Tag Archives | Decorating UNschool

Decorating UNschool: My Favorite Recipe for Windows

This post is part of my Decorating UNschool series… if you’re new here, you can find the introduction here and the other posts here.  Thanks for stopping by!

Nothing makes a room feel more finished than some beautiful curtains.  They are the icing on the cake and the jewels in the crown.  Often when I visit someone’s home for a consultation, I feel as though all they need are some beautiful long curtains for their windows and the room would have such a finished and put together feeling.

I know it can feel overwhelming, because there are so many options out there.  How and where do you get these beautiful and elusive curtains?  How do you hang them?  Aren’t they expensive?  How do you choose what color or pattern that will go with what you already have?

If you find yourself overwhelmed with those kinds of questions and decisions, I’m here to make it really simple for you:  Long white curtains hung high and wide on a black rod.  I’ve found this to be a pretty widely used and no-fail solution.  I’m not saying its the only solution, but I’m saying if you’re feeling paralyzed by the massive number of choices out there and you’re just not sure how to proceed, here’s a way that will look great pretty much every time.

Living Room // The House of Figs

Ikea Ritva curtains in my living room

The Ikea Ritva curtains are my absolute favorites.  They have a linen-like texture, are not super bright white (so they even look great on white walls) they hang so nicely, are a great price, and come in two lengths: 98″ and 118″.  Super long compared to your standard 88″!  The longer they are, the higher you can hang them.

Spa Inspired Master Bedroom // The House of Figs

Two sets of Ikea Ritvas give fullness on each side of this master bedroom window seat.

The curtains should at least hit the floor and its okay if they puddle a few inches on the floor, but they should not be above the floor (unless you’re going for a specific look that is several feet above the floor, for example in a kitchen window). Do you remember that phase in the late 90s and early 2000s when if you wore your jeans too short it wasn’t hipster or ironic it was just plain dorky?  That’s how your curtains still feel if the wall is showing.  You don’t want to have highwaters on your windows, okay?

Sometimes when there are multiple narrow windows in a row, I like to treat them as one big window.  For example, in this living room below, it would have felt fussy to have too many curtains in between each narrow window behind the couch.  The homeowners hung one long rod all the way across three narrow windows and hung one panel on each side (sorry the pic doesn’t show them all).


Long Ikea curtains hung high and wide in this living room.

For this wall of windows, where the wall itself is sort of a focal point of the room, we put panels in between each window.  I also adore the texture that natural fiber shades bring in.  The bamboo shades in my house are from Lowes (kitchen and kids rooms)  and Select Blinds (living room). In this client’s home, the windows had beautiful moldings, so we hung the bamboo shades on an inside mount.

The Montgomery House_Master_4 Small WM

These are the Ikea Lenda curtains with tab tops in this master bedroom.

the nester curtains

source: The Nester

Fixer Upper Curtains

Even Joanna Gaines knows the secret of beautiful white curtains.

And now, how to hang them?  This drawing perfectly illustrates where your curtain rod should go.

Both windows are the exact same size, but window 2 has a much longer rod that is hung higher and wider.  My preference is all the way to the ceiling (or just under crown molding) if possible!  As you can see the window panels are not covering hardly any of the window at all in the picture on the right- allowing more light and the appearance of a bigger window.  This gives the whole room a larger and more designed feeling.

Curtains hung like this also take up more wall space, so there is less of a desire to hang “littles” in between windows or near windows because you have the big beautiful curtains.  When you focus on the main important pieces of the room: “the bigs,” you find you don’t need as many “littles” to compensate or fill in for what’s lacking.  When you have great lighting, a great rug, curtains that are hung well, a furniture layout that works well for your family, it really is true that “less is more.”

So what do you think?  Do you have curtains in your home?  Have you ever bought Ikea curtains?  I do love beautiful patterned curtains as well, but white or cream curtains are definitely my favorite!  How about you?

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Decorating UNschool: Furniture Arrangement

Hey there! I’m back today with another installment of Decorating UNschool.  For the other posts in this series click here.

Today I’m talking about arranging furniture.  Because this is UNschool, like I keep saying over and over, I don’t have hard and fast rules for you here.  I just have some ideas and truthfully, I don’t have a magic formula.  Every home is different and the real key is every person is different.  Design is subjective in so many ways and in this area especially, there might not be a perfect way to arrange your living room furniture.  You just might have to try several different ways, and even live with them for a few days (weeks, even?) until you figure out what works best for you and your family.  But I’ll share with you what I’ve found to generally work well.

My general “rules” for bedrooms

When you walk into the room, the bed should be centered on the opposite wall.

Large matching lamps make a statement; matching side tables are not necessary, though the lamps should end up around the same height.

Mismatched Nightstands

This is a great example of mismatched nightstands and big beautiful lamps.  Unfortunately I could not find a source on this one.  If anyone knows it please let me know!!

Pattern/texture mixing and rug rules apply and its always nice if you have room for a spot to sit as well.

Colorful bedroom with books

Source – Lonny

This bedroom is a beautiful example of lots of texture and pattern and of course you know I love all the books!

My general “rules” for living rooms

Pattern/texture mixing and rug rules apply.

Have lots of lamps easily accessible.  Maybe a console table behind a sofa with two matching lamps?  A floor lamp near a chair?

Have side tables easily accessible and don’t feel the need to clutter them up with decorative items.  A cleared off space is a welcoming space.

Pattern : Jones Design

source – Jones Design Company

Those flowers are pretty but not practical in my house!  I keep one tray for books, coasters, and remotes on my coffee table and that’s it.  Its not exactly “styled” but it allows for us to live and play on it.

My living room

My living room

Determine the purpose of the room.  Will there be tv watching?  Is it a formal or a casual space? Do you need lots of open space and a cozy rug for playing on the floor with little ones?  Do you have a high priority for lots of seating?  Will you be hosting a lot of guests in this room?    Do you need storage for toys, books, media?


source – Urban Grace Interiors

Go to the trouble to make the arrangement you’d like to have work. I know some designers may disagree with this (its UNschool, remember?), but I love having my tv over the fireplace.  We have a small living room and it is our only family room.  We do everything in here from watching tv, hanging out, wrestling matches, bible studies with our small group, and sometimes even dinner parties when the kids outnumber the adults and they take over the tables.  Our priority was to have a lot of seating.  Which means there’s not really anywhere to put a big media console.  I love our fireplace and putting the tv over it just made sense.  It took a little reworking since there used to be a window above the fireplace (yep, so weird, I know!!) and we had to have wires channeled through the wall but we had a great contractor help us figure all of that out.  It was a bit of a pain in the beginning but it has worked so well for the flow of our living room and I’m so glad we went through the trouble to make it all happen.

Pull the furniture away from the walls if possible.  You’ve probably heard this before, but everything pushed against the walls can feel too open and awkward.  If you’re going for a cozier feeling, consider pulling at least a few things away from the walls.

two couches

source- Emily Henderson

Even if you’re facing a couch toward a tv, consider having a chair or two that face away from the tv.  You still want your room to feel conversational and welcoming- not necessarily a media room (unless that’s what you’re going for!).

two chairs

source- My Domaine

Consider the scale of your room and your furniture pieces.  Remember to measure everything before you buy.  I’ve made this mistake, too!  You’re looking at it in the store (or online) and it looks perfect but once you get it home, its actually way too big or small.  It is really important to not skip this step and understand the size that you need.  A lot of small pieces in a large room might end up looking kind of junky.  However, a small room can actually handle a few pieces of large furniture if they are carefully planned!  My favorite online tool for arranging furniture is floorplanner.com.  Plug in the dimensions of your room and then add in furniture of varying sizes and play around with different layouts before you actually buy.

Floor Planner Bedroom Floor Planner Living Room


Another thing to consider- create contrast with varying heights in your room.  Make sure everything is not hovering around “couch height.”  Add in a low ottoman, a bookshelf, a large floor lamp or plant, etc for balance.  You’ll notice most of the example pictures I used above have used these elements!

And lastly, are you unhappy with your current arrangement?  Change things up!  What can it hurt?  Take the 30 minutes to rearrange and just see.  Have you been wondering what that little side table from upstairs would look like downstairs?  Go grab it right now and try it out.  Have you been wanting to try the chair from your bedroom in your living room but just haven’t gotten around to it?  What are you waiting for?  Shopping and arranging from your own house is about as low risk as it gets.  The worst thing that can happen is that you hate it and you end up putting it back where it was.  Its definitely worth a try!

Any other questions or thoughts on furniture arrangement?  I’d love to hear from you! It really is subjective because there are so many possibilities and I don’t necessarily believe a room has one right way.  That floor planner website really is my best secret for you though… hopefully it will be helpful! Have a great weekend.



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A Few More Words on Pattern Mixing & Pillows

Last week I talked about the concepts behind pattern mixing and walked through a kind of formula for selecting fabrics or pillows.  While that formula is what would be considered the “ideal,” I realized after posting it that I have personally never purchased pillows or selected fabrics in that way.  It would require starting from scratch and creating a whole new color scheme all at one time.  I love the idea of it and have done that with my kids’ nurseries and bedrooms as well as for clients, but never with my own living room.  I’m always working with what I already have; adding to or changing my collection.

And truly, isn’t that how life is?  Your home is meant to be a collection of things over time.  Most people don’t decorate rooms all at once and then say “its finished!”  Things change with seasons of life, changes in taste.  As you change, grow, mature, so does your home.

So what do you do if you already have pillows that feel matchy-matchy but you’re not wanting to start completely from scratch?  Here are a few tips on how to add to your collection but still work with what you’ve got.

Find a colorful fabric/pillow that has your colors plus a few more.Living Room // The House of Figs

In my house its the big Turkish Kilim pillow I bought on etsy.  It has the black, gray, and mustard colors from some of the other pillows, but also added in a lot of other color- blue, purple, red, pink, etc.

Search “Turkish Pillow” on etsy for a whole range of similar looks.  You could also find a great colorful floral or geometric.  Just make sure the background isn’t white and it has lots of color.

Add in large pillows in a solid color that contrast with or brighten up your couch.

I love a velvety or linen texture- something that will be different than the fabric of your sofa.  My white ones are linen from Pottery Barn that I bought eleven years ago.  Yes, eleven.  The gray solid ones are from HomeGoods.

Add in a textural or “wild card” pillow.

In my house, its always been this pillow from Ikea- the Lappljung Ruta.  I’m in love with the black and white goodness of it and it has this nubby texture that is just amazing.

Ikea Black & WhiteI recently bought this one from Ikea and love the color and texture as well.Ikea Isunda Pillow

A few more tips on pillows:

  • Toss or recover the pillows that come with the couch (couch manufacturers are usually not designers)
  • If a pattern is really bold, I like to think of it as “one of a kind” and only use one pillow in the room that has it.  More than that can feel overly matchy.
  • Remember to consider the background, scale, and type of patterns like I mentioned in my last post.  Go for contrast!
  • Feather filled pillows keep their shape over time much more than poly filled.  They can be smushed and refluffed a million times.

Pattern Mixing Pillows

That’s it for now… I’ll be back soon!



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Decorating UNschool: Pattern Mixing

We’ve talked about lighting and we’ve talked about rugs.  Today its all about pattern mixing, which for me in my own home, and very often for my clients, means pillows, curtains, or bedding.  Since I tend to campout in neutral land and I like for my large expensive purchases to be able to stand the test of time (and my ever changing taste) I generally go for solid pieces of furniture and curtains (we’ll get to those in another post). But when it comes to mixing and matching patterns, pillows are where its at for me.

Pattern Mixing Pillows

I used to feel so daunted by pattern mixing.  I loved examining the work of designers and seeing a room that felt so put together, yet in an effortless way that wasn’t overly “designed” or matching.  I just couldn’t quite grasp how they did it.

Pattern mixing House Beautiful

source– House Beautiful

Pattern Mixing Holly Mathis

source- Holly Mathis

At some point in my “research” and blog hunting, I took a brief online course all about creating a color scheme and pattern mixing.  It was like it finally all made sense.  I’m still no expert and definitely have a lot to learn of course (that’s why this is UNschool), but it was really very simple once someone explained it to me and I started playing around with patterns in my own home.  And by the way, I still love to examine the work of my favorite designers, looking at each element and determining what is it that makes the room so great.  That’s my design school.

Pattern Mixing House of Jade

source – House of Jade

Pattern Mixing - Milk and Honey Home

source – Milk and Honey Home

So, here is my version of basic pattern mixing:

Its best to start with your busiest pattern, your pattern with the most color.  Find something you love that contains all the colors you want in the room, and maybe even a few extra.  If you are color-phobic like me, I have found that a good rule of thumb is for at least one pattern to have 4-5 colors and no less.  This is so you don’t end up matchy-matchy.  Remember the goal here is to not have everything match.  We’re not necessarily picking out colors that you must adhere to.  Just finding your inspiration.

Pattern Mixing- Spring Fabric

Because I’m longing for spring and Valentine’s day is around the corner, we’ll start with this beautiful floral that has some pink and purple in it.

Next, add in a more simple or subtle pattern to contrast.  In order to do this, you must consider the scale of each pattern.  If you have a very large scale pattern, add in medium and small scale patterns.

Similarly, consider the type of pattern.  All geometric patterns is overkill.  Try a floral mixed in.  Or a stripe mixed with an ikat. Too many patterns of the same scale and/or type will look busy.

Something else to consider is the background color of the patterns.  I love a nice crisp white, but if every pattern is on white, they will start to blend together.  Its good to have some creamier colors in the backgrounds for contrast and yes, you can definitely mix white with ivory.

Pattern Mixing - large and small scales

I’ve added in two more patterns with my floral. I’ve pulled the tones from the original pattern but the scales and types are much different. The gray buffalo check, while it is still a large scale pattern, has very subtle colors. The polka dot is a small scale pattern and its dark background gives a nice contrast with the other two.

Its always nice to have a solid with some texture to balance it all out.  I like to do this with a velvet or linen pillow to contrast with the sofa fabric.  Do you feel like your sofa is too dark?  I always encourage my clients to add in some oversized white or ivory solid pillows.  This helps to lighten everything up.

Pattern Mixing adding in solids

So let’s pretend like these are pillows on a dark gray couch. I’ve now added in some washed white linen pillows. They add in some lightness and texture to the mix.

Now, we could definitely leave it as is, but for a little more dimension and color, I’ve added in one more pillow- the wild card.  Its just for some extra texture or contrast.  For this example,  I pulled from the pinks in our original pattern, but the scale and background of the florals are different.

Pattern Mixing with The House of Figs

These concepts don’t just apply to pillows.  Its the same when considering patterns on rugs, curtains, bedding, even furniture pieces for the brave among you.   Remember to consider scale, type of pattern, the background color of the pattern, and always add in solid colors and textures when its feeling busy.  Don’t go for matchy-matchy, go for compliment and contrast.

So that’s it for today- class is dismissed!



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Decorating UNschool: Rugs

New to this series?  Read the intro here and you can find the first day of “class” here.

Hey there!  Today’s UNlesson is all about rugs.  Don’t forget, this is all purely my opinion and not hard and fast rules.  Its simply what I’ve found to be true and what I prefer.  There are always exceptions to this and you will find them all over the wide web, and maybe even in your own home.  That’s great!  That’s why this is decorating UNschool.

But for what they’re worth, here are all my thoughts on rugs:

Rugs Dining Room Young House Love

Image source- Young House Love

Rugs help to define a space.  Even if you have carpet, it can be nice to layer a rug over it (yes you can definitely do that!) to define the specific area.  Rugs can bring in color or texture to a room that might otherwise feel pretty neutral or matte.  Couches and wall to wall carpeting can often be similar in texture and color or at least tone (neutral, earthy, etc).  Its nice to have something breaking it up, something either a different color, pattern, or texture (or all three!) that will act as a separation and contrast.

Rugs- Amber Interiors

Image Source- Amber Interiors

Rugs, (like light fixtures), usually need to be bigger than we think. If they are defining a room, they should be nearly as big as the room itself.  They act as a landing space for the furniture in the room and so the pieces of furniture should at least have their front feet on it (though I feel a media cabinet is exempt from this rule as seen below) so as not to feel like they are just floating in space.  Similarly, in a dining room, its best if all the chairs fit on the rug, even when completely pulled out from the table.

Rugs- Young House Love

Image Source- Young House Love

Rugs can tend to be expensive.  It may end up being one of the most expensive pieces in your entire room.  Buying a high quality rug is probably a good idea, since everyone will be stepping and walking all over it, but I wouldn’t know that because I’ve never really done it.  But I have made some mistakes as well as found some great rugs which I will share…

Because rugs need to be bigger than we think and tend to be expensive, one of the biggest mistakes I see is having a rug too small for the space.  Its an easy mistake to make and I completely understand it.  You want the defined space, the color, texture, etc, but you’re trying to make a cost effective decision.  So can’t you get away with the 5 by 7 instead of the 8 by 10?  Hmmm, not always. Its okay if you’re looking at your rug and you think you’ve made this mistake.  I do have a solution for you and we’ll get to that.

Rugs- Studio McGee

Image Source- Studio McGee

Where your rug will be located and how it will be used should help determine what type of material your rug will be.  I only know this because of the various mistakes I’ve made over the years.  I LOVE the look of a natural fiber rug- like a chunky jute or sisal.  We’ve had two of these in our living room over the years.  However, this is just not the best for our family for a few reasons.  The first was that those tiny fibers ended up all over everything- our clothes, our babies, and our wood floors.  Especially when one of the rugs was a wool and jute blend- wool sheds like crazy, especially in a high traffic area.  Its just what it does.

Rugs- Lauren Liess

Image source- Lauren Liess. She is the queen of using beautiful natural fiber rugs in a space. I just love all the neutral, textural goodness in here.

Rugs- Pottery Barn

This is the Chunky Wool & Jute Rug from Pottery Barn. I LOVED the way it looked in our living room. But the fuzz balls all over our floors and clothing were not good. It didn’t work for this family of five, especially in a high traffic room.

The second reason it wasn’t good for us is that it just wasn’t soft for sitting, playing, wrestling, etc on the floor.  Which we do all the time.  We don’t have a separate playroom downstairs, so our living room is our multipurpose room.  We needed something cozy.  The third reason is that natural fiber rugs, if they don’t have a border, can start to lose their shape over time (especially in a high traffic area).  Some people love this look as its kind of bohemian, laid back, etc. I learned that I don’t love this look and it drove me crazy.  I felt like our nice rectangular rug was gradually turning into a weird oval thing.  Time to say goodbye to the dream of having a natural fiber rug in my living room.

Rugs- my old house

This is the living room in our old house.

I realized I kept being drawn to the natural fiber rug look because I was craving that texture.  So I found other ways to add it in (a burlap ottoman, bamboo roman shades, etc) and moved on from my dream of a natural fiber rug.  Next I tried a beautiful black and white striped flatweave rug from Crate and Barrel.  Stunning with its contrast and stripes, but again, not cozy or soft at all.  A flatweave rug (or dhurrie) is by its very nature flat.  What was I thinking? It was moved into our bedroom shortly after where it is perfect.  We’re generally not sitting or playing on the floor in our bedroom, so it doesn’t need to be soft and cozy there.  A colorful or patterned flatweave rug layered over carpet in the bedroom is a nice way to add in some contrast.

Master Bedroom // The House of Figs

Our Master Bedroom where you can catch a glimpse of that black and white rug.

The Montgomery House - Big Boy Room Small WM_7

I used a rug over carpeting in the Montgomery House boys’ room

The House of Figs- nursery

There is also a flatweave rug in my youngest son’s nursery

So finally for the living room I found what seems to be for now the best solution.  Its soft and cozy, it gives me some lightness that I needed (to contrast with our dark floors and dark furniture), it didn’t break the bank, and its not made of wool (100% polyester), so it doesn’t shed at all.  Nope, its not the highest quality.  And yes, it used to be a lot more white than it is now.  All things that I can most definitely live with in this season of my life.

Living Room // The House of Figs

This is the Keno Moroccan Shag MRC2 Rug from Rugs USA currently in our living room.

We visited my parents over the holidays and their nice wool rug that they’ve had for almost a year was shedding like crazy!  I mentioned it to my mom because I figured the shedding should have stopped by now and she said it doesn’t do this normally.  It was only because we were all there.  Normally its just my mom and dad, walking across the rug and then sitting down on the couch.  They use their living room a lot differently than we do with three kids practicing Tae Kwon Do, ballet, acting like puppy dogs, wrestling, and kicking up clouds of wool by the handful.  I was glad to know they don’t have to live with that constant shedding.  And also glad to learn that in this season of life, we will need a rug that can act accordingly.  So different rugs work for different people, in different seasons of life.  Maybe one day my natural fiber or wool rug dreams will be possible, just not right now.

Rugs - Life in Grace Blog

Image Source – Life in Grace

So what if you have the perfect rug, great material, great colors, you love how it looks, but you’ve realized its too small?  What to do? I told you earlier I have a solution and here it is.  I love to layer that great rug over a larger rug- usually a very flat natural fiber rug that can just sort of blend in but add lots of texture to the room.  Now I know you just heard my distaste for natural fiber rugs in the living room, but hear me out on this one.  If you’ve already got your cozy rug and this will be underneath- this rug will not be the one you will be mostly sitting on, walking on, and playing on the most.  Its just sort of an extender.  Sort of like leggings under your too short tunic top.  Necessary? Yes. But not the primary player.  And if you get one with a border, you can avoid the misshapen-ness that happened to me as well.

Rugs- Layered rugs Amber Interiors

Image Source- Amber Interiors

Rugs- layered rugs Lauren Liess

Image Source- Lauren Liess

Rugs Layered rugs Jones Design

Image Source- Jones Design Company

Rugs- layered Beachy Glam The house of Figs

That last one is from this client of mine.  I love how it extended the room just enough to be able to pull back the furniture and make it feel bigger.  It (along with the coffee table) also brought in some much needed texture and earthiness to this kind of glamourous and modern furniture.  Win- win situation!  You can find the rug that we used here.

So that’s my discourse on rugs for the day.  Bigger is better, know your material, and layering is always an option!  Thanks for reading.  I’ll be back soon talking pillows and mixing and matching patterns.  Hope you’re having a great week!



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Decorating UNschool: Lighting

First up in my new series (you can read the intro here):  Let’s talk about lighting.  I started with this because I love this topic and could talk about it for hours.

I avoid turning on ceiling lights if at all possible- ESPECIALLY if they are flourescent. I would prefer a lamplit or sunlit room over an artificial overhead bulb any day.  You know that feeling you get after being in Walmart for too long?  Too crowded, too busy, too much walking.  It makes my eyes water and my head hurt. And then you catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror and yikes!  Yep, time to go home.

Now, have you ever been in an Anthropologie?  Generally you’ll just find me window shopping… but its the ambiance for me, the smells, the warmth, the lighting, that draw me inside.  Both places are consumer driven and buy buy buy, but something about the second one has tricked me into feeling like I’m home.

Lighting has great power.

Kitchens & Dining Rooms

I’ve said this before, but I don’t believe a light fixture over a table or island can be too big.  I think bigger is ALWAYS better.  Are you considering a light fixture for your dining room table and not sure which size to get?  Always go bigger.  You won’t regret it.  As The Nester just wrote after recently switching out a wimpy chandelier “…now my table doesn’t look forgotten if its cleared off- it looks just right because the chandelier commands so much attention that I don’t need much else.”

Nester's Dining Room


When you have great and large lighting, you don’t need much else cluttering up the space.  It speaks for itself.  So why not, instead of filling the space with those smaller things to get it to feel right, just save up for that one big light fixture?

The same goes for kitchen islands.  I talked about it before in this post, but when I was working on the Montgomery House, we went back and forth on whether or not to spend more money on countertops or put the money into the lighting.  After realizing the countertops would be laying down flat and the lighting would be commanding our attention from every angle in the room, it made the decision easy.

The Montgomery House - Kitchen Small_0 WM

These are the large Eldridge pendants from Ballard Designs.  It just wouldn’t be the same if we had gone with the mediums!

Generally, chandeliers should hang about 30-35″ above a table, and in my opinion to just above eye level over an island.  Lower and bigger are the way to go!

Here’s another one that I love, from designer Lauren Liess.

Lauren Liess Dining Room

I love all the contrast in this one as well.  Notice how the dark chandelier balances out the dark table.  And its so large and hung so very low.  But all of the darkness is balanced out so well by the chairs, the curtains, and the light walls.

Here are some more examples:



HOF_Breakfast Room Small-3

source (my house)





Bedrooms & Living Rooms

Now, I live in the depths of humidity near a little town called Houston, TX and unfortunately for us we need ceiling fans in our bedrooms and living rooms.  Its just one of the decorating downfalls of living here which you know what I mean if you’ve ever experienced August here.  Or even January for that matter (my ceiling fan is running at this very moment).  So if I were building a home from scratch here, I would put in recessed lights in the living and bedroom (on dimmer switches), and then I would put in a simple white ceiling fan with no lights on it that would fade away into a white ceiling.  Add in to that lots of table and even floor lamps around the room and that would be my perfect lighting equation.

Because we didn’t build our house from scratch, we spray painted our brassy ceiling fan white, replaced the tacky light globes with more simple ones and called it a day.  I still start to twitch whenever that light actually gets turned on and try to rely as much as I can on the one recessed light in the living room and the lamps around the room.

If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that you are not in need of a ceiling fan to keep from melting away in the summertime year-round, you get the exciting opportunity to consider a light fixture in your bedroom or living room!  I love this especially in bedrooms, as it can add to a romantic feeling with a beautiful chandelier.  Remember- bigger is always better!

This one is a beauty from Lauren Liess.  So daring and bold, but I love it!

Lauren Liess Living Room

Simo Design Living Room






Bedroom chandelier lighting



Generally the same rule of “bigger is better” applies here as well.  I just love a big lamp that is a piece of art on its own.  Especially in a pair- that is a lovely find!  I love to look for lamps with a curvy traditional base and a modern drum shaped shade.  Its just my thing for contrast.

Dark lamp shades lighting


Blue Lamps Lighting


I’m in love with this giant floor lamp below!!

Studio McGee Lighting


So in short, no wimpy light fixtures!

Of course, every once in a while rules are meant to be broken and you will find something that just works but doesn’t at all fit into this “bigger is better” idea.  I found several of them while I was looking for pictures for this post.  Why is that??  Its just because there are no hard and fast rules here!  In general, I have found that bigger light fixtures and lamps tend to look better.  But you have the freedom in your own home to try and to do what you want!  That’s why this is decorating UNschool.

Now, go forth and light!

xoxo Bethany

p.s. Let me know in the comments any other areas you’d like me to cover in this series!  I always love hearing from you!!


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Decorating UNschool

I get a lot of questions here, on Instagram, and often in real life about different decor related conundrums. Sometimes I freak out a little about that because the truth is, I’m not really an expert.  I have no degree or formal training in this area. But in my own home, because of an intense passion for contrasts, textures, patterns, fabrics, and furniture arrangements, I’ve grown to develop an eye and a confidence about what to do.  Slowly, I’m learning to trust and lean on that confidence when it comes to other people’s homes and questions as well.

Living Room // The House of Figs

I’ve decided to start a series here on the blog in which I answer some of those FAQs and address the issues I frequently run into when I meet someone in their home looking for advice from me about what to do with their space.  It will kind of be like my version of decorating school- sharing the way I approach a room, piece by piece.  But since I never went to decorating school and my education in that area consisted of Pinterest, a handful of blogs, magazines, and HGTV over the years, we’re going to call it UNschool.

The House Of Figs - Greene Living Room-6 Small WM

So, welcome to decorating UNschool.  Ditch the number two pencils and don’t worry about getting here on time.  It’s all about freedom and there really aren’t any rules.  We’re just going to talk about things like light fixtures, selecting a rug, mixing and matching fabrics, and hanging curtains.  I’ve already made two videos about gallery walls so I’ll probably skip that subject, but please let me know in the comments below if there’s anything you’d like to hear about over the next few weeks!

The Montgomery House - Kitchen Small_0 WM

Looking forward to it!

xoxo Bethany

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