Friday, December 9, 2011

Guest Post: Personalize Your Space

My friend, Mansi, is back to share some decorating advice. You remember her from her kitchen posts here and here. Mansi has an incredible eye for details and fantastic design ideas, so I asked her to write this decorating post. Everything in her house is so tasteful, but includes personal touches.

So I’m back to post during the Whites December blog-fest! This time, I’m going to share some small things I’ve done to decorate my home. One of the tips I keep in mind I learned from Nate Berkus - try to use items with personal meaning to decorate your home. I’m going to start with my living room!

When my husband and I went to Europe last summer, I took as many artsy photos as I could so we could use our own shots to decorate one our larger walls in our living room.  We used a normal digital camera to take the pictures and just took as many pictures as we could. You never know what might end up being a good photo after it’s cropped. I love this wall because every time I see it, I’m reminded of our vacation but it’s not a cluster of posed pictures and monuments. The frames are from Bed Bath and Beyond and are part of the Create a Gallery collection. For 7 frames with mats included, I thought 65 bucks was a decent deal. The downside is that you have to drill a hole in the wall to hang it, not just hammer in a nail.

Mix of Photos from Rome and Paris

Like the Whites, we like bright paint colors! Red is an important color in both Chinese and Indian culture so we chose this Behr’s Roasted Red Pepper on the bottom half while we used a more neutral Sandstone color for the top half. This room used to be a boring beige/brown combo so this red not only brightened it up, but it also helped me feel like I was bringing our vibrant, colorful cultures into our home.

After painting the walls, we bought a 5x7 area rug from Lowe’s so we could have some kind of carpeting. We chose this rug due to its vibrant colors and the geometric pattern. Since our house is 80 years old, the style of the rug adds a modern flair. The colors provided me with a color scheme for throw pillows as well.

One of our first additions to our living room were these floating shelves (bought at Michaels, easy to hang). The negative to floating shelves is the slim widths which makes it hard to stack books or other larger objects. However, it’s a great way to showcase some items picked up from vacations or other important/sentimental objects. Notice the two birds on our bottom shelf – my husband’s good friend made these birds as a wedding present to us. She is truly artsy! 
Ignore the large tree to see the shelves

I also bought a frame from Kohls that matches the color scheme of our living room and also showcases family photos. While some of these frames can be kind of cheesy, I think collage frames are useful to display personal photos.  If you take a look to the left, you will see our new window treatments – basic silver rod from Lowes, Woolrich white curtains from Target (also used by Chanelle!), and Levelor shades from Lowes. The curtains are 30 for two curtains – that’s a steal! The grommet holes may look like a shower curtain (that’s what my husband says), but it moves across the rod easily. Levelors aren’t cheap, but they are cut to size and are installed easily (by the hubby of course!). I chose neutral colors for the window treatments since our walls have brighter hues.

Collage frame and our window treatments

I’m still trying to find some ways to add more patterns or decorative pieces to my living room, but I think we’ve made significant progress in the 18 months we’ve lived here when the room was brown and all we had was the couch!

Mansi is a fantastic photographer. Half of the battle is getting out that camera and taking photos! I always forget or don't make the effort. I love that she has incorporated their culture into their home. Fantastic ideas Mansi!

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