I’m a HUGE fan of decorating with color and pattern, and area rugs are an awesome way to introduce both into your home. But how do you choose the right-sized rug? It’s tricky when you’re in a store and a rug looks huge – but then you get it home, and it’s about the size of a postage stamp. (Whomp whomp.) That’s why I’ve created a free area rug size guide that you can download right here.
In general, bigger is better.
The most common mistake I see with area rugs is choosing ones that are too small. I know it can feel scary to pull the trigger on a large rug, but trust me, it’s worth it for the visual impact it has on a space! Here’s a room-by-room look at the best rug sizes.
In a bedroom with a queen-size bed,
6×9 is about the smallest size that. works. An 8×10 is even better and will ensure that the bed and nightstands will be happily situated on the rug. For a room with a king-size bed, go bigger if you can. 8×10 works, but a 9×12 feels large and luxurious.
In the living room,
beware of the dreaded POSTAGE STAMP RUG! You know – when a rug is so small that it just sits in front of all of the furniture looking like a teeny tiny postage stamp? A 4×6 or even 5×7 rug won’t cut it. 6×9 is about the smallest rug that’ll look right in your room, and again, bigger is going to be better.
Is a larger rug more expensive? Of course. But is it going to make the difference between your room looking piecemeal or perfectly polished? Absolutely. Save your money on the accent chairs no one will use, and invest in the perfect rug instead.
In the dining room,
there’s one key thing to remember when choosing your area rug size – and that is that you’ll want to leave around 2′ of space between the edge of your dining table and the edge of the rug. That leaves enough space for your chairs to be pulled in and out comfortably without falling off the edge of the rug (which is the literal worst).
What if your rug is too small – but you love it?
If you already have an area rug you love but it’s just too darn small, there is a solution – and that’s to layer it over a larger rug. In the colorful living room below, we layered a plush (but small) sheepskin over a large round leopard-print rug. Layered rugs add depth, dimension, and interest to a room and are most successful when one rug is patterned and exciting, and the other is simpler and more subdued.
Grab your FREE area rug size guide.
You can download your free area rug size guide right here. The visual guides and design tips included will help you choose an ideally sized rug for your living room, dining room, and bedroom. I’ve also shared some examples of area rugs that are the wrong size, and why. I hope this is a useful tool for you as you start rug shopping!
I love getting organized! And with Social Distancing in place for the foreseeable future and many of us unexpectedly at home full-time, this is a fabulous time to do it. I wanted to share my favorite storage bins and boxes with you to help get your drawers, cupboards, pantry, kids’ toys, and pretty much everything else into place.
Fun fact: in addition to a 15-year career in interior design, I’m also a former professional organizer. Creating a functional, organized home is just as important for me as designing a home that looks awesome and reflects your true style.
If you missed last week’s post with my number one home organizing tip, start there. And don’t miss the free download at the end of this post, with your printable shopping list and links to all of the storage pieces. (Right now though, it’s definitely better to shop online and stay home.)
My favorite storage bins for the office:
IKEA KUGGIS boxes with lids are my go-to for storing art supplies, fabric and finish samples, papers, and pretty much everything else. I love that they stack, and I usually stick a removable label on ’em so I know what’s inside (because I have so many!).
IKEA KVISSLE magazine files are the best for magazine storage, hands down. They’re $15 for a set of two, which seems really steep for simple white magazine files. Buuuuut – these babies are made of metal, and hold up infinitely better than their cardboard counterparts.
Three Posts rattan baskets are pretty enough to leave out on display and they hold a ton! I use them to organize binders on my open office shelves, and because they have large, open handles, one basket holds my power bar and all of the cords and cables are concealed in this basket.
My favorite storage bins for the kitchen:
These white plastic slotted storage baskets are my go-to for storage in the fridge, freezer, pantry and beyond. In the freezer, I use them to organize and separate bagged veggies, breads, and meat. In the pantry, we use one bin for crackers, another for PB&J, etc. In the fridge, I keep cans and bottles together so it’s easy to pull out the basket and find what I need. Oh, and did I mention they’re from the dollar store?
For teeny tiny items in the kitchen, I love this interlocking drawer organizer set from Target. I have one set that keeps measuring spoons, bag clips, and other small thingies grouped together; and another set in my “junk drawer” to organize tape, batteries, and small tools.
My favorite storage bins for the linen closet:
The linen closet can quickly become a frightening abyss of bedsheets and old towels, but these foldable fabric baskets with rope handles are a lifesaver. I have one earmarked for each bed in the house – and only sheets for that bed go in there. Easy peasy. (Bonus: I also use these same fabric bins for kids toys since they’re a decent size and easy for little hands to carry.)
For bulkier items like towels and blankets, I love large fabric storage cubes like these. I group like items with like (one cube has all of our white bath towels, another has all of our printed beach towels) and love that I can pull out one bin to grab what I need without causing an avalanche of linens.
Here’s where to find my faves.
Want to grab your FREE shopping list printable with all of the links and resources shared in this post for my favorite storage bins and boxes? Download it right here.
This is a weird tip, but it totally works! Here’s how to get a designer look with accessories:
Buy accessories at least big as your head.
When you look at a design mag or gorgeous interior photos on Pinterest, one of the things that gives a room a “designer look” is the accessories and how they’re styled. And if you start to pay attention you’ll find that most designers use large-scale accessories.
Check out the photo above. Vase with flowers? Bigger than my head. Framed artwork leaning on the piano? Definitely bigger than my head. Brass vase with ferns? Maybe as big as my head…but on top of the stack of books, it’s bigger for sure.
Small accessories tend to look like clutter, even when they’re grouped together. Think of your Grandma’s china cabinet. No matter how organized and neat all of those tchotchkes were, that thing looked like a hot mess!
If you want to get a designer look with accessories,
fewer larger ones are far more effective than a collection of curiosities.
Large vases, bowls, plants, bookends – and even brass peace-sign hands – look awesome as styling accessories. And if something’s feeling too small, place it on top of a stack of hardcover books or a decorative box to give it more importance.
What about candles, you might ask? They’re not usually as big as your head.
Yup, you’re right. I’d consider candles the exception to this rule. But it the majority of your accessories are as big as your noggin, a more delicate candle will be a welcome visual change.
With a few styling secrets like this in your back pocket, you can get a kickass designer look in your own home too. And I’ve got a FREE printable Cheat Sheet that you can unlock right here to help you out when accessorizing your own home.
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
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?).
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.
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.
How much does it cost to decorate a living room?
It seems like one of those well-guarded secrets: how much does it cost to decorate a living room? Whenever I have a consultation call with a potential new client, I always ask what they’ve set aside to invest in their design project.
And nine times out of ten, the answer is, “I have absolutely no idea.“
You know what? I don’t blame them! Unless you’ve sat down to make an itemized list of every single item that goes into a typical room, it’s such an abstract concept to come up with a budget. I mean, $10,000 sounds like a lot of money and you can probably decorate a living room for $10k, right?
Unless you’re shopping exclusively at IKEA and garage sales, a dreamy living room for $10,000 isn’t going to happen. Think about it: you likely need a sofa, and two accent chairs, and a coffee table, and two end tables, and an area rug, and a couple of table lamps, and a light fixture…oh, and did I mention window treatments, accent pillows, wall art, maybe a mirror, and accessories?
There’s some interior design #realtalk for you – it’s probably going to cost more than you think to furnish your living room.
While you probably haven’t made an itemized list of things you’ll need for your living room, I have! Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can expect to invest in a living room at a Good, Better, and Best price point.
One of the best indicators I’ve found for helping clients establish a project budget…
…is discovering what they’re comfortable spending on a sofa. For some people, $1000 is a lot; for others, $10,000 is starting to reach the end of their comfort zone. Having real numbers to work with – not just intangible language like affordable or expensive – means I can get a sense quickly of what vendors to source from and at what price point.
So, now what?
I’ve created a handy-dandy FREE guide for you called How Much Does It Cost to Decorate a House? In it you’ll find real room-by-room budgets to help you plan your design investment – at a price point you’re comfortable with – to take the guesswork and uncertainty out of the financial side of decorating.
Get ready to kickstart your interior design project and plan your budget like a boss! Download our super helpful guide with room-by-room furnishing budgets and printable worksheets right here.
I know, I know – interior designers make styling look easy! But if you’ve ever tried to accessorize your living room, arrange a bookshelf, or style your kitchen countertop, you know it’s not as easy as it looks.
That’s why I’m sharing my cheat sheet with 7 Designer Styling Secrets. (There’s a free download for you at the end of this post!) Getting an expertly-styled space can be within reach once you know a few tips and tricks.
Tip #1: Create Balance
Use symmetrical (formal) or asymmetrical (informal) balance when you’re arranging a grouping of items. Symmetrical means that everything is the same on both sides (like a matching pair or lamps); asymmetrical means the items aren’t identical but have the same visual weight to balance each side out (like a lamp on one side, and a tall vase on the other).
When creating a grouping of accessories, always use odd numbers! Arrangements of 3 or 5 items look way better than things in even numbers, which can visually fall flat.
Tip #2: Pay Attention to Proportion and Height
Use stacked books or boxes as pedestals to display items on to create height, and look for vertical accessories like vases, branches, and candlesticks to break up horizontal items.
Tip #3: Have an Anchor
Choose one item in each grouping of accessories to become the “anchor” – the focal point. Allow the anchor item to take center stage, and for the other accessories to support it.
Tip #4: Less is More
Let your “anchor” accessory – your statement piece – shine. If something isn’t working, consider paring down! Sometimes taking away is better than adding an accessory. And as much as I love
Tip #5: Bookshelves Are a Beast!
Yeah, that’s not really a tip – just a heads up that styling bookshelves
Tip #6: Bring In Something Natural
Organic elements are often the missing item that can take a room from feeling incomplete to perfectly styled. Introduce florals and greenery (faux is fine!) to soften up your shelves or coffee table, and think about bringing in a tall potted plant to a lonely corner.
Tip #7: Buy More Than You Need (And Return the Rest)
Stylists always have options! Always buy more accessories than you think you need so you have the flexibility to play around and see what works best. You might be surprised what looks best in your home! Keep the price tags on, and return what doesn’t work in the end. Be sure to check the store’s return policy first.
Want to take these tips to go? Download your FREE printable cheat sheet with these 7 Designer Styling Secrets to reference when you’re decorating and styling your own home.