DESIGNING FOR YOU
Designing a space is one of the most enjoyable experiences I can think of. Each room offers up an opportunity to create an expression of yourself via various palettes and ideas. I wanted to create an online forum for others to not only share how they create unique spaces in the home, but also elsewhere and in the process create inspiration for design. But as someone that is on a budget herself, I also want to illustrate how to create different looks without breaking the bank. So in each scenario, I'll provide information regarding how something was created, and what kind of expenses we're dealing with. In each instance where I can, I will make sure to list items still available for in store purchases or online ordering. If they are no longer available, I'll do my best to find similar items for you to peruse. Similarly, if there is an item I've made that you enjoy but don't have time to make on your own, please inquire about sizing and rates HERE. Each post will be unique. We're going to explore not only spaces but also go into how-to's, step-by-step design processes and adventures in vintage shops, flea markets and environments that inspire. I'm particularly excited about our future guest bloggers who are willing to share their own experiences with not only interior and exterior design but also various art pieces that they make, and how they make them. I realized, however, that in order to do all of these things and actually compel people to come here that I'd have to put my money where my mouth is. So to kick us off, I've decided to share with you how I decorated my own apartment, which I love so much. To begin, let's start with what greets you at the door.
The front of the home is important, and in my apartment there isn't a lot of width. Utilizing the wall space therefore was critical. Mirrors and canvases are great for creating visuals and balancing wall space without getting in anyone's way. They also look quite nice together.
The mirror hanging in my hallway is my room splurge from Anthropologie. The copper base combined with the rope help create what I wanted to establish as a fairly rustic but fun household. I think I'm kind of rustic but fun, so I figured it was appropriate.
There are multiple kinds of canvases happening in the hallway. One is a decoupaged paper piece, another acrylic and a third is a wax drip on a spray painted base. All three though pick up common color palettes, and all three could theoretically also be said to have copper in them, bouncing off of the mirror.
Continuing down the hall, there are various touches that I thought went along with the theme. Over the bathroom door, a horseshoe from a flea market hangs upside down (it's never bad to have good luck in there) and on the right, an old hook I found at Pier One greets you as soon as you walk in the door. Towards the end of the hallway are 3 mercury glass ornaments I found in Restoration Hardware on sale in January. Mercury glass is a favorite! Get it anywhere you can. More on that in just a tic.
All are leading up to a set of Reindeer Antlers that I bought from a farm via Etsy where they were humanely harvested (they were collected after being shed by the deer). I hot glue gunned MOSS and synthetic flowers on them, and HORSESHOE HOOKS were super-glued on the back. They were then hung on the wall and provide the icing on a very eclectic but rustic entry!
HOOK Before traversing the entirety of the hallway, you pass a very important room. THE KITCHEN Featured Stores: ANTHROPOLOGIE, IKEA, TJ MAXX, WORLD MARKET, POTTERY BARN KIDS, TARGET, MICHAELS ARTS & CRAFTS and BED BATH AND BEYOND.
Our kitchen has a lot of light and old cabinets and fixtures so we had a lot of options in terms of what to play with. I started collecting things that had a more green/pastel appearance while finding the occasional item to make a color pop in different areas.
I decided fairly early on that I wanted to do something with the space between the two physical doors in the kitchen. I bought fiber glass and we screwed a 48"x36" piece to the wall. Then I made use of all of my mother's CORKS, put MOSS and flowers in there and created not just the centerpiece of the room but also the color palette for the rest of the items that would placed throughout.
There are a lot of places to put small touches. I really like owls and am loving the current owl trend, so there are a number of those, whether they be hooks or pepper shakers. I also have an ELEPHANT CREAMER from Anthropologie. I'm actually lactose intolerant but he's become a planter for a succulent, so it works! More on succulents in a bit, trust me. There are also a lot of different colors coming together from a lot of different stores but they all have a similar or complimentary element to one another in some other area of the room so it balances out.
We don't have room in our kitchen for a massive wine rack, so I found this bone-colored one at TJ Maxx for under $10 and love it. Smaller, almost star-shaped wine racks are a really nice way to consolidate space without forfeiting your aesthetic.
Don't be afraid to throw different colors together. I have two cool colors below combined with two warms ones, and some may argue that they're too close to the same family in each case. I've actually found though that color begs for color. Put things next to each other before making any final decisions, you may surprise yourself.
So many owls, so little time. I love this salt and pepper shaker set from Target. Target is a fantastic place to find items that honestly your first instinct is to go to a higher end store to buy. But their home section is nothing to laugh about. Until you spend too much money there by accident and then all you can do is laugh. Otherwise you might cry. Similar to above, check out the color and pattern combos here. I love putting different looks together and seeing what happens. Don't limit yourself just because something doesn't match when seated directly next to another item. In the grand scheme of the room, they may look great together.
Included Items: MARKET LIST, SPOON REST, TIMER, WALL CLOCK, MAILBOX, CHALKBOARD, BOULANGERIE CANDLES, ELEPHANT CREAMER, PAPER TOWEL HOLDER, DISPENSABLE SOAP, CHALK JAR, SUCRE CANISTER, APRON, DISHTOWELS Continuing down the hall we arrive at a petite but nonetheless important room. THE BATHROOM Featured Stores: ANTHROPOLOGIE, WORLD MARKET, TARGET, MICHAELS ARTS & CRAFTS, CARNATION HOME FASHIONS, PIER ONE, and BED BATH AND BEYOND
The bathroom I had a very distinct idea of creating a shabby chic vibe with a bit of a twist (hello, mercury glass). I wanted a mellow spot with calm colors, but I also needed practical things in there as well. It is a bathroom, let's not forget.
What I started to figure out particularly with this room, is there are a lot of ways to get around spending a lot of money on a nice looking bathroom. It's important to recognize the importance of an item's quality differential across manufactures. Is there one? Or are you buying the name at the end of the day? Obviously I'm a big fan of Anthropologie, but at the same time would I buy my shower curtain there? No. Here is why: A shower curtain is not a pair of leather boots you'll hang onto the rest of your life. Your shower curtain, regardless of where you get it, isn't going to outlive you. It's just not, that'd be foul. They are very similarly manufactured. Buy the look you'd like, don't just buy from the store you like, convincing yourself they'll have what you need. Start with the item, then find the store. Not the other way around, or you'll be out the dough. I wanted ruffles, and they were very inexpensive online at an Amazon store. Let's also brief ourselves on Carnations for a second. I LOVE carnations, and they get a bad rep as being almost a silly flower. But they come in every color, they are happy little guys, and they will LAST longer than any other flower I've picked up. Love 'em, throw those babies anywhere!
Let's take a moment to discuss two things- the mercury glass and the hand towels. Mercury glass I am in love with. But what I noticed again is that there are striking similarities in very expensive items, and those available for much less with little difference in quality. The large mercury glass container on the bottom shelf is from TJ Maxx, and I got it for $8 some time ago (believe me, I'd link you up if it was still there). The others are from Anthropologie. The very small one is an ages old candle holder from Pier One. But they all work together, so the question again comes down to "What are you looking for" first, then "Where can you find it". Always WHAT before WHERE! The towels again (super secret here, pay attention) are very Anthro-looking. But they're from World Market. I got them on sale for $7 each, and they're soft and wash well. World Market in fact has amazing hand towels, and I'd go there first every time. Let's peak just around the door though, shall we? I created this canvas because there was nothing but empty white wall happening in that corner. Burlap is fantastic, relatively inexpensive and immediately creates a really calm feeling because it feels old. I nabbed some fake flowers and stitched them in, securing them with hot glue along with the same moss I had used in the kitchen. Even in the occasionally misty room, they hold up.
Included Items: MONARCH MERCURY JARS, HAND TOWELS, HIBISCUS TEAKWOOD CANDLE, SOAP DISPENSER, RUFFLE SHOWER CURTAIN, GREEN BATH MAT, TRASH CAN, MIRROR, MERCURY CANDLEHOLDER Finally, at the end of the hallway is one of my favorite spaces in the apartment. THE LIVING ROOM Featured Stores: PIER ONE, TARGET, ANTHROPOLOGIE, IKEA, CRATE & BARREL, MICHAEL'S ARTS & CRAFTS
The living room is interesting, because it started as a mesh of three different peoples' furniture, that just ended up working well together. The colors were all darker and rustic, so I put my trunk that I literally pulled off of the street in there, and noticed that there was a nature vibe beginning to develop. Rustic nature with a bit of funk and feathers.
There are various patterns happening here, and also a lot of textures. We've got fur, we've got feathers. we've got iron, wood, bees, butterflies, leaves, fish, it's a lot happening. But at the same time, each item has a paralleled accent in the room and feels like it belongs in some way. Gold around the edge of the three mirrors hanging on the wall plays off of a small hanging planter, gold beetle plate, and the lanterns holding the succulents. There's blue in the couch, the pillows and the coasters, and green just all over the place. I'd also like to comment on the addition of books. Books I love, not only because they make you look smart (always a plus) but also because they automatically have a calming effect. Libraries are one of my favorite places from an aesthetics point of view. A well-designed library can literally be a work of art. Books are beautiful and they're calm. What more could you want?
The golden beetle plate is emblematic of the room. Nature with a splash of sassiness. He's jazzy but also very soothing, and seated right near a wooden trivet from Crate & Barrel, which holds our friend the owl (so many owls....) and geo coasters from Anthropologie. If you're going to buy those coasters, always buy them in store. Online you can only purchase like colors, and I love combining the different patterns and seeing their differences up close so I can choose my own. There are also touches of metal in the room. Metal can be a really romantic material when used in moderation. I think it can be quite beautiful. In this room we have metal accents plated in gold, a metal ball from Target, a metal bookshelf and a metal candle holder. To quote Martin Short in Father of the Bride (because why not), "It just works, you know?"
As mentioned before, we now turn our attention back to SUCCULENTS. I am just in love. A friend recently had to physically remove one from my hand, because they are fantastic and I'm getting out of control. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they require minimal attention from you. They come in all sorts of varieties, and are a pick me up for any space. If I could put them everywhere, I honestly probably would, but they like their sunlight and there's only so many windows in my apartment. However I will sing their praises for a long, long time. If you haven't yet, check out some of the VERTICAL GARDENS you can achieve with them, they're amazing. Future DIY, no doubt! Similar in care needs are AIR PLANTS. These guys are seemingly from another planet. Featured in photos just above, we keep one affectionately named "Louie" in a small golden vase that hangs by the window. While aesthetically not for the faint of heart, these little guys don't quit! Spray them once a week or so with water, and you're good to go. You don't even need soil!
Who's in that bowl? It's Turtle, the BETA! Beta fish are the Succulents of the fish family. They are non-fussy, easy to clean and (huge plus) don't require a filter. I'm not the best at aquatic care, but I have never had an issue with betas. They originated in very shallow water and have evolved so that they actually come up and breathe air above the surface of the water. They're also one of the few fish to actually engage with people. It's entirely possible I made that up but if you don't believe me, you can come over and meet Turtle. I'm sure he'd be thrilled.
From a design perspective, any time you can get water in a room, give it a shot. Water is such a calming element and there's a reason most dentist offices put a fish tank in that waiting room prior to drilling your teeth. Watching fish is soothing and having water in a room is calming. It's quite a nice set up, if you ask me. Turtle doesn't know how good he has it. His tank is a large HURRICANE from Michael's that I got on sale. If you don't know this yet, Michael's has coupons like no one has coupons. They'll give you 40% off coupons with basically every purchase. Save one for a nice tank and a beta!
Included Items: GEO GLOW LANTERN, CELESTIAL COASTERS, SLEEP OWL PENCIL CUP, AGED HERB POT, CAPRI BLUE JAR CANDLE, LEAVES TABLE LAMP, TIDAFORS CHAIR, PAPASAN CHAIR, ACACIA WEDGE SERVER, ASHLAND OVAL HURRICANE CANDLE HOLDER, DECORATIVE IRON BALL, BUTTERFLY CALLIGRAPHY PILLOW, STARBURST MIRROR SET So to conclude for today, I hope very much that you enjoyed yourself here and will stay tuned for my next entry. We'll cover a lot of ground and I hope that it inspires you to design in interesting ways and create great things while still being able to afford the occasional pitcher of Sangria (to be continued...) Ingrid
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