Quick post today! Today’s decor tip is to remember that the top of a dresser is a decor haven that enhances a room, so leverage it! Here’s one recipe to filling the top of a bedroom dresser with pretty things. And of course, there’s nothing that a little greenery, beautiful books, and art prints can’t do. As always, shop the look down below.
If you’ve looked for picture ledges before, you’ll quickly learn that you can only find affordable ones at IKEA. The problem then becomes limited options. You’ve got 2 colours, black or white, and 2 sizes, small or large. We wanted a rustic-style, wooden picture ledge and we needed it to be 90″ in length. The only place that came close to having something like this was Pottery Barn and of course, it was hundreds of dollars. (Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Pottery Barn but it’s not the place for basics). So we said, let’s make this ourselves! For only $25 and 3 short hours, we built ourselves the exact picture ledge we wanted.
Picture ledges are an easy way to fill all that empty space above your living room / family room couch and is more substantial and interesting than just putting up wall art, which seems to be among the most common we’ve seen. You just need 3 pieces of lumber cut to the right sizes, wood stain, and nails. Here are some general dimensions to guide you:
Your base piece: 3″ depth, 1/2″ width
Your back piece that gets screwed into the wall: 1 1/2″ height, 1/2″ width
Your front “lip” or “ledge”: 1 1/4″ height, 1/2″ width
The length is entirely up to you and what your space needs. If it happens to be going above your couch, then we’d recommend the length of your couch.
Take these dimensions to Home Depot and they’ll cut the lumber for you right then and there. :) All you’ll need to do back at home is nail the 3 pieces of lumber together and stain it with Minwax Wood Finish. We used their Puritan Pine stain.
On our picture ledge are our very own Manarola Cinque Terre, Iceland Road Trip, La Vitaleta Chapel, and Corn Field prints. The rustic frames are from Homesense. Not all of them were actual picture frames; some came from bulletin boards and mirrors. It’s about spotting the right frame! It doesn’t matter what it’s framing in its original state. :) As long as you can pop the frame out and use it for pictures, you’re golden. And remember, ditch the glass. Glass-less frames work best with our matte-finish prints!
Work can be so much more fun and inspiring if it’s in a beautiful room. Here’s my humble little workspace. It doesn’t take much to pretty up your office! In fact, in our case, this room was high priority in the sense that we wanted to put it together quickly (so I have a place to work) but it was also low priority from a budget standpoint. We had an entire house to furnish, so we held back on office budget. We reused and repurposed a lot of old stuff that we brought from the apartment and still managed to put together an inspiring work desk area. Here’s how!
First, pick a room with good bones and by that I mean WINDOWS! Lots of windows = lots of natural light = naturally beautiful. Then secondly, bring some vibrance with colour and patterns. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that your office is truly the safest place to be bold and adventurous. It doesn’t really have to go with the rest of the house if you don’t want it to. It’s yours and it’s not shared with anyone else. :)
My main focus with this post is DRAPES because drapes are truly magical and change the entire room. If ever a room feels incomplete or not quite there, try drapes. We re-used these patterned ones that were carryovers from the apartment. I like my drapes a little long where they hang loosely on the floor. I also like to hang drapes high, just a few inches (around 3-4″) from the ceiling or from the edge of your crown moulding if you have them. This makes your windows look bigger and the ceilings higher. Don’t make the mistake of hanging them too low; we’ve seen drapes hung just a few inches above the window trim and you’ll quickly learn that you won’t get all its glory that way.
Then think about how you want your drapes to hang. There are a hundred different ways to do this but the most common (and easiest) ones are letting the panels hang straight down, tied to the side, or tied in the middle. In our case, we wanted to tie them right in the middle with burlap ribbon and then we used the drapes to frame up the work desk that now sits in between the tied panels. We made sure these drapes looked hearty, thick, and significant by joining two panels per window. So what you’re seeing in the image is a total of 4 panels, 2 per window tied together. Very important to note that sometimes, 1 panel per window works perfectly, particularly if you’re going for a lighter look with say, sheer linen drapes. Other times, 2 panels work better if the look is supposed to be heartier and heavier. It all depends on the look you’re going for and type of drapes you’re using. :)
The other focus is light fixtures. Light fixtures are also fabulous pieces to anchor a room with. We’ve anchored 3 rooms in this house with chandeliers because they are simply the prettiest things on Earth and add so much character. Not to mention they’re bright like the sun. For this office, we went with a glitzy crystal chandelier with an antique finish. Chandeliers can sometimes cost a fortune but this one was a cheap and cheerful one from Home Depot. It’s not always about buying expensive pieces, it’s about knowing how to put things together! For only $200, this gorgeous chandelier has added just the spark that this office needed.
DECOR TIP: Try exploring drapery and light fixtures when looking to anchor your room decor onto something that then guides the remaining decor pieces that follow.
If you’re looking for ways to spice up a girl’s room, here are some ideas.
You can do a lot more with walls than just hang the standard art, clocks, and mirrors. You can give it some dimension by installing shelves, inexpensive DIY shelves at that. If you ever venture out to the countryside in the summer, you’ll find wood scraps everywhere. Grab a few good pieces and bring them home with you! These two were wood scraps we found last summer in and around Bobcaygeon – we picked one with live edge and one without for contrast. :) We slapped some Benjamin Moore super white paint on them purposely leaving some parts uncovered, and voila. There was no method to our madness – we’re terrible painters, so if we can do this, you absolutely can! After all, one of the most awesome traits of rustic furniture is that imperfections add to rather than take away from them.
The brackets were IKEA’S Ekby Hensvik. Gotta love IKEA furniture names. If it wasn’t for the fact that we were set out to hammer through this project and get it done in one sitting, I would have sourced cast iron brackets that were painted white like this! It would add significantly more character – highly recommend going down the cast iron route if building something similar to this. We took the easy way out this time and although it isn’t perfect, it still worked out better than expected (thank goodness)!
SHELF BRACKET TIP: There are standard sizes for brackets, so make sure you familiarize yourself with those dimensions before cutting your lumber to make the shelves. It’s almost wise to start with the brackets first and work your way to the shelves as far as shopping / browsing goes. In other words, find the bracket you like, find the available bracket size that you think would work for your space, then move on to cut your lumber accordingly. (This was a lesson learned from another instance, where we cut the lumber first to the size we wanted and could not find the right bracket size to go with it.)
The framed art is our very own Tiny Dancer and Dutch Bicycle prints, accompanied by beautiful frames from Michaels Arts & Crafts. We highly recommend picking up frames from Michaels to go with our prints and remember to remove the glass. :) Our favourite collections are their Savannah and Heritage collections – absolutely stunning and couldn’t be a more perfect match for our prints. Note that Michaels has some kind of a sale every other day, so make sure to check their website for coupons before visiting the store!
Last but not least, we finished this soft look by softening it some more with jars and flowers. And there you have it, one of many ways to brighten up the walls of a girl’s room!
This here is a section of our kitchen and it’s one of my personal favourites. Here are some of my white kitchen ideas:
KITCHEN TIP #1: When all else fails, go white because you can’t go wrong with it. In fact, it’s the surest and safest option in my humble opinion. It’s one of the few “safe” things in life that reap great rewards. It may be safe but it always has impact. A white room is alluring to the eyes. So this one’s about setting a white stage and adding splashes of colour through your finishing touches!
I think a few things make this particular area in the kitchen look dashing. We can start with the big things although they’re not necessarily the things that make your kitchen beautiful. But they matter because they set the foundation – the gas stove (because electric stoves are not quite as pretty), the white cupboards, the glass cupboards, the white brick-style backsplash, and the white countertops all play an important role. But what you do afterwards with finishing touches is what brings it from good to great!
The recipe box.
The bread basket.
The china peeping through the glass cupboards.
The kitchen towel.
The books, wicker basket, and plant on the open shelves.
It’s all in the details! Add some clutter in a minimalistic, de-cluttered way. We chose red to be the popping colour and mint green as our secondary, more recessed colour and together, they look fresh!
KITCHEN TIP #2: Bring on the glass cupboards and open shelves! It’s such a nice way to add some character and personality through the items you place on them. Not to mention, it’s incredibly fun to handpick items that are worthy of being “displayed” so to speak!
Now imagine the open shelves did not exist or the glass cupboards in this case were solid wood! It wouldn’t be the same. We do get the hesitation with glass cupboards – you want to be able to simply store not-so-pretty china and dishware without a thought or worry about exposing them to the world. That’s completely valid, which is why you do a mix! A 2:5 glass-to-solid door cupboards ratio worked for us! But when all is said and done, there is no hard and fast rule, just something to consider when working on your cupboards. :)
First thing’s first: there’s a lot to talk about in this image but our focus today is going to be on the chalkboard alone! :) We love chalkboards! If it were possible to incorporate a chalkboard into every room without being awkwardly excessive, we totally would. Having said that, a DIY chalkboard decor is suitable for any room and for us, it was the dining room. The best part is you can pretty much make your own to get it just the way you want it.
We started by measuring the space above our dining room “hutch” to determine the acceptable range of sizes for a framed chalkboard. We wanted it to be just a tiny bit smaller than the width of our hutch but not by much.
We headed over to the One of a Kind Antique Mall in Woodstock to find antique paintings in beautiful, old, ornate frames — you can’t find these things anywhere other than the past! We ended up finding two different gold framed paintings from the 1920s that we loved. The frame designs themselves were different but more importantly, the sizes were also different with one smaller than the other. Choosing sizes is always such a dilemma, especially when you’re at the store and don’t have a chance to test in your space.
SIZE DECISION TIP: When in doubt, the rule of thumb is to always go with the bigger one. From our experience so far, this rule applies to lights and wall art at the very least!
We then got Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in French Linen and painted right over the gold frame. The beauty of chalk paint is you can paint over anything even if it has a finish. It’s actually among the best inventions — someone took away the pain of sanding?? We’re in!
After turning the gold frame into grey, we lightly sanded the edges to give it a distressed finish. We also threw some white chalk paint over the yellowing mat that came with the antique painting just to freshen it up and add some contrast!
When the frame was complete, we moved onto the chalkboard itself. This part was really super easy. We got a quarter-inch thick piece of drywall from Home Depot, cut it to the size we needed, and spray painted it with 3 coats of Rust-Oleum’s chalk board paint to make sure we achieved a smooth, consistent surface.
DIY CHALKBOARD PAINTING TIP: We’d highly recommend spray painting on drywall over painting with a brush. You’ll get a much smoother and cleaner surface!
The final step was to hire an amazing chalk artist, that is @edissondesign, to execute the calligraphy on the board. There was no way my husband and I would’ve been able to do this step any justice, so we surrendered to an expert. :)
And there you have it, a DIY chalkboard wall art in the dining room!
When we gutted the living room and the kitchen, which were side by side, one of the things we wanted to do was turn the space into an open concept lounge / entertainment area, where the 2 rooms cohesively joined together. Sounds kind of funny but it totally works. Before and after pictures to come really soon!
In the lounge, we’ve built 2 ceiling-high bookcases because we’re just about obsessed with the look of them. We’ve learned that if ever you’re struggling with how to bring life to a room, a bookcase or some sort of a shelving unit is a great go-to. We’ve incorporated shelves in almost every room and it works like a charm every time. The shelves themselves play an important role in the aesthetics but what you fill them up with is the ultimate key (and also the fun part)!
This here is one of the 2 ceiling high shelves in the lounge.There are many ways to style a bookcase. The #1 bookcase filler is obviously BOOKS! But not just any kind of book, they have to be pretty books :). We carefully hand-selected these ones from Value Village for $3-$5 each. Over the holidays, we actually got 25 beautiful books for $1.99 each. You just can’t go wrong. Why buy them new when they have so much more character pre-owned?
BOOK SELECTION TIP: Start with your colour scheme. What colour tones do you want your bookcase to carry? In our case, we wanted whites and soft Earth tones with peach and mint green accents. Then you simply browse through a used book store and pay special attention to the style and colour of the book spine. As you pick them out, stack them on top of each other and see if you like what you’re seeing! You can also pick older books in general where the pages have yellowed and look worn because you can flip the books around and display the aged pages in place of the actual spine the way we did in the wicker baskets. Also note that you can arrange books in the traditional vertical upright position or you can lay them flat and stack them horizontally. A mix of both is great! :)
In our home, the second go-to for bookcase fillers would probably be wicker baskets. They take up space, which is great! But they also serve as storage AND they look awesome. It’s a win on all fronts. Our wicker baskets in these shelves were from Homesense; it’s generally the best place to find beautiful yet affordable ones.
After the books and baskets are in place, you want to move on to the accent pieces. Find things that you love or that mean something to you or that you simply think are pretty! In our case, we used a globe to represent our love for travel, a mint green storage box to pull in the colours we wanted, a watering can because it was pretty, some flowers, and other knick knacks. Accent pieces are all about trial and error, especially in this house. Not every piece you buy is going to work right out of the gates. You’ll see that when this photo was taken, there was still a tag left on one of the flower accents. We tend to leave tags on and let the pieces be for a couple of days before we decide whether they’re the perfect fit or not. The eyes need time to adjust! :)
We were absolutely notorious for throwing mail and keys on the first flat surface we came across when entering the house. This was the case back in our apartment and was still the case in our new home. It was the ultimate way to make instant mess as soon as we got in. For that reason, this letter rack and key holder unit was critical when it came to saving ourselves from our terrible habit! But of course, while this piece was brought in to solve much more than a decorative need, it instantly became a decorative piece as we “beautified” it and turned it into something worth talking about. And guys, that’s what it’s ALL about! :)
This custom letter rack and key holder piece was built by Tanis from Reclaimed Home Decor. We needed this built to the size and style we wanted all while fulfilling its deeper purpose! We found Tanis completely by chance when we bought a piece of her furniture from the One of a Kind Antique Mall in Woodstock and then realized after the fact that it wasn’t right for our space. We had to track down the creator to work out an alternative, and there was Tanis! Soon we discovered all of her other beautiful furniture pieces and couldn’t wait to work together.
Now we hang our keys diligently and throw mail right into this thing without making a total mess. In fact, it looks great by the entrance and warms up the space quite a bit.
DECOR TIP: All it takes to turn a functional unit like this into an accent decor piece in your home is a glass bottle with flowers, framed art, and decorative wicker balls. Simple dimple!
FRAMED ART TIP: We are totally not into keeping the glass when framing our art prints! Abandon the glass! Lose it! Part ways with it! Choose a rustic distressed frame either at Homesense, Michaels, or Etsy, ditch the glass, and throw our prints(s) in it and we promise, you’ll be in for a beautiful treat! :)
Here’s one of Les Calanques in Cassis France; absolutely beautiful and a hidden gem in southern France. I was forced to pull this out and edit it today because my husband and I were picking out art for the lounge room and this made it on the list!
On the same note, I’m working away on a new project to build up our decor content! The idea is to share with you different ways to decorate with our art. But not only that, we plan to also share general decor tips and ideas! This page has been lonely and we’re finally getting ready to bring some life to it. I’ve been feeling so inspired decorating our new home that I want to be able to share not only ideas but our journey throughout! More to come, so hang tight. I hope to have content up in March. :)
Hi, Charlene Precious here! Welcome to my blog that is both a life journal told with words and photographs and an evolving portfolio. I'm thrilled to be able to share my work and my world with you, so thank you for following! (Read more)
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