Category Archives: Style

Fall Fun

As I am sure you have already noticed, I’ve decided I need to take a step back from my blog and re-examine some things.  In the meantime, I had been trying to get this post on another decorating site as a guest blogger but it fell through so here it is for your reading pleasure…

Fall is in full swing and this is by-far my favorite season! My only fall decorating tradition is for Halloween and I definitely look forward to it each year!

Here is just a peak at my decorating for last year’s Halloween party:

I really love getting ready for my annual Halloween party and I’m debating whether or not to add to my decorating this year.

My favorite source for Halloween decorations is Oriental Trading Company. I have found that they have amazing prices and a huge selection. Unfortunately, it looks like OTC has a much smaller selection this year. No worries, I have some other great sources. I think that the most bang for your buck is to purchase some sort of wall covering. I have used a wall covering that looks like peeling plaster. Using a wall covering really helps to set the mood and/or theme of the party.

Another low-cost item that I recommend is a bag of spider webs. You can use these everywhere! I like to put them on the table around serving dishes or the punch bowl. For some extra fright you could add some plastic spiders.

In looking for inspiration for my Halloween decorating this year, I ran across some great ideas:

An elegant Halloween table-scape as only Martha can do.

A fun Martha Halloween craft.

I think I might actual try this great craft.

Here are the links for the folded paper Halloween decorations and for the string spiderweb.

As for me, I think I’ve decided on some extra Halloween decorations this year. I can’t wait to show everyone my final decorated apartment!

I have already started on some of my decorations. Using the great coffee filter flowers I showed you earlier this month. I decided to take the same idea and make more gothic looking flowers. Here’s what I ended up with:

To help get you in the Halloween spirit, here are some more pictures of last year’s haunted hotel Halloween decorations.

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Looking for Inspiration

Yesterday was Day 3 of Apartment Therapy’s 20/20 Home Cure. Maxwell talks about looking for inspiration to help find your style and ideas for your own home. Definitely not a new idea on Fabulous in Four-Hundred Square Feet:

Fashionable, Frugal and Fabulous!

While reading my many favorite design blogs, I ran across this amazing decorating ideas at loving.living.small.

Using the dust bags that come with you favorite designer bags, this creative blogger made affordable and fashionable decor.

By simply framing some handbag dustbags, you can create unique and budget-friendly art.

I’m always looking for ways to create affordable and unique art – what have you done?

[Photos and ideas from loving.living.small]

Wishful Wednesday

I wish…

…I was in Germany this fall and had enjoyed Oktoberfest!

While I can’t be traveling the globe right now, Apartment Therapy offers some great ideas for decorating with maps. I really enjoy decorating with found objects from travels. While studying in Brussels, Belgium, I saved maps from the various cities I visited. Using some empty cans (from almonds, coffee, etc.), I made functional art with my own maps.

For a while, I also had some of these maps as a framed collage.

Lastly, I’m sure I have already shown you all my wall of art that I have collected on my travels. Each piece is unique and from a local artisan (not a gallery).

How do you incorporate your travels, domestic or international, into your own decor?

Fall into the weekend

I’ve been seeing and reading so many articles about getting ready for fall, making your home feel like fall, fall decor etc. I’ve never really changed up much around my home for the seasons in the past but am considering taking a look at it this year. Here are some of my favorite ideas for fall:

  • Of course Martha Stewart changes up her decor for fall. Here she share some crafty ideas for fall and Halloween.
  • Family Circle has some great, and super simple, ways to add a touch of fall to your home.
  • Better Homes & Gardens does a before and after autumn-inspired living room.
  • Nesting Place blog had a Fall Mantel Party with some beautiful fall inspired decorating ideas.
  • Thrifty Decor Chick has some great ideas for giving your home a warm fall glow with candles.
  • I absolutely love the turquoise and red color palette used by Room Remix’s.
  • A great idea to approaching fall inspired decor is to break it down into various elements. belle maison looks at some affordable fall elements you can add to your space.

What are your plans for fall? Do you typically decorate for the seasons? Will you be incorporating fall into your home this season and if so, how?

Most importantly, have a wonderful weekend!

Reuse, Recycle…Capital Home Show Recap

As you already know, I went to the Capital Home Show at the Dulles Expo this past Saturday. This was my first experience at any sort of home show so I didn’t have any real expectations.

We got to the home show around noon and spent maybe a total of an hour and a half or two hours browsing the two buildings. It was quite the hodge podge of exhibitors – everything from flooring, to remodeling, to microdermabrasion to purses and jewelry – definitely unexpected. The exhibitors seemed to be geared towards home remodeling and big ticket items which was a bit disappointing for me as I was hoping for more interior decorating and low-budget solutions, but again I had no idea what to expect. Another minor disappointment was that most of the decorators that were there were from the Virginia area – I don’t think I met any from D.C. or Maryland.

My favorite part of the home show was the Habitat for Humanity ReStore display.

Habitat’s ReStore resale outlets sell reusable and surplus building materials to the public
While every ReStore is a little different, most focus on home improvement goods like furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances.

ReStores accept donated goods which are sold to the general public at a fraction of the retail price. The proceeds help local Habitat affiliates fund the construction of Habitat homes within their communities. (From: http://www.habitat.org/env/restores.aspx)

The displays kept in theme with ReStore’s of reusing and recycling materials. Here are some pictures from my favorite display – Urban Chic.

The designer said that this space was designed with the young woman living in Ballston, VA in mind. Approximately 90% of the items in the display are from ReStore. The chairs are adorable! They are from ReStore but have been reupholstered using only a glue gun and a staple gun.

These great shelves are meant from the fronts of cabinets.

This side table was my favorite part of the display. Believe it or not it is made from one of those gaudy old brass chandeliers. While I think I am pretty creative, I don’t know if I would’ve ever thought of this. I love it!

So there you have it – my first home show experience. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Monday Mall

As promised, here is today’s late edition of “Monday Mall”. Today’s theme, like my life, is hodge podge.

Clothing Wardrobe – $50

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/fuo/1976824446.html

Tray End Table – $45

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/fuo/1976826270.html

Wall Art – $10

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/fuo/1976721500.html

If you would like your Craigslist item to be posted, just e-mail me the link to your item. All items must be under $50 and include a photo.

It’s your turn to speak..

While I do love talking about my own projects, I’d really love to hear from all of you out in the web-world.

What would you like to discuss?

Do you have a project or idea you want to share?

Just “Comment” on this post or send me your ideas via the “Contact Me” page.

I look forward to hearing from you all.

Two weeks of freedom!

I had my last day as a “Research Analyst” on Friday, September 10th. My first day working as a “Fed” (Federal Government Employee) isn’t until September 27th. This means I have two full weeks of NO WORK!

I can’t remember a time, since I’ve been able to work at 15 years-old, when I had two weeks with absolutely no work and no obligations. It’s beyond amazing. I’m a few days in and still loving it. I’ve decided to use this time for a few different things:

  • Fitness. In the last year, with my health finally in check, my workout schedule has been sporadic. I’ve discovered that I really enjoy yoga. I hope to use the next two weeks to get into more of a routine with my physical fitness.
  • Crafts. I have lots of half-started projects that I would either like to finish or get much further on.
  • Decorating. I’d like to finish-up my office area decorating and organization and then move on to my closet.
  • Learning to build a Web Site. I would like to take this blog to another level, but don’t have the technical know-how. With the help of the library, a tech savvy friend, online tutorials and a lot of patience, I hope to learn a bit more about web design.
  • Getting ready for my job. I need suits. My previous job had no dress code – literally. I’m used to wearing jeans and a t-shirt to work. This will go along with cleaning out, organizing and styling my closet as I will need to go through my clothes to determine what work clothes I need to purchase.
  • Dotting my “i”s and crossing my “t”s. I haven’t been eating the best lately. This is entirely due to laziness. The last thing I want to do when I get home from work is cook a meal. This needs to stop. I need to figure out what steps to take in order to make cooking more enjoyable and easier. I also want to make sure I at least start this new portion of my life with as much organization as possible.

I could ramble on and on about how amazing these two weeks will be and how much I have grown and changed in the past year, but I won’t.

The weather is gorgeous in D.C. and I hope it is where ever you are as well. Have a great Tuesday and don’t forget to e-mail me your space redecoration pictures!

My cat, Lola, enjoying the sun and fresh air on my newly recovered chair.

Drum roll please…

Tada! My finished living room – post redecoration. As I am sure I have said before, I am completely in love with the new space. On Friday, I showed you the design board I pulled together while deciding how to redecorate my space. Now, you will finally get to see what my new space looks like!

What do you think?

In regards to budget, you can find the shopping list of everything in this space here. While this total seems high, most of these items were purchased before the redecoration. My redecoration purchases were most of the items under “Living Room Redecoration”; I was able to redecorate it for about $250. My most expensive purchase was the area rug and was well worth it. I got the rug for an amazing price; it is also very durable and really makes the space.

Now it is time for you to share your space redecorations! E-mail me photos of your space. They can be before and after or just the final space. If you are in the process of redecorating and want some tips, e-mail me those too!

Redecorating My Living Room – Design Dissection: Step 5

Now that I know what I am working with (Step 1), have gotten rid of any clutter (Step 2), found my design inspiration (Step 3) and had a great time shopping (Step 4), its time for me to share with you my final living room!

I am a very visual person, and for me to feel confident about my decisions I like to see them all together first. This helps me identify if there is something missing (ie. a color, feeling, not enough or too much of a style, etc.) or if something just doesn’t fit. Here is the design board I put together:

  1. It is almost embarrassing to admit, but in the 3+ years I have lived here I have not yet put up any sort of window treatments. While the vertical blinds already installed serve their practical purpose, I also think they make the space a bit less warm. With my relatively new sewing machine, I still seem to have quite the crafter’s bug; therefore, I clearly had to make my curtains. To be budget savvy, I purchased sheer curtains from World Market and modified them. I wanted the curtains to blend but still have a bit of style.
  2. As I have mentioned a few times, I recently made a slipcover for my futon. While this was less expensive than purchasing a new sleeper sofa or having a slipcover custom made, it wasn’t cheap. Therefore, this piece was staying pretty much as is. That helped to determine at least part of my color palette – brown.With the lighter brown used for the futon, I needed to bring in some richer colors to this piece. Being that the futon/couch is such a substantial portion of the space it was important to have a few more brown tones, particularly darker ones, included. I purchased a very inexpensive throw blanket from Marshall’s to do the trick.
  3. While I know it may be a bit taboo, in reality my TV is really the focus of this space. I already owned the TV and TV stand. The stand is on casters so that it can be turned towards my bed. To stay to a smaller budget, I kept this piece as is and decided to work to incorporate the lighter brown.
  4. The IKEA side table that I already owned (in birch) helps in tying in the lighter brown of my TV stand. I decided to keep the table lamp that I already owned since it could work with the pieces I had.
  5. You may recognize this chair in the photos of my living room. That’s because it’s the same chair that, in the design board, has only been modified in color via Photoshop. The old navy blue color just didn’t fit. I have purchased a brown slipcover for this chair in a brown darker than the futon to add darker browns to the space. This was a cost effective decision as I would have loved a new chair but just didn’t want to stretch the budget.
  6. I think that finding images of what you would like your space to look like or feel like is a step too often skipped. The importance of this was clear during my living room redecoration. As I was putting all of the pieces together, something was still missing. I referred to my binder full of print-outs and found that nearly every living room I loved had symmetry; more specifically, each of these spaces had two accent chairs. After purchasing a new desk chair from Craigslist.com, I was able to use the old chair in my living room. What a difference it made!
  7. Possibly my favorite piece! This area rug is about 5 ft X 8 ft and will covers a much more substantial portion of my living space floor than my previous, very undersized, rug. My attempt with the smaller rug was to pull together the blue in the chair with the brown futon. I just don’t think this worked at all for various reasons. Long story short, this rug has various tones of brown and will really help to pull together the various pieces. The rug will also serve to help separate the living space from the other spaces in my apartment and I love the pattern.
  8. I have 2 of these ottomans and love them. They add additional seating and storage and the top allows for them to also serve as a coffee table of sorts. As you clearly see, these are not brown – they are black. Not a huge problem as they aren’t huge pieces and I have also pulled in some other black elements.
  9. To make the various tones of brown work, I needed to ensure that they were repeated in the space. The two solid dark brown pillows I already own and they will stay on the futon. The smaller rectangular pillow will go on the chair to add some lighter tones to it and give some contemporary style. The square pillow with circles will go on the futon/couch.
  10. There are a few things that either I couldn’t reasonably change or didn’t want to change. One of these is my artwork. As I have traveled abroad, I have purchased art from local artists in various countries and cities. These are very special to me and I have wanted them to take center stage to a degree in my decor.Being that these pieces of art are varying sizes and sometimes not standard sizes for U.S. frames, I purchased inexpensive black frames from IKEA and then had custom matting made in appropriate colors. This was much more affordable than having custom framing done for most of them. The black frames make the artwork all look as one composition, but the coordinating matting allows each piece to standout in its own way as they are all unique in style, medium, etc.

And there you have it – my redecorated living room. I absolutely love it!

Redecorating My Living Room – Design Dissection: Step 4

If you’re like me, budget is one of the first things that comes to mind when wanting to take on a project. While I did not have a set $$ amount in mind for my living room redecoration, I wanted to try to redecorate my living room without any big ticket purchases.

For me, it was best to identify if there was anything I felt the space really needed. To get the space and style I want I decided I would need an area rug. Additionally, I needed to do something about the one chair in my living room. My new futon slip-cover is brown and my chair is navy blue.

Overall, I needed to make purchases that would help to bring the pieces I had together. My shopping list was:

  • chair slipcover (or inexpensive new chair)
  • large area rug
  • coordinating and stylish throw pillows
  • window treatments

Even with my shopping list established, I felt I was missing something. To help determine what that ‘something’ was, I saved images of the items I was considering. Along with images of my current furniture, I was able to place items side by side to make the perfect space.

Throughout my shopping my process, I continued to refer to my binder of design inspiration. I wanted to make sure that this time around I was going to establish a style and space that I loved.

You can find a list of my purchases here.

Monday Mall

Happy Labor Day!

Today’s Monday Mall theme is – black & white.

Decorative Black Clock – $40

White IKEA dresser – $20

Black IKEA Futon – $20

White bookcase – $15

If you would like your Craigslist item to be posted, just e-mail me the link to your item. All items must be under $50 and include a photo.

Attention bargain shoppers…!

One of my favorite websites, Uncommongoods.com, is having a “Secret Sale”. I had to take a look and came across 2 great home items I thought I would share.

I thought that this great magnetic organizer would be a wonderful catch-all!

And these wonderful melamine tile pattern plates are just too cute and only $24.99.

Redecorating My Living Room – Design Dissection: Step 1

I hope that you all have enjoyed redecorating your space as I did! I’m just about done with my living room – The final step needs a little bit of help from my boyfriend. I love how my space has been transformed.

As I have with previous projects, I’, going to share with you how I made it to my wonderful final space!

My living room has been a constant work-in-progress. If you remember on of my earlier posts, I at first struggled with my small efficiency/studio looking like one big dorm room. Being that my futon is mobile so to speak, I first tackled that problem by making a slip-cover. While this definitely helped the situation, I still feel that this space has much more potential. Here are some photo of my living room space to remind you just what it looks like.

Step 1 of redecorating just about any space is “Inventory and Survey”.

First, I needed to take stock of what I was working with. Being on a budget, I need to work with most of what I have. Not so easy seeing as in my mind I want this space to look completely different when its done.

So there you have it – this is the inventory of my living room situation pre-redecoration. As you can see it doesn’t look like the prettiest, most stylish or cohesive little space.

Here is my apartment’s floor plan:

As you can see, I’m working with a pretty limited amount of space. Additionally, being that my apartment is an efficiency I will need to focus on defining my living room space.

To start, I identified specific problems with my living room that I would like to fix:

  1. How can I make my living space seem more like a living room? This is a problem I think most studio/efficiency dwellers face. While I embrace that it is all one big room, I still want to make various spaces seem separated and defined.
  2. I want to be just a little more grown up. I took care of the mobile appearance of my futon/couch, but still feel like this space has a just out of college feel. Not that there is anything wrong with that, I just want to have a more sophisticated and pulled together look for this space in particular.
  3. How do I give it some sense of its own style? This is another problem that faces many studio dwellers and even those living in very small apartments. It can be challenging to give a particular room or space a defined style while trying to get the styles of other spaces and rooms to blend.

So many problems, such a small budget….

Wishful Wednesday

I’m a fan of dreaming big. I have a large stash of inspirational images of various spaces that I wish were mine. Here are a few of my dream living rooms:

From: Decorpad.com

From: Decorpad.com

From: Decorpad.com

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

So…..how did it go? Did you enjoy your 5 Step room redecoration? What does your space look like now?

Any plans to redecorate another space?

Any obstacles you still need to overcome?

Please e-mail me photos of your spaces. I’d love to see what everyone has done and I always enjoy sharing ideas!

To be fair, here is a sneak peek at what I have done with my living room redecoration

I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

So…..how did it go? Did you enjoy your 5 Step room redecoration? What does your space look like now?

Any plans to redecorate another space?

Any obstacles you still need to overcome?

Please e-mail me photos of your spaces. I’d love to see what everyone has done and I always enjoy sharing ideas!

To be fair, here is a sneak peek at what I have done with my living room redecoration

Meet Craig…

Craigslist.com that is. My new best friend.

I’ve long loved the look of acrylic chairs. Ever since I saw this photo

I’ve wanted to get one for my desk. At the end of last week I finally found a chair in my price range that would work perfectly!!

Now here is where I need your help – see that ugly mess of wires under my adorable desk? What can I do to help disguise that?

I’ve considered making a skirt for the desk but my favorite part of the desk is the legs so I want to make sure they aren’t hidden. What are your ideas?

Redecorating a Living Room (or any space) – Step 5: Implement!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! With my down time from surgery, I have had plenty of time to work on my living room redecoration and I’m loving the progress!

Step 5 is the most rewarding, and final, step of your redecoration! Now that you have put in all of the hard work it is time to let it shine.

One change that can make a huge difference for $0 is rearranging furniture. I find that it is best to work with a copy or drawing of your floor plan when deciding how to rearrange your space. I recommend cutting out pieces of plain or graph paper for each piece of furniture in the space. You can then place these  cut-outs on the floor plan to see how to best place your furniture.

Now that you have decided where to place things, it is important to keep in mind the design principles I discussed in my earlier posts: balance and symmetry, scale and proportion, rhythm and repetition, focal point and emphasis,  and color, pattern and texture.

Most importantly, have fun and make sure you let yourself and your style shine in the space!