Useful & Beautiful

“If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

-William Morris


My professor mentioned this quote the other week in my History of Architecture class when we were learning about William Morris and I remembered that I had posted it here a while back.

I loved it then and I love it now.  If you don’t love something, don’t buy it.  Furniture or clothes, if you feel that you can’t leave the store without it, then buy it.  I think it’s far better to have a nearly empty room than a room full of meaningless or blah furniture and accessories.

Inspiration Photos

Over the years I have been collecting pictures from magazines of rooms and spaces that I love.  I’ve had an ever growing pile of these magazines filled with post-its.  I’ve finally gotten around to tearing them all out and putting them in a binder.  I have them in these sections:  Living Rooms/  Offices, Kitchens & Dining, Bathrooms, Outdoor Spaces, Gardening.  I also started a reference binder with cleaning and organizational tips that I find in magazines.


Tip of the Day: Take It Slow

I’ve put this quote up before, but it needs repeating:

“Decorating, when not approached as a natural extension of who you really are, can be harmful, especially when it becomes so enslaved to status and fashion that it becomes artificial.  If more people would live honestly, putting the things they love around them, I believe Americans would be far less anxious and disappointed.”

Alexandra Stoddard, as quoted in Nesting: It’s A Chick Thing

Decorating is not something to be done in a hurry nor should it be done by spending a lot of money on meaningless things.  If you take your time and by things that are precious to you, your home will evolve into a lovely place with some great energy.

Another favorite quote which I have posted before:

“Matching is for beginners…”

-Bunny Williams

I love Bunny Williams and I love that quote.  Mix things up.  Bed in a bag sets are nice for your dorm room, but not when you are trying to decorate your home and add your special touch to it.

Tip of the Day: Hanging Artwork

A common mistake that people make is hanging artwork or pictures that are way too small for the wall.  In my opinion, the bigger the better.  One little tiny picture on a large wall is a major no no.

A good rule to follow when hanging pictures is to hang them in odd numbers, 1, 3, 5…  The only exception is 2 which is perfectly fine.

Seaweed print collection from Garnet Hill:

t_detail-2Ok, I know what you are thinking, there are 6 pictures hanging on this wall.  But the arrangement is fine since there are 2 rows and 3 pictures in each.  A collection of prints is always a good idea.

I’m craving these two prints from Garnet Hill as well, I’m thinking about them for my living room.



Pics of more examples to come tomorrow…

Tip of the Day: Get Rid of One Thing

Toss or donate one thing from your house that has negative associations with it.  For example, I like my computer chair but it has negative associations because I bought it because my freshman year roomate had the same one and loved it.  A few months later we had a falling out and I ended up moving out of the room.  I still have the chair and since it has negative associations I should get rid of it.  Bring good energy in to your house and take the negative energy out.

Spring Is Here!

If I lived in a climate where the weather permitted I would leave my windows open yeart round.  It drives me crazy when I go into someone’s home and it is a beautiful, sunny day and the shades are down or the curtains drawn.  Let that sunshine in!  Even if it is not beautiful and sunny outside my shades are always up when it is light and the windows wide open when the weather is nice.  I LOVE SPRING!

This weather makes me want to go to Paris- it is to die for there in the Spring.  Someday in my dream home I am going to build balconies with the curved balustrade railings like they have all over France (and Europe for that matter).  So lovely!






Tip of the day: Pull up those shades, pull back those curtains, turn off the heat or AC and open the windows in your house.  Go buy some lovely plants for your home to help bring Spring into your house.

Grand Plans for My House

I know getting your home decorated and organized can be really frustrating and overwhelming so I wanted to share my room-by-room plans for my house.  When you list out what you need it is a lot easier to walk in to stores like IKEA and leave with what you need, not a bunch of stuff you don’t need (I have done this, I know it is easy to do!).

My House Plans, March 2009:

Master Bath
New Medicine Cabinet
Open Shelving
Sink Hardware: 2 pulls
New bar light
Paint: Hepplewhite Ivory HC- 36 Benjamin Moore
Towel, TP and Door Knob/ Holder
Switch Plate (Outlet & 2 switches)

Master Bedroom
img43mNew Bed- Williams Sonoma Home Westport Bed
Ditch ceiling fan/ get over head light
Floor Mirror
Expedit shelves
Baskets (Knipsa)
Magazine Holders
Container Store boxes
3 Certificate Frames
PB Teen office chair
Drafting Table


71053_pe186283_s3IKEA shoe holder
2 small green boxes
2 big green boxes
Wooden IKEA hangers

Powder Room
Paint Polo Blue 2062-10 Benjamin Moore
Magazine Holder PB Teen
Bar light
2 silver Pulls
TP holder

Living Room
Shades- country curtains 34 1.5 “ and 71 “
DVD baskets IKEA
Side table
Tv stand
Reupholster couches
Foyer Table

Hardware: (13) 3-inch pulls, (6) 1-inch vertical knobs
2 closet knobs
plantation shutters

Dining Room
Overhead light
Round table
Expedit in white

Porch/ Outside

Pine straw
Mynta vase
Window boxes
New house humbers

Whole House

New Switch plates
New door knobs

Of course this isn’t all going to happen at once.  Slowly but surely over the next few months (and years!) it will all come together.

Don’t decorate for the sake of decorating- bring things into your home that you love!  Carefully examine every purchase that you make- do you NEED this for your home?  Is it on my list of things I need for the house?  By asking yourself this you will save yourself money and you won’t end up with lots of things that you don’t need and don’t mean anything to you.

A Little Color Theory- Part 1

My teacher handed this out in one of my Interior Design classes the other week and I wanted to share it with you.  The handout is a copy of a copy with no author on it.  I hate posting something without being able to give credit, but oh well!


Color Guide- A Color Analysis Process Chart: Redefining Spaces with Color

“Remember these simple color facts to visually alter space: dark colors absorb light; light colors reflect light.  Warm colors advance and ‘fill’ space; cool colors recede and are more expansive.

To visually expand space:

-Use light, cool values and limit the number of colors used.  Monochromatic color schemes using various values from one color family are particularly successful.

-Paint all the surfaces in a room the same color and cover bulky furniture with fabrics which matches that color.  Camouflage moldings, unattractive architectural features or awkward windows by painting them the wall color.

-To raise a low ceiling, paint it white or a light tint or the same color as the walls if that color is a light value.  Also keep the floor color light.

-Shiny, reflective walls, floors and ceilings will make a room look larger and increase the amount of light reflectivity.  Mirrors at right angles to a window will provide maximum light reflectance and visually double the space.  Use clear or open work furniture.

-Use plenty of light to expand space.  Wash the walls with down light to soften hard edges and make space seem to expand.

-Dark prints or pattern with a white background will make a room look larger, or use the same small scale print on a light background everywhere.

-Use vertical patterns or floor-to-celing cupboards or bookcases, emphasizing the verticals with paint color to ‘raise’ the ceiling.

-Specify flooring with colored contrasting diagonals to visually create more height.

-Create a three- dimensional perspective design with declining values of a color; paint a scenic mural on one wall or a faux window with an outdoor view.”

New Desk Chair

I am in major need of a new desk chair… I have had the same icky black generic one since Freshman year of college and I hate it.  I am breaking one of my own rules to not keep anything in your home you don’t love.  But I’ve learned in decorating focus on one thing at a time or you will get over whelmed.  I’ve got bigger things on my plate right now, so the chair will have to wait.

Here are some options:

Love this!  Ooh La La Swivel Chair from PB Teen:


PB Teen Swivel Desk Chair:  {I like the white & green}


I first noticed the Jules chair from IKEA because it is my namesake.  It is cute though, in real life it is more of a pale pink.  I think it might get uncomfortable to sit in too long though:


I love Skruvsta from IKEA also, just not the pattern on it.  It was very comfy when I tested it:


The Swivel Desk Chair from PB {yes very similar to the teen version} is already in my wish list {right hand column}:


I think I may like the Montego version better from PB:


Ryden from PB, lovely, simple and on sale:


Sorry Target, I will not be buying this one:


Eerily similar to the PB one (see above).  Swivel Armless Office Chair from Target:


I love the while Bungalow collection from Crate & Barrel:


After all that, I really like the first one, the ooh la la chair from PB teen.