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Christa Loves: Art Walls!

Much much better than the wall of empty frames is the art wall. Much more grown up. Much less five minutes ago. The art wall is classier, too. Here are some great examples of real-world art walls. Remember, art doesn’t have to be expensive! You can even DIY it!

All the Best by Ronda Carman™: Deconstructing the Art Wall

from James Leland Day

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When You’re Thinking Seating, Don’t Forget the Kids

I love this low-slung, big-enough-for-projects coffee table with its great print and all the super short seating for the kids in the household! You can just tell that this is an area of the house that sees plenty of use.

What are the high-use areas of your household? And what areas of your home could you make more welcoming and useful?

Image: MayDae

Inspiration: Sunburst!

(FYI: If you have any interest in winning a $155 gift certificate to any CSN stores, head over to my personal blog and enter my latest giveaway!)

…or should I call them starburst mirrors? I’ve seen the two terms used, pretty much interchangeably and with equal frequency. So I hope we can agree that both labels are correct. Sometimes what’s labeled a starburst mirror looks more like a sun, and what’s labeled a sunburst mirror looks more like a star, but I think that’s okay. I think they’re keen no matter what you call them!

Blue Room

Tobi Fairley

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Creating Gender Neutral Spaces

A little something for everyone

It’s more common to read about gender neutral decor in the context of nurseries and kids’ rooms, but what about for grownups? It’s probably a question that cohabitating heterosexual adults should ask themselves at least once: How can one create a space that’s appealing to both women and men? (Which, for the gay couple or roommate pair, can become: How can one create a space that’s appealing to both people living in it.) In the spirit of that question, here are five tips for creating gender neutral spaces in various areas of your home:

1. Go for balance. Mix furniture and accessories that have clean, strong lines with more delicate stuff. Think antique silver filigree on a parsons table, traditional feminine touches paired with modern art, and mix vivid colors with softer neutrals.

Branch out to include her or him

2. Ditch the florals, and replace them with botanicals, because there’s nothing quite like bringing the outdoors in. Branch patterns are beautiful, as are stylized leaf patterns. Just show some restraint, and don’t turn your bedroom or living room or bathroom into a forest.

3. Don’t make gender neutrality the focus of the room. Let’s say a hetero couple is decorating a bedroom – his nightstand might have a different lamp than hers, or they may simply have different nightstands. In the living room, the chair she uses most might be somewhat girlier than the other furniture in the room, which he has a favorite footstool that’s decidedly more manly.

It's the little touches we all add

4. Go for greens. It’s the color that so many parents gravitate toward (along with yellow) when creating gender neutral nurseries, but green is great for grownups, too. There are so many different shades of green and greens coordinate with so many other colors, that you’re sure to find a color palette you both like.

5. Keep it classic, because classic decor is less likely to start to get on one of your nerves. The more trendy your decorating choices, the more quickly it’s going to happen that someone in a couple will start to hate the colors or the accessories or the pictures hanging on the walls.

The Wrong Way to Decorate With Throw Pillows

Throw pillows are great, aren’t they? When your couch is just not supportive enough, throw pillows pick up the slack. They make a neat little seat when there is seating overflow, and really wee ones can use throw pillows for all sorts of things. And they’re pretty, too!

But really, enough is enough. If you really need twelve giant throw pillows to make your couch comfy, it’s time to get a new couch. Or if you find yourself sitting on the very edge of the couch, it’s probably time to reevaluate how you’re using throw pillows. This image above is not it, but there’s definitely a right way to use ‘em, so I recommend grabbing some cute throw pillows like these:

white throw pillowruffled pillowowl pillow
flower throw pillowraw silk throw pillowcute throw pillow

Are these sweet? Go on, click the pics!

Loft Love!

Those who love sweetness and light could do worse than to take inspiration from this very lovely Williamsburg Brooklyn loft. There’s not much not to like about it! It’s simple and pretty, but in a grownup way, and I think my favorite thing about it is that it doesn’t look like the lair of Hipsterus Americanus. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that look – it’s just not my thing.)

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Good Clutter vs. Bad Clutter

Is clutter always bad? There are some sources that say so, maintaining that there is absolutely no way to lead a productive, low-stress life if you don’t have a place for everything and everything in its place. Downsizing in the word of the year when it comes to stuff, and the simplicity movement asks us to scale down, maybe even to as little as 10 personal possessions per person. But while clearing out the clutter – physical, mental, etc. – is definitely a good idea, it doesn’t necessarily follow that ALL things labeled clutter are bad for YOU.

Who says, for example, that clutter has to be ugly? We’ve all heard of hoarders by now, but just because stacks of newspaper and bags of bottle caps make headlines nowadays doesn’t mean that clutter can’t be beautiful. If your clutter is a collection of meaningful things you’ve acquired over the years – especially things that make you happy and are cute to boot – then you absolutely shouldn’t feel obligated to stash it all away just to adhere to the popular aesthetic. Still feeling overwhelmed by your stuff, even though you love it? Maybe the answer is looking at your collections or art or photos or whatever it is that gets you going as a challenge. As in, it’s time to ask yourself how to turn ‘clutter’ into something awesome by incorporating it into your space in a different way.

And in a way, your clutter is you, or at least a record of where you’ve been and what has touched you enough to save. I’m not talking about all the stuff that really ought to get put away, like clean clothes, but rather the little mementos of life, like souvenirs from your journeys, letters, gifts from the people you care about, and so on. That book you’ve read a hundred times. The pillow you sewed in home ec when you were 12. That kind of thing. Is it clutter? Maybe, but it’s also the stuff you’ve chosen to keep when you’ve probably discarded plenty over the years. Personally, I don’t think that all that needs to go in the bin just because your home might look a little more spacious if it was gone.

Just make sure that your good clutter isn’t suffocating you or cramping your style. Just so you know, good clutter CAN turn bad – like when it’s getting in the way, making it hard to do what you need to do, or stressing you out. The best way to avoid falling into the trap of keeping bad clutter around is to periodically take a look at your life. Do you need X, Y, and Z? Maybe not. Do you still use, want, or love X, Y, and Z? If the answer is no, consider getting rid of it so it doesn’t end up doing all those things the anti-clutter brigade warned us about.

Wish I Still Had One of These…

…or, you know, the space for one of these. I’m not sure how it happened, but when I moved from an apartment into an actually house, I lost bathroom space. The old apartment didn’t have much going for it, but it sure did have a sizable bathroom, and a sweet free-standing clawfoot tub to soak in.

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