Spring Decor in the Living Room

Mar 30, 2015

You might recall that after Christmas I decided to leave a bit of greenery around the house as "Winter" decor. Having green boughs on the fireplace mantle added instant coziness to our living room and the rustic feel really went with the rest of our decor. But this weekend, I decided it was time to officially say goodbye to Winter and hello to Spring!
This mantle decor is all about DIY. 

These colourful vases were made from glass canisters which were basically just collecting dust on our countertop. I emptied the contents then let the canisters soak in warm sudsy water to loosen up the labels for removal. Once I removed the labels and let the glasses dry, I used  some colourful tape from Target to create these fun & unique patterns on the vases. By no means an award winning DIY project, but it was fun experimenting with the tape and I was happy to repurpose the glass canisters as vases.
The painting is by a local artist and was one of our Christmas gifts.   I hadn't found the perfect home for it just yet so it hasn't been framed, but when Nick brought home this vintage wooden frame, we got an idea.  We used thumbtacks to tack the painting to the wall and then just laid the frame over it, having it lean against the wall and rest on the mantle. Voila! Picture frame problem easily solved.


I'm sure this arrangement will change another dozen or so times before I'm fully satisfied with it; but for now, it's nice to see some colour and playfulness added to this room.  Bring on the sunshine and let's hope it's an early Spring!

Simple Inspirations

Mar 27, 2015

Hey everyone! Excited to be sharing edition 5 of the Simple Inspirations series today. I thought this week I'd give you some inspiration for  home decor projects that you can complete in a weekend. I love changing things up once in a while and these few projects are the perfect way to simply and easily and impact without too much effort.

1. via // add a little oh la la to your bathroom! don't be mistaken, this room is not to be neglected.  take some hints from this bathroom makeover and add a taste of glam through a monogramed shower curtain and a classic black and white flower vase.

2. via // no room for a place for a proper bar? look no further than an elegant and beautifully styled bar cart. as the days start to get warmer and the evenings longer, summer entertaining is on the mind. get a head start by setting up your bar cart now. (bar carts are easy DIY projects too - find a vintage one and give it a fresh coat of paint and some new hardware and you're all set!)

3. via // add house plants! if you're in the same situation as me and Spring is not on the horizon (because everything is still buried under 5 feet of snow!), then just bring Spring to you with the addition of a few house plants. Add a vase of fresh flowers to your desk or kitchen table and you've got an immediate remedy for the winter blues syndrome. :)

4. via // another great way to welcome Spring is to change-out your bed linens, or simply add a few bright and colourful accent pillows. i love how great these green pillows pop against the white and black comforter set.

5. via // re-organize your closet! this is my favourite way to welcome a new season and really gives me the sense of feeling neat and refreshed. set up bins for storage, giveaway and throw out, then start clearing things out. my rule of thumb: if i haven't worn it in the last year, it goes.

Wishing you a lovely & inspiring weekend!

Choosing the Right Paint Colors

Mar 26, 2015

Choosing the right paint color is no easy feat, especially if you're choosing colours for several rooms, or an entire home. While going through the process of picking out the colours for our home, I did a lot of research - reading lots of articles online, pinning as many photos as possible and browsing through my home decor books - to make sure that I was choosing the perfect color. To save you some time (and protect your sanity!), I thought that I would share a few of the tips and tricks that I've learned along the way to help you choose your dream paint colours.


Problem #1: Where to Start?

My favourite place to find paint colour inspiration is on Pinterest. That site is dangerous...the images are endless and if you aren't careful, it can become completely overwhelming. My suggestion to avoid feeling frustrated and becoming discouraged is to create a Pinterest board for the room you're looking to re-paint, and pin any images that you are drawn to, to that board. After a week or so, go back and look at all of the images in the board and analyze them overall. More than likely you'll identify trends and similarities in the images and spaces you've pinned. By pinning the images you're spontaneously drawn to, without giving too much thought to colours, you'll see what type of mood, vibe and aesthetic that you're naturally drawn to. 

When I was imagining the colours for our home, my first thought was definitely not white - but the more I pinned and looked at my pins, the more I realized that I was drawn to neutral/white painted rooms with neutral coloured furniture and, that I liked small doses of colour added through accessories. 

Here are some of my pinned images for the Living Room.
via // via // via



Problem #2: Choosing Coordinating Colours

The thought of choosing coordinating paint colours used to make me nervous. I was afraid they'd never really look harmonious together once the walls were painted - the undertones would be wrong or the hues too bright. Luckily, I discovered paint collections and the "this goes well with" feature - incredible life savers when it comes to coordinating your paints. 

Paint collections are just that, a collection of paint colours that are meant to go together. Basically all brands of paints offer some form of a paint collection. Sherwin Williams for example, has West Elm & Pottery Barn Collections; and Beauti-Tone paints has the Style at Home collection.  This is definitely a comfortable and stress free way to build a cohesive colour scheme for your home, without leaving your home feeling monotonous.

The West Elm Paint Paletter for Sherwin Williams











The second option is the "this goes well with" feature, one of my favourite tools to play around with. If you head on over to the Benjamin Moore color gallery for instance, and choose a colour, the site will automatically suggest other colours that would go well with your chosen colour, more shades of the same colour, and similar colours! I know...you're welcome. :)



Other Tips & Tricks
  • Always go a shade lighter then the colour you've picked to really get the look you're going for.
  • Tape paint swatches to the wall of the room you're painting and size up how the colour looks  throughout the day. The natural lighting can really change the way the colour looks.
  • When in doubt, ask for help. I painted two sample areas on our foyer and had friends and family vote on which colour looked the best.
  • Don't cry over dried paint. Paint is the simplest thing to change up in your decor. It takes a fairly minimal amount of effort and isn't overly expensive. If you change up your colours a few times within a few years, it's really not a big deal.
  • Even though paint CAN easily be changed, if you don't think you'll want to be re-painting your home every other year, then choose colours that are more neutral over colours that are currently trending. Sticking with whites, creams and other lighter colours is probably your best bet. You can add trends through your home decor accessories.

I hope you'll find these helpful! If you have any questions or other suggestions I'd love to hear from you. Happy Painting!

Super Moist Pumpkin & Chocolate Chip Muffins Recipe

Mar 23, 2015

It's been ages since I posted a recipe on here and although I do like to stick to DIY and decorating posts, this recipe is too good not to share. Plus, what's a home without a kitchen that's filled with mouth watering smells from fresh baked goodies?
Last week I was craving pumpkin - (which is a little odd because I normally only cook with pumpkin in the fall) - and more specifically, pumpkin in a delicious baked kind of way. The result? These scrumptious little muffins which I've been enjoying morning, noon and night.

Be sure to let them cool and then eat as many as you'd like. I enjoyed mine paired with a glass of almond milk.

Happy Monday friends! Hope you're week's off to a great start.

Simple Inspirations

Mar 20, 2015

Another Friday is here already! As much as I love the progress towards Spring & Summer, there's a lot going on here at the house that I need to get a move on! Anyone else having trouble getting motivated when snow and sleet is coming down outside and cozying up on the couch to watch Netflix looks so enticing...?

Today's Simple Inspirations are taken from some of my most recent pins. Like to see more? Follow me along on Pinterest (a shameless request!)

1. via // double chocolate zucchini muffins, need i say more? i'm a big fan of healthy breakfast muffins this time of year. i like something hearty, filling and warm and fresh nutritious muffins absolutely fit the bill. i haven't made these yet but they're on my list for this weekend.

2. via // no matter where you are in life, words of wisdom like these rarely go astray.  a little reminder to get out there and take on the world in the best possible way, as YOU!

3. via // a list of Scandinavian trends about the take North America by storm (or so they say!). some are already pretty prominent, but feathers is one i haven't seen much of yet. i'm liking how delicate and fluttery this one looks. it will be fun project to incorporate feathers in my decor - perhaps an accent wall of a feather wall stencil?!

4. via // possibly the prettiest bathroom i ever did see. i think i could spend my days in here. love the mix of elegant gold with rustic white bead-board and cotton striped towels. i see a powder room makeover in my future.

5. via // still collecting inspiration for our master bedroom reno. there's lots about this bedroom that works for me: gold and copper accents, dark accent wall, upholstered headboard, and streamlined night stands. i can definitely see myself enjoying lazy weekend mornings in a room like this.

Sunroom Decor Inspiration

Mar 19, 2015

With Spring (hopefully) right around the corner, I'm eager to make some changes to our sunroom. I've never really had a need, or even a wish, to have a sunroom, but since it came with the house (!), I'd like to make it a relaxing and quiet space for reading, napping, or just sitting and thinking. It's situated directly off of the master, as in you have to walk through the master to access it, so I plan for it to be an exclusive and private extension of the master rather then a public room in the house. You might be wondering how a sunroom will be private and exclusive...well just wait and see!

This is the space we're working with:

Windows
Use tension rods between each window to hang sheer curtains over half of the window, leaving the top portion of the window open to let in lots of light.
via
Walls
Paint walls white. Create a white washed faux brick wall using faux brick paneling and painting it white on the back wall. I'd like to add floating shelves, like in the first photo, for books, plants and display.
via

via
Plants
Unfortunately, I don't have much of a green thumb. But I'm not ready to give up yet so I'll be adding some plants to the sunroom this Spring and holding my breath that the don't end up dying. 
via

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Anyone have any tips or pointers for keeping house plants alive? I would love to hear them!

DIY Jute Wrapped Light Cord

Mar 16, 2015

I hope everyone had a nice weekend!! We are getting bombarded here in Newfoundland with another major snow storm. Just as I was starting to think that Spring might be on it's way, Mother Nature completely changes her mind. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to live in a place that actually experienced the full season of Spring? We go from mountains of snow right into summer (usually some time in July) with a few weeks of wetness and cold in between, which some might be inclined to call Spring, however I really feel that that's a misrepresentation.

As you can tell, I'm really itching for winter to be over! 

Ironically today's DIY is the perfect project to work on during a snow day. Although it takes some time, it involves little concentration so you can easily watch Netflix reruns and work on this DIY at the same time...just how I like to work on all of my projects. 
Supplies:
 - Light cord (mine came with a light fixture I purchased from Home Depot, it included a Chinese lantern type shade which I used as part of another project)

 - Jute (or colored twine)

 - Hot glue gun 

 - Patience ;)

Instructions:
Simply knot the jute at the top of the cord and glue it in place. Wrap the jute tightly around the cord and apply glue every 1/4 inch or so. 

Using black spray paint, I gave the bulb socket a fresh coat of paint to hide a sticker and also to give it a "new" look.

At the moment, I've hung the cord over the curtain rod in the dining room but I plan to eventually hang it from some sort of an extended hook.


Simple Inspirations

Mar 13, 2015

I'm referring to today's Simple Inspirations as inspiring images that make my heart flutter. 

1. via // i've been obsessing over brass and navy in the kitchen for about a year now and this trend is showing no signs of slowing down. to me, this kitchen is visually perfect, herringbone patterned floor, a combination of navy and white cabinetry, beautiful brass accents and lots of natural light.

2. via // ladies...wouldn't you love to display your shoes on this stylish ladder shelf? and then be able to brag that you made the ladder yourself? i know i would! check out the tutorial in the link for instructions.

3. via // another diy - a cute bead clothes hanging rack. i'm all about pretty display storage and these options are great if you're short on closet space. go ahead and display your clothing or shoes stylishly in the hall, living or your bedrooms.

4. via // this photo is from a before/after post so be sure to check out the link to really appreciate the transformation that this space has seen. lovely sleek links, neutral colours and simple storage. i'm sure you've heard it before, but here it is again: sometimes, like in this photo, less is more. a conscious and collected design effort can produce stunning results.

5. via // this photo is from a flat in Sweden (a place close to my heart!). i love scandinavian design but sometimes it can feel a little cold to me. i think by incorporating the tan leather chair, the rug, and the warming light of the lamp, the designer successfully achieved a warming and cozy space. fans of gallery walls should take note of the unique gallery wall layout here, showing that it doesn't have to be a straight forward and centred compilation - try an irregular, out of the box arrangement!

DIY Painted Dresser & Dining Room Additions

Mar 11, 2015

As we hosted our friends & family at get togethers over the holidays, I realized that the dining room really needed a buffet; somewhere to lay dishes, extra drinks and act as a general storage unit for that space.  As a quick solution, we decided to try out an old dresser that we weren't using, and we were a little surprised to find that it actually worked perfectly! The drawers provided good storage and it was the right size for the space, but... it still looked like a dresser.  So once we finally got Christmas organized and put away, and clued up some other outstanding projects, I decided to give our dated dresser a makeover.

I'm so pleased with how this turned out! There's nothing that a little paint can't fix, especially when you have a piece of furniture that is otherwise in good working condition and has good bones (as this one does).

To achieve this look, I removed the hardware and spray painted them gold. I gave the dresser a light sanding and then applied a coat of Rona primer sealer undercoat (this comes in several different brands and is such a life saver when painting over pre-painted and varnished furniture) before applying several coats of the green paint.
I was a little nervous about adding a bold colour to this room as for the most part, it's very neutral with black, whites and creams. But I gave it some more thought and decided that a pop of colour was exactly what the space needed!




To tie the room together and incorporate our new colour, I picked up a beautiful  tablecloth from Target for the dining room table (it's perfect for Spring!),  hung the northern lights painting above the buffet, and added some orange to compliment the green through two candle holders and the Nate Berkus woven tapestry.


Tips for Decorating a Rental

Mar 9, 2015

Happy Monday everyone! During my short break from blogging, I've been able to put together lots of new topics and DIYs to share with you - March is going to be a fun month! First on that list are some ideas and inspirations that you can use to help make your rental feel less like someone else's space, and more like a personal, curated sanctuary intended just for you..
1. Walls  

Obviously the most ideal situation would be to start with fresh paint, of your choosing, on the walls. However, in the instances when that's not an option, fear not, there are still alternatives!

Removable wallpaper. Yes, this does exist! (although I haven't actually tried it myself). Urban Outfitters stocks removable wall paper on their site in lots of fun and trendy prints (nothing like you'd find in your grandparent's basement).

Hang a Tapestry. (or a few yards of your favourite fabric, or a large lightweight rug). If you're looking for less fuss then this option is the way to go. You can easily find a tapestry (like these), some fabric or even curtains to hang on a large bare wall to add some colour, interest and a focal point to your living room or bedroom. Choose something that represents you to help personalize your space.
via
2. Lighting

Again, the best case scenario is that you're able to replace the light fixtures entirely, if they need to be replaced. However, if that's not the case, then there's no need to give up on creating some good lighting.

Countertop Lighting. There are several options available for countertop (or under the cupboard/shelf) lighting. This is a great option because it's super easy to install, is removable, and creates a cozy ambiance. Not to mention it will help brighten your workspace when cooking. Check out some counter top lighting options here, here and here

Lamps. This may seem like an obvious solution but I'm not referring to just a few lamps, I'm talking about lamps in every room, including the bathroom and kitchen! Lamps can create a much warmer and welcoming mood compared to the standard builders grade or fluorescent light fixtures, which you might normally find in a rental. In particular, I love these sconces from Ikea which come with a  plug and therefore don't require any electrical work. Try using them instead of bedside lamps, on either side of a fireplace or above a couch. 
via
3. Furnishings.

Whether you're newly furnishing your rental or working with a collection of hand-me-downs and thrift store finds, making your furniture work in a new space can require some trial and error.

Personalize. Adding a few personal touches to furnishings (new or old) can instantly make them fit better into your space. Try changing out the drawer pulls on a dresser, or wrapping the seat cushion of a couch in a patterned blanket or fabric. If you're purchasing a new couch, I always recommend covering over or replacing the matching pillows that come with the couch; instead, add something that is more YOU.

Makeover.  A fresh coat of paint can give new life to anything. If the colour of your furniture is not really working in your new space, then go ahead and paint it. Not only will it look better, but you'll feel like you have something new as well. Another of my favourite ideas is amping up a bookcase by lining the back inside of the bookcase with wrapping paper (or something similar). Just stick it on using some double sided tape and be prepared to be impressed!
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And there you have it - I hope these tips were helpful. I think the most important thing to remember is that whether renting or owning, your house is a home because it's what you make it to be. Fill it with things and people you love and you will no doubt find it a soothing, relaxing and comforting place that's perfect just for you.