A Lars Girl’s Back to School Guide

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Lars-Approved School Supplies

If you look at them the right way, school supplies are the educational version of craft supplies. At least I get excited about them as if they were. Here are some of my favorite ones:

Lars Back to School Shop

Since I love school supplies so much, we had to include a few in our shop, of course! For example, see these these back to school stickers, designed by my friend Michele Brummer Everett. They’d be the perfect addition to your water bottle, notebook, or laptop. For more back to school supplies on our shop, click here.

back to school stickers on notebooks

On the Blog

It turns out we also have quite a few back to school crafts for you to peruse on the blog! You can start with this versatile and oh so adorable pencil case, featuring our very own Spoonflower fabric. Don’t stop there! Another great addition to your back to school supply list is this DIY beeswax wrap and this reusable lunch sack. Oh, and I also put together a list of my current favorite laptop covers and stickers, which you can see here.

Favorites from Around the Web

Here are a whole host of school supplies we love from around the web. This includes notebooks, things to write with, water bottles, desk supplies, and more! We’ve split them up into categories for your convenience:

Planners, Calendars and Notebooks

Desk Organization and Supplies

Things to Write With

Stay Hydrated

Dorm Room Design

In the college town where I live, the end of August means lots of new students being dropped off at dorms for their first-ever foray into living outside their parents’ house. That means that there are LOTS of fresh-faced students moving into drab, depressing dorm rooms and shabby apartments. Check out this post full of rental-friendly interior design hacks to level up your space.

You also won’t want to miss the custom dorm room transformations we took on! See them here, here, and here. Basically, we applied the advice in the post above to make these formerly dull spaces full of color and life (see my thoughts on the importance of color here). It’s so important to fill your life with things that make you happy, and that starts with your living space! It’s amazing how such simple fixes can transform your mood and overall well-being.

Here are my favorite additions to any student housing situation:

Rugs

It’s amazing how the addition of an amazing rug can transform a room! Here are some options:

Pillows and Throws

Again, those pops of color really do the trick to make a room feel more homey and less bland.

Curtains

Another great way to add some color, curtains can also be a great statement piece for a room.

Lighting

As mentioned in this post, lighting can change everything.

Kitchen Essentials

We can’t post about dorm room decor without some kitchen essentials! You do have to live there, after all.

Bedding and Towels

Functional and practical are a must when it comes to bedding and towels, but who says they can’t be cute, too?

Other Misc. Dorm Room Essentials

Here are just a few more things to help add some personality to your dorm room:

Any time you buy something from our affiliate links, we get a small commission at no cost to you! Hooray!

Studio Tour of The House that Lars Built

Where We Started

Remember what the basement looked like when we first bought this house? Totally gutted, and an eyesore, but full of potential. Well, we’ve come a long way since then! We still have a long way to go, but we want to show you our progress. Here‘s a post with the preliminary ideas for the studio. And if you’re interested, here‘s a compilation of everything we did to our house in one year.

How It’s Going

The Space

To kick off the studio tour, we need to explain the space. The entire basement makes up the studio. It’s divided into the following: Jane and Jenny’s office, the main crafting/working space, the kitchenette area, the bathroom, the shipping/packing room, and the archive room. The shipping and archive rooms needed to be more functional than anything, so our choices there have and will be more driven by functionality (with a little Lars flair, of course). But the rest of the space we have had a LOT of fun with thus far! So here’s what we’ve done.

Pink Epoxy Floor

First stop on our studio tour: flooring. The first thing we did to the basement was the floor. Remember our pink epoxy flooring?? Yep, that covers the floor of the entire basement, except for the bathroom. It’s such a fun, eye-catching detail that you notice right when you walk in! I always knew the studio needed a touch of pink to warm things up.

Stairs

The stairs are next on the studio tour. Now we knew we needed a quick and effective solution for the unfinished stairs. What an eyesore!! And did I mention they had carpet on them previously? It took a little extra time to get them prepped for painting. But it was worth it, because the final product (these big, bold, blue and white stripes) was the perfect way to get our guests’ attention and introduce them to the studio. We may end up altering these amidst our newest wave of home renovations, but it was the perfect temporary DIY solution until we could implement a more permanent situation.

Lighting

Speaking of an eye-catching entrance, guess what we just recently got?! Our very own neon Lars sign, courtesy of Neon 87! To say we’re excited would be a severe understatement. Needless to say when visitors come to the studio they’ll know exactly where they are when they see this sign.

We also couldn’t move on without mentioning the recent install of this schoolhouse light fixture. We loved the gold accent with the bold stripes and colorful art we added to the walls!

Office Makeover

The next step in our studio tour is the office. We did an office makeover! Matching the wallpaper in the office to the pink floor turned out to be an interesting challenge, but we loved the result when all was said and done! Here‘s the post where we explain it all.

Here’s Jane’s desk:

A brightly colored office. There's green floral wallpaper, a pink floor, a yellow chair, a white table, pink-painted doorframes, an orange paper house, a blue poster with colorful abstract flowers, and office supplies.

And here’s Jenny’s:

Jenny's desk

The Craft/Work Space

Next up on our studio tour is the craft space! While far from complete, we want to show you what we’ve done so far. It’s getting cozier by the day! You may have seen the initial improvements we made to our craft space here, with our DreamBox. We’re still crazy about it. But to add to the pleasure of being in the studio, we also recently purchased two things: an AMAZING blue velvet couch from Eternity Modern, and a remote control table with a tabletop that moves up and down from Flexispot. You wouldn’t believe how convenient this is for photo and video shoots!!

We now have a more organized, efficient space that opens up the possibilities. We’re finally versatile enough to host meetings. All we have to do is push two of the large craft tables together and we’re set. Speaking of, we had a veeeery important meeting the other day, the subject of which is yet to be revealed (wink, wink).

Below is our amazing new remote control table from Flexispot (bamboo tabletop on the right):

Here’s that show-stopping Eternity Modern couch:

Blinds

We were ecstatic to add the blinds to this studio tour. I don’t know if you noticed in the pictures of the office makeover, but for a long time, we were literally using paper as a makeshift version of blinds. NOT ideal. We knew we needed something much better, and that’s where blinds.com came into the picture! They replaced our sad, makeshift paper blinds with some classy new blinds, complete with blackout shades. This was a dream come true for Jane–good lighting makes all the difference in whether or not a photo turns out! We installed the blinds in all the basement rooms–Jane and Jenny’s office, the main crafting space, and the shipping room. Blinds are something that need to be functional as well as pretty, and we loved how our blinds turned out.

Here they are in the craft room:

Here’s the window next to Jane’s desk:

And here’s the shipping room!

Bathroom

Now let me preface this portion of our studio tour with a caveat–the bathroom is far from complete. We still want to add wallpaper and so much more! But we did get the flooring in (white tile with a FUN pop of blue grout!), along with the basic necessities, and a touch of color and pattern with this DIY shower curtain. We can’t wait to show you the rest when it’s ready! Hint: the final result includes our very own custom pattern made into Spoonflower wallpaper and much more. Stay tuned!

curtain with floor

Stay Tuned for Much More

That’s it for the studio tour today! Friends, think about it. The combo of pink epoxy flooring, blue velvet, and fresh new blinds?! There’s a reason we’re excited. It’s already looking soo good and we’re far from done! We are beyond ecstatic about all the plans we have in the works. If you hadn’t noticed, the craft room lacks wallpaper. We’re thinking custom wallpaper designed by The House that Lars Built. And the kitchenette?!?! We have BIG plans. We don’t want to spoil the surprise, but this year is going to be the year where things come together in BIG ways. We’re so excited!! Who’s with us?!

Ukrainian Paper Sunflower

Ukrainian Sunflowers

The sunflower is Ukraine’s national flower. This beautiful flower has a long history with Ukraine, it turns out! Aside from sunflower seeds being a popular snack, Ukraine and Russia are some of the world’s largest suppliers of sunflower oil. Then there’s its historic message of peace, like in 1996 when it was used to celebrate Ukraine giving up nuclear weapons. Currently, as well, it’s become a bright beacon of hope and peace amidst all the turmoil and we want to do our best to show support. It seemed only fitting to make a Ukrainian paper sunflower in honor of the Ukrainian people. If you’re interested, click here to read the full article about Ukraine’s history with sunflowers.

Ukrainian Paper Sunflower

Here’s how to make your own Ukrainian paper sunflower:

Prepping the Paper

  1. First, download the paper sunflower template found here.
  2. Next, cut out the template pieces in crepe paper. We used about 30 yellow petals, 7 green back pieces, and between 2 and 4 green leaves of varying sizes per flower.
  3. Cut each side of the leaves separately. Make sure to cut out the leaves so the grain of the crepe paper angles up slightly on each side (like the veins on the leaves).

Making the Center

  1. To make the center of your paper sunflower, cut some long strips of crepe paper that are roughly 1″ wide. We used green, pale yellow, and orange.
  2. Cut slits in the strips to make a fringe.
  3. Securing with hot glue, wrap the fringe tightly around the top of a piece of floral wire. Make sure the wire is thick enough to hold the weight of the heavy sunflower blossom. Start with green, then move to yellow, then orange.
  4. Continue wrapping and gluing the fringe until it’s as thick as you’d like. Also, make sure the orange layer is set a bit higher than the rest.
  5. When the center is as thick as you’d like, fluff the orange fringe so it splays out a bit.
  6. Now, gently paint a gradient of green to yellow on the center you just made. See step photos for reference. Alternate option: You can use black or brown for the center, too, if you’d like! The center of most sunflowers varies in color.

Assembling the Sunflower

Now you’re ready to add the petals and back greenery to your paper sunflower!

  1. Gently shape the petals (see step photos for reference), then glue one around the center. We spaced them roughly 1/4-1/2″ apart.
  2. Next, add in a second row, this time staggering the petals behind the first row.
  3. Now you can add the back pieces. For this, shape the green pieces according to the step photos, then hot glue them around the stem. They should fan evenly around the back.

Leaves and Stem

The last steps of your paper sunflower are the leaves and stem!

  1. For the stem, cut a piece of crepe paper that’s roughly the length of your wire piece and 2-3″ wide, depending on how big your sunflower is.
  2. Securing with hot glue, wrap the crepe paper strip around the wire stem to thicken it.
  3. Next, start at the top just overlapping the back greenery of the sunflower. Wind floral tape all the way down to cover up the crepe paper.
  4. For the leaves, glue the two sides together, making sure the grain angles up slightly on each side to mimic the leaves’ veins.
  5. Now flip the leaves over and hot glue a thin piece of floral wire to the back. Make sure the floral wire extends a few inches past the stem of the leaves. Once the hot glue is dry, you can shape the leaves however you’d like.
  6. To attach the leaves to the stem, simply wrap floral tape around the wire.

Styling Your Paper Sunflowers

We varied the length of our sunflower stems, then arranged them in a pretty vase. We love how they turned out! They would make a bright addition to any room. Set them on a table, counter, mantlepiece, or side table. We also think they’d be a lovely accent for a bathroom or home office.

 

More Ways to Support Ukraine

We’re trying to do our part to support Ukraine. One way is through our shop! We currently have three art pieces in our shop made specifically to support Ukraine. We’re donating all the profits to the Ukrainian war effort. Special thanks to Amanda Jane Jones, who donated this print. Another special thanks to Nathalie Lètè, who donated this one and this one.

More Inspiration

Loved this paper sunflower tutorial and want more paper flower tutorials? Step right this way. We recently came out with this paper orchid tutorial we think you’ll love. Also, try our DIY Paper Hollyhocks, or these Poppies, Peonies, and Posies. Have a spring or summer wedding coming up? Here, here and here are some beautiful bouquets to choose from. You can also check out this holiday flower roundup if you’re interested!

 

 

Quilted Shower Curtain

quilted shower curtain

Quilted Shower Curtain

More of a curtain than a shower curtain, I knew I wanted this to be the big, eye-catching statement piece of the bathroom. I mean, I was kind of thinking of this like a whimsical bathroom art piece more than a functional curtain to hide behind when you shower. At first, I went to the fabric store to find the perfect print, but just couldn’t find anything that felt exactly right. That’s when I thought: what if we make our own pattern? In the form of a quilt? That’s when I started getting excited. So we came up with a fun, big, blocky quilt pattern and got to work! 

How to Make a DIY Quilted Shower Curtain

First of all, this project involved more than just a few precise measurements. That’s where Fiskars sewing supplies came into the picture. We really couldn’t have done this without them. They have some amazingly useful sewing supplies that make cutting out lots of perfectly geometrical shapes so much easier. For this project, we used their self-healing cutting mat, which is amazing for cutting, but also for measuring fabric squares and triangles precisely! We also definitely couldn’t have done without their Fiskars Rotary Cutter, Fiskars Scissors, or their Fiskars Gridded Cutting Ruler. 

All that being said, here’s how to make your very own DIY quilted shower curtain! It’s time-consuming, and requires patience and precision, but if you’re willing to take on the challenge, the result is well worth it.

shower curtain

Calculating your quilt measurements

This is the most important part of the process. Once you have your measurements calculated, the rest is smooth and intuitive! 

  1. First, measure the height and width of the space you’d like your curtain to cover. 
  2. Next, make your own quilt design within those dimensions. If you’re not comfortable designing your own quilt pattern, feel free to use ours as a reference! The space we filled was 62” x 62”. The finished dimensions of each of the squares was supposed to be 20 ⅝”, so we added a square inch onto that to account for the ½” seam allowance all the way around. The triangles were simply ¼ of the size of the squares.  Lastly, the stripes on top and bottom were 4 ½” including the seam allowance. (For those, we just did a small ¼” seam allowance).
  3. So, for your convenience, here’s the comprehensive list of amounts and measurements:
    1. 1 blue square (21 ⅝”)
    2. 8 blue triangles (¼ of a square each)
    3. 4 white squares (21 ⅝” each)
    4. 8 white triangles (¼ of a square each)
    5. 14 white strips (4 ½”x 14” each)
    6. 16 blue strips (4 ½”x 14” each)

steps

Cutting out your quilt pieces

  1. The first step in cutting out your pieces is to get out your Fiskars sewing tools. You’ll want your rotary cutting set, along with your Fiskars scissors. I can’t emphasize enough how amazingly helpful these tools are!
  2. Once you cut out one square, you can use it as a template for the other pieces of fabric. That will help speed up the process a bit.  

Piecing your quilt together

Now you’re ready to sew the pieces together! The best tip I can give is to try and sew in straight lines. This makes sewing the triangle pieces, especially, much less of a headache. I’ll explain what I mean by that in more detail as we go!

  1. Start with the center cross of the pattern where the triangles make a square. Sew them into a square, lining up the two triangles on each of the sides together, then sewing the two sets of two together. 
  2. Then, simply sew the rest of the squares together, working from one side to the other in rows or columns. 
  3. Once the center portion is all sewn together, sew the blue and white stripes together. You should have 15 stripes on top, and another 15 on the bottom. Start with blue on the ends and alternate until you have the right amount.
  4. Sew one striped section onto the top, and one onto the bottom.

The front of your quilted shower curtain is done!

front of shower curtain

Attaching the back panel

Now that you have your front piece finished, you’re ready to attach the back panel.

  1. For the back panel, simply line up the front and back panels, right sides together, and sew with a ½” seam allowance. Leave a small opening that’s just big enough to pull all the fabric through and turn it right side out.
  2. Once you’re done sewing around the edges, turn the fabric pieces right side out. Turn the open edges of the hole under and press the entire thing around the edges to make sure it’s nice and flat. Take extra care to press the open portion to a ½” seam allowance.
  3. Then, sew very close to the edge of the opening to close it up.
  4. Last, topstitch around the perimeter 1/2″ in from the edge.

Shower Curtain Attachment

Now, it’s pretty standard to see shower curtain rings holding a shower curtain up, but we wanted to shake things up a bit. We decided to add a little finishing touch of ties, rather than rings, because it felt a bit more classy and artful. I mean, people want to feel inspired even in the bathroom, amirite? The ties are pretty simple. Here’s how to make them:

  1. First, cut ten pieces of white ribbon that are five or six inches long and 2 inches wide. 
  2. Now you’re going to pin the ties along the top in pairs, spacing them evenly from end to end.
  3. Tack down each set of ribbon with a straight stitch.
  4. Done!

Now you’re ready to attach your freshly finished quilted shower curtain to the rod!

Shower Curtain Rod

Okay, let’s talk about this shower curtain rod. Your generic shower curtain tension rod is functional and inexpensive, and you’re totally welcome to use one. But we wanted something that felt a little less like your standard Home Depot shower set up, you know? For ours, we used a wooden dowel (same width as a standard shower curtain rod) and a couple of minimal curtain rod brackets to attach it to the wall. The raw wood had a really fun effect with that blue and white pattern! 

After the shower curtain rod is attached, just tie the finished, quilted shower curtain to the rod and you’re done!

shower curtain

Styling Your Curtain

This is such a fun, statement piece that does so much to make a bathroom feel cozy and inviting. If you’re not in need of a shower curtain, the wonderful thing about this statement curtain is that it can be used as a regular curtain, too! Just adjust the length and dimensions accordingly and hang it in front of any wall or window. 

My favorite thing about this project is that we had total creative control over most all aspects of it. Since we resorted to sewing, we got to choose the pattern, rather than settling for an already manufactured one. And thanks to all the amazing Fiskars sewing tools we had, it was so easy to measure, cut, and piece everything together in a way that was crisp, precise, and beautifully crafted!

We loved getting to work on this project and would love to see your variations on our DIY quilted shower curtain!

curtain with floor

More Inspiration

If you loved this tutorial on how to make a DIY quilted shower curtain, you’ll probably love these other projects: My Bathroom Remodel Reveal, Our Kitchen Remodel Update, Our New Closet System, Lars DIY Wainscoting, How to Paint a Folk Art Cabinet, and Everything We’ve Done to Our House in One Year.     

Our new closet system

Closet Design

Once again, I worked with my friend, interior designer Meta Coleman, on the main closet system. The closet is an extension of the bathroom so it was important that they flow well together, but they didn’t have to match exactly. That’s how I roll, flows but not too perfect. Perfection is boring!

The closet is a walk in, but not too big so it just needed a bit of paint, a rug, and a chandelier, but you can make a big impact with just those things. But first, the before pictures.

Before pictures of our closet system

As you can see, the room was totally fine. Basic storage with those long shelves, rods. Basic. It was going to serve the function well. Meta came in with the idea to draw from the colors of the bathroom. I wanted a pink peach because I had read somewhere that Jackie O always painted her bathrooms a peach to reflect well on her skin. close up of beekman light fixtures.

Trying out paint colors for the closet

Meta tried out a number of pinks and we held them up in different lighting. we tried it on a foam board and then directly on the walls themselves.

Meta is so good with color that a lot of them are custom colors that she came up with. She also picked out a perfect refreshing green for the window trim. I love it. and it looks so good with the wallpaper from the bathroom.

I got to painting the closet walls the pink and the shelves the green and love how it looked. This was taken at night so the lighting is funky, but hopefully you can get it.

Change of plans

But then, Modular Closets reached out and asked if we wanted to work together on a closet and I said “STOP EVERYTHING!” and stop is just what we did. They make customizable closet solutions. They even have a design system that you can use yourself to pick out what you want and I spent a good deal of time coming up with different solutions. It was right before I gave birth so I was in a frenzied nesting mode!

We immediately tore out the existing shelving.

Repairing the walls

We ripped out the shelves to prep for it and had to repair the dry wall that was removed. I had hired someone to install it thinking it was outside of my skill level, but then we got COVID in July and after so much time staying indoors I got desperate and spent my nights putting them pieces together and putting them up MYSELF! Paul held them in place, but I did everything else and honestly, I feel like I can do any home improvement project. It’s absolutely not true but try and stop me!  tole chandelier

white system for closet

Types of closet space for our closet system

When evaluating what type of storage we needed I jotted down what I owned and what I anticipated owning. I wear only dresses so I asked for mostly full length units. I also don’t want to have a dresser in my room so I wanted some drawers so I can put everything away. Modular Closets came up with some different arrangements for me and the process was great. There was one small thing they didn’t send and after a short chat with customer service they sent it right over. Such a breeze!

And voila!

white closet system

Hardware for my closet system

The Modular Closets system came with gold hardware, but I wanted to try something different. As you can tell by the photos, I’m still trying to think of what that might be. I’m thinking acrylic maybe…Any ideas for me?

Additional Storage

I don’t love the look of plastic so I got all rattan and grass baskets. Here are some of the exact ones I got:

How I use the closet

I’m not the best at creating systems, but I have found a few things have worked for me:

  1. The dresses I wear on repeat I change out by season and place the closest. Those are the ones I grab first.
  2. The closet came with the ability to do washer/dryer hook up. I thought I would want to use as much of the closet as I possibly could so I didn’t even consider the option, but now seeing how much we go up and down and up and down to the laundry room, I’m kind of wanting to put it in. Anyone have any thoughts about this? hook up for washer dryer
  3. I added in my own shoe rack that I already owned onto the floor for additional storage and it’s working great.shoe rack
  4. I tied my scarves to one of the rods since I don’t really use the short hanging units.
  5. On the middle shelf featured here, I put jewelry in those boxes. I’m thinking of doing a DIY where I paint or wallpaper some basic wood boxes instead, but I have these for now.
  6. The more wood baskets hold travel bags, hats, and more hats.

Toleware Chandelier

I’ve always LOVED toleware because I’m a floral fiend and I thought a toleware chandelier in this space would be the perfect amount. I love it! It’s so cute! I found mine on Etsy here but there are a lot out there.

If you’re looking to do the same thing, try and find something in the US if possible. Because I bought it from Europe, I had to get it rewired for the states, which was an additional $100.

Art

rosette and leslie duke painting

I bought this teeny tiny oil painting from one of my favorite painters, Leslie Duke ages ago and found the perfect home for it in the closet. Meta paired it with this gorgeous handmade rosette from Australian artist, Leila Sanderson of Skinny Wolf who makes the most incredible work. It’s honestly exquisite.

Green checkerboard rug

I was pretty ecstatic that this green checkerboard rug was so perfect for the space. I ordered a custom size on Etsy and was surprised with how easy and spot on it was. I ordered a 3×7″ and it came out a big larger but that was great for the space so it’s a win. I love having something so plushy on top of the hardwood Stuga floor because it feels so luxe.

pink ottoman in closet

The ottoman was a quick and convenient find from At Home that I didn’t think we’d keep, but I kind of love having something in there.

colorful pink dresses

Shoe Rack

This project made me realize that shoes kind of aren’t my thing. I like shoes, but I’ll always buy a piece of clothing over shoes any day.

I didn’t realize how much a closet with a system would impact the use and efficiency of the space but it really did. You can fit more in and spot things quicker when they’re prominently displayed. I’m such a scatterbrain that it’s helped immensely. I really want to do it to all of our closets now!

Ok! That’s it! I’d love to hear your thoughts about our main closet. You can also read more about it on Domino.com.

And if you’re interested in seeing more of our space:

Check out the house tour here

Main Bathroom reveal

My rainbow office 

How to paint a folk art cabinet

Cabinet for extra storage

Because our house was gutted when we bought it, there was absolutely no storage. Part of the plan from the beginning of the renovations was to add in as much storage as possible. Having an extra storage space in the main bathroom means we have a great place for our medicine cabinet, toilet paper, towels, and more. It’s been so helpful! You can see the full bathroom renovation here. This lead the way to painting in the decorative folk art style.

How to paint folk art style cabinet

While the unfinished cabinet was beautiful on its own, I knew there was so much potential to make something customized to the space. You know I’m a glutton for color and pattern and I tend to think that it’s always possible to make it work so I had to try it out in the folk art style.

unfinished cabinet

Scandinavian Wedding Cabinet

When I lived in Denmark I got to spend a lot of time going through antique stores and their museums learning about their folk art (all thanks to not being able to get a job for awhile–it had some perks ;). I fell in love with the traditional Scandinavian wedding cabinets where the couple would paint the year on the cabinet. Here’s a couple of beautiful examples from The Tolstoy Edit.

wedding cabinet in folk art style swedish style wedding cabinet

With that in mind, Gwen made a sketch inspired by these wedding cabinets in the folk style and also taking into mind the existing Mission style of the cabinet itself.

swedish wedding cabinet

The plan was to add the date on. We tried it, but it wasn’t quite working for me. Thanks to the power of paint, we could easily repaint over it.

Selecting a color palette

Working with an already busy wallpaper, a green vanity (also from Signature Hardware), there was already a strong color story going on. I wanted to use a palette that worked with the dark green of the vanity but also brought some depth.

At first we selected a brighter red that I can only describe as cranberry, but it was a little too close to the wallpaper red but not different enough.

repainting cabinet red

Re-painting your cabinet

We painted the whole thing before we discovered that it wasn’t really working SO, we tried out something deeper and we ended up a color that had some purple in it. We added in a yellow to the inside of the wood panels. I’m the one who took over the paintbrush at this point. I knew we could repaint anything so I was super sloppy, but take my advice and don’t do this–try and be as clean as you can while you go. You could go into a never ending state of painting and repainting.

changing the yellow

THEN, I decided that the yellow wasn’t quite working either so we had to try a few other yellows out and finally settled on something with more mustard in it.

prep your cabinet

Paint your own antique-inspired decorative cabinet

We learned a lot from painting this cabinet in the Scandinavian folk art style. It took A LOT of time and honestly, there’s a lot of details to clean up. BUT, Gwen is sharing what she learned.

Painting tips and tricks

  • If you’re starting with already-painted furniture, prime it before adding more paint.
  • If you’re starting with untreated wood furniture like us, just make sure it’s smoothly sanded and dusted before you start.
  • Make a plan! Sketch out the colors and designs before you get started, either on paper or in illustrator or a similar software.
  • Choosing colors–establish a color palette before starting and stick to those colors.
  • Tape tape tape! Use lots of tape and make sure you get a good seal. Make sure you read the instructions to your brand of tape.
  • Don/t be afraid to repaint things–and if the paint is too layered, sand it down first.
  • We used flat or matte paint so that there would be no gloss at all.

prep the cabinet with painter's tape for decorative painting

How to add paint perfect dots

We thought about adding in some dots down the vertical panels. I think there’s still hope to it but I think there would need to be more of them and they’d need to be closer together. What do you think? Well, I think something could go there, not sure if it needs to be polka dots exactly. We used a

how to paint dots on the cabinet

To achieve the perfect dots, we used a circle sponge paintbrush. It was perfect! Maybe a little too perfect? I’m even wondering if I’d like it better if they felt more handpainted. Maybe with a contrasting shadow? I don’t know!

Swedish inspired bathroom wallpaper

Painting folk art decorative flowers

Gwen added in some loose flowers to the larger panels and I love them! She added in a contrasting shadow element for each plane of color and it was the perfect amount of detail.

floral artwork for folk art cabinetScandinavian style painting in the folk artfloral painting in the folk art styledecorative painting in the folk art style

I love how the cabinet turned out. It’s still missing knobs so I do need to figure that out. It definitely needs some because the magnets are seriously so so strong that you can’t open it otherwise.

Our home renovations

If you want to see more of the house renovations check out these posts:

I’d love to hear your adventures with decorative painting in the folk art style. Let me hear your tips! 

Lars’ DIY Geometric 3D Wainscoting

The inspiration for my DIY wainscoting came from a picture that my friend, interior designer, Meta Coleman, saw of a door frame in Paris. You can see it in the collage below (bottom right). She presented the idea to me in her mood board below: and though I didn’t totally get it at first, I never saw no to Meta. I say yes and then I figure it out!

You can DIY wainscoting, too!

Look. I know that any time a room remodel starts means bringing out the power tools a lot of you probably sigh and put the project on the shelf. DIY wainscoting is pretty involved, and it can seem overwhelming! Fear not, though, because I’m here to show you that it’s actually totally doable.

Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, brass knobs and fixtures, and a blue custom wainscoting.

The first step in our remodel was the flooring, which we got from Stuga Studios. I mention it here because it made a HUGE difference in our space, which was truly unfinished. Being able to walk through your house without shoes on makes a big, big difference!

Things got really exciting after the floor was installed and it was time to take care of the walls. I knew from Meta’s original design that I wanted the bottom half of the walls to be a light blue color to offset and cool down the red Josef Frank wallpaper that would cover the rest of the walls. So one night I just started painting!

Photo of an interior with wooden floors. The walls are mostly white, but there's some blue paint around the trim and the bottom half of the walls.

The circle/square pattern

One of the trickiest parts of my DIY wainscoting installation was mapping out exactly how tall I wanted the chair rail to be, how I would fit the wooden cutouts, and where I needed to cut some of them down to size. I taped up paper diamonds and circles to figure out the wainscoting height as well as distance between columns.

I highly recommend making paper mockups whenever you do a DIY like this, because they’re so easy to adjust and tweak. I tried a few variations: each column with the same pattern and then switched it around so every other one was the same. I tried an ABA pattern as well as an ABBA pattern and decided to go with every other row being the same and starting at a different point.

I also had to play around with how big each one would be and how many shapes I would need. All of them were made from maple plywood 1/4″ thick. The circle was 3.5″ in diameter, but the square had to be slightly smaller at 3″. I worked with Zach at Laser Lingo and he was wonderful. He even gave me a 20% discount for ordering so many. The circles were a ready made product he already had here. It came out to about $200 for the shapes.

How many do I need?

First, I had to figure out about how many columns I would have in the room. I spaced them out every 9″ and drew a line. I figured out how many squares/circles each column would have and multiplied that by the amount of columns and then added 10% more to make sure I had enough.

Figuring out the height

First, I placed the shapes at the bottom of the baseboards and realized that they would look better if they were cut in half at both the top and the bottom. Chair rails feel best when they are about 1/3 from the bottom so that’s what we were aiming for, but we also had to take into account where the shapes were going to end. We took into consideration the width of the chair rail too, so we stopped the pattern at around 32″ and then the chair rail took up another few inches leave it at around 34″ ish.

Paper mockup of DIY wainscoting on a white and blue wall.

Trim and finish painting

Once I decided on a height, it was time to install all the trim and finish painting. Don’t you love the feeling of a space progressing with every step? I remember walking into the bathroom once it was painted and breathing a sigh of relief. It was coming together!

Interior shot of a room with wooden floors and blue and white walls.Interior shot of a room with wooden floors and blue and white walls.

Prepping the squares and circles for paint

You will paint the squares and circles before applying them to the wall. My painter, who is the absolute best, took him the squares and circles, sanded them, sprayed them lightly from 4 different angles with an airless gun (you can rent them for cheap!) two different times. He placed them on plywood to spray them. He said it’s all about the prep! We had 280 pieces total so it was a bit of a process.

A hand reaches into frame from the left and holds up blue painted cutouts against a blue and white wall.

Applying the squares and circles to the wall

After painting and verifying my design, it was time to start the installation. We had a great team installing molding and trim to the exactly correct height. Then came the fun part: gluing up the wooden cutouts!

How to do a DIY geometric 3D wainscoting

Materials:

    • Standard construction adhesive (He used Liquid Nails)
    • pencil
    • ruler/measuring tape
    • circles and squares (I got mine custom sized from this Etsy seller)

Instructions:

  • Draw a straight line on the wall of where you will be installing the squares/circles. Make sure it’s level and perfectly straight.
  • Use standard construction adhesive (he used Liquid Nails) like 3-4 dabs per square/circle. You don’t need too much of it. The squares are easy to affix because we placed them on each points like a diamond so we could align them perfectly. The circles were eyeballed.
  • He used a saw to cut off the bottoms prior to painting so that the ends were nicely finished.

Interior shot of a bathroom with wooden floors and blue and white walls. There's blue-painted trim at waist-height around the room, and some boards and materials are cluttered in the corner and under a window.Two workmen glue up wooden cutouts as a custom DIY wainscoting.DIY custom wainscoting installed in a blue and white room.DIY custom wainscoting installed in a blue and white room.

Because I knew that I’d be installing wallpaper after we finished the DIY wainscoting, I didn’t worry about any paint that reached above the waist-level wainscoting. It all got covered up once we wallpapered!

Interior shot of a room with red floral wallpaper and blue custom wainscoting.

Why Custom Design

I know that some of you are wondering why I insisted on installing my own custom wainscoting design instead of using a pre-made one. It certainly would have been easier! But I love living in a space that I designed myself. There’s just something about seeing something develop from the very beginning and tweaking it along the way so that it’s just right. Having Meta’s help was also very encouraging, because she has such a talent for making a space really reflects its occupant. I knew that with her help, we could make my custom DIY wainscoting dreams a reality.

Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, brass knobs and fixtures, and a blue custom wainscoting.Interior shot of a custom painted cupboard and blue DIY wainscoting in a red floral bathroom.Horizontal interior shot of a bathroom with red floral wallpaper, a green vanity with brass knobs, and blue diy wainscoting.

More Bathroom Remodel Inspo

Remodeling the bathroom took a lot of time and turned out to be a lot of steps. You can read more about everything that came together for our remodel here, so even if you aren’t ready to install DIY wainscoting there’s lots of bathroom inspo for you on the blog!

My Bathroom Remodel Reveal

The road to our bathroom remodel was long and winding, and part of that is because Paul and I have such different sensibilities when it comes to style and design! If he had his way, we’d live in a sleek warehouse with Brutalistic concrete floors. Ha! So you can imagine that we had lots of negotiations and conversations during our ideation faze, which ultimately led to “do whatever you want”. I will, thank you very much 😉

the top of a painted armoire against a red floral wallpaper background. On top of the armoire is a sculptural duck, a candle and candlestick, a paper money plant, and some cute odds and ends.

I get by with a lot of help from my friend, Meta Coleman

Interior shot of a colorful, eclectic dining room with red chairs, wallpaper and blue wainscoting, a green cabinet, and plants.
Hannah Carpenter home by Meta Coleman

I would be sadly remiss if I didn’t start out by singing the praises of my friend and designer, Meta Coleman. Meta is a rockstar designer who’s work is like actual magic. I’m convinced that she knows everything there is to know about interior design because she eats, drinks, and breathes it, and I’m the luckiest to be able to work with her and be her friend. Having Meta at the helm of this bathroom remodel made everything possible. Read more about Meta being my dream designer!

Meta’s process begins with really getting to know the people who live in the space she’s designing, which is part of what makes her work so immaculate. You can see this part of Meta’s designing process through this video of Paul and me talking about our history and design preferences. I really respect how thorough of a designer Meta is, because even though she already knew me and knew my style, she checked in to get really clear on my vision.

Four children lounging and laughing on a green bed with a striped quilt. One is holding a dog and there's a window behind them.
Hannah Carpenter home by Meta Coleman

Then, with my style clearly in mind, Meta brought in so much magic! I was astounded by the way that she totally understood my taste, then surprised and stretched me through her design. All I can say is that I’m super lucky to be close friends with such an amazing interior designer! I highly recommend it.

It’s also thanks to Meta’s incredible interior design that our bathroom was featured in Domino Magazine, which is such a fun honor. Get to know Meta a little bit better through her Becoming interview, check out her website, and definitely follow her on Instagram @MetaColeman_ to keep up with her work.

Our Big Bathroom Remodel

Like I mentioned, our bathroom started out rough. It was a total bare-bones cavern! I mean, look at this:

a blank, unfinished room with sheetrock walls and a dusty subfloor. There's a doorway that leads to a dark, grey space in the imagea blank, unfinished room with sheetrock walls and a dusty subfloor. There's a doorway that leads to another unfinished space in the image. One of the walls has mysterious plumbing coming out of it.a blank, unfinished room with sheetrock walls and a dusty subfloor. There's a doorway that leads to another unfinished space in the image. One of the walls has mysterious plumbing coming out of it.

Depressing, right?

With Meta’s help, we came up with a mood board that both Paul and I loved. As you’ll see, the final design departed just a bit from the mood board while still very much holding on to the essential spirit of Meta’s original design.

moodboard mock up of the bathroom, including red floral wallpaper, a green vanity, our towels and paint colors, and lighting.

I’m a big believer in starting out with a great mood board. It makes everything so much easier and provides an invaluable frame of reference for later, when you’re in the middle of building your design and feel stuck. Check out this tutorial on making mood boards!

Stuga Studio

The very first step was to install flooring, and we fell in love with this amazing wood floor from Stuga Studio. The color we chose is called Tivoli, and it’s perfect–warm but not too yellow. It’s such lovely, high-quality wood, and it has so much personality. We installed it throughout pretty much the whole house, and instantly felt so relieved about our plans to totally update a blank slate fixer-upper. Check out this post to read more about the flooring.

Vertical image of the bathroom. There's warm wooden flooring being laid over light blue plastic sheeting.process photos of Stuga flooring installation

Signature Hardware

Early on in the design process, I got this gorgeous vanity from Signature Hardware. I knew that I wanted an accent piece of furniture, but I didn’t have an overarching design planned out yet, so it was a tricky choice. Still, I had a deadline, so I went for a strong color that also serves as a neutral–the Olsen vanity in a deep emerald green. The green vanity informed lots of the remaining design choices for the bathroom remodel.

I’m so glad I went with the green! I’m a strong believer that green can count as a neutral color in design, and this bathroom is a strong example of that: it grounds the rest of the colors, which is what neutrals do best.

As you can see, I put the vanity to use long before things were finished or ready. Just keeping it real!

Emerald green vanity with clutter around and on it. The walls are mostly painted white, but are very unfinished.

Closeup shot of an emerald green vanity.

I also got a beautiful wooden hutch from Signature Hardware. It had an unfinished surface, so I wanted to do something to customize it and came up with a Swedish Wedding Cabinet as inspiration.

Antique swedish wedding cabinet

So beautiful, right?? I love the intricate floral designs and I think that cabinets make such perfect heirlooms (sturdy and useful? Check and check), so I decided to paint my wooden hutch with flowers. Stay tuned to learn more about that process in a future post!

A painted cupboard. It is burgundy with green, mustard, and white accents.

Signature Hardware also has beautiful towel racks and wall hooks, which are so important for a bathroom remodel. I installed the Vintage Towel Bar and the Vintage Towel Ring in brushed gold, and they land at the perfect intersection between simple and refined.

A yellow striped towel hanging on a brass towel rack.A yellow striped hand towel hangs on a brass ring on the wall. The out-of-focus silhouette of flowers in a vase shades some of the image.Close up of a brass towel ring. A yellow and white striped hand towel hangs from it, and there's red floral wallpaper in the back.

To complete the set, I also got the Vintage Robe Hooks in brushed gold.

A pink and blue batik-patterned bathrobe hanging on a brushed gold hook in a bathroom. You can see a doorway and a red, floral bathroom on the side of the image.

For the faucets I used New York Widespread faucets in polished brass from Signature Hardware. I’m a big fan of ceramic knobs, so I switched those in for the brass knobs to feel super classic.

gold faucet on a marble countertop. The handles are ceramic.Brushed brass faucets on a marble countertop with a periwinkle vase of flowers. There's red floral wallpaper in the background.Brushed brass faucets on a marble countertop with a periwinkle vase of flowers. There's red floral wallpaper in the background.

The Walls

Apart from all the technical things (like flooring, plumbing, and electricity), the custom DIY wainscoting was a big part of the remodel. Meta presented the concept to me after seeing a photo of it on a door frame in Paris. She directed me to how to make it happen and then I was off to figure it out. I bought square and circular wooden cutouts, painted them in a soft, light, blue, and attached them to wall’s bottom third. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, the workmen we hired to paint and install trim didn’t think so. Haha! You should have seen their faces when I explained my plan! Thankfully they warmed up to the idea.

The wallpaper came next, and at that point things started getting really exciting. It turns out that having finished walls makes a huge difference! Ha! At this point we started shooting some projects in the bathroom. Some of our eagle-eyed readers may have caught onto a few bathroom remodel teasers in the backgrounds of some past projects. For example, you can see some wallpaper and wainscoting behind these paper pansies.

Paper pansies on a windowsill. There's a white lacy curtain next to them, and red floral wallpaper on the other.Paper pansies in a distressed terracotta planter. They're placed on a stack of colorful books on a chair. In the background, you can see some red floral wallpaper and blue wainscoting.

I also couldn’t resist shooting these paper hollyhocks between the sinks, so you can see the countertop, wallpaper, and some of the mirrors in this picture.

paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.

Hudson Valley Lighting

Meta selected these light fixtures from Hudson Valley Lighting and I loved the classic feel. For the wall sconces she picked out the Beekman lamps in aged brass, and on the ceiling I got the Flare flush mount light fixture in aged brass. The shower and toilet are in their own separate little space, but I got the Ainsley flush mount in aged brass for that room. The art deco details around the edges elevate it without being too gaudy.

close up of beekman light fixtures.beekman light fixtures above a two-toned mirror.beekman light fixtures against floral red wallpaper.Interior shot of a bathroom. There's red floral wallpaper and framed art prints on the walls, blue textured wainscoting and trim, wooden floors, yellow window treatments, and eclectic styling.Ainsley flush mount light on the ceiling.

Adding Finishing Touches

After we got all the main pieces installed, it was time to style the bathroom. Meta Coleman came back to lend a hand, and I truly love the way she put my bathroom together.

The mirrors are custom made by Meta, and I love the way the two-tone glass reflects such warm, glowing light around the room. She used this two toned mirror technique on her own bathroom and generously gave me the remains. We tried a few different shapes included a wavy design and a flower, but ultimately, I wanted to keep it a simple oval.

Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, brass knobs and fixtures, and a blue custom wainscoting.

Meta also custom made my curtains using Soane fabric. I love the mustard color, and the fabric’s pattern reminds me so much of Matisse’s paper cutouts.

Meta installs the curtains over the window. Meta's silhouette is outlined against a glowing yellow and white curtain.

Our Full Bathroom Remodel Reveal

Whew! So many things came together for this bathroom remodel, and it was seriously so much work. I’m so grateful for Meta’s help all along the way! I truly couldn’t have done it without her.

Shot of a green bench in a red wallpapered bathroom. There's also a blue wainscoting at the bottom and a green painting on the wall.Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, brass knobs and fixtures, and a blue custom wainscoting.Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop,and brass knobs and fixtures.Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, brass knobs and fixtures, and a blue custom wainscoting.A brass faucet with white ceramic knobs on a white marble countertop. The wallpaper behind it is red and floral.Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, brass knobs and fixtures, and brown wicker baskets under the vanity.Brushed brass faucets on a marble countertop with a periwinkle vase of flowers. There's red floral wallpaper in the background.Brushed brass faucets on a marble countertop with a periwinkle vase of flowers. There's red floral wallpaper in the background.A yellow striped hand towel hangs on a brass ring on the wall. The out-of-focus silhouette of flowers in a vase shades some of the image.Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, along with beautifully curated knick knacks.

I have a closet attached to my bathroom, and I updated that, too! I’ve included a few sneak peeks in this post, but you can stay tuned to see more of it soon. 😉

Interior shot of the red wallpapered bathroom from inside a pink and green painted closet.

More Remodel Inspiration

For an overview on our renovations so far, read about everything we did to our house in the first year of owning it. You can also check out our tiled bathroom progress and our kitchen remodel update.

Would love to hear what you think! Let me know in the comments!

DIY Paper Hollyhocks

These DIY paper hollyhocks are part of my ongoing home upgrade. As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, I’ve been doing a lot of renovations since I bought my house last June. Lately I’ve been working on finishing my upstairs bathroom, and let me tell you–nothing motivates you to work on a big project like having to use an unfinished bathroom! 😬

paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.

My bathroom vanity has two sinks with a mirror above each one, so I wanted to make something beautiful to go between them. Earlier this year we made some paper pansies for the bathroom and I love them so much that I wanted to do another flower. I decided on a few stalks of DIY paper hollyhocks, and I’m so glad I did because these have IMPACT. The individual flowers are really simple, but when you put the whole stalk together they’re absolutely show-stopping. I keep thinking how pretty they would be as bridal flowers!

paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.

Follow along for the full tutorial!

Make your own DIY paper hollyhocks

Materials

You’ll need our paper hollyhock template, crepe paper in a variety of colors (I used dark purple, indigo, peach, magenta, light yellow, dark yellow, and a few colors of green), hot glue, a glue gun, floral wire, 14 gauge wire, wire cutters, floral tape, scissors, and a paintbrush

Instructions

Prepare your materials
step photos of preparing materials for hollyhocksfor
  1. Download and print our DIY paper hollyhock template (which you can find here in our shop!)
  2. Decide what colors of flowers you want. I made blooms in three different colors, and each color used a main color and a darker stain color.
  3. Cut your main hollyhock paper into 3 strips that are 5 inches wide and about 20 inches long. Cut your stain paper into 3 strips about 2.5 inches wide and 20 inches long. Make sure the grain of both of these strips is such that it stretches horizontally.
Prepare your paper
  1. The next steps will stain your table and fingers, so put down a piece of thick butcher paper or cardboard if you’re working on a precious surface and consider wearing gloves!
  2. Tape the ends of the main petal paper down so that it lies flat on a table. Tape the darker stain paper over the main color of paper so that it runs along the center of the wider purple strip.
  3. Dip a paintbrush in water and wet the stain paper only. Then, press it down onto the main petal paper. This will transfer some of the dark dye onto the main crepe paper.
  4. Repeat this with your other strips of paper.
Prepare the pieces
  1. While your petal paper (say that five times fast!) is drying, cut the rest of your template pieces out. You’ll cut the inner petals out of dark yellow paper, a stigma out of light yellow paper, and leaves out of green paper. Each flower will have 5 petals, 5 inner petals, and one under-petal leaf piece.
  2. You can also cut out purple rectangles of various sizes (the buds) and the bud leaves in green.
  3. Once your petal paper is all dry, you can cut those petals out. Arrange them so that the dyed portions are at the narrow base of the petal.
  4. Make a thick stem. Cut three pieces of 14 gauge wire to varying lengths. The longest should be a little shorter than you want your flower stalk, the middle one should be about 2/3 that length, and the shortest should be about 1/3 the length of the first.
  5. Hold the three wires together so that they all overlap at the bottom.
  6. Starting at the bottom where they all overlap, wrap the wires with floral tape. Wrap all the way to the end of the longest wire, forming a long, stiff stem that narrows toward the top.
Make the DIY paper hollyhock pieces
Flowers

Step by step photos of making a paper hollyhock

  1. Start with the flower’s stigma by crumpling up a small ball of crepe paper from your scraps. Glue this to the tip of your regular weight floral wire.
  2. Put a dab of glue on the center of the cut out stigma square and put this on the crumpled paper. Fold down the ends so that it covers the crumpled paper, then secure with more hot glue.
  3. Glue each yellow inner petal to the base of a purple petal. 
  4. Make a line of glue on the side/bottom of a petal next to the yellow inner petal. Glue then next petal to that first petal. Repeat for all 5 petals.
  5. Attach your line of petals to the flower center so that they wrap evenly around, and secure with glue. 
  6. Put a dot of glue halfway up the edge of each petal and attach it to the one next to it.
  7. Stretch the green under-flower leaf piece and glue it to the base of the flower.
  8. Stretch a thin stem strip of green crepe paper and wrap it around your DIY paper hollyhock’s stem for 3-5 inches, securing with glue as you go.
  9. Repeat steps 1-6 until you have your desired amount of hollyhock blooms. I think that 5-9 blooms per stalk looks lush and lifelike.
Buds

step by step photos of making flower buds

  1. To make the buds, cut rectangles of purple crepe paper and fold the top corners in, then fold the top down repeatedly. Roll up the paper, then glue it to form a rounded bud shape.
  2. Stretch the bud leaves, then glue and wrap them around the bud along with a 5 inch piece of floral wire. Let some of the buds show more purple inside, while some should be mostly or all covered with green bud leaves.
  3. Glue a small leaf to the wrapped bud.
  4. Stretch a thin stem strip of green crepe paper and wrap it around the bud stem, securing with glue as you go.
Leaves

step by step photos showing how to make hollyhock leaves

  1. To make the leaves, use the template to cut the 6 leaf pieces out of green crepe paper. Make sure that you’re cutting the pieces with the grain, as shown on the template.
  2. With a thin line of hot glue, attach the leaf pieces together. The leaf is an organic star-like shape, but if you didn’t cut with the grain of the crepe paper it won’t stretch right. 
  3. Stretch the paper slightly to ruffle the edges and give the leaf dimension.
  4. Glue a piece of floral wire along one of the seams in the leaf.
  5. Stretch a thin stem strip of green crepe paper and wrap it around the base of the leaf and the wire stem for 6-7 inches, securing with glue as you go. 
Assemble your hollyhocks!

step by step photos showing how to assemble hollyhocks

  1. Now you have a lot of hollyhock elements on pieces of wire. We’re going to put them all together, starting at the top of the stalk.
  2. Glue a bud to the stem of another bud, then wrap the glued stems together with a stretched crepe paper strip, gluing as you go.
  3. Add more buds, gluing and wrapping with crepe paper. As you add elements, the stalk will get thicker and stronger, just like a real flower!
  4. After you’ve added and wrapped all the buds, it’s time to attach the thick stem. Glue the wrapped buds and wires to the top of the thick wire stem, then wrap with crepe paper. Keep securing the crepe paper strips with glue as you continue this.
  5. It’s time to start adding your fully bloomed flowers! Glue a flower’s stem and a leaf to the stalk, then wrap with a crepe paper strip.
  6. Continue adding flowers and leaves to the stalk as you work your way down. You want to space them out with a few inches between each one.
  7. If you have extra leaves after you add all your flowers, add them to the bottom of the stalk. Wrap them with a crepe paper strip, just like you did for the prior leaves. You should leave about five inches of stem without flowers and leaves at the bottom of your stalk.
  8. After you finish adding all your flowers and leaves, continue wrapping a crepe paper strip all the way to the bottom of the stalk. Secure with glue, then cut the strip.
  9. Voilà! You have a gorgeous stalk of hollyhocks! Make a few stalks in various colors, then arrange them however you like for your own indoor cottage garden.

paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.

More paper flower inspo

If you loved this tutorial for DIY paper hollyhocks, then you’ll love our other paper flower projects! Check out our DIY paper peony, DIY paper foxglove, and this roundup of all our favorite paper flower projects. And if you agree with me that these paper hollyhocks would be beautiful as bridal flowers but aren’t sold on paper over real, then check out these lovely paper bouquets inspired by the royal wedding, white peonies, Cinco de Mayo, and spring color.

paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.

How to Style Indoor Plants

How to style indoor plants

A lot of people want to transform their spaces into dreamy urban jungles, but don’t know how to style indoor plants. This can mean that their green spaces turn grey, end up looking cluttered, or gathering dust.

chinese money plant made from paper

Knowing how to style indoor plants can make a huge difference and give your plants all the impact they deserve. Here are my best plant styling tips!

Gauge your own commitment

Look. Your plant dreams won’t come true if you don’t choose plants that you can keep alive. Maybe you’re a big fan of ferns, but you live in a dry climate and don’t have it in you to water and spray a plant every day. 🙋🏼‍♀️ I know it hurts, but you might need to hold off on living with some higher-demand plants until you’re a more experienced plant parent. Know yourself and get plants that you can keep alive, because no matter how well-styled your plant kingdom is, it won’t look good if it’s dead.

Here are some of my favorite plants, and you can check out their care requirements to make sure that you’re signing up for something you can handle.

Light

Make sure that your plants have the correct amount of light for the species. Some thrive in the shade, some need bright light, and many plants do their best somewhere in between. You need to consider your space and the light before you even buy plants if you want a healthy indoor plantscape.

And of course, paper plants won’t die no matter what light you put them in, but remember that they might fade in bright light.

pre-potted plants Tranquility

Temperature

Unfortunately, lots of plant parents fail to consider a space’s temperature and are confounded when their plants keep dying. If you live somewhere with cold winters, avoid putting sensitive plants near drafty areas like doors or right by a window, especially when temperatures drop. And if your living space tends to be really hot and sunny, make sure that you don’t have sensitive, cool-loving plants in places where they’ll scorch and die. Again, if you’re working with paper plants, this isn’t an issue.

Paper heartleaf philodendron in bright green in a checkered pot on a wooden table

Water/Humidity

Some plants, like ferns and other tropicals, need more water and humidity than others (like succulents and cacti). If you have a plant that needs to be cared for and watered often, put it somewhere easily accessible so that watering doesn’t become a hassle.

If your bathroom has enough light, consider styling it with some humidity-loving plants. All the steam from your showers will make them thrive.

a variety of potted houseplants

Scale

When you’re designing your planty spaces, you don’t want to just have a lot of little plants scattered around. Choose one or two larger plants (indoor trees are great here!) and make these a focal point.

While big houseplants can be expensive, you can try making your own with paper (we have some great tutorials on the blog!) or check out our next tip for height help.

outdoor potted plants

Height

In an arrangement of plants, you want the tallest ones to be at the back. Think of them like a choir, with the tallest singers standing at the back. You can also give some plants a boost to add more height and give the illusion of larger plants. Try using shelves, bricks, blocks, an overturned flower pot, stacks of decorative books, and more to add some height to your plantscape.

planter garden with a sculptural head planter

Color

Indoor plants come in all kids of colors, not just green! Consider the colors and lighting in your space before you buy or make plants. If you plan it right, you can get beautiful, dramatic, intentional looks by curating your plant colors. Imagine a room with all deep purple foliage! So regal, right??

Paper Poinsettia Flower

Paper Plants

Like I’ve mentioned, I love paper plants for their ease and also because they’re a super fun craft! You can check out this paper plant video, these favorite tutorials, and these templates and ebooks from our shop. And don’t forget the flowers!

DIY Paper Japanese maple tree

Paper pansies on a windowsill. There's a white lacy curtain next to them, and red floral wallpaper on the other.

Once you’ve become a full-fledged plant parent, you might want to treat yourself with this Plant Lady print by Libby VanderPloeg from our shop.

What are your favorite plant tips? Let me know!

Where to Hang Art – 4 Tips to Find the Perfect Spot(s)

The Secret to Hanging Art

…is that there really isn’t much of a secret. If it’s in your home and it’s art that you like, you’ll be happier looking at the art on your wall than wondering where to hang art. Yes, really.

a chaunte vaughn photo hanging against a textured green wall above a lamp by a headboard.

Make a decision

Yes, it’s that simple. Just pick one piece (it doesn’t even have to be that good). Base the rest of your pieces from there! Loosely coordinate colors or subjects, or put everything in matching frames. Scratch that – if you don’t want anything to match, let your taste be the unifying factor. Once you’ve decide where to hang your art, it will come together. If that lack of directions drives you crazy, pick a theme like plants, photography, animals, abstraction, portraits, watercolors, you name it. 

Interior shot of a green nursery. In the foreground is a white rocking chair with a few toys on it. In the background is a wooden dresser.on it and in the background is a wooden dresser.

Build Your Collection

Consider this section the inside scoop – if I could select art for your home, these are some pieces I would choose. Abby Low’s pieces offer a shot of color and geometric print and are a great place to start. Flowers are beautiful, and I can never get enough of them! I love Adriana Picker’s work. Also Picker is just the perfect name for someone who paints flowers. Consider the location of your art – these food prints by the amazing Amanda Jane Jones would be so cute over a dining table. Looking for something a little more high-brow? This cubist-style piece is a fave of mine! Photography is oh-so chic, and Chaunté Vaughn’s compositions are drool-worthy. A little bit of cheer is always welcome, and I found just that in Erin Jang’s print!

Put it somewhere fun!

Deciding where to hang art is the last step. And the fun part! I rarely see a piece of art and think it doesn’t belong where it’s at. That’s the fun part about art – it makes wherever it is placed more lovely! Growing up, my dad decided he wanted control over where the art would be placed and guess where he put it. The bathroom. All of his favorite pieces of art, including the pre-k finger paintings went in the hall ball. His rationale went like this: “Where in the house has the highest foot traffic? Where are guests most likely to see?” Though it might seem like a strange place to put your most treasured works, it kinda makes sense. 

Openness is Essential To Creativity print by Lisa Congdon among plants and booksIris Apfel print by Rosie Harbottle against a sage wall surrounded by stationary and paper plants.

Get Creative

One trend that I’ve noticed lately and loved is art just… leaned up against a wall. This is an awesome example because it shows the organization well enough to replicate it. This is another example of art leaned gracefully, nay, artfully, against a wall. I love the way this particular arranging method works with transparency. 

a photo by chaunte vaughn in a bookshelf surrounded by colorful books.

Bookcases are another clever place I love to put art in! Let’s be honest, books are art. Add to the look with a framed piece like this or like this. Perhaps you have a lot of art to show off, and it just won’t fit in a bathroom, bookshelf, or propped up somewhere. The gallery wall is the perfect way to showcase your pieces! My friend Meta Coleman wrote a piece for us a while back on how to style the perfect gallery wall, or salon wall as they used to be called. It is a gamechanger!!

Four illustrations from fairytales hung above a child's kitchen toy set.

So no more head scratching over where to hang art! There’s no need to hire a pro when you can learn do-it-yourself online. 

You can find all the art pictured in this post and much more in our shop! Check it out, and maybe you’ll find a new favorite artist.

I’d love to see how you hang art in your space. Tag us with #LarsAtHome to share. 

7 Rental-Friendly Interior Design Hacks

Rental friendly interior design is important to me because I’m a huge believer in the power of interior design to make you happy. Too often we think that unless we own a home we can’t personalize our space, and I think that’s tragic. Everyone deserves to feel at home, so making a house a home in a rental feels much bigger than a simple penchant for style.

7 Rental Friendly Interior Design Hacks

Living Room Reveal with wildflower wallpaperRemovable Wallpaper

This is definitely not the easiest rental friendly interior design hack, so let’s get it out of the way first. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my love for wallpaper. There’s this archaic idea that wallpaper is a nightmare to deinstall, involving lots of steaming, stickiness, and scraping. Yuck. That used to be true, but now there are so many rental friendly wallpapers, so you can peel and stick to your heart’s content!

I’ve loved using Spoonflower wallpaper in my homes and offices, and you can find my favorite Spoonflower artists and designs here!

In my last apartment I really let my imagination run wild with wallpaper, and I loved how fresh and unique it made the space. Here are my tips and tricks for installing Spoonflower wallpaper (which I love!)

Brittany works on installing blue and white striped wallpaper with text that reads "how to install wallpaper yourself"Interior shot of a bedroom with blue and white striped wallpaper. There's a yellow headboard, green floral bedding, paper staghorn ferns, and wicker lamps.Brittany sits on bed in a room with pine-themed wallpaper. She's wearing a pink dress and holding a dark blue and green pillow, the bed is warm wood with a mustard duvet, and there's a wicker lamp in the corner. There's also a blue art print on the wall.

If you’re still looking for just the right wallpaper, check out this post I wrote about my other favorite places to buy it.

Upgrade Your Lighting

I can’t say enough how important good lighting is! Of course, lots of natural light is best, but it’s not always available. Don’t worry, though! There’s hope for you and it’s in the form of lamps!

A colorful lamp in a room with wildflower wallpaper and a LACMA exhibition posterJust like when I was in college, I still love adding light with lamps. You can always go to thrift stores and upgrade them with paint or new shades (or even make your own shades). I also put together some of my favorite lampshades on the market right now, so browse these!

On top of lamps, you can say “Let there be light” by upgrading your light fixtures. It might seem daunting, but it’s not too tricky and makes a huge difference. So many rentals are chock full of boob lights, and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t want reminders to #FreeTheNip every time I look up. 🤷🏼‍♀️ If you’re with me on this, consider this your permission to change out your light fixtures and get a new lease on life.

Check out this DIY light fixture you can make to add whimsy and color to your space.

DIY lampshade in bright colors and funky shapes

Find a Statement Piece

Furnishing your rental with statement furniture can really elevate the space. Once you’ve found a piece that you love, plan the colors and design around it for a cohesive, beautiful look. (For bonus points, spot the light fixture I upgraded this room with)

Brittany adjusts pillows on a beautiful green sofa in a light-filled room

Couches, and rugsare my favorite kinds of statement furniture to base a room off. A few years ago I got a life-changing green sofa and I’ll never stop recommending that people add emphasis with colorful furniture.

Couches

Rugs

Plan a Color Story For Each Space

One of my favorite rental friendly interior design hacks is to make and stick to a color palette. Especially when it’s a space that you don’t own and you can’t control everything about, it’s easy for a space to look makeshift and haphazardly thrown together. With a color palette, though, you can go from scattered and “meh” to really fabulous. It takes some creativity and restraint, but it makes a huge difference.

a room with pine-themed wallpaper. There are pillows in dark blue, pink, green, and black, the bed is warm wood with a mustard duvet, and there's a wicker lamp in the corner. There's also a blue art print on the wall.

You can see I designed this room with a yellow, forest green, and deep blue color palette, and that there are little accents of pink throughout. Especially because the wallpaper is busy, having a solid (no pun intended) color palette really makes the room work.

Plants, Plants, Plants!

Houseplants and fresh flowers are a renter’s best friends. They bring (literal) life into your space and also freshen your air. Just remember to water and fertilize them and give them the right amount of light!

Here are some houseplants that you can buy online!

Mirror, Mirror

I’m such a huge believer in mirrors that I even wrote a whole post about why they’re essential in decor. And I’m sticking to my guns here! They make a space feel bigger and lighter, act as a focal point, and they’re a convenient way to make sure we’re walking out the front door looking great. You can find lots of my very favorite mirrors on the market in this post, and also check out this lovely Rattan mirror DIY here!

DIY Rattan Sunburst Mirror

Add Art

Our print shop is chock full of incredible art that would seriously upgrade your home. I know I’ve loved having it in mine! Adding art to your rental friendly interior design plans is so easy, and my main tip is to use command strips. You and your security deposit will thank me later. 😉

Here’s a collection of some floral art prints to bring some everlasting blooms into your home, and you can also read about lots of the artists behind the Lars Print Shop here.

art prints by Julie Marabelle installed in a wallpapered roomAmanda Jane Jones holding up her prints from the Lars Print ShopDaffodil II print by Rachel SmithRental Living

I lived in a rental for years and years before we bought our house, and by the end of our time there we had made some significant upgrades. You can check out everything we did to that apartment here! Not everyone has the opportunity to do as much with a rental as we did, but I hope it inspires you to make your space your own.

I’d love to see what rental friendly interior design tips you have used! Show me your renting secrets at #LarsAtHome!