Sometimes I look around and lament the fact that almost all
of my furnishings and accessories are comprised of other peoples
old things. I do love vintage and shopping secondhand, but I also
don’t want my home to look dated and dowdy. I’d like to just go out
and buy a clean-lined sofa and coffee table and a
few shiny new accessories, to impart a more modern aesthetic.
However, my real life budget holds me back from those larger
purchases. So, I’m always looking for small ways to
add bits of modern appeal.
I’ve come up with a plan to do a beach inspired photo display in
the dining room. I’m not sure if it will be a gallery
wall or if I’ll spread them out around the room, since I don’t have
tons of wall space. I’ve taken quite a few beach photos throughout
the years, of the different coasts I’ve visited. I might also
add a few Etsy finds into the mix. I’d frame them all in
simple, white picture frames. I think that photos like these will
mesh well with the dining
nook fabrics I chose last week.
I’ve been side-tracked with other home design and
organizing projects and neglected my dream of a relaxed, global but
beachy feeling dining room. There are several projects that need to
be completed in order to fulfill this vision. The first was
refinishing the dining table, which I described in a previous
The second project on the list was creating pillows and a dining
bench cushion, for a cozier dining nook. I finally ordered some
fabric, and the patterns are NOT what I was planning on. A while
back I wrote a post on
combining fabric patterns, and highlighted the prints that
I intended to use. This is what I had pulled together:
These are the prints I ended up ordering today:
In the end, I wanted the colors to feel brighter and happier. I
always gravitate towards pale aqua and soft apricot as a pairing,
and it seemed I was forcing the other color pallete a bit. This is
how I’ll use each fabric.
Truly, I’d like to somehow add a back to the bench, to make it
more comfortable to sit on for longer periods of time. I’m thinking
of finding a headboard to re-purpose and attach to it. The
other elements I’ll add to pull the design together include
painting my bookcases white and adding in some more modern decor
accessories. I’m going to start with the bench project and I’ll
keep you updated.
Hanging a wall shelf in a small area where you just need a bit
of a surface can really make a major organizational impact. I’m in
need of one over my washing machine, so I can get the detergent,
fabric softener and stain removing products off of the dryer. Here
are a few ideas of other places where a little shelf might come in
Near your front or back door, with a stylish dish for keys and
The area between your bathroom sink and the
Instead of a bedside table in a small bedroom, like mine.
Just above or to the side of the stove or cook-top for
commonly used spices and oils.
On the wall just above your desk, to keep office supplies off
of your work surface.
Above your dining room buffet for extra glassware and
I searched Etsy and found some beautiful, handmade options that
just might enhance your home and fill an organizational
last feature for the paper, I wrote about how using the
Marie Kondo method of
decluttering my home has impacted me as an organizer to my core.
She encourages us to keep only the stuff that makes us happy. This
is actually a tall order, and not an insignificant psychological
feat. While I was on my organizing kick last year, I hit a wall
when it came to the paper purge, and the whole process got put on
the shelf. Then I hit critical mass, with the excess stuff of
having two growing children cluttering up my basement and work
As I continue to work on “the purge of all times”, it is easy
for me to get sidetracked and lose my motivation. Luckily, Marie
Kondo’s new book,
Spark Joy arrived just in time. I’m in the middle of it,
and have to stall the urge to put it down, just so I can go get rid
of some more unwanted stuff. This book is much more in-depth and
descriptive, complete with illustrations on how to fold your
clothes properly to maximize drawer space.
I’m eagerly anticipating reading Chapter 6, about getting
rid of paper. I’ve built this task up so much in my mind that it
has paralyzed me. I’m afraid I’ll shred something I may need down
the line. Yet, if I’m being honest with myself, when was the last
time I actually needed to reference one of my paid bill statements?
I can’t remember. Surely, going through this category of stuff will
feel just as liberating as shedding the bags and bags of clothing I
did last March. Wish me luck, this duty is next on my list.
Changing out or adding new cabinet knobs or pulls is an easy,
and often low-cost way of updating the look of your kitchen, bath
or a piece of furniture. I’ve pulled together a few styles
that are trending right now, to inspire you to make this
happy little improvement to some corner of your home.
Acrylic. This crystal clear option would look
so fresh and modern in the bathroom or kitchen. I absolutely LOVE
the smoke-colored version too. So sophisticated!
Natural Stone and Concrete. These are two
materials you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find on a cabinet
knob. They are each textural and expressive, sure to make a
Extra Long Pulls. This is a classic, no fail
way to make old cabinets feel more modern. I suggest
mounting them horizontally on cabinet doors as well as drawers, for
a cohesive look.
Mismatched and Eclectic. I’m generally a fan of
mixing patterns with fabrics, so why not knobs? Purchase various
styles of a certain color or finish, or vise versa.
Ring Pulls. These little pulls work great for
small drawers and doors. I could seem them on a reinvented vintage
desk or hutch.
Our house is 95 years old. We live in a very modest 900 square
feet upstairs, and need to use every square inch of our mostly
unfinished basement. Previous owners had chopped up the space into
small chunks, and until recently, we were using almost every area
as just storage space. With our family of four seemingly outgrowing
our house, and my husband and I each spending hours working from
home, our basement must now function as additional living
I have made it my mission this year, to carve out little zones
for our various activities. I also need to purge and
organize each area and get it looking as good as an
unfinished basement can, on a tiny budget. You can do this in your
small home too. Just really consider the way you live and what you
want to actually do in your space. These are the zones we need for
our small house to really work well for us:
Storage for toys, off-season items, and momentos
Music area for drums and piano
Office for me
Art studio for Thomas and Lucy
Project space and tool storage
Lawn care items and extra furniture storage
Office for Chris
While I know where all of the areas will be, and some zones are
already serving their purpose, there’s a lot of work to be done
before I share more before and after photos with you.
So for the time being, I’ll show you how the music area is
Removing the odd shelving and painting the mismatched walls
white totally transformed the drum nook.I still need to paint the
wall by the piano, change the light fixture above the drums and
hang some pegboard near the drums, for storage of other instruments
and drum hardware.I’ll surely be posting more photos as I complete
Trading a boring white lamp shade for a fun, patterned one is
the easiest way to inject a playful element into your living space.
Although I’ve been known to
make my own, there are a dizzying array of choices available to
purchase as well. Here, I’ve rounded up a few pretty ones, from
several sites where you’ll find a great selection.
In Sunday’s Life section, I wrote a column about my own
home organizing challenges. Even as an organizing professional,
I still wage a battle against clutter on a regular basis. I hope
that you’ll find some of my ideas about how to tackle that looming
mountain of stuff in your living space, inspiring.
Our family uses a lot of bags for different activities, and
without a proper coat closet upstairs, the bags end up in a jumble
in the basement- bags for swimming, overnight stays, store returns,
trips to the library, and reusable grocery bags. To solve this
storage dilemma, I’ve hatched a plan to cover an entire wall
in my basement with white pegboard and hooks.
Pegboard is available at your local hardware store, and the
pricing is super reasonable. I’m going to head to Home Depot in
Silverdale, where I know that they can cut the 4 ft x 8 ft
sheets down to the height I require. All sorts of hooks and bins
are available to customize the wall to serve my needs. I can’t wait
to tackle this project and share images with you!