Mood Board to Room: Paris in the Spring

Strolling along the Seine, searching for the perfect antique treasures in the brocantes, eating croissants in a little cafe, admiring the abundant bouquets at the flower stalls … who wouldn’t love Paris in the springtime? Travel can provide some of the best decorating inspiration around, and Paris is simply a natural when it comes to style of all kinds. In this post, I will walk you through the process of creating a Paris mood board, and translating that to concrete ideas you can use in your own home. Ready? Let’s go to Paris!

Photos: The Paris Print Shop

In the inspiration board shown above, I have pulled together some of the most charming elements you might find while walking around the city streets of Paris: a smattering of pastel colored cafe tables, towering stacks of vintage books, bouquets of pink ranunculus, wrought iron balconies, plush antiques, and of course, the striking figure of la Tour Eiffel in the background. Le sigh.

So, how to begin pulling this inspiration together into something that you can actually use in your own home, even though you are likely thousands of miles away from grand Paris? Start by identifying some of the features that are easy to replicate at home: fresh bouquets of flowers, bistro-style chairs, and a print or map of Paris would be easy enough to track down, and will add lots of charm on a dime.

Photo: decor8

To take your inspiration a bit further, it helps to take a peek inside an actual Paris apartment, like the gorgeous one shown above. The first thing you might notice is that the French are not afraid to mix things up – a stately tufted velvet sofa and classical flowing drapes stand happily alongside a modernist coffee table and unique artwork. But look a little closer, and you will notice there is something of a formula at work here: the classical “bones” of the apartment, including crisp white walls, subtle carpeting, and a few big classic pieces of furniture set the stage for the more eclectic accents.

Tips for decorating, Parisian style:

- Start with a clean, crisp white paint on the walls (tip: try Oxford White or Decorator’s White by Benjamin Moore)

- Roll out a subtle + super-soft rug in pale blue or white

- Embrace luxurious textures like velvet and taffeta

- Have fun hunting for antiques at the flea market to add character

- Mix things up with a few very modern pieces

- Integrate small flashes of bold color (like pink) in accessories + artwork

Photo: French By Design

To pull it all together, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite pieces that would work very well together in a chic, eclectic Paris-style living room. Begin with a few coats of crisp white paint on the walls, add in an antique gold-framed mirror above the mantle, a tufted velvet sofa, and a modern chair. Add a soft, Moroccan-style rug on the floor, toss a few hot pink pillows on the couch, and hang a vintage-reproduction map of Paris on your wall. Then all you need to do is buy yourself a baguette, and cue up the Edith Piaf on the gramophone!

Shopping Guide: Surya Morrocan Ogree pillow in Magenta; Safavieh Barcelona Shag in White and Silver; 1890 Guilmin Map of Paris.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at!

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Refresh Your Home for Spring

When the short, dark days of winter are over, you can practically hear the collective sigh of relief … spring is here, hooray! Why not take advantage of the natural boost in energy and positivity you feel at the start of spring to refresh your home? A bit of cleaning, clutter clearing, and decorating, and your home will be feeling fresh and new.

Yellow Bench 2 copy.jpg
Photo credit: Laura Gaskill

It’s best to do the cleaning and decluttering steps before moving onto decorating, because in the process of clearing things out you will find fresh new ways to use your old things.

Spring Refresh Steps.jpg
Photo credits: Real Simple, Ikea, Shira Gill.

Step 1: Clean. To make cleaning chores more pleasant, I think it’s so important to use tools you really like, like a cheerful vintage enamel bucket and natural fiber brushes. Also, there’s really no need to use the harshest cleaning products on the market – choose some natural products that smell great, and you won’t dread cleaning. Remove dust from window ledges, baseboards, and blinds, clean the floors, shine up mirrors and windows, and launder small washable rugs and cushion covers.

Step 2: Declutter. Clearing clutter can make your space feel larger and lighter. This is an essential step to work through before moving on to decorating, because sometimes simply having less stuff in your home can make it feel so much better, you realize you don’t need a thing!

Step 3: Decorate. Once your space is fresh, clean, and clutter free, it’s time to look around and consider what small tweaks would make the biggest impact to update your home for the season. For spring, consider lighter rugs, floaty white curtains, or new pillow covers in fun prints. And of course you can never go wrong with flowers – pick up a bouquet and divide it up between small vases to place in each room.

Step 4: Enjoy! When your work is done, sit down with something yummy to drink and a good book or fresh magazine, light a few candles, and savor your beautiful space.

Spring Rugs.jpg

Rug Shopping Guide (clockwise from top left): Lotta Jansdotter for Surya TextilaAmer Rugs ElanaLotta Jansdotter for Surya Textila in Cobalt and MossGenevieve Gorder Spear collection in beige and blue.

What are you planning to refresh in your home this spring?

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at!

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Tips for Choosing and Displaying Art

Artwork is one of the quickest and easiest ways to add color, style, and a personal touch to your space. But with so many options out there today, it can be hard to know where to begin! The first step is to simply get in touch with what you love, because you are the one who will be living with the art. Browsing art online is fun, and it’s a great way to expose yourself to many different styles and see what you respond positively to — but if you are just beginning to figure out your taste in art, I recommend also taking a few little “field trips” to local art galleries and events to broaden your horizons and experience art up close and personal.

 Art Walls
Photo credits: 1. Becki Owens for Domino Magazine 2. Molly Winters for Urban Outfitters 3. The Glitter Guide 4. The Design Files

I love the idea of collecting artwork around a theme, because this means you will end up with a group of art that works really well hung together on the same wall. Depending on what you are drawn to, you might choose to collect floral and botanical prints, colorful abstracts, or moody black and white photography. And of course, don’t forget you can always frame your own photos! Once you know what you like, it’s time to figure out where you will put your gorgeous new art — here are 5 of my favorite ways to display art.

1. In a grid. This works well with art or photographs in identical frames, and creates a very neat, crisp look that works beautifully in any space.

2. Salon style. I just love the creative and relaxed vibe of a floor-to-ceiling gallery wall — and it’s not as hard to pull off as it looks! In fact, the grid can be much trickier because it relies on very exact measuring, while a salon-style grouping like this one can be much less precise and still look great. One tip to remember is always start in the center with a larger piece of art, and work your way up, down, and outward from there. The best part of this gallery wall is you can build it up over time, adding pieces as your collection grows!

3. Frames touching. Hanging a grouping of artwork very close (with the frames actually touching one another) is very modern and fresh. Try this in the dining room with a grouping of subtle drawings in slim gold or light wood frames, or above your sofa.

4. Against a colorful backdrop. Just about any artwork looks even better when placed on a wall painted in a richly saturated hue like the blue shown above.

Art Walls 2
Photo: Varpunen.

5. Black and white. You really can’t go wrong with an art wall done all in black and white, it’s foolproof! Try mixing it up a little by incorporating graphic prints and posters, black and white photography, black and white illustrations, and maps. Hang everything in slim black or white frames, and use bright white mats.

When you are ready to hang up your artwork, be sure to take your time and measure carefully before you begin. For lighter weight frames, using removable Command strips is a great way to keep things simple and easy — and if you mess up, you won’t be left with tons of holes in your wall! If you must use a more permanent method, I highly recommend seeking out picture frames with art wire attached to the back. This makes the frame much easier to hang because you only need one hook, and it’s easy to straighten.

Most of all, when it comes to choosing and displaying artwork, the most important thing is to have fun, and go with what you love. Right now for spring, I am loving fresh, modern florals like the four prints shown here. Happy art hunting!

Shopping Guide (clockwise from top left): Simple Stems VIII by June Erica Vess; Bloomer Squares XV by James Burghardt; Small Blue Linen IV by Megan Meagher; Laney I by Kevin Calaguiro

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at!

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Playful + Stylish Spaces for Kids

Playful space

As the parent of a very active and playful little guy, I know firsthand how essential it is for families to have a creative play space in the house! Thankfully, these days it is easier than ever to find kid-friendly furnishings, decor, and even toys that are stylish enough to leave out among the ‘grownup’ stuff. In fact, I would go as far as to say that these kids’ spaces are so fun they may even inspire the adults to leave the smartphone behind and just play!

If you have an entire room to devote to play, that’s great – there is so much you can do with an entire room! Safely installed indoor swings or a small slide can be lifesavers on a cold winter day when you can’t hit the park. A tipi or playhouse is always a hit for pretend play, and a cozy reading/lounging area makes a good spot to flop down for a rest after a major play session. Don’t forget the toy storage – think neat, organized, and easy to access: bins on shelves works well. And notice that the room pictured above is an attic space with a steeply sloping ceiling, but this doesn’t matter one bit to the room’s wee occupants, making this an excellent use of a tricky space.

Playful Spaces2

Of course if you don’t have a dedicated playroom (I don’t!), there are plenty of ways to incorporate play and creativity into any room in the house. A kid-size table and chairs tucked into a corner of the living room makes an instant project space for arts and crafts or Lego. Attractive woven baskets or canvas bins can hold (and hide) toys in plain sight, making them a great option for living rooms. Fill a few with your child’s current top-favorite toys, and rotate in a fresh selection every few weeks to help stave off boredom.

Playful Spaces3

The room shown above is packed with great ideas, from the chalkboard wall (always a big hit!) to the labeled drawers, art caddy on the table, and bench with toy trucks lined up underneath. If you homeschool, or need a dedicated homework and project space, this is a wonderful setup to draw inspiration from.

Photo credits: Chango & Co., Domino Magazine, Brandon Architects.

Playful Spaces4

And let’s not forget the bedroom! I love the idea of using fresh, fun (and removable) decals to create the look of wallpaper on a basic white wall. Kids love color and pattern, so don’t be afraid to pile it on! Choose bright, colorful bedding, pillows in fun shapes, and bold accessories like brightly hued lamps, a cool nightlight, or a table with an interesting shape.

Playful Rugs

On the floor of the play space, I’m loving the entire collection of rugs created by kid-centric design studio Petit Collage for Jaipur Rugs – I’ve highlighted four of my favorites above. Any of these bold, colorful, modern rugs is sure to be a hit with kids… and the stylish parents who love them.

Rug Shopping Guide (clockwise from top left): Jaipur Rugs Playful by Petit Collage ConfettiJaipur Rugs Playful by Petit Collage Sprouts rug in blueJaipur Rugs Playful by Petit Collage Starburst rugJaipur Rugs Iconic by Petit Collage hand-tufted Sticks Rug.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at!

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