Kim’s Blank Wall: A New Digital Gallery Wall Design

A blank wall is perhaps one of the most daunting challenges in decorating. Although there’s all sorts of things you could do there – hang a piece of art, add a piece of furniture, paint crazy stripes – it’s hard to make a decision when there are so many options.

My friend Kim had a similar problem in her eat-in kitchen.  She has a blank wall next to the back door that is begging for attention.  She’s a really great photographer (seriously) so she knew that she wanted to hang some of her images on the wall.  But, even coming up with a plan for doing that felt overwhelming, so she hasn’t done anything yet.

Don’t we all know that feeling?  I hear it over and over again.  I’m even guilty of it myself!

So, I asked Kim to send me the dimensions and take a quick photo of her wall so that I could help her come up with an idea for a gallery wall of some of her images.  This is the image that she sent me:

Digital Gallery Wall Design

I set to work recreating this wall in my photo editing software (Photoshop Elements, if you were wondering).  I was careful to make sure that the digital image I created was scaled to be the same dimensions as her wall.  Then, I came up with a layout that I liked for the space using different sized frames that were also appropriately scaled from their actual dimensions.

What I came up with was this gallery wall of mixed dimension frames:

4 Ways to Decorate for Fall for the Reluctant Seasonal Decorator

I am a reluctant seasonal decorator.  I absolutely love the thought of decorating my home to usher in each season.  But, the thought of putting things out only to be taken down and stored a few weeks later brings my lazy side to the forefront.

This year, I haven’t even started adding any Fall decor into my home.  In all honestly, we are still wearing shorts and flip flops in Central Texas, so it’s hard to embrace the new season.  I have been thinking about it, though, and I have come up with some ways to help me decorate for Fall without feeling like I’ve gone overboard.

In case you also consider yourself a reluctant seasonal decorator, I offer you four ways to embrace Fall in your home:

1.  Start Small

When seasonal decorating feels overwhelming, start small.  Often times, the best styled rooms just give a hint of the season at hand.

Take this gorgeous living room by Julia at Cuckoo 4 Design.  She usually has some mini disco balls in the coffee table vignette.  By replacing them with some mini pumpkins, she was able to give a nod to Fall without moving around everything in her room.

4 Ways to Decorate for Fall for the Reluctant Seasonal Decorator - image via Cuckoo 4 Design

Easy Upstyled Glittered Horse Head Bookends #SwapItLikeItsHot

Today, I’m excited to share a little thrift store upgrade with you.  I am participating in Swap It Like Its Hot,  a contest of sorts where bloggers send each other items that they found at the thrift store or flea market.  The recipient has to transform the item into something for their home.

These sorts of swaps are always fun, but really nerve wracking for me.  My style is different than most of the other bloggers participating, so I was really scared about what I would be getting in the mail!  Luckily for me, Katrina from Chic Little House sent me an awesome thrift store score.

Thrift store horse bookends upstyled with gold glitter.

Truth be told, I really loved these horse head bookends as they were.  One of the horses has a chipped ear and the monkey pod wood was a little scratched up.  But, what fun would that have been if I just left them as is?  No fun at all!

I decided that these would be great for Emma’s room, and I would put them on her dresser underneath the crazy carousel horse shelves.  I wanted them to have a little more character, so glitter came to the rescue.

Thrift store horse bookends upstyled with gold glitter.

The Power of Why in Decorating

As a self-taught professional decorator, my experience decorating the three homes I’ve owned is what attracted my first clients. They wanted my help with their space, but I think I got the better end of the deal.

By serving my clients I learned the number one thing it takes to decorate better for myself. It was glaringly obvious, but I didn’t see it for a long time.

When I designed spaces for clients, I couldn’t just give them a list of things to buy. I had to explain why. Why that sofa. Why those three vases. Why that rug with that coffee table. Why that color. Why that pattern.

I spent more time explaining my choices, than making them. Part of it was my natural desire to educate my clients to help them pull off the room. The other part was feeling I owed that to them. That if I couldn’t explain why I was recommending they buy something or make something, then I shouldn’t recommend it.

For every furniture of decor selection, I required myself to explain things like:

  • how it relates to everything else in the room
  • how it reinforces the use of a certain shape, pattern, or texture
  • how it fits into the story I want the room to tell

For example, in the office design below I recommended an accent table by the sofa. I could have recommended many different tables. So why did I choose the ceramic stool (#9)? Well, because the subtle theme in this office is aviation, because my client and her husband fly as a hobby. I chose this ceramic stool, because the angular shape reminded me of a folded paper airplane.

Officers Club Office by Teal & Lime

Explaining myself made me a better decorator for my clients, but even more powerfully it made me a better decorator for myself. It is how I stopped bringing home things I didn’t love or need, because I couldn’t explain why. It’s what stopped me from doing DIY projects, because I couldn’t explain why. It’s what made everything in my home more meaningful and every decorating decision easier.

Makely’s Fall Quiz

Can you believe that Fall has already arrived? It seems like just yesterday we were splashing around in the pool and eating popsicles in the back yard. Now, my days are filled with homework, football and slow cooker recipes.

Even though you may be ready for Fall, your home may not be.  In order to test your home’s readiness, I put together a little Fall quiz for you.

Makely’s Fall Quiz

Fall has arrived! What’s the first thing you do:
A. Break out the pumpkin scented candles, bake pumpkin baked goods, and drink pumpkin spice lattes. All pumpkin, all the time.
B. Check to make sure that your kids’ have enough pairs of jeans so that you only have to do laundry once a week.
C. Pull up a fall maintenance home checklist on your computer so that you can prepare for the cooler months.

You hear that fall is the time to stock up on “winter gear.” To you, that means:
A. Christmas decor is on sale!
B. Your kids will love the new jackets and snow boots you bought for them.
C. It’s time to grab sidewalk salt and good shovels – you never know when the season’s first snowfall will arrive.

When the clocks “fall back” in the fall, you:
A. Celebrate having an extra hour to snuggle under your cozy down comforter.
B. Remark that it will take months for your kids to adjust to the change of the clocks.
C. Know that you need to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and change their batteries.

Ragweed is on it’s way. You:
A. Wonder if you can make an awesome wreath out of it for your front door.
B. Stock up on tissue and allergy medication for your family.
C. Replace your HVAC filter with a Filtrete Ultra Allergen Reduction Filter (MPR 1500) to help capture allergen particles in your home.


It’s getting a little too chilly to sit on your back porch. You:
A. Start knitting blankets to match your porch furniture. Cold weather just means another project!
B. Put gloves and scarves on your kids – they NEED to be outside to burn off some energy.
C. Store your outdoor furniture and cushions on the garage so that they don’t get damaged in the elements.

The temperatures have dropped enough that it’s time to turn on the heating system. What happens in your house?
A. You move your plants away from the heating vents so that the warm air doesn’t dry them out.
B. You wonder what that burning smell is and check to see that the kids haven’t set something on fire.
C. Call your local HVAC company and have the furnace inspected or serviced.

How to Clean Curtains + a HomeRight SteamMachine Plus Giveaway

Alright, let me see a show of hands.  Who is long overdue on cleaning their curtain panels?

Yep, I was, too.  In fact, I’m going to go ahead and admit that I haven’t cleaned any of them since they had been hung…and for some of them, that has been years.  Gross!

But, when the magazine came to photograph my house a few weeks ago, one of the things that they wanted to do was switch out my master bedroom curtains for some that would be lighter in the images.  As I was taking them down, I couldn’t believe how dusty and gross the top of the curtain panels had gotten.  And we sleep in there, y’all!

There are a few different ways to clean curtain panels, so I thought I’d share them with you in case you are like me.  Ahem.

How to Clean Curtains

1.  Shake It Off – Like Taylor Swift says, “Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.”  But seriously, if it hasn’t been too terribly long since you hung your curtains, take them off the rod and head outside.  Give them a good shake so that the dust and dander flies off.

2.  Sticky Roll – No, it’s not a new sushi roll (mmmm….sushi).  You can use a sticky roller (or a thick dishwashing glove) to remove any lint or pet hair that’s stuck to your curtains.  My big, sheddy, white dog loves to sleep up against our dark gray curtains, so we use this method a lot.  It works pretty well for a quick fix.

How to Clean Curtain Panels

Yep, he looks like trouble next to dark fabric, doesn’t he?

3.  Suck It Up – If you have a vacuum with good detail attachments, you can use it to clean the curtains.  Pay particular attention to the tops of the panels near your rod, as that is where dust seems to collect the most.  I’m about as good with vacuum cleaner  attachments as I am with hair styling tools (read: not at all), so I generally avoid this method myself.