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Inspiration: Lace and Doilies

Let me tell you, ladies and gents, it does not get more girly than lace and doilies. What can one do with doilies and lace as decor? Anything you damn well please, that’s what I say. I’m no fan of the doily on the armrest aesthetic, but there are fantastic uses for these old fashioned embellishments, and lace patterns are none too shabby, too. Here are some sweet images I pulled during my online adventures that may inspire you to take that old lace or your gram’s doilies out of storage once and for all.

doilies as art at oh dee doh

lace chairs *drooool*

adorable doily pillow by Sparkle Power

diy doily vase via Country Living

lace stenciled floor via loftlife

doilies as decor via Apartment Therapy

a touch of lace on a pillowcase

Lace… doilies… too old fashioned? Or cool for that very reason?

I Have Only One Thing to Say:

There’s nothing stopping you!

via http://deepakawesome.tumblr.com/

Defying Gravity, Saving H2O

Boskke Sky Planters, which recently won a 2011 Red Dot award in the product design category, may change how you take care of houseplants. Especially if, like me, you have any kind of pets in your home with a serious lust for greens (or kids with a thing for dirt). Currently, we can only keep plants in the bedroom, which is a no cats allowed zone, so I have some Sky Planters on order. I know for a fact that as crafty as my animals are, they cannot jump as high as hanging plants. Problem, research, solution, and here we are:

Chance of over-watering = slight.

Counter space, available.

Rethink how you decorate with plants.

Beautiful with an orchid, but perhaps even better with basil!

Designed by New Zealand designer Patrick Morris.

Two Touches of the Turq

Turquoise is on its way out – or possible already gone among the early adopters concerned with color – but still pops up as a notable, usable hue. I like the turq like I like my pink, in small doses (again, this doesn’t hold true in nurseries or children’s rooms but that hardly counts), and here are two great examples of how one strong turquoise accent can play a starring role in an otherwise less intense space. I heart the impact of colored furniture!

As seen on Apartment Therapy

As seen on Educate Your Sofa

Inspiration: Pianos!

A piano is a useful item all on its own, but the size of the instrument almost necessitates it becoming another piece of furniture. At least, I’ve never seen a piano in someone’s home that wasn’t sporting something on top – from stacks of books to framed pictures to lamps and vases and so on. And it’s difficult to decorate around a piano, especially when it’s a large piano in a small space. Often, a piano becomes the centerpiece of a room, but if you do the right things, it can become the STAR of a room. Here are some piano decorating ideas that are making me want to go out and buy one right this second:

Make your piano a focal point of the room by keeping it bare and decorating around it

A boring piano becomes exciting with a simple coat of paint

(more…)

How Small/Simple Can You Go?

Every now and then I run across something like this, the story of a man living simply in a clever dwelling of only 258 square feet. How’s it possible? A transformer-like space with many of the necessities of daily living hidden away in the walls, only coming out as needed. Like the kitchen. And the bed. It’s small, but would you call it simple? That small space has been optimized for a serviceable amount of *stuff*. Oh, and style, too.

Simple living or simply living?

But what about super SIMPLE living? A bedroom, sans accessories, with a wee kitchen. The basics, without a lot of style. A home base without most of the comforts of home… I could swing living in Christian Schallert’s pad, provided I was single. But could I embrace the extremes of simple living, a la this book? I don’t really know – part of what keeps me sane is surrounding myself with beauty and fun. Not expensive beauty and fun, or new fun and old beauty (which tends to be the more expensive sort). But beauty and fun, nonetheless. How about you? Could you go small AND simple?

DIY Decorating You Can Actually Do (and Be Proud Of)

I’m a big fan of DIY decorating – mainly because I’m not exactly loaded in the money department. Would I hire someone else to handle all the finer details of my house if could afford it? Absolument! As it stands, though, if I want something, I can either keep wanting it or figure out how to make a reasonable approximation of that something in my extremely limited amount of free time. The good news? Once you start on the DIY decorating path, you learn some skills and the whole DIY thing gets easier. The bad news? Getting started isn’t always easy, especially if you’re stepping out onto the path with zero experience.

And that’s where tutorials fit in. Of course, if you (like me) scour blogs for DIY decorating tips, then you know that what’s out there ranges from uber fabulous to weirdly wtf. Books tend to be one step up from blogs in the DIY decorating department, if only because there are editors busting out the quality control on the step-by-step so you don’t get to Step 5 and start scratching your head.

Right now, when it comes to DIY decorating, I am digging on Crafting a Meaningful Home: 27 DIY Projects to Tell Stories, Hold Memories, and Celebrate Family Heritage.

If you can follow directions, you can prettify your home. True story.

Crafting a Meaningful Home contains 27 projects designed to tell your personal story or to share your cultural heritage (all of which can be done on a budget by the novice DIYer). All of the projects come from well-known designers, so you know you won’t just be slapping craft paper on tissue boxes when you decide to buy this book.

Of course, necessity isn’t the only reason to engage in DIY decorating and to turn what we already have into something more beautiful. Elise Boulding said: Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things. In this case, new and mass produced things.

P.S. – I also like this book and this book… what are some of YOUR favorite DIY guides, online or off?

The Classic Greyhound Statue: Yes or No?

Upon first glance, white ceramic greyhound statues seem like something you’d find in a new Long Island residence with Italinate features, lots of pink pastels inside, and a huge fountain set in an inappropriately small lawn outside. What can I say? I grew up on Long Island and saw a lot of places like that, and the older I became, the less I liked them.

While I haven’t changed my mind about the giant lawn fountains or the raging palette of pastels, I think I’m changing my mind about the white porcelain greyhound sculptures. I’m not saying a greyhound statue is something that would find a forever home in my little house, but I could see one serving as a foil for other types of decor for a while. And white is still white hot, as is shiny white ceramics. Even ceramic animals!

So enter the greyhound statue!

Greyhound in repose

Greyhounds upright

Or a greyhound in a collar?

I say that while I like ceramic greyhound sculptures, I’ll add that they’re not for every person or every decor. In my own little house, I think they’d come off as kind of ironic, and a nod to a weird past. What say you: Regal, or ridiculous?

4 Ways to Make Your Office (or Cube) Your Own

Make it yours, even if it isn't!

Decorating a home office? No problem, it’s yours. Rip up the floor, put up wallpaper, switch out the furniture, bring in a pet bed, whatever. You can do whatever you want because you own or are renting the space. But what about those people who are stuck in an office or worse, a cubicle? Floors? You’re stuck with them. Wall color you don’t like? Too bad. Lighting terrible? There may be a workaround, but are there outlets available? Making an office feel truly like a home away from home isn’t always entirely possible, but that’s no reason not to spruce up your workstation a little bit. It could even make your job feel a little less like a job!

Here are four things to think about when decorating an office or decorating a cubicle:

Consider Your Corporate Culture
Do you work in finance or entertainment? Is your office dress code buttoned up or dressed down? It’s important to remember your corporate culture when decorating an office or decorating a cubicle. If you have art and accessories in mind, imagine how your boss would feel about a client seeing them. When an office or cube looks like a teenager’s room, the occupant has gone too far. Keep it grown up, unless your clients are kids. Decorating an office or a cube with grown up gear isn’t always the most fun option, but higher ups are often sticklers for seriousness. In fact, studies have shown that too much decorating can get you passed over for promotions!

Get Thee Some Cute Desk Accessories
Maybe in your particular workplace you can’t decorate your office much, but you can at least ditch the plain black stapler and tape dispenser and calendar desk blotter in favor of something more colorful and interesting. How about a DIY trashcan that lets you reuse all those pesky plastic bags. And speaking of cute desk accessories, you can create a color scheme just for your desk – making it your island in a see of corporate conformity. Best part? Your coworkers may be so jealous of your cool gear that they start upgrading, too.

Ditch the “Art;” Bring In Your Own Art
If you’re decorating a cubicle, you can hang smallish things on your “wall” but if you’re in an office, you may have been assigned that space, only to find out that a boss or owner had already hung something like art on the walls. Ack. But why not just take a deep breath and ask the boss(wo)man if it would be all right if you brought in your own office-appropriate wall art? Worst s/he can say is no, and sure, it’s a possibility. But there’s always a chance that the “art” in situ was already there when boss(wo)man showed up and s/he hates it, too.

Not Everything You Contribute to Your Office Ambiance Must Be Useful
So you brought in some awesome desk accessories, like so:

cat tape dispenserpop up pencil holderpencil sharpener
pink scissorsrobot desk lamprainbow file folders

Now what? What about something like a big wooden ampersand? Or a Buddha statue? Anything, within reason, of course, but if you can figure out some way to tie your office decor or cubicle decor together (color palette, theme, etc.) all the better.

Image: Style North

4 Ways to Make Big Feel Cozy

Before I get going, I should say that needing to make large rooms feel cozier is not a problem that I personally have. Cozy is one way to describe my house, right out of the box. But it is a problem that some people have – whether because they just don’t know what to do with a big room or because they previously had only small rooms so are used to decorating for small spaces. A huge expanse of room can feel cold and uninviting if not decorated properly, so for those who need the help, here are four ways to make big rooms feel cozy.

Choose colors carefully in a large room

Choose Colors Carefully
Stark white is a no-no. Neutrals are super duper, but keep in mind that lighter colors won’t do anything to make a large room feel cozy. Darker colors absorb light, and give the illusion of a smaller space. Warm shades and rich, saturated ones work best. And paint those ceilings to bring them down! Finally, if you are updating your furniture and accessories, keep your new color palette in mind.

Furniture and Arrangement Make a Big Difference
With a big enough room, you can arrange furniture not in one large group, but in micro-arrangements that reflect how you want to use the room (and turn a big space into lots of little ones). You might have a reading corner and a gaming corner, and the main sitting area, and a writing area with a wee desk. Keep furniture and accessories scaled to the room – lots of tiny accessories will only emphasize the hugeness of the room. In other words, go big!

Floors Need Attention, Too
A big, bare expanse of floor is going to emphasize the size of a room – particularly if it’s a very long rectangular room. One area rug is good, but two can be even better. If you’re taking my advice and dividing your big room up into fairly clear usage areas, your floor coverings can be a part of that. Perhaps a large area rug under the main sitting area, then a round area rug under your reading chair in the book nook, and a third square area rug under the gaming table. Think about how you use your big room, and choose flooring wisely.

Big patterns? No problem.

Don’t Ignore the Walls
A big room, especially one with high ceilings, has lots of wall to fill. I mentioned scaling appropriately when choosing furniture – the same goes for walls. If you’re wallpapering, there’s nothing to stop you from using a big pattern, but consider papering only certain walls and doing it strategically. Art should be big, or if it’s small, grouped in an interesting way and in a big enough grouping.

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