?  Buy it and try it!   Think that mirror will look good in your entryway?  Buy it and try it!  This method does get a bit tricky when you buy online, though, so you have to be okay with paying return shipping if the item doesn’t work out.

2. Look at Inspirational Pictures

You can find almost anything online, so don’t forget to take a look!  Not sure if the Farmhouse style table you own will go with those new modern-style chairs you want?  Google it or check Pinterest!  While you might not find the exact thing you’re wondering about, you’ll likely find something similar, which will give you an idea as to whether you like the look.  So when in doubt about a decision you’re making, look online to see if someone else has posted something similar.  It sounds simple, but it’s amazing how many people overlook this step.

RH Table paired with Wishbone chairs by Hans J. Wagner. via Architectural Digest


3. Look at colors at various times of the day in various light/rooms

Natural light can really change the color of rooms throughout the day, so when choosing colors for something {whether its carpet, paint, bed linens, etc.}, make sure you like how it looks throughout the day.  Also, if it’s an item that will be used in multiple rooms, look at it in multiple rooms so that you can get a sense of how it will look in the actual space in which you’re going to use it.


4. Start with your biggest items first, or those that have limited selection

If you’re designing a space and are unsure about what you’re doing, start with the biggest {or focal point} first.  For example, there are infinite paint colors available to paint kitchen walls, but countertop surfaces will be much more limited.  If you start with the walls, you might find that you’re stuck with a countertop you don’t love because it’s the only one that coordinates with the wall color you’ve chosen!  You’ll find you’ll be more comfortable making decisions if you start with the countertop, then the floors, the backsplash, and finally, the walls.  Work your way down from your expensive, limited decisions, down to the smaller, less important ones.


5. Always get a swatch

After you’ve selected items, be sure to keep a swatch!  This applies to carpet, hardwood floor, tile, paint, fabrics….almost everything and anything!  This way, whenever you want to buy something for a particular room, you can take samples of the other elements that you already own with you to the store to better understand if what you want to purchase will coordinate with what you already own.  Swatches are a great way to avoid purchasing things that are the wrong color or style because you’ll be able to see right there in the store!


6. Buy items that work in multiple rooms

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and leave a space as-is once it’s decorated, but there are a few advantages to buying items that can work in multiple rooms.  One is that you can easily change up the entire look of your home without spending a dime!  For example, if you entry table can double as a sofa table in the living room, you can the ability to move it and create a whole new look!  The other advantage, though, is that if you buy something for a particular location and it doesn’t work out as you had hoped {and you can’t return it}, you’ll be able to find another spot in your home in which it works perfectly, so you’ll not entirely at a loss.  This helps to minimize investment risk.

The bench is now in my living room, the orchard ladder is now in my family room, and of course, the plant is dead. #brownthumb #fiddleleaffigshateme


7. Make sure you love it

I know I’ve said this before, but I feel that you should be surrounded by things {and people!} you love in your home, so if you feel sort-of iffy about something, it’s probably a sign that it’s not right for you.  I get that price is a factor, so sometimes you have to compromise and say that something is the one you love the most at the price you can afford, but regardless of price or budget, make sure you love what you buy; otherwise, every time you walk into that room and look at that item, you’ll regret your purchase.


8. Trust your gut

There are no guarantees in life and there are no guarantees in decorating.  Sometimes, you just have to trust your gut.  Often, your first instinct is the right one!



And even if you make a mistake and don’t like something you’ve done, don’t beat yourself up!  As with everything in life, you can only do the best you can with what you know, so don’t get discouraged….