Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Moving on up: musing on a new home

As I mentioned previously, I'm counting down the days until I move out of my current home and into a new abode with my boyfriend and puppy dog. Although I have zero clue what sort of place we will land in (apartment? condo? single-family home? duplex?), it hasn't stopped me from thinking about how I'll shake up our existing decor by mixing and matching and supplementing with a few new pieces.

Here's a quick mockup of what we're working with currently:


Notes on the existing decor (clockwise from top left):
  • Upstairs living room: this room is comfortable but a bit heavy-feeling. The bright pillows my mom made help things a bit, but they're almost tooooo colorful in contrast to the rest of the vibe our of place. The white-striped rug has seen better days thanks to our black puppy's constant shedding, and we've never really had a nice coffee table or TV stand. 
  • Downstairs living room: this room has some nice pieces but is mostly a mish-mash of leftovers from the rest of the house. I'd like to combine pieces from each of the living rooms and swap in and out some of the textiles.
  • Bathroom: I also still love the Claire Elsaesser prints I bought for our bathroom and the Girl and Parrot legs print I added to the mix, so I'll likely keep things pretty similar and just update with accessories.
  • Bedroom: clearly we haven't given this room much thought or care. We need a dark-ish duvet cover because of our dog, but the current grey situation is getting me down.
Our next place will hopefully be a two-bedroom, 1-2 bathroom home with only 1 living room. Here are some ideas I've been throwing around that combine our existing pieces with a few new items to create a whole new look in the living room:

Living Room Updates

New Living Room Ideas:
  • New stuff needed: 3 throw pillows, coffee table, tv console, rug. Potentially new sectional.
  • Color palette: wood, neutral, gold, green, and grey...predominantly neutral with hits of green.
  • I like the clean lines of the coffee table and TV console here, but we also love propping our feet up on our current (ugly) ottoman. Maybe we should sell our sofas and replace them with a small sectional?
  • Bringing the white end tables and lamps from our current bedroom, as well as the map currently hanging over our bed, fits with the new color scheme and opens up the possibilities for a new bedroom design :)
  • Instead of our ill-suited rug situation, I think I'd like a rug made of patterned cowhide. I've heard that they stand up well to wear and tear, are virtually stain-proof, and since they're made of hair already you won't notice our dog's hair!
I'm a person who's equally split between wanting lots of beautiful color in her life and craving calming, neutral spaces. To counter the neutrality of the living room, I'd like to create a colorful guest bedroom using the beautiful pillows my mom made for our current living room:

Guest bedroom

New guest bedroom ideas:
  • New stuff needed: nothing! This whole room pulls pieces from our existing guest room, bedroom, upstairs and downstairs living rooms, and bathroom. 
  • My boyfriend and I work slightly different hours; I often have to get up about an hour or two before he does. So I'd love to turn our second/guest bedroom into a dressing room of sorts, with our clothes, jewelry, makeup, etc all in one place.

Essentially our entire bedroom would be dismantled and spread throughout the rest of the house (dresser, side tables, art, lamps...), leaving us open to create a new bedroom haven all to ourselves. Plans are still ruminating for that space (and will inevitably change 15 times before we even move ;) so stay tuned!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Small Space Ideas

I tend to obsess about topics in spurts. For a while, I'll be obsessed with green beauty and skincare and blow a bunch of time/money towards that cause. Then I'll shift to fashion. Finally I'll swing to my original love, interior design.

After quite a stint in fashion the past few months, I'm feeling the inevitable shift in interest back to interior design. This is probably because my boyfriend and I plan to move to a new place before the new year, which will involve downsizing and decorating for us, not a whole household of roommates (yay!). So naturally, interior design--particularly small space design--has been on my mind. Here are some tips and tricks I've learned from living in small spaces that I plan to employ in our new home in the near future:

1. Use Smarty-Pants Furniture Placement:

As you can see from the next several images, intelligent placement of furniture not only can maximize the amount of space you have, but also create zones within your home. Here, a sofa table delineates where the dining room stops and the living area begins:

The world's tiniest office is squeezed into this living room:

Placing this chest at the foot of the bed allows the drawers to be storage but also a display space. A TV on a swivel stand would also be a good idea.

This long table works to separate the sleeping and living areas of this studio without making each space seem smaller. The rounded corners let your eye travel over and around the piece, making the space seem larger.

In the next two images, the furniture is placed so that the bed can serve as a second sofa if need be.

The opposite approach to setting up a studio room is to create a faux-wall at the foot of the bed:

This TV stand separates the living and dining areas. Behind the TV they've placed a large plant, which hides the ugly TV cords and makes the dining side much more pleasant.

2. Direct the Eye's Travel:

In small spaces, every design idea needs to have a purpose. To make a space seem larger, arrange your decor to draw the eye around the room and distract from the 'uglies.' Here, you first notice the bright juju hat, then the eye is drawn around the room by the mirror on the wall and then the patterned accent wall:

If you don't have it, fake it! A quick glance at this kitchen may make you think that the homeowner has a lovely window over the stove--nope! Just a genius print:

TVs are a necessity in most homes, but it doesn't mean they need to be the emphasis of the living room. Here, smart placement of the TV amongst a styled bookcase reduces the impact of the TV on the room design:

3. Make Storage Pretty: 

The enemy of a small home is clutter; the best friend is storage. Finding ways to prettily store and display your belongings will enhance your room design. The next two images show seating with pretty baskets for storage:

This clever home-owner made porch seating double as storage:

Here, straight-lined furniture pieces like the wardrobe and dresser provide tons of storage, so the only items on display are pretty (another small-space design tip: use 2 small tables/stools as a coffee table instead of one larger, immobile one):

Not all storage has to be boxed away or hidden. Here, this person's closet looks like an art display and functions as a room divider too: 

4. Maximize All Available Space: 

Oftentimes we overlook small areas of our homes that can actually be useful, not just dead zones. Here a fun, functional seat was added to a small corner by the stairs:

Itty bitty bathrooms are common in small spaces. Use Ikea Ribba ledges to store essentials:
source (original unknown)

What could have been used just as a hallways is smartly turned into a temporary dining area here:

This little breakfast bar uses every inch--there's open storage with pretty containers, a fold-out bar for more seating, a chalkboard, and wine and wine glass storage.

Even the smallest areas, like the space behind a door, can be utilized, like this slim entryway shows:

Here's another example of maximizing use of a small ledge: it's a vanity area!

 By using a large graphic print and a fun fabric on the bench, this tiny area is a legit little breakfast nook:

Think about whether you really 'need' furniture pieces; here we see that one can do quite well without an actual end or coffee table, as long as you have a wall sconce and floating shelf:

What are your favorite small space tips and tricks?

For more inspiration on this topic, try these posts:

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Year-Long Closet Budget Update: April Purchases

As long-term readers know, this year I outlined my clothing budget to add closet basics to my wardrobe each month.

As a quick refresher, I put together a list of items I need to help fill in the holes in my closet and assigned each item to a particular month of the year, capping each month's budget at $200 total. Here's what my calendar looks like:

Year-long Closet Budget

Originally, March called for a striped shirt, April was black heels, black wedges, and black sandals....but I switched things up a little based on what I found to add to the closet!

As you can see, April's 'closet basics' purchases were a striped skirt, black wedges, and t-strap sandals. I had some extra room in the budget, and I need a dress for a couple weddings this spring, so I also picked up this fun printed maxi dress.

April 2014 Purchases

Price: $79.02, on sale for $39.51
Notes: This skirt is a thick, stretchy material with white chiffon on the bottom. It comes up higher on my waist than I was expecting from the pictures, but it's still flattering and comfortable.

Price: $99, on sale for $72.45, with $30 gift card = $42.45
Notes: I fell in love with these at Nordstrom but couldn't quite pull the trigger at $100, especially since they weren't as plain-Jane as my original inspiration wedges (and thus not quite as flexible within my closet). But lo and behold, Amazon had them on sale and I just so happened to have a $30 Amazon gift card. #winning

Express Double T-strap Wedge Sandals (sold out)
Price: $50, on sale for $29
Notes: Originally my calendar called for black t-strap flats, but I really need neutral ones to go with the maxi dress for these upcoming weddings, plus they'll go with the dress I'm wearing as a bridesmaid in July! That's $10/wear in weddings alone...so I pulled the trigger.

Price: $50, on sale for $40, with 30% off sale = $28
Notes: I don't know the last time I set foot in an American Eagle, but I saw this printed maxi on Pinterest and ordered it in pink and the blue print. The pink one is really cute, too, but looks a little more 'teen' than I wanted, so print it is! The dress is really comfortable thanks to elastic in the back waist and the bra cups are lightly padded so you don't have to wear a strapless bra! (if you have bitty boobies like me, that is ;) Can't wait to pair it with a neutral blazer for these chilly spring weddings, then rock it with the gold sandals for outdoor concerts this summer!

April Budget Total: 
$39.51 + $42.45 + $28 = $109.96 (for $228.02 worth of items)
Over/under on April $200 budget: -$90.04
Over/under for the year since March: -$221.96

Here's a couple ways I plan to wear the new items in my wardrobe!

April Wardrobe Updates

Other posts in this series: