The best design advice for DIY-ers to bust out of a boring home during COVID-19 social distancing and shelter-in-place.

The best design advice for DIY-ers

It’s a strange time in the world right now – we’re all staying home in a much-needed effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. “Normal” life is on pause for a while, and as the working mom of kids who are suddenly at home full-time (!) I am living through this incredibly challenging season right alongside you. But you know what?

I think it’s an awesome blessing. Because being at home means you can really WORK on your home, unapologetically! I mean, what else are you going to do?

The best design advice for DIY-ers to bust out of a boring home during COVID-19 social distancing and shelter-in-place.

This is an awesome time to tackle DIY projects around the house (or call a design professional for a virtual consultation) and I want to share with you the best design advice I have for DIY-ers:

Trust your gut when decorating.

Confidence is key, baby. And you’re probably more capable of tackling that wallpaper installation project or choosing a new sofa than you think.

You know that little “nudge” you get sometimes? That little feeling that tells you when something feels right (even if you can’t explain it) or wrong (even if you can’t explain it)? THAT is the magic stuff when it comes to interior design. For me, it’s a feeling of peaceful excitement when I know I’ve made the right decision, and also this little bit of uneasiness when something isn’t quite right.

The best design advice for DIY-ers to bust out of a boring home during COVID-19 social distancing and shelter-in-place.

The best design advice for DIY-ers isn’t really design advice at all. It’s all about listening to your intuition, and saying yes when you get that peaceful excited feeling (even if you’re not sure why!) and saying no when something feels inexplicably “off”.

I’m a big believer that “useful and beautiful are all you need” at home. It’s kind of along the same lines as Marie Kondo urging us to tune into what sparks joy. For me, I only want things that are useful (like the new tortilla warmer that just arrived from Amazon) or beautiful (like the set of two paintings my kids made that are framed in my entryway) or both (my teal sofa!).

The best design advice for DIY-ers to bust out of a boring home during COVID-19 social distancing and shelter-in-place.

If this idea of listening to your intuition (aka. trusting your gut) is new to you, it might take time before you’re able to tune into those feelings that can help guide your design decision-making. And that’s okay! My motto is “helping people bust out of a boring home” and I want to help you bust out of boring, regardless of what that looks like. If you’d like to book a complimentary call with me to learn how we work and discover the best (virtual!) design package for you, I’m still available during social distancing. You can schedule a call right here.

An Easy Designer Styling Trick for a Photo-Worthy Room - FREE cheat sheet download

Want to know an easy designer styling trick for a photo-worthy room?

Group your accessories in odd numbers.

Weird, right? But it totally works. But in order to do it successfully, you need to understand balance, and the difference between formal and informal balance.

Here are the basics about balance.

Symmetrical Balance

You’re probably familiar with formal, or symmetrical balance. That’s when things are equal on both sides. If you drew an imaginary line down the middle, both sides would be identical. And while symmetrical balance sure is pretty, it can fall a little…flat. Formal balance is very rigid, and tends to lack visual movement and energy. Everything is calm and has its place.

So, what do I prefer when styling?

Check out this easy designer styling trick for a magazine-worthy room - and grab the FREE Designer Styling Secrets Cheat Sheet too

Asymmetrical Balance

While symmetrical balance is pretty obvious and safe, what’s trickier is working with asymmetrical balance. And asymmetrical balance is what I think gives a space a more lived-in, collected, and magazine-worthy look.

Asymmetrical balance is when things feel balanced, but don’t create an identical mirror image. Give me a good odd-numbered, asymmetrical grouping any day! This easy designer styling trick will totally up-level your accessorizing game.

See how the stack of books, starburst mirror, and floral arrangement in my master bedroom above keep your eye moving in a triangle shape and are so dynamic? A grouping of 3 items is almost always an instant home run.

(I know what you’re going to say next: “Lesley, you said to use 3 items, but there are 4 in that photo because of the brass duck on top of the books!” YOU SMART COOKIE, YOU. You’re technically right. But when it comes to accessorizing, as soon as you put an item in a stack or on a pedestal – like on a stack of books – it reads as one item. Consider one “grouping” as one item if it reads that way visually.)

Grab this FREE Designer Styling Secrets Cheat Sheet! Awesome styling tips from interior designer Lesley Myrick

The styling on the piano in my former office above has 3 simple items – a framed piece of artwork, a mirror, and a lamp, The height of the art balances the height of the lamp, and the mirror creates a visual “peak” in the middle. Simple and super-successful.

Check out this FREE Designer Styling Secrets Cheat Sheet! Awesome styling tips from interior designer Lesley Myrick

Finally, here’s an example of 5 accessories working together beautifully. The succulent and books (yup, I’m considering that as one item), the framed oil painting, the zebra candle, the deer skull, and taped-up artwork create a vignette that’s effortlessly stylish and definitely asymmetrical. You can see how things feel balanced and move your eye around in interesting ways.

When it comes to styling and accessorizing your home,

interior designers are a cruel bunch because we make it look so easy. It really can’t be that hard to arrange a few things on a bookshelf, right?

Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve struggled to get a magazine-worthy look on your coffee table or mantel. It’s not as easy as it looks! There’s a reason I spent years in design school learning about the elements and principles of design. But with a few styling secrets in your back pocket, you can get a kickass designer look in your own home too. Download the Cheat Sheet right here.

What Is Accent Lighting, and How Do You Use It? Answers from interior designer Lesley Myrick

We’ve talked before about the three types of lighting: ambient, task, and accent as used in a kitchen. While that info is a great starting point, it’s pretty kitchen-specific (obviously). So let’s dive into what is accent lighting and how do you use it in the rest of your home.

Disclosure: Some of the products featured were sponsored by a brand I use and love for myself and for my clients, Lamps Plus. Thank for your support!

Mother-of-pearl accent lamp with a teal sofa

According to my friend, Wikipedia, “Accent lighting focuses light on a particular area or object. It is often used to highlight art or other artifacts. Common types of accent lights include wall sconces, floodlights, recessed lights, torchère lamps, or track lighting. The brighter light from the accent lamp creates visual interest to a room.

Eclectic living room with a teal sofa and cool accent lamps

Did you get that? Basically, accent lighting highlights particular areas or items in a room that you want to draw attention to – even artifacts, if you have those. (WTF?) I also like to use it to illuminate dark corners and help bring a cozy vibe to a space. Accent lighting is what gives a room alllll the feels.

Ambient lighting ‘brightens things’ overall, task lighting is used to illuminate areas for ‘specific purposes/periods/actions,’ and accent lighting is all about good vibes.

How do you use accent lighting in your home?

Let’s take a look at how I used lamps in our Texas home. The mother-of-pearl table lamp (similar) on the console table above lights up the dark space behind the sectional, and the Seeded Glass Edison Bulb Accent Lamp on the bar brings attention to that area of the room where there’s no overhead ambient lighting.

A living room seating area with leather wing chairs and a funky Mid-Century accent lamp

Clearly, I’m a fan of lamps and use them everywhere. There are four in the living room alone! I actually prefer to not use overhead lighting when I can, and I rely on multiple accent lamps to provide most of the light in my home.

This Mid-Century ceramic lamp (similar, in white) lights up the seating area and is essential when the sun goes down, since sunlight takes care of illuminating the room during the day.

A surveyor-style floor lamp from Lamps Plus creates a cozy living room reading nook

To the left of the leather wing chairs is another accent lamp (shocker!) that does the job of casting light into an otherwise dark corner. I love the wood and brass combo on this Surveyor Cherry Wood Floor Lamp.

Got it – Lesley loves lamps. Now what?

It’s time for a trick question: is the chartreuse table lamp pictured below in my former office considered accent lighting or task lighting?

Is a desk lamp considered ambient lighting, or task lighting? Learn the basics of choosing lighting from interior designer Lesley Myrick

Answer: it’s both. While I used this hip oversize ceramic lamp as a desk lamp, it does double-duty as both task lighting for my work and accent lighting for the entire office.

Love this brass accent lamp in a navy bedroom!

Same goes for a table lamp on a nightstand. It crosses over from accent to task lighting, and I’m not mad about that.

Here’s what I want you to know about accent lighting:

It is the secret sauce that takes a room from mediocre to magazine-worthy. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous your furniture is, if you have crappy lighting, you have a crappy room.

Let me say that again: if you have crappy lighting, you have a crappy room.

Layering lighting is key to a kickass designer look, so if you’re relying only on overhead ceiling lights, it’s time to go shopping for some statement-making lamps. (Lamps Plus is one of my fave secret sources – not so secret anymore, I guess.)


WHAT’S YOUR TRUE DESIGN STYLE?

We know you’re not just modern or traditional – you’re way more stylish and interesting than that! So what’s your true design style? Take our fun quiz to learn what your true design style is (and get a shoppable style board to help create a kickass home you love!)

Can you use rugs in the kitchen? Learn what rugs work best in a kitchen - and what rugs to stay away from!

This is one of those things that seems a little quirky and taboo, and people are really unsure if this is okay – can you use rugs in the kitchen?

My answer: heck yes to rugs in the kitchen!

Area rugs are an awesome way to bring a jolt of color, pattern, softness, and sound-dampening to a space. And a kitchen, with all its hard surfaces, can really benefit from something soft and squishy like an area rug.

Love this pink runner in a teal kitchen!

An area rug (or more likely given the space constraints, a runner) is a rad addition to a galley kitchen or a kitchen with an island. I like to leave a few inches of space on either side of the runner to let some floor peek out, but I don’t want the rug so narrow that my feet hang off of it when I’m working at the counter (ugh).

What do you need to know about rugs in the kitchen?

First: that any rug in the kitchen is going to get wet and dirty. It’s inevitable. So be sure to select a rug that’s durable and easy to clean. A 100% wool runner is a great choice for a kitchen, as is any kind of indoor/outdoor rug.

A good-quality vintage rug that has stood the test of time is also a rad idea for a kitchen. That distressed look is going to be super-forgiving with kitchen spills and stains.

An orange and fuchsia area rug looks awesome in this teal kitchen! Find out more about how to use area rugs in the kitchen.

But please, for the love of all that is holy, stay away from rugs that contain viscose fibers! While viscose looks real pretty (it has the look and feel of silk) that stuff is a nightmare to maintain, in the kitchen or otherwise. Viscose rugs shed, stain easily (even plain water can leave marks), and are a big no-no from many designers I speak with. Rugs crafted of a natural fiber like wool, or a durable synthetic like polypropylene are far better choices for a kitchen.

Can you use rugs in the kitchen? Learn what rugs work best in a kitchen - and what rugs to stay away from!

If you’re dreaming of updating your kitchen, be sure to grab the FREE Essential Kitchen Design Checklist to help you get started.

How to Choose Lighting for a Kitchen - tips from Atlanta interior designer Lesley Myrick

Your kitchen lighting – just like your diet – needs balance to be healthy, happy, and functional. If you’re wondering how to choose lighting for a kitchen, there are 3 types of lighting your kitchen requires, and I’m going to give you the scoop on all three.

Disclosure: Some of the products featured were sponsored by a brand I use and love for myself and for my clients, Lamps Plus. Thank for your support!

We do a lot of stuff in our kitchens,

from cooking to cleaning to homework to entertaining to eating ice cream out of the carton in front of the freezer late at night. (No? Just me?) And one of the BIGGEST differences between an average kitchen and a phenomenal one is lighting.

Nope, not cool backsplash tiles or cabinet knobs – it’s lighting.

So, what are the three types of lighting your kitchen needs?

Ambient, task, and accent lighting.

Ambient lighting, like this track light,  is the first step in choosing lighting for a kitchen. Learn more about kitchen lighting selections in this useful post from interior designer Lesley Myrick.

Ambient lighting…

…is the main source of light in a room, and it needs to cast general light everywhere. In modern kitchens, ambient lighting is most often seen as recessed lighting (also called can lights or pot lights), but since my Texas kitchen was built in 1959 and had no recessed ceiling lights (UGH!) we chose this cool industrial-inspired 4-light oil-rubbed bronze track fixture instead.

I don’t love the look of most track lights – I find them too modern and sterile – but I loved the warmth of the oil-rubbed bronze and antique brass. Plus, give me an Edison bulb any day of the week! I love the cozy, vintage glow.

Task lighting, like this Sputnik-style chandelier,  is the second step in choosing lighting for a kitchen. Learn more about kitchen lighting selections in this useful post from interior designer Lesley Myrick.

Task lighting…

…is designed to bring extra illumination to areas where specific tasks happen (like chopping food or eating ice cream standing in front of the freezer). Ambient lighting is a great start, but doesn’t cut it on its own.

We installed an antique gold Sputnik-style chandelier to light up the table in our eat-in kitchen, and also a Kichler wood and iron mini-pendant over the sink. Pendant lights over an island are also a great example of kitchen task lighting.

Task lighting, like this Sputnik-style chandelier,  is the second step in choosing lighting for a kitchen. Learn more about kitchen lighting selections in this useful post from interior designer Lesley Myrick.

Finally, accent lighting…

…brings that little extra bit of zhush to a room. To continue with talk about ice cream, think of it like you’ve got the sundae (ambient lighting) covered in whipped cream (task lighting), and now it’s time to add the cherry on top (accent lighting).

Accent lighting creates a magical glow that makes a space more special. In a kitchen, you’ll often find accent lighting as under-cabinet lighting, above-cabinet lighting, toe kick lighting, or even in accent lamps. While the under-cabinet lights are off in these photos (because natural light is where it’s at for interior photography), know that I love and use under-cabinet lighting all the time.

Now that you know about the three main types of lighting a room needs, it’s time to talk about:

how to choose lighting for a kitchen.

Love the lighting from @lampsplus in this teal and white kitchen!

First, I refer to my Essential Kitchen Design Checklist! Having this checklist as a guideline helps me start and manage a kitchen design with confidence, and I hope it will do the same for you. Download it totally free, right here.

Overwhelmed by choosing lighting? Learn all about kitchen lighting selections in this useful post from interior designer Lesley Myrick.

Second, I take inventory of what lighting I have that’s working, what fixtures need to be replaced, and what additional lighting needs to be added by an electrician. While keeping in mind that I need all three types of layered lighting – ambient, task, and accent – I make a list of all the light fixtures I’m looking for, from recessed lights to pendants.

I don’t start my search in the dark (LIGHTING PUN!). I make sure I have a list and a plan so that I can get the best result – and the best-looking kitchen – possible.

Not sure what lighting your kitchen needs? Find out all about kitchen lighting in this useful post from interior designer Lesley Myrick.

And last but not least, I go shopping! I’m a big fan of sourcing online, and Lamps Plus is one of my fave secret sources for cool, affordable lighting.

FYI, I pay really close attention to customer reviews to see if there’s anything I need to be aware of (like, if the fixture looks more brassy in person than in the photos) and I also carefully check the dimensions of the fixtures before ordering. Those measurements are essential when ordering online – you might end up with a chandelier that’s way smaller (or way larger!) than you expected if you’re not carefully checking dimensions.

If you’re thinking about updating your kitchen lighting,

or if you’re considering a full remodel, be sure to grab the FREE Essential Kitchen Design Checklist to help get you started.

The Essential Kitchen Design Checklist - FREE download from interior designer Lesley Myrick

Designing a kitchen is a TOTAL BEAST. There are soooo many details to consider, from countertops to cabinets to cooktops. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to select grout or overlooked including undercabinet lighting when creating a kitchen design for a client. Don’t you wish there was a kitchen design checklist with all the items you’d need to select for your kickass new kitchen?

Get ready – I’ve got something rad for you.

It took me years (and a few mistakes along the way) to come up with a comprehensive checklist to make sure I had all my bases covered, and this thing is IT. And I’m sharing it with you, totally free, to save you time, money, and mistakes:

The Essential Kitchen Design Checklist

The Essential Kitchen Design Checklist - FREE download from interior designer Lesley Myrick

There are four major categories to consider when designing a kitchen:

Fixtures + Finishes, Plumbing, Appliances, and Storage.

Fixtures and Finishes includes the fun stuff, like counterops and cabinet colors. It also includes the boring (but necessary) stuff that needs to be selected, like the edge style and thickness for the countertop, and the grout color for the floor tiles. These are the kind of seemingly small design decisions that have a big impact on the overall result of a kitchen remodel, yet most homeowners aren’t prepared to make these kinds of selections and this indecision can really bottleneck a project.

Plumbing also seems simple (you need a faucet, right?) until you realize how many other elements are part of this decision, like the type of faucet mount (Centerset? Widespread?), finish (Chrome? Brass? Matte black?), or features (Pulldown? Touch-activated?).

Everything you need to consider when designing a kitchen is included in this FREE kitchen checklist from Atlanta interior designer Lesley Myrick

If you’re designing a whole new kitchen layout, then the world of appliances is your oyster! Be sure to pay attention to size and electrical needs so that your contractor and electrician make the correct allowances (and so that your fancy new oven works properly!).

If you’re working with an existing kitchen layout, pay attention to how wide the openings are for your appliances – a 24″ wide opening will not fit a 24″ wide appliance, and you’ll need to factor in a little wiggle-room to make sure things fit.

And of course, storage is a major consideration in a kitchen design. This is the time to look into awesome storage solutions to make your life easier, like pull-outs, drawer dividers, and baking sheet dividers.

Everything you need to consider - from appliances to storage - when designing a kitchen is included in this FREE kitchen checklist from interior designer Lesley Myrick

This FREE kitchen design checklist is the exact tool I use at Lesley Myrick Art + Design when I start a new kitchen remodel project. It includes four major categories to consider as well as alllll the nitty-gritty details you’ll need to cover in each category.

Having this checklist as a guideline helps me start and manage a kitchen design with confidence, and I hope it will do the same for you. Download it right here.

Who doesn’t love a good before-and-after? Get ready, because all month long I’m sharing a tour of our Texas home, including the living room, master bedroom, kids bedroom, my office, my husband’s office, and the kitchen. Finally – the dark teal kitchen!

Before and After: A Dark Teal Kitchen with Funky Lighting

Disclosure: Some of the products in this before-and-after were sponsored by brands I use and love for myself and for my clients, including Sherwin-Williams, Metrie, Lamps Plus, House of Antique Hardware, and The Findery. Thanks for your support!

The 1950s were great.

Sure, they were great – like, 70 years ago. But kitchens do not usually stand the test of time, and our Waco kitchen from 1959 was no exception. While there was an attempt to update this space by a former homeowner in the 1990s, it wasn’t exactly a home run.

Here’s what the kitchen looked like the day we moved in:

Check out the before and after of this  Waco, Texas Mid-Century kitchen
You've gotta see the "after" of this  Waco, Texas Mid-Century kitchen!
You won't believe the "after" of this  Waco, Texas Mid-Century kitchen!

The cabinets were original to the home and had been painted white at some point, which certainly isn’t terrible, but they were definitely dingy. The flooring was awful ceramic tile made to look like slate, with grout lines a mile wide. (Ugghhh it got so dirty!) The wallpaper? Yeah, I could’ve lived without that. And that fluorescent faux-skylight light fixture? That needed to be ripped out, like, yesterday.

But the absolute worst part about this kitchen? The countertops. I’d have loved something as retro chic as Formica, but nope – these countertops were made of 4×4 white square tiles.

Tiles.

With grout.

As a countertop.

So. Gross.

So what improvements did we make to this kitchen?

Love this before-and-after of a dark teal kitchen!

As with the rest of the house, the flooring was the first major change. We ran the same vinyl plank through the entire house, which was such a needed update. The only flooring we kept as-is was the cool herringbone brick in the front entry, which you can see a snippet of in the photo above.

Lighting was next on the list, and boy did a couple of new fixtures update the look of this kitchen! We replaced the outdated fluorescent box with a cool industrial track light, and updated the chandelier in the dining area with a funky brass Sputnik-style pendant, thanks to Lamps Plus.

Love this kitchen cabinet dark teal paint color - Sherwin-Williams Cascades

After we added crown molding and new baseboards from Metrie, everything got a fresh coat of my favorite crisp white paint, Sherwin-Williams Extra White. Everything, that is, except the lower cabinets, which we painted DARK TEAL! I loved Sherwin-Williams Cascades so much in this kitchen that I used the same color in my new office.

A dark teal kitchen had been my dream like, forever, and I’m so happy with how it turned out. Especially when we added this orange and fuschia wool runner which made the teal really pop.

Cool backsplash stickers in this before-and-after kitchen makeover

The boring white cabinet knobs were replaced with distressed antique brass knurled knobs, which brought a lot of texture and vintage character. And the backsplash was an awesomely easy DIY update – because it’s not tile. I tried out Quadrostyle Stickers because I’ve been so curious about peel-and-stick backsplashes, and this one was a smashing success. (Even my contractor didn’t realize it wasn’t tile until he looked closer.)

Since we kept the original cabinetry,

we were able to splurge on new countertops, and I have to tell you, concrete countertops are the bomb-diggity. Since our dining table was zinc and looked a little like natural concrete, we chose white concrete for the counters. Twisted Concrete in Texas totally made my countertop dreams come true. No more grout lines to clean!

 A modern dark teal kitchen by interior designer Lesley Myrick
A funky, eclectic dining room by interior designer Lesley Myrick

In the dining area of our dark teal kitchen,

we kept the mismatched chairs that we had collected over the years, and had a reclaimed zinc-top table custom made by The Findery in Waco, Texas. We loved the vintage iron bases, and were able to keep the same bases (but add a new, larger butcher block top) in our new home.

Love this modern kitchen before-and-after by interior designer Lesley Myrick

The oversize abstract art was made by me, inspired by Atlanta artist Britt Bass Turner. (Her paintings are waaaay better than mine, btw.) And the draperies are from World Market, but sadly, are no longer available.

Thanks so much for following along with the before-and-afters of my Texas home, including our dark teal kitchen. This was such a special house since it was the first home Nate and I bought, and the first house we were really able to put our stamp on. We were truly able to bust this home out of boring (and bust it out of ugly!) and I’d love to help you bust out of your boring home too. Let’s talk.


WHAT DOES IT REALLY COST TO DECORATE A HOUSE?

Get ready to kickstart your interior design project and plan your budget like a boss! Download our FREE super helpful guide with room-by-room furnishing budgets and printable worksheets.

Who doesn’t love a good before-and-after? Get ready, because all month long I’m sharing a tour of our Texas home, including the living room, master bedroom, kids bedroom, my office, my husband’s office, and the kitchen. Today: our two home offices.

Before and After: A Husband And Wife's Home Offices in Waco, Texas

Disclosure: Some of the products in this before-and-after were sponsored by brands I use and love for myself and for my clients, including Sherwin-Williams and Metrie. Thanks for your support!

Yes – we needed two home offices. (This is why our kids had to share a bedroom – ha!) For the first few years in Texas, Nate and I shared one large office space, which you might remember looking like this.

But as the need for a quiet workspace increased for my husband as he worked on his PhD, my business was growing – and getting much louder with video calls, contractor meetings, and part-time staff schedules. It became pretty apparent that our open-concept office wasn’t working for him, so he moved his workspace into the extra bedroom.

Here’s Nate’s office, before:

This boring white bedroom was transformed into a stunning home office by interior designer Lesley Myrick
This boring white bedroom was transformed into a stunning home office by interior designer Lesley Myrick

Yup, it’s another white box. Thankfully it has decent-sized windows and two large closets with mirrored doors, but that’s about all that’s going for it.

And Nate’s office, after:

As you can probably guess, we replaced the old carpet with vinyl plank flooring, added Metrie crown molding (my favorite!) and painted the walls a deeper color.

Whoa! Check out the before and after of this home office / guest bedroom space.

Oh, and did I mention that Nate’s office also had to function as a guest room? We installed this awesome Bestar wall bed with shelves so that we’d have a queen-size bed at the ready when family and friends came to stay. I love that it just looks like a built-in cabinet when not in use.

Whoa! Check out the before and after of this home office space.

We loved this wall color so much (it’s Sherwin-Williams Chatroom, by the way) that we’ve painted the living room in our new house the same color. It’s a lovely, livable green-grey that looks great with wood tones.

Before and After: A Husband And Wife's Home Offices in Waco, Texas

The most important part of this space for Nate was the door. He desperately needed a quiet workspace to think and write, and I love the classic single panel design of this solid wood door from Metrie. And of course, I had to include that beautiful brass door hardware throughout the house.

And now, my office before:

Before and After: A Husband And Wife's Home Offices in Waco, Texas
Before and After: an interior designer's office in Texas

Not a bad starting point, right? It’s a good-sized space with white paneled walls and medium-toned vinyl plank floors. We freshened up the walls with Sherwin-Williams Extra White, and beefed up the wimpy crown and baseboard with more substantial moldings from Metrie.

Once Nate moved out, I had a lot more space to play with – and even added a piano to my office.

Lesley’s office, after:

Before and After: an interior designer's office in Texas

My desk used to be in this built-in nook, but when I realized the piano happened to be the exact same width as the desk, I seized the opportunity to change things up! I tucked the piano into the wall of built-ins and moved the desk to the opposite wall.

(I should clarify – when I say, “I tucked the piano into the wall of buil-ins” I really mean, “My husband shoved that piano into place using Herculean strength because it barely fit.” I totally owe him one.)

Love this before and after transformation of a dining room into a functional and chic home office!

You might remember from a few years ago I shared the tutorial for the DIY built-in bookshelves, using IKEA bookcases and Metrie interior finishings. I was so sad to leave this behind when we moved to Georgia.

Awesome built-in bookshelves in an interior designer's home office

This vintage yellow cabinet on the opposite wall was gifted to me by a family friend, and I’m obsessed. It brings such a warm, quirky vibe to an office space that’s mainly white with clean lines. Plus, it looked awesome next to my custom bulletin board upholstered in a Genevieve Gorder fabric.

I definitely kept the yellow cabinet for use in my new Atlanta office.

Pretty vintage Chinoiserie cabinet in an interior designers's home office
Pretty vintage Chinoiserie cabinet in an interior designers's home office

Even though Nate moved out of my office, the kids moved in. We made room for a “family computer” against the kitchen wall so that my son could have space to play computer games and work on his Pre-K homework. It also doubled as a workspace for my part-time design team. (So I guess we kinda ended up with three home offices?)

A kids' computer workspace

Thanks for following along with my Texas home makeover. The kitchen was one of the biggest transformations, and I can’t wait to share that with you next week.

Before and After: A Husband And Wife's Home Offices in Waco, Texas

DOES YOUR HOME REFLECT THE TRUE YOU?

Take our fun quiz to discover your true design style – and get a personalized, shoppable style board curated by Lesley to help create a kickass home you love.

Who doesn’t love a good before-and-after? Get ready, because all month long I’m sharing a tour of our Texas home, including the living room, master bedroom, kids bedroom, my office, my husband’s office, and the kitchen. This week: the shared kids’ bedroom that my 5 year-old son and 2 year-old daughter loved.

Before and After: A Shared Kids Bedroom in Waco, Texas

Disclosure: Some of the products in this before-and-after were sponsored by brands I use and love for myself and for my clients, including Sherwin-Williams, Lamps Plus, and Metrie. Thanks for your support!

In a 1500 square foot home with two home offices,

we kinda sorta ran out of space for the kiddos. (Whoops!) So once 2- year old Hasley outgrew her nursery that was located in the master closet – yes, in a closet – she moved in with big brother Ford. And let me tell you, they LOVED sharing a room! Especially when it looked awesome.

But it wasn’t such a great space when we moved in. Here’s the kids’ bedroom, before.

Check out the stunning "after" of this shared kids bedroom design!
Here's the "before"...check out the stunning "after" of this shared kids bedroom design.

That wallpaper border, right? We tore that sucker down pretty quickly.

Just like in our master bedroom, the kids’ room was majorly lacking in architectural detail. We added crown molding and panel molding, and also replaced the baseboards with interior finishings from Metrie.

A colorful kids bedroom by interior designer Lesley Myrick, shared by a boy and girl

The wall color?

I know you’re shocked, but yes, it is a neutral! Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray is an easy-to-live-with neutral hue that isn’t beige. Bright colors work best in kids rooms when they’re in small, removable doses. Kids’ color preferences and tastes change so quickly, and it’s much easier to replace some accent pillows and a rug than it is to repaint a room.

Lighting is so important for creating a comfy, cozy kids space, so we included a vintage red lantern table lamp, as well as a vintage-inspired aged brass 3-light floor lamp from Lamps Plus.

Love this bedroom design shared by a boy and a girl

The gallery wall above Ford’s bed included artwork he created at daycare, school photos, and vintage prints. I prefer artwork to be hung lower, but when you’ve got a 5 year-old in the bed below you’ve gotta keep stuff out of reach!

The rug is iconically IKEA (but I bet you figured that out, as this rug has been seen everywhere in the last few years) and the burnt orange curtains are from Half Price Drapes.

You’ll notice that this shared kids bedroom is a lot more budget-friendly than some other spaces we’ve designed, because we knew we weren’t staying in this home forever, and because little kids ruin stuff. Ha.

Cute reading nook in a colorful shared kids bedroom by interior designer Lesley Myrick

This bookshelf is one of my favorite pieces that we’ve moved from California to Texas and now to Georgia. It used to be a store display for Madewell, and thanks to a friend who worked there, we rescued it from the trash. I can’t wait to see my daughter turn it into a dollhouse when she’s a bit older.

A built-in bookshelf with wallpaper by interior designer Lesley Myrick

This little built-in shelf tucked behind the door is one of my favorite features of this bedroom. A fresh coat of Sherwin-Williams Extra White paint (my favorite pure, clean white) and a little removable wallpaper jazzed it up nicely.

Now that we’ve moved into a larger home, Ford and Hasley each have their own bedrooms again. (Here’s Ford’s new room if you’d like to see.) I definitely miss this cute shared space, but I’ll be honest – we’re all sleeping better now that the kiddos aren’t within arms reach of each other all night!


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Who doesn’t love a good before-and-after? Get ready, because all month long I’m sharing a tour of our Texas home, including the living room, master bedroom, kids bedroom, my office, my husband’s office, and the kitchen. Today: our navy master bedroom that doesn’t feel like a cave.

Before and After: A Navy Master Bedroom That Doesn't Feel Like a Cave

Disclosure: Some of the products in this before-and-after were sponsored by brands I use and love for myself and for my clients, including Sherwin-Williams, House of Antique Hardware, and Metrie. Thanks for your support!

When we bought our 1959 ranch home in Waco, Texas, the master bedroom kinda stumped us. It was this blank, white box with no personality whatsoever. And uggghh, that blue-grey carpet!

Here’s what the master bedroom like when we moved in.

Check out what this white box bedroom looks like after!
Whoa! Check out what this white box bedroom looks like after the makeover.

Underwhelming much?

This room was just screaming for architectural detail to be added, and thanks to our friends at Metrie, we were able to replace the baseboards with something taller and more substantial, add solid pine crown molding, replace all of the hollow interior doors with solid paneled beauties, and add applied panel moldings on the wall for visual interest.

I love a space that has character, and interior moldings are an awesome way to bring architectural detail to an otherwise boring room that’s lacking in personality.

Love this before and after of a bedroom with navy walls!

It took me ages to decide on using this navy wall color,

but it’s now become one of my faves – Sherwin-Williams Dark Night. I love that while the walls are dark and the room felt cozy, it doesn’t feel like a cave at all. Navy walls are totally trending this year and I’m all for it! (Here’s some more thoughts on using dark paint colors and if dark or light paint colors are better, if you’re interested.)

The panel molding is quite subtle with the navy wall color, but that’s exactly the point – it’s meant to bring texture and architectural interest to an otherwise plain wall.

Love this before and after of a bedroom with navy walls by interior designer Lesley Myrick

I can’t get over how pretty and classic the paneled doors are –

– plus, OMG, those brass doorknobs from House of Antique Hardware are divine! I love anything that feels like it’s from a New York Brownstone, and this door/hardware combo is totally classic NYC – even though it was in Waco.

The dresser is vintage (with the credit going to my husband for finding it at a local antique shop) and we replaced the lackluster wood hardware with these ebonized wood teardrop pulls and Victorian-style bin pulls.

Pretty navy bedroom walls!

The large mirror we used as a headboard was gifted from a friend, and the bedding is from Target. The brass lamp was scored at the Lamps Plus clearance center (located at their Chatsworth, CA headquarters).

You’ll probably notice a lot of similarities between this navy master bedroom in our Texas home, and the navy dining room in our Georgia home. That’s because the paint color, area rug, and large mirror were all repurposed in our new dining room when we moved. There’s no rule that says you can’t use a hot pink rug in a dining room, right?

Love this before and after of a bedroom with navy walls!

Thanks for following along with my Texas home tour! Next up is the super-cute bedroom my kiddos shared.


WHAT DOES IT REALLY COST TO DECORATE A HOUSE?

Get ready to kickstart your interior design project and plan your budget like a boss! Download our FREE super helpful guide with room-by-room furnishing budgets and printable worksheets.