When it comes to bedroom walls, I generally adopt the maximalist mentality (think four-poster bed frame plus large art). No decor pet-peeve grinds my gears quite as hard as a big white empty bedroom wall. But if you’re decorating your first home and working with a basic bed frame, or you’re putting finishing touches on a guest bedroom with no headboard, there are thankfully a ton of alternatives to spice up a large white wall.
I recently wrote a piece on headboard alternatives for Martha Stewart with the help of the talented Amber Lewis. From hanging textiles to mirror clusters, read on for some clever budget-friendly tricks. Or if you’re more of a traditionalist, shop a few of my favorite headboards below!
When I moved into my new place, I knew I needed to rethink my layout to optimize my small 515 sq. ft. apartment. After decorating my own space as well as the tiny spaces clients in big cities like NYC, small space living has no more secrets for me. Here are some tricks and great pieces to adopt in your own small space.
Pick slipper chairs or ones with skinny arms that take up less space than bulkier club chairs. Consider sofa alternatives like daybeds (that can double as a guest bed!) or settees which take up less space. Small stools and floor cushions are also great for extra seating and can easily be stowed away or stacked when not in use.
Sconces can replace table lamps (especially in the bedroom) and don’t take up precious table space. The same goes for floor lamps which can be squeezed behind a chair for reading light. Some pendants can make a statement in the room without taking any floor space. Reflecting light onto mirrored surfaces can also make a space appear larger.
Keep the color palette to a minimum in a small space. Of course you can use color, but stick to one or two tones maximum in different shades. And always add a touch of black. Patterns and textures like flokati or seagrass are great for creating a layering effect without feeling like you’re walking into a box of Crayola.
This may seem counter-intuitive, but don’t be tempted to buy “apartment-size” everything. A lot of tiny furniture will make the room seem smaller, whereas a few bigger pieces will make the room appear bigger (and they hold more stuff! Win-win). Of course, always measure twice to make sure everything fits, but go as big as you can. For example, it your bedroom is larger than it is long, use small chests as bedside tables. Use occasional tables that have 2-tiers or shelving.
While some may think that canopy beds are too bulky for a small space, they’re great, especially in studios where the frame of the bed can visually separate the sleeping area from the living/dining space. Don’t be tempted to buy the smallest rugs. Making sure that all your furniture fits onto the rug will make a room feel larger. It’s also a great way to defining different “rooms” in a studio space.
Thinking of renovating this year? Here are the top kitchen trends to watch out for in 2015.
Sounds romantic doesn’t it? No, we’re not talking about breathtaking getaway destinations, but the shape of your kitchen island. The sleek minimal look of waterfall islands is getting the internet’s vote of confidence over any other island style these days. It’s also perfect for tucking bar stools away.
White Marble Everywhere
While it’s not always financially possible (or practical) to cover every surface of your kitchen in white Calacatta marble, the look will inevitably add value to your kitchen. Trick your kitchen into looking more expensive (and trick your Insta followers with those avocado toast bird’s-eye-views) with marble cheese boards, a marble top breakfast table or other marble accessories.
While we love the convenience and comfort of a well-designed brand new kitchen, our boho hearts crave a bit of authentic charm. Maybe it’s a global chic vintage rug, unexpected artwork, vintage jars or farmhouse furniture… These small details will make your space look less generic and more personal.
The New Subway Tile
Subway tile with dark grout. We’ve all seen (perhaps too much) the classic white subway tile backsplash. But the new way to do subway tile in the kitchen is entire walls with a gritty dark grout for a more urban less polished look.
Patterned tiles are all the rage right now. they’ve made their way into our bathrooms (and into our hearts) but expect to see more and more in kitchens as well. You’ll find them on the floor, but also as a popular backsplash option.
Shaker Style Cabinets
Shaker style kitchen cabinets is the new timeless go-to choice. It’s just modern enough with a timeless appeal. Paint them the color of your choice (a popular one right now is moss green) and upgrade them with beautiful statement hardware. This trick will give even the most basic cabinets a polished tailored look.
Mixed metals: copper, nickel, brass or iron: you don’t have to choose anymore. Mix and match various metals with your faucets, pendant lamps, knobs and pulls, pots and pans or even bar stools. Metallic accents are the jewelry of your room and give it that extra high quality factor, and they’re all neutrals so mix away!
It’s a tale as old as time: we all want our decor to be done before we even move into our new place. I’m so guilty of this, I might as well be my own worst client! The truth is that the best rooms evolve over time and some things just can’t be rushed (especially with limited budget and space). Here are a few tips that will help you plan your decorating budget for your new place.
TRIAGE WHAT YOU HAVE
First, assess the furniture you already have. Determine what you want to get rid of and what you definitely want to keep long term. If you’re unsure, follow this simple rule: is it worth keeping for now until you find a better replacement? If the answer is yes, put a big fat maybe sticker on it. If it’s no, put it on Craigslist or donate it to goodwill right away. Do the same with all your accessories (lighting, trays, rugs, etc).
When you visit a new place, make sure to ask if you can take a few measurements, or if you can have access to the place before you move in. If you can get a floor plan, even better (but watch out as some don’t offer precise measurements). Here are a few important measures you might not want to forget: ceiling heights, window widths and heights, distance between window casings, doors, built-ins, fireplace, A/C units, kitchen counter height, and any nooks and crannies created by irregular rooms.
COME UP WITH A PLAN
Once you have all your measurements, find a place for the items you want to keep. Then, determine whether the items in your “maybe list” have a place in your new floor plan. Then, identify the items you’ll need to buy and separate them into two categories: what you need urgently (a bed to sleep in, a table to eat on)— and what you can buy down the road because it isn’t essential to your daily routine (bookcases, side tables, occasional chairs).
BUY THE URGENT STUFF
Chances are you already have a budget in mind for the pieces you need urgently, and you probably also have a few wish list items that you’re dying to buy. For me, it’s this West Elm marble dining table and two Blu Dot copper bar stools. As long as you’re not lusting over a $50,000 antique Persian rug, allow yourself one or two splurges per room. It’s always nice to spend a little more on a few items that will really make a statement in your home. It will also elevate the rest of the room.
For everything else, shop around for great deals—West Elm often have big promotions—the same goes for Serena & Lily. Look at clearance sections—you might just find exactly what you’re looking for. Visit your local vintage or antique shops and pick out a couple of items that will give your space character (but don’t go overboard or your place will end up looking like a yard sale).
THINK LONG TERM
While it might be tempting to fill you entire place now, but remember the best spaces evolve over time. think about what you’re spending on and how long you’ll keep those items around (if you’re renting, think short term). Take your time with non-urgent items. Come up with a monthly amount you’re willing to dedicate to finishing your decor and go through the list one by one. If you only buy items that you’re crazy about, your place will evolve organically into a space you’ll love and that represents you as a person.