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!

 

 

Scallop Wave DIY Pinboard

Inspiration: the moodboard for my pinboard

The scallop/wave trend is hot hot hot right now. Slow undulating lines are visually really peaceful, but since it’s an unusual pattern, it holds your attention. Gustaf Westman is a furniture designer who builds beautiful mirrors that serve as inspiration for my DIY. If you want to buy his beautiful work, check out his page

Another source of inspo for this project comes from Matilda Goad. This self-described “scallop-loving designer” has a fantastic and playful sense of design and color, and her pieces have a certain je nes sais quoi that make a house feel like home. The images below are from here instagram here

My final mood-board item is this picture that I saw on @houseandgardenuk’s instagram. They featured a dreamy kitchen designed by Gabby Deeming and Ruth Sleightholme. I love the zigzag variation of scallops on the kitchen cabinets, and the gentle green is so appealing. 

My Plans

In my head I can visualize you, dear friend, scrolling through until you get to the pictures and instructions for my DIY. Stop scrolling – you made it! First things first, you need a bulletin board. Then, I decided how much of my board I want to cover with paint. Find the full steps below!

DIY bulletin board painted

How to make your own scallop wave pinboard

Instructions
– Measure the bulletin board & decide how thick you want your scalloped border to be.
– Use a ruler to draw guiding lines showing how far the border will extend, based on the thickness you chose. (Our board’s scalloped border was about 5 inches thick from the edge of the board).
– Measure the space left on the middle of the bulletin board between your guiding lines. Decide how many scallops you want on each side and then divide the length of the available space by the number of scallops. This will tell you how large each scallops should be.
– Use your ruler to measure and mark the desired length of your scallop onto a piece of card-stock paper. Once you have the length drawn, create the scallop shape and cut it out. This will be your stencil. (You could trace something round like a bowl or free hand this. Folding the card stock in half is a good way to check that the sides of your scallop are symmetrical.)
– Follow the guiding lines as you trace the scallop stencil across your bulletin board. This will keep your peaks even across the edges.
– Complete the look by rounding the corners into similar shapes, you can use the same stencil if there’s room or freehand it.
– Fill in the boarder with paint, 1-2 coats depending on the thickness of your paint.
-Let it dry and your DIY scallop wave pinboard is complete! Fill it with inspiration picks for the next project you want to tackle 😉

Scallop Wave DIY Pinboard

We would love to see what scalloped creations you come up with! Tag us on Instagram so we can see your works of art!

Kid’s Toys: Lars Shop Highlight

What is Eeboo?

We couldn’t tell you about our Eeboo kid’s toys without introducing the company’s incredible background. First of all, women and mothers run this company. I mean, who knows kid’s toys better than mothers? I love how thoughtful these toys are. They make board games, watercolor sets, puzzles, and so much more. (You can find them here!) It just goes to show how the experience of being a mother influences their ability to understand children’s brains and what they need. And need I mention that they have the awards (Oppenheim best toy awards and honors) to prove it?

kid's toys

kid's toys

Encouraging development in children

One amazing aspect of Eeboo as a company is their focus on developmental learning in kid’s toys. They help kids develop skills like literacy, storytelling, drawing, imaginative play, and basic math. I mean, could I be more impressed? Kid’s toys that help their development while also helping them have fun? I can say from experience that it can definitely be a challenge to get kids to want to settle down when they’re feeling wild. And you can forget concentrating on learning things like math. So to have kid’s toys that are fun, interactive, and help make learning fun is a dream come true.

kid's toys

Screen-free

At Eeboo, the goal with their kid’s toys is to integrate learning and play in a screen-free way. This is so important (and need I say refreshing?) when we all have screens coming out our ears! It’s hard to get away, and these kid’s toys are a really beautiful way to succeed at it.

Commissioned illustrators

They also commission all their artwork from well-known and well-loved illustrators. It shows, too! The illustrations make their kid’s toys feel so fresh and original–artwork straight from the source. And friends, these illustrations are beautiful. They are delicate, detailed, and full of personality. Need I add that they are colorful and bright? They’re just what every child needs to stay interested and engaged.

Look at the illustrations on these watercolors and paper! Incredible, right? They’d make the perfect gift for a rainy afternoon to get those creative juices flowing.

kid's toyskid's toys

Care and dedication

I’d have to say one of my favorite things about these Eeboo kid’s toys is the care and dedication they give to their customers. They even have a booklet that talks about their values and priorities. I mean, come on! They go to great efforts to be sustainable, respect diversity, value design, and so much more.

I just keep dreaming about the things I would have done if I’d had these toys as a kid. I love how these building blocks promote creativity and imaginative play, for instance.

kid's toys

If you haven’t caught on by now, I am in love with these kid’s toys and can’t wait for Jasper (and eventually Felix) to start playing with them! Click here to get to our whole Eeboo shop collection. If you also fell in love while reading this, you’ll probably also love these other favorites: Kid’s art kit, Op art paper mobile, Thanksgiving coloring placemats, and quilted dog book plate.

Interior Design Trend: Favorite Spoonflower Artists

Wallpaper is one of my favorite interior design trends–though can we really call it a trend if it’s been around for so long? Either way, wallpaper is in and here to stay and I’m so glad because–COLOR and PATTERN! It opens up so many possibilities in a space, and it’s doable as a DIY.

You’ve probably seen me use Spoonflower wallpapers (and fabrics!) before, like in my old master bedroom makeover, this summery tablescape, a fabric-covered lampshade, and most recently this DIY duffel bag picnic blanket tote. And while I can’t say more now, keep your eyes peeled for some more Spoonflower fun coming up soon. 😉

Lamp customized with spoonflower fabric from Holli Zollinger against a wildflower covered wall.

Favorite Spoonflower Artists

I’ve made it super easy for you to get to these artists’ work–just click on their name or their artworks to be instantly transported to their shops!

Holli ZollingerHolli Zollinger fabrics on Spoonflower

I haven’t done the math but I’m thinking Holli might be the most prolific artist on Spoonflower. She has over 3700 designs and they’re all good! She has more of a boho flair intermixed with some more French-inspired styles. I think she’s open to customizing them too if you ever need it! I’ve used a number of her patterns like on this lamp. And stay tuned for our upcoming office makeover! You can see some of my favorite Holli designs in our collection here.

Helen P Designs

favorite spoonflower designers

I picked out a few Helen P Designs for our office makeover like this oranges above. I think it would also make a great dress!

Design by MLagsfavorite designers on Spoonflower

I’m in LOVE with these gorgeous moody florals from MLags!

Modern Colorist

If some of these look familiar from our DIY duffle bag picnic blanket tote, that’s because these are my sister’s designs!

My sister has done freelance pattern work and in-house pattern work for a number of companies and she’s so good. She’s put past patterns into her Spoonflower shop.

Mandy England

I thought this floral would be fun for a girl’s room or something!

Willow Lane Designs


Designs by Kelly Attenborough


Designs by Muhlenkott


Peacoquette

If you’re a big fan of William Morris, Peacoquette’s Spoonflower shop is the place to find William Morris-inspired wallpaper designs (and more). Also, I just noticed that she has over 4500 designs! She wins the contest!  William Morris inspired designs.
Das Brooklyn

 

Crumpets and Crabsticks

Designs by Kate Rhees


Ramarama


Melissa Hyatt Fabrics
Fern Leslie Studio


Forest and SeaAugust Croft


DomesticateDanika Herrick

We used Danika’s Citrus Grove Toile for our Mother’s Day tablescape last year so it’s a personal favorite. 

Lana Red Studio

Lana Red’s designs are geared toward fabric and home decor over wallpaper, but I couldn’t resist showing you her work anyway.

Katie Kortman

Katie is a friend of Lars. She even was a featured artist in Picture Hope Coloring Book. She makes the coolest clothes with her self-designed fabrics. You can take a look at them here on her Instagram.

Mia Maria

Mia has some awesome stripes and plaids that would be so fun for clothing and upholstery projects. They’ve got my mind racing!

Julia Schumacher

I LOVE her blues!

Lily Oake

Really dainty and feminine florals and perfect accent ginghams and stripes.

Atelier Dorina

Spoonflower collections

One of my favorite things to do with Spoonflower is to add all my favorite designs to my “favorites” folder. And then if I’m working on a specific project, I like to make a folder and all the patterns I’m considering for it in there. You can see some of my collections here:

Your Favorite Interior Design Trends

Are you a fellow pattern lover? Do you have a favorite interior design trend? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to share your interior design photos with me on Instagram with #LarsAtHome.

New art collection from Adriana Picker and interview

We are lucky to get 4 prints inspired by her book that are now in the Shop. I think they’d be so lovely in a girl’s room or basically any spot that needs a dose of beautiful pastel flowers. I can even imagination it as a beautiful punctuation point in a bathroom!

Today we are sharing an interview with the Australian author and illustrator. Her background is so interesting! Petal book by Adriana Picker

Interview with Adriana Picker

1. What do you consider yourself? Example: Artist, designer, illustrator, maker, business person etc.?

I mostly like to refer to myself as a botanical illustrator now days!

2. Who helped you “become” who you are?

I am very blessed to be surrounded and supported by many wonderful, fiercely intelligent, inspiring women. The women in my family are responsible for the genesis of my creativity and are a constant source of strength. Particularly my grandmother Emma, who instilled in me a passion for flowers at a very young age, my incredible Aunt Margo who taught me to be self-reliant and make anything conceivable and of course my mother, Sally, who is a wonderful artist. She is a constant inspiration to me.

The friendship of other women has been so important to me personally and professionally. I have a circle of very generous and talented creative women that I rely on heavily for support. I certainly would not be who I am today with out them. I am so lucky to count amongst my close friends Peptalker founder Meggie Palmer, incredible artists Gemma O’brien, Amber Vittoria and Georgia Hill. Designer and founder of the incredible homewares studio House of Heras – Silvana Azzi Heras has been a mentor and incredibly close friend of mine for over ten years. And I’ve recently had the great privilege to work with Uli Beutter Cohen, founder of Subway book review on the promotion of my new book Petal. Her support has been invaluable to me through what has become a rather unusual book launch!Petal book by Adriana Picker

3. Do you feel like you’ve arrived at what you set out to do?

I don’t think there will ever be a great sense of arrival for me. Or of completion.

I think one of the great joys of truly loving the work you do, is that it if your work is a calling not just a means of making money, there is always something to be done. Always something I feel compelled to do! Even when am I working on a project, I am thinking of what I want to create next, looking for inspiration and making plans. This is probably the most magical part of the creative process for me, that dreamy phase were ideas are swirling around in your head in a luxurious, hazy mix, just before they solidify. The possibility is intoxicating.
4. What more would you like to “become”? 
Kind. Compassionate. Generous. Understanding. Self-assured. Self-aware. Financially literate. Able to articulate my emotional needs. Grateful. Joyous. Lead a life with a closer connection to nature. Adaptable.
It is a lovely thing to think that we will always be a work in progress and there is always a chance for betterment.Petal book by Adriana Picker

5. Why flowers?

My whole life has been punctuated by flowers. Flowers for me are still so strongly linked to family, in particular my grandmother and mother. Flowers have become the vessels of my fondest memories, connections to the places where I find the most joy and reminders of the people I most cherish. No wonder flowers have been a constant and enduring love in my life. So many years later, the flowers I first encountered in my grandmother’s garden are my favourites to draw. I think she would be so very thrilled if she could see the work I do today.Petal book by Adriana Picker

6. Why did you create this book?

I love flowers. I love EVERY type of flower. This book is my love letter to these ephemeral jewels of nature: a celebration of the floral world. Within the pages lie a collection that spans priceless hothouse gems and unapologetic roadside survivors. The world of flowering plants – otherwise known as angiosperms – is so vast, varied and alluring, that narrowing down the selection has been an excruciating process. I want this book to not only highlight our most loved blooms, but also to shine new light on those plant families considered unfashionable or not highly valued. The humble geranium, for example, has long been a favourite of mine; anything that boasts a variegated leaf, with its painterly stripes or swirls and contrast of colours, catches my breath and sets my heart a’flutter. Even something as ubiquitous as a corner-store tulip, swaddled in plastic, can still bring brightness to a kitchen table. Through this book, I want to share my vast passion for flowers, with the hope the viewer can gaze with a fresh lens, perhaps inspiring exploration of a certain plant previously off the radar. Petal book by Adriana Picker

You can find Adriana here:

Adriana’s portfolio
@AdrianaPicker
You can find her book, Petal, here

Adriana Picker for Lars Print Shop

There are four to choose from: dahlia, tulip, rose, and cosmo. Some of my favorites!
Dahlia art print by Adriana PickerDahlia art print by Adriana Picker
Book photos by Bridget Badore

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. 

All the renovations we did to our rental

All the changes we’ve made to our rental

Admittedly, it’s not the tiniest of apartments. In fact, when we first moved in we thought it was ginormous, by Denmark standards. We moved here from Copenhagen 7 years ago and did leaps around with “all the space” we had. We started out renting 2 bedrooms and they had another bedroom in the basement, which they rented out to me after about a year for my home studio. It was the biggest room in the house so it was such a step up for me and Lars at the time.

In 2015 I got a studio space in the neighboring town (I should show you all the changes we did to that space, because that’s also a good one!) and then we had a baby in 2018 and things have become CRAMPED! And since COVID we’ve REALLY been feeling cramped in. It’s probably what motivated us to start looking in the first place. Anyone else experience this?

WHY change your rental?

A lot of people have asked us why we’ve done so much to our rental and sometimes I’ve wondered the same thing, but ultimately, it comes down to this: your environment affects your well-being and I was feeling the need to catch up our space to how I wanted to feel. We knew we wouldn’t move until we bought a house so we wanted to make it a home in the mean time. PLUS, our landlords, who own the house and live upstairs, have become our second parents so we haven’t considered anything a loss. We love the idea that we can improve the space for them.

Kitchen

  1. Here’s the timeline of the kitchen. We started out with the top left photo: oak cabinets, laminate flooring, laminate counters, stainless steel sink and faucet, fluorescent lighting. Everything was functional and nice but not our vibe.
  2. Next, our landlords surprised us by painting our cabinets white. Score!
  3. Then, we did a partnership with Pergo flooring and they replaced all of our flooring, besides the bedrooms, with their wood laminate flooring. We’ve loved them! It really improved the space.
  4. Next, we did a partnership with BEHR paint and we did the two toned painted cabinet trend–white on top and blue on bottom. We also changed out the hardware and our landlords replaced the appliances.

Details of my New Kitchen

Finally, we worked with Caesarstone to replace the laminate countertops with the quartz and we LOVE it so much!

Blinds.com

Living room

Our living room is basically our living and family room combined. It’s definitely where we spend the most time and it’s gone through a transformation for sure!

  1. Once again, we started with beige carpet.We initially replaced the lighting fixture with this gold one from Schoolhouse and that made an impact. We also replaced the vertical blinds with curtains.
  2. Next, we got a new green sofa and that changed the whole tone of the room. You can also see when we switched to the laminate flooring.
    Living Room Reveal
  3. Two years ago we updated the living room with this wildflower wallpaper and got a new sofa to go with it. This is the state we’re currently in
  4. You can see the furniture combos I was looking at for the living room here.
  5. Here’s our first iteration of the gallery to showcase our Frame TV, which we LOVE!!!!My new TV looks just like a painting!

Jasper’s bedroom

We used Jasper’s room as our office before he was born and didn’t touch it, clearly! So, we had a bit of work to do.

Baby boy nursery mural

You can see the transformation of his mural in this post when we worked with Behr paint.

And then the full nursery reveal here. We changed out the blinds (worked with Blinds.com), added furniture (care of Crate and Kids).

The only changes that have come to his nursery is the AMOUNT OF STUFF that we’ve somehow accumulated. We are bursting at the scenes here.

Master bedroom

The master bedroom was PITIFUL. I’m so sad looking at it.

And I’m still in love with the results. We did our partnership with Spoonflower and I used them from head to toe, well, from the wallpapers to the bedding to the matching curtains. I love this room! I think this is the one I’m most sad about leaving. I just love the vibe. You can see the full transformation here.

Guest bedroom

The last room that we did before we bought our house is our guest room with Crate and Barrel earlier this year before COVID.

The guest bedroom we added in an alpiney feeling and lots of accents of color and art. You can read about it here.

Ok, that’s it! Looking back, that’s 5 rooms we switched up, some larger than others. Some were just decorative like wallpaper and curtains, while others, like the kitchen, were more involved and more expensive like switching out appliances, countertops, sinks, etc. Would I do it again? For sure! Yes, they were mostly all for sponsorships so they were considered work and we were paid to do them, but even then, I definitely would suggest customizing your space in some way or manner even if you don’t plan on being there for very long. A happy space creates a happy space in your mind too and that’s soooo important!

I’d love to hear if you’ve done changes to your rental and what they are! Tell me more!

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!

Our New Guest Bedroom Remodel

Where We Started

We knew our guest bedroom needed work. To give you an idea of what we started with, here are some before photos of the space:

As you can see, it’s fairly small (about 8.5×10’) so it can easily feel overcrowded. We needed simplicity, elegance, and something that would help the room feel more spacious, not to mention cozy for our future guests! The guest bedroom wasn’t at the top of my to-do list until we learned that we’d be having a guest stay with us very soon.

Our Guest Bedroom Remodel with Mr. Kate

Because our guest was coming so soon, we knew we needed to get going on a remodel of the guest bedroom if it was going to be done before he arrived. We didn’t have much time! That’s why when Mr. Kate approached us, we were thrilled. The timing was perfect! We were able to use Mr. Kate furniture for so many elements of the guest bedroom, including the desk, bed, and dresser. We went with a lovely deep blue velvet for the Mr. Kate Daphne Bed paired with a Signature Sleep mattress available on RealRooms. We also added in the fun Mr. Kate Winston terrazzo desk and the simple, classy Mr. Kate Stella white dresser. Since the wallpaper is so busy (which we’ll talk more about in a minute!), we wanted pops of solid color to pair with the illustrative details. Those simple, timeless furniture elements paired so nicely with the gorgeous details in the delicate wallpaper.

Trompe L’oeil Wallpaper

Now let me talk about that guest bedroom wallpaper. The biggest thing to puzzle through with any space is what to do with the walls. The guest bedroom is fairly small, so we knew we needed something that wasn’t too time consuming but that would still look amazing. And boy, did we find the perfect solution–Curious wallpaper from Bien Fait!

If you’ve never seen wallpaper like this before, you’re in for a treat. Born in the imagination of Cécile Figuette and beautifully hand-drawn by french illustrator Julie Serre, this classically elegant wallpaper is a surprising and versatile trompe l’oeil.  It’s not only gorgeous and classy, but it also happened to be the perfect solution to our quick wall fix conundrum. It’s so detailed it takes care of all the need for wall decor all in one go! And those little hidden gems are lovely–I mean those little picture frames in the corner, or the painted eyes on the walls?! It’s stunning. Plus the three dimensional nature and open doors peeking into other rooms makes the space feel endlessly spacious and open. And did I mention it’s fully customizable? Doors can be opened or closed, decor elements and even the little kitty can be moved to compose a unique scene, a curious story.

Curtains

For the curtains, we decided to go with a bright pop of golden velvet from West Elm. We paired them with a boho curtain rod from Urban Outfitters. The original one we used is sold out, but this one is similar! We absolutely loved the way they paired with that dreamy blue velvet Mr. Kate Daphne Bed and the detailed wallpaper.

Lampshade

As another pop of color and subtle pattern, we also decided to make a custom drum lampshade. This was such a fun and easy DIY project! Here’s a post where you can learn to make one yourself. We used the tutorial for the DIY fabric lampshade. The wallpaper is almost all the pattern you need in a room like our small guest bedroom, but we couldn’t help but add in a little touch of stripe for the lampshade.

I got the pendant from here and then the fabric from our local fabric shop, Harmony.

How to get the look

Bed  |  Desk  |  Dresser  |  Pendant light  |  Curtains  |  Rug is vintage  |  Curtain rod  |  Plaid blanket Sheets  |  Weights  |

 

What do you think of our guest bedroom remodel? Let us know in the comments!

More Inspiration

Loved this guest bedroom remodel and looking for more home renovation inspiration? Here’s everything we did to our house in one year. Also, here’s our interview with Meta Coleman, our go-to for interior design advice. And don’t forget the newly revealed tour of our studio! You can also check out our recent feature in the Living by Design Virtual Showhouse here.

This post is sponsored by Mr. Kate’s new furniture collection

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.

Felix’s New Nursery

Colorful baby 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.

Setting up a baby nursery

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.

Nursing section in a nursery

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.

Rocking chair in nursery

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.

Features on baby gliders

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.

Baby nursery chair options

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.

Baby nursery furniture

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.

Baby nursery dresser

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.

Colorful baby nursery

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.

Finding the perfect shade of a green for a baby nursery

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.

Nursery bedding

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.

Phase one baby nursery

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!

Are you scared of color?

Do you love color? But also terrified of it?!

As far as I can remember, I’ve always loved color. I even remember sitting around a campfire circle my first week of college sharing the cockles of our hearts with some new friends. What did I share? “I love color, no like you don’t understand, I really love color”. Ha! I guess I had an inkling even then!

But growing up I didn’t know what color meant to me nor how it could be a part of my life. I mean, how could I? I was still experimenting. Really wish I could find some high school photos to illustrate this story, but here we are:

Brittany Jepsen on her bed sewing a dress in a colorful room

Fail: Painting my high school bedroom

Once, in high school, I really wanted to paint my all-white room. Sound familiar? I had my great grandmother’s antique wood bedroom set that’s very lovely, just dark and rather Victorian looking. There wasn’t too much in there that indicated my personality. My mom was really into periwinkle at the time and I thought it would be a good choice for the walls. I remember nothing about the process of selecting the color or putting it on but on it went and the more it went the more TERRIFIED I got. I couldn’t imagine being surrounded by it all the time.

We didn’t get too much farther when called it the whole thing off. I was Color Scared! Surely, I would suffocate in all that color! An unfinished painted periwinkle room was left for the rest of my high school experience–didn’t bother to change it back.

Brittany holding colorful paper in a rainbow dress.

Color Scared Diagnosis

In hind sight, the Color Scare Diagnosis was because of the unknown. I didn’t know what it was going to look like in the end and I certainly had no idea what it was going to look like with posters or artwork on the walls. It would have been THE BOMB (in true 90s high school fashion).

Fast forward about ten years to I’m living in Washington, DC in a small house with 3 roommates after graduating college. My roommate really wanted to paint our kitchen a dark green. I had never done anything so drastic and was SURE that dark green was NOT a good choice. It was going to be too dark and blegh! I had been living in college apartments where we couldn’t do anything to the apartment besides sticky tack and posters and colorful duvet covers. She did one coat of paint and I just about lost it. I was…

COLOR SCARED!

But then she put up a poster in lovely reds and yellows and blacks and all of a sudden it looked…well, lovely! She had the foresight (and maybe the experience) to know that it was going to work out.

Living in a rental with color–don’t be scared!

Many many years later, when Paul and I were living in our rental apartment together, I said “to heck with it all!” I’m not waiting to own a house before I make this my home. I had no idea how long it would be before we owned a house, but life can’t wait just because of contracts. SO, I cleared it with our landlord and we put up floral wallpaper, pinks walls, and painted murals (remember?! You can see it all here).

learning to use color in your rental apartment

Jasper and I have been reading a lot of Aesop’s Fables lately so, the moral of this color-scared story is:

  1. Do not wait to live life for that “one day” when all your conditions are perfect. Warning: conditions will never be perfect!
  2. When in doubt, keep on going! You won’t know what a room will look like if you don’t finish it (but I do have some stories of when you need to stop–ha! Did that just negate that point?!)
  3. The more you experiment, the more comfortable and confident you will become. And paint is one of the cheapest ways to experiment! $40 is worth the risk to see if your life will change (and yes, I contest that color can change your life!).

Tell me. Do you love color? But also terrified of it? Don’t know how to use it? Tell me everything!