New artwork from Artist Chaunté Vaughn

New work in the Lars Print Shop from Chaunté Vaughn 

Click here to see the full collection!

Chaunté has the unique ability to capture beauty in the mundane. She focuses on the everyday, even decayed or traditionally non-beautiful subjects, but through her use of lighting and composition transforms them into stunning works of art.

Her color series in the collection highlights items from the grocery store and stuff that should be in the trash, but with the magical touch of stylist Kate Stein, they take on a new life where color is celebrated and lighting transforms them into an elegant still life.

Yellow Mustard” is our featured art print for our book club, Yellow by Michael Pastoureau. It’s a celebration of all things yellow–the color of happiness and optimism made even more so through the comical smiley face.

“This collection of photos is an oddball selection of exercises I’ve done thru the last few years. It’s one of my favorite things to be able to uplift someones home with art I’ve made. I’m so happy these might make it to you someday!”
– Chaunté Vaughn

Interview with Chaunté Vaughn

What do you consider yourself?

I consider myself a photographer. I like to do other creative things, but photography is how I earn a living.

How did you get started in your field doing what you do?

I started by taking pictures of my sisters when we were kids. I loved styling them and playing “photoshoot”. It feels like I’m still doing the same thing all these years later.

What did you study? Did you go to school specifically for what you do?

I originally studied painting and graphic design. I moved into photography because it was a faster medium.

What are you most proud of in your career?

My ability to repeatedly carry 50 lbs of photo gear up and down multiple flights of stairs.

What’s your work space like?

I shoot in different kinds of places all the time. Anywhere from big beautiful studios, to cramped offices, to muddy stormy beaches. It’s different every time.

What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in a creative field?

Have fun and be nice. Draw or write what you think about, no matter what your medium is.

What’s coming up for you this year?

2020 has been really hard for everyone. Hopefully we can come out of it with a new and better perspective. 

How has the current situation affected your work flow. Any pivots?

I’ve started shooting more from home. The crew is much smaller:)

 

Where do you live? How does that influence your work?

I live in Brooklyn NY. Luckily, being here provides me with tons of inspiration. The creatives here are excellent, and there is no shortage of galleries to visit and see it all.

What does your dream retirement look like?

A beach, a lime drink, and a cabana boy:)

What artists/designers/creatives do you look up to? Both historical or present

Not many- because I’m 5 foot 10:)

How has social media influenced your work?

It’s made me hate squares.

What’s inspiring you lately?

I recently watched documentaries on Andrew Wyeth, Franca Sozzani, and Slim Aarons. I love hearing their stories and looking at what makes their work special. Also, I saw a retrospective for Agnes Denes a few months ago, her work resonated with me and reminded me that all artists touch the divine when they create.

 

Where else you can find Chaunté’s work

At chauntevaughn.com and on Instagram here

And click here to find the perfect print to brighten your walls.

Home Organization Tools and Tips for Spring Cleaning

We are in such an organizing mood right now, we arranged our favorite spring cleaning tools by room! Search for exactly what you need to make your home organization a million times easier.

Home office organization

There has never been a more vital time to update your home office. Click here to check out our tips on creating a home office that matches your personality and work style! And use these products below to turn your office into a space where the amazing ideas will just keep coming!

 

Our favorite organization tool

If you know anything about Lars, you know that we’re susceptible to piles of crafting supplies all over our studio! Creativity surely needs a little chaos! However, creativity needs structure as well, and that’s why we’re delighted to showcase our favorite organization product, our very own Dreambox from Create Room.

Perhaps you saw our earlier post about how much we love our Dreambox? We stuffed it full of craft supplies and it made our crafting a million times better, no exaggeration. That’s why we feel fully confident in recommending this product to you, to expedite your spring cleaning organization overhaul. You can fill it with crafting supplies, like we did, anything from paper and pens to sewing supplies!

Sale Alert

And the best news is, they’re having a sale RIGHT NOW! You can save over $600 on the Dreambox, including pre-built services and accessories. We smell a Mother’s Day gift! Click here and use code “LARSDREAMBOX600” for $200 off your Dreambox, $200 Pre-Built service (automatically applied and available in the DreamBox Design Studio), and Up to $212 off accessories (automatically applied and available in the DreamBox Design Studio.)

Honestly, there is no limit to what you can store in the Dreambox. It is the perfect tool to greater element of organization to your office, craft space, or homeschool stations. If anything, you should perhaps be planning for what you’ll fill all your freed-up space with after your spring cleaning! If you need more ideas, dig into our archives for decor-oriented crafts after you get organized!

Bedroom and bathroom organization

Your bedroom will become a calming sanctuary when clutter is out of site and out of mind.

Kid’s room organization

Your children will be begging to tidy their rooms with these fun new storage tools. At least, that’s the daydream, right?

Kitchen organization

The center of the home, and the biggest sign of the state of your mind. A tidy kitchen makes a world of difference!

Living room organization

With all family members at home more than ever before, add in some simple storage options to get everyone on board with a quick clean.

 

 

 

4 reasons why I love my new artful TV

My new TV looks just like a painting!

I’m not necessarily an “electronics” person. In fact, I didn’t have a TV for all of my twenties. However, you’d never know it now with the level of enthusiasm I have when I speak about my new TV. It’s by Samsung and it’s called The Frame and I’m very openly and unabashedly in love with it. Yes, this is TOTALLY a sponsored post, but really, I can’t even express how passionate I am about this piece of technology. I wish you could just come on over and I’d take you through it (stay tuned! I will on InstaStories!). In fact, we sold our previous TV a few days ago and the guy asked why we are selling it… “Because, take a look at this!” and I proceeded to spend 10 minutes telling him how awesome it is. Somehow he still ended up buying our 4 year old used TV. There are the four reasons I love my TV so much.My new TV looks just like a painting!

Our favorite Gee’s Bend Quilts

I’m excited to share the Gee’s Bend Quilts with you because it’s old news that I’m obsessed with quilted things and the rich heritage related to quilting. You’ve seen my quilted coat fascination (on more than one occasion), the coat that I enlisted Romy of Sew Like Romy to make for me last year, the quilted eye mask that I made from some of the extra pieces, and you’ve found out about the big feelings people have about repurposing quilts. I even quilted a patchwork bandana and scrunchie this spring. I know, I know, we get it! Lars loves quilts!

Gee’s Bend History

Gee’s Bend is a small, Black community surrounded by the Alabama River where families have been passing down a quilting tradition since their enslaved foremothers, who lived on the local Pettway Plantation. repurposed whatever material they had access to into colorful quilts. At different points in history the Gee’s Bend quilters have used deadstock corduroy and discarded work clothes in their work.

Gee’s Bend quilts have gained a reputation for being some of the most vibrant, artistically boundary-bending quilts in the American art tradition. They remind me of some of the best Modernist paintings in that the Gee’s Bend quilts are full of color, geometry, and an acknowledgement of the human hand.

 

Even though the Gee’s Bend quilts are now acknowledged as a vital part of American art history, many of the quilters aren’t consistently paid their worth. When I realized that you can buy Gee’s Bend Quilts directly from the artists on Etsy I knew I had to share! So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite Gee’s Bend quilts and quiltmakers!

Quiltmakers

You can read about lots of the individual quiltmakers here. I love reading up on each artist’s story and seeing the ways that their families have passed on quilting traditions. For example, here’s a quilt by Amelia Bennett, who used to quilt with her neighbors and passed her legacy on to her daughter Sally Bennett Jones.

A multicolored quilt made of concentric squares and rectangles.
Amelia Bennet, Housetop 12-Block Variation, photo by Stephen Pitkin

Many of the living Gee’s Bend artists have work available on Etsy. I’ve linked to each individual artist’s shop, so click on their names for more!

Sharon Williams

Katie Mae

Doris Pettway Moseley

Doris Pettway Hackets

Caster Pettway

Lou Ida

Emma Pettway

Claudia Pettway Charley

Stella Mae

Delia

Mary Margaret Pettway

Kristin Pettway

Loretta Pettway Bennett

I love the ingenuity of these Gee’s Bend quilted masks!

I would love to hear about your favorite artists, especially Black artists whose work you’re loving! Let me know in the comments!

And if you’re interested in supporting women makers around the world like those of Gee’s Bend, consider donating to Nest.

5 Secrets for Pattern Mixing

Over the last few months I’ve done a lot of designing! From the upstairs bathroom (full remodel reveal coming soon!) to the downstairs office, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in front of a mood board. A big part of design is mixing patterns, and I know it can be daunting. There’s so much to consider and it’s not hard to cross the line from fabulous to overwhelming, especially with all the options available at places like Spoonflower! And there really are SO MANY great options at Spoonflower.

Whether you’re putting together a room or an outfit, you should know how to mix patterns. Here are some of my favorite pattern-mixing tips!

Color

Color is one of the very first things that you notice about any design. It’s immediate and impactful, and it stays in your brain. Think about it–if you go into a room you’re more likely to remember that the walls were green than the pattern on the curtains. It’s important to stick to a cohesive color scheme when you’re mixing patterns. Otherwise, things get really chaotic really fast!

How to Mix Patterns with Lenox Global Tapestry

Scale

Having a good blend of large and small patterns keeps your design visually interesting. Larger, more graphic patterns really stand out against smaller, delicate patterns. Meanwhile, some small patterns give a nice place for the eye to rest, which makes large and small pattern mixing a symbiotic situation.

An interior photo. The wall is blue floral wallpaper, there's a big houseplant, a patterned rug, and pillows propped on a wooden bench.
Design by Justina Blakeney

Contrast

The whole point of pattern mixing is to get variety in a design, and contrast is a great principle to help you do it right. Contrast comes into design in lots of ways: you can contrast color, scale, shape, pattern type, value, and more.

When you’re mixing patterns, it helps to think of one element to contrast and then maintain cohesiveness with the others. For example, if you use patterns with contrasting colors, you might want to tone down the contrast in scale, intensity, shape, etc. And if you’re pairing a bold floral with a checkerboard pattern, keeping to a color palette will prevent your design from getting too hectic.

A brightly-colored room with blue floral wallpaper, a colorful rug, bright pillows, and lots of knickknacks around.
Design by Justina Blakeney

How to Mix Patterns with Lenox Global Tapestry

Mood

Another consideration in pattern mixing is mood. If you mix a zany zig zag with a delicate calico, you might experience some design whiplash. The moods are just very different. Instead, think of an overall mood that you want your design to have, then choose patterns that contribute to that mood.

a blue poster with flowers drawn on it hangs on a green botanical wallpapered wall. There's a bright yellow chair, white office furniture, and a pink room in the space.

Know When to Pull Back

I have a distinct childhood memory of a crafting session with my grandma when she said “Every artist needs someone to bonk them on the head with a hammer when the work is done so that they’ll finally put down the paintbrush.” Now that I think of it, I wonder what kind of chaos I was crafting with her to make her say that! Of course, my grandmother is a lovely person and would never actually condone violence. Still, the idea that you need to know when to pull back holds up.

The House That Lars Built wrapping papers for Alexis Mattox Design

A big part of pattern mixing all design is stepping back, evaluating, and modifying your work. It might feel discouraging to undo some of your work if you realize that it’s too overwhelming or not quite right. I know, because I’ve been there. But you’ll be so much happier with your work if you let yourself evaluate honestly and remember some restraint.

With that being said, design is subjective and you’re the master of your own destiny! What is absolutely too much for designer might become another designer’s signature style. Design rules are meant to be broken, so once you’re confident with some pattern mixing basics go wild!

a horizontally striped art print hanging on a wallpapered wall. The wallpaper is a modern green botanical pattern.

Finding Great Patterns

Like I mentioned before, Spoonflower is a great place to find wallpaper, fabric, and even housewares with beautiful patterns made by independent designers. Spoonflower is my go-to for interior design patterns and fun fabric. We’ve really worked with them so many times and we’re always thrilled with the variety and quality of their products.

You can check out some of our favorite Spoonflower designers here, and keep your eyes peeled for some Lars Spoonflower projects coming up soon. 😉

For more pattern inspiration don’t forget to follow my Patterns board on Pinterest! And another designer I love (who’s a pattern-mixing genius) is my dear friend Meta Coleman, who is designing our house. Lucky me!

A few years ago I wrote another pattern mixing guide! You can find it here, and combine your knowledge from both sources to become a pattern mixing pro. 

A Lars Girl’s Back to School Guide

I put together a back to school themed roundup of my favorite school supplies and dorm essentials, so if I can’t start a new semester in a few weeks at least I can shop as if I were!

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 my current favorites!

I also put together a list of my current favorite laptop covers and stickers, which you can see here. Another great addition to your back to school supply list is this DIY beeswax wrap and this reusable lunch sack.

My friend Michele Brummer Everett designed these back to school stickers, and they’d be the perfect addition to your water bottle, notebook, or laptop.

back to school stickers on notebooks

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. And here are my favorite additions to any student housing situation:

If you’re looking for more dorm inspiration, check it out here and here.

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

Two art prints for coronavirus relief charities

Art for Coronavirus Charities

First off, we are thrilled to introduce a new artist to Lars Print Shop, Erin Jang. Remember when we interviewed her last year? Big fans! Erin Jang is the graphic designer and illustrator behind the creative studio, The Indigo Bunting. Her clients include The New York Times, Apple, Bon Appétit, Urban Outfitters, and Chronicle Books. Her books include You, Me, We! (A 2-in-1 activity book set for parents and kids to fill in together available here) and the craft book, Make & Give. She lives in New York City with her husband and two young boys.Art for coronavirus

I’ve loved following Erin as she shares a daily activity to do with your children during social distancing. She’s always so good at showing how to do things with your children. And guess what? This art print is no exception! Here’s what she had to say about the print:

I created a version of this print many years ago, part of an effort to raise money for charity. I was a new mother at the time, and I wanted to make something that would help give me encouragement and ground me.

Years later, I am revisiting these virtues, and this print, with the help of my now 8-year-old son (his handwriting is on the right side of the print). We are sheltering in place here in our small apartment in the middle of NYC, with our two boys, and I feel the heaviness of all that is happening in our city, in the world. Our city is turned upside down, and there is so much deep loss in every way. These virtues appear basic, but they are so hard to live out, especially in times like this. But I am seeing how much I need to return to these small, simple things — to hold on to them, to relearn them myself, to teach them to my boys, to try to practice them together in small measures (and fail, then start anew the next day). Now more than ever, these small, good things matter, and they help us rebuild.

If you’d like to help in a small way, the proceeds of every purchase of this print will be donated to the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund which helps provide relief and support to health care workers, local small businesses, displaced hourly workers including immigrant workers, families, youth and other vulnerable New Yorkers.

Art for coronavirus

The print comes in white OR black. You can find them here.

You can follow more of Erin’s work at @theindigobunting. 

Amanda Jane Jones Art for Charity

You should be familiar with Amanda Jane Jones by now (we’ve been talking about her for months!) Her collection of prints is inspired by her children’s book, Yum, Yummy, Yuck. There’s the banana, apple, cherries, pear, ice cream, and booger (ha!). You can see the full collection here. They are AMAZING as oversized prints. I love what she did here:

Amanda is giving the profits from her collection all to No Kid Hungry. As the coronavirus crisis bars kids from the school meals they depend on, everyday people, celebrities, corporations and others are stepping up to ensure these kids can eat. They are using donations large and small, from individuals just like us, to support kids who are struggling.

Amanda is also providing wonderful resources for children this time. You can follow her at @amandajanejones

We are thrilled to share Amanda and Erin’s quest to support these charities by purchasing their art. You can shop the collections here

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. 

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!

Julie Marabelle of Famille Summerbelle now in the Lars Print shop!

Julie Marabelle for Lars Print Shop

The delicate nature of the flowers in each illustration is a perfect addition to our print shop and your own home gallery. Like the rest of our shop, you can choose to buy the download (the cheapest option!) and print it yourself or you can get the print. You can get it matted and framed too! I sprinkled her prints throughout my house and they fit so well! 

Remember my guest room reveal? It was lacking some art and so I framed hers and put it up. I love how it fits in with the rest of the room.

Affordable art prints from Lars Print Shop

Here you can see the Polkadot Potted Flowers and Field of Blue Flowers prints.

Floral Papercut Prints in my living room

To my living room I added the blue potted duos:Affordable floral art prints from Lars Print Shop

The Blue potted flower and the Blue vase

Affordable artwork for the bedroom

And lastly, I have her blue colored flowers in my bedroom. It all works so so well!

affordable art prints

Floral Paper Cut Prints

To create the collection, she painted paper and then used her famous process of paper cutting to create the exquisite cuts. What’s so cool about the prints is that she created them in a way that you can see the shadows so you know that they are paper cuts and not just 2D floral images. They have much depth!

We couldn’t be more excited about the Famille Summerbelle Collection. If you would like to check out more of Famille Summerbelle, stroll on over to their site (good news, they ship worldwide!). Who needs to wait for May flowers when you can put these beauties up in your own home right away! There’s no better time than this period of social distancing to brighten up your walls with pretty new floral prints. You could separate these pieces into different rooms, or create a sweet gallery wall near a sunny window to pull the outside in. Check each bouquet out in the shop!

To welcome Julie to the shop, please take 15% off her collection until next Sunday, the 19th with code WELCOMEJULIE.

Stay tuned for our interview with Julie herself!

In the mean time, you can check out the full collection over at Lars Print Shop.

In the Mood For Josef Albers

Art-inspired furniture is a great way to bring color and style into your home. After all, we at Lars don’t talk about building an artful life for nothing!

Who was Josef Albers?

Josef Albers was born March 19, 1888, in Bottrop, Germany. His career in teaching art took off in 1923 when Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus school, invited Albers to teach as a professor at Bauhaus alongside his wife, Anni. They taught alongside Oskar SchlemmerWassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee. When the Nazi government forced Bauhaus to close in 1933, Albers emigrated to the United States. He brought along the ideas formed at Bauhaus as he headed the art department at the newly established and experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Years later, he headed the design department at Yale University where he worked until retirement.

Josef Albers Homage to a Square: concentric red, orange and yellow squares

Josef Albers’ book, Interaction of Color first published in 1971 and remains an essential handbook and teaching aid for artists, instructors, and students to explain color theory principles. His most renowned work, the Homage to the Square series, began in 1950 and lasted for 25 years. 

Jasper playing with an Albers-inspired felt board in a colorful room

Josef Albers Felt Board

Our Josef Albers felt board is a great project for a lot of reasons. It comes together in just 10 to 15 minutes, depending on whether you make a two-toned background, looks incredible hung up on the wall, and cleans up in a trice. Even though it’s technically a toy, this felt board doubles as art-inspired furniture!

A pile of colored felt.

Materials:

¾-yard felt in two colors, colored felt sheets in various colors, rotary cutter and fabric ruler or scissors, thread, sewing machine, velcro, hot-glue gun, hot-glue sticks

When you’re selecting your felt colors, look for a balance of bright and more subdued hues in a few tonal groups that pop well with your bigger background felts

cream and yellow felt pinned together. Sewing the background felt together sewn together felt background Cutting strips of felt for the feltboard

Instructions:

  1. Line up your background felts with about an inch overlapping. Pin them together.
  2. Sew the background together with two straight lines. The first seam should be half an inch away from the edge of the overlap, and the second seam should be an eighth of an inch from the edge.
  3. Trim the edges of your newly formed large background rectangle to make sure they’re nice and straight.
  4. Cut pieces of your felt sheets into rectangles and squares of varying sizes. (For reference, our larger ones are 9-by-10 inches; medium are 7-by-7 inches, and small are 4-by-6 inches and 3-by-4 inches.)
  5. With a dot of hot glue, attach Velcro to the back of the felt background. Use a Command strip or other removable adhesive to attach the other side of the Velcro to the wall—and let the creative color pairings begin!

Can’t get enough of felt boards? I don’t blame you! Check out our Mattise-inspired felt board here!

colorful felt board in a colorful room

Art-Inspired Furniture a la Josef Albers

Whether or not you want to make your own felt board toy/decoration, this art-inspired furniture is sure to make your living space feel extra special.

Rugs

Rugs add so much impact to a room. Remember Brittany’s rainbow office? The tonal rug in there really brings things together and makes the space feel cozy and modern. I was thrilled to find these extremely accurate representations of Albers’ work in rug form! You can really live in a work of art with these amazing pieces.

Even though these other two rugs aren’t perfect replicas of Josef Albers artworks, they really capture the spirit of his work, so I wanted to include them here. The golden tonal rug invokes Albers’ color theory work, and the the color block bathmat is so reminiscent of the geometric patterns he used.

Golden tonal rugA grey, white, black, and gold colorblock bath mat

Don’t forget to check out these other rugs we found, which are all under $1000!

Pillows

Throw pillows are versatile and oh so cozy! Here are some of my favorites.

I also love this one with concentric squares a la Homage to the Square.

Homage to the Square Pillow

Lots of these would pair excellently with our collection of statement sofas. Statement sofas have the same mood as a lot of Josef Albers’ work: bold, color-driven, and designed to stand out.

Blankets and Throws

Contemporary style doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be cozy! All these blankets and throws combine beautiful color mixing with bold graphics to make for an utterly luscious and snuggly addition to your home.

Books

Josef Albers’s Interaction of Color is still used to teach about color. The 50th anniversary Edition came out a few years ago. I recommend it for every student of color!

Josef Albers

Show us your art-inspired home!

If you make our Albers-inspired felt board or buy any art-inspired furniture from our collections, we would love to see it! Tag us with #LarsMakes and #LarsAtHome to share.

Thanks again to Domino magazine for collaborating with us on this project!

Jasper sits in front of a colorful Josef Albers-inspired felt board in a colorful room

Felix’s New Nursery

Before my first son, Jasper, arrived we raced to get his nursery done and it paid off (you can see it here. I had such a wonderful experience having a fully designated space for him–it felt almost magical. Just him and me having our special place together nursing and me admiring him. We were certainly in a little newborn bubble. I think I even heard choruses of angels around us.

Interior shot of a child's room. Walls are green, A pink checkerboard rug is on the floor. A white rocking chair is central in the image.

With Felix, because of all the new home renovations and normal, if not over, work load, I didn’t get his nursery done, not even close. And I felt the toll! For a while I slept on a mattress downstairs next to his bassinet before transferring up to our bedroom and then we were constantly moving because we’ve been renovating the closet, bathroom, putting baseboards, etc. It’s been wild, uncomfortable…chaotic. Not conducive to a magical experience.

An interior shot featuring a painted green wall with a brightly colored lamp and a toy doll perched on a wicker shelf.

And then we partnered with our friends at Pottery Barn Kids and life got so much better as you might expect when you, well, partner with Pottery Barn Kids. 

Most important to me when creating a space for a baby is figuring out the immediate needs. Number one, especially in the early stages, is nursing. Life kind of revolves around it at this point (you too?): schedules, meals, outings (or lack there of right now, right?!). Everything! I nursed exclusively with Jasper and I’ve done the same with Felix (though I seriously reconsidered that this weekend after my first bout with mastitis–YIKES!).

Interior shot of a nursery. In the foreground, a red toy airplane rests on a white ottoman. In the background is a wooden dresser with a small Danish flag on top and some illustrations on the wall.

Because of my bad back, I like to have a great chair set up in place so I know it will be comfortable and I don’t have to scramble to make something up last minute. Jasper’s rocking chair has almost become a member of our family based on how much we use it. Though I no longer nurse him, we gather around it for stories every day. I knew I needed another one for Felix so we could create the same tradition in his room.

Interior shot of a child's room. Walls are green, A pink checkerboard rug is on the floor. A white rocking chair is central in the image.

Have you searched on Pottery Barn Kids recently? Look at all their nursery chair and ottoman options. I’ll wait….There’s a TON of styles and features. I looked for one that had a shallow back so that it wouldn’t have to strain while nursing. I also wanted one that felt both classic yet modern. I arrived at the Modern Wingback Slipcovered Glider and Ottoman. I got it in their classic white linen, which on first glance seems crazy, but because it’s a slipcover, you can easily take it on and off (velcro!) and wash it. 

Brittany sits in a white rocking chair next to a window and a green wall and snuggles Felix.A white rocking chair against a green wall with a colorful lamp in the background. An orange stuffed fox and a pillow are on the chair. Interior shot of a green nursery. In the foreground is a white rocking chair with a few pillows, toys, and books on it and in the background is a wooden dresser.

It may seem like a funny thing to get excited about, but I need my nursing conditions to be, well, perfect, and their ottoman is the perfect height so I can prop Felix up and be super comfortable. I’m so pleased with my new arrangement I can’t even express it. The magical feelings are starting to reemerge again and none too soon!

A white rocking chair against a green wall with a colorful lamp in the background. An orange stuffed fox and a pillow are on the chair.

But there’s more. Have you seen their collection of cribs and changing stations? There are so many beautiful options. I went all white with Jasper, but I wanted something different for Felix so I got an all wood collection–something to feel deeper. I chose the Dawson Convertible Crib, which is somehow even more beautiful in person than it is on a screen. It will grow with Felix into a toddler bed too so it’s worth the investment (two beds in one!). It’s also GREENGUARD Gold Certified, meaning it meets or exceeds stringent chemical emissions standards and it’s made in a Fair Trade Certified facility. I feel really good about their manufacturing processes and love being able to align myself with them.

A wooden dresser with a clock, changing basket, Danish flag, and blanket on top. The wall has a few illustrations hanging on it.

Then for the changing table/dresser I went with the Dawson dresser. Again, it’s a beautiful blend of traditional and modern with the clean lines and fine detailing on the drawers. It comes in a lovely acorn color with the same ethical standards. Again, even more beautiful and illuminating in person. It looks so good against the green walls! Which brings me to my next point.

Brittany sits in a white rocking chair against a green wall and snuggles Jasper and Felix.

Jasper’s nursery at our old house was more light and airy and again, I wanted something where we played with color more. The room is also acting as Paul’s office so I wanted to take his preferences into consideration. Paul loves BRIGHT colors. I’m talking saturated, BRIGHT colors. We settled on a agreen, but what green was the question! He LOVES a classic Jaguar green but then I got this lovely checkerboard pink/magenta rug (used from Hannah Carpenter as spotted by Meta Coleman) and wanted to merge the two colors together somehow.

A white rocking chair against a green wall with a colorful lamp in the background. An orange stuffed fox and a pillow are on the chair. The floor is covered by a magenta checkerboard rug with a few wooden cars and an airplane on it.

I figured out that the green needed to be a bit more blue so we went with this Palm Frond color. I thought it was going to be too much for me but with the gorgeous wood furniture, it’s MAGICAL. I tried out a contrasting trim in a light blue, the same color we’ll be using for our bathroom, and I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about it…I like it sometimes and other times I’m not sure. I’m not sure you can see it too well in these photos so maybe you can speak to that quite yet.

Interior shot of a child's room with a green wall, a wicker shelf with a toy on it, and a crib. The crib has a denim-colored quilt hanging over the side.

I accessorized with the cutest bed sheet/comforter set. The sheets are dreamy soft and play well with the green of the walls. I love the chambray look always. It tends to go with most things.

Then I added in some green gingham curtains to play with the color too.

Shot of the inside of a wooden crib, with a few toys and pillows inside it.

With all the other bright color accessories we own, the color works so well and it’s now one of the few rooms in the house that feels GOOD! I’m still calling it a phase one design because we might adjust some things, but in the meantime, I’m spending all my time in there.

Brittany sits in a white rocking chair against a green wall and snuggles Jasper and Felix.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.

Thank you Pottery Barn Kids for making our nursery dreams come true and for sponsoring this post!