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Decorating Ideas for Small Spaces

4 Nov

So, when I was in college in Boston, I lived in approximately 300 square feet.  My closet was the size of my current shower, and I struggled with decorating ideas.  Another challenge was that my bedroom doubled as my living room, so when people came over, I felt like they were immediately thrown into my private space.  But, I didn’t have a lot of choice because it was the only room I had.

Well, a girl I know, Lizzie (she’s in Chicago), recently had her home showcased in Country Living.  In the article, she debunks old myths about the rules for decorating small spaces. 

Old Rule: White walls are a must when square footage is limited.

New Rule: Dark colors create the illusion of depth in small rooms.

Old Rule: Cramped quarters call for clean lines.

New Rule: Ornate, embellished details give even the tightest spots a sense of grandeur.

Old Rule: Hidden storage is key to keeping a tiny house tidy.

New Rule: Don’t waste space; kill two birds with one stone.

Old Rule: Have a guest room double as an office or den.

New Rule: Turn the room into a single indulgence, like a walk-in closet.


Old Rule: Small places require small furniture.

New Rule: Bitsy is busy. Instead, opt for fewer, larger pieces.

So, what are some design rules you break?

Dining Inspiration

3 Nov

Tomorrow I’m getting a dining table that I’ve only seen a dimly lit photo of while it was upside down in a storage shed.  Why?  Well, it’s free, and it will be delivered to my house.  What I did notice about it in the photo was that it had intricate legs and is the perfect shade, so I know I can make it work.  I’ve been lusting after a farmhouse table, and it’s not exactly that, but I think the chairs that I pick to go with it can make a huge difference. 

My latest dining obsession is the use of a bench.  But, probably not what you’re thinking of.  I don’t love the traditional backless benches because I don’t think they’re very comfortable.   I would love to have something like this on one side:

But, picture it with a pretty fabric seating cushion.  Then, for the remaining seats, I want these type of chairs, each with a different fabric for the seat:


I tried to find a complete look to show you what I’m going for, but I had a really hard time finding pictures!  The best I could do is a picture I already showed you in a previous post, but it works here too:


Sean thinks that the bench is a bad idea because people will have a hard time getting in and out.  I argued that we don’t have people over for dinner all that often, so if twice a year, someone has to say “excuse me” while they push their bench back, I think that’s ok.  Not to mention, I didn’t envision seating strangers there together, so I don’t think it would be a big deal.  What do you think?

Chunky Floor Mirror

19 Oct

I’ve wanted a chunky floor mirror for years, but I’ve never been willing to shell out the dough to buy one.  I originally saw them at Crate and Barrel, but their hefty price tag deterred me. Then, Ikea started carrying them for $99.  I put them on our universal wedding registry on Amazon, but no one was interested.  So, I still want one.  But, I’m actually glad that no one bought it for us because I recently saw something way better than any store-bought mirror could be:

(I know, the table and chairs are gorgeous.  I want them too, but focus on that mirror)

You can see it a little better here:

I read that they made them from an old weathered pallet and old closet mirrors.  The search was on.  I too wanted my own weathered pallet chunky mirror.  And, when I say the search was on, it was really me whining to Sean that I sure wish that some old wood would show up on our doorstep.

Well, it practically did.  Yesterday we were out for a walk with our dogs, and our neighbor was getting rid of some wood that would be perfect for this very project.  We were close to home (about 3 blocks), and I offered to go get the car so Sean didn’t have to carry it all the way home, but he picked them up and carted them back.  I know he thinks I’m crazy when I find random things in the neighborhood that I make him carry down the street, but they always turn out cute, so hopefully he realizes I do have a vision.  I’m not sure what my neighbors think, but oh well.

So, the wood is currently sitting in our garage, but as soon as I finish this project, I’ll show you how it all came together!

Inspired by Doilies

6 Oct

I came across Etsy Seller, Tuuni and now I’m loving the idea of using vintage doilies to dress up pillows and storage bins.

It also reminded me of the bags that Brooke posted a couple of days ago. 

And, it doesn’t seem like it would be hard to make them on your own if you had some vintage doilies.  What would you make?

Coat Rack for the New Yorkers (or other small space dwellers)

4 Oct

So, I’ve never lived in New York, but I did live in Boston.  It should be illegal to charge what I paid for the 300 square foot shoebox I called home during my junior and senior year of college.  I did live on a major street (Comm. Ave), but still!  So what did I get for all that money?  Well, I had to see my exhibitionist neighbor cruise around his apartment naked, listen to a tone-deaf neighbor learn to play the saxophone, and laugh at my next door neighbor’s fights with her Jersey boyfriend.  They reminded me of Christopher and Adriana from the Sopranos.  I don’t know what their names were, but I swear it sounded just like those two. 

Anyway, what I missed most of all in that small space was the lack of room for clothes.  Well, I came across this DIY coat rack on Sincerely, Cecelia that can be used in place of the standing ones:


Here’s how you do it:


  • fallen branch
  • 2 equal lengths of chain link (measure from ceiling to approximate hanging height and multiply by two to get the length of each chain)
  • 2 eye hooks
  • 2 screw anchors
  • drill
  • hammer
  • spray paint

step 1: paint the branch
Choose a sturdy, straight branch with a few knots to give it an interesting shape and make sure the hook of a hanger can fit around the diameter of the branch. let the branch dry out completely, then, spray paint it whatever color you choose.

step 2: secure eye hooks in ceiling
Anchor two ceiling hooks 1 foot from the wall, to ensure enough space for coats to hang.  The distance between each hook will depend on the length of the branch.  Measure in about 6 inches from the tip of each end of the branch for balance. Drill a hole in the ceiling, tap in a screw anchor with a hammer, then screw in the eye hooks.

step 3: hang the finished branch
Slip both ends of one length of chain link onto an eye hook to create a loop.  Repeat for the other eye hook. the length of chain will depend on ceiling height, but the branch should rest about 5 feet or so above the floor.  Finish by sliding the branch through the loops.  For extra stability, nail the chain to the branch.

If you wanted to do this on a smaller scale, maybe it could be done in a bathroom to hang jewelry from??

Animal Love

29 Sep

I have a minor love for animal figurines, and I know exactly when it started.  Damn you wedding planning.  Not sure what I’m talking about?  Let me show you:

Yes, those are just some of the centerpieces from our wedding.  I slowly gathered all the animal figurines I could find from Goodwill.  I got pretty lucky and found really cute stuff, all for about a dollar.  But the one thing I never found that I wanted was an owl.  Or rather, I found one but I wasn’t willing to spend the money on it.  Well, now I found something I feel like I really need.  These guys:


Or maybe these guys:


Or this one:


And of course I want the lamp in this room:


Anyone else in love with ceramic animals?

Shelf Improvement

28 Sep

Ha, I realized after I chose that title that it looks strikingly familiar to “self improvement”, that was totally unintended.  Anyway, so I talked about how I wanted to do a little something to our shelves.  Most of you said that you liked a solid vs. a print.  And, I agreed.  I’m saving the print for our dining room.

So, Sean and I headed to Lowes to pick out some paint.  I knew I wanted something in a blue/green shade, but as you know picking out paint colors can take some time.  I asked Sean what he thought, and he rattled off a few names he thought were funny.  Not helpful.  So I sent him to look at the power tools while I perused the paint colors.  Eventually I decided on one called Spruce Pine.  Don’t be mislead, it’s not what Iwould consider spruce or pine at all.  But, I’ll let you decide for yourself.

Here they are bare:

And with some decorations:

I almost didn’t post this because I feel like the pictures don’t show the true color and I think it looks so much better in person, but I couldn’t capture it.  I tried taking pictures at different times of  the day but didn’t get any better results.  The flash messed everything up.  So, those pictures represent the basic way it looks.  Now if only I could take better pictures.

Shelf Decor

19 Sep

I have these shelves in my living room:

I feel like they need a little life.  I’ve been searching for inspiration, and I really like the way it looks when the interior is painted a different color from the exterior shelves, like this:



But, I’ve been also thinking about doing a pattern.  Maybe something like this:





I came across this tutorial where I could try out the pattern without truly committing to see if it’s for me.


All you need is cardboard, knife, paper and tape.  Read about it here.

So what do you think?  Do you like the pattern or just a paint color best?

Frame Wall

7 Sep

Ok, so remember when I was talking about the wallpaper for our dining room?  Well, that’s not all I want to do in there.  Yes, I eventually want to get furniture, but even more than that, I really want to do a frame wall on the wall with the wallpaper.  I’ve been obsessed with this idea for some time, but never knew exactly which wall should be the frame wall.  We have a great wall in our bedroom where it would work, but I felt like it wouldn’t get enough foot traffic to make it worth it.  So, it was decided that the frame wall would be in our dining room.  Here’s my latest inspiration:






I also really love the idea of a frame wall in the hallway.


 Sigh.  Now to gather the frames and pictures…

Bulk Day

6 Sep

So, tomorrow is bulk pickup day in our neighborhood.  Luckily, I got back in town today from Minneapolis (more on that in a future post) so that I could take part; both in the getting rid of stuff and also picking up stuff.  Sean was totally embarrassed and didn’t want to take part, but there was some awesome stuff out in our neighborhood for free.  I loaded the dogs up because they were so excited I was back in town and started to freak out as soon as I picked up my car keys, so they got to come with me.  If you have dogs, do they get like that too?

Anyway, I saw some outdoor furniture and was super excited.  I’ve been wanting some for a while now since we have a great deck, but it’s so expensive, and if I’m going to spend money on furniture right now, it’s going to be for in our house.  So originally there were six chairs with the set, but by the time I got there, only 2 remained. 

Super cute, right?  And best of all FREE.  They had a matching table too, but it was sort of broken so I left it behind. 

And, speaking of our deck, last week Sean and I were barbecuing and guess what we saw?

(don’t mind the leaves)

A snake!!  I was terrified of it, but I really had to get outside so that I could take a picture of it.  It was brightly colored which I always assumed meant it was super poisonous.  But, I learned that it’s some type of garter snake and not at all dangerous.  Sadly, he eats frogs and toads which I want around our yard to eat the mosquitos. 

So, back to bulk pick up, are you embarrassed like Sean to pick up stuff for free, or if it’s worth it would you grab some?


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