Tag Archives | mantle decorating

My Winter Living Room

The House of Figs Winter Living Room

We’ve been busy trying to stay warm and get back to routine over here. I shared on Instagram last week that I always struggle with getting back to regular life after the holidays.  We’ve just spent so many days cozied up with our little family and then to see them all spread out in their separate directions again is tough.  It won’t be long before we’re stretched thin again and running around in every direction and I don’t like that.  Paul said its because its been easy to do the good stuff of life- to slow down, get a good night’s sleep, to read a book, to love our kids well, have great and deep conversations, play games and laugh together.  We’ve been anticipating and then celebrating God with us.  We’ve been giving gifts and receiving gifts with love and thankfulness.  We’ve been easily enjoying the very best and most important parts of life lately and now we have to go back to fighting for them.

I love how he put that because it reminds me to fight for those things.  To not just go back to the sometimes status quo of busy-ness and endless activity filled days.  To continue to fight for rest, laughter, joy.

So for these south Texans, these last few icy days have been just what we’ve needed: to huddle up and stay in for a while.  To sit around the fire under some blankets.  I’m not quite ready to jump back in to real life and am happy to enjoy the warmth of the fire a little while longer.

The House of Figs

While I did already put away the Christmas decorations, I’ve left up our greenery on the bookshelves.  It adds a little winter coziness and I always love bringing the outdoors in.  They are totally crispy and dry, but up so high that no one is bumping into them or causing needles to fall.

The House of Figs Winter Living Room

I found the blanket you see above at Target. Its actually meant for a twin size bed- which means much bigger and cozier than your average throw.  Perfect for afternoon napping and movie-watching cuddling.  I’m keeping books and magazines out in hopes that we’ll all keep reaching for them, and then I still have my morning spot that I love so much.

The House of Figs

The House of Figs

A comfy place to sit, lots of layers & textures, a big cozy blanket, and good books to read: that’s a recipe for a great winter living room in my opinion.

The House of Figs My Winter Living Room

The House of Figs

The House of Figs Winter Living Room

So that’s our winter living room.  Not a huge change, but just little ways I cozy it up to encourage continued rest and togetherness after the holidays are over.

Here’s a list of the sources in my living room:

Coffee Table: West Elm

Sectional: Unavailable, but find similar ones here.

Rug: Rugs USA

Blanket: Target

Pillows: Target & Pottery Barn & Etsy

Shelves behind couch: Ikea Hemnes

Pouf: Amazon

Paint Color: Olympic Willow Springs

Shades: Select Blinds

Curtains: Ikea Ritva

Do you change up your living room in the winter, after the Christmas decor comes down? Do you struggle with going back to routine like I do?

Happy New Year!  Stay warm, my friends!

xoxo Bethany

 

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My Yearly DIY Post

I’m not a crafter and I don’t do much holiday decorating.  But there’s something about the crispness of fall that has me itching to create.  And I don’t mean creating gallery walls or moodboards or furniture layouts. I mean actually with my hands creating something.  Maybe it has something to do with being outside more?  I miss being outside so much during the oppressive heat of summer.  Lately I’m gazing at sunsets, watching the kids play in the yard, and hanging out on the porch.  Maybe that’s it?

watercolor-leaves-fall-diy

So I’ve found I’m in the kitchen more often, baking goodies that I normally would never be stirring up myself (my husband has the love of cooking in this family).  And last week I actually wandered around on that crafty aisle of Target looking for something fun to do with the kids.  I picked up this pad of punch out paper leaves and had no idea where it would take us.

watercolor-leaves2

My daughter LOVED it.  She worked on painting and coloring leaves for over an hour.  My littlest guy painted a few leaves.  I found myself painting leaf after leaf.  My oldest couldn’t have cared less.  Oh well, to each his own.

I didn’t have a plan for the leaves when we were finished with them, but the colors were so pretty and fall-ish that I was inspired to make a banner for the living room.  I roped some twine up there and used some masking tape to attach the leaves.  I love the organic color of the watercolor paints and how it just brings a little bit of festive whimsy to the room.  I’m sorry to say that this pad was on sale so I can’t find it online to share with you.  Maybe they still have it at your local Target if you’re interested. If not, you could use this template to print out your own, though that would involve a lot of cutting (not quite as fun and easy.)  Here are a few more simple/minimalist fall garlands that would be fun as well.

watercolor-leaves-fall-diy2

I totally get how decorating for the seasons creates this cozy atmosphere and builds a sense of excitement, especially for kids.  But as a sort of minimalist and practicalist (I know that’s not a word), I often forget that.  I don’t like to have little vignettes of scarecrows and plastic pumpkins and hay bales around even though I LOVE the coziness of them when I walk into other people’s homes or little boutique shops.  I even study them in my friends’ homes (they don’t know I’m doing it or I would be like a weird stalker) because I’m trying to figure out how it looks so cozy.  I think it has something to do with using what you love in your own home.  Which might be why it doesn’t work for me.  When I bring in stuff that isn’t me or my style, it makes me feel cluttered in my brain.  I’ve tried and usually end up returning it or putting it in a Goodwill pile.

watercolor-leaves-diy-fall

My daughter on the other hand is constantly looking for a reason to decorate for an occasion or party.  I’m convinced she will one day have the coziest cutest house including scarecrows and hay bales that look adorably perfect for fall.  Anyway, I’m thinking I might ought to start taking her advice a little more often. She may want to paint the walls all pink though, haha.

watercolor-table-fall-pumpkin

So here’s my fall decor for this year- watercolor leaves, and you can see those little white pumpkins on the mantle too.  I picked those up from Trader Joe’s.  I also got one of the big “Cinderella” pumpkins to keep on the breakfast room table.

watercolor-leaves-mantle-fall-living-room

Cheers to the changing of the seasons, getting outdoors more, and creating a home you love, however that looks for you.

water-color-leaves-fall-mantle-diy

xoxo

Bethany

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Getting the Bones Right

So today I’m sharing one of those projects I mentioned last week!

Kitchen3

This project has been so much fun but also one I’ve had to remind myself and my clients that is a marathon, not a sprint.  That’s because we’ve been changing the bones of this house.  Bone changing transformations don’t happen overnight (unless you’re on an HGTV show and then it only seems to take an hour!).  They actually take a lot of time, make a big mess, and require a lot of decisions to be made.

Kitchen6

Kitchen9

Kitchen2

We are still working on the actual decorating phase at this point, but we had to take our time getting the bones just right- things like flooring, wall color, counters, hardware, fireplace stone, bannisters, lighting, etc.  Everything before was super dark and formal- black counters & cabinets, dark iron scroll work on the bannisters and light fixtures.  They wanted a more casual, light and bright look.  My client loves vintage and unique finds (like this beautiful old door on the fireplace!) but it just didn’t work with the old bones.

Kitchen1

Now with the bones of the house just right, the actual decor and styling of the house will be easier, and in fact less will be needed because the house itself can stand so well on its own.

Kitchen4

Hope you’re having a great week! I’m looking forward to sharing more of this project as it unfolds.

xoxo ~Bethany

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Spring Living Room Tour and a Paradox

I realize that I’m a decorator/stylist blogging here, and I haven’t shown you pictures of my house lately.  The thing is, it doesn’t change that often.  Maybe this is kind of a paradox in the decor blog world, but truthfully, I have some minimist tendencies and once I get a room “right” for me, I like to leave it alone.Spring Living Room_2

If you know me in real life and you’ve seen any of my closets or my garage you’re laughing at the thought of me being a minimalist, aren’t you?

But, I don’t really shop much for my home.  I mean, I did when I was first decorating each room.  But now, I like to use what I have and I don’t like bringing in anything that isn’t going to add a lot of purpose.

After coming out of a little season of some major discontent, I pulled open the shades a little higher, fluffed the pillows a little more, and started seeing things (literally and figuratively) in a whole new light.  Fluffing smushed couch cushions, bringing in some fresh greenery, and clearing out clutter can really make a world of difference in how I feel about my home.

Spring Living Room_5

I have a small assortment of pillows and covers that I change out somewhat seasonally, but really its more just about what sort of colors are “speaking” to me at the moment.  Right now, I’ve been wanting subtle neutrals, not a lot of brightness.

I changed out the coffee table books and added in a small succulent that was a gift from a sweet friend.  I’ve had it for a few months and have not killed it, so I’m calling that a success!

Spring Living Room_4

The top two little books on the coffee table are ChatBooks made from getaways Paul and I took together- one in New York City, the other in San Francisco.  I used to keep them on the shelf, but they’re so pretty and I love having them down where we can look through them now.

Spring Living Room_3

I’m still really enjoying the ottoman and side table here for early morning moments of quiet.  Of course, we use it all throughout the day, but it is totally my happy spot.

I haven’t changed or rearranged the bookshelves one bit with the exception of adding or changing out books as they are read or loaned.  These shelves are as functional as they are decorative for us and I love the practicality of them.

Spring Living Room

New around here? Check out my shelf styling tips here.

If I’m being truthful with you here, what I’ve really been wanting is a new couch.  It just isn’t in the budget right now though so instead of buying a bunch of smaller and less expensive things to fill that void, I’m making peace with waiting.  I’m working to get the “bones” of my house right and I don’t want to fill it up with things I don’t need.

Less really can be more.

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Springtime: Bringing the Outdoors In

Hey there!  I took a week off for spring break and we headed to Disney World with my parents!

DisneyWorld

Paul and I also celebrated our 12th anniversary this past weekend.  We are getting back to normal life today and it was funny, as we drove home from Florida (yes, we drove!!), we realized Spring had come while we were gone.  The grass was greener, the trees were budding… all those little things you sometimes don’t notice happening right in front of you but when you’re gone for a week and come home to bright green, its pretty fun.

I really don’t do anything different in my house for springtime- I don’t have any Easter decor or anything like that.  But I do get an itch to pull the shades up a little higher, let the doors swing open and see the outdoors.  After a week of being gone and the doors being locked up tight the house felt kind of stale.  We had barely unpacked and I was grabbing the garden shears to pluck a few branches from the backyard for my vase on the mantle.

springtimegreenery

Its such a simple thing and it didn’t cost me anything.  But now I feel like its springtime inside my house, too.

springtime

I’m no florist and I know these aren’t arranged perfectly, but its just a nice shot of leafy green in the living room.  So simple and easy.  I’m terrible with things that need to be watered, nurtured, and that kind of thing, but something that can be cut off and stuck in a vase?  Perfect!

Springtime clippings

This is an old picture from a clipping I got from a huge weed in my backyard.  It made for some beautiful greenery!!

 I’ve discovered its kind of a stylist trick.   Check out some of your favorite rooms on Pinterest or blogs and I’ll bet they have some leafy goodness happening in them as well.

Turner Davis Interiors

Source: Turner Davis Interiors

What would this room be without that giant tree branch stuck in that vase?

House Seven

Source: House Seven

Breakfast Room

This is my breakfast room– I snipped that branch from our front bushes just that morning and stuck them in a bud vase.

LaurenLiess

Source: Lauren Liess

 

Hello, adorable little frond in a milk jar!

the-montgomery-house-dining-room-small_0-wm

And here’s one more… this branch was taken off a tree just for our photo shoot of the Montgomery House.  Leaves and branches just bring in so much texture, color, and a freshness from the outdoors!  Flowers of course are nice, but can be pricey if you want to have them all the time.  I like to splurge occasionally, but what could be better than free beautiful greenery?

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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!

xoxo

Bethany

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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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