Archive for the ‘Design Tips’ Category



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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Country Living



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

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Hello friends.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day and a great weekend.  My Valentine’s Day was super casual and instead of taking me to Jared :), the hubs took me somewhere he knew I’d like even better…antique shopping.  I found some great goodies which I’ll show you tomorrow, but today I wanted  to address a question I get asked a lot–how to add high-end design style, on a budget?

When it comes to design, one thing I know for sure is that most people desire to have a high-end look for their home but want save money doing it. Of course to get a high-style look you can go out and buy expensive furniture, lighting and accessories but when that’s not an option, there are ways to get the look without breaking the bank.

 If you’ve ever wondered what design tricks designers use to achieve high-style, today is your day because I’m sharing NINE Ways To Get A High-End Look On Budget!

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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.

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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.

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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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