Tag Archives | Living Room

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 Lessons from What Not to Wear


Was anyone else a fan of What Not to Wear back in the day?  Stacey and Clinton sure knew how to put together an outfit.  The snarky commentary was a bonus.  But really, isn’t it amazing how they could take anyone from frumpy to fashionable in a matter of days?  And the best part was they let everyone maintain their own unique style, while keeping a few guidelines consistent in putting together outfits.  They called these golden guidelines “the rules.”  Any of you super fans like me out there remember the rules?  It was almost like a mantra: color, pattern, texture, & shine.  Add these in to any outfit in the right amounts and you’ve got something good going on.

So as a fashion enthusiast myself, today, I give you:

Decorating Lessons from What Not to Wear

(thanks for the inspiration, Stacey & Clinton!)

So, color, pattern, texture, and shine to make a great outfit?  I’ve found that the same is true for a room.  Every room needs some amount of these elements- no matter what your style is.  If you love one or two more than the other, that probably defines your style, but you still need a little of the others.

Its all about balance and contrast.

For example… do you love nailhead trim?  Sparkly light fixtures?  Silver and gold?  Maybe you have a “glam” style so you’ve got the shine covered but make sure to add in some texture and pattern for contrast.  Maybe something distressed or earthy? It will make the sparkle shine that much brighter. Make sure to consider color- add in a little black or deep wood tones to keep your shiny sparkly room from floating away.

Glam Room


Do you love bright color?  Do you find that you’re drawn to buying bright accessories, pillows, and pieces of furniture?  That’s great, but maybe consider balancing it with white walls.  And then make sure not every pillow or accessory is the same finish.  Have some that are shiny, some that are matte, some that have a textural earthy dull color and will contrast with your love of bright things.  This will make your love of color really come through in your home.




Do you love neutrals?  Do you find yourself drawn to the beige couch?  Oh and the beige rug or the white furniture and the white walls?  Well that’s all fine and dandy until you find yourself living in neutral land and it feels all blah and boring.

Here’s the good news: white and beige are colors too!  But don’t forget the other three element- pattern, texture, and shine.  I consider myself in this camp.  I don’t love a lot of glam and I prefer color in small doses. So to balance it out I make sure to have lots of pattern, even if its subtle.  I also make sure to have lots of textures going on.  And I consider my “shine” to be as simple as the few reflective surfaces throughout my home- the vases, the picture frames, mirrors, countertops, etc.  Its subtle, but its just enough (you can see my house here).  Here are some more examples of this neutral/textural style from one of my favorite designers.  See if you can find the color, pattern, texture, and shine in each picture.

Textural Home 2

Neutral and Glam

Textural Home

Neutral Home


I never realized I could learn so much from a makeover show, but seriously this concept of balance and contrast among four consistent rules is so helpful for me!  How about you?  Which of the four guidelines are you drawn to most in your home?  How can you (or do you already?) incorporate some of the other three in subtle doses?  I’d love to hear from you!



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One Room Christmas Tour…

Twas the night before the blog tour and all through the web, I was searching and fretting; it was going to my head.

One Room Christmas Tour

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, “but they’re old, they don’t match, they’re not cute enough to share!”

One Room Christmas Tour

Christmas Decor

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, and I freaked about garlands and flocked trees dancing in my head.

One Room Christmas Home Tour

Away to Instagram I flew like a flash, “why did I enter this contest??” I asked.

Christmas Tour

“I don’t belong, I’m not as good, I need to run back to Target” the thoughts all say.  When what to my wondering eyes should appear?  But a tiny plastic baby nestled in fake plastic hay.

Christmas Home Tour

And then in a twinkling, my doubts disappear.  The decorations are fun and they’re meant to inspire.  But the true inspiration was there all the while.

Christmas Tour

He’s humble, He’s meek; His yoke is easy to bear. He invites me to rest and be at peace with him there.

I so often turn Him down for what I think will fulfill. But tonight, for now, I just need to be still.

Christmas Home Tour

True joy is in Him, and in my darkness, He is the Light.

So, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

One Room Christmas Home Tour

See the rest of my Christmas home here.

If you’re here from My Blessed Life, welcome, and thanks so much for stopping by.  I don’t always write in rhyme, I promise, haha! Next up on the tour is Decor Chick.  You’ll definitely want to check out her beautiful home.

You can find the entire list of links to all the rooms and talented bloggers at Just a Girl Blog.  I am so very honored and crazy excited to have been chosen from my Instagram picture to participate in this tour among all these fantastic and talented bloggers, many of whom have been inspiring me for years.  xoxo- Bethany

Christmas Room 1

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Let’s Style Some Shelves- a Video

Shelf Styling :: The House of Figs

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and with all the things I’m thankful for, this year one of them is YOU!  I had no idea what this would turn into for me when I started this blog back in February and I’m so thankful to all of you for reading, subscribing, commenting, and just for all the encouragement along the way.

Today I’ve got an exclusive new video all about styling shelves.  My talented cinematographer husband produced it and I am really so excited with how it turned out.  I hope it will be something useful and fun for you and even if you don’t have time to change up any shelves while you’re prepping for your big dinner tomorrow, maybe it will be some inspiration for after the big day.

You can access the video by clicking here or at any time from the Video Tutorials link in the top menu. The video is for subscribers only so you will have to put in your email address to log in if you’re a subscriber or to sign up if you’re not.  You’ll find my other two videos about hanging a gallery wall there as well. It’s totally free and just means you will receive blog posts directly to your inbox.  No spam, just free and fun content that I hope will be both purposeful and beautiful for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!!



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Rethinking Home with the Domestic Fashionista

I get so excited when I have the chance to connect with and “meet” bloggers doing great things on their blogs and in their homes.  Ashley is no exception to that.  I was first drawn to her beautiful instagram feed and quickly realized she had some great stuff happening over at her blog too that went along so well with my Rethinking Home series.  She was kind enough to let me show you some pictures of her gorgeous home and also share with us her philosophy and heart behind it all in a little interview.  So without further delay, meet the Domestic Fashionista

Hi! Tell us a little about yourself, your home, your family, and your blog!
Hi, I am Ashley and I blog over at Domestic Fashionista where I share about “creative homemaking for the modern day woman”!  My husband, Brent, and I have been married for six years where we have been living in our current home.  I work from home taking care of my two nephews and blogging.
Domestic Fashionista 8
At Domestic Fashionista my goal is to share creative but realistic solutions for the everyday woman who desires to bring tangible beauty into their life and home.  I desire to encourage women to take care of their home in a way that is meaningful and a blessing to others.Domestic Fashionista 6
How would you describe your approach to decorating?
Over the past six years I have experienced many different approaches to decorating my home.  When we first got married I took anything that I could get for free and re-purposed it to work for our home.  Many of those side of the road and hand me down items are still in our home today even though my decorating style is completely different! Domestic Fashionista 1 I believe in having a few core neutral bones to the house – a great couch or dining table.  From there the design of my home can change with simple accessories or DIY projects without breaking the bank!  While I love to read home design blogs, I try really hard to focus in on what I specifically like and not get pulled into every new trend.
Domestic Fashionista 12
I am currently focused on purging my home and having more minimal but large impact decor.  I found that I was tired of always tidying my home and so I have decided to pull back and have fewer items that I really love.  I am currently turning my design style towards colonial interiors.  I really love the timeless and simplistic European feel.
Domestic Fashionista 14
You mention “life after purging” in many of your recent posts.  Tell us about that big purge- when did you do it?  What led you to it? 
I undertook a big purge this summer after reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and as a result, much of my decor changed.  I was getting rid of things and moving stuff around which forced me to reevaluate everything.
Domestic Fashionista 2
 While I did not bring anything new into my home, things started to look different.  I wanted to show what life after purging looked like – a still personal and welcoming home, just with less stuff!
Domestic Fashionista 5
I love how you recently rethought the layout of your home and shared it on your blog.  You swapped your dining room and your living room!  Tell us about that change, what led you to make it, and how its been working for you and your family!
It seems that one thing always leads to another!  After I had new eyes for all my stuff – Do I really need this?  Is it meaningful? – I started asking similar questions about my home.  Just because the previous dining room and living room set up seemed like an obvious choice from the beginning, I started to question how they functioned.  Domestic Fashionista 4I wondered if we could be using the individual rooms more often and more efficiently if I made the change.  I was letting outside opinions and design rules I had read bout make the decisions of how I used my home.  Instead I realized that I am actually the one who gets to decide these things and I wanted my home to work for me and my unique family situation!
Domestic Fashionista 7
Where do you like to shop for your home?
My favorite places to shop for my home are TJ-Maxx and HomeGoods.  I love that I can find quality items at a reduced cost. I also have grown fond of collecting things for my home when we travel.  Much of the art on my walls has been collected from different places we have visited and I love that it tells the story of places we have been in a fun way.Domestic Fashionista 9
Where do you find inspiration?  Other bloggers or books, etc?
I look to inspiration everywhere!  Like most women these days I love blogs, magazines, and Pinterest!  These are great for putting together design boards and focusing in on what style I am trying to achieve.  But I also take a lot of inspiration from traveling, homes in my own neighborhood, and hotels.  There is something about experiencing a space in real life versus seeing it in a photo.  Experiencing unique architecture, boutique hotels, and real life homes makes me feel something.  I take note of how beauty can wow me or how perfectly fitted sheets can feel so luxurious.  I not only want my home to be pretty, but I desire it to have a certain feeling.
Domestic Fashionista 10
Thank you so much, Ashley!!  
Doesn’t she have a beautiful home? I love how she rethought her home to work for her and didn’t worry about anyone else’s opinion.  I also love the philosophy of not just wanting a pretty home but looking to create an authentic feeling as well.  Her big purge has me inspired, too.  I totally relate to the feeling of being tired of tidying up my home! Has anyone else read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up?  I’ve been hearing good things about it but honestly, it scares me a little, haha!
I’d love for you to leave Ashley some comment love and then go check out her blog at Domestic Fashionista
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Rethinking Home: Toy Storage

This is my third post in the Rethinking Home series.  You can find the other posts here.

I’ve mentioned it before on this blog, but I love the idea of having attractive and creative toy storage in the main living areas, especially for a stay at home mom who is primarily home playing with kids during the day.

Toy Storage // The House of Figs

(This is from a client’s living room, see the rest of the room here)

But as my kids get older and two of them are in school all day, I’m realizing this idea still remains true for me.  I want to be intentional about the hours we spend together so I still want there to be a space for their games, books, and activities in our main living areas.  I don’t want my kids to immediately retreat upstairs after being gone at school all day to the distant playroom for video games or all their toys & books.  Does this mean I have to sacrifice my living room and turn it into an all kid hang out space?  Not at all.

When you have preschoolers, does this mean it has to look like a daycare all the time or like a toy store blew up?  I don’t think so.  With a reasonable amount of creative storage, and rethinking the idea of your home as a place for your entire family (its your kids’ home too!) I feel like you can achieve a look you enjoy and make an intentional space for everyone.

The House Of Figs - Kraus Haus Small_2wm

(Metal baskets under the coffee table in this living room are great storage for books and puzzles.)

So here are a few ideas I’ve come up with for rethinking the idea of toy storage in your home.

  1. Purge:  If your family is like mine you probably have too many toys.  Get rid of some- they probably won’t even notice.  Even after you do that, not every toy your child owns has to be in the living room.  Be selective.  Rotate things out.  As stuff makes its way downstairs, every once in a while I go through the baskets and do a big sweep and have them take their things back to their rooms and the playroom, leaving only a few favorites downstairs.
  2. Bring in attractive storage: Use baskets, decorative bins, bookshelves, even ottomans.  We even keep a canvas bin on our stairs for things that need to go back to the designated kid spaces.
  3. Corral the small stuff: We have a tray in our foyer and a tray on our coffee table.  When I step on a tiny lego during the day I can throw it on the tray and my son can take it upstairs before bedtime. When my husband comes home from work, he can drop his keys, wallet, loose change, etc in the foyer tray.  Any time small things like that are corralled into a defined space they look and feel less junky and more like they are part of a system.
  4. See the toys & books as part of your decor, not something that competes with it: Decorate with what you love and decorate for your family.  When you use bright color and pattern and don’t worry about sticking to a specific color “scheme” or “theme” the toys and books are better able to blend right in.  They are just a part of life and make a home feel lived in and natural- less like a show home or model home and more like a place you (and your family) really want to be!

Rethinking Toy Storage // The House of Figs

Like I shared earlier this week, our living room bookshelves house books for everyone and the bottom few shelves store games and toys as well.  In the spirit of full disclosure though (you know I like to show the real deal), it is not always pretty back there.

Behind the Shelves

But I can tell you everything does have a place either here or upstairs and when it starts to get like this, I know its probably time to purge and/or bring some things back up.

Lauren Liess (one of my favorite designers & bloggers), talks a little about this idea in her new book Habitat.  (By the way, the book is amazing and beautiful, I highly recommend it!!!) She says family rooms “should be stylish, comfortable and able to stand up to wear and abuse.  They should not only look good, but also be simple to maintain with easy to care for materials and plenty of storage to corral all the items that make their way into the space.”  She goes on to say that in her house they have what they call the five-minute rule, meaning that “I’ve made sure to include enough storage in each room that anyone can clean up a mess in five minutes or less.”

All of this I love.  Five minutes or less?  So doable.

 Our family rooms are meant to serve us, not the other way around.

Are you a slave to your family room?  Do you feel like you’re constantly telling everyone to “get that stuff out of here?” Or clean up their mess?  Maybe there is a way to rethink how that mess is cleaned up or how the storage is approached.  Perhaps the decor scheme, while a lovely and serene one, is only inclusive of one person’s tastes and collectibles. If it is a family room, should it not reflect an atmosphere conducive to family time?  I feel like this can be achieved simply by adding in a little bit of color and pattern- maybe with throw pillows, a few books around the room, etc.  Also choosing durable fabrics and materials makes it family-welcome as well!

Just some thoughts to ponder here.  I’d love to hear what you think!   Let me know in the comments or if you have a picture of how you are rethinking home, share it with me on instagram!  Tag me (@thehouseoffigs) and add #rethinkinghome to your picture so I can see it.  Thank you so much for reading!

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Living Room Tour

I realized I hadn’t really shown you my living room since we made a few updates to it, so today I’m sharing new pictures (along with sources at the end of the post).

Living Room // The House of Figs

The major update is that we sold our round ottoman (see the old pictures here) and replaced it with an actual coffee table.

Living Room // The House of Figs

We loved the ottoman and it was great for when we had littler kids but we had been wanting more space for drinks and books, especially because there really isn’t room for end tables with the sectional.  Also, our older kids are at the age where they like to play games and color in here.  Its been nice to be able to accommodate that now!

Home // The House of Figs

I purged some of the books and rearranged just a few things on the bookshelves.  The bottom few shelves house kids toys and books in baskets and bins.  I love having toy storage in the living room.  More on that later this week.

Bookshelves // The House of Figs

Even though I don’t really do seasonal decorating, I did find a few branches I liked at Hobby Lobby and those pumpkins on the mantle are real ones from the grocery store.  A few of the pillow covers have been changed out too to add to a cozier fall-ish feeling (the weather here in TX is finally starting to match too, hooray!)

Living Room // The House of Figs

Like I shared in this post, I brought down the ottoman from our youngest son’s room and I love having it in here now.  I keep that little side table empty.  Its so nice to have empty space, its just inviting.

Living Room // The House of Figs

Have I mentioned there used to be a window over the fireplace?  That was weird, you can read about that here.

Here are a few of the sources for the room:

Wall color: Olympic Willow Springs

Mantle color: Olympic Silver Dollar

HOME letters: Found in Round Top, TX

Bookshelves: Ikea Hemnes

Coffee Table & white lacquered tray: West Elm

Pouf: Amazon

Curtains: Ikea Ritva

Black & White pillow & blanket: Ikea

Roman Shades: Select Blinds

Gray Chair: Ikea

Rug: Rugs Usa

So that’s it for the living room!  One quick little fun thing… I’ve just recently joined Periscope and yesterday afternoon as Paul was taking these pictures I did a quick little broadcast of behind the scenes of the shoot.  Find me by searching for @thehouseoffigs!  The broadcast is still available for 24 hours after its created.  My camera work was a little shaky- sorry about that.  Still figuring the whole thing out. Are any of you on Periscope?  Come find me!!



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