Organizing the Nursery Closet

When it comes to being organized I’ll be the first to admit that I could do a lot better. My house may look clean and uncluttered on Instagram but open up any drawer or cabinet and whoa!!

I’m definitely one of those people that hate visual clutter – it gives me complete anxiety and can make a room feel dirty even when it really isn’t. I’m guilty of piling things up or hiding them away in cabinets and drawers just so I don’t have to look at the mess because for me…as long as I don’t have to see the mess, the house instantly feels cleaner . It’s my dirty little secret that’s not so much of a secret anymore…

BUT!!!!!

The nursery is the one exception to my horrible organizational ways. It’s dang organized in there! In this post I talked about how we re-worked the closet by adding some shelves and was able to improve the storage capacity of the nursery closet overall. Adding shelves allowed us to bring in bins – to house all the tiny things – and it gave everything a home of it’s own…something I’ve learned is super important in order to be and stay organized. Just ask these girls (my real life girl crushes).

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On the very top shelf of the closet (those grey felt bins) are diapers of varying sizes. When Emie was born we had NB through size 3 diapers up there – a size in each bin. It was super helpful to have not only overflow diapers in her current size but to have the next size up as well. Babies grow so quickly and you never know from day to day when they’ll wake up and suddenly outgrow something.

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As she’s gotten older and is now in size 3 diapers, we don’t keep as many diapers up there as we did before. We have 4 bins up top and here’s what we keep up there:

  • one bin is for overflow diapers in her current size
  • one bin is for diapers in the next size up
  • two of the bins are for clothing/shoes she’s outgrown

It’s super helpful and keeps me organized to have a designated area for clothing she’s outgrown, rather than letting it accumulate somewhere else or in the drawers until I have time (what is time?) to do something with it. This has worked out really well for us so far and helps keep her room mostly organized.

For the shelves that we built we brought in fabric bins and labeled them with grey chalk board tags based on what was inside.

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The 1st shelf has:

COVERS (Boba wrap / nursing covers/ boppy covers / changing pad covers)
SUN (hats / sunglasses / swimsuits / rash guards / swim diapers)
BIBS + BURPCLOTHS

The middle shelf has:

BEDDING (sheets / crib skirts / mattress covers)
BATH (towels / washcloths / bath robe)

The bottom shelf has:

WIPES
Quick note about the wipes: I could have put them up top with the extra diapers but quickly learned just how fast we go through wipes so it made more sense to put them down low where they were easily accessible.
BLANKETS (quilts / swaddles / muslin blankets)

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On the right side where her clothing lives: everything on the top rod can be worn now – organized by color. Yes, I’m fully aware of how ridiculous my OCD is.

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Everything on the bottom rod is next size up – again with the idea that as she grows I want to have the next size up washed and ready to go. I use these slim non-slip baby hangers to save on space (they now have black/gold hangers that I totally would’ve purchased had they been available when I started the nursery!). Matching hangers is a small investment that I think is totally worth it and reduces the visual clutter.

For outfits that have a set of matching bloomers, we hang the bloomers right on the hanger with the outfit – no more digging through the dresser drawers to find bloomers to match! I credit my Mom for this genius idea.

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On the shelf above the bottom rod, we keep a few décor items and decorative pillows used for her crib that aren’t meant to be slept with plus a few pairs of shoes she wears the most.

Confession: she hasn’t ever worn those pink flats – they’re still too big! There’s usually a pair of walking shoes and those suede booties that she wears daily – but the those pink flats are adorable and looked better in photos! Lest you think my daughter walks around in velvet flats all day errrday…psh!

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The empty space below the shelves / rods on either side of the closet is utilized too. On the left we keep her hamper, a tall bin of stuffed animals that she loves digging into, and on the right we is where her larger toys go at the end of the day  currently just a shopping cart that she received from Christmas. As she grows, I see this space being used to store toys like a dollhouse, baby stroller, or toy vacuum.

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We currently don’t have any doors on her closet but it’s definitely something we want to add. I thought for a hot second I could live with that open concept vibe but no. Just no. Who do I think I am? I am too OCD for that. Doors ASAP please!

Reviewing Our Couch – 5 Years Later

Reviewing Our Couch – 5 Years Later

By far the thing I get asked most about on social media or the blog is about our couch. Despite it being nearly 5 years old, it’s still all anyone ever wants to know about. I thought it might be helpful to put a post together with all the couch info in one place for all those who are always asking. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve fully vetted all the pros and cons over the last 5 years so I thought we’d pass the info along.

It took us quite a while to find the perfect couch – but not for lack of looking! My other half has a really hard time making any sort of large purchase without exhaustively seeing all the options two or three times! When we moved in together we were couch-less for nearly 3 months before he felt confident enough that we had seen everything there was to be seen and were making the right choice. By the end of it all I would’ve bought any couch just to stop the insanity.
We ended up purchasing our couch at a local store called the Design Center Furniture – a place we visited three times during our search. We chose a Robert Michael couch from the Rocky Mountain Collection and what we loved most about the couch was that it was completely customizable. The top 3 things on my couch wish list were: comfort, washable cushions, and a loose pillow back. Being able to customize our couch allowed us to tick all those boxes.
CUSTOMIZATION:
Our first apartment’s living room was over 15 ft long so we ended up going with a 2 piece configuration – a 1 arm sofa and chaise – making for an 11 foot couch! I loved that we had the ability to choose any configuration that would suit our lifestyle and a length that was perfect for our space.
We were also able to choose the couch fabric and fabric for 4 coordinating pillows. For the most part we chose a great fabric…it’s very forgiving and has worn extremely well and since baby girl has come along…it’s taken quite a beating. But there is a downside! The fabric is ribbed and directional which means it doesn’t really allow us to flip the cushions or pillow backs for optimal wear. Since the ribbing is directional and if flipped the direction of the ribbing gets a “ruffled” look…but that’s due to our choice in fabric and not about the quality of the fabric.
COMFORT:
I want our home to be and look lived-in and cozy and I think the couch really helps us achieve that goal. I think what makes our couch so comfy are the down filled cushions and one I recommend!

Aside from aesthetics, the couch is the epitome of comfort. The standard high density foam cushions are wrapped in down which makes it extra squishy and soft. I can’t remember if this was standard or an option we chose but we love it. The couch is very deep which is great for tall people (not us) and our older family members do sometimes have difficulty getting up (pregnant people too – ha) because you really just sink into it and it’s pretty low to the ground.

Next time around, we’ll definitely get a couch with legs so it’s higher off the ground and easier to get up from. No biggie though.

WASHABLE:

What I wanted most in a couch was removeable cushion covers that can be removed and thrown in the washer for easy cleaning – and after a scare with that spray hair coloring (red!!!) – I’ve never been more grateful to be able to throw the covers in the wash. I typically wash the covers 2-3 times a year but I stress less about accidental spills on our couch knowing they’re so easy to clean.
After a quick run through the wash and spin through the dryer they’re fluffier, snugger, and the couch looks brand new all over again.
LOOSE BACK:
This was also high on my list of must-haves! Loose pillow back prevents that smushed look you sometimes get with cushions that are attached to the couch – or if you have an animal who loves perching atop the couch. The loose back cushions are basically just giant pillows that can be fluffed and made to look brand new again!
It does mean that they often get disheveled throughout our every day use but I mean…how cute is this? Makes for great fort building too!
So after an exhaustive 3 month couch hunt, I’m super happy with our couch and am extremely impressed with how it’s held up the last 5 years we’ve owned it. We aren’t currently in the market for a new couch but I am sorta itching for a new one.
Here’s what we’d do and wouldn’t do next time:
Again: purchase a couch with loose pillow back
Again: purchase a couch with removeable cushion covers for easy washing
Again: purchase a couch with down filled or down wrapped cushions
Not Again: purchase a couch with directional fabric
Not Again: purchase a couch so low to the ground
Not Again: spend 3 months looking 🙂

And if you need even more couch inspo – here are a few couches that I’m really loving and would snatch up in a heart beat!

 Six Penny – Neva Modular Sectional
 Interior Define – Caitlin Chaise Sectional
 Article – Sven Chaise Sectional
 Tell me! What are your couch must-haves and what is a normal life expectancy for a couch?

Combating Design Indecision

I kinda had a moment early on while S and I were discussing an expensive upgrade/repair we want need to make to the house. I was waffling back and forth, procrastinating like it’s my job, and just out right delayed calling for quotes/consultations as long as I possibly could. Picture me telling him that I’d call around for estimates tomorrow but “tomorrow” turned into next week and the “next week(s)” just kept on coming.

The problem? I didn’t know what I wanted. Therefore…I didn’t know what to ask for.

S is kinda the guy that would prefer an already “finished” house (one he doesn’t have to renovate, rip apart, just to put back together) – but he’s also smart enough to know that, for me (lover of all things interior and design), no house will ever be “finished”. Through this entire renovation journey, he islearning to love the process and realizing that no cookie cutter house could ever be as great as the one we’re creating with our own two hands. But he has moments where he gets stuck in that “what-did-we-get-ourselves-into?” and “I-can’t-see-the-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel” state of mind and just can’t grasp why I’m so frozen with indecision sometimes.
To him, a door is a door. Grey is grey. But no, my friends, it’s not. Po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe.
So when it came time to make this decision I was undecided about what it was I wanted vs what we could afford and I just couldn’t – as he put it – “hurry up and decide”. At first he didn’t understand and was annoyed but I was feeling pressured and rushed into making a huge (not to mention expensive) decision about OUR house that I just wasn’t ready to make. I hadn’t thought it out long enough, gathered enough inspiration, researched all the options, the best materials, contractors…and frankly, I just wasn’t well informed.

After explaining to him that even though my indecision was stalling our progress and as he put it, “annoying”, it was for good reason. I want the decisions I/we make (especially the really expensive ones) to be well thought out and purposeful. The last thing I want to do is pour money into a decision that we end up hating or regretting. For the very first time in our lives we have the opportunity to give these decisions the time and consideration they deserve because when you buy a house, there really isn’t (and shouldn’t be) any rush. We’re here for 30 years.

He finally gets it.
I’m enjoying the renovation process and this stage of life that we’re in right now. As a renter, I never had the freedom or 30 years laid out before us to take all the time we could ever possibly need to make the right choices for us, for this house. By far the best thing about buying this house is that I don’t feel rushed. And I’m sorta digging it.

But if you’re like me a need a little help from time to time to get over that hump, here’s 5 ways I combat design indecision:

Pinterest

It’s always the first stop when starting a new room but it also helps pull me out of that funk too. I log onto my Pinterest boards to re-confirm that “hey girl, you got this”! Pinterest is a great source for inspiration and does a heck of a job compiling all my likes into one place. It’s a great at-a-glance tool to see that I pin a lot of light/bright/all white spaces and orange/red food (haha) so if I’m designing a super moody room and suddenly feel like this “isn’t me” betcha Pinterest will agree.

This isn’t to say that you can’t/shouldn’t divert from your normal aesthetic but Pinterest can also help you hone in on your evolving style too. It’s a great tool to really narrow down what you like but more importantly, what you don’t. I turn to Pinterest a lot when I’ve hit a wall and need another jolt of inspiration to push me over that hump.

Build a Board

I’ve mentioned this a few times before but after browsing Pinterest, putting together a design board is usually my next step. I’ll virtually build my room right there on the page and swap items in and out all day long. This can be very time consuming, sometimes taking me hours/days to get it to a good jumping off point. But the great thing is that it can be tweaked along the way and all my rooms usually end up with 3 or more versions of its original design after all is said and done.

Putting together a design board is a great visual road map that can be used to trigger product purchases for the room or what needs to be DIYed / hired out in order to complete your vision. Nothing is off limits here either. If in my searches I find an out-of-budget item that I just have to have, I’ll still throw it into the design and either a) find a more budget friendly look-alike option, b) scale back other aspects to afford that item, or c) save up until I can purchase my dream piece.

Sky is the limit here and when you’re paralyzed with making those design decisions, nothing’s worse than being strapped down with limitations.

When in doubt, try it out!

We’ve all been there.

You go to Target for deodorant and leave with one of everything. We take a detour down the home décor aisles, get distracted by the “pretty” things, and suddenly what started out as a $5 shopping trip turns into a $500 one. Target décor is on point these days and it’s OK to drink that Nate Berkus/Threshold kool-aide. I ain’t mad-at-cha girl!

This is by far one of the best ways to help me combat design indecision. I call it auditioning. While searching for a particular item I’ll bring home two, three, or even four options (because they’re just thatgood!) and audition them at home in their would-be-space. As a visual person, this helps me immensely! So go for it. Fill your cart up with 97 pillow options and then try them out at home. See what works and what doesn’t – what you like or don’t like. Your husband/wife might think you’re nuts but that’s what a 30 day return policy is for.  
It’s OK to change your mind

Even after I’ve done all the pre-planning and auditioning sometimes things still don’t work out and it throws me for a loop. Instead of getting stuck, I give myself permission to change my mind, course correct along the way, and you should too. Just because you put it in the basket and brought it home, doesn’t mean you’re committed to it forever. If you hate it, get rid of it. Most things aren’t that important to keep around for the sake of keeping around. You’ll love your space a whole lot more if you allow yourself a few do-overs along the way.

Spaces rarely come together over night and instead, the best spaces evolve over time. Don’t feel pressured to get it right the first time because for me, half the fun is trying.

Wait it out

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was your house. There have been many rooms I started and then abruptly stopped because I just “wasn’t feeling it” or didn’t like the direction it was going. In fact, half my apartment sat semi-finished for most of the time we lived there and I’m prepared so sit on these rooms in our new house if I need to. That’s life.

There’s no reason to force your design choices or to make rash decisions. Some of the most well styled and put together rooms happened over time…not overnight. If you’ve hit a brick wall and don’t know what to do, buy, DIY next…wait it out. Turn your attention to another room, space, project and inspiration will come soon enough and you’ll have a clear enough vision to pick back up where you left off.

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And that’s it, blog friends! Sorry for such a wordy post this Friday but we’ve all been there before and sometimes we just need a little help to get over the fear and design indecision. Anyone out there been here before? What did you do to jump start that creativity and get the ball rolling again? Do tell…

I’m a Fan!

With our house still in disarray (read: we’re a blow-up mattress away from glorified camping) and while we’re stuck in this waiting phase of the renovation – we’re turning our attention to what can get accomplished during the downtime. So while all the chaos happens below our feet, things are looking up! 

Today we’re talking ceiling fans!

One of the more offensive fixtures in our home was this ugly and outdated ceiling fan:

Not to mention yellowed and discolored…
Sure, it was operational but it definitely wasn’t our aesthetic and during our initial walk-through of the house, it was at the very top of the list of things that had to go because…well…I hate ceiling fans. #truthbetold

But! In the 2 months that we’ve lived here, we’ve used it nearly every day. In a house that has no air conditioning (yes, you read that right) we quickly found that the ceiling fan was definitely a necessity. It cooled the main living areas down rather quickly and we were quick to flip it on during some rather stuffy early evenings. The verdict: it had to stay. 

As much as I wanted to come in here and buy new everything, when it comes to buying the finishing touches – light fixtures, rugs, window treatments – we’ve allowed ourselves to live in our house as-is (despite how ugly or outdated) before making any of these strictly-for-aesthetic purchases just to see how we use the space and how it functions for us. Hello howdy-doody roman shade in the kitchen or the ugly vertical blinds in the dining area. #baneofmyexistence.

Had we not allowed our house this little trial run, we would’ve swapped out the ceiling fan for a hip new chandelier (because hello! #ihateceilingfans) and come summer we would’ve been dripping in sweat and cursing the day we took the fan down.

I did a little digging on Pinterest for some ceiling fan inspo – it’s always my go-to source whenever I’m stumped (or indifferent) about a design decision – and ended up pinning these images below:



After my binge-sesh on Pinterest, I quickly realized that not only are there SO MANY ceiling fan options out there (why?) but your fan needs to be properly sized to your room for optimal efficiency. I found this guide about how to properly size your ceiling fan to be super helpful.

Armed with my Pinterest inspiration and now fully educated on ceiling fan sizing, the search was #onlikedonkeykong. Determining my new-found ‘ceiling fan esthetic’ (thank you Pinterest) and what size fan the room required for optimal efficiency (thanks to this guide), I was able to narrow down the field of possibilities quite a bit.

Here was the criteria I was working with:
  •          A fan that leaned a bit modern
  •         No boob lights / 4 cluster lights – single light kits only!
  •         3 or 4 blades
  •        Little to no down-rod (even though I love the look of a suspended fan, our ceiling height can’t       accommodate)

After an exhaustive search – both in store and online – we finally chose a winner and I placed the order today! I never thought I’d say this, but I’m ‘jumping up and down’ level excited about it and I cannot wait for it to arrive! #ohhappymail day it will be!

While I’m eagerly waiting for my fan to arrive there are no after photos to share just yet. But in the meantime, enjoy this round-up of the perfect modern fans for $500 or less…because someone of them are just too good not to share – and I did way too much online shopping for it to go to waste!
From one ceiling fan hater to another – enjoy!

With Light Kit:

Without Light Kit:
Have you ditched the hater train and joined the fan wagon? Because you totally should. Fans have come such a long way aesthetically and these ain’t yo Mama’s fan! #wordtoyourmother

Psst – my fan is lurking amongst the picks somewhere. Can you guess which one we chose?

Going Gray

If you know anything about gray then you know just how finicky it can be. The color gray (or grey) has so many variations – maybe a few too many IMHO. Choosing the rightgray (or any color, really!) can leave you a little paralyzed, no?
 
I always hear people say “it’s just paint” and yeah…it is…but umm, hello!! #realitycheck. Who wants to paint something more than once? Not I. 

So whenever I choose paint (especially grays!) I always, ALWAYS buy a sample and try it out at home before committing. You should too.
 
Both Home Depot and Lowe’s have sample pots for under $5 and can mix any color from any manufacture in the paint brands they carry – Behr/Glidden @ Home Depot and Sherwin Williams/Valspar @ Lowes.
 
Knowing which color direction we were going in (gray) I headed to Home Depot armed with a long list of different grays from all different brands and asked the gentleman behind the counter to mix up some sample pots for me. I left the store that day with 8 samples and went home to try them out.
If you follow me on Instagram (smash that Follow button if you don’t) then you saw this a few weeks back:


We painted these 8 colors in 5 different places around the dining/living room and sun room just to see how the color would react or change depending on the different levels of light throughout the house. It’s important to do this in multiple areas throughout the space because the same color may take on several different tones depending on how much (or how little) light those areas receive throughout the day.


As I tried these samples on the wall, I knew almost immediately which ones weren’t going to work. I also knew almost immediately which one would. Gray is a funny color – some too blue, violet, brown, or even green – and seeing them all lined up next to each other made the undertones even moreapparent. Can you spot the undertones in the photo above or below?


Even though I heavily leaned toward one favorite, I let S, my Mom, my Dad, even the 2 dump guys weigh in! S was firmly planted in the Stonington Gray camp and I was in love with Gray Owl…both from our buddy Benjamin Moore. While I loved Gray Owl (brown undertones) as is, Stonington Gray (blue/violet undertones) was a tad too dark for what I envisioned in this space. But I still wanted to take S’s opinion into consideration so I agreed to try a lightened version of Stonington Gray and see if that would change my mind.
 
So back to HD we went.

I asked the paint guys to mix me up a sample of Stonington Gray lightened 25% and another lightened 50%. And!! Because I’m a complete lunatic, I picked up a few other samples as well. Bringing the grand total to 12! #somebodyhelpme


We tried these additional 4 colors on the wall and spent the next few days staring at walls.


And guess what?!
 
I still loved Gray Owl more than any of the 11 others.
But…I lied.
Yep. I sure did. I told S I liked Stonington Gray lightened 50% and that we’d go with that one. Partly because I felt bad that I had asked his opinion just to veto it anyways and partly because I was trying to convince myself to love it even though I knew I wouldn’t. I have a habit of doing that sometimes. #allthetime
 
But I forged on and did what any insane person would do.
 
I painted our entire hallway with the sample pot of Stonington Gray lightened 50%.
 
To S it looked like I had committed to the color he chose but I was just trying to convince myself I could actually live with it – haha!
 
Turns out I still hated disliked the color – it was even more purple (to me) in a larger dose – and it was then that I decided to trust my gut and go with Gray Owl. Without telling him. #ofcourse
 
I took S with me to HD to order the paint – mainly because I needed his muscles to carry the 5 gallon bucket of paint – but also because he’s pretty cute too. Luckily for me, he has a habit of sitting in the section with the outdoor furniture while I peruse the paint aisles so this worked perfectly for my genious color-swapping plan. Thank you Home Depot for putting the outdoor furniture near the paint section! #highfivesallaround
 
By time we got home with the paint he was none the wiser. Where’s that sly looking emoji with the smug smile when you need one?
 
The next day (while S was at work) I slapped a coat of paint on the walls and because we’re installing new baseboards and crown there was no cutting in needed!

 
When he came home from work that night the first thing he did was comment on how much he liked the color and said we had absolutely made the right color choice. Bahahaha!! #littledidheknow

I’ve since come clean. And he still loves the color. #andmetoo
 

Do you? The color, not me, silly.
 If you’re thinking about dipping your toes in the gray paint waters (or any paint really!) here’s a few tips to help you choose the right gray for you:

Find Pinspiration

Not sure where to start? Browse your Pinterest boards and see what colors/rooms you’re drawn toward. Often times we Pin the same type, style, or look over and over. Are you pinning bold, moody rooms, or do you gravitate towards the light and bright spaces? Pinterest can tell you a lot about your own personal style and esthetic and is a great first stop on your painting journey.

Bonus: if you’re not already following, be sure to keep up with me and all my latest Pins. I’m a pin-binger.
 Buy the sample pots

Never ever buy a color based off what you see on the paint chip in the store. Even though it’s an extra step (and an extra expense), the sample pots are absolute worth it to get it right the first time around. 

Bonus: those little sample pots come in handy for crafts or smaller projects around the house

Don’t Limit Yourself 

Don’t limit yourself to only the the colors offered by the manufacture(s) your hardware store carries. Any hardware store can and will mix any color from any manufacture in the paint line(s) they carry.
 
Bonus: Here’s a great blog post about what stores carry what lines
 
Go Big or Go Home
 
Paint a swatch – a big one!! – on your wall and in several other areas throughout the space you’re planning to paint. And then spend a few days staring at your choices.
 
Bonus: Don’t forget to look at your paint colors at all hours of the day. Be sure to evaluate them in the morning, mid day, and night too! You’d be surprised how much the colors will change throughout the day.
 
Ask a Pro
 
Once you’ve chosen your color be sure to ask your paint pro their recommendations regarding sheen, application, and amount of paint needed depending on your project specs.
 
Bonus: Paint calculator #forthewin

 
So? Are you ready to dive right in and get your paint on? Tell me! How did you choose your color? Have you ever painted your walls only to find you hated them later? Do tell!






2015 Christmas Home Tour

This time of year is always so much fun and everyone’s favorite. For me, it’s been a little bitter sweet and filled with mixed emotions. All though their due date was in January, our girls most definitely would’ve made their grand entrance some time in December had we made it full term so I imagine this time of year will always bring reminders of that. Although they can’t be here with us to see the magic of the season unfold in person, we know they’re always close in our hearts and that’s reason enough to celebrate this time of year just as we always would.
I didn’t put much thought into this year’s décor. There’s no theme other than deciding to do an all-white tree. Much of what we used this year is the same items we’ve used in years past, just pared down…if that’s possible to do while decorating for Christmas. I have four giant bins of Christmas décor and found that I used the contents of maybe two of those bins. This tells me it’s time to purge what isn’t being used.
But enough chit-chat…let’s dive head first into our “traditional” Christmas décor around the apartment.
Our entryway received a subtle nod to the season with a couple holiday print throws for a festive touch. I’d love to find an old pair of ice skates to hang here as well.
The view of the tree is the first thing you see as you walk in through the front door.
To the left of the tree we have our TV and media cabinet in the nook. Without a traditional mantel, I hang our stockings from the cabinet using black 3M Command Hooks (every renter’s best friend). Works like a charm!
Our friend Anthony the antelope who lives above the TV got into the holiday spirit as well with a scrap piece of fabric tied around his neck as a scarf.
The coffee table got a dose of Christmas cheer too with a red runner, a pine scented (the best!) candle, and some season appropriate vase filler.
The couch wall received the most holiday décor. I swapped out the pair of black couch pillows for smaller red ones that read “Merry & Bright” and a wreath hung up by some candy cane ribbon replaces the round mirror. Excuse my horrible bow tying skills – I was running out of steam by the end!
The long console table behind the couch (tutorial coming soon!) has a few bottle brush trees I picked up at Target this year which I paired with some red glass ones I already had. The only other change I made to the table was to change out the books on the right for more seasonally appropriate colors. One of the things I love most about decorating is the ability to shop your own home, using what you have but giving it a twist to achieve the look you’re after – like giving the antelope a scarf, using the same hurricane candle holder but popping in a seasonally scented candle and vase filler, swapping out the mirror for a wreath, or using books in the right color pallet – all things I had on hand but helped sprinkle the festive touches throughout!
Directly across from the couch is the focal point of the entire room…the TREE!
We purchased a new 7 ft. Slim tree from Michaels this year for $40 and at first I wasn’t sure I’d like it but now I LOVE it! It’s perfect when you’re limited on space just like us!
I loaded it up and just love how it turned out. Our tree was already pre-lit but that didn’t stop me from adding two strands of round globe lights. I love the mix of the different lights and on the smaller tree I think it really pops!
I also spotted this snowball garland at Target and added two strands of that as well. Think beyond regular ornaments for tree décor – anything is fair game!
From there I added a lot of floral picks I got on major sale at Michaels and just a few actual ornaments I already had on hand –  white glittery ones (because glitter is always better) and some clear ones for another added layer without taking away from everything else.
I set up a wrapping station using a glass vase which neatly corals my wrapping paper rolls, ribbons, tape, and scissors all while doubling as festive décor along-side the tree. While rifling through my wrapping paper stash I noticed an abundance of red & white paper so I just went with it. The red chevron and hounds tooth paper I found at the Dollar Store last year!
The last stop on our Christmas home tour is the kitchen. I added a few hot chocolate supplies – cocoa mix, marshmallows, and chocolate chips in mason jars to our bar tray. We just dump our hot chocolate concoctions to our sweater adorned mugs and fill with steaming hot water via the Keurig. Nothing better than a yummy cup of hot chocolate to cuddle up with on the couch!
That’s all the Christmas I have to share with you from our little corner of the world – hope you enjoyed the tour and get a little inspiration to deck your halls this holiday season!

The Entryway Re-do

The entryway in our apartment can hardly be called an entryway. It’s a 4’x3’ pint-sized speck of space that really has been useless…until now! Despite its small footprint, the functionality of this space really needed to pack a punch. An entryway in a home is probably one of the hardest working spaces a home can have. It’s the first space we encounter when we walk through the door and the place we unload our junk – think hats, jackets, bags, keys – just to name a few.
The problem with our entryway or lack thereof, is the tight spacing. The swing path of the front door is essentially all we have to work with. That’s it folks. We tried a few different options (as seen below) and even mocked some up in the past but none ever seemed to fit the bill when it came to functionality.

This shelf situation lasted the longest but probably only out of laziness or from being stumped as to how to solve the problem. Then one day I was just so fed up with it and took everything off the wall. As with most projects – starting with a blank slate is really the first step. It pushes the reset button on the space and allows my brain to reset too in terms of design. Without the distraction of “stuff” I hate staring back at me, I can start brainstorming on a solution that I’ll love in the end.
I patched all the holes and gave the wall a fresh coat of paint. Then I made a list of the issues.
Clutter was the #1 issue and biggest driving force behind the entryway re-do.  What I learned from the last time around that I tackled this space is that we’re not a family that can handle “open shelving”. Some are, some aren’t. We are definitely in the AREN’T category. Unless I constantly policed or tidied up the shelf, it was a constant catch all for “stuff”…receipts, business cards, candy and/or candy wrappers, change, pens, pencils…etc. It was a nightmare.
The 2nd biggest issue was ease of convenience. Over time I’ve found that unless it’s easy, kids and ahem…grown men, won’t use it. It was amazing to me how many times I found jackets strewn all over the house – on the couch, backs of chairs, on the floor (!!!!), when our coat closet was literally an arm’s reach away! Apparently small kids and grown men have trouble opening doors and reaching for a hanger to hang up their coats.
With all my issues written down, I set about to solve them once and for all and give our tiny entryway a whole lot of functionality too. What I ended up with is hooks and baskets. No more open shelves! I determined that clutter will always be but I can handle the clutter so long as I don’t have to see it J. Below is the end result – ain’t she pretty?
I installed a set of 3 hooks that people of all ages can use with ease – no more hassling with hanging our coats in the coat closet. For whatever reason, hooks are so much easier for kids and even grown men to use. The thought! We still keep additional coats in the nearby closet but for the ones we use more often, these hooks have been a saving grace. They’ll come in handy too for guests who need a quick and easy spot to store their coats while they’re visiting without having to ask where to put it. Using the hooks in our entryway have worked so well that I’m thinking of using them in the bathrooms too instead of towel bars – another things certain people in our household have trouble using!

To tackle all the other clutter that seems to accumulate at the front door, I hung up a woven basket that I picked up from the bath section at Ikea to corral wallets, receipts, cards, loose change – all of the above! As I said before…as long as I don’t see it, I can deal with it. The basket conceals the mess and is big enough to hold every day essentials like wallets and keys. I still keep my keys inside our coat closet with my purse, but for my guy who likes to empty his pockets at the door, this has been a perfect solution for him. When it starts getting out of hand, I can easily sort through the contents and purge what isn’t needed. What was once a daily battle is now something that only needs to be managed once a week. A win-win.
Once the issues had been addressed, it was time to add in some personality! My favorite part of any project. I added a couple of address numbers above the hooks because they were right next to the hook section at Lowes and I liked how modern and sleek they looked next to the almost aged look of the hooks. I painted the numbers a deep navy blue which ties in the brand new Target rug I found at Goodwill (score!). Goodwill is like Target’s clearance center in case you haven’t been lately.
The sunburst mirror added to the opposite wall lets us ladies (or guys too) do a last minute quick look when we’re headed out the door and it’s gold color coordinates with the aged hooks on the opposite wall.

Here’s a look at the new entry in relation to the coat closet that I organized almost a year ago. The systems I installed nearly a year ago are still working well for our family so now with the functionality of both these spaces give us no room to make excuses!
Making these small changes has really added so much value to this tiny space and allowed it to really work for our family. Living in such tight quarters makes every bit of real estate so valuable and when it can function the way our entryway functions now it makes the time and money spent very well worth it.