Hi there! I’m Rachel Shingleton, and I am the creative director and blogger at Pencil Shavings Studio. I am so excited to be here contributing as a Style Spotter for BHG. I love design in all its forms, and I’m especially crazy about color. I can’t wait to share some of my favorite tips and tricks with the BHG community.
I’m a lifelong bookworm and I love nothing more than having my favorite reads around me. But it’s a slippery slope when keeping all those books organized and still be part of my decor. Whether your home has built-ins or freestanding shelves, styling those bookshelves may take a little more time and thought than you might have expected.
Start with a clean slate of completely empty shelves. Prep a selection of books that you want to display. I’m currently in love with collecting redesigned hardcover classic books from the Penguin Drop Caps series and other publishers who’ve hired some pretty fantastic graphic artists to create gorgeous covers. I’m always interested in colorful books on interior design, fashion, textiles, travel, and photography to add to my library, but consider the overall look you want to create. Do you want a eclectic multicolored collection or something more monochromatic?
Bookshelves look best when not completely overcrowded. In fact, having a decent amount of unfilled or “blank” space will help your items to pop and look more intentional. Don’t be afraid of blank space. It will give your eye a place to rest so it doesn’t look cluttered or overwhelming. Experiment with arranging books both horizontally and vertically. But remember – group items together going from smallest to largest, especially when stacking them.
Definitely plan on spending some time arranging and rearranging until you get just the right look. And remember – those shelves aren’t just for books. Create more visual interest by sourcing fun decor items such as frames, candles, pottery, brass objets, vintage china, small clocks, lacquered boxes, bookends, statues, clocks, small plants, or magazine boxes. The sky’s the limit on what you can create!
I love the bold pops of chartreuse and citrus in these built-ins. The pale grey paint is neutral but still enough contrast to make even white look stellar.
With a damask wallpapered backdrop, these bookshelves have a homey and eclectic aesthetic. Family photos share the space with favorite books and found objects.
Repetition is a great way to make a statement with your shelves. By stacking all the books and keeping the heights the same, everything feels planned and intentional.
- Penguin Classics Drop Cap Series
- Yellow Vase
- Happy Chic nesting boxes
- Dwell Studio Antelope sculpture
- Jonathan Adler Dachshund bookends
- Geo Terrarium
- Adeco Red Vase
This week has been a particularly rainy one, and I’ve gotten a little antsy looking out my windows waiting for the weather to perk up. I’m the type of person who always has to be busy with something, and so I tried my luck with some of these awesome DIY projects this week (although mine didn’t turn out nearly as well):
With the Fourth of July coming up, I wanted to make something festive that I wouldn’t throw away as soon as the day was done. This Fourth of July Clothespin Wreath from Washi Tape Crafts is cute enough to leave up all year round.
I love flowers, and couldn’t pass up an opportunity to try this Gold Fruit Bowl DIY by House of Earnest. While gold paint creates a chic look, bright colors make the whole ensemble even more eye-catching.
As the days get (hopefully) more sunny, outdoor activities will become a regular routine. I love the playful look of this Painter’s Canvas Picnic Blanket I found on A Subtle Revelry’s blog. Such a cute and easy way to enjoy an afternoon laying on the grass.
And while I like accessorizing rooms with textures, colors, and funky pieces, I’m starting to realize an appreciation for more minimalist, natural-looking decoration. These easy ways to decorate with tree branches on A Hammer and Heels brings a simplistic and earthy vibe to any room in the house.
I’m not sure why, but I have the hardest time deciding what to put on the walls of my home. So much so, that it took me over a year to complete the gallery wall in my hallway. Last year I painted my office / living room, and there are still several blank walls in that space. I’m not sure where my hesitation comes from. Maybe it’s about putting holes in a freshly painted wall or spending the money and time trying to find the perfect piece, I just don’t know. However, I am trying to get past these fears and get some things on my walls.
Despite my lack of motivation to tackle certain walls in my home, my dining room is a different story. My dining room was one of the first rooms I painted when I bought my home (however now it’s a different color), and my collection of plates was one of the first things I ever hung. I still love it. Even though design trends come and go, a collection of plates artfully hung on a wall never seems to get old.
That’s why today I’m sharing my favorite plate finds with you. Whether you’re buying new or vintage, plates are a great way to add color, pattern, and style to your home. Mix them up, have fun, and show off your style with this timeless wall decor idea.
Oh, and while you’re at it, pick up some of these adhesive discs. They are an excellent way to hang plates.
Do you have a collection of plates hung anywhere on your walls?
Michael Wurm, Jr – Inspired by Charm
We’re Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring, two friends and colleagues who live in opposite sides of the world who came together thanks to the internet, frequent flyer miles and Skype to forge a friendship and to work on projects that we love, like Decorate With Flowers. Below is one of our DIY projects from our book. It’s a quick, easy way to bring color to castoff jars and make your flowers appear as works of art.
How to Make Chalky Pastel Jam Jars
You will need:
- Recycled jam jars
- Latex paint in a variety of colors
- Smaller bottles to fit inside
- Hardware stores often sell small sample-size containers of latex paint. This is an inexpensive way to get a wide variety of colors for this project as you do not need much paint for each jar. Pour a small amount of paint into a clean glass jar.
- Coat the inside of the jar by tilting it to move the paint around as you cover the inside. Add more paint as needed.
- When the inside is fully coated carefully pour out any excess paint and wipe the rim and outside of the jar clean. Let dry. This may take a day or two.
- You cannot get the inside of your painted jars wet as the paint will peel off, so place smaller bottles inside to hold the water for your flowers.
Flowers used in this project:
- Garden rose
Win our book!
To enter to win one of 5 copies of Decorate With Flowers, tell us below: “What is your favorite kind of flower?”. For another opportunity to win, connect with Better Homes and Gardens on Twitter and re-tweet the tweet marked with the hashtag #BHGFlowers. We’ll conduct a random drawing from the entries received to select the winners. See the official contest rules here.
Photos and project from Decorate With Flowers.
The first thing people ask me when they see me, or on my Facebook page, is…Nate, please come to my house! Because how we live really matters. Period, the end. It’s about living with what you love, in a space that reflects who you truly are. This show is about bringing high design back to television…design that I hope inspires people to think about their spaces in a new way. And that’s what you see on the show. Talented, passionate designers who are fighting for their point of view. Some of the choices you will love, some you won’t. And that’s the thing with design, it should always be about what feels good, about what speaks to you. That being said, there are rules…things that can help turn an okay space into a room that really feels special.
I love this living room transformation from last week’s episode. The mistake people often make is thinking they need 20 pieces in a room. But the thing is, if it’s well-chosen and edited, fewer pieces are fine. In this space they edited the book case and left only a few curated objects. I might not have made that choice but it certainly hits home the fact that more than books can live on your shelves. In fact, that’s one of the take aways for me doing this show; sometimes less really is more. People also think that they have to be adventurous with paint. If that’s what you love, I say do it. But freshly painted white walls will never go out of fashion. Keep to the same hues when you add color, like the grey and purple accents here. And don’t forget lighting. People, I can’t say it often enough…it’s one of the most important things to think about. Go flea market shopping and pick up vintage sconces or brass lamps. These are the details that will bring the room together. That will make it feel layered. And like a room you love to come home to.
How great is this wallpaper! Absolutely perfect for a kid’s room…that was my greatest takeaway here. It feels fresh, fun…but also chic. And a space that they can grow into. That’s important. You want your child’s room to evolve with them. I also love the seating area. A place they can do homework, or read a book. It’s about creating a beautiful space, yes. But also, is this practical…does this space serve us? This is actually a pretty small room. But proof that you don’t need a lot of space to live well.
I can’t wait for you all to tune in and watch the second episode of American Dream Builders on Sunday night at 8/7c on NBC. I would love to hear what your favorite rooms are; what you’d love to recreate and why.
Guest Style Spotter, Style Spotters | Tags:
American Dream Builders, bedroom, Better Homes and Gardens, color, Decor, decorating, Design, Kids Room, Living Room, nate berkus, wallpaper
Having lived in small spaces all of my life, I feel that I’ve learned a few things about how to live in them well. Some may seem counterintuitive such as “put big things into small spaces,” but often what works is not obvious. Many people like to compare outfitting a small space to outfitting a boat, with a small space set aside for everything and all the surfaces covered, but this is first generation thinking and small homes on land are not boats. Homes need more breathing room and carefully fitting everything in creates a suffocating environment. Second generation space planning uses a number of tools to push and exaggerate the small space, making it feel much bigger emotionally than it is physically in square feet. In the end of the day whether your space FEELS small or big is what it’s all about.
1. 20% Emptiness = Happiness
One-hundred percent perfectly full is a loss, not a victory. Every room, every shelf and every cabinet should have a little breathing room to allow your eye to rest and make it easy to put something away without struggle. Traditional Japanese architects are said to plan their buildings around where the shadows fall and not where the light does. Being this conscious of shadows and the empty spaces and planning for them is a game changer. Leaving 20 percent empty and waiting will achieve this.
2. Lighten Walls, Darken Floors
The lighter you paint your walls, the more luminous your room will be, as well as the farther away they will seem. While doing the same to the floor might also make the room feel bigger, I find that dark-stained floors feel cozier underfoot and create contrast at the bottom edge of the walls that makes them seem brighter and taller to boot. A dark floor is earthlike and has a way of falling away underneath you as you enter a room, and if you paint your ceiling extra bright white it will magically suspend itself upward and open up like the sky over your head.
3. Put Big Into Small
If you get too frugal with a space and scale everything down to fit in, you will get a very small feeling resonating through. Inserting one or two large pieces into a small space is surprising and creates a “change moment” that we find refreshing and allows us to consider a small room as being larger than it really is. Large artwork, rugs, lighting and even beds balanced against appropriately-sized pieces will create an energetic contrast and a sense of luxury.
4. Three Points of Light
Light is your most powerful tool when manipulating space and getting it to expand. Our sense of space comes from where our eye can travel and it is drawn to light and avoids darkness. While paint colors and reflectivity are important, starting with adequate light is essential. Most homes, I have found, are underlit, so I have a simple guide: make sure you have three light sources in every room and don’t include simple light fixtures in the ceiling’s middle, as these shed a very poor light. Light should glow at the level you are living. Table lamps, floor lamps and ceiling fixtures that direct their light down to the walls or the floor are best. When things feel small, add more light!
5. Mirrors Multiply Light
It’s the oldest trick in the book, but mirrors DO multiply the ambient light in a room and allow your eye to extend beyond the walls they hang on, creating a much greater sense of space. Again, the feeling of how much room you have is directly related to how far your eye can travel and mirrors definitely help. Add them to dining rooms, hallways, bathrooms and living rooms. Keep them out of the bedroom, as they are stimulating and don’t support a deep rest.
6. Doors Eat Up Space
Most homes have too many doors. Really. Doors take up a lot of floor space in order to open and close properly, making floor planning challenging, and they are often quite unnecessary between interior rooms. Bi-fold doors and sliding doors on closets can get stuck and shut down 50 percent of a closet. In space-challenged situations, I often start by scouting the doors to see which ones I can remove right away. This allows for more movement and more room for furniture. With closets, my classic solution is to remove the doors and replace them tightly with heavy white canvas curtains. This allows 100 percent accessibility and also allows light within the closet to make the curtain glow as if it were a window and not a dark hole.