Archive for the ‘Design Tips’ Category

Have you ever heard the saying, ‘decorating is in the details?’  I believe that the design details within your decor are the that bring it to life and give your home its personality.  Take decorative bowls for instance.  They look good on coffee tables, console tables, on bookshelves and just about any other place you put them.

The other day I was shuffling some of my accessories around and put a decorative bowl on the coffee table and one on the console table in the dining area.  The bowls looked great where they were but the question of what to put in them popped up.  After rummaging through my stash of accessories and crafts, I came up with a few options.  Here’s what you might consider putting in a decorative bowl.


Scrabble Pieces

I’ve bought a couple of old scrabble games at thrift stores, planning to use the tiles in other projects.  Since that hasn’t happened, I decided to use them as decor and placed them in a beautiful blue and white bowl I have.  The tiles add an eclectic and fun detail to the coffee table.

Coffee Table2


I’ve got two baskets filled with pinecones that travelled with us all the way from Seattle when we moved 15 years ago.  They add a rustic and wintry feel to my decor this time of year and look really great piled up in a vintage brass bowl.

Coffee Table4


When my store was open, these alphabet balls were a bigger seller.  In the store I displayed them under a glass cloche or in a lidded glass jar but for my decor, I love them in this gold pedestal bowl I found at Hobby Lobby around Christmas.  The balls are whimsical but still have a classic vibe to them.

Coffee Table5


Here’s another look I created for my coffee table last week using Dominos in a gold leaf bowl.  What I like most is the contrast of the black and white dominos against the gold bowl and animal print tray.  The dominos also add a playful feel to the table.

Coffee Table Dominos

If you’re looking for something to put in the decorative bowls in your home, these are just a few ideas. You could also try one of these decorative accessories…

DICE or VINTAGE POOL BALLS ( This set of dice is a great price and I just bought a set for myself)



MARBLES (Etsy is a great source for really unique vintage marbles)



OLD BOOK PAGES (hit up your favorite thrift store)

Book Pages


MOSS BALLS (check out this great source of all types of unique bowl fillers)

Moss Balls

Of course you know I’m going to ask?  What do you fill your decorative bowls with?

Shelly Signature

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Design Style.001

I taught a design workshop right before Christmas that focused on seasonal décor and fashion.  During the workshop I presented decorating tips and design ideas to inspire those in attendance with their design and personal style.  As I look back on the workshop I recognize that the ideas presented ran the gamment from casual and country to chic and traditional.  It’s always my goal to present a range of ideas that anyone can identify with, since everyone’s style is different.

The workshop also got me thinking about people who don’t have a clear vision of what their style is and in-turn find it challenging to decorate their homes.  If you fall into that category, this blog post is for you.  I’m outlining the steps you can take to analyze and define your design style so decorating becomes a joy and not a job.


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It’s Throwback Thursday so I’m republishing one of my most popular holiday how-to post…

How To Decorate Your Christmas Tree Like A Pro!



When my store was open, one of the most attended workshops I did was called Decorate Your Christmas Tree Like a Pro.  While everyone has their own style when it comes to decorating their tree, everyone also wants to know the tips and techniques that designers used to create those over the top trees.  Well, today I’m going to let you in on our secrets….

1.  DEVELOP A THEME–Every great design project starts with a theme, even decorating a Christmas tree.  Having a theme will ensure all the elements work together and that the tree has major impact.  Your theme can be as simple as decorating with only red ornaments or as elaborate as creating a rustic yet elegant lodge themed tree. And, even if your tree is decorated with different ornaments collected over the years, that too can serve as your theme!  Whatever your theme is, it will serve as the foundation for  your overall  decorating plan.



2.  LIGHTS FIRST–Lighting a tree is time-consuming, but doing it right makes all the difference in how your tree will look in the end.

*  Start at the top of your tree and wrap the lights from the inside trunk towards the outer tips of a branch.  Once one branch is covered, create two or three big loops of lights on that same branch back towards the trunk.  Move to the next branch and repeat the process.  Continue working your way around the tree, covering all the branches.  Don’t forget to plug your lights in periodically to make sure they all work and the all the branches are covered well.

*  You can adjust the density of the lights by wrapping the lights closer together or further apart.



3.  ADD RIBBON OR FABRIC–While most people add ribbon to their trees, fabric is a great alternative.  Ribbon, bows or fabric pieces will provide a backdrop for our ornaments and can be added to your tree in several different ways.  One method is to drape the ribbon from top to bottom, tucking it into the tree at intervals.  This will create peaks and valleys and create added dimension to your tree decor.   Another great trick is to layer several different ribbons together and creating big loops with cascading tails (see top photo).

If you are using bows on your tree, make sure the size and scale of the bow is in keeping with the overall size of the tree….8 to 10 medium size bows on a 9 ft. tree is enough!

Christmas Ribbon


4.  ADD DIMENSIONAL PICS OR SPARYS–This one element will do more for your tree than anything else will.  Take glitter pics, feather stems or floral stems and place them around your tree randomly. Not only are your creating layers with your tree, but you are adding texture and dimension.  On large trees, several styles of pic and be used together while on smaller trees it is best to use a single pic style in mass.





5.  LAYER, LAYER, LAYER–Now it’s time to start adding ornaments.  Don’t just place your ornaments on the surface of the tree, layer your ornaments within the tree branches.  Place solid colored ornaments deep into the tree and hang the more colorful and ornate ornaments on the tips of the branches.

And remember,
Vary the shapes of sizes of your ornaments
Vary the color tones, using shiny ornaments along with matt and textured finishes
Adding solid color ornaments will help ground the tree and create an element of consistency within your theme
Cluster small ball ornaments together with a wire and hang them in groupings for added impact




6.  THE TOPPER–The top of your tree should really make a statement.  Create a unique topper using pics and flower stems, several large bows put together or go add a whimsical element that supports your theme.  If you have a traditional topper, use pics at the base of the topper to frame it.



A few other tricks of the trade…

*  Use ornament spinners to add visual impact to the tree.  These little gems plug into one of the light sockets and spin lightweight ornaments.

*  Curl the tips of your artificial tree  to give it a whimsical touch.

Amount of Christmas Tree Product

So there you have it, the ins and outs of decorating a Christmas tree like a pro!


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Dissecting the Details--COVER.001

It’s my job to dissect the details of a room to evaluate why the design, layout, furnishing or even the details work.  To give you a little insight into my design thought process, today I’m sharing 5 rooms that caught my attention and the reasons why I love each space.


Creating a comfortable and stylish living space directly off the kitchen can pose some challenges.  You want the two spaces to feel connected yet have their own identity.  And you also want there to be some common threads with the color palettes between the two spaces.

I love this living space below because it shares the same wall color as the kitchen which creates that sense of unity.  And I also love how the wall facing into the living space was painted a soft accent color which helps define where one room starts and the other ends.

Design details to love:  layered rugs, potted plants on the mantle, a mix of pillows and that wood covered oven hook!

via LilyPadCottage


Even though you can’t see this entire room in this photo, you definitely know that it’s a fantastic space.  What gives most rooms its personality is the mix of decor, textiles and finishes used to decorate it.  This living space feels right, warm, personal, collected and inviting because of the design details used throughout.

Design details to love: Animal prints (every room needs one), collected grouping of objects on the table, neutral background with pops of color and a gallery wall that’s interesting!

Driven By Decor

Driven By Decor

Even the smallest spaces in your home can have a powerful design statement. Foyer spaces should draw guests into the home while setting the tone for the homes design style.  This foyer space feels so personal because of the collection of framed photos and treasures on the table.  Don’t be afraid to use lots of items to make an impact–repeating shapes and materials will tie it all together.

Design details to love:  Glass cloches (a great way to display collectibles), wood on wood (different wood tones make it work),  gallery wall frames in the same color story but in different shapes and sizes (harmonious but interesting)



Colorful rooms have been trending for a few years now and they are most successful when the room has a neutral or white base like this one.  The room also works because colors are repeated which creates the common thread within the decor.

Design details to love:  Two coffee tables (glass keeps the space visually uncluttered), books arranged by color and touches of black (another thing every room needs)! Oh, that sofa color is pretty amazing too.



Bedrooms don’t have to be bland or even cost a fortune to decorate.  I love this room because of the soft color palette which in my opinion doesn’t feel too masculine or feminine.  I also love the layers that have been created with the furniture, textiles, rug and accessories.

Design details to love:  Desk lamps on the nightstand (use what works), a cowhide rug layered over an area rug (cowhides feel elegant), console tables instead of traditional night stands (use baskets underneath if you need storage), a dynamic accent wall (this one was created with tape) and pop of pink.

The Nester

The Nester

When it comes to dissecting the design details in your home, look for the elements that bring you joy and that make your home feel good.

Happy Friday!


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Good Morning everyone (or should I say afternoon)!  I hope you all had a great weekend.

Today I wanted to share a little bit about the design workshop I conducted on Saturday. I’ve been partnering with a local retail store called Smith’s for several years now and have conducted seasonal design workshops for their customers.  Smith’s is located in Duluth, GA on Main Street which has lots gift and decor stores, restaurants and art galleries.

Over the years my workshop topic centered around home decor since that was the primary product focus of the store.  However, Smith’s recently made a change to their product mix and in addition to carrying decorative accessories and gifts, they now sell clothing, accessories and footwear.  They have also co-branded their store as Smith’s and BoCo Girl which is the fashion side of the business.

  So, what’s a designing girl like me to do when it’s time to come up with a workshop theme and it has to include fashion? Well, I tapped into my fashion experience and created a workshop that focused on how your fashion style can influence and define your home decor style.

I thought you’d enjoy the presentation here on the blog so here’s my cliff note version of the fashion and design tips I shared with the group.


Fashion Meets Decor Quote

♥  Fashion and home decor and directly related since many of the trends you see in home decor as spun from the colors, patterns, textures and materials you see in clothing.

♥  A great way to define your design style is to look in the closet and identify the colors and patterns you wear most.  Use what you love in fashion to help build a design theme for your home.

Fashion Meets Decor

♥  Sometime fashion only inspires and design trend and in some cases home decor patterns and colors are a direct interpretation of a fashion statement.

♥  Understanding your clothing style (loose and layered or streamline and structured) can relate to how you’d like to style your home and how each room needs to function for you.

Fashion Meets Decor2

♥   Fun patterns in clothing can add personality to your wardrobe just like patterns in your decor can help define the personality of your home.

♥  Your fashion style should play up your best physical assets and the way you decorate your home should highlight the best features of your home (tall ceilings, windows, trim etc)

Fashion Meets Decor5

♥  A favorite wardrobe piece like a classic denim jacket can be the inspiration for the decor in your home.

♥  And if you have a signature look when it comes to fashion like Diane Keaton, use that to determine your design formula.

Denim Decor via Style At Home

via style at home

Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton's Bedroom via Domaine

via my domaine

♥  The style of jewelry and accessories you wear can inspire the types of items and the way your accessorize around your house.


necklace available from Smith’s

Coffee Table Decor via Theteacherdiva

via the teacher diva


shoes available from Smith’s

♥  Because fashion is such a personal statement that ties into our emotions, it’s very likely that the elements you like in fashion are also elements you’ll like as decor in your home.

Fashion Meets Decor3

♥  Create a style identity that reflected in your wardrobe and in your home.

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren via Macy’s

Living room via From The Right Bank

via from the right bank

♥  Fashion and decor are so inter-connected, it’s a great idea to use use fashion accessories to decorate your home.

Via Cocokelley

Bracelets as napkin rings via cocokelley

So you see, #fashion and #design really are one in the same.  You should dress in clothing that makes you feel good and the best version of yourself and the way you decorate your home should bring  you that same joy.

Style Yourself, Style Your Home!




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Choosing artwork is one of the hardest design decisions you can make simply because art is such a personal choice.  Most people have an affinity towards a particular style of artwork and most people are pretty clear on the type of artwork they don’t like.  While I’m pretty clear on the type of artwork I don’t like, I’m open to a wide range of artwork styles which can sometimes create a decorating challenge.

If you’re like me and are attracted to a variety of artwork styles then you too probably struggle with how to mix different styles together.

Today I’m going to talk about different ways to you combine artwork and share tips that will make the art of Mixing Art a whole lot easier.


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Happy Monday my friends!  I hope you all had a great weekend.  

I’ve been busy the last few days getting ready for a visit from my mom. Since my mom’s back surgery in 2006 she hasn’t traveled much and it’s been about 7 years since her last visit to Atlanta.  My uncle and his family are making a trip to Florida and my mom decided to tag along for the ride.  They’ll drop her off here in Atlanta on their way and she’ll be spending a  week with me and my brother.  I’m so excited to see her and now that my brother is here, it’s going to be week of family fun.


Anyway, after spending the last few days cleaning, organizing and doing some restyling around the house, I thought I’d share some ideas if you’re wanting to refresh and restyle your home.



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Fresh Market

Have you ever gone shopping at your local grocery store for anything other than groceries?  Probably not, but I’m hoping that these ideas will have you looking at your grocery store in a whole new way.

Retail stores, including grocery stores are expanding their product offering to include a variety of decor, home and entertaining items to make themselves a one-stop-shop.  Now it’s easier than ever to find stylish decorative items for your home in the aisles of your grocery store.

let’s go shopping…


 # 1  FLOWERS are a no-brainer when it comes to grocery store shopping but I don’t think most of us make the most of the flower we buy.

Grocery Store Flowers

flower buying tips:

 instead of buying a mixed floral bouquet, buy a variety of single bunches and create your own custom arrangement

if you’re buying one large mixed flower bouquet, split it up and create several mini arrangements to place around your home (more bang for your buck)

buy greens which will add substance, dimension and visual contrast amongst the flowers

grocery stores often sell orchids for less than you can find them at the garden stores or a flower shop

mix fruit in with your flowers to create robust flower arrangements

Grocery Store Flower Bouquet

Flowers and Fruit

#2  OLIVE BOTTLES are an easy way to add style to your kitchen.  The next time you stroll the olive oil aisle, look for decorative bottles with fun labels.

Olive Oil Aisle in Grocery Store


(all the bottles above are available at Whole Foods)

Buy a pour spout to use with your store-bought bottles to make the oils easy to dispense

Oil bottles in kitchen

#3  Decorating with FRUIT is an inexpensive way to add designer style and a major pop of color to your decor.

Grocery Store

Blue and white porcelain is a hot design trend and nothing looks more chic in a blue and white bowl than lemons! 

Fruit In a Bowl

get creative and combine different fruits of the same color to create a chic tabletop vignette

Fruit Under Cloche

#4  There’s something about shopping the UNTENSIL aisle at the grocery store that mesmerizes me.  So many cool gadgets and so many decorating possibilities.

Utensils in Grocery Store

the next time you’re grocery shopping, pick up a few wooden and wire utensils to display in a vintage urn or planter on the kitchen counter

Utensils In Caddy

or create a wall display showcasing grocery store utensils and flowers

Kitchen Utensils

for a quirky touch, framed a grouping of utensils to add charm to your kitchen

Framed utensils

#5 Did you know that you can find pretty LINEN TOWELS are the grocery store?  Yes, you can!

Grocery Store Linens

hang them over a handle

Dish Towels in kitchen

use oversized drawer pulls as a creative hang bar

dish towel holder

and for a really creative touch, turn your dish towels into cafe curtains

Dishtowel curtains

As you walk the grocery store aisles, keep your eyes open because you never know what might be on aisle 7!~

Grocery Store Aisle Sign


Cheers to the weekend!  Have a great one.



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