Thursday, March 17, 2011


Over the last 10 days, I had my sister Robyn visiting and we were able to do some decorating together. For me, decorating is a slow process. I've had pieces of art sitting around for weeks now and couldn't decide where to put them. Part of it is that for me to feel creative, I have to be relaxed. If I am distracted by the basics of life and organizing, it's hard for me to make creative decisions. But I am finally organized to the point where I feel ready to get decorating. It also helped to have another set of eyes to bounce ideas off of.

The picture above is of the eating area in our kitchen. We looked on various decorating blogs and through many magazines, until I got an idea of what I wanted for curtains. In the past, I have shied away from any patterns and been drawn towards only solid colors. But now I am starting to realize that I don't mind patterns in moderation. My sisters and I love to look at decorating magazines from the 80's and howl at a floral couch with dark floral wall paper behind it and and floral curtains and checked throw pillows and a patterned carpet. You almost feel dizzy looking at it. That is what I've tried to avoid.

I plan on still doing solid curtains for our living room, since there are three windows needing curtains and six patterned curtains would be too much for my taste. But for the dining area, I felt like a subtle pattern would compliment the space well since I have no other patterns around.

Here's a closer-up photo to give you a better idea of what the fabric looks like.
(Note, I haven't sewed these curtains yet, I just picked up the fabric today, but stuck them up to see how they'd look.)

Robyn also helped me design this little nook here. It is one of the first things you see when you walk in the door. I had this table in the living room, but she put it there with the pot and the flowers to see how I'd like it. I loved it. We found this chalk board and World Market. I had been looking for one to help me make sure I always plan my meals.

Robyn also helped me arrange this shelf and the painting, as well as the other painting you see in the dining area.

She printed out these prints for me and helped me arrange them in the hall:

The fireplace mantel is a work in progress. I keep changing my mind about what picture I want above it. I may end up with this one but change the matte to white. Teal does not work well in my living room. Down the road, I want the mantel white and I want to cover up the purple tile with white wood (Robyn was showing me a do-it-yourself cheap blog idea about how to do it.) But that is down the road. For now, it's not terrible.

Below are some throw pillows that Robyn made for me. I was having a hard time finding the right colors to go with the orange hue in the leather. We found placemats at World market for $3 each. Robyn cut open a small seam, we stuffed it with stuffing and sewed them back together. I love them!

I wanted to add more green to the room, so I found some greenery and this vase on sale at Jo-ann's. I have always loved green so it makes me so happy every time I look at this!

Here's my advice about decorating: if you are insecure about your ability to decorate, don't shy away from copying others' ideas from magazines and blogs, especially at first. Find pictures of what you like, and then try to incorporate those ideas into your home. Visit Goodwill and flea markets and find items you can spray paint to look like Pottery Barn items. Once you start getting comfortable with your own style, you will move away from copying others' ideas into making up your own, but that takes time. Certain pictures will give you a good feeling but you might not know why at first. The more pictures you find that you like, the more you will begin to understand about what you are drawn to. You may start to notice that all the pictures you like have a lot of white in them, or maybe they all incorporate light blue yellow, or maybe they all have accents of red.

Also, take your time decorating. Don't go on a one-day spree and buy a ton of stuff. Do it little by little. The reason I am giving this advice is because I'm not the kind of person who just whips up amazing rooms and I have no idea how I did it. It takes me a lot of time and effort and mistakes before I am happy with the end result.


Elizabeth said...

I LOVE all the decorations and colors! The house looks just lovely. I guess I need Robyn to come to our house too to help! Next time she's out your way, we'll have to see if she can stop by here too. She wouldn't have had to come THAT far out of the way. ;-)

Grace Halsey said...

Everything looks beautiful! I love the chalkboard in the dining room idea.

Mary Anne said...

Everything looks so great, Les! Wow! I hope you post more pictures of your new house soon... I am so curious to see it!

You and Robyn sure have the decorating thing down. I don't trust my decorating abilities, but I had one idea when I was looking at your pictures. I think some tall things on your mantle (tall vase with pussy willows or something) would look really good on one or both sides of the picture. I've heard decorators say that spaces like that often need "height" or tall things to fill them...just a thought!