Can you believe it’s May already! It is my favorite month – not only because it’s my birthday month, but because it ushers in the wonder of spring both outside and inside the home as well. This month’s color theme is: spring pastels in honor of my lifelong obsession with the pastels of tumblr, and the wonderful new florals and tones of spring!
Our first week is all about blush pink and its sultry tones, and how (and why) to include it in your home.
Have you ever had one of those moments where you look back, and it’s like your whole world has just zoomed in or zoomed out a little? My last few weeks have flown by, taking it with me without any control or any sense of reason – but in a good way, I promise. In these last few weeks, I have turned 23, started a time-consuming new job, and planned out several vacations for these next few weeks. It already has been a wild first week of May!
I have always been someone to jump head first into everything I do, but I am hoping this internet space for me writing about my passions and discoveries will not be one of those all-or-nothing things in my life. It is hard for me to really discover how to write consistently and regularly while being all-in in another place in my life. But I will strive! I have a plan, and I promise to do my best to stick with it and make my mark regular. Even while on vacation.
Another thing that has been happening around my household is planning out how to fill our little apartment with furniture. As an interior designer, I am obviously passionate about the home and surrounding yourself with pieces you love, but am very lazy about that in my own little apartment. Recently, though, I have seen potential as I look around, and am starting to get excited about a future where each room has our personal touch on it.
I am starting with our dining room. Now, it will definitely be a while as we save money for these changes, and slowly implement them over time, but possibility always has its spark in creativity, and that makes my brain run away with itself.
There will be no dining table, no dining chairs, no sideboard or credenza in our dining room. We would be able to use it as a place for study groups, for casual meals, to study or work on laptops, maybe for a game night, but all with a more laid back feel. Since we weren’t interested in hosting dinner parties, and we never eat at a dining table, we thought using more casual chairs would fit all of those parameters. A coffee table in the center can still act as a central location to set things on and gather around, and this setup is just a little more formal than our loungey living room.
I started with an indoor-outdoor area rug, which will help hide crumbs and other mess which I am too lazy to clean up right away, and will look good no matter how many feet walk across it. Personally, I love the fringe too – it adds just a little fun. These swivel chairs are comfortable to sit all the way back in, but easy to slide to the front of when grabbing something from the coffee table. And since they are swivel chairs, it’s easy to direct your direction without too much effort. A marble coffee table is the easiest to clean, and the open bottom means I can slide a pouf or organization basket underneath when I want to, but keep the whole spacce feeling open the rest of the time.
I am a big fan of layering coffee tables these days too. For flexibility, a side table that is taller than a coffee table can give you that much more practical space to work with, but it’s just as easy to slide into a corner and out of the way. If you love this as much as I do, a creative live edge side table, a tiled side table, or something a little more glam can help add a little style to a living space without overshadowing a larger, more practical coffee table that you love.
Lately, I have been including the trend of task lighting in place of the traditionally shaped floor or table lamp, and my clients are loving it! Though I recommend them for the practicality of having lighting exactly where you want, my clients love how they look and feel in their space.
You may know the other name of a task lamp – desk lamp. These lamps provide directed light to a specific place on your desk, but can also be the perfect source of light for a favorite reading spot or bedside table. “Task lighting” is the interior designer’s way of explaining how to get enough light for the activities you plan on doing in each room. If you plan on reading or working, you will want different light than if you are just sitting and watching TV or in the kitchen making food. Thinking about what you want your lighting to help you do, will help you create a better environment for whatever you are doing.
It is super easy to fill your living room with soft, romantic light, while still giving enough light to read or work by without straining your eyes. And the best part is you don’t even need to turn your overhead lights on.
My clients not only love this lighting setup but love the trendy way task lamps look in their spaces. There are so many different styles, so it is easy to find one to fit into the feel of your home, and they all look modern and on trend, no matter which style you choose. They come in any finish and color you can imagine, and every style and shape.
Heavy in black, with warm wood tones, rustic leather, and hefty furniture, masculine rooms with dark colors carry a luxe, seductive quality that cannot be beat. My husband loves these deep, dark spaces, and although my aesthetic runs a bit more airy and feminine, I have come to appreciate the amazing aura that they carry.
A dark color carries a heavy weight to it, and since black is the darkest of colors, it weighs the most. In a room, it feels overwhelming without the right balance of warm woods, finishes, and architectural detail.
Neutrals definitely don’t have to be boring – especially bringing texture and interesting materials into your room. One of the brightest neutral elements you can add is leather. Now in most situations, a giant-leather-couch-feel in a room just adds a huge sense of weight, and it becomes a little overwhelming. But in little details, like pillows or a single chair,
Many people have strong opinions on leather, and sometimes it’s just a hate-it-or-love-it situation, but bringing a little leather into your house can add a sense of life and earthy warmth. Real leather ages so beautifully, and hide brings a beautiful texture and mix of natural colors. Leather doesn’t have to look “Southern ranch” either, but can be mixed with other pieces and details to feel completely modern, and can adapt to look bohemian, urban, masculine, or chic.
I did add a cheeky fringe pillow to pay homage to the leather heavy ranch style, but definitely wanted to keep the overall feel relatable and layered, so kept it black instead of the standard camel coloring. A white sheepskin in the back brings the most texture, and that amazing hide in the front adds that incredible color variety, bringing the browns and blacks all together.
Bringing your fabric couch or chair to life, no matter what color it is, is as easy as throwing a leather pillow you love in the corner! And leather pillows have the same benefits as a leather couch – they’re easy to clean, hold up to dog claws, and look better after they’ve been around for a few years.
If you love leather, check out my solution to add a little camel into your gray room in my last post!
Here is the Color of the Week for the first week of April! It was definitely a selfish choice for me to choose neutrals as the theme for April. I just love the calm and relaxing effect that an all neutral palette brings to a room, and that focus it brings to textures and layering.
Gray has been a pretty steady fixture of the interior design world now for a while, so you may have a few gray rooms in your own house. Though the trends are turning to warmer grays and taupes, one of the classiest color combinations out there is gray and camel. Fortunately, bringing camel into your gray room not only is an easy addition, but pushes your “chic” factor to a whole other level.
Contrast is really the most striking element in interior design. Though most people think about black and white in this situation, my favorite contrast is between other neutrals – specifically, cool and warm. The warm tones of camel, and the cool grays offer a perfect contrast to make a space feel slick and put together.
Somewhere between pouring over Tintin comics and that one episode of Trading Spaces where Genevieve Gorder hung a bed from the ceiling, my childhood was filled with books of Morocco and Moroccan architecture (that tile! Those arches!). I still absolutely love the detail, the calming white walls, and how everything goes just so perfectly together.
When I was younger, I was so certain that when I grew up, I would not only spend a lot of my time in the amazing vacation homes there, but my home would reflect my love for Morocco – in its full glory. Though the full on color and glitter I was imagining in my childhood mind is certainly not how I picture my home these days, as I dream about my future home, I would love to bring some large scale Moroccan tile, airy drapery fabrics, and an incredible rug, along with some other accents, into my home.
These days, Moroccan details are found just about everywhere in interior design. Vintage Moroccan rugs, leatherworking, and wedding blankets can be seen on just about every trendy blog and instagram – and I am loving it! No matter what Moroccan details you choose to include in your home, it definitely brings a breath of fresh air, and a new global perspective.
There are definitely some simple things that you can do to add the casual ease of the trendy Moroccan interior design style.
First, throw a moroccan pouf in a corner, in front of a sofa, or slide two under a console table on your wall. Grab this one from Bohemia to bring genuine moroccan feel to your home.
Replace your coffee table with a classy moroccan tray one. This one from Pier 1 jump starts your moroccan decor, and brings amazing detail and wood tone to your space.
Finally, an easy thing to do is use a moroccan wedding blanket – or Handira – as a heavy blanket across your couch or bringing amazing texture to your bed. World Market has this one which you can use as a rug, or a heavy throw.
Next: There are two companies you should go to first for other Moroccan decor – pillows, bedding, and other housewares – to fill in the spaces in your home.
First: Bohemia Design has an amazing collection of blankets and Handira’s, and also, the softest Moroccan slippers you will ever slip on your feet. I go here first if I am looking for a Hammam towel (Turkish bath towel), and their pompom baskets are also adorable.
Second: Tigmi Trading is the place you go for amazing Moroccan rugs and floor pillows. Their rugs, both in neutrals and bright colors, have amazing, heavy texture, and become a perfect feature in your room.
It doesn’t take much to include the light, airy, and romantic atmosphere of Morocco in your home! A few details can go a long way to add the emotion of the cool breeze, raw woods, and amazing shapes in Moroccan architecture and design.
Maybe one day I will get to Morocco – be able to walk the city streets, see the markets, and feel the ocean breeze – but for now, I love to see it trending, and include a little of it in my own home.
Every week, on Monday, I sit down at my desk, in front of my computer, and spend an hour (or more) getting inspired by interior design blogs, recent trends, cool architecture projects, and other pieces of the industry that draw my attention. By starting my week out this way, I end up feeling more motivated in my work and more inspired even by the work that I, myself, am doing. Since sometimes working with clients can take most of the inspiration I have on a long vacation, staying motivated by what I love is definitely an important part of my job. It’s good for me, and it’s good for my clients!
Each month, I choose a color theme, and in my bullet journal, put together a collage each week of that specific week’s inspiration. By choosing things I love, to keep me inspired all week, my work becomes more passionate and focused.
This month, my color theme was green! I loved the trendy photos of green interiors in deep, romantic shades, and bright plants everywhere I turned. I also thought it was hilariously ironic that March’s color is green – for St. Patrick’s Day – anyway!
Let me walk you through the four weeks of inspiration that I found motivating me in my work all month. Photo sources are at the very bottom!
In honor of my post where I practically obsess over the new spring outdoor furniture collections (read that here!), this weeks theme is bringing together some of the outdoor pillows I found on my online shopping spree. I love that being outdoors in the morning is such a peaceful and fresh experience, so I wanted to capture that in the colors and soft patterns.
Outdoor Pillows – Serenity
I love the cool blues and how so much white makes this set feel like a breath of fresh air. I included a little bit of texture, but mostly kept to prints, so overall the set feels smooth and complete. A little bit of text captures the feeling of serenity, with just the right size and font to keep it aligned with the other pillows, and since it is embroidered, it adds just a little bit of shine.
It is so amazing to spend time outside – and making it a little more comfortable and fabulous is definitely worth the effort! Whether it is as simple as rolling up a rug or bringing a throw to lay on the grass (or cement, depending on where you live), to cuddling up on an outdoor sectional with an incredible view, spending time in the fresh air as soon as you wake up starts your day off right, and jump starts your day with a perfect sense of serenity!
Here is my guide to the new Spring 2017 outdoor furniture lineup!
My absolute favorite part of getting into the new interior design spring season is when the outdoor furniture lines come out. Really – I get super excited. The new dining setups, lounge seating, and beautiful photos remind me that perfect weather is right around the corner! Since most of my life I lived in Seattle, the 3 months of sun that we got for pretty much the entire year invited me to spend all of that time out in the fresh air. I really felt the benefits of soaking up the sun and enjoying the rare Seattle blue skies. I would always keep my window open, crawl out on the roof to read, and spread out my summer homework on the patio table. Now that I live in Colorado, the weather is sunny and beautiful a lot of the time! I love taking advantage of spending as much time as I can outside. And one day, when we have bought our own house, making a comfortable and inviting place to spend time outside is one of my number one goals.
Transforming your outdoor space into something special invites everyone to spend more time out in the open air, and in good weather, being outside is still one of my favorite places to be. Though outdoor furniture is definitely considered a luxury, and usually has a higher price point to prove it, it can definitely transform your space through the mere invitation of sitting by the fire pit, or having dinner at your patio table. It is a constant reminder of the potential of spending time outside: the more you love it, the more likely you are to use it.
Another bonus: since it is so early in the season – everything is on sale right now!
“Al Fresco” is an amazing Italian phrase which means “in the open air.” You may have heard this phrase in relation to dining outside specifically – maybe back in 2007 when “Al Fresco dining” was becoming a huge trend – but I love thinking about this idea of turning your lifestyle to the outdoors when the weather turns brighter. Many modern houses have a covered outdoor patio, or place specifically designed for spending time outside. Making this a special place to gather your family, spend time in community, or just enjoy the nice weather will invite you to join that “Al Fresco” lifestyle. Besides, sun is really good for you.
Here are some of my favorite companies, whose new spring lines have unfolded recently. I’ve put some seating areas together, to capture the feel (and show off my favorite pieces) of each of them. I decided to stick with a mint/aqua color scheme throughout all of these, so you could really see the differences between each company, and their amazing furniture pieces.
First off: Article.
Article is a great modern furniture company that specializes in cutting out the middle man to save you money. They also have a flat shipping cost for your whole order no matter where you live in the US and Canada. Their new summer line is definitely focused on materials, bringing you amazing looking washed wood, solid teak, casual steel, and heavy iron. I like how they really focus on making their pieces look like they truly belong outdoors, and they choose to focus on dining furniture, rather than split their efforts between a bunch of different collections and styles.
The brightness of the chairs, and the driftwood look of the main table and work table definitely feel like summer is coming. I also always love to have a little table by my patio table to hold condiments, or just put things on that you don’t want on your main table, but still need to access. An outdoor work table can act as a console table to help serve food buffet style, or keep drinks on, and a knitted pouf brings texture and a laid back feel to the space.