Archive - July, 2011

Decorating With Everyday Objects

I thought we could chat a little today about decorating with ordinary objects, and I don’t mean time consuming DIYs that may very well fail like this or this or buying “everyday objects” like so that will cost you oodles. (Because if there is one thing I don’t want to do, it’s cost you oodles.)

Fresh flowers, yes. A lot of doodads, no.

Now one thing that struck me during my recent trip to Europe was how few little tchotchkes people there seem to have compared to people in the U.S. Their surfaces are positively nude when viewed through an American eyeball! And a lot of the ‘decorative’ items that were hanging about were also useful objects or photographs or small pieces of art that didn’t really get in the way. Which is really what I have in mind when I ask someone a question like: Have you ever found yourself with a table that was absolutely useless because it was covered with *stuff*?

I have. And at first I’m kind of proud, like look at all my stuff, but then I get kind of sick of not being able to put even a coffee cup down without upsetting a Costa Rican ceramic flute or some other thing that’s nice to own but doesn’t do anyone much good.

What I really like, therefore, is being able to combine my decorative with my practical and semi-practical. Decorating with everyday objects can take many forms. What comes to mind are the cast iron pan and vintage colander hanging on the kitchen wall, the retro globe lamp and faux Eames rocker in the living room, the Russian samovar filled with lilies, the pictures on the walls (which aren’t practical but don’t take up space, either), the vintage mushroom mixing bowl on my nightstand, and a bunch of other pretty things with purpose. Because really, who says that decorating has to require purely decorative objects like a kinetic sculpture that takes up a full quarter of the living room or some other large and impractical thing?

It can, of course, if that’s your bag or you have the space or you don’t have children or animals hell bent on destroying everything you own. But it doesn’t HAVE to be. And it kind of goes back to not costing you oodles of money, since if you’re dedicated to decorating with everyday objects, you’ll likely find that you already have plenty of everyday objects ready to go: cute kitchen stuff that can be hung up, vases for fresh flowers, lamps that can be upcycled, and so on.

How do YOU decorate with everyday objects?

P.S. – You may notice that I’m not around as much in the coming days. Well, lovelies, it’s summertime! Time to play! Yours truly hasn’t had a proper holiday in ages. BUT I’ll still be around on our Facebook page, so head over, ‘like’ us, and enjoy all the fun extras!

That Oh-So-Lovely Piece of Furniture That Got Away

...and not because someone else bought it first.

We Call This One the Husband Hunter

Indeed, I think there are easier ways to trap a man.

Inspiration: Just Chairs, All Kinds

Wire chair is pretty with a touch of the industrial.

(more…)

This Is Another One of Those Times Where You Need to Tell Me What Is Happening Here

Love the green chairs. I do. It’s at the bench coffee table thing and the curtains that you start to lose me. My brain keeps saying “Needs more white! Needs more white!” But am I wrong? How about you brilliant people chime in and tell me just what all is happening here…

BRIGHT LIGHT! BRIGHT LIGHT!

Help NtB Choose a New Home Office Rug!

I’m writing this in my new home office – okay, home office nook – which is an awesome thing to be able to put down even if the doors aren’t painted and my art is currently learning up against the wall on the floor. At least everything else is painted, and my furniture is all in. Only thing missing? A rug for under my feet since it gets awfully chilly in this house in the wintertime. Right now, it’s a toss up between this:

Gray on gray with gray plus giant flowers

And this:

Possibly in orange, possibly in green

Both from West Elm, and both on sale for cheap when compared to some of the usual West Elm prices. Why am I telling you all this? Now I need your assistance, of course. Help me decide on an office rug: Which do YOU like better?

Don’t Let Space Constraints Stop You from Becoming a Master Ping Ponger

I know, I know, all that ping pong would probably make your door look like crap after two weeks of gin-fueled ping pong benders. And the hinge would break, and no one would want to come over after a while because you’d feel compelled to get the most out of your ping pong door. Designed by Tobias Fraenzel (of punching bag couch fame), the ping pong door fits standard doorways. Likely those in fairly unstandard houses, but that’s more about atmosphere than design.

No, you can't leave. We're in the middle of a tournament.

The main downside? One side of the ping pong door is white – or whatever color you prefer – while the play side is bright green. Not an easy fit for most people’s home decor. The secondary downside? You’ll have to DIY this door because as far as I can tell it either wasn’t ever for sale or sold out and that was the end of the production run. But you tell me: What game would you like to see as a built in?

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When I See Things Like This I Have to Ask Myself:

Why have I not tried painting a floor before now? Have any of you lovelies done it? How did it work out? Because we have, in our house, what is essentially an unfinished room. No walls, just beams. Sub-floor. Bare insulation. Windows that are older than my mom. And as much as it pains me to admit, we don’t have the means to finish it any time soon. Currently, it’s storage space, which is nothing to complain about. Unless, that is, your husband wants an office and you want a craft room and a little more family-oriented space. Point being, I can’t do anything about the room structurally, but I’ve been toying with the idea of sanding and painting the sub-floor and when I see these things… well, how could I not want to do it?

No trick, just stencils - heavy duty ones.

Think they did it freehand?

Yellow! *dies*

Am I totally crazy? Or could painting the sub-floor actually work? Why can’t I go out and buy a copy of this book and go to town?

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You Just Have to Love an Awesome ‘After’

There’s something to be said for before and after photos. Of anything, really. I’m absolutely terrible at remembering to ‘before and after’ any project, so I’m always in awe of the people who do remember. I’m especially in awe, though, of really extra sweet afters. Like this absolutely beautiful one, whose before can be seen at Rambling Renovators:

It's already a gorgeous room, but so much lovelier even when viewed in the context of the before.

Want to know why I love before and after pictures? And especially ones like these? Because they show you that the beautiful spaces you see that not only make you jealous, but also make you question your own decorating and design abilities didn’t always look like that. At some point in the past, they usually looked not as great, and someone had to make the decisions that led to the amazing transformation that led to the room you’re so envious of looking like it does today. A before and after photo set lets you see that change and furthermore shows you that there’s no reason at all that you can’t be the catalyst for a similar transformation in your own home.

In other words, before and after photos are inspiring. They show you what you can achieve. They’re encouraging, not disheartening like seeing a finished project out of context can sometimes be. So GO FORTH! CREATE! BE CONFIDENT!

One Totally Freaking Easy DIY Idea

Canvases? NOPE.

Something about this clever AND CHEAP, very cheap, wall art set-up (and tutorial) from Spunky Junky has me jotting down all kinds of crazy ideas. It’s definitely not for everyone, but it is for those who have found themselves in possession of paint and shoebox tops, but no monies to buy canvases or other supplies. Seriously, those are shoebox tops, repurposed. Who does that? Who even THINKS of that? I’m kind of in awe because I have about $0 to spend on anything decorate-y right now but all kinds of paint.

Still, would probably look better on canvases. There, I said it. DIY on the cheap doesn’t always lead to super pro results. But it’s still cool, as is. And a great idea for the poor/thirfty/boxtop collecting souls who want some chevrons in their lives.

Did you know that Manolo for the Home is on Facebook? Like us for even more decorating and design links, tips, and cool stuff!

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