I’m all about white walls. They set off art incredibly well, they make any space feel instantly larger, and they generally create a canvas for whatever you put within their bounds. But lately I’ve been paying much more attention to the dark side, that is to say, black walls and accents. I love the moodiness they bring with them and appreciate their altogether different type of sophistication.
This being October, and with colder weather slowly creeping up on us, my first inclination would be to paint a bedroom a medium black from floor to ceiling. A cozy, cave-like atmosphere surely awaits at the bottom of that paint bucket.
You don’t need intricate woodwork or even wainscoting or a chair rail for this classic half and half look. In act, if you’re nervous about going too dark in a room or have one without much sunlight, this might be the answer. This dining room is my favorite example because of its unexpected twist – going dark on the top half rather than the bottom and painting the ceiling as well. You might expect it to feel heavy, but I find it to feel quite the opposite.
Painting walls is generally easy, painting cabinets a little more involved but well worth the effort. Not only is black a great way to update older cabinets, it also makes them feel uber chic when paired with those brass pulls. One of the beauties of black is that it goes with just about everything so your backsplash will probably feel refreshed as well.
This look is really interesting to me, it’s called shou sugi ban and it’s a Japanese technique that involves burning the surface of a certain type of wood to give them a rich black finish. Traditionally the technique is used on home exteriors because it protects them from the elements, but it’s slowly making its way indoors as well. I love it for the naturally black finish it can add to any space.
Okay, so maybe you’re not ready to add this much black to your home. I get it. But black furniture can add its own brand of appeal, making any room look more expensive through its presence. Whether you want to update a piece you already own or are on the hunt for something new keep black in mind as a worthy option. Of course, you can always add a rug as well…
Sometimes our homes call on us to be more creative than usual. Whether it’s due to a lack of space or a lack of furnishings, when the bell tolls we comb through the file folders in our minds and answer. And one of the more common issues that I’ve come across is seating at the dining table.
I’m starting way outside the box from the get-go with stools and end tables. When you’re looking to pull up a few more seats look around at what you’ve already got nearby. Most of the aforementioned are a perfect height for a dining table and guests will think you’re wildly ingenious (which, of course, you are!).
The idea of adding a bench on one side of your dining room table in place of two chairs has been growing in popularity for some time now, and it’s been growing on me as well. What I really like about it – aside from the aesthetic look – is that you can squeeze an extra person in on that side with hardly any compromise.
Adding sheepskins or cushions to a melange of “whatever you’ve already got” around the table is an easy way of unifying it all. Record crates, stacks of large coffee table books – so long as it’s moderately sturdy it will do just fine. You can even use your coffee table as a stand-in bench!
This is one of my favorites – having an extra piece of small seating that lives in the same room, but that doesn’t have to be used at the table. Pull the table and chairs a bit away from this vintage settee and you have an extra seating area, but leave as is and you can magically seat six. Super functional decorating at work!
If you’re thinking ahead for a specific event you can bring in temporary seating that’s both cheap and innovative. You’ve likely seen hay bales used outdoors, but check out the above and see how great they can work indoors as well. You could also use stacked pallets with cushions or benches created out of cement blocks and two by fours.
There’s also the option of going entirely bohemian and taking it all to the floor. Move all of the furniture in your living room against the walls and throw all of the pillows on the rug. You and your guests can spread out and enjoy!
Every autumn the urge strikes me to get every room in the house shipshape before the holiday landslide hits. The conundrum, of course, is that the holidays can be pricey and I probably shouldn’t be spending a ton of money on myself – I should be socking it away to put towards lovely things for other people! I’m a single woman on a budget, so I try and stick to these five rules throughout the year when it comes to decorating my space which helps more than I can say when I decide I want to change a few things up.
1/ Stick to neutrals
The more a piece costs, the more likely I am to choose it in a neutral to give it a longer life. When your tastes change it’s much easier to make an off white or light grey sofa fit with your new aesthetic than that red one you were considering. (I still thank my mom for talking me out of that decision in my first apartment!) This line of thought also extends to other pieces – large indoor planters, floor rugs, throw pillows – that I think I might like to switch between rooms at some point.
One gallon of paint will easily accommodate two coats in most rooms and is some of the best decorating money you can spend. Nothing will change up the vibe of a space faster! Keep in mind that lighter colors will make a room feel larger, make wall art pop, and serve as a general canvas for whatever else you plan on putting in it. Darker walls (I’ve been so tempted to paint my dining room black!) are moody, and while they might make a room feel smaller they can also make them oh so cozy. You can even change up an entire piece of furniture or create your own art – so many possibilities.
Some of my best finds have been found at online sales sites (Everything But the House, Chairish, etc), garage sales, or simply sitting out with someone else’s trash. A chair with great bones can be recovered, a credenza with some nicks can be rehabbed. If you’re willing to put in a little time or elbow grease you can save oh so much money and own some very unique pieces for your home.
Maybe you’ve long dreamed of owning a leather couch or four posted bed, something that you’re certain you’ll be hanging on to for some time. All that’s required is a little strategic planning, AKA saving up. This always helps me stay away from impulse purchases – usually accessories – that I really don’t need. Eyes on the big picture!
That trunk you found on the sidewalk would be a great coffee table with built-in storage space. The old dining chair from that estate sale perfectly fits next to your bed as a table. Get my drift? Start thinking outside the box more when it comes to your decor and all of a sudden the things that make up your home no longer need to be relegated to one lonely purpose. One last example: floor rugs make for great wall art.
How your morning goes can set the tone for the entire day. Just think back to the last frantic day you had, and I’m sure you’ll agree! Instead of starting with the snooze button, skipped breakfast, and forgotten appointments, why not cultivate a more calming routine, instead? Read on for 3 key ingredients to consistently create more peaceful, positive mornings.
Key Ingredient No. 1: A good night’s rest. There’s no getting around it, if you want to bounce out of bed ready to greet the day with a positive mindset, you’ve got to have enough sleep! As a former night owl, I can assure you that (while not entirely pleasant) it is possible to adjust your sleep schedule and become a morning lark. Start winding down a bit earlier each night, put away the screens (pick up a book instead), and begin to dim the lights to create a more restful ambiance. A neat and tidy bedroom, free of clutter, with fresh sheets on the bed and a cozy rug underfoot doesn’t hurt, either.
Key Ingredient No. 2: Create a cozy morning nook. While you’re waking up, bleary eyed and wondering what on earth possessed you to set the alarm so early, it can really help to have an inviting nook to retreat to. This should be somewhere in your home that gets lovely morning light, and includes a comfy spot to sit. Use this space to practice a nourishing morning routine like writing in a journal, recording a list of things you are grateful for, reading uplifting books, or meditating. Open the shades, let in a bit of fresh air, and greet the new day with positive intentions.
Key Ingredient No. 3: Slow down and savor your favorite simple pleasures. Ahh, the rich scent of freshly roasted coffee beans, golden light streaming in the window… Instead of gulping down your first cup of coffee or tea as quickly as possible, consider slowing down and savoring those few precious moments of morning peace. As you sip, think about how you would like your day to unfold. A beautiful morning is bound to lead to good things!