Archive of ‘decoration’ category

Dining Room Inspiration

One of my goals this summer is to finally decorate my dining room. I’ve been talking about it for months now, and it’s time to make some changes!

The room is a little awkward because it’s square and open on three sides, so the space for a table is quite small. When the table has two leaves and opened all the way to seat 8+, it’s hard to walk around to get to/from the adjoining rooms.

Here’s what the room looks like today:

dining room, before^View from the hallway. Yes, we only have five chairs, and they don’t match. dining room, before^View from the corner. The room opens up to the hallway and into our family room. The rest of the house has a lot of blue/gray undertones so I think painting will go a long way in improving this room! Also, photobomb by the lovely Leia. :) dining room, before^View from the office, with french doors that can be closed to make it cozier. The table isn’t centered because it would block off the walkway from the kitchen. I’ve tried to put the table the other way and it also has its own challenges.

Can you tell why I’m eager to redecorate it?! Right now this room is pretty blah, but I think it has great potential.

Here’s my dining room inspiration:

Dining Room Inspiration

WALLS: Dark blue walls with a bright white wainscoting around the base.There was a sale on paint over Memorial Day, so I went ahead and got the top coat. I debated against peacock blue, dark teal, and even chalkboard black, but ended up choosing Sherwin Williams’ Smoky Blue, color-matched to Behr’s premium ultra paint. I’m not one who gets the hankering to repaint every season, so I think this color will be more timeless than the others I considered. Now I just gotta build up my courage to DIY wainscoting, and I can get started. Eeks! Those tutorials look intimidating!

CURTAINS: The giant window is one of my favorite parts of the room, and I’d love to frame it with beautiful curtains. I’m thinking either plain white or a simple graphical print in navy or gray, hung high and wide. I love West Elm or World Market‘s curtains, but I may find some fabric and make them.

HUTCH: First option, paint the hutch in chalk paint or refinish to have a rustic look. The other option is to take off the top part and just keep the base since it’s a pretty dominating piece in a small room. Then I could create a bar with hanging shelves and glasses on the wall, or just put a huge piece of art over it. Last option would be to sell this hutch and buy a new one. (What do you think?) Picture above found via Better Homes and Gardens.

ART: Once the room is painted and curtains are picked out, I will have a better idea of what art to place on the walls. But I am thinking something fun, happy and subtle. Art shown above: Out to Sea by Carolyn MacLaren. If Her Heart Could Sing by Christina Baker. And Lluvia by Michelle Armas (not available anymore – boo!).

LIGHTING: I’m not crazy about our light fixture, but I’m not in any rush and am determined to work with what I have for now. But, if I am dreaming here, I’d get a bentwood pendant from West Elm. :)

TABLE: I have two ideas. First, getting a round table to center the room, like this West Elm 60″ one I’m swooning for:

West Elm Arc Base Pedestal Table

Or use what we have, paint / stain it, push it against the window with a bench for more room and center the light fixture over the table.  Until then, I will most likely use what I have until I find either a nice round table or gorgeous tufted bench for a good price.

SEATING: One of my favorite things in all the world is lingering around the dining table with friends, long after the meal is over. That’s much more likely to happen if the seating is comfortable! I love the idea of doing a bench (I am eyeing this upholstered loveseat from Target) or upholstered chairs. But even uncomfortable seating can be so expensive! Hopefully I can score some on Craigslist or at Yard Sales.

So that’s the inspiration.  I’ll keep you posted on what changes this summer! :)

PS – If you’re curious, here’s what the house looked like the day we bought it.

Our Home Office

When you walk through our front door, our office is the first room that you seen to your left. Here’s what it looked like when we first moved in:

afterlightphoto 3dining room

It’s technically a living room, but we use it as our home office. It’s far from finished and I have big dreams for this room, but in the meantime, I’m calling it “done for now.”

It’s got a lot of good things working for it: Two sets of french doors (one from the hallway, another that leads to the dining room), a built-in bench, and a beautiful big window. The only thing working against it is the size. At 12×12, this room is pretty small, but I think we managed to make it a cozy space.


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In case you are interested, here are some resources for the room (because I’m always nosy about where people got their stuff):

  • Bookcases: J’s mom dropped off a lot of furniture when we first moved into our house, and the bookcases were unexpected but she thought we could put in closets or sell if we didn’t want it. Low and behold they fit perfectly side by side in this little room!
  • Paint color: Unknown, original when we bought the house
  • Silver lamp: Pottery barn, a wedding gift
  • Rug: Amazon, from my mom two years ago for my birthday
  • Art: Map from amazon, painting by my grandmother
  • Wire basket: TJ Maxx
  • Blue vase: Target
  • Mugs/Pencil holders, candle: Anthropologie
  • Desk, chair, bronze lamp: Hand-me-downs.

I am so thankful for all of the donations our families have given us to furnish this place. Most of the things I’ve had before, so I’ve really only put about $20 or so into this room.

If/when we have kids, I would love for this room to be converted to a library/playroom. My long term vision is to build bookcases around the window so it’s a nice little library with a window seat. Then get a love seat against the wall for reading and a small table in the middle of the rug for kids to play and color and do whatever. But who knows, I may need a room just for me when that day comes. :)

Left to do:

  • Organize the books — right now they are not in any particular order
  • Get matching lamps
  • Paint the room — I am thinking either something dark and moody, or something bright and happy. Or maybe just plain white. It depends on what we paint the dining room.
  • Paint the desk, probably white
  • Update the hardware on the desk
  • Get coordinating baskets for the built-in bench
  • Finish putting art on the walls
  • Build bookcases around the window, maybe?
  • Add curtains or window treatments
  • Get a cushion for the built-in bench

Mint & Gold Baby Shower

One of my best friends Allison (in like half of all my pictures) is having a baby in a month, and this past weekend a few friends and I threw her a shower at my mom’s house. I am trying to be better about a) taking more photos, and b) posting pictures sooner (still have on my list to post Thanksgiving and Christmas recaps – oy!!), so as soon as I downloaded these from my camera, I decided to put my favorites in a post to share. Because y’all — it was such a sweet shower. That baby boy has so many aunts that love him!

I also wanted to share because sometimes when you’re planning a party it’s hard to come up with all of the pieces from scratch and it’s helpful to see what other parties look like when you’re brainstorming. So here’s a recap of what we did for anyone hosting one in the future. :)

baby shower

Decorations: We didn’t really have a theme, just a color scheme. Originally it was mint and gold, but as it happens when you order “mint crepe paper” online, sometimes it comes in teal. So it ended up a mint, gold, gray, silver, and teal party, which worked out beautifully. Allison’s sister Natalie made this cute backdrop for behind the couch, which looks good in this picture but way cuter in person. She hot-glued the tissue paper to a gold ribbon and said it was easy, but that looks like a fragile task if you ask me. :)

My sister Carrie made pompoms over the table, and a cute yarn pom-pom wreath and a sign for the french doors leading to the back porch. Allison has a woodland creatures decoration theme to her nursery, so we placed gold spray-painted pinecones around the table and incorporated some wooden circles as centerpieces.

baby shower

Menu: It was a 2pm shower, so the menu was pretty simple but tasty. A few of the guests and hostesses were gluten free, so we labeled all gluten free items with a gold glittery dot. We had:

- Cheese assortment with gluten free and whole grain crackers
- Brie with fig butter (from Trader Joe’s)
- Candy bar cupcakes (used a gluten free devil’s food cake mix)
- Fruit
- Veggies and white bean and basil hummus (from Trader Joe’s)
- Chicken salad in wonton wrappers and lettuce wraps
- Chocolate peanut butter cups
- Coconut macaroons

I have learned it’s good to have a mixture of items that can be prepared two days ahead (chocolate peanut butter cups, buy the cheese, crackers, hummus), one day ahead (cupcakes, chicken salad), and the day of (coconut macroons, cut the fruit/veggies, make the icing). Spreading it out makes it all so much easier and stress-free.

baby shower baby shower baby shower baby shower baby shower baby shower baby shower baby shower

For drinks, we had a pomegranate-cranberry spritzer (just sprite + pomegranate juice + cranberry juice) and a hot chocolate bar (since it was a January shower). My friend Michelle was in charge of the hot chocolate and it was a hit! She had three different kinds of hot chocolate, varied stirrers and toppings. What I would do for a hot cup of chocolate right now…

baby showerbaby shower

Games: In lieu of a big organized game, we had guests write messages on diapers. We also had little cards for guests to fill out answering four questions, which Carrie made into a little book:
- What to do when the baby is up at midnight
- A tradition to start
- Carry this with you at all times
- Always remember

After the party was over we all sat around the fire reading the funny and sweet messages people left. Lots of diapers will be changed by the dad very soon. :)

Favor: Natalie made gluten-free sugar cookies in the shape of onesies as a favor, although I didn’t get a good picture of them. But trust me, they were cute and delicious.

baby shower baby shower  baby shower

It was such a fun shower and SO good to see so many dear friends. I can’t wait to meet Baby Parker next month!

Master Bedroom Tour

One of my favorite gifts I got for Christmas is a picture to go over our bed. I (not-so-subtly) hinted to my mom it was on my wishlist, and since she loves horses so much I knew she would love it too.

Here’s a close-up of the print:

winter horses

I love it.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared photos of our house, so here’s where the master bedroom stands. Whenever I move somewhere new, I like for my bedroom to be the first room to get cleaned and organized and decorated. Maybe I sleep better that way, I don’t know, but I love having my bedroom in place before any of the other rooms. Our bedroom was the first room to get painted when we moved in, and I think it’s the first room to be deemed officially complete. At lease Phase 1 complete — I have grander plans for this room, but it’s unlikely any of those will get done this year.

Here is a little tour of our bedroom, with Leia Neel as our model/photobomer.

Master bedroom tour

It was especially sunny when I took these pictures, and I’m still trying to figure out my camera settings on manual. So bear with me… hopefully by the end of this year I’ll have better looking photos. That’s the goal anyways!

IMG_8408 IMG_8413Sidetable

I debated doing a dark, cozy bedroom, but decided to bright and calming instead. :) In case you are interested, here are some resources for the room:

  • Wall color: Benjamin Moore’s Healing Aloe, color matched to Behr paint. It was exactly the paint color I was looking for — grayish seafoam green.
  • Bedding: The pillows and duvet cover were a wedding gift from Pottery Barn. The blanket at the end of the bed is a quilt that my mom made when I got married. The other side is a square patchwork fabric from old dresses I used to wear.
  • Lamps: Are these vintage cool or vintage not cool? I can’t tell. They were old antique glass lamps that I modernized with a drum shade.
  • Side tables: From Target, I think, three years ago. The picture frames are from Target clearance.
  • Art on the wall: Over the bed, Winter Horses by Kevin Russ via Society6. I bought the frame at Ikea. The other art on the walls are painted either by me (flowers) or my mom (the picture of me as a little girl).
  • The dresser was a hand-me down, and I think it will eventually end up in our guest room. I want to refinish it sometime, but will wait until I am sure of the colors. Beside our dresser are three hooks (from Pier One, long time ago) to hang scarves on. I think I have too many hanging, oh well.

Things left to do (someday):

  • Upgrade to a king size bed
  • Get a headboard
  • Get a new shorter, longer dresser
  • Maybe get a bench for the foot of our bed
  • Hang wedding gallery wall above dresser

There’s always something to do, but it’s unlikely we will get a new dresser or bed this year, so for now I’m calling this room done.

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