Have you ever been flipping through channels or scrolling through Instagram to come across a perfectly-put together living room and think to yourself, “Nobody’s living room actually looks like that!” Although it might be easier to tell ourselves that, the truth of the matter is that people’s living rooms actually do look that nice in real life. These people that have kids, significant others, dogs, jobs, and everything else also have a living room that looks straight out of a magazine. How do they do it? While they may have hired a designer, if you’re short on budget you too can follow one simple rule that will massively help bring any room together.
The trick? Using the color rule of three. Watch my video below to learn this popular tip I learned from several years of working with interior designers and how you can use it to instantly refresh any room in your home..including that magical, matching living room!
Looking for a unique Thanksgiving table setting sure to impress your guests? As a woman who is #TeamSummer with our home’s decor all year long, I came up with a way to incorporate that nautical charm into a Nordic holiday table setting that spoke to both my Scandinavian and Portuguese roots.
First, I found a runner to match the all silver & white theme I wanted. (Mine came from Homegoods, but this one by Amazon is very similar.) Next, I introduced the fall theme with these locally sourced white pumpkins and some silver candles. For the centerpiece, I used an inexpensive tall vase from Michael’s and filled it with shells I found on local beaches.
Now, it’s time to set the table! I chose these silver beaded chargers I also snagged from Homegoods to accent these square white plates from Crate & Barrel. (Here’s where you can find similar silver chargers if Homegoods is out.) For the napkins, I selected a plain white set from Pier1 and folded them using a trick I’d learned waitressing in college.
The Napkin Trick!
Lay the napkin flat on the table.
Take the bottom left corner, and fold it to meet the top right to create a triangle.
Fold in the bottom right corner and bottom left so they make a square.
Pull the napkin through the ring so it looks like a squid!
If these steps seem confusing or it doesn’t look right, watch the step-by-step tutorial in the video above 🙂
For silverware, I stuck with the silver nautical theme by using a set we’d received from Christmas Tree Shops (similar set from Bed Bath & Beyond here). I set the utensils according to table setting standards of having the fork on the left, knife and soup spoon on the right, dessert spoon and fork up top. Any glasses should go to the top right of any setting.
#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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and I’m always happy to help in offering any tips/advice for any space!