Inspiration: Mason Jar Lights, Y’All

If you drink homemade iced tea from a mason jar, you may be from the south. Or you may just be visiting me, since a good portion of our drinking glasses actually started out as pasta sauce jars. Surely, mason jars aren’t everyone’s cup… of tea? But I like the way they feel: not delicate, but not particularly heavy, either. Substantial, you might say. And that heft is precisely what makes them good for using in DIY projects. Like mason jar centerpieces, for example. Or how about lights!

Easy enough to do, I should think, and virtually free with the right sauce.

Design*Sponge has an easy tutorial (though it does require an electrician)

Well, y’all, what do you think? Oh so awesome, or way too rustic?

Pallets In the Bedroom?

Looks great, but where'd it come from?

If I say shipping pallet furniture, what comes to mind? I immediately think of stacks and stacks of flat pack being unloaded at Ikea’s back door, but that’s just me. And it’s just wrong. Turns out that people are making more than just frames out of old, no longer useful shipping pallets. There are a ton of DIY projects for the home out there that start and end with shipping pallets. Shipping pallets, you may be surprised to discover, can be made into everything from headboards to patio furniture to bookshelves and more.

But is it safe?

Maybe, maybe not. It all depends on where your pallet was born and what it has been used for since. If you want to embark upon a DIY pallet project, make sure the pallets you have at your disposal were made in the U.S. and used within its borders. Pallets used for international shipping, you see, have to be treated with some heavy duty pesticides that sink right into the porous wood. Would I want my kid sleeping up against wood treated with methyl bromide every night? Not particularly. So when you’re collecting pallets for projects, stay safe and make sure you know their chain of custody before making them into a coffee table.

What say you: Pallet furniture… cool or meh?

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

Inspiration: Beds Plus Storage

In small spaces and big ones, you can never have enough storage. Under the bed is one piece of real estate that, in my opinion, not enough people utilize. Sure, you could grab a couple of those flat plastic bins meant to slide right under, but if you can incorporate storage right into the bed itself, why not?

From home-designing.com

From ilovewildfox.com

digsdigs.com

From livingetc.vom

From myhomeideas.com

Choices, Choices, Numbered Staircases or Patterned Risers?

Our current plan, now that we actually live upstairs and thus travel up our staircase multiple times each day, is to grab some sticky house numbers and turn our regular stairs into fun numbered stairs. Because not only do the numbers make the stairs a bit more interesting, as someone mentioned back when I posted about numbered stairs, they also give kids a chance to count along. That was the plan. But now I’m not so sure because I just came across this:

Probably more work than it's worth, but still...

You can see my conundrum! Or not – is it too much? Would you ever consider it?

Furniture Lust: Industrial Yellow Heaven On Wheels

Awesomeness on wheels

I was browsing furniture with my daughter the other day, and I was so proud when she zeroed in on this gorgeous wheeled coffee table that looked like it came straight out of a barn and said “I will buy that for you, mama.” But it’s not all about the farm for yours truly – I’m also enamored by all things pulled off the factory floor and out of the warehouse. Like this sweet yellow coffee table on wheels that was crafted from… something used to wheel other things around. I love the original yellow paint that’s just the right amount of old and crunchy, the wheels, and how it balances out the softer, more traditional furniture in the room.

What do you think? Should industrial furniture stay in the seat of industry, or is there a place in the home for factory cast-offs?

Yet Another Thing to Mis-Match: Plates!

Once upon a time, I had a plan to build up a full service of awesome mismatched plates. As this was a world before Etsy, my plans were foiled by the local Goodwill not having a strong supply of very interesting plates. I could have had a set of mismatched plates that was meh, but isn’t the whole point of mismatched plates having them all be kind of fun, kind of cool?

Who needs a full matching service?

It’s still a look I love, even though my current dining set is a matching set of plates and things. It’s very nice – and of very good quality – so I can’t very well justify ditching it to go collecting. But as things break, and break they will for I have a child, perhaps I will replace my set with mismatched plates and bowls. Maybe even plates and bowls I’ve made myself!

What do you think about the mismatched plates look? Cool? Cute? Good for the young, but not past, say, 35? Too silly? Just plain dumb?

I'll take one of these...

and one of these...

and one of these!

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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