* View Along the Way * http://www.viewalongtheway.com Starts and Stops on the Journey to a DIY Home Tue, 23 Sep 2014 04:36:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 Is love enough? — New curtains for the office http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/09/new-curtains-office/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/09/new-curtains-office/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 10:00:57 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21323 Remember back when we made this bench out of a headboard for the entryway? (I accidentally just typed “remember when I made…” And then I laughed and erased it, because no.) I showed you my growing collection of fabric swatches I was considering for the office windows, just off the foyer: I decided on none […]

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Remember back when we made this bench out of a headboard for the entryway?

(I accidentally just typed “remember when I made…” And then I laughed and erased it, because no.)

I showed you my growing collection of fabric swatches I was considering for the office windows, just off the foyer:

I decided on none of those, because here’s what went down.

I’d been watching this fabric at Calico Corners for, seriously, a couple of years, but it was over $40/yard, and I’d end up shelling out many hundreds of dollars for four floor-to-ceiling panels, so I just couldn’t pull the trigger.
72049-601_1
(They have it at Online Fabric Store for cheaper now, but at the time, it was held hostage at Calico Corners for more than I wanted to spend.)

One day I was doing my daily browsing – it’s an addiction – of Joss & Main and I saw this!!
Joss and Main Mayra Curtain
Curtains in that fabric — already made! — for much less than it would cost me to make my own. You don’t even know how fast I clicked “order,” guys. You couldn’t even see it with the naked eye: there was just a “whoosh” sound, and it was done.

Here’s the thing: I had been agonizing over whether to do a pattern for these curtains, because the foyer rug is so colorful and busy, and the office rug is a faux cowhide with a little bit of movement in it as well.

But when I saw those curtains come up for sale, I just snagged them: bought first, thought second.

You know how designers are always saying: “All you have to do is buy what you love and your house will be amazing! It will all come together beautifully!” and other things that make you wonder what’s wrong with you?

I kinda just hoped that loving that pattern enough – and for so many years – would be enough. Because love is always enough, right? (Says no one who has been married for any period of time, ever.)
patterned_curtains_from_foyer_WM
I love it. I don’t know if it’s “too much pattern” — I don’t think so, I think it’s fun and happy — but even if you disagree, that’s cool. I’m digging the happy, comfortable direction this is headed, although there’s still MUCH to do in the office before it’s any kind of finished.
Office curtains
That’s the chandelier we made from this post, by the way, and the little rescue lamp that we rigged up to be cordless in this post.

And that’s green preschooler hand-print art on the back of the door, yes. It’s an original.

The art leaning against the wall was a One Kings Lane purchase. I’m still deciding where it’ll live. I think it’s granny chic; Andy thinks it’s granny. I know that, even though I haven’t asked him what he thinks. Sometimes, you just know better than to ask.

The fiddle leaf fig isn’t shrinking, by the way. I have two now: both actually living. I think I figured out their formula. I might do a post on that soon.
Office and foyer
You can’t see it from here, but the other side of the office has some more of that turquoise color happening on our little DIY bookshelf wall:

The curtains themselves are the BEST quality. They have hidden tabs (here’s how to make curtains with hidden tabs), and are lined and SUPER thick. The color looks amazing in person. I think the pattern looks like giant amoebas eating our wall, which is probably the next trend.
patterned_curtains_from_foyer_WM
So what do you think: is love enough? Or do you need to do a little analyzing and agonizing over a decision first?

(This post contains affiliate links.)

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Painted linoleum floor: an update! http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/09/painted-linoleum-floor-update/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/09/painted-linoleum-floor-update/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 10:00:40 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21282 Thanks for all your brilliant ideas on the last post! You guys are geniuses, I tell ya. I haven’t made a decision yet. Still considering all the new ideas you suggested! A couple years ago, Andy and I got a harebrained idea to try painting the ugly linoleum floors in our laundry room. I’ll just […]

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Thanks for all your brilliant ideas on the last post! You guys are geniuses, I tell ya. I haven’t made a decision yet. Still considering all the new ideas you suggested!

A couple years ago, Andy and I got a harebrained idea to try painting the ugly linoleum floors in our laundry room.
Unpainted vinyl floors
I’ll just be real: neither of us expected it to actually work. We were planning to rip out the floors and replace them, so we figured all we stood to lose was the cost of the paint, and we could still rip out the floors if it didn’t work.

It ended up being kind of magical, and working beautifully.

(See the whole tutorial on how to paint your floors here.) I still get a lot of questions about how the floors have held up, so I thought it’s time for a little update!

This is the whole laundry room today:
Updated laundry room!
And this is what the floors look like now, about two years later:
How to paint vinyl floors
For the most part, I’m pretty thrilled with them and would absolutely do this project again in a heartbeat.

BUT. We did have An Incident.

A couple months ago, our old cheapo washing machine decided it had had enough. It kicked the bucket — via a giant leak that spread across our whole laundry room floor. Panicked, we quickly unhooked the machine and dragged it out of the room. We were not careful at all. We didn’t roll it out of the room gently or use a dolly or do anything “the right way.”

We basically wrangled it out like two panicked idiots wrestling an alligator.

In the process of getting soaked and attacked by an out of control washing machine, a small portion of the flooring messed up. It’s that section right in front of the machine:
flooring_section
Up close, it looks like this:
Damaged flooring
Considering the amount of craziness that happened to this floor, I’m pretty thrilled that this is the only damage we sustained. To put it into perspective, when we first painted these floors and moved our washing machine and dryer back in, it took us a couple tense hours of very careful sliding using many thick layers of felt under the machines. This time, we just assumed the leak would ruin the floor and it would need to be replaced, so we dragged the old machine out, scraping it along the floor with no material underneath it for easy sliding.

When all was said and done, we were basically shocked at how little damage we had caused. The water didn’t cause the paint to run or spread, and a couple years’ worth of weekly soap-and-water cleanings haven’t changed the fresh, crisp lines in the slightest.
Painted striped floors
Granted, this is a low-traffic room for us, but I’d totally consider giving it a shot in a more highly-used space. As long as you’re not planning on scraping five-ton appliances across the floor, bull-in-china-cabinet style.

And while we’re updating things, let’s talk about the shelves. This is how the laundry room looked when I first posted it on the blog:

Then Better Homes & Gardens came out to photograph it for their magazine, and they brought all their own styling props and changed over the shelves to look like this:
View Along the Way laundry room in better homes and gardens
(You can read all the behind-the-scenes from that photo shoot here.)

(I know what you’re wondering and the answer is yes, I do spend most of my days perched on the dryer like that.)

After the magazine came out, I got a very funny email from someone who had seen my laundry room in the magazine and was very concerned that we might be slightly OCD about germs, because of the giant stockpile of antibacterial wipes in the photo. So funny.

It’s been about a year and four months since BHG did that shoot, and this is what the shelves look like on a day-to-day basis. I didn’t style them at all (obviously) — just ran into the laundry room and snapped a couple quick pics.
Updated laundry room!
We FINALLY just used up the last of the laundry detergent and antibacterial wipes that BHG brought for styling! We felt like we won the laundry detergent lottery jackpot.

You can see that I barely use the top two shelves at all: most everything goes in the cabinets. I still like ‘em for looks though. ;) The bottom two shelves get used a ton, because that’s where I keep my detergent.

And that little plant that BHG brought for the top shelf? You guys, I kept it alive for a like a YEAR. (she says, smiling proudly.) Here’s my post from when the plant and I got into a big fight. It finally just died a couple weeks ago, when I moved it to a part of the house where I never remembered to water it, and it retaliated by promptly dying. Obviously it was too needy.

(I’m not good with plants. )

Anyway: the flooring hack worked like a charm and the laundry room – with our new high-efficiency washer and dryer – is crankin’ right along. All is well in the VATW laundry world.

Except that we always forget to actually do the laundry, but Details.

Would you ever consider painting your vinyl floors?

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The snowballing mirror dilemma http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/09/snowballing-mirror-dilemma/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/09/snowballing-mirror-dilemma/#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 10:00:44 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21209 SO MANY DECISIONS TO MAKE IN THE MASTER BATHROOM. In case you missed it, this is my stupid bathroom. I took this photo this morning, so THIS IS REAL LIFE, y’all. Ain’t pretty. In the last post, we settled on the vanity cabinet situation. We were considering replacing the existing cabinets with a smaller premade […]

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SO MANY DECISIONS TO MAKE IN THE MASTER BATHROOM.

In case you missed it, this is my stupid bathroom. I took this photo this morning, so THIS IS REAL LIFE, y’all. Ain’t pretty.
bathroom_before_sm
In the last post, we settled on the vanity cabinet situation.

We were considering replacing the existing cabinets with a smaller premade vanity like this little preliminary design rendering I made:
design plan_2_sm
(Side note: I kind of love that little preliminary design, with the round mirrors and the circular detail on the cabinets.)

But we decided to keep our current cabinet boxes, retrofit them for drawers in the center and fix up the cabinet doors to be a little more fancy and a little less builder-grade-from-the-90s.

With that decision made, I have another big design decision to make, and I’ve been making little photoshop renderings to try to figure it out. Let’s walk through that thought process, shall we? And then you can tell me what to do.

Just kidding.

But seriously.

The question now is what to do with the area over the vanity. Right now there’s a huge mirror that extends all the way across the wall.
wall_now4
Because we’re only redoing part of this bathroom, I want the part that we fix up to really make a statement and carry the rest of the room. I want this whole wall to be a fancy focal situation that oozes marble and sparkle and everything that makes my little heart flutter.

I think it’d be kinda heart-melty to have a wall of beautiful tile, and a pair of pretty mirrors, but the problem is the sinks. They’re set right next to the wall, so that the center of each sink is only about 15 inches from the wall.
15inches
If I do a couple fancy mirrors, in order for each mirror to be centered over the sink, they’ll need to be VERRRY NARROW. Like so:
wall_plan_small_mirrors
The mirrors would be just a few inches from the corner of the wall, and there’d be a ginormous sea of emptiness in the center of the wall.

This, by the way, was the benefit of going with a premade vanity that doesn’t take up that whole wall. The sinks would be closer together, away from the corner of the wall, and would allow for bigger mirrors that would take up more space. See that?
design plan_2_sm
But we’re keeping the existing vanity, which means Very Important Decor Dilemma. I have a few ideas for how to fix this problem, but we haven’t settled on which one is best yet.

Option 1: Forget centering the mirrors over the sinks

Because the sinks are so close to the wall, centering the mirror over the faucets means the mirrors have to be very narrow. But what if we just forgot about orienting the mirrors over the sinks? What if we just got some larger mirrors and ignored the placement of the sinks?
big_mirrors_round
(no.)
big_mirrors_square
Yeah, I feel like that got real weird, real fast. Do not love. Agree?

Option 2: Just go with it

…stop overthinking it and be cool, because maybe it’s just fine that the mirrors hug the wall and leave a wide gap in the center.
mirrormirror2

Tracy Hardenburg Designs

Option 3: Sconce!

Maybe it wouldn’t feel so crazy if I did a large sconce in the center, like so?
sconce1
When I showed that pic to Andy, he was all, “and just WHO is going to tear out the drywall and wire in a sconce in the middle of that wall?” — instead of being like, “Ooh, I love that sconce!” Boy brains are mysterious.
sconce2

sconce3
Important programming note: I just found three fabulous sconces for these renderings, but they are Capital-E-Expensive. Not sure if they’d be in the actual budget or not: I’m just dreaming at this stage.

Option 4: Add a center cabinet

We could fill that empty space in the center of the wall with a built-in cabinet, kind of like this:
bathroom_counter_with_cabinet

Design by Enviable Designs

cabinet over bathroom vanity
Decoist

I played with what that might look like in my little rendering:
Adding a cabinet to a bathroom vanity wall
What I love about this idea: extra storage!

What I don’t love: it doesn’t leave a ton of room for fancy lighting. The lights would have to be installed on the side walls instead of the back wall, like this:
Bathroom cabinetry

J Steinberg Design

…which just means more wiring, more messing up the walls, and of course we’d have to actually build that cabinet, so more work overall. My other concern is that adding this cabinet will make it feel more closed-off and less open and airy.

Option 5: Keep the huge mirror

We do use the giant mirror, and we like how it makes the room feel open and bright. Going down to two smaller mirrors would be an adjustment, and this would be the most economical option. My concern is that without the tiled wall or the styling of the mirrors and lighting, the end result of the makeover won’t have any interesting focal areas.


* * *

Look how good I am at over-complicating one tiny decision about mirrors! It’s a skill I’ve cultivated.

Which option would you choose?

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The question of the vanity http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/09/question-vanity/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/09/question-vanity/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 10:00:57 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21175 Are you a planner? I’d shake my head vehemently NO to that. I am not a planner. I wing it and hope for the best. I jump in with both feet and trust that everything will work out, because doesn’t it always? That’s what you call unwise optimism, to an absolute, undeniable fault, wrapped in […]

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Are you a planner?

I’d shake my head vehemently NO to that. I am not a planner. I wing it and hope for the best. I jump in with both feet and trust that everything will work out, because doesn’t it always? That’s what you call unwise optimism, to an absolute, undeniable fault, wrapped in a package of impatience and impulsivity.

I’m working on it, guys. Step one is admitting you have a problem.

Step two is thanking your spouse for ever marrying you, because his patience and wisdom are sometimes the only things keeping me from almost certain self-destruction, or at the very least, from accidentally ruining our bathroom remodel.

Anyway: the bathroom. I’ve realized that I can’t just go buy a bunch of things and hope they’ll work out okay in there. I need to make sure the plan is solid before we order up some tile and take a sledgehammer to things. I mean, probably.

The first major hurdle is the configuration of the vanity wall. I thought it would be really simple at first, but with my finger hovered over the “Submit order” button on an online tile purchase, I realized perhaps I should back up and just double-check that the plan in my head would work out?

It ended up being a lot more complicated than I realized. Here’s that wall right now:
vanity_wall
Looking at it straight-on, this is mostly to scale:
wall_now4
This is also mostly to scale:
Traffic Captain_origin1.jpg(I’m buttering him up for the work ahead. #MaybeI’mAPlannerAfterAll.)

There’s a wall-to-wall counter with dual sinks, set atop two cabinets and a completely useless vanity area in between.

Are there people who use those vanity areas anymore? Who has time to perch themselves upon a vanity stool, wrapped up in a cozy robe and probably a feather boa, sipping mimosas, for three hours while they carefully apply their makeup in perfect peace?

(Is that just me being a mom-to-preschoolers talking? On the rare occasions when I apply makeup, I have about 30 seconds to slap it on while little people run around my feet, sometimes grabbing my makeup brushes from the bathroom counter and holding them precariously over the toilet bowl.)

Cabinet option 1

We tossed around the idea of ripping out the entire vanity cabinet area and replacing it with a new piece of furniture, or with a premade vanity from the store. I whipped up some little photoshop renderings to see what that might look like:
Bathroom design plan - vanity smaller than the wall
(Don’t pay much attention to the design or finishes. My plan changes daily and I was just playing around here.)

See all that extra wall space on either side of the vanity? In order to go with a premade vanity, the whole piece would have to be significantly shorter than the entire wall. Right now, our vanity takes up the entire 89-inch nook. But most premade vanities are only about 72 inches long, so we’d lose a good 17 inches of counter space, and the vanity might end up feeling dwarfed on that wall.

That’s not the craziest idea, though. Here are a few bathrooms where the vanity is smaller than the width of the wall:
Bathroom vanity that's shorter than the wall

Refined LLC

Bathroom vanity with gaps on the side
BHG

We thought long and hard, and almost pulled the trigger on this plan. But ultimately we both agreed we’d regret losing that valuable counter space. What I mean is: I’d regret losing that counter space. Andy gets about four inches of counter space for his toothbrush and contacts case, and my makeup-and-beauty-product-explosion takes up the rest.

(If I’m being real, the makeup and beauty products are just going to expand to take up whatever space they’re allotted, but that’s out of my control.)

Cabinet option 2

Next we considered buying two smaller premade vanities like this:
Dual bathroom vanities

Design by Sarah Richardson via HGTV

And maybe even finding a way to connect them, like this:
dual bathroom vanities, connected in the center
AIADC

Dual built-in bathroom vanities
House & Home

But that would still either limit our countertop length, or create that same useless vanity area. It just didn’t seem like the best call. So we moved on to option 3.

Cabinet option 3

See also: The Thrifty Option

For this option, we’d leave our current cabinets and reconfigure them to be more functional for the way we live our lives. We’d retrofit that empty center area with cabinets or drawers so it would become built-in storage, then fix up the existing doors so it all looks a little fancier/less boring and builder-grade.

So while it looks like this now:
wall_now4
We would change the center area to look more like this:
wall_plan4
We’ll essentially just be keeping the cabinet boxes, but building out the center and adding drawers, plus replacing the existing cabinet doors with something more custom.

The benefit of this plan is that we already have a beautiful marble countertop that will (we hope) fit perfectly on top of the existing cabinets. I found it at the Habitat Restore, and it was basically the most gigantic miracle of all time: it has two sinks, in exactly the same place as our existing sinks, with faucet holes already drilled, and it’s long enough to fit wall-to-wall in that space. AND it was 20% off.

AND we’ve been storing it our garage in anticipation of this project since 2011.

Andy’s has been thrilled to donate a large portion of our garage to this unused countertop for the last three years.

So option 3 it is! But there are a lot of issues this option presents. I’ll show you those issues and what I’m thinking in the next post. I’m not quite sure how to fix ‘em yet, so more to come!

Good thing I’m planning this out, right? There’s something to be said for this whole planning thing. Are you a planner? Do you use your vanity area? Are there mimosas involved?

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My STUPID bathroom http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/08/stupid-bathroom/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/08/stupid-bathroom/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 10:00:06 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21154 So we have this master bathroom. We bought it like this: Then we demoed it. Removed the popcorn ceilings, took all the junk off the walls and mudded over the holes so it’d be ready for paint. Just when we had it demoed to the PRECISE point of maximum ugliness, we screeched to a halt […]

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So we have this master bathroom.

We bought it like this:
all5
Then we demoed it. Removed the popcorn ceilings, took all the junk off the walls and mudded over the holes so it’d be ready for paint.
1
Just when we had it demoed to the PRECISE point of maximum ugliness, we screeched to a halt and left it there.
3
(for six years.)
4
*Hangs head in shame.* *Reluctantly hands over Home Blogger Credentials.*

THIS IS SO STUPID, you guys.

STUPID.

Every morning I go in that bathroom, with its unpainted sheetrock ceiling, craptastic vinyl floor, hanging bare bulbs and ugly everything, and things start to get a little more tense and uncomfortable between me and the master bathroom. At this point we’re barely on speaking terms. I’m mad AT the bathroom, as if it is its own fault that it’s stayed this way for six years.

Andy and I are both at the same point, thankfully. He totally backs me up in my awkward fight with the bathroom. It’s helpful to have your husband on your side when you have a falling-out with a room in your house.

(It’s not stupid because it’s ugly. It’s stupid because it’s halfway demoed and has sat that way for 1.5 complete presidential terms of office.)

A few years ago, I talked about this room and why we just couldn’t pull the trigger on updating it. The problem is the layout.
floorplan labeled
The shower stall is a tiny coffin of despair, and the tub is functional but ugly. In that old, old post, we mentioned that we were going to leave the tub and shower as it was and just start fixing other things. But lots of you piped in with incredibly helpful ideas and suggestions for how we could improve the layout.

We loved all the ideas, but we couldn’t settle on one that felt completely right. So we left it there. Again. Did nothing. Closed the door and let NO ONE PASS THEREIN. It was our little secret.

(Except that we put it on the web and all.)

(Details.)

Anyway, we’ve come full circle now. We’ve gotten angry enough at the bathroom that it’s finally, actually going to change, and we have a real plan of attack that we’re going to actually do. (See all these definite action words I’m using?)

Here’s where we are: it’s too much for us to think about ripping out the tub and shower right now. We just can’t wrap our brains around with all the other stuff going on in our lives (more on this in a future post soon – all good stuff and no, there are no babies on the way!). But we think we can make some changes that will make it a reasonable, less STUPID room, and still allow for big future changes if we want.

So the plan is, for right now:
1. Leave the tub and shower as they are.
2. Rip out the vinyl flooring and replace it with something fancy.
3. Completely make over the vanity/sink wall with something beautiful.
4. Don’t make any changes that preclude us from tearing out the shower/tub later.

I think we’re going to tile the floor, and buy some extra tile so that if we decide to do something different with the shower/tub section later, we can easily re-tile that section to match the rest of the floor then.

We’re essentially going to draw a line through the bathroom, fix up one half and neglect/ignore the other half, willing it not to exist.
bathroom_halves
(The whole floor, of course, will get updated.)

I’ll show you my tentative plans (and ask for your thoughts and opinions! Get ready!) in another post, when I have a chance to pull together photos of what exists only in my brain right now.

But THINK MARBLE.
0d2e8e4302ebd4bfa9ce9625f1788e1c
Marble counters. Marble floors. Marble walls. Marble everywhere! Bathing in marble! Brushing our teeth with marble toothbrushes!

Tell me you’ve been there with projects-that-go-on-for-a-lifetime. Have you ever just felt like, this is STUPID?

PS: I’m over at SAS Interiors today talking about creating a meaningful home. Say hi to Jenna for me!

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Flower crushing-mega-death-destruction art project http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/08/flower-crushing-mega-death-destruction-art-project/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/08/flower-crushing-mega-death-destruction-art-project/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:00:53 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21042 I don’t know what it is about little boys, but they delight in destruction. Weston builds elaborate, tall towers of blocks or legos just for the one second of BLISS that comes from knocking it down and watching it all crumble to the ground. In that second, he is so alive! The world is HIS! […]

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I don’t know what it is about little boys, but they delight in destruction. Weston builds elaborate, tall towers of blocks or legos just for the one second of BLISS that comes from knocking it down and watching it all crumble to the ground. In that second, he is so alive! The world is HIS!

If you have just a tiny smidge of destruction-joy hidden under the layers of responsible adulthood, you’ll enjoy this project as much as I did. It’s the most cathartic way to create art that I know.

Plus, it’s super cool and turns out an interesting, completely customizable result. Here’s the art we made for Jill’s living room:
How to make art with crushed flowers

Can you guess what that is? Pretend like you didn’t already see it in the title of the post. It’s crushed flowers, which turn into dye to make art. THIS IS THE COOLEST THING, YOU GUYS.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Heavy paper, like watercolor paper or hobby paper
  • Flowers or berries (more on this in a sec)
  • Hammer
  • Painter’s tape
  • Piece of cardboard
  • Graveyard of buried hopes and deep-seated frustrations which you’ll take out on the flowers as therapy. (Optional.)

Materials for DIY crushed flower art

1. Gather your flowers.

I just went around my yard picking anything with color. You totally don’t need to buy flowers to do this project. Just gather what you can find in your yard or growing wild on the side of the road, and test them all to see which produce the best color. The flowers that gave me the most color were lilies and clover. Chrysanthemum worked great too.

2. Lay out your pattern.

Use the painter’s tape to block off the portions of the paper that you want to leave white. We made two versions: one with a tribal pattern and one with a monogram for Jill’s family.
Using painters tape to make DIY art

3. Lay out your flowers

Take everything outside and lay your paper with the painter’s tape design on a piece of cardboard. Lay out all your flower petals on top of the design. You can lay them out randomly or create stripes of color like we did:
How to make flower dye art

4. CRUSH THEM!!!!

This is so fun, I’m actually getting a little bit giddy just thinking about it. Lay an extra piece of paper on top of the flowers and just start smashing the flowers with a hammer. Just crush their delicate little faces. Here’s a little gif I took of Erin so you could see how she hit them. (You may need to click over if you’re reading this in email.)
b372u

5. Finish it out

Remember when you were a kid putting on a temporary tattoo of Care Bears on the back of your hand, how you’d peel the backing off carefully to make sure it was sticking to you before you rip it off? Same situation here.
Making DIY flower dye art
If there are still white/empty spots, just lay the top paper back down and get back to your smashing until it meets your stringent requirements. You can also take the paper off completely, and kind of smush the flowers into the paper to extract the flower dye juice (technical term).
How to use flowers as dye to make art
See all that purple and yellow gooey gunk? That is MONEY. The flower petals have smooshed into gunky dye that you can now spread around with your fingers if you want to.

I THINK THIS IS THE COOLEST THING.

(I’m also easily impressed, but I trust you will join me in this.)

6. Remove the painter’s tape and allow to dry

If you still have a ton of flower gunk left on the paper, you can scrape it off first. (We did.) If you love the gunky texture, you have Official Permission to leave it as-is.
DIY flower crush art!

The end.
Flower dye art


I think this would be a fabulous little project to do with your kids, and it’d make great handmade notecards too. Endless possibilities! Endless destruction!!
This is SO COOL! Make DIY art using flowers as dye!



Raise your hand if you kind of secretly love to destroy things. And if you don’t, I’ll think you’re lying.

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Easy no-sew diamond curtains (Anthropologie knock-off) http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/08/easy-sew-diamond-curtains-anthropologie-knock/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/08/easy-sew-diamond-curtains-anthropologie-knock/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 10:00:02 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21013 Remember many moons ago when my friend Erin and I surprised our friend Jill with a low-budget room makeover while she was on vacation? …and I was all, “BRB with the curtain tutorial!” Sorry. We got a little distracted with the whole master bedroom paint situation, then Andy and I went out of town last […]

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Remember many moons ago when my friend Erin and I surprised our friend Jill with a low-budget room makeover while she was on vacation?

DIY anthropologie knock-off curtains!

…and I was all, “BRB with the curtain tutorial!”

Sorry.

We got a little distracted with the whole master bedroom paint situation, then Andy and I went out of town last weekend and also the dog ate my homework.

(We went to Pittsburgh last weekend to watch two beautiful friends get hitched. We rented a fabulous convertible and ate enough food for four months. It was amazing.)
pit

But yes! I want to tell you about the curtains we made!
DIY anthropologie knock-off curtains!


We felt like the room needed something to bring attention up, to help the ceilings feel a little taller and to balance out the pattern and “weight” of the bottom half of the room, plus we wanted to include an element that felt a little more handmade and imperfect, to keep the room from feeling too serious about its life.
DIY anthropologie knock-off curtains!
And ideally, we were hoping for something that would pull out some color from the lumbar pillow on the sofa, so we thought these curtains from Anthropologie would be PERFECT.
3aae770e0dfb27cc3faa41cdfe1ce685
Only one tiny problem: the price. (Cursed budget strikes again!) They’re $99 per panel in the size we’d need, and even if we could spend $200 of our entire $500 budget on curtains (which, no.) – they’re sold out.

So Erin and I got creative and just um, you know, made some.
DIY anthropologie pheasant eye curtains!

Materials:

  • One pair of Ikea Vivan curtain panels (or other simple white curtains)
  • About 4.5 yards of fabric for the diamonds (you could also use an old sheet or something if it’s in a color you like.)
  • No-sew hem tape

(It’ll cost you about $20 to make both panels! Niiice.)

Here’s the short version: this pattern is basically just strips of fabric ironed onto the curtain panels in a diamond pattern with hem tape. Our curtains have 5 full diamonds and 5 half diamonds, but the anthropologie version has an extra row of diamonds that we chose to skip.
Diamond pattern curtain tutorial

1. Cut strips of fabric

Each strip should be 1.5 inches wide. This is the fastest way we found to cut a TON of strips of fabric from one large piece of fabric: first, fold the fabric in half width-wise…
curtain tutorial - how to efficiently cut strips of fabric
and then again in half length-wise. Then measure out every 1.5 inches with measuring tape and make a little notch with your scissors.
how to cut long strips of fabric quickly and easily
And just continue to cut down each notch until you’re left with a nice spaghetti bowl of fabric strips.
how to make your own curtains, cutting strips of fabric
Each strip will be 1.5 inches wide and 4.5 yards long, and will be enough to make one full diamond. Hooray!

2. Attach your first diamond

You’ll just use the iron-on hem tape to attach the strips in a diamond pattern on the curtain panel. The Ikea Vivan panels are 57 inches wide, so each diamond should end up being about 19 inches wide from corner to corner. This is how it all shakes out, and the order we did each diamond:
how to make diamond curtains diagram
Starting at that top corner, lay out your hem tape underneath a strip of fabric and iron the fabric to the curtain panel according the instructions on your hem tape. (We found it MUCH easier to do this on the floor than on an ironing board!)
How to make DIY curtains with no-sew hem tape
How to iron no-sew curtains
To do the corners of the diamonds, just fold the strips back over on themselves. This whole deal is supposed to feel imperfect, so much grace is granted to you at this point.
Making a turn
Continue to move in a spiral from the outside of the diamond toward the center until you have one completed diamond! Yay!
curtain tutorial - diamond fabric close up
Go through and finish all the full diamonds. This, again, is the order we went in:
how to make diamond curtains diagram

3. Do all the half-diamonds

The half-diamonds on the edges are basically the same situation which by now you’ve perfected into an art form and will be taking on the road to audiences across the country. Only difference is the inside of the half diamond feels a little different, but you’ll have no problem with it. It should end up looking like this:
how to do no-sew half-diamonds on diy anthropologie curtains
You’ll also need to trim them on the edges so they’re nice and neat.
DIY anthropologie curtains - trimming curtain edges

4. Hang ‘em high and wide!

DIY anthropologie knock-off curtains!
This was a very simple project you can do on the living room floor while rewatching old seasons of The Office for at least the 8th time, and still feeling incredibly uncomfortable about Michael’s toast at Jim & Pam’s wedding.

View Along the Way: where you can get your fill of outdated pop culture references, five years after they happened.

(It’s a niche market.)

What’s your fave show that’s no longer relevant?



These are Anthropologie knock-off curtains for only about $20 a pair! Easy to make!

PS: in the mood for more inexpensive knock-off projects? Check out ‘em out right here, or check out these 27 (more) brilliant DIY curtain ideas:

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Master bedroom paint reveal! http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/08/master-bedroom-paint-reveal/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/08/master-bedroom-paint-reveal/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 10:00:16 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=21047 Thanks to my ol’ buddy Benjamin Moore for sponsoring this post! I mean, I just can’t understand why every single person doesn’t have a blog. It’s the best thing in the history of ever. Exhibit A: you guys, with your epic advice and helpful opinions on my last post. You’re all my favorites, and you […]

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Thanks to my ol’ buddy Benjamin Moore for sponsoring this post!

I mean, I just can’t understand why every single person doesn’t have a blog. It’s the best thing in the history of ever. Exhibit A: you guys, with your epic advice and helpful opinions on my last post. You’re all my favorites, and you continue to make my little heart flutter with thankfulness. THANK YOU for taking the time to chime in on the paint color for my master bedroom.

In what is probably my fastest turn-around time ever, I already chose a color, got the paint and the room is painted! Awwww yeah. *Brushes off shoulders*

Here again is the before:

And here’s the room when the paint was still drying and we hadn’t put everything back together yet:
benjamin moore hale navy paint color hc-154
(I’m skipping over the process of painting because I’m sure you guys get it: move the furniture, roll things, cut in other things, repeat.)

My first reaction was complete and utter devotion to this color for all of my days. I loved it instantly.

Can you guess which color I ended up with?
Choosing navy blue paint colors
It’s #4, Benjamin Moore Hale Navy (HC-154) – the color that I was most drawn to in the last post and the color that you all voted for the most in our little poll:
best dark blue paint color vote results
My major hesitation was a deep-rooted rebellious streak that wanted to not choose the color everyone else is choosing, since Hale Navy has been so popular lately. Nothing is worse than being predictable, right?! (If I were auditioning for a trashy reality show, I’d emphasize this part of my personality during the audition process.)

But dang, yall. It’s gorgeous. And sometimes the best one for you is the one that’s proven their goodness over time, the safe choice that you know you can count on.
1
Of course, I also said I didn’t want to use Hale Navy because I thought everyone else has already used it, so this analogy breaks down quickly and it’s probably best if we don’t take it much further. Erm, we should probably get back to the paint.

Here’s the thing: I have a 100 percent track record of hating every paint color I use at first. But then it grows on me and I stop hating my life. Or I actually continue to hate it and spend the next five years trying to convince Andy to let me near a paint chip again. But THIS? THIS was love at first sight.

I’m finding that the colors I love most in the end are not the colors I love on the paint chip or on the wall swatch. I have to choose the slightly grayer, slightly desaturated version of the color that looks right to me, and that’s how I know I’ll like it when all is said and done.
Best dark blue paint colors: benjamin moore hale navy hc-154
It does not look nearly as fabulous in these photos as it does in real life. Hale Navy (HC-154) is moody, complicated, serious, but you totally want to be its friend.

The paint itself was glorious, you guys. I used Benjamin Moore Aura interior paint in eggshell (although in retrospect I think flat would’ve been even better) and it went on LIKE BUTTA. So smooth. I thought we’d need three coats, easily, but the first coat covered so well that there was even debate about whether a second was necessary.

I’m sold on the value of the Aura paint. Done. It rocked. I wish I could go back and un-paint my closet so I could use the Aura paint. That project was a nightmare and, looking back, I’m pretty sure I used 46 coats of paint and lost at least 4 years of my life to painting those shelves.

I’ve been collecting a few things for this room over time, and I’m super excited to get to decoratin’, because I love how they play with the navy:
art
And speaking of decorating, this room is NOWHERE CLOSE TO DONE. But here it is a little more put back together – curtains in place, bed made.
Benjamin Moore Hale Navy paint color
I think the navy is calling for a few tweaks to what I already have. I loved the way the room looked before we hung the curtains, so I’m considering swapping out the curtains for some simple wood blinds, like what I have in my breakfast nook:

Of course, the blackout curtains are incredibly functional in blocking out light so I can eek out a precious few more minutes of sleep at the crack-o-dawn when Weston wakes up. So that remains to be seen.

This is what still needs to be done:
master bedroom plans
I’m definitely gaga for the way gold and warm wood plays with the navy, so I’ll be finding ways to incorporate that. I played around with some accessories I had laying around to see what pink looked like with the lumbar pillow.
Navy bedroom with pink lamp
Don’t think that shade of pink is right. I tried the lamps from the guest room too:
Nightstand styling
I don’t think that’s it either, but it’s always fun to try things and see how they turn out. I’m still processing the room and deciding where to head next, but taking my cues from these things now, because I’m feelin’ the mood happening here.
art
But the good news is that I’m super duper in love with the paint color. FINALLY. We’ve been in the house for six years and this is the first time I’ve loved the color of our bedroom. (Thanks again for weighing in!)

I think the moral of the story here is this: just do what everyone else is doing, succumb to peer pressure every time and you’ll always be happy in the end. Right? ;)

This post is sponsored by Benjamin Moore, but all opinions are my own, as always!

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Best Benjamin Moore Navy Paint Colors + Decision 2014 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/07/best-benjamin-moore-navy-paint-colors-decision-2014/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/07/best-benjamin-moore-navy-paint-colors-decision-2014/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 10:00:42 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=20980 (I know I still have much to tell you about Jill’s makeover! We’ll return to that shortly. First I need help making a decision so I can move forward with other things in the meantime. Stay tuned!) When we first visited our house to consider buying it, Andy and I both felt that the master […]

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(I know I still have much to tell you about Jill’s makeover! We’ll return to that shortly. First I need help making a decision so I can move forward with other things in the meantime. Stay tuned!)

When we first visited our house to consider buying it, Andy and I both felt that the master bedroom was kind of outrageously large. We actually thought it was a giant waste of space, and therefore a major downside to the house. What are we supposed to do with an adjoining sitting room for goodness sakes?! Have tea parties? Play bridge? Lounge in velvet robes?

Answer: YES. That’s basically all we do most days.

My well-thought-out, not-at-all-accidental remedy for the size problem has been to repaint the master bedroom approximately 47 different times, laying on enough coats of paint to slowly close in the walls on all sides and reduce the room to nearly half its original size.

Andy’s maybe not such a big fan of this plan.

The problem was that I didn’t have a clear vision for the room, and I made the One Major Design Mistake That Makes Decorating Harder. (Read it here. Are you guilty too?)

This gray-green is where we sit today. (It’s Benjamin Moore Silver Sage.)

I chose it before I even knew what I was doing in this room, because I thought you’re supposed to choose paint colors first, because I was a silly little goat and wanted my life to be harder than necessary.

As a result, we’ve stalled out on decorating in this room for years.

Well: that’s enough of that! It’s time to fix this room once and for all, make it beautiful and livable and fix all the things we’ve just been living with. Like a bare hanging lightbulb, broken nightstands and no storage.

We built the upholstered bed (see how to do that here), sewed the curtains (tutorial here) and finally kind of settled on the bedding. Now that we have a design direction and a lead fabric (the lumbar pillow) I’m finally at the right point in the process to be allowed to go near the paint swatches. I have enough information to make an informed paint color decision, without repainting for the 49th time.

I mean, I hope.

We only use this room in the evenings – aside from tea parties and cigar-smoking-while-robe-wearing of course – so I want to go darker and cozier. I want to go navy.
Navy bedroom

Little Green Notebook

I think it’ll tie in the curtains and the bedding, and increase the drama factor by a hundred and six. Or, it’ll just make the room a little bit smaller and I’ll repaint it again. Either way, a win, right?
Best navy paint colors
Here’s where you come in: I needs the helps, friends. On the scale of life’s most important decisions, this ranks. (IF I GET THIS WRONG, ANDY WILL NEVER LET ME NEAR A PAINT SWATCH AGAIN!!)
Choosing navy blue paint colors

Here’s what you’re lookin’ at.

1 — Benjamin Moore Stunning (826): It reads the most purple of all the choices, which makes me nervous. However, a deep purply-blue could be kind of amazing. This is Benjamin Moore Stunning in action:
Benjamin Moore Stunning

Kim Armstrong Interior Design

It doesn’t look nearly as purple in that photo, does it? It looks like a powerful, happy blue. Do the swatches deceive me?!

2 — Benjamin Moore Old Navy (2063-10)/b>: This is a strong contender. It feels clean, classic and nautical. Plus it’s the color Amber and Nick at Wills Casa painted their island, and I kind of want to steal their entire kitchen and wear it as my skin. WHY IS IT SO AMAZING?!
Wills Casa Kitchen
PS: If you’re not reading their blog, your life is incomplete.

3 — Benjamin Moore Van Deusen Blue (HC-156): Not it. It’s a little softer and lighter than I want, but it’s a gorgeous blue, if you’re looking for one for your house. Here’s some Van Deusen goodness:
Benjamin Moore Van Deusen Blue

Lindsey Coral Harper for House Beautiful

4 — Benjamin Moore Hale Navy (HC-154): I’m trying SO HARD not to like this color. It seems like lately, everyone and their moms are painting things Hale Navy and I cannot succumb to paint-color-peer-pressure-and-predictability. I can’t use Hale Navy on principle, right? The problem, of course, is that it’s kinda beautiful. It’s grayed-out enough so that I think when the whole wall is covered, it won’t be overpoweringly bright or obnoxious.

Behold:
Hale Navy bedroom at the Nesting Game

Hale Navy guest room at Nesting Game

It’s annoyingly perfect, isn’t it? ARRRGH.

5 — Benjamin Moore Downpour Blue (2063-20)
Definitely too green for what I want, but it’s an incredible color. I want to find a place for this color somewhere else in my house though. See?:
Benjamin Moore Downpour Blue

Coveted Home

It’s halfway between navy and peacock teal, which is a fine place to dwell.

The fabulous people at Benjamin Moore are sending me their fancy Aura interior paint for this room, which I’m super pumped to try out. It also means I need to make a quick decision and probably not live with random paint swatches on my wall for six months.


Five beautiful navy blue paint colors!



So tell me: what color is your fave? Should I resist the call of the Hale Navy on principle? Go with the classic, clean Old Navy? Take a chance on Stunning? Let’s take a little poll, just for kicks! (If you’re reading this post through a reader or through email, you’ll probably need to click over to participate. Your vote counts. Let your voice be heard! …and other election-year cliches.)

UPDATE: Click here to see what color we chose!

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Save the books: how to style a bookshelf for actual book storage http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/07/save-books-style-bookshelf-actual-book-storage/ http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2014/07/save-books-style-bookshelf-actual-book-storage/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:00:01 +0000 http://www.viewalongtheway.com/?p=20918 I must speak out for the books. Someone is hiding them from us! All those volumes mankind has been printing for the past hundreds of years since the invention of the printing press — oh yes I did just bring up the invention of the printing press and no I don’t know when that was […]

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I must speak out for the books.

Someone is hiding them from us! All those volumes mankind has been printing for the past hundreds of years since the invention of the printing press — oh yes I did just bring up the invention of the printing press and no I don’t know when that was without googling it — all the books are disappearing, you guys. It’s an emergency.

All the styled bookshelves are devoid of books! Bookshelves are shelves… for books. I thought?

But if you go hunting for beautifully styled shelves on pinterest, you’ll start to think that in order to create beautiful bookshelves, you must first rid yourself of all those pesky books and replace them with Pretty Things That Need Dusting.
tumblr_m6jkwfOc3X1rw1j0to1_1280

Design by Meyer Interiors

But um. If all our bookshelves are getting cleared of the books and replaced with beautiful tchotchkes, where are we supposed to put… our books?

bookcases1

Elle Decor Magazine
Just asking.

“No worries,” says Pinterest. “You can display your books! …As long as they’re all within your color scheme.”
Bookshelf+bookshelf+styled+black+white+tan+YY6UrVEH0_Xl

Lonny Mag

“Oh, your book spines are not all within the same color palette?,” Pinterest asks, clucking its tongue disapprovingly. “In that case, you may painstakingly recover them all in craft paper. This is your last and final hope for getting permission to store your books out in the open where people might see.”
all-white-bookshelf
Decoist

“Yes, you’ll want to claw out your eyeballs if you ever need to find one of the books in order to read it, but that’s the price of beauty, dahhhling.”

Pinterest sounds like kind of a jerk right now. I didn’t mean to do that. I heart you pinterest, you beautiful, gentle lover.

But for real: what if you need to store books on your bookshelves? Like, what if you own a lot of books and need somewhere to put them? Must you give up on form, surrender to function and replace all your furniture with black pleather overstuffed sofas because Lord Knows, those things must be SO comfortable and easy to keep clean?

I vote no.

To the pleather, and to the Disappearing of the Books.

So what do you do if you own seventy four hundred books, like Jill and her husband do?
living_room_before_3
If you’ve been following along, I just did a surprise makeover for my friend Jill while she was on vacation. You can check out all the posts on her makeover here and the full reveal here.

Jill’s family uses this living room for reading and for entertaining, so the idea of getting rid of all their books in exchange for Pretty Things just seemed like it’d be a silly lack of priorities for their real life. Erin and I painted and restyled their shelves, keeping almost ALL the same books, but in a way that feels a little easier on your eyes and more organized:
surprise_makeover_after_5
It feels cleaner and simpler, but without sacrificing the actual storage of the books. (We had a small stack of books left over, but almost all of them made it back on the finished shelves.)

This is my little process for creating bookshelves that store books but still feel pretty and clean. It’s the same process I used for the bookshelves in our office, which store many, many actual books made of actual paper:
Bookshelf styling tips: How to make your bookshelf beautiful when it has to store actual books

1. Empty the shelves

Of everything. This is a pain, but completely necessary to get a fresh slate and allow yourself to see things a different way than How They’ve Always Been.
Empty bookshelves: how to arrange books on a shelf

2. Call forth the tchotckes!

Collect All The Pretty Things in your house that you might want to display. This is the time to pull out everything you’ve been storing with hopes of displaying it someday: your grandmother’s cool vintage teacup collection, smallish frames with meaningful photos, mementos from your wedding day, spare vases in closets, pretty ornaments, colorful jars, anything that you’d love to look at. It’s all fair game at this point! Make a giant pile that inspires your spouse to think you might have lost it.

Erin and I shopped Jill’s house for anything that might look pretty tucked inside the bookshelves, and grabbed a few things on clearance at target or from our own piles of yard sale accessories. This is a small portion of our pile.
Collection of decorations
We found some beautiful things hidden in cupboards, like this beautiful silver tea set which deserved more appreciation!
tea set 1
When I was doing the bookshelves in my house, all my animals came out to play, which inspired Andy to call out: “WHY IS THERE A ZOO IN OUR OFFICE?!”
Collection of animal statues

3. Sort the books by color

We laid out the books in a rough gradient by color, like this:
how_to_style_books_on_a_shelf
It doesn’t have to be perfect, but just try to roughly group together all the reddish books, all the bluish books, etc.

4. Add small groups of books to the shelves

I like to work in “batches” of books, so I grabbed about 8-10 books from the pile and moved them to the shelves. Here’s a little batch of bluish books:
How to arrange books on shelves like a designer
These are all the little batches from my own bookshelf wall:
The trick to styling bookshelves like a pro!
If I did a batch of books standing up against the side of the shelf on one side, I grabbed another batch and did something similar on the opposite side, basically creating “pairs” of batches to keep things roughly balanced:
Creating a balanced bookshelf

5. Change it up

If one batch of books is standing up, grab another batch – a batch of any color! – and set it on its side. Alternate the way the books are stacked every time:
How to arrange books on shelves like a decorator
**In my opinion, this is the single easiest thing you can do to take your bookshelves to the next level. Just go through and change the way some of them are oriented. It’ll make a world of difference without changing how many books you can fit!**

6. When all the books are shelved, bring on the pretties!

Start slowly layering in your pretty things now. Put some on top of the book stacks. Put some peeking out from behind the books and prop some in front of the books. The trick is to make it feel like there are layers of interest, not just a line of books that are all the same depth.
the trick to styling bookshelves like a pro!
For extra credit, you can even hang things on the fronts of the shelves.
shelves

Elle Decor

7. Tweak until it feels right

Now just start playing until it feels good and balanced to you. This is weird, but sometimes it helps me to squint so everything looks blurry, then see what stands out. If it feels like there’s a lot of pattern and contrast on one half of a shelf, I’ll rearrange until it feels more even.

And sometimes I can’t “see” what needs to be changed until I take a photo. When you think you’re just about there, take a picture of the shelf and see what doesn’t look right in the picture. I don’t know why it makes a difference, but it helps me every single time.

* * *

Aaaand that’s it!
surprise_makeover_after_5
It really all comes down to making it look a way that’s visually pleasing to you. A hundred different designers could come in and rearrange your shelves a hundred different ways. There’s no right or wrong, so give yourself some freedom and some grace!

And let’s all unite to Save the Books! Are you in?

Simple steps to decorating your bookshelves with ACTUAL books, like a designer!


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