Friday, February 25, 2011


Hello readers!  Well today for IKEA Fridays, rather than feature a product today, I thought I'd pass along some tips to make the most out of your IKEA trips and purchases.  This post was inspired by this article over at Apartment Therapy.  This is a great article on how to customize IKEA pieces. 

I'll be the first admit, I love IKEA, but I don't want my rooms to look like pages out of an IKEA catalog.  My favorite part about IKEA is that you can get really well designed pieces and have money left over to customize it and make it your own.  My favorite finds from this article are the custom slipcovers from Bemz and the custom decals from Mykea.  Brilliant stuff!

(via bemz.com)

Here are a few of my tips:

1.  Measure Twice, Buy Once.  Measure your spaces, width, depth and height.  Measure the spaces that you're shopping for and also the spaces that you MIGHT be shopping for.  This will help you IMMENSELY once you get to the store.  Obviously this will ensure that your piece will fit, but many times I'll spot things that I wasn't necessarily looking for and having the measurements on hand helps me to figure out if I want to get it or pass.  Time is precious and I don't want to make multiple trips if I don't have to. 

2.  Make a List and Check it Twice.  Go to IKEA with a game plan and a list.  I used to go in there to just window shop and I'd leave with a whole bunch of stuff that either I didn't need, didn't fit or didn't look right once I got home.  Boy, I can really get sucked into those "model rooms" that IKEA is so good at putting together.  That all made for wasted time and money.  :P  Make a list!

3.  What kind of trip is this?  For me, there are 2 types of IKEA outings.  One is a scouting outing where I'm exploring, getting inspiration, and gathering information, the other is a purchasing outing.  Knowing what your goal is with your trip will help you be more efficient with your time.  I don't know about you, but IKEA is not one of those places you can zip in and out.  Walking into the store from the parking lot is at least a 10 minute trek!

Hope these ideas and tips help.  Happy shopping and see you Monday!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Table Lamp How To

Thanks for your great comments about my HEMNES shoe cabinet finale.  Here's a how-to for the lamp I made.

It started with these Meridian Lamps from Lights Up that I've admired for a long time.  I love the fabric choices and the soft glow that they give off.

They start at $100 and I just wasn't ready to make that investment, especially since I'd want to get 2 like in the photo.  So... I went to my local Joann Craft Store to see if I could find something I could do myself.  I was so excited when I found this kit by Conso.  It's about $20 and I had my 40% coupon!  Now what to cover it with?

The possibilites are endless.  Of course fabric, but I was really drawn to some papers I saw at Paper Source.  Paper Source is one of my favorite places for color and pattern inspiration.  Walking through there is like a candy store for me.  I really like the patterns on their own PS line of papers.  Check these out.

The actual steps to completing this project is very simple.  You just want to remove the paper covering the adhesive.  You can use the paper to measure and cut your paper/fabric to the right length.  Then you simply start at one end and start working your way around, being careful to stay straight and not to get too many air bubbles.  Thankfully the adhesive is quite forgiving.  Then, voila you're done! 

A few pointers:  It's probably easier to do this with fabric as the adhesive would be less sticky with fabric.  Also, if I were to do it again with paper, I'd use a piece of fabric and go around the adhesive first, just to remove some of the tackiness. 

Now, I have some of this fabric laying around... hmm.. this may be my next one.  :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My HEMNES shoe cabinet - The Finale

If you've been following me the past 3 months, you'll know that I've been slowly working on this little nook in our entry.  After some final touches, it is now complete!

Decorators are always talking about editing and keeping only things that you love.  I can honestly say, I love everything about this space.  Each individual piece brings me joy.  This pass through is one of the busiest areas of the house so I get to look at this all the time.  This space is also a good example of how good decorating really takes time and is a work of the heart. 

This area is truly nothing special, it's just a hallway to the garage, but just this little space took about 6 months to get to this point from inception, to execution and accessorizing.  So if you're looking to redo an area of your home, take your time.  There's so much good stuff out there.  You want to purchase wisely so let your room evolve over time and let it speak to you.  :)  I hope this inspires you to elevate your everyday spaces. 

I decided to go with the Keep Calm Poster .  It really inspires me when I'm not sure
what to do with my 3 kiddos!  The love the fresh green color. 

Another favorite element, my custom number decals from leenthegraphicsqueen.com.

The accessories:  A lamp, tray, plant and small artwork.

This sweet picture was drawn by my 5 year old son and colored (and enhanced)
by his grandfather. Talk about a priceless piece of art.

I made this lamp!  I think it turned out great!
I'll show you how to do it too.

I'm embarrased to show this picture, but boy, have we come along way!



Monday, February 21, 2011

Why It Works - Taking Risks

Hello!  Happy Monday!  I came across this photo and was reminded that good design really means taking a risk.  This room may not seem edgey to many of you, but for me, an everyday decorator, I was was inspired by the boldness of the artwork and rug.  Any room that makes you say "wow", evokes that response because it has something unexpected.  I love how Candice Olson puts it, "good design is knowing the rules and knowing when to break them".

(via lonnymag.com)


  • Artwork.  Go BIG!  What sings to you?  Buy it big or blow it up.
  • Rug.  Black and white works.  I can't take my eyes off the rug.  I like how they paired a graphic rug with a glass coffee table so that it doesn't take away from the pattern. 
  • Mantle styling.  Here's a great inspiration for how to style a mantle.  A big, beautiful mirror and simple candle sticks.  Elegant and chic.


  • In a world full of beautiful patterns and colors, black and white STILL works!  White walls and black accents.  Easy to do.  Notice the touches of black are spread throughout the room to keep your eye moving around the whole space.
  • Bold prints/photos in simple frames.  The RIBBA frame from IKEA is my go to wall frame.  They are affordable, simple and clean.  Large wall frames can get very pricey.
  • When you go bold with one element, it works to keep everything else simple.  Notice there aren't many tschochkes to distract the eye.  In other words, EDIT.

Friday, February 18, 2011


When I'm writing my posts each week, I find myself wanting to present one theme or topic for the week and I love it when I can wrap it all up nicely with a coordinating IKEA pick.    It must be my training as an teacher that I'm naturally drawn to these themes or units.  Hmm... maybe I should start posting some pop quizzes to see if you've been paying attention.  :)

So "class" on Wednesday I talked about trays and to wrap up this week, I present to you  IKEA's BARBAR.   Use these for keys, mail, soap, lotions, or snacks.  The possibilities are endless.  These range from $3.99 to $5.99.  What great style for practically the cost of a latte!  And you'll enjoy it everday!

Here's a peak at how I used the blue BARBAR tray at my house. 
I'll be sharing more pictures of this space next week.  Can you guess where it is?

Have a great weekend!  See you Monday!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Here's a great project straight from our inspiration room from Monday.  Can you believe this is made from a regular rimmed baking sheet?  This is another one that's going on my project list.  Click here for full directions.

(via marthastewart.com)

Here's some more great trays, all for under $20.  I think trays, dishes or bowls add such a nice touch to a home.  It's the little things like these that really give your home some sparkle and pop.  They immediately elevate any table scape or anything you choose to put on them,  kind of like a beautiful frame for your table.

West Elm has some beautiful ones right now and for GREAT prices.

(West Elm Soap Dish and Trays)

(West Elm Gold Porcelain Trays)
(West Elm Hammered Trays)

(West Elm Butterfly Glass Decoupage Trays)

Lastly, here's 2 more from a great blog, Isuwannee and her shop, Furbish.

(Isuwannee La Fiorentina Tray)
(Isuwannee Flamestitch Tray)

Monday, February 14, 2011

WHY IT WORKS - An Eclectic Modern Design

When I saw this room on Martha, it brought a smile to my face.  There is so much in this room to love.  Hopefully it brings a smile to your face too, on this Valentine's Day.  Smooches.  :)

(via marthastewart.com)


  • Color.  What a great palette!  Yellow, apricot, and white.
  • Architectural detail.  The use of sawn balusters is genius!  (BTW... I didn't know what sawn balusters were, after some research... they are the decorative pieces used mostly for porch railings.  Here's a good resource.)
  • Graphic patterns.  I'm partial to bold graphics, particularly classic lines that won't go out of style.

  • Yelllow.  I love a yellow room, but you do have to be careful with the shade you choose.  I haven't been able to get yellow quite right.  As with any color, it's best to do a test patch of it, no matter how sure you are of the color.  I tried yellow walls for my sons' room and I had to have the whole room repainted.  It was so bright, I could hardly walk in!  If you have a yellow you like, my advice is to go one shade lighter and always do a test.  It's worth it!
  • White.  Anytime you use a bold color or pattern in a room, temper it with white.  And have the white spread throughout the room.  It's easy to do with paint on millwork and ceilings and through furniture.
  • Architectural detail.  Man, I'm loving those sawn balusters.  Just beautiful!  If we didn't already have wainscotting in our home, I'd really consider this.  I'd do it contrasted with a nice, dark gray wall.  If you're renovating, I'd definitely consider this look.

(via marthastewart.com)

Click here for more photos of this gorgeous space.

Friday, February 11, 2011

IKEA FRIDAY - Meet the DUKTIG workbench

I love simple, classic toys that allows kids to use their imagination.  Even better if no batteries are required.  :)

I was thrilled when IKEA came out with DUKTIG kitchen last year.  Now, I'm happy that they've come out with a little companion to the kitchen, a work bench.  A work bench and a kitchen are the 2 big toys that we've invested in with our 3 kids and boy have we gotten a lot of use out of them! 

This workbench is great.  Simple and plenty of room and holes for banging around.  Exactly what the kids want to do with it!  :)

DUKTIG Work Bench  - $79.99

Don't forget the tool box for $6.99!

And my favorite part of the whole collection, this ADORABLE tool belt for $4.99

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dressing Up

Everyone once in a while I come across a great deal that I just have to share.  In the fall, it was this coat, this time, it's these 2 FABulous dresses!

I got this one from Anthropologie.  It's the Semarang Robe and yup, it's supposed to be a robe.  But I think it looks just as good as DVF wrap dress.  Shh.. I won't tell if you won't.  ;)  The graphic pattern is stunning!  For $29.99?  HELLO! 

(via anthropologie.com)

I also happened to go into my local H&M and saw their gorgeous Spring Collection!  So much fun stuff.  I love the print of this dress, but I wasn't sure if it was going to be flattering.  LOVE IT and got it for just $19.99!  Score!  I got a little green skinny belt to go with.  So cute.

(via hm.com)

What I love best about these dresses is that they're practical too.  They're no brainers, you don't have to worry about matching.  Slip these on with a jean jacket and you're out the door.  Also, these will work right now with tights and boots and they'll work right through spring and summer.

Happy Shopping! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Nate Inspired Bed

Since we're on the topic of Nate Berkus from Monday's post, here's another Nate inspired look.  I was watching the Nate Show a few weeks back and saw this bed that I just can't get out of my head.  Click here for the episode.

(via thenateshow.com)

Putting together bedding for a bed can be as fun as putting together an outfit.  You're mixing and matching patterns and colors and trying to put something together that's cohesive and makes a statement.  I'm loving everything about this ensemble!  Here are the details.

Marimekko Poloneesi Platinum Duvet from Crate and Barrel
King duvet:  $129

West Elm Stripe Sheet Set, King $99.
(Dwell Studio has a very similiar set, the Draper sheet in Ash.  King $260) 

Dwell Studio Diamond Ikat Citrine Pillow, $58

Dwell Studio Peacock Citrine Pillow, $58.

Peacock Citrine Standard Sham, $90/pair.

Monday, February 7, 2011

WHY IT WORKS - House Proud Worthy

Can I tell you how happy I am to have a design show on that I can watch EVERY day?  I love watching the Nate Berkus Show and never miss one.  I DVR all the episodes and one of my favorite things to do when everyone is sleeping is snuggling up with a blanket and watching 2-3 episodes at once!  Ahhh...

Our inspiration room this week is from one of my favorite segments, House Proud.  Check it out. 


  • Architectual details.  Jennifer, the home owner, added plain MDF boards to the wall behind her bed and it just elevates the whole room. 
  • Mix and Match.  I love the dark bed frame with the white night stands.  Doesn't it just make it more interesting?  Can you imagine the night stands in the same color?  It wouldn't be horrible, just a bit boring.
  • Mounted lighting.  The wall mounted lights on each side of the bed was such a nice choice.  They are practical and beautiful.  Look how nicely it just frees up space on the nightstands.   
  • Color.  LOVE the color palette.  Aqua blue, chartreuse, white and dark brown.  My favorite?  That gorgeous fabric that ties everything together.


  • Wall treatments.  Reconsider what you have going on with the wall behind your bed.  It's a natural focal point of the room, let's take advantage of it.  If it's a bit boring, there's a ton you can do to jazz it up like adding architectural detail like molding, hanging wallpaper, art work, photographs, or just painting it an accent color.
  • Mix and Match.  Use this principle in all areas of your home.  You do not need to buy whole suites or sets of furniture. Dressing your home is like dressing yourself.  You wouldn't want to wear a black 3 piece suit all the time.  It's not bad, but not very interesting either.   Sticking with pairs is a good idea though.
  • Color.  Paralyzed by color?  Look everywhere.  Fabric stores, paper stores, clothing stores, and nature.  What colors are you drawn to?  What colors make you happy?  Chances are you'll find a theme.  I like sticking to a limited palette of 3 -4 colors.
Click here to see more photos of Jennifer's gorgeous home.  I'm definitely saving several photos in my "inspiration" file.  :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

IKEA Fridays - Meet SONGE and LEVANGER

Mirrors can be expensive, especially wall mirrors and floor mirrors.  Definitely check out IKEA if you're in the market for one.  They have some beautiful ones and of course, very well priced.  Here's 2 of my favorites.

SONGE - There are 3 styles/sizesin this series, but this tall rectangle one with the curved edges is my favorite.  This one here is $99. 

LEVANGER -  This one is also a beauty.  Similiar thick frame as SONGE and I'm really digging the gold.  Gold is coming back!  It's chic, modern and warm.  LEVANGER also comes in several sizes and shapes, this one here is $49. 

Both of these mirrors are substantial and classy.  Trust me, no one would guess that these are from IKEA.  They would look fabulous in a variety of places, but definitely in an entry above a console table.

See you Monday!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Our Playroom

I've gotten a lot of feedback about how you really enjoy seeing real rooms and real projects on this blog.  So here's a little tour of one of the busiest rooms in our house, our playroom.

We're lucky enough to have a guest room right off of the main living area.  The first thing we did was paint the whole room which changed things dramatically.  Nothing in this room was big ticket, many items are from Ikea, the cabinet is mine from my childhood. 

One of my favorite changes in this room is adding the track light on each side of the large window.  The additional lighting really warms up the room.  The one overhead light just didn't cut it. 

Hope you enjoy the photos!

**  Disclaimers  **

No, the playroom does not look like this regularly, although we try. 
Yes, the toys always come out of the playroom and in they go again.  :)


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