All posts filed under: How To


Just No. Or, How to Hang Pictures II

Hanging pictures that are too small above your couch is like talking to someone with spinach in their teeth. It’s distracting.  It feels wrong.  Do you say something?  Do you nonchalantly stand on their couch and ask for a hammer?  Sometimes I do.  And. heaven. help. me. if. they. are. hung. too. high. and. too. small. It’s too much. Please.  You can’t.  Help me help you. The art should be 1/2 to 2/3 the size of whatever it is hanging above.  And NOT float mysteriously high on the wall.  It needs to be hung in relation to the objects around it. Public Service Announcement because you deserve to live in a Stylish Home.


Just No. Or, How to Hang Pictures.

Unless you are living in a house full of giraffes, and by giraffes I mean the actual animals, you are not to hang your pictures on top of your walls.  I, even for example sake, could not bring myself to hang the above picture any higher. This is correct: Hang artwork in relation to furnishings. If the picture hangs in a hallway then hang it about eye level or about 57 inches from floor to center of picture. Public Service Announcement because you deserve to live in a stylish home.


Choosing Paint Colors for Open Floor Plan–Like Finding Jeans that Fit

  The question I get asked the most is what color should I paint my walls when the walls merge into 17 other spaces aka an open floor plan. People always want me to give them a magic answer that does not include the word beige. I get it. I’m not a fan of “beige” either. Open floor plans equal several walls that you see simultaneously–that means lots of square footage. This is not the opportunity to show your individuality and your love of color. Go neutral, you don’t have to call it “beige”–call it “Moonlit Mushroom” or “Hint of Chocolate”. You showcase your personality in other ways–accent chairs, a kitchen island, pillows, a wallpapered accent wall, rugs. And if you really want some diversity with the neutral color take the whole paint card and choose a few of the shades off the card for the surrounding opening rooms.   If in doubt about which neutral shade to go with–go lighter instead of darker. The color always intensifies and looks brighter once it goes on …

Image is Great.

So if you read me regularly just read this post with your eyes closed.  You’ve read my whole decorating and road trip speal before. But for everyone else…Whenever I work with a client I ask them to show me pictures of rooms they like.  I tell them it’s like going on a road trip without a map if they don’t have a goal.  Yes, you may eventually get to California but after many detours, wasted gas, and extra motel stays.  Going to the store and buying things willy nilly without knowing what you really are aiming towards is the same thing. You end up with lamps you don’t really like, a rug that matches everything you hated, and furniture that looked good in the store, but once it came home–wasn’t what you really wanted. Looking at images of rooms full of things you can’t afford housed inside amazing architecture may feel like a waste of time when your budget is Target and your house is more of a box with windows–but that couldn’t be more wrong. …

Ugly, Unwanted, Overwhelmed and Guilt lurk around every corner...

Kicking the Decorating Rut…Pitfalls.

Ugly, Unwanted, Overwhelmed and Guilt lurk around every corner…   You have voiced concerns, complaints, and exasperated cries for help: “What about when I try to kick out the lurking shadows of Ugly and Unwanted and Guilt stands with his arms crossed at my door?”  (If you are concerned over what this is about you might want to read the prior two posts:  Decorating Rut Part 1, Decorating Rut Part 2.) “What happens when I get rid of Ugly and Unwanted and realize there is NOTHING left in my house?” “What do I do when I try to do what you tell me but Overwhelmed kicks the snot out of Guilt and follows me around like a lousy rat?” “What happens if I get rid of it and then I need it?” 1. Guilt. Put it in perspective. It is STUFF. Yes, I know that it represents in our mind’s eye friends and family and life events. Yes, I know that these things were given to you out of kindness. But it is the act, the person, …


How To Get Out Of A Decorating Rut

  Do you dislike your house but are uninspired, broke, and not motivated? Are you using all your energy to schlepp people and stuff to and fro? Do you rent? Are you a military family? Do you have kids that use your furniture as napkins? Do you own a dog that treats your furniture like a towel right out of the shower? Do you live in Northern Virginia on a tight budget? Do you glance at decorating magazines and then chuck them across the room because they are about as realistic as living here: Well my friend you are not alone. In fact, the people that don’t fall into the above category actually live in that house pictured above. Let’s take a minute and ponder that. *minute Yeah, no. I can’t wrap my head around it either. Ok, let’s put a stop to this nonsense. Pick up the decorating magazine you tossed across the room and/or go on and figure out what you like. When you go on a road trip you have a destination and …

This Old House

curb appeal

It’s spring.  The time of year where the snow has melted and all the garbage underneath is now exposed. It’s time to get to work. Curb appeal is important not just for selling a house but for all the people who walk their dog.  For the love of everything that is good and holy please take a second look at the outside of your home. Do it for all those people who go past your house daily being pulled by a dog.  Do it for your neighborhood. Do it to keep up with the Jones. Do it to disguise the fact that your house is a mess inside. And, for Pete’s Sake, do it especially if your house is up for sale. Research has shown that about 80 percent of all prospective buyers know if a home is right for them within six seconds of stepping inside.  Ok, so even if your house is not up for sale you still only have one chance to make a first impression and the same can be said for …

Visual Pixie

Your Walls Are Boring. Quick Fixes.

383 out of 705 people have boring walls, according to people.  3 out of 5 people have art that is too small, according to me.  9 out of 10 dentists…  Choosy moms choose bare walls over crap on their walls.  Let’s stop this madness. Memorize this last column.  These are standard frame sizes that you can buy at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Ikea and online for “cheap”. Then buy anything you like that you can fit into these frame sizes.  It’s cheaper than buying something that needs to be custom framed.  Custom framed means anything that doesn’t fit into the above sizes.  Custom framing means hundreds of dollars.  You would not believe how much the glass alone costs for large pieces. I do not want you to buy teeny tiny little pictures that look lost on your wall.  Yes, you can make “groupings” that will fill a wall but they are not the easiest thing to pull off and can quickly add a feeling of visual clutter to the wrong room. A room that is busy …


Chalk Paint Hell

  I know in theory part of what I write about is design–but only because I really think it is a total downer to be surrounded with a bunch of ugly.  Also, it comes fairly easy for me to fix ugliness with minimum effort and expense. This being said I do not love DIY projects. I do them to save money. I am impatient. I am way too impatient for Do It Yourself. I want it done yesterday. If we were in a job interview I would call this “results oriented”. This blog is so not one of those step by step how to sites.  Mostly because I am, 1. See previous paragraph. 2. Not detailed enough (in job interview speak “I focus on big picture”), and 3.  I would die of boredom writing it. However, I am in the midst of painting a piece of furniture.  I wanted to title this post (excuse me) #Suck It Chalk Paint but I felt it would be too indelicate for a title. Fourish paragraphs in I felt it was ok. …

House Tweaking.

Tweaked. This poster was ripped.  I didn’t like all the black.  It needed custom framing because of its nonstandard size.  And so it has sat in a poster tube for several years. This was a framed article that was no longer relevant.  So it has sat in a box.  But–I loved the green custom mat, plus it had glass and a decent frame. So I combined the art from the poster and the nice mat and frame of the article and made new art–for free.  Thus, eliminating the need for custom framing, a poster tube, and a framed article taking up storage space. Tweaked.