Archive for the ‘Design Tips’ Category

Refresh Your Decor for The New Year

Every year when the Christmas decor comes down I feel like my decor has lost its luster.  My living room feel bare, my decor feels stale and everything that I loved before Christmas feels like it needs fresh, new energy.  I know I’m not alone in this feeling and that many of you are looking at your decor right now and wondering how you can inject some life and energy into it.

Over the years I’ve learned and employed some simple and inexpensive decorating tricks the refresh my decor for the new year.


Refresh Your Decor for The New Year

Every now and then you need to change things up in your decor to give it a new feeling.  The start of a new year is the perfect time to try a new furniture arrangement, move pieces from one room to another or re-arrange your accessories.  Move lamps around a room or even consider layer a smaller rug over the top of a larger one.  Sometimes all it takes is a tiny shift of perspective to see something familiar in a totally new light.

Refresh Your Decor for The New Year

Many time when I’m feeling a sense of uneasiness with my decor it has to do with clutter and disorganization.  Dedicate the month of January to cleaning, organizing and purging every room in your home.  Donate the things that you no longer use, organized the spaces (drawers, closets and tabletop surfaces) that use most offend and give your entire home a deep cleaning.  Clutter in you physical surroundings will clutter your mind and spirit.

Refresh Your Decor for The New Year

Color is an immediate mood booster so try adding in a new accent color into your decor to refresh the palette.  Switching out pillows is easy and cost-effective and will add big pops of color within your decor.  Color accents can also be added with small accent furniture, blankets & throws, artwork and decorative accessories.  In decorating, it’s often the little things that make the biggest impact.

tip:  when shopping for pillows, look for covers with hidden zippers so you can reuse the inserts when you change your pillow decor

Refresh Your Decor for The New Year

During the holiday season we are surrounded with and abundance of patterns and colors.  Once the Christmas decor is down your surroundings may feel flat and lifeless.  The quick fix for that is pattern mixing.  Combine different pattern styles and colors to re-energize your decor.

tip:  a winning pattern mix combines small patterns against large ones and includes one big solid ( on sofa, floor, or wall) in the room. 

Refresh Your Decor for The New Year

You might think that once artwork is hung on the wall it’s there to stay.   That doesn’t have to be the case.  During the winter months you can bring a room to life by simply switching out a piece of artwork with a mirror.  Mirrors enhance the light within a room(both natural and decorative) and will instantly make a room feel lighter, brighter and more open.

tip:  oversized floor mirrors will make small spaces feel bigger in addition to making the decor feel more important

Refresh Your Decor for The New Year

Look around the rooms in your home and see where you can create a cozy seating area or reading nook.  Cozy areas will make your home feel more intimate and personal which is the feeling your home had when all your Christmas decor was up.

Refresh Your Decor for The New Year

Plants and flowers will  make your decor feel special anytime of the year but during the winter months the emotional energy these elements add is enhanced.  Place small plants or a vase on flowers on tabletop surfaces in the main living areas of your home as well as the bedroom and bathroom.

tip: if you don’t have a green thumb, decorating with artificial plants and flowers–they provide the same emotional lift that real greenery does.

Refresh Your Decor for The New Year

Candles are my go-to accessory during the cold winter months.  Not only can candles provide a sense of warmth but the glow increases the sense of relaxation and coziness that a room has.  Arrange a group of candles on the coffee table or along the mantel.


It doesn’t take a lot to give your home a fresh, new feeling for the new year so use one or all of these design tips to refresh your decor.


all images via Ballard Design

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Anatomy of a Well-Styled Room.001

The key elements are in place and now it’s time to add the finishing touches to your decor.  Where do you start with styling a room and what elements are needed to pull everything together?

Today I’m answering that question and outlining the key components to a well-styled room.

A Well-Style Room from Style at Home2

via Style at Home

The first step in to putting the finishing touches on the decor of a room is to have a plan.  Developing a vision for the space even before furniture has been purchased will go a long way to creating the space your desire.  Create an inspiration board with fabric and color swatches, photos of accessories you like and images that reflect the overall feel you want the space to have.

Next, clear the room of all your current accessories so that you are starting with a clean palette.  Take time to go through the things you own and decide which pieces you really want back in the room.  Use only the items that work with your design vision and that you love, otherwise the room won’t bring your ultimate joy.

Once all the key elements like furniture and window treatments are in place, create a plan for accessorizing.  Pull the existing items you’ve kept back into the room and begin placing them where you want.  Once that is done, take stock of the room and create a list of the new items you need to buy.  New pillows, a throw and even something a simple as a decorative tray can make a space come alive.

A Well-Styled Room from Style at Home4

via Style at Home

As you place accessories around the room keep these tips in mind:

  • Place accessories so that they enhance the focal point within the room, not compete with it.  Hang a dynamic mirror over the mantel instead of placing it on another wall within the room.
  •  Create groupings with your tabletop decor to add impact and interest.  And remember that smaller accessory items look best with grouped together versus scattered around a room.
  • Group items of different sizes to create visual movement.  Use books to elevate objects and create balance.
  • Spread collections around the room unless you have a dedicated display piece for them.
  • Accessorize so the eye has different levels to look at.  This includes accessories on the floor, walls and in even the lighting at the ceiling.
  • Incorporate a living element like a plant or flowers to add softness and a sense of energy.
  • A well-styled room is about balance. Don’t fill every square inch of space–leave spaces where the eye can rest.
  • Use color as a unifying element within the room.
  • Every accessory mix should incorporate a variety of finishes, textures, materials, styles and a touch of black to help visually anchor the room.
  • Add a corky element to delight, surprise and bring a sense of playfulness to the room.

Don’t rush the styling of your home.  The accessories and finishing touches are often the elements that take the most time but have the greatest impact of how the room looks and feels.

A Well-Styled room from Style At Home

via Style at Home

A Well-Styled Room-Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles

via Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles

“An empty room is a store waiting to happen, and you are the author.”

A Well-Styled Room from Better Homes and Gardens

Better Homes and Gardens
A Well-Styled Room from Sarah Richardson Design
Sarah Richardson Design

Every room in your home is different so look at each area for what it has to offer and make the most of each individual space so in the end you’ll have a well-styled home.

Anatomy of a Well Styled Room.001


Shelly Signature

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Empty Fireplace Nook

Elements of Style


You’ve seen them, those little nooks that sit next to a fireplace and sometimes hold built-in shelving.  I’m a big fan of built-in shelving but sometimes builders skimp on the cost and effort of putting them in so a homeowner is left with an empty nook space to fill.

When Ikea came on the scene,  bloggers and design enthusiast starting creating custom looking shelving with Billy Bookcases gave them the look of built-in but with a tremendous cost savings.

Laura Ramsey, interior designer, home design vignettes,

Laura Ramsey Furniture & Interior Design

Now, if you’re not a DIYer and you don’t want to go to the expense of hiring someone to build bookcases, there are some creative alternatives to filling those nooks that flank your fireplace.


I love window seats and this just might be the next best thing, a comfy upholstered banquet.  What’s also great about this design option is the wall space that you’d have to hang a beautiful mirror or piece of artwork.

Fireplace Nook1

Roses and Rust



Floating shelves will afford you the same function as a built-in bookcase but are much easier to install and they have a more organic feel to them.  Using reclaimed wood for the shelves is also a great way to add charm to your decor.  Ikea has lots of affordable floating shelf options but this one and this one are my favorites.

Blackband Design2

Blackband Design



Creating a desk or workspace within the nook is a great way to make this area functional.  I love the idea of a wall unit that can be closed up and concealed when not in use, enhancing the visual appeal.

Fireplace Nook3

Better Homes and Gardens



You can always fill the nook area with a piece of accent furniture like a demo-lune table, cabinet or console table.  This look works great if you style is traditional and you like symmetry in your decor.

Fireplace Nook4

Better Homes and Gardens



Free standing bookcases are always an option and provide great flexibility if you like to change-up your decor from time to time.  This bookcase/cabinet combo is a great option and I love this glass front option.

Fireplace Nook5

Decor Pad 



If wall space is limited in the room where you fireplace is, you might want to leave the nook area free of furniture and use the wall space to hang a collection of artwork.

Fireplace Nook6

Country Living



My favorite approach to decorating the nook is to make a creative statement with a combination of furniture, art and decorative accessories.

Fireplace Nook7


If you have bookshelves next to your fireplace or will be adding some to your decor, here are a few styling tips to keep in mind…

♥  Paint the back of your bookshelves to add a color pop and visual interest.  Depending on the accessories you use, they might also pop better against a colorful backdrop.

♥  Use an eclectic mix of accessories for visual interest and to add personality to the room.

♥  Create visual depth by placing item front and back along each shelf and use items of different heights to create depth top to bottom.

♥  Arrange books vertically and horizontally to create movement for the eye to follow within the overall arrangement. 

Bookshelf Styling.001

image via Dimples and Tangles


The fun part of decorating is to make the most of the space you have and putting your own spin on  your decor.

Happy Decorating!

Shelly Signature


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Ever since Pinterest came on the social scene, I know many of you, myself included have all spent countless hours looking at design photos, saving the images that serve as inspiration for our current or future homes or that can be used as a source of inspiration in our jobs as designers, decor enthusiast and design bloggers.

I often use images found on Pinterest to share an idea with a client,  highlight an accessorizing concept or to help me pull together a color plan.  Whether you like Pinterest or not, analyzing room photos is a great way for anyone to up their design game and learn what makes a well-design space just that, well-designed!

Today I’m going to share a few rooms from some of my favorite design publications and point out the design details that came together to make these spaces what they are.  Consider this a mini design lesson using visual aids.

Design Lessons.002

Design Lessons.003

Design Lessons.001

Design Lessons.004

Design Lessons.005

If you want more insight into how Pinterest is changing the world of interior design and how we decorate our homes, check out this article


Thanks for stopping by today and thank you to everyone who left wonderful comments on my Swap It Like It’s Hot Post earlier this week.  If you haven’t had a chance to check out all of the blogger projects, please do.  There’s lots of great inspiration to be found.

Happy Weekend!

Shelly Signature

image source: 1) My Domaine 2) House Beautiful 3) House Beautiful  4) Country Living  5) Domaine Home

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Last year I wrote about the Tiny House Movement and how it is gaining in popularity.  Well, a year later and the movement is just picking up steam.

I recently finished an article for a friend of mine who started and published Welcome Magazine here in Atlanta years ago.  She has since moved to New York and is in the process of re-establishing the magazine there.  She asked me to write an article for it with tips for decorating small spaces and I thought I’d share a few of those tips with you here in the blog.

Decorating small spaces can be challenging.  The layout of a room, the style of furniture, the paint color and how to keep the space organized are just a few of the design elements you have to consider.  The tips I’m sharing will help you do all of that without sacrificing style and personality.

Small Space Decorating.001



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Creating A Pillow Assortment For Your Sofa.001

image via BHG

Happy Monday friends.  I’ve got another round of my Design Chat series for you today and I’m answering a question about selecting and styling pillows for your sofa.

Deziree is having trouble selecting pillows for her living room sofa and posed the following question to me…

” I have had the hardest time styling my living room. I have purchased probably 8 sets of curtains, multiple pillows, hand-made covers, and I still have not finished it. My walls are a grey taupe and my sectional is tan and I currently have natural ivory off white linen curtains. I would love help with picking pillow colors, patterns, shapes and amounts for my sectional. Any suggestion”?

I’ve gotten this question on more than one occasion from readers and I hope the tips I’m sharing will help you if you’re struggling with your pillow decor.


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One question I get asked a lot is “where should you start when it comes to developing a room design plan ?”

If you read design magazines or books, you’ve probably read lots of different answers to this question and all of them are probably right to some degree.  Finding the starting point for your design plan really starts when you determine the end result that you want for a room.

Finding The Starting Point For Your Room Design.001

Think of decorating a room in the same way you would a road trip.  You know where and what you’re starting with and you know where you want to end up.  The steps that happen between the beginning and end point define the trip or in the case of decorating, they define your decorating plan.  And just like a road trip, you might venture off your planned route or change course all together, so know that the same thing can happen when decorating your home.  As long as you keep focused on where you want to end up, you’ll get to your design destination.

Here are a few tips to help you create your decorating journey from start to finish.


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Jenny Wolf

I came across this image when I was looking at photos from interior designers homes.  This cozy little corner belongs to Jenny Wolf, a New York based designer who once worked for Ralph Lauren.  What caught my attention about this space was the beautiful soft pink chair and the vase full of seeded eucalyptus.  The rest of the home which you can see here is also filled with great details.

And be sure to check out these links, which I’m sure you’ll love.


I can totally relate to what Kate is saying about Choosing Absence.

The Billy Bookcases never fail and this office makeover is proof that you can get style on a budget.

I found this article on the history of pockets in women’s fashion pretty interesting.

This will be me if you know who becomes the President Of The United States.

Which one of these celebrity homes do you like the best?  They are both stunning.

Tips for selecting textiles for Roman Shades.

If you’re doing some decorating this weekend, be sure to check out my High-end Decor on a Budget post.

And if you’re out thrifting you might want to look for a sideboard to decorate with.

Shelly Signature

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