Back-To-School: Designing Multifunctional Small Spaces before and after

Back-to-school has us thinking about the infamous “dorm room.”  Such a small space with generic and mismatched furniture. Decorating your first “space” is a coming-of-age ritual: looking for inspiration for bedding, wall art, plants, etc…  However, keeping a small space functional and cute can always be a little tricky. This got us thinking about Mary’s small space guest room (about 86 sq. ft.). We teamed up with DHP furniture once again (you can see previous posts here!) to create a multifunctional room that’s perfect for students and young professionals alike with the help of some of our favorite pieces.  With names like “Brittany” and “Jasper” (a happy coincidence!) we couldn’t help BUT snatch them up for our Back-to-School inspired room. Check out the before and after of Mary’s new space!

Brittany’s Master Bedroom Makeover with Spoonflower

 

We partnered with them earlier this year on some new pillows for my living room and some custom fabric to make a lampshade (see here) so I was already familiar with their great quality and options. And, because I had already done a lot of research on artists and fabrics, I knew exactly where to look. Their marketplace can be overwhelming because of the sheer amount of designers and products, so I spent a good deal of time making collections for each room. That was the easy part. Narrowing down the favorites list was the tricky part. You know the feeling, right? You can take the design so many different directions so you don’t know where to start???

What do you do??! 

How to concept your interior design

Start slowly! I decided to start with mock-ups by placing the products together to see which ones were really pulling me in.

Playing around with options I was able to visualize how to put together different patterns and colors, one of my favorite things to play with. I had so many favorites that I knew it would be tricky to put them together so this helped me narrow down.Spoonflower concepts

To custom headboard or not?

I contemplated making a customized headboard, especially because the beauty of Spoonflower is that you can pretty much customize ANYTHING you’ve ever wanted. They have the ability to put any design onto any products and now, even more so! There are curtains, throws, wallpaper, bedding, you name it. Ultimately, I decided against the custom headboard because I wanted to save on time and headache so I knew I was probably going to find a solid colored one, since those were my options out on the market. Because of that, I wanted to add something decorative to the walls.

Concept 1

There’s one designer, Amy Vail, who references a lot of William Morris patterns and I’m INTO it! Look at this beautiful leaf pattern. I thought it could be fun to play around with some red gingham, like this one from another favorite designer, Peacoquette

Concept 2

I’m loving on some pink right now and wanted to try it out on my walls. Here’s how it goes:

I also contemplated this fun berry and vine stripe pattern in pink from Danika Herrick. I still love it so much, but I think I’d love to try it for a girl’s room one day. Danika also has some really lovely chinoiserie patterns. 

Concept 3

I knew I wanted a wallpaper, especially since theirs is renter friendly, so most of my mock-ups kept that in mind. However, in case my landlords wouldn’t go for it, I came up with a solid color paint choice that would still work. A beautiful grey/blue could do the trick:

I found that blue and white stripe and I thought it was so so pretty (clearly I thought it was pretty, as I eventually decided to do the entire bedroom with it!). The stripe is by designer Jenlats.

There’s already a blue theme going in Jasper’s nursery (see here) and I knew it would be fun to switch it up a bit so I tried out a blush pink (you know, because we haven’t seen that color ANYWHERE these days 😉 

Concept 4

I love bringing greenery into a space because it really refreshes it, so when I found this green botanical print, once again from Peacoquette, I thought it would fit the bill beautifully. Then, I spotted this black and white striped headboard that would allow me to play with color and patterns all along with these pink art nouveau daisies that would be in the Spoonflower curtains. Top it off with this calico throw pillow and we’re good to go! 

As soon as I spotted these headboards (here and here), I knew they were the perfect way to contrast the busyness of the wallpaper with the bedding. It needed a respite with a solid color. 

Final concept

The more I looked around and played with the arrangements, I was able to gain a stronger sense of what I wanted so I started bringing in more furniture. My natural inclination lead me to go to the yellow headboard and that’s what I ended up basing my decisions off of.

When I have elements that are more whimsical and botanical like the butterfly bedding, I typically like to have a few other elements that are more streamlined like the lighting fixtures. I found this rad surface lamp from Cedar and Moss called Belle and though it could have leaned too modern, I love how it toned down the whole design and made it feel less, for lack of a better word, “frou frou”. Plus, I loved the idea of bringing in traces of black throughout the room because of the black in the butterfly bedspread.

I’m SO into rattan and wicker right now. You too? I love that it’s slowly been making its way into our vocabulary again, and not in the 80s overdone, fluffy way. It’s become cleaner yet still warm. If found these sconces that did not break the bank and I love them so much! They add the perfect amount of texture.

Finding the right side table has been a bit trickier. I still haven’t bit the bullet yet. I loved the idea of bringing in another color and pink would be great so I found these side tables that would be great but then I also love this peacock blue one. Which one would you go for? 

Before photos

Now, before we get more into the final photos, I want to show you the mess that we were working with. You ready for this? Big gulp….

OUCH! This hurts. I didn’t even clean up for you! You’re welcome! It’s a small room, about 10×10’ with plastic vertical blinds, beige carpet. I painted it white a few years ago so at least there was that. I like to say that the worst before pictures make the best after photos.

Now, you ready for the full reveal???

Final bedroom design

This chair above is one from my grandparent’s home. I haven’t changed the fabric at all, but I kind of like how it works.

I had a little helper who loved jumping his way into the scene. Can you spot him? I’m sure it’s tough 😉

Bedding

Who doesn’t want glorious bedding to sleep in? This duvet, sheets, and shams not only make the design pop, they also make your bedding luxurious. The bedding pieces are made of cotton sateen, which has such a lovely polished look and feel. Jasper loves to snuggle up in it and spread his cracker crumbs everywhere. Yay!

Ok, sorry, I got distracted there…here’s the rest! 

Curtains

I decided to continue the stripe from the walls to the curtains. I loved the idea of an all over pattern (anyone remember Chloe Sevigny’s bedroom?!). And with this particular stripe, it’s just small enough where it’s not too contrasty and because it’s all over it begins to feel more like a solid. I wanted to add a bit of pizzazz into them so I found some yellow trim and handstitched it onto the edges. Love how it turned out! Voilà!

Throw pillows

Spoonflower offers SO MANY choices (over 750,000 patterns) which can be overwhelming but more importantly inspiring!  I loved that there were so many choices for the throw pillows and I had many options to mix and match. PLUS I love supporting independent artists and Spoonflower brings them all to one convenient place. You can find the links to the individual pillows in the product round up below!

Surface mount

Here’s the gorgeous surface mount I was telling you about from Cedar and Moss. Isn’t it so pretty in the space?! 

And let’s end on a few more of the Boo because he just makes everything better. 

So sweet–trying to hit the camera lens. Doh!

I was showing my good friend, Merrilee, pictures of my new room and she reminded me of one of my favorite inspiration images of all time that I realized I was unconsciously referencing. Right?! 

This was also one of our This Girl’s from a few years ago. Take a lookie here.

Spoonflower selections

Here’s a round-up of all the Spoonflower products we used to make this bedroom happen. From the curtains to the wallpaper and bedding, it was all Spoonflower!

  1. Stripe wallpaper
  2. Throw Pillow
  3. Throw Pillow
  4. Throw Pillow
  5. Throw Pillow
  6. Throw Pillow
  7. Throw Pillow
  8. Throw Pillow
  9. Bed sheets and Pillowcase set
  10. Stripe Curtain Panels
  11. Queen Duvet Cover & Shams

 

And here are all the accessories and furniture I used and/or I need your help deciding on! 

  1. Cedar and Moss surface mount
  2. Curtain rod from Anthropologie
  3. Pink side table from West Elm–should I go with this one? 
  4. Rattan Sconce from World Market
  5. Velvet mustard headboard from Target
  6. Peacock blue side table from Schoolhouse Electric–or should I go with this one?
  7. Metal side table from Schoolhouse Electric–or this one??

The flower decorations below the sconces are vintage items that I found at the Brooklyn Flea ages ago!

I really do love working with Spoonflower because of the limitless opportunities to customize and find great designers. I know that if I want to tweak the color for whatever reason I can approach the designer. I didn’t do that in this case, but it’s good to know that I can.

Head on over to Spoonflower to check out their new bedding and product collections. They’re so good!

This post is sponsored by Spoonflower. Thanks to the brands who allow us to focus on clever and original content for you! 

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!

Furniture makeover: trash can

Chronicle Books sent over a copy of the brand spankin new Furniture Makeovers by Barb Blair and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I’ve been doing lots of furniture makeovers of my own, but completely winging it. Meaning, I have no idea what I’m doing, I just kind of go for it. I’ve been devouring it ever since so I can learn the proper techniques. There’s nothing worse than finding a beautiful piece of furniture and then not knowing how to fit it into your decor so you just pass it up. (Ok, there are FAR worse things–just petty first world problems I like bringing to your attention.)
While I was at my parent’s house in California the last two weeks, I noticed that the hordes of crepe paper rolls that my mom had on hand for the millions of flowers she made for my sister’s wedding, sat in the box they came in. Wouldn’t they fit snuggly in a plain-o trash can? And look a bit better and out of our way? So, I made it over. And then added some pom poms for extra good measure. Because who doesn’t care for a little pom?
Materials: super cheap aluminum trash, spray paint for metal, yarn to decorate, pom pom maker if you’re the type, spray paint primer for metal
Step 1: Prep your trash can by giving it a good scrubbing.
Step 2: Prime your trash can. I used one whole can.
Step 3: After waiting for the primer to dry (I waited 1/2 hour), spray it with your color choice. I chose a lovely faded mint that looks a lot better in real life. Blast my amateur photography skills.
Step 4: Add another layer.
Donzo.
To add pom poms: Surprisingly, this was my FIRST TIME EVER making pom poms. Are you shocked? Ok, not my first time. It’s my first successful time. And only because my mom had some pom pom makers on hand. I made a variety of sizes and then added a braid around the bin with some yarn that had pom pom garlands built in (from Michael’s). 

I left this one in California, but I’m going to do the same for myself here for my studio because if you saw my studio you would be horrified. I need a professional organizer in my life! The crepe paper rolls and wrapping paper are spewing out of the room.

Have you ever made over a piece of furniture? What are your tips? Help a girl out! 

Outfit to Room: I



I am super pumped to introduce a guest new column, Outfit to Room, written by Katie Farber of This, That, + the Other. Katie was one of my very first blogging friends who I met in real life a few years back at her darling apartment in NYC. We just had so much in common and it’s been great fun to see each other grow and progress in life and careers. In a way she’s kind of been like a childhood pen pal. We’ve been trying to figure out how to collaborate for quite sometime and I finally asked if she would bring this column that she writes for on her blog to Lars because I love it so so much. So, without further ado…

Brittany and I have a lot in common: we’ve both sported cropped blonde pixie cuts; have an affinity for a particular Georgetown home from our Washington, DC days; and have a never-ending love for Domino Magazine’s “Turn this Outfit into a Room” column. While the magazine has been partially resurrected, this regular featured (sadly) has not. So, in the midst of winter I decided to start recreating my own version.

Chair  |  rug  |  pillow  |  art

DIY: Friendship Bracelet chevron rug

You know how friendship bracelets are totally back? Well, I can’t quite bring myself to get into it after 15 years but I love the bright colors, the patterns, the idea of it….It got me thinking where else I could apply the process and I thought it’d be fun to make a huge friendship bracelet that you could walk on.  You know, given my love of all things oversized. After multiple attempts I came up with this rug for the new Chalkboard Magazine (it’s awesome. Check it out here). Any other size is too thick to actually use. The one you see here is two final rugs stitched together.
Materials: 2 sets of 5 colors of fabric, 8-10″ wide and 3 meters long; scissors, needle, thread, tape

Step 1: Line the 5 colors up how you’d like them to appear in rows on the rug.
Step 2: Mirror the colors on the other side of the line so that there are 10 pieces.
Step 3: With the first piece of fabric (mine is pink) on the left, make the number 4 with the second piece (dark blue here).
Step 4: Put the first piece under the second piece and tie it, bringing it up to the top.Step 5: With the first piece, move onto the next piece of fabric (yellow here) and repeat the process. Continue to the center of the colors and leave the pink alone for now.

Step 6: Work from the other side, moving from the right to the center. Make sure to reverse the number 4.
Step 7: When the two pinks meet in the middle, tie them together.

Step 8: Go onto the next row (the dark blue) and repeat the process.

Step 9: Work until you’ve finished your desired length. Mine is 31″ from the outer points.

Step 10: Begin a new one and repeat the process in the same color order.
Step 11: Stitch the two together with a needle and thread. I stitched mine so that they go opposite ways.
Step 12: Cut the ends off so that they hide into the first layer of color.
Step 13: Stich the ends to the first layer so it’s secure and can’t wiggle out.
Step 14: Voila!
Photography by Liv Colliander