#ICYMI this Friday on Evenings With Emmalyn , I tackled organizing that entryway! It’s the first place our guests see, and the last place we stop before running out the door. It should be able to be both welcoming and functional, right? Here are my tips on how to do just that, with a full blog post on how I did it below.
When we first come home from a long day, what do we do? We walk through the door, kick off our shoes, drop our bags or keys, and keep it moving. Yet that space, which quickly becomes the “drop zone” for all backpacks, shoes, packages, mail, grocery lists, things you want to remember to bring with you in the morning or just plain things you don’t know what to do with yet don’t exactly make for the cleanest and most relaxing entryway when you come home or welcome guests. It’s also the last place you’d think to check when doing those last minute cleanups before those guests DO show up, and nobody wants to be cringing at all the stuff on the side when they go to swing open that door to let in whoever is dropping by. There are two reasons for decorating: making a happy home, and a good impression on your guests. For each of these reasons, the first thing one sees when they walk in makes a bold statement about your home life. Is it family in the kitchen filling the home with delicious smells, ready for a warm embrace? Is it a cozy living room that invites all who enter to take a load off and relax? Maybe it’s an impressive staircase that makes for a bold, beautiful statement!
For our new home, it was a unique combination of a convenient coat closet and right-there stairs that lead to a beautiful landing. The landing, boasting a french door and a window that offers a sneak-peak into our beautiful sunroom, had SO. MUCH. ROOM! It certainly wasn’t what we expected when we first walked in, but I instantly saw its potential to be transformed into a charming, welcoming entryway with plenty of room for us to kick our shoes off and a deep breath at the end of the day. There was just one problem-the COLOR! To me, it felt…vanilla. This room had SO MUCH MORE potential than vanilla! So, hubby and I got to work painting in the beautiful shade of “Gray Owl” by Behr.
Have you ever painted with your significant other? Let me tell you…unless you like to paint, it can be a CHALLENGE! I learned very, very quickly that my husband is NOT a fan of painting. This, for me, was kind of a letdown as I was super excited about the project, but lucky for me he’s a good sport and seeing how happy it made me he stuck it through. We’re both so glad he did-now, the room looks ten times better! On first application, if you’ve never used this particular shade before, it can appear almost white in its first coat. Trust me, keep going..it’s not! Since we had such a light base to begin with, we wound up only needing that one coat to bring out the light grey I fell for in that hardware store.
For us, a recently married couple living in a seaside city, we’re not quite at the point yet where we need the backpack hooks and cubbies. All that means is that we need something simple for the moment: a place to put our shoes, our keys or a bag, some hand sanitizer (lest we forget for a second that we’re in a pandemic), and a way to keep track of what we both have planned to keep our communication game strong.
Above, I placed a dry-erase calendar so we can keep track of EVERYTHING: our dog’s medications & flea prevention, important dates & deadlines, when certain bills are due, etc. (When it’s the first thing you see when you come in, having a reminder every day makes it easier to stay on top of things!) To the side, a simple picture frame of some of our favorite memories accented the calendar perfectly.
My favorite part of this whole experience was, surprisingly..making our personalized mail holder! Guys..you have NO idea how long I’ve looked for a new mail holder. Shopping from home is really difficult when you just can’t find anything you like online, and know it’s probably sitting somewhere on a shelf at TJ Maxx, Homegoods, or Christmas Tree (aka my three FAVORITE places to shop!). More than restaurants and bars, I honestly think I’ve missed these three places the most through this pandemic. Yet, when you can’t find something you like, sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands and get creative. Luckily, my neighbor happened to be getting rid of an old wall mailbox. From the moment I saw it, I KNEW it had potential to be exactly what I wanted. So, I got to work!
First, I had my husband cut it in half since we only needed one slot for each of us. Next, we sanded it down and added a coat of Benjamin Moore white paint before I began stenciling our names on. Yes, this did take a bit more time than just hitting “click & ship”, but it was SO worth the effort once we finally got it hung up and it matched perfectly!
We all by now have heard Marie Kondo’s rule, if it doesn’t make you happy, don’t bring it in. This echoes a theory by William Morris, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” It’s one of the quotes that first got me interested in interior decorating & design, and was a huge inspiration for me while I worked for a corporate home decor company in Boston. Yes, this means you’re going to have to look in many different places until you find all the right accents. The rug, chair and pillows were from Wayfair, but the picture the room was centered around came from T.J. Maxx, my beautiful whiteboard calendar from Homegoods, and the frame the bottom photo is on from Christmas Tree. It’s taken me YEARS of sourcing for these all to fit together in this way, in the right room, now- and I had many other old things I considered using but didn’t, as well as adding new things. The point is, it takes time and searching for a room to really look like a magazine. “I couldn’t find what I wanted so I just bought this even though it doesn’t match” is a frame of mind that can distract from the entire atmosphere of the room, without even meaning to. Instead, think outside the box: can you paint/spray paint something the right color to match? Can you ask your friends for stores or websites you maybe haven’t tried yet? If you REALLY love something that doesn’t fit, are you willing to change the room around to fit that specific piece? These are all questions that it’s okay to ask, and are common ones you should be asking in every room of your home you touch.
With all of this gorgeous weather, it’s nearly impossible to fight the urge to get outside and enjoy the sunshine! Finding safe, fun summer activities is on all of our minds right now, and earlier this week I found one that I just HAD to share that is not only safe, it makes for some seriously awesome Instagram pictures, too. Grab your favorite beach blanket-we’re going to go have a picnic on the beach!
Step one is making sure you scope out an isolated area to adhere to social distancing rules. My mom and I wanted to have a mother-daughter picnic, so we went to a local private beach where we knew we’d have enough space to spread out without inconveniencing anyone else. Once you have your location, you can start thinking of how you’re going to style your picnic!
The theme we chose since our picnic would be seaside is..yup, you guessed it, nautical! We wanted to go with a very teal & beachy vibe, and luckily there are so many decor sales going on right now that this was easy and fairly inexpensive to accomplish. While everyone’s look can be completely different, here’s what we used to get that light and airy beachside vibe:
Ah, the home office: for many right now, it’s our new best friend. Sure, it can be as simple as moving that old desk we’ve never had to use into an open space, but since we’re all jumping on Zoom calls left and right over here, it’s might be time to create an actual office space. So, let’s get started!
Step one of course is to choose your space. Do you have a spare corner in the kitchen, living room, or better yet- an entire room to dedicate to your new office? Regardless of your space restrictions, all you really need is room for a desk and either a blank wall or an open window in front of you. Remember that post I did a few weeks back on creating a ‘cloffice’? As many of you noticed, one thing was missing: the OFFICE space! That was on purpose, because I believe that this space really does deserve its own spotlight. It’s the space where YOU are going to be growing, creating, and building either for your own brand or for your company. It should be a space that not only fits your personality, but is pleasing enough to look at for as many hours a day as you need to sit your butt down and get to work in it.
Starting in my office, I was lucky enough to have two options so I’m going to share them both with you. Option #1 was a big blank wall, which is PERFECT for Zoom backdrops if I set up a stand that could have the desk in the background! I filled the space with one of my favorite pieces from Oliver Gal, a large gold chandelier canvas print (which you can get here). My second option was to center my desk in front of a large window overlooking our backyard where I could watch my dog play outside. While this was my favorite option and offered some great light into the room, it meant that my camera angle for those Zoom meetings could no longer have my desk behind me, as the light from the window would wash me out. So, I’d have to place whatever I was using (tripod to hold my iPhone or laptop) ON my desk so that the window was sending the light to my face rather than from behind me, which would provide GREAT lighting! However, I’d have to consider what would be behind me: my vanity. For me, that’s okay! Ultimately..I went with the window look 🙂
Now, on to the star of the post: the desk! I bought this super cute white and gold desk from Amazon to match the pink, white and gold theme I have going. Here are the three things to think about when picking out your desk:
Know your budget. There’s no way around it: a good desk is an investment. That being said, if you’re looking for a strong piece that will last for the rest of your life, it’s going to be a pretty penny. However, if you’re just looking for something to work for now that you don’t plan to use as a forever investment, it’s likely not a good idea to spend a ton of money. A decent desk that will get the job done will likely run you between $150-200, and while you can go cheaper it will not only be a hassle to assemble (even mine was a challenge!), but it also may barely feel it can hold the weight of what you need it to.
Know your needs. Many may just need desk space to have a solid Zoom backdrop-and that’s TOTALLY fine! I specifically picked a desk that had at least one drawer as I do have some stationary, files, and notes that I don’t necessarily want causing clutter. That’s key to consider: Do you need a lot of storage space? If not, don’t worry if you fall head over heels in love with something without drawer space. If so, make sure you use a filter when searching to include storage space (if the website allows it).
Know your style. Are you someone who likes a modern workspace, or more chic? Are you traditional, or rustic? If you don’t know, now is the time to find out. The best way to learn about your style is to simply use Pinterest or Google to look up “office space”. Pick several that you like, and see what the described style is. Once you see a common theme, you’ll begin to identify your style. You can then search “modern desk”, “glam desk”, or more!
Once I had picked out mine based on those specifications, the setup was…well..an experience (and there may have been a few times I yelled out, ‘THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE!’) but I felt SUCH a sense of accomplishment when I finished finally putting it together myself. Trust me: if I can do it, you can, too!
Once you have your desk picked out, think about what you’ll need. Do you need a filing system? A mousepad so you don’t scratch the desk? A cupholder for pens? Do you need certain accent pieces to accomplish a specific look? Dive into research on what you need, and get after it! While stores like TJ Maxx & Christmas Tree Shop were my go-to for these things, I’ve learned to lean on online shopping more to explore Pier 1, Target, and Etsy. Here is how mine turned out!
You know that one room in your house where there’s that corner you have NO idea what to put in? Maybe you’ve considered placing a plant, a table with a lamp, or doing some kind of kitty-corner table but none of it just felt right. Ultimately, when you come home at the end of the day, nobody wants to look at their home and see a forced space they don’t feel right about. So, I came up with a solution to help you make that once awkward space feel like one of the coziest corners of your home. All you need is a few things to create a simple reading nook that can make your space not only look effortless, but welcoming!
First, ask yourself this question: Do you actually intend to utilize this corner for guests for comfortable space? If so, be more choosy in the selection of what you pick for a chair. Consider how much space you have in your corner and the dimensions of the chair you choose, as well as how comfortable it will be. If it’s simply decorative and you never intend to use it (unless it’s a holiday and you’re hosting), you can pick any chair in the world that matches your room’s wood or fabric tones. This really is the key: remembering that your corner is not just its own entity! It is an accent of the room that you are working within, and must be styled to match.
Personally, having a grey/white bedroom, I chose to take a grey chair to pair with a chic silver chandelier lamp , my favorite throw pillow and a cozy blanket knit by my sister-in-law. Before you know it, BAM! This simple space is done. While it does take a bit of investment into selecting the right chair/lamp combo, it’s an easy solution to adding extra space for guests while also giving you a comfortable place to relax at the end of a long day.
With spring in full swing and all of us daydreaming of summer, if there was ever a year to prioritize your patio or sunroom: trust me, it’s 2020. Traditionally the ideal place to serve guests, sunrooms and outdoor patios now present the opportunity for a sacred oasis to enjoy date nights under twinkling lights and get some fresh air, enjoy morning coffee to prep for working from home all day, and safely enjoy your time outside while keeping your distance from the rest of the world. Personally, mine has become my favorite place to work from home, snuggle up with my pup and people watch, enjoy a romantic dinner with the husband, and have the perfect backdrop for all those Zoom calls. How did I do it?
It all starts with the seating! The first step is to assess your space: what do you have room for? A sweeping sectional, a cozy loveseat for two or maybe one of those IG-worthy personal hanging pods? Whatever you choose, there are SO many different brands and price ranges out there to choose from. From working with designers, here are the three tips I learned about ordering online furniture sets.
Select a stain-proof fabric. The best way to protect your purchase from red wine, greasy food spills or hurricanes that come out of nowhere is to make sure you’re choosing a fabric that has the durability to last throughout all the wear and tear it will get over the season. While it’s a bit mroe expensive, many of my designers would select only pieces that used Sunbrella fabric- or, if their client really loved a specific piece, they would custom order Sunbrella fabric to fit the exact dimensions of the seating group that stole their heart. The Sunbrella love is REAL!
Order in advance & double-check assembly requirements. One thing you must realize is that if you’re thinking about your patio, chances are everyone else out there is, too! I can’t tell you how many times I would receive a desperate call begging me to rush-ship a seating group for someone’s son or daughter’s graduation, a holiday barbecue, or that it *NEEDED* to be there for when the client opened their home for the season. Of course, as a girl who is team summer all the way, I TOTALLY got it! Unfortunately though, I knew on the back end that our suppliers needed much more time to get these things together and that was the hardest thing to explain to someone when they were really looking forward to a specific piece for a specific day. Why does it take so long to get your outdoor furniture? Well, not only do the orders all tend to stack up at once (for this reason, I recommend ordering in February or March for a May delivery), but they are large pieces that many times come from suppliers down South who can sell their product year-round. Suppliers will wait until they have a full truck to head out to wherever you are, and if they know they’ll have more orders coming soon this time of year, it can take some time. Once it does start to head this way, since they are large pieces that will require a delivery team to come and set up or drop it off for you, normally there will be what I like to call a “furniture layover” where the furniture will be dropped off at another carrier. Then, you’re waiting on their team to call you and set up a good time for you to receive the delivery that works with both of your schedules, and they need to stock their truck with deliveries heading your way. As frustrating as that can be when you just want to sit in the sun with your tea or morning coffee and soak up the sunshine, I know firsthand from spending hours trying my best to help my clients that to your supplier, no amount of begging or reasons why your life will be ruined if you don’t get this patio set in time can rush this process. Once it does come in, make sure you’re prepared ahead of time on if there is any assembly required- it will usually say this on the item’s page on the website, so make sure you do some scrolling so you set yourself the right expectations for what you’re going to get.
Be mindful of your color scheme. Yes, here I am again with that rule of three to force it into your brain! When it comes time to pick a furniture set, you want to make sure that not only does your seating group color match your fence (if you have a light pine fence, maybe don’t go with a dark stained patio set, etc.), but make sure the color fabric you select is something you’ll be ready to set your space around. Do you have a really cute sign you absolutely *MUST* hang outside, or a set of string lights that are a specific color? If so, make sure whatever plans to go in that space will match.
Now that you’ve got your perfect seating group all picked out, it’s time to find the right accent pieces! Let’s start with a good outdoor rug. I actually found this adorable rug on Amazon that matched my seating group almost perfectly! On top of the rug I placed the matching wicker & glass table from my seating group. On the table, I placed a matching bin that was a gift from my in-laws to hold the essentials: for me, that includes a candle( I love the Vineyard candle by Yankee Candle!), a speaker, coasters and a cute statement sign.
For the windows in my sunroom, since I have been sticking with a white/gray/light blue theme, I chose to go with silver starfish curtain rods that I bought years ago at Wayfair and light, airy, white curtains. Instead of tie backs, I chose to use decor from around our home to hold them back. For the right side, a giant seashell my husband brought back from a family trip to Jamaica years ago. For the left side, I placed a custom lantern holder decorated for me by my sister-in-law. Using unique items to hold back your curtains is my new favorite trend!
After continuing to decorate by collecting fitting pieces from around the house (we have no shortage of seaside decor around here!), the last thing I needed was a good pair of white string lights. Most of our decor came from gifts from friends, thrift stores, Christmas Tree Shop, or our favorite boutique shops on Martha’s Vineyard to add a personal touch that reminds us of the place that we got married and hold so close to our hearts.
Ta-da! With all of these accents combined, our sunroom was complete. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to host again as soon as we can! If you have any questions on how to make your sunroom or patio look and feel like a relaxing, welcoming space, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’m always happy to help!
We’ve all had that one sofa we can’t possibly part with. Be it a family heirloom or just incredibly comfortable, sometimes you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of something that may no longer fit your updated style. The good news is: you don’t have to! There are inexpensive, easy way you can safely salvage any piece to brighten your room.
The first thing that comes to mind for so many of us when someone says “get a couch cover” are those uncomfortable plastic ones most of our grandparents had. I don’t blame you, we’re all scarred from that! The truth is though, couch covers have come a long way and are relatively inexpensive depending on where you look. My favorite place to get a new couch cover is Christmas Tree Shop!
Today, we’re highlighting a living room revamp I did a few months back with one of my best friends. The entire room was set to be done over navy and white with light pink accents, but there was just one problem: her favorite, most comfortable couch wouldn’t match her dream vision. While she had a larger navy couch on the way for a separate section of the room, she not only wanted to keep the extra seating but the piece had sentimental value for her. So, quickly we got to work in hunting down the perfect couch cover and accent pieces to go from cozy to chic!
We found this navy couch cover at Christmas Tree Shops, but you can also find similar ones online at Amazon. Next, we hit TJ Maxx & Homegoods to hunt down a white blanket and large matching throw pillow that were perfect accents to a navy, white and silver rug. Next, we added an accent table that matched perfectly she happened to have lying around…which leads me to my tip of the day: whenever you’re looking to refinish a room, the first step is to gather everything in your home or storage that matches in its color scheme and put it all together. See how it looks: does it match? Are you forcing it? If you are, then put it back. Yet you might be surprised to find if you start just by looking around your house what you’ll find that could piece a look together seamlessly! Take a look at the details below.
When I first wake up in the morning before my feet hit the ground, there is one thing that makes getting out of my warm, cozy bed acceptable: COFFEE! Of course, no one wants to be stumbling around in the morning wondering where the last person that used the sugar left it, if your favorite mug is clean, or-THE VERY WORST SITUATION POSSIBLE- if there’s even any coffee left! Let’s avoid all that, shall we?
The coffee corner is literally the easiest home hack that anyone can do, but it’s not something everyone would think of. Let me tell you though, if you don’t have one yet and are a coffee lover, it’s about to be your new favorite place. First, make sure you have enough space for whatever your source is. Are you a french press person like me? Are you a Keurig user? Classic pot? Or, do you prefer cold brew? Either way, other than the cold brew (which should definitely stay in the fridge), make sure your desired area has a plug and either plenty of counter space, or its own little table.
Second, pick out a tray to set everything on because at some point, you know those grounds or maybe even the whole cup might be lost to a case of the Mondays! In those horrifying situation, it’s best to keep the mess contained. What easier way to do that then having a cute little tray to put everything on? Also, from a decor aspect, things just plain for whatever reason look more organized when they’re placed on a tray. I don’t know why, but it’s magic that turns what looks like counter clutter into a purposeful space.
On top of the tray, place your two favorite mugs (making sure they match both your kitchen aesthetic & each other) so you always have a spare handy. It also looks inviting for guests that you have more than one mug out – sharing is caring, after all! Now, it’s time for your accessories. If you use coffee pods, there are some great coffee pod racks that can hold them on Amazon or, you can just use a cute basket you have at home. For the sugar (I love using these little sugar cubes!), while you can buy mason jars pretty much anywhere, I recommend using one with a sealed lid or a fitting jar you can find around the house. After all, this is a simple project-there’s no reason to spend money unless you absolutely don’t have anything at all to use.
It’s the one room that many of my friends and family have come to me struggling with: WHAT DO I DO WITH THIS BATHROOM? We all spend time in it every day. We all want it to look nice when we have guests over. Some of us are fortunate to have large, spacious bathrooms and interior designers on hand to tackle them, but for the rest of us that may have a slightly cramped space that you just want to look nice, it can pose a challenge. How do you make those three necessary fixtures of a toilet, sink and shower look welcoming?
The biggest tip I give people is this: it ALL starts with your shower curtain. And if you have sliding doors or another design where you don’t need one, even easier! Think about it: it’s the biggest statement piece in the room unless you have a massive floor-to-ceiling painting (which if you do, should STILL match your shower curtain by the way!). It’s what people see when they first walk in, and those colors should set the tone for the rest of the room. Sticking by the rule of three color tip and one consistent theme, your shower mat and towels should BOTH match your shower curtain and its theme (i.e., beach theme, Parisian theme, etc.). If you’re one of the lucky ones that have a walk-in shower/sliding doors I mentioned before, make sure those two pieces match each other along with every other piece you bring into that room.
Let’s talk about theme for a second: what does it mean to stick to a theme? Well, it means that sometimes even if you’re following that rule of three colors, if you have a navy, blue and white shower curtain with an anchor that screams “we’re nautical in here”, while your Patriots canvas may match the shower curtain perfectly by COLOR rules really isn’t the best place for it because that would fall under a sports theme. Believe me, I know this is hard. At the end of the day, what I always say is it’s all up to you: do you want this room to match, or do you want to throw it off because you can’t move ONE piece to the other room? If your answer is that you really want that one piece in that one room, there’s only one option: change your theme for the whole room to match that one piece. It’s annoying, I know, and trust me when I tell you I’ve been there centering an entire room around a piece of wall art I couldn’t live without. The pink & gold in my closet? Yup, I spent a week re-painting a dresser to match the theme of a gold mirror & pink Marilyn Monroe sign I couldn’t let go of. I feel you! Was it worth it, though? Absolutely! Now every time I walk into that room, my spirits are instantly lifted at the glamorous space I was able to create for myself because I decided not to be lazy and just keep that dresser teal.
Now, let’s talk about what we did in our bathroom to put that into perspective: when I walked into our new bathroom, we had white walls and grey flooring with THANKFULLY a matching grey sink. Immediately, I knew I had two colors to work with: grey, and white. Loving both of those colors, I chose not to add a third (remember, three is the MAX amount of colors, not the required amount to stick by). That being said, it made it super easy to pick the colors for our shower curtain. After showing several to my husband that we couldn’t agree on, I finally found it: one that said “Get Naked” in pretty script writing. It made him laugh, and it looked pretty for me. Done deal, and now every time I come into the bathroom, I get a good chuckle, too!
Getting to work, I was off to TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Homegoods to find the PERFECT plush, white shower mat to match the white lettering on that curtain since the floors already have that grey. While I was there, I also picked up a white and grey patterned soap dispenser and toothbrush holder for all under $15. (These were GREAT investments because you don’t have to worry about the cucumber melon soap looking out of place, and have a holder to match!) Since the walls are white, I opted for a chrome handle bar to match our fixtures and grey towels from Target. Next, it was time to look into my own decor inventory and see what matched. Large white mirror? Yes. Grey & white heart-shaped sign? You bet.
The final touches were what went above the toilet. With little sink space, this meant a neutral, clear accessories holder. Next to that, I chose to take a clear flower vase, some beads from Michael’s Craft Store, and add faux flowers I’d purchased on Wayfair. Before I knew it, voila…our small bathroom was done! All by keeping things consistent, we created a space that was both pleasing to the eyes & functional.
Do you have a space in your home that you’d like a little help with? I’m here to listen! Email me at email@example.com and I’m always happy to help in offering any tips/advice for any space!