Remember when this look was in style…..

Retro decor


As a designer, I’m often asked by clients and friends about whether a particular color, fabric or materials is in or out of style.  On the surface that might be a hard question to answer because everything that’s in style will eventually go out of style and then most likely come back in style again.  The image above is from the early 70’s and the fabric and styling of that sofa are in demand today.  And the image below, also from the 70’s, is the tulip table and chairs are just as popular today as they were back then.

1970's decor


While styles and trends come and go, there are some design elements that I think fall into the timeless category and will always provide a classic look when decorating.

Want to know what those timeless trends are?

Well, here’s a look at Ten Trends That Won’t Go Out Of Style…


Continue Reading »

What to buy at WalMart.001

I think a lot of people shop Walmart just for kitchen and beauty staples and have never recognized that they also carry some great decorative pieces too.   If you take a look around the store you’ll not only notice stylish containers and dinnerware but there are some nice accent furniture and storage pieces as well.

Whenever I’m at Walmart I browse the aisles looking for what’s new and thought today would be a great day to share FIVE decor pieces I think are worth buying at Walmart.

Happy Shopping!


The Heritage Jar has been one of my favorite jars for several years now.  When I first spotted it at Walmart I think the price was $10 and even though the price has increased a bit to $16.29 it’s still a good value.  The glass is thick and at a one gallon size the jar is one of the most functional and stylish way to store dry goods in the kitchen.

Walmart Gallon Heritage Jar

Heritage Jar in Kitchen

Deal alert:  I just spotted a 2 gallon version of the Heritage Jar at Target for $13.99 which is an even better deal


I love finding a good deal on lampshades and Walmart has a classic drum shades at a great price.  This Better Homes and Garden Black Drum Shade is only $12.97 but has the look and details and higher priced shade.  You can’t go wrong with this!

BHG Black Drum Shade

Black Lampshade


And if you want even more style in your lampshade, I absolutely love this Black and White Cow Lampshade for only $25.00

Black and White Cow Drum shade


If you’re looking for an inexpensive storage ottoman, Walmart has a nice selection to choose from.  This Kent Storage Ottoman is a great piece that pack a lot of style for just $168.17.

Kent Storage Ottoman Bench-solo

Kent Storage Ottoman Bench


And another super chic storage ottoman is the Liverpool Linen Storage Ottoman–$240.18

Liverpool Linen Storage Ottoman


Finding a nice looking bookcase can be challenging.  This BHG Crossmill Bookcase is a great piece and I love the weathered finish and the $199.88 price tag.  It also comes in a version with lower cabinet doors for $109.00

BHG Crossmill Bookcase

Crossmill Bookcase--kitchen


Crossmill Bookcase with Doors



When it comes to organizing, baskets and bins are an essential design element and I especially love bins that have some character and charm to them.  Walmart sells lots of different basket and bin styles but at the top of my list is this Galvanized Bin.  There are two sizes available ($7.47 and $12.44) which means you have a size to fit all your decorating and organizing needs.

Walmart-Galvanized Bin

Galvanized Bins--styled


If you have a favorite decor piece from Walmart, leave me a comment and let me know what it is!





via Well Plated

It’s October and in my book that’s the official start of hot chocolate season.  Since I’m one of those rare birds that don’t drink coffee, hot chocolate is my fall and winter beverage of choice (I’ve even been known to drink a steaming cup in hotter months too because hot chocolate is that good)!

To celebrate hot chocolate season I’ve got SIX SUMPTUOUS HOT CHOCOLATE RECIPES that will have craving one of my favorite drinks!

White Hot Chocolate

     White Hot Chocolate

via Gimme Some Over

S’more Hot Chocolate

S'mores Hot Chocolate

via Minimalist Baker

Pink Velvet Hot Chocolate

Pink Velvet Hot Chocolate

via Sugar & Soul

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

via Baking With Blondie

Confetti Cake Batter White Chocolate Hot Chocolate


via Craving of a Lunatic

Black Cherry Bourbon Hot Chocolate

Black Cherry Bourbon Hot Chocolate

via Sugar & Soul


Enjoy and stay safe if you’re in the path of  hurricane Joaquin!


Design Chat--Decorating Foyers.001

image source unknown

I’m back with another installment of Design Chat.  This time I’m answering a question from Katie regarding her foyer.

“Shelly, I am struggling with how to decorate my foyer.  The space is rather small and once inside the door, the dining room opens up on the right and there is a wall on the left which is about 8 feet long.  I’ve tried different furniture pieces and nothing seems right or is balanced against the dining room opening and  furniture.  Can you give me some tips and ideas on how to decorate a foyer.”  –Katie

I asked Katie a couple of questions to get a better understanding of her space and the image above represents the general layout of Katie’s foyer.


The Design Tips:

Foyers come in all shapes and sizes and can be challenging find the right combination of furniture, wall decor, accessories and lighting to fit the space.  Although challenging, there are a few design guidelines I can share to help Katie and anyone else decorating their foyer:

♦  Foyers often serve as a decorative spaces while at the same time needing to have some functional aspects (drop zone for keys, mail etc.) to the design so keep that in mind when selecting furniture, accessories and lighting.

♦  Select furniture that fits the scale of the space.  Since there is a long wall that you want to place furniture on, select a piece that fills at least 50 to 75% of the wall space.  Small scale furniture on a long wall will look wimpy.

♦  Lighting is always a great addition to any foyer space even if it will be used just for ambient light.  Wall sconces are a nice alternative to tabletop lamps and don’t forget to put your lighting on a dimmer to control the light intensity within the space.

♦  Rugs will help ground your foyer and create a landing spot for guest as they enter and exit your home.

♦  Mirrors are a smart wall decor choice especially if your foyer doesn’t get a lot of natural light.  Mirrors will magnify any light coming into the foyer giving it a brighter appearance.

♦  If the foyer is a main entrance and exit point for the home and there is room for seating, a chair or two flanking a console table or cabinet is a nice addition. Chairs ccreate an additional layer of design, color and pattern.

♦  If the overall foyer space lacks architectural details (chair rail, wainscoting) consider wallpaper, a paint treatment or decorative molding to add interest to the wall and serve as a backdrop to your furniture and decor.

The Inspiration: 

Furniture with artistic details like this cabinet will add a lot of drama to a foyer.  And notice the accessories–although they are not symmetrical, the groupings on each side of the cabinet balance each other.

Foyer Table


Open console tables keep a small foyer from feeling over-crowded and the space under the table is ideal for a bench or ottomans which can also be used for additional seating in other parts of the home.  The size of the artwork is proportionate to the size of the table and the lamps are in scale with the overall arrangement.

Foyer Table2


Baskets under a console table provide the perfect spot to drop gloves, shoes or even a handbag.  And the texture it provides is an added bonus.



Another alternative to a table or cabinet in the foyer is a bench.  A bench creates a cozy feel and can function as a spot to place bags upon entering the house.

Foyer 7


The Solution:  

So for Katie, here’s the recommendation for her foyer:

♦  fill the narrow wall space near the door with a grouping of three art pieces

♦  create a furniture and decor vignette on the long wall

♦  add an area rug for color, pattern and softness

Design Chat--Decorating Foyers.002

image source unknown

If you are challenged with decorating your foyer, I hope these tips help.

If you have a design challenge, leave a question/comment and I’ll answer your challenge in a future edition of Design Chat.


October Inspiration Notebook.001

October Inspiration Notebook.002


Decorating with typography letters can be a lot of fun.  As this craft turned decorative piece has gained popularity, you started seeing lots of designer incorporating letters into chic wall decor statements.  Now typography letters are being used in many different applications not only because they add a personal touch to decor but also because they are one of most budget-friendly accessory items you can buy.

Here’s a round-up of some of my favorite typography letters and inspiring images on how they can be used to decorate.

The Product…

Typography Letters.001

Bronze Magnet Letter / Gold Resin Letter / Galvanized Metal LetterPaper Mache Letter / Studded Burlap Letter / Monogram Letter / Chalk Letter

The Inspiration…

A monogram hanging on a front door is such a classic way to welcome guest.  I love the look of this berry covered letter, especially for the holidays.

Typography letter1

Finding good wall decor for a kitchen can sometimes be a challenge.  You can use letters to make a custom wall piece that’s perfect for your home.

tip:  words perfect for a kitchen:  Yum, Savor, Gather, Diner

Typography Letter2


If you’re looking for something different to dress your door during the holidays, consider using letters to create a holiday sentiment.  Cover the letters with green felt, moss or even a coat of spray paint to coordinate it with your holiday decor.

tip:  holiday words to consider:  Noel, HoHoHo, Merry

Typography Letters3


You can easily update a traditional wreath with a typography letter.

Typography letter4


Use letters to create a bold welcoming statement in your foyer.  Such a fun and unexpected touch.

design tip:  when hung vertically, the letters/word can make low ceiling feel taller
Typography letters5

One of my favorite spaces for typography letters is in a nursery or kids room.  I love the look of this collection using different fonts of the same initial.  It’s artist and whimsical at the same time.

design tip:  use different size letters and letters in different finishes to create this eclectic feel

Typography letters 6


The tops of bookcase or shelves is a great spot for an oversized letter.  Leaning or hanging on the wall, the letter adds depth and dimension to any vignette.

Typography Letters 7


Typography letters are a natural for bookshelves and add visual movement within the overall arrangement.

design tip: have fun with the font style and color so that the letters make a statement amongst all the books

Typography Letters8


Typography letters come in lots of different sizes and lots of different materials so even the smaller letters can be used in a fun way like this cake topper.

Typography Letters9


I’m a fan of typography letters…how about U?


One of the best ways to learn about photography styling is to study the portfolio of professional photographers.  Recently I came across the photography work of Alyssa Rosenheck and it stopped me in the tracks.  Alyssa is a Nashville based Interior & Lifestyle Photographer that captures the beauty and intimate details of interiors, lifestyle and brands.  Her work has been featured in Rue Magazine, Elle Decor and Better Home and Garden amongst other well-known publications.

Check out some of my favorite images from here portfolio and view her full portfolio here.

Chad James2

Alyssa Rosenheck4

Alyssa Rosenheck11

Alyssa Rosenheck8

Alyssa Rosenheck12

Alyssa Rosenheck1

Alyssa Rosenheck6

Alyssa Rosenheck3

Alyssa Rosenheck5

Alyssa Rosenheck10

Alyssa Rosenheck7

Alyssa Rosenheck--Interior Photographer

After spending a good amount of time looking through her work and studying every detail of the photos,  I came away with a few things that I know will help me become a better photographer.  I wanted to share them with you in case you want to up your photography game too!

♦  Perspective is everything.  Not all shots need to be or should be shot straight on.  Slight angles and downward shots can give furniture and accessories a grand feel.

♦  Lighting is everything.  Lighting is one of the things I am challenged with most and I’ve learned (and am still learning) just how critical natural lighting is.  If you have lots of shots you want to take, it might be best to save them all up for a sunny day when you can get the most out for the light streaming into your home.  (note to self–after spending endless hours shooting products on a rainy/cloudy day)

♦  Blurry is beautiful.  Sometimes I find myself fighting with trying to get a super crisp exposure for the entire frame of my photo.  While that might be necessary for some photos, detail shots with blurry backgrounds are just so beautiful and captivating.

♦ Filling the frame.  I struggle a lot with this when I’m shopping small accessory items and find that I have a lot of white/open space at the top of my frame.  The angle in which you shoot a photo and the props you use can help you fill the frame and get that lifestyle impact your want.

Alyssa Rosenheck9

If you have any photography tips, I’d love to hear them so leave me a comment.


all image via Alyssa Rosenheck, all photography tips are mine


Fall Decor


I’ve run across quite a few people who don’t want to decorate for fall because they feel with the Christmas season fast approaching it’s too much work to decorate for a just a month or so.   Decorating for fall doesn’t have to be time-consuming, costly or involve lots of work and the ideas I’m sharing with you today are proof of that.

Just a few fall elements can give your home that warm, fuzzy feel that comes with fall.


Decorating outdoors can sometimes be easier than indoors, especially if you want to use real pumpkins to decorate with.  I love the idea of creating an address maker with your fall decor.  All it takes is vinyl number and a real or faux pumpkin.  If you’re using a real pumpkin, seal the numbers to the pumpkin with a coat of mod podge.  If a faux pumpkin is your choice, mod podge or a coat of spray varnish with make your pumpkin stand up against the weather.

Pumpkin Address Makers


For a three-dimensional look, screw metal address number directly to the outside of the pumpkin

Pumpkin with numbers



Here’s another easy decor item that can be done with a real or faux pumpkin.  Simply create an opening in your pumpkin big enough to fit a glass vase.  File the vase with grocery store flowers and stems from the yard and you’ve got a beautiful centerpiece that can sit on the dining room table, foyer table or coffee table.

Flowers in Pumpkin


I love the look of succulents in pumpkins too!

Succulents in pumpkin



A simple change in the patterns that accent your decor can give your home the feeling of fall.  Plaids instantly create a cozy feeling and visual interest.  And with some many beautiful versions of plaids to choose from, you can easily find colors that fit perfectly with your decor.

Plaid Throw on Chair


Fall Blanket



Like me, I know many of you own glass vases, cloches and jars and decorating with them for fall is as easy as filling them with seasonal items like pinecones, pumpkins, acorns or leaves.

Fall Cloche


Fall Cloche2


Fall Vase



Take a look around your home and pick a few spots where you can change out your everyday art for fall inspired pieces.  And if won’t cost you a thing if you download a few piece of free art. Check out two great sources for free download art below.

Fall Art--Free Download

the tomkatstudio

Free Download Fall Art


Happy decorating!