DIY Roman Shades

How to Make Your Own DIY Roman Shades

It turns out making your own DIY Roman shades isn’t as tricky as it seems. All you need are the materials listed above and a little bit of time and you’re all set. Here’s what to do:

Cutting the Wood Pieces

  1. First, cut the 1” x 2” so it’s a little less than the window width. It should fit snugly inside the window.
  2. Now, cut the wooden dowels to match.

Prepping your Fabric

  1. First things first: iron out your fabric so it’s nice and flat. What you don’t want are wrinkly Roman shades. Note: washing is optional, since you probably won’t be taking these babies down once they’re screwed into place.
  2. Next, cut the front and lining pieces down to size. Dimensions of the front fabric should be 3 inches wider and 5 inches longer than the window dimensions. The lining should be the same height as the front fabric and one inch shorter than the window width.

Sewing your Fabric Pieces Together

  1. It’s time to sew the front and lining pieces together. For this, line up one long side of the two fabric pieces, right sides together.
  2. Next, sew it in place using a ½” seam allowance.
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 for the other side. Note that the lining is narrower than the front, so you’ll have to let the front fabric bunch a bit to line up both sides.
  4. Now smooth out the two pieces of fabric so the lining is centered on the front piece. You should have an inch of the front fabric on either side of the lining. 
  5. Next, pin the bottom all along the width and sew in place.
  6. Center the lining along the top edge, as you did in step 4 for the bottom. Now, fold the seam allowance so it faces out on either side and pin in place all along the length. 

Dowel Measurements

  1. For this, you’ll need to do a little math (it’s simple, don’t worry)!
  2. First, decide how big the gaps between dowels will be. (It will vary depending on how tall the window is, but usually 8-12 inches works well–we used 12).
  3. Next, calculate the excess below the lowest dowel. This one should be ½ the distance between dowels plus 1 inch. So since we have 12 inch gaps, the excess should be 7 inches (half of 12=6+1=7).
  4. Finally, the top measurement. This doesn’t have to be quite as exact, but it just needs to be a bit bigger than the distance between dowels. (For us, that means bigger than 12 inches.
  5. Now, with the wrong side of the front fabric piece face up, draw in the first dowel’s placement. Remember, you’ll have a seam allowance and hem at the bottom, so add 3 inches to the bottom gap (2 ½ inch hem + ½” seam allowance). Our total is now 10 (7+3).
  6. At this point, you can go ahead and measure the placement of the other dowels, using the first dowel as a reference.

Adding the Dowel Casing

  1. To make casings for your dowels, cut 2” strips that are the same width as the lining. Cut out one strip per dowel.
  2. Fold each strip in half, iron, and sew the open side length closed with a ¼” seam allowance.
  3. Next, cut your stitch witchery to the length of the strips. Cut one strip of stitch witchery for each strip.
  4. Now lay your stitch witchery in place where you marked the dowels, with the sewn strips lined up on top. Iron in place so the strips stick.
  5. After the strips are adhered, slide the dowels into place.
  6. Now you can take out the pins holding the side seam allowances in place. Clip the bottom corners and carefully flip the fabric pieces and dowels so the shade is right side out. If you need, use scissors to help turn the corners. Adjust and straighten everything and iron the seams so everything is nice and flat. 
  7. With the shade right side out, hem up the bottom (end with the finished seam) 2 ½”. Press and sew in place. If you don’t want your stitches to show on the front, you can hand stitch it in place or use a blind hem stitch on the machine.

Measuring the Ring Placement

  1. You’ll add three rings to each dowel: one on each end, and one in the center.
  2. To calculate the placement, put the cord lock and pulley together so they overlap one screwhole. Measure from the cord lock base to the spot where the cord comes up through the pulley (Roughly 2 ½”).
  3. Now, mark 2 ½” in from the end of each dowel. A ring will go in each of these spots you’ve just marked.
  4. For the middle rings, simply measure halfway between each dowel and mark. If you have 4 dowels, you should now have 12 ring markings total.

Sewing the Rings in Place

  1. Now hand sew the rings in place according to the markings. To do this, bind the thread around the dowel a few times without catching the front fabric piece with the needle. On the third or fourth time around, catch the front fabric piece in the needle. Then poke the needle back through to the back side, tie off your thread and trim.
  2. Repeat step 1 for each of the rings. Note: make sure the rings are all facing the same direction, with openings pointing downwards so the string can be threaded through seamlessly.

Attaching the Roman Shades Hardware

  1. To attach the hardware for the roman shades, you’ll first need to mark where it needs to go. To do this, take the wooden board and line it up with the top row of rings you just sewed. Mark the placement of the rings on the board with a pencil.
  2. Now, take one of the three pulleys and line the right side of it up with the right ring marking on the board. Mark the two screw holes.
  3. Repeat step two for the middle pulley.
  4. Now for the far left side. This one will be a little different, since you’ll need both the cord lock and a pulley this time. For this, line up the cord lock with the left edge of the board with the straight edge on the inside (the diagonal edge should be on the outside, closest to the edge of the board). Mark the screw holes. 
  5. Next, line up the last pulley with the cord lock so they share a screw hole. Mark the pulley placement.
  6. All that’s left now is to drill pilot holes, then screw the pulleys in place where you marked them.
  7. In addition to the holes for the pulleys and cord lock, you’ll also want to drill two or three more holes all the way through the board. These will be used to screw the roman shades into place on the window.
  8. Now, with all hardware in place, it’s time to staple the board to the fabric. Measure up from the bottom of the shade and mark the window height. Line up the board with the window height markings, then wrap the excess over the board and staple in place. 

Adding the Cording

You’re almost done with your roman shades! Just a few more steps to go. Here’s what’s left:

  1. The last thing to do is to add the cording and tidy things up.
  2. To add the cording, feed the cording up through the rings in the far right row. Tip: to thread the cord through a bit easier, wrap a bit of tape around the end so it doesn’t fray.
  3. When you get to the pulley at the top, feed the cord through the right side and pop it out the opposite side. Repeat for the middle pulley. 
  4. When you get to the far left pulley and cord lock, thread the cord through the pulley as with the other two. Then thread it down the cord lock from the top and pull it through when it pops out the bottom. Pull the cord so there are a few feet of slack. Then clip the cord back by the first ring you started with and tie a knot to secure it to the ring.
  5. Repeat the same process for the remaining two cords. Note: there will be three separate slots to slip the cord through. Make sure each separate cord goes through a different slot, individually.
  6. Once all cords have been threaded through, trim them to the finished length you like. Now, thread them through the pull end, knot them all together, and hide the knot inside of the pull end.
  7. Pull the cord to test out your shades and make sure they’re working right and voila! Your roman shades are finished!

More Inspiration

Loved this roman shades tutorial and want more like it? Check out our other home renovation projects! Start with everything we did to our house in one year, and an exclusive studio tour. You also won’t want to miss our laundry room makeover with delta faucet, guest bedroom remodel, bathroom remodel, and new closet system. Oh, and if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out my craft room in the living by design virtual showhouse! Looking to decorate your home? Stop by our shop and see what suits your fancy!

Punch Needle Wall Art

Punch Needle Art

We’ve been wanting to do a punch needle project for a while now. Then, when our project manager, Jenny, started here at Lars last winter, it was as if the stars had aligned. She has a side tufting business and it inspired us to finally try it out! (You can check out her business, Thread Haven, here–it’s honestly incredible). Jenny has a fancy tufting gun, which was a little advanced for us, so we decided to go with the more beginner-friendly, handheld version: a punch needle.

Punch needling is surprisingly easy, once you get all the right supplies! The way ours turned out was so amazing. Jenny helped demystify punch needling for us and made the most adorable punch needle wall art featuring our retro floral motif. It’s the perfect addition to any wall, and will help to make your dorm (or wherever you live, not limited to dorms!) that much more cozy. 

Make Your Own Punch Needle Wall Art

Here’s all you need to know make your own punch needle wall art:

Supplies

Let me explain the supplies, so you know exactly what you’re getting into:

  1. Punch needle. This is a must. You can’t punch needle without it! The problem is, there are lots to choose from, and many are far from satisfactory. We did the research and found one here that’s good quality and does the job well. (we went with a #9 regular, ⅜” loop).
  2. Yarn. Go with a more bulky yarn and the end result will be fluffy and lovely! We got ours at Michael’s. Colors: yellow, red/orange, and a blue/green. (or whatever colors you want).
  3. Punch needle loom. You need fabric that has the right weave, as well as something to hold it taut. The perfect solution is this punch needle loom, so you don’t have to manually staple the fabric to anything. We went with the smallest size, but you can do any size you choose.
  4. Retro floral template. If you want to make yours look like ours, the easiest way is with this simple template! All you have to do is download and cut out on a Cricut Maker or with scissors and you’re set.

There you have it! That’s all you need!

Instructions

  1. First, use the template to trace your design onto the back side of your punch needle loom. See our photos for reference.
  2. Now start with the flower center. Take the color of yarn you want to use for the center and thread it through the punch needle (for help threading the needle, see this helpful video).
  3. After your needle is threaded, you’re ready to start punch needling! For this, start at the perimeter of the center. Poke the tip of the needle all the way down so the metal part is hidden and the fabric touches the wooden part of the punch needle.
  4. Now, pull the needle back out, move over a ¼ of an inch along the center’s perimeter and poke the needle back down all the way, as you did before. 
  5. Continue this process until the center of the flower is full.
  6. When the center is full and you’re ready to move on to the next color, clip the excess yarn so there’s an inch or two of excess. Now, with the punch needle, poke that little tail back through the same hole so it pokes out in the front. Clip it down to about ¼” so it’s hidden amongst the loops. 
  7. Now repeat steps 3-6 for the second and third colors. Note: when starting a new color, leave about a ¼” of space between the colors. If you start too close to the other colors, you could unravel the yarn. Don’t worry, the gap will be hidden on the front side of your project. 
  8. Done!

Styling Your Punch Needle Wall Art

The thing I love most about punch needling is that it is incredibly versatile. We chose to make our punch needle project into wall art, by leaving it on the loom and hanging it on a simple pin, screw, or hook. But you actually have a lot of options! Once you’re done with the punch needling, you can remove it from the loom, finish the edges with a simple slip stitch and hang it loose, without the loom, too. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can make your art into a rug, throw pillow, or something else entirely! There are so many options. 

We can’t wait to see what you make! Let us know in the comments!

More Inspiration

Need more dorm inspiration? Try this Lars girl’s back to school guide, as well as this and this dorm room makeover. Also try this simple DIY pencil case and fanny pack for your on the go needs!

A Lars Girl’s Back to School Guide

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

Lars-Approved School Supplies

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

Lars Back to School Shop

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

back to school stickers on notebooks

On the Blog

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

Favorites from Around the Web

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

Planners, Calendars and Notebooks

Desk Organization and Supplies

Things to Write With

Stay Hydrated

Dorm Room Design

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

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

Here are my favorite additions to any student housing situation:

Rugs

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

Pillows and Throws

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

Curtains

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

Lighting

As mentioned in this post, lighting can change everything.

Kitchen Essentials

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

Bedding and Towels

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

Other Misc. Dorm Room Essentials

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

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

Casetify Inspired Fabric Projects

Funky Town Fabric Projects

The best thing about the projects we picked to feature our funky town fabrics is that they are all so simple. Seriously. If you consider yourself a beginner, you don’t need to feel intimidated by any of these projects. Just follow along with us to learn how to make these easy staples to add to your wardrobe and home!

Tip#1: before starting any of your projects, make sure you’ve pre-washed your fabric first!

Tip#2: when cutting out square or rectangle pieces, it’s much easier to be precise when you use a cutting mat, rotary cutter, and clear gridded ruler.

Bandana/Kerchief

Simplest of our Casetify inspired fabric projects, this bandana is the perfect accessory to your outfit. If you’re lacking a little color, the bandana will give you that pop you were looking for! For ours, we chose the small marbled and lilac checkers fabrics.

Here’s how to make your own:

How to Make a Bandana/Kerchief

Prepping the Fabric

  1. First, order your favorite fabric from our new Funky Town collection! For fabric type, we’d recommend cotton poplin, as it’s soft, light and breathable. Remember to prewash!
  2. Next, for each bandana, cut out a square that’s 23″x 23″, or adjust the size as necessary for your neck size (smaller bandanas can be as small as 17″ or 18″, and larger closer to 28″ square).

Sewing the Mitered Corners

Now you’re ready to sew the mitered corners. This is the neat diagonal finish to the corners that eliminates some of the bulk caused by traditional hemming. It looks neat and is easy to do!

  1. First, fold over and press each edge by a 1/4″, then a second time to cover the raw edge.
  2. Next, unfold the second fold and measure double the width of the hem from the edge of the fabric down. Mark the spot on each side of the corner with a fabric marker, then connect the two sides with a line across.
  3. Now fold the corner on itself with right sides together, pin, and sew along the line you drew.
  4. Last, clip the excess fabric, press open and flip the corner to the right side to reveal your finished corner.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 for the remaining corners.

Finishing Touches

  1. To finish up, simply topstitch along the edge of the folded over sides to complete your hems. Press so it’s nice and flat.
  2. Done! Lay it out and admire.

Simple Throw Pillow

Our next Casetify inspired fabric project is a simple throw pillow. This is the simplest technique to make a throw pillow. No piping or zippers, so there’s not much to be intimidated by. The great thing is it looks lovely when done and takes less than an hour to finish! For ours, we used the retro rainbow stripe in cypress cotton canvas.

Prepping your Fabric

  1. Once your fabric is prewashed and ironed, lay it out and cut out two squares that are 19″x19″. These are the dimensions you’ll need for a standard 20″x20″ throw pillow.
  2. Now lay the two pieces out on top of each other with right sides together.
  3. Next, fold over and press both sides of one edge of each fabric square over to the wrong side by 1/2″.
  4. Pin the three sides you did not press down to prep for sewing.

Sewing the Pillow

  1. Now that your pillow pieces are pinned, sew around the three un-pressed edges. Backstitch at beginning and end.
  2. Clip corners and flip your pillow to the right side.
  3. Next, stuff the pillow insert into the pillow cover you just made and sew up the opening close to the edge. Make sure the pressed edge you created is tucked neatly inside.
  4. Done!

Tote Bag

The tote bag is a bit more advanced than the other two Casetify inspired fabric projects, but we promise you can do it! For this one we used the large retro rainbow marble in cypress cotton canvas, with golden accent handles and strap.

  1. Print off our tote bag template found here.
  2. Cut your bag pieces out of the fabric using the bag template. Note which part of the fabric you want to highlight on your bag and which direction it will face when complete.

Main Bag Piece

  1. With right sides together, sew the front and back of the main bag pieces together at the side seams. Use a single stitch and then finish off with a zig zag to prevent fraying.
  2. Next, pull the edges of the notched part of the cut fabric together (the two bottom corners) to form the flat bottom of the bag. Use a straight stitch, trim the excess down to 1/4″, then finish the edge with a zig zag.
  3. Now turn your main bag piece right side out to prep for future steps. Now to move on to the handle straps!

Handle Straps

  1. First, hem under each long edge by 1/4″. Then fold both of the handle straps in half so the folded edges meet.
  2. Next, pin and sew a single stitch down both long sides of each strap.

Shoulder Strap

  1. For the shoulder strap, fold the shoulder strap piece in half with wrong sides together lengthwise.
  2. Next, unfold, then fold each side into the center seam, pressing as you go.
  3. Now you can fold the strap back along the center crease you made. Make sure the two folded edges line up evenly.
  4. Lastly, pin and sew a single stitch down both long sides of each strap.

Attaching the Straps

Now to attach the straps to the main bag piece. For this, make sure your bag piece is turned right side out.

  1. First, position the handle straps in the center of the bag opening on each side. Align the raw edges with the top opening of the bag. Pin, then sew in place with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
  2. Now attach the ends of the shoulder strap piece to both side seams of the bag. Position them the same way you did with the handle straps and sew in place.

Finishing Touches

  1. Now it’s time for the facing. For this, take both facing pieces with right sides together and sew along both short edges by 1/4″. You should now have a tube that’s the same size as the opening of your bag. If it’s too big, make the seam allowance larger to adjust.
  2. Next, fold one edge under (wrong sides together) by 1/4″ and press.
  3. Now, with right sides together, align the raw edge of the facing tube around the opening of the bag.
  4. Next, sew a single stitch around the top opening edge of the bag, with a 1/2″ seam allowance.
  5. To finish up, turn the facing to the inside of the bag, press, and pin in place. Make sure the sewn edge of the facing/bag is creased neatly along the top edge of the bag. It shouldn’t show on the outside.
  6. Last, edge stitch along the creased edge of the facing to hold it in place.
  7. Done!

Styling Your Funky Town Projects

You can have a lot of fun styling your Funky Town Casetify inspired fabric projects! The great thing about these fabrics is that they can be mixed and matched in so many different ways. Try a marbled with a checkered, like we did, or add a solid pop of color to a busy pattern as an accent. The options are endless.

We’re excited to see what you make! Let us know in the comments!

More Inspiration

Loved these simple Casetify inspired fabric projects? Check out the first post in our sewing basics series, how to thread a sewing machine! You’ll probably also love these other easy sewing projects. Try our Mother’s Day apron or our Easter outfits (not limited to use on Mother’s Day or Easter). If you want more home decor sewing projects, try our shaped throw pillows or quilted shower curtain.

Shaped Throw Pillows

Why Throw Pillows?

We recently got this awesome blue velvet couch. The thing is, though, it’s big, bold, and really needed something to help it fit in better with the ambience in our studio. It didn’t take us long to discover the perfect answer to our conundrum: an assortment of uniquely-shaped, vibrant throw pillows, designed by the very studio in which they would find their new home. That’s why the opportunity to use our brand-new, beautiful Fiskars scissors to make these shaped throw pillows for our couch was a dream come true. We designed not just the pillows inspired by the scissors, but the scissors themselves.

Custom Fiskars Scissors

Now, let me talk about these scissors for a minute. Yes, you heard me right–we are thrilled to partner up with Fiskars to release our new very own scissors! I was particularly excited (like serious, drop-dead excitement) because I have a total obsession with scissors if you haven’t seen it by now. I’ve been collecting them for years and years. I have scissors for all kinds of things–trimming, fabric, paper, kids, antique, you name it. In fact, Craft the Rainbow, my paper craft book, has a little game where you can guess the amount of scissors in it. Go ahead and try it…there are a lot 😉 

These Fiskars scissors are absolutely and exquisitely beautiful, not to mention being the perfect blend of practical and art-object, with those graceful handle curves in sharp contrast to that smooth, functional blade. You can imagine my joy, then, when Fiskars told us we’d be able to customize not only the handles, but the blades as well.

As you might guess, these puppies are phenomenal. The pattern is perfect, exactly what we had envisioned, and the combination of patterned, floral handles and colored blade?! I can’t even. They are truly spectacular; a work of art. I can’t wait for you to see them in person.

The Inspiration Behind Our Throw Pillows

Well, we put our customized Fiskars scissors to good use making their debut project: our shaped throw pillows. In fact, we really couldn’t have done it without them! You see, we used the floral design we had printed on the scissors as inspiration for our pillow designs. So not only did we use the scissors to cut out the fabric, but we used the scissors as a reference as we crafted our pillow designs, as well.

The pillows designs we settled on were: a flower, leaves, a fun two-tone circle, and a magnificent yellow squiggle. The combination of pink, orange, green and brown against our blue velvet beauty of a couch was almost too good to be true. If you need me, I’ll be in the studio–I’m going to be sitting on that couch forever, buried among those shaped throw pillows.

How to Make a DIY Shaped Throw Pillow

And now, we’re going to show you how to make your very own DIY shaped throw pillow! As a note, we’ll be presenting you with a tutorial of that iconic yellow squiggle pillow, but you can apply the steps of the tutorial to any shape you want to add to your own throw pillow collection. (We would highly recommend using our Fiskars scissors floral pattern as a reference, like we did–there are some awesome potential throw pillows in there, waiting to be made).

So you’re aware, this project is ideal for someone who has previous sewing experience. It’s fairly simple, but we won’t be going through the basics of sewing here. In other words, you may be a bit lost if this is your first time touching a sewing machine.

Materials

For this project, you’ll need:

steps

Preparing Your Pattern

  1. Using our yellow pillow as a reference, trace (with a pencil) the shape of the throw pillow onto the butcher paper. Make it a few inches larger than the finished pillow appears, to account for the fullness of the batting and seam allowances (Our pillow is roughly 3 ½ feet long).
  2. Once you’re happy with the shape you have, go ahead and cut it out.

Prepping Your Fabric

  1. Iron or steam out the wrinkles in your fabric.
  2. Lay your fabric out flat, folded in half lengthwise (aka hot dog style). Make sure to smooth out all bumps and wrinkles so the fabric lies nice and flat.
  3. When you’re done with that, you can take your freshly-prepared pattern and pin it onto your fabric, close to the edge if you want to conserve more fabric.
  4. Now, cut out your fabric along the edge of the pattern, using our custom Fiskars scissors.
  5. After the fabric is cut, you can remove the pattern. 
  6. Now, with the wrong sides together, pin around the edges of your fabric to secure the two pieces in place.

Sewing Your Throw Pillow

  1. Prep your sewing machine, then sew around the perimeter of your fabric shape, leaving a 3 or 4 inch opening on one side. You’ll use this to turn the throw pillow right side out, so make sure you don’t get carried away and sew the opening closed! Backstitch at both ends. Note: it helps to have the opening on a straighter edge of the shape–this will make it easier to sew closed.
  2. Now that your throw pillow is sewn, you can turn it right side out.
  3. Press the seam allowance of the opening under, so the raw edges will be hidden once it’s sewn.
  4. The next step is to stuff your throw pillow with batting. You’ll see it start to take shape! Stuff it as full as you like, noting that if you stuff it very full, you’ll need to hand-sew it closed, rather than using a machine like in this tutorial.
  5. Once your pillow is as full as you’d like it, you can go ahead and sew it closed.
  6. Voilà! Your shaped throw pillow is done!

How to Style Your Shaped Throw Pillows

These shaped throw pillows are such a playful, unique accent piece for any room. Put them on your couch, bed, window seat, or chair and you’ve just added an instant touch of personality to your home. I love that you can pair the colors with other home decor, like posters, paintings or other wall art, furniture, or even plant pots. Shaped throw pillows do a lot to help tie disparate elements together in a room. The bonus is, they’re cozy, too! Use them as a foot rest or snuggle into them while watching a movie and you’re all set.

We can’t wait to see what you do with your own shaped throw pillows! And we want to know: what do you think of our new, custom Fiskars scissors?!

More Inspiration

We hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to make your own DIY shaped throw pillow. If you did (and we have a feeling that might be the case), you’ll probably love these other DIY sewing projects. The bonus is, you can use our customized Fiskars scissors for them, too! Quilted Shower Curtain, Celtic Knot Pillow, DIY Headboard, and Paper Snowflakes

How to Hang Prints

How to Hang Prints

Well, now I’m getting into a deeper conversation about what art is, and while I could easily write a 1,000 word blog post on that topic, today I just want to talk about what to do with your art once you’ve found the ultimate piece. Our post today is all about how to hang prints like the ones you can find in our shop!

To Frame or Not to Frame?

So, it finally happened—you locked eyes with that perfect print, whether in a gallery, online, or in a thrift store, and now you need a frame for it! Or do you? 

Well, first you need to consider the size of the print (or prints). If you thrifted your art, you may want a different frame, or maybe you hit the thrifting jackpot and it came with a beautiful frame, matting, and it fits your style. However, for most of us, half the fun is deciding on a frame that doesn’t just act as a “place” for your art to live, but it complements the piece, too.

Frames aren’t always necessary. In fact, you can “frame” your art using other more budget-friendly, DIY methods, and you know how much we love a good DIY!

Framing Large Art Pieces

Large-scale wall art is on trend, and it’s not hard to see why! A poster-size print above the bed or fireplace mantle anchors the room. In fact, if you’re trying to design the rest of your space, start with a large print! You can gather inspiration from a dynamic piece of art hanging on the wall.

A colorful lamp in a room with wildflower wallpaper and a LACMA exhibition poster

We tend to think that large art needs a frame. Luckily, you don’t have to splurge on a really expensive frame to match the size of your print. We like using the large RIBBA frame from IKEA, with or without the matting. You might even like removing the plastic to prevent a glare, but if the lighting of your room doesn’t affect the glare too much, leave the plastic on to protect the print.

If you looking to print some large art for a crazy price, we recommend engineer prints from Staples. They’re typically no more than $10 (yep, that cheap).

Other Framing Ideas

Need a beautiful frame, but don’t want to spend too much money? Try replacing the cheap art you find at Target or Home Goods with your own prints. They already come with a nice frame (most of the time) and a mat.

Are you trying to put together a gallery wall? Though it may seem like some of the best-looking gallery walls were simply “thrown together,” it actually takes a bit of extra time to create a balanced look. Use a mixture of sizes, and don’t feel limited to hanging prints. Try hanging other art pieces or sentimental items on the wall to add texture, such as fiber art or a small shelf for displaying treasures.

How to create a gallery wall to go with your TVGallery wall above a brown dresser with a cute white dog in front.a gallery wall with images of birds over a bed with a fiddle leaf fig and a lamp in the bottom left corner

How to Hang Prints Without a Nail

One of the best and most cost-effective methods to hang your prints is using Washi tape! We like this method for a more casual look, like on the moodboard above your desk or in your child’s room.

How to make a mood board with Mae Mae Co on The House That Lars Built

Is your art collection bursting at the seams? Try a floating shelf on the wall to lean your art against! Maybe you have a bare mantle in your front room begging for something else to sit on it besides your WiFi router…instead of getting out your hammer, nails, stud finder, and level, just lean the thing! Nothing could be easier.

Day of the Dead OfrendaDay of the Dead OfrendaFlower art prints by Adriana Picker

Feeling inspired? Don’t forget to check our print shop for some beautiful and affordable art! 

Nativity Craft Along

Christmas is a perfect time to join up with our community and do something fun together, so we dreamed up a craft along. After all, there’s no better time to get out your glue and paints than during the holidays! And what’s more classic and meaningful than a handmade gift? I definitely don’t know of anything.

Well, as the Lars team continued scheming and dreaming, our craft along plans got better and better, and now we’re SO EXCITED to make this Mid-Century Heirloom nativity craft along with you!

unpainted wooden angel figure from a midcentury nativity against a pink and red background

We’ve teamed up with a few celebrities and crafting heroes, and to be quite honest, I’m already starstruck. Like, let’s just say that I’m going to meet my childhood hero and that we’ll be wearing pink on Wednesdays from here on out. We’ll be releasing our star crafters through our mailing list (sign up here!), but I’d also love to hear your guesses in the comments. 😉

You’ll also be able to meet our star crafters through weekly Instagram Live events, where we’ll be working on a character from the nativity every week.

Heirloom Nativity

So what’s a craft along?

A craft along is a way of building community with your fellow crafters while all working on the same (or a similar) project. Our nativity craft along is a perfect opportunity to get ready for Christmas (because we all know that it sneaks up on us every year) and get to know your Lars community a bit better. We’ll all be making a midcentury heirloom nativity together, and it’s going to be so lovely! Even though summer’s still on its way out, we wanted to jump into our handmade holiday plans early because this is a project that you’ll want to begin waay in advance. Get a head start on your handmade holidays and join in the fun with this nativity craft along!

Crafting with a cause

As I’ve mentioned in these two essays, I recently partnered with Nest and I’m now part of their advisory board. I really believe in Nest’s mission to support woman makers in the global economy, and I’m so grateful to be part of their amazing work. We’ve set the very exciting goal to raise $50,000 for Nest through this nativity craft along, and we’re doing it in three ways:

  1. Ebook sales: for each ebook sold, we’re donating $5 (with an option for you to donate even more at checkout).
  2. Donations: we’ll collect donations during Instagram Live events with our famous crafters (think a 21st century twist on a classic fundraising telethon). During these Instagram Live events you’ll get to know some of your favorite crafty celebrities a bit better, and you can work on your heirloom nativity alongside them and me! Doesn’t that sound dreamy? You can donate to Nest over here!
  3. Auction: After all these Instagram Live crafting sessions we’ll auction off our two completed midcentury nativities! There will be one made by me and one made by our favorite crafting celebs, and all the money we raise by auctioning them will go to Nest.  So even if you’re not a big fan of crafting, you can get your own gorgeous heirloom midcentury nativity (and it just might come with some star power).

Heirloom Nativity

However you do it, your participation in this nativity craft along will help us reach our fundraising goal and help Nest support woman artisans all over the world.

Make Your Own Heirloom Nativity!

Years ago when we first released our Midcentury Nativity project, we used a combination of vintage, found, and purchased wooden pieces. While I love the way our old set looks, it’s impossible to replicate exactly. That can be so frustrating! So this year we’ve worked hard to come up with an excellent set of wooden pieces that you can buy to make your nativity match with ours. If you buy these materials, your pieces will also align just right with the templates we made in our ebook! Convenience and unity for the win!

unpainted wooden finials and candlesticks in the form of wooden nativity characters

You can find all the materials we used over in the e-book including the specific wood pieces for the right combinations.

Here are the colors we are using for the set:

unpainted wooden wise man figurine from a nativity set against a pink and red striped background

To get templates and tips you can download our ebook!

Follow Along

The best way to stay on top of all our craft along content by following us on Instagram and subscribing to the newsletter. Now enter the giveaway, order your materials, and let’s get crafting!

baby Jesus unpainted wooden figure on a pink and red striped background

Looking for more nativity projects? If you love this, you’ll also love our DIY nativity puppets, this clothespin nativity, and this nesting doll DIY.

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

The Secret to Hanging Art

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

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

Make a decision

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

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

Build Your Collection

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

Put it somewhere fun!

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

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

Get Creative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 Rental-Friendly Interior Design Hacks

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

7 Rental Friendly Interior Design Hacks

Living Room Reveal with wildflower wallpaperRemovable Wallpaper

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

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

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

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

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

Upgrade Your Lighting

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

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

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

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

DIY lampshade in bright colors and funky shapes

Find a Statement Piece

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

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

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

Couches

Rugs

Plan a Color Story For Each Space

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

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

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

Plants, Plants, Plants!

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

Here are some houseplants that you can buy online!

Mirror, Mirror

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

DIY Rattan Sunburst Mirror

Add Art

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

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

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

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

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

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. 

Palm Springs Style You Can’t Miss

The city really took off after the 1940s when the Golden Age actors of Hollywood wanted a retreat from the growing sprawl of Los Angeles. With all of that wealth coming to town, architects came along with it. William Krisel and John Porter Clark and Arthur Frey and Jack Meiselman and so many more created masterpieces and tract houses alike in this town. While you and I probably can’t commission the architecture gods to build us new homes, we can take cues from their style! It’s also a very real possibility to snag one of the homes for yourself if you’re in the market.

John Porter Clark home. The sky is bright blue, the house is modern and flat-roofed and brilliant white, and the foreground is beige gravelAlbert Frey home made of glass and steel tucked into the plants and rocks of Palm SpringsA white and black Jack Meiselman Home at sunset. Palm trees sway in the background, and the front yard is xeriscaped.

Color Reigns

The look of Palm Springs is one of openness and ease, minimalism with playful twists. With the pervasive sun and expansive sky, most of the homes in the area are painted white but you’ll be hard pressed to find a neutral-colored door. Pastels and neons reign! Hooray! There is this random house that isn’t one of the rat pack mansions or anything, but it has become famous because of #thatpinkdoor. A few cans of paint is all it takes for you to bring this Palm Springs styling tip home with ya! 

Vertical image of a modern white home with a pink door, agave plants, and structural landscaping

Don’t Forget to Look Up

If you go visit Palm Springs, odds are you’ll be so busy looking at all of the fabulous architecture that you might not notice the sky. Who am I kidding – it’s huge and bluer than you’ve ever seen it before. You can’t miss it. The architects who polished this corner of desert into a gem certainly didn’t! It’s almost as if they designed with the sky as the centerpiece. Check out this picture from my good friend Frank’s house. Architect E. Stewart Williams wasn’t messing around – he was showcasing the skies. My favorite Palm Springs houses have windows that are higher than I’m used to seeing. They also have cantilevered sections and skylights. This stunning photograph of the Sunnylands Estate, AKA “Camp David of the West” shows how important the sky is to the design of the property. By the way, Obama and Xi Jinping hung out here a few years back. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me! 

Image of a house with a huge blue sky, topiary-style trees, modern flat roof, and a pink ramp leading into a flat blue pond.

Geometric Ease

Okay, thanks for humoring me while I ranted about the sky for a bit. A huge part of the appeal of Palm Springs is its ease. I just look at pictures and feel relaxed. The design is simple to understand; it’s all about straight lines and symmetry. I love this photo of a room at Twin Palms – the sunburnt orange color is definitely an homage to the earth tones outside. I love that color as a headboard! The symmetry of the room is so precise and uncomplicated that it looks good from every angle. Imagine having a wall of matching prints of identical size behind you for zoom calls! The exteriors of Desert Modernist homes tend to have breeze block and hardy plants that are almost impossible to kill. What’s not to love about that? 

If you’re looking to add some freshness to your space, try channeling the vibe of Palm Springs! Its simple color scheme, sky-inspired design, and linear geometry create such a feeling of comfort and relaxation. That’s exactly what I want right now!!

Shop Palm Springs-Inspired Decor

Shop Palm Springs-Inspired Fashion

Palm Springs-Inspired Accessories

Looking for more style guides? Don’t forget to check out our In the Mood For series! We’ve found fashion, home decor, and accessories inspired by Frida Kahlo, Josef Albers, The Queen’s Gambit, Andy Warhol, Alma Thomas, Monet, Wes Anderson, The Royal Wedding Anniversary, Jane Austen’s Emma, Iris Apfel, Little Women, Alexander GirardAnne of Green Gables, and Hamilton.

Image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

In The Mood For: Frida Kahlo Inspired Interior Design

Home Decor Inspired by Frida Kahlo

How to use decor like Frida would

Consider Color

Casa Azul is aptly named, as the exterior of the house is painted this fantastic cobalt blue. It’s the kind of blue that if you saw it and weren’t expecting it, you’d whip your head around for a second look and say something profound like, “that house is blue!” Or, perhaps the color puts you speechless! It certainly does that for me. Rather than use a ton of neutrals to ground one pop of color, Kahlo did the opposite in her home and it totally works! She employed blue, citron yellow, kelly green, and terracotta red liberally with just a pinch of neutrals thrown in. The neutrals that are used are all natural. One section of the house has greyish walls because the walls are made of volcanic rock and shells!

Image source

For more inspiration on decorating your home with the bright colors of Frida’s hometown, check out my trip to Mexico City here!

Embrace your surroundings

With the use of volcanic rock and seashells, Casa Azul perfectly illustrates how to bring the outside in. This creative yet ancient way of using natural resources works beautifully in juxtaposition to her wild colors and more modern stylings. If you live in a wooded area, use beautiful wood! Same goes for those of you who live in rocky areas or sandy areas or wherever areas! Get outside to get inspired. Another way Frida Kahlo brought the outside in is by adding house plants. She used plants all the time in her paintings, and had plenty to study in her home! Yes, the trick is old as time but never gets old. Bringing in natural elements to balance the color will help you nail Frida Kahlo inspired interior design.

Image source

Embracing one’s surroundings goes beyond the literal outside – you should try and bring a bit of your culture and community within your doors. Embracing culture is essential in a Frida Kahlo inspired home. Kahlo has tons of traditional Mexican tiles and Indigenous pottery throughout her house and it gives a sense of identity to both the woman who lived there and the space itself. Frida’s celebration of her heritage is a wonderful thing, but I know many people who feel like they don’t have a heritage to celebrate. That’s just silly! Do a little research on your family, your community, and any other places your family line has been. Then, use interior decorating to remind you of where you and your ancestors have been. That sort of thing is really grounding, and who doesn’t need that right now?? 

Persevere

So, I intentionally haven’t talked much about the messier parts of Kahlo’s life. She will probably haunt me for watering down her deeply complex life into interior design tips, but hey! We’re keeping her legacy going! Frida Kahlo experienced a lot of tragedy that included abuse, tragic accidents, chronic illness, mental health problems, and infidelity. At eighteen, she was seriously wounded in a bus accident and was laid up in the hospital for months unable to move her body. She knew that this accident would prevent her from studying medicine as she had planned, so she took to painting from her hospital bed. Her mother had a special easel made that she could use in bed, and a mirror was placed above her bed. There she painted a slew of self portraits, pictures of her visitors and view. 

In fact, this is one of Frida’s major life events that inspired one of the activities in our Great Artists! course. During week 1, the kids will have a chance to grab a mirror, climb into bed, and see what it feels like to draw a self-portrait exactly the way Frida Kahlo herself started. These kinds of activities are what make history come alive, and teach the children about the lives of artists like Frida in way appropriate for their age.

What Frida did about it

She took inventory of what she could do and what her literal setting allowed, and then did it. Kudos to Frida for transforming a space with limitations into a space where she could create! As an interior design nut, I just love that. In the midst of one of the toughest periods of her life, Frida Kahlo redefined herself as an artist. Rather than allowing herself to be defined by tragedy, she molded it into therapy, self expression, and a new career. 

Towards the end of her life, Kahlo was finally receiving widespread recognition for her innovative work. She was to have her first solo exhibition in 1953, but right before the opening night, Frida was put on bedrest for a chronic illness. Rather than miss her big moment, Frida Kahlo had an ambulance deliver her from Casa Azul to the museum on a stretcher. Once in the museum, she was moved to her own four-poster bed that was brought there earlier that day. Much to the surprise of everyone there, she laid in her own bed at her own exhibition opening. You’ve got to love a girl who just won’t quit, much less miss her own party. 

In your life & home

If you’re needing a little help translating all of this, check out our Great Artists! Course for kids that includes some wonderful crafts/projects cooked special for you by our Lars team. There you’ll find the perfect Frida Kahlo and Casa Azul inspired pieces to perk up your home. Also, we’ve scoured the internet and have found some wonderful pieces that look like something straight out of her paintings (and wardrobe!)

I hope that by reading about Frida and looking at photographs of her home and work, you feel inspired to play a little, especially if life is hard right now. She’d like that. Let your home be both the subject and object of your playing! (I believe that’s called interior design.)

Image source: 1 | 2

Fashion Inspired by Frida Kahlo

Accessories

This post is a part of our In the mood for series where we show you how to recreate interior design styles and fashion inspired by people we admire! Click any of the links below to check out the past posts in this series!

Anne of Green GablesEmma WoodhouseIris ApfelWes Andersonthe Royal FamilyLittle Women, Monet, Josef Albers, Alma Thomas, and Alexander Girard

 

Moodboard image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7