Style Advice To Live By

Apartment Therapy

Today I want to share with you all some style advice that I live by.  This advice is so grounding and inspirational that its pretty much my daily mantra when styling and designing homes.  It can encourage you to design a space that is purely you and for your functional needs.  So lets breakdown some amazing thoughts and opinions that may help you with your next design adventure.

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Make a true expression of yourself.  Keep it natural and “lived-in”, orderly chaos as I like to call it.  Designing a space in your home that is functional for what you need it to be functional for.  If you need a dining room that serves as a den or library, then design around that idea.  Placing bookshelves along the walls that surround your dining table with a possible arm/reading chair paired with a good lamp in the corner, now you have designed a space that works for you.  A space with orderly chaos meaning that everything has a purpose and serves a function, everything put away in its place to allow you a multifunctional room.  Reminding yourself this: Design Success is being confident in your choices.  When you feel confident that you have designed a room that works for you and style around that, you have successfully designed that said room.

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Let it go.  No, we are not singing the hit from the film Frozen, (this song will forever be burned into my memory) however, it is important to know that your home will never “be done”.  In a true sense, it never has to be.  Style evolves and so will your home in due time.  When we can enjoy the process and view it as an ongoing project, great things can happen.  If you can remember anything from this post remember this:  Your home isn’t about the items, it is more about the space you designed to share with your loved ones.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, just perfect for you.


A few painting tricks: Well now that we are done giving some “preachy” yet calming and inspirational advice, let’s move on to a few tips that may be useful for you when you are designing a space.  Like I have mentioned a few times (like in the title of this post, etc.) these are truly some top-notch solutions that will work you through some tough designs woes.  First off, let me point out the painted window trim in the above pictures.  This is a great trick that allows you to negate the need for window treatments.  The pictures show stunning windows that are so remarkable on their own, you wouldn’t dream of putting up any window treatments.  If you did… the whole look of the room would change and you would have a very different room altogether. In fact, I believe this is the way to go when designing a very open and airy space.  A minimal space.

Ceilings with character:  Whether it’s rustic beams or treating a ceiling for a subtle surprise that feels comfortable,  this technique can have a huge design impact.  You can paint ceilings a different color than your walls or even with a pattern that all packs a punch.  For an illumination effect, try painting ceilings with a high gloss which can improve lighting in rooms that don’t have any natural light.

Lissi Walker

Complimentary colors: or opposing forces can give your home a sense of push and pull.  Making sure the value (also known as vividness or brightness) is similar.  Doing so can really pull together a cohesive style.  Simply remember color theory and pick three or so complementary colors, then start to design and pull your room together piece by piece and step by step.  Look at the example above, red and green are complementary to each other (being careful to not cross the Christmas threshold).  The red and green colors used in this bedroom are of the same value.  Then mixing in different shades of green, like the patterned wallpaper, and different shades of red like the pink throw placed on the bed.  Those tones are more subdued in value.  Perfectly balanced.

Color Palette Pal: is exactly what it means a pal, a buddy, a pair.  Having pieces throughout the room that speak to each other and help the eye move through the space is a good rule of thumb.  A pal can be items throughout the room in the same hue but can vary in value.  An example would be the pink fury pillow placed on the bed, who is pals with the pink fringed lampshade.  The green quilt is pals with the green pillows, green wall and even the greenery of the plant beside the nightstand.

The Design Network

Patterns: can and should be used.  Just remember that you want to use different patterns throughout the room keeping in the same tones as your color palette.  Also be sure to use different scales of patterns, using some large and small.  Pictured above is the perfect example of using patterns in the same color scheme and differentiating scales.  The color scheme is all within a black, white/cream and gray combo.  The rug displays the largest pattern of all trailing off to the smallest pattern on the pillow placed on the cream sofa.  Both of these said patterns are very similar in shape just different in size and scale.  The blue velvet sofa has some very playful patterns on the pillows staying within the black, white and gray combo.  Then mixing in some solid colors to balance everything out, such as the sofas, and few solid pillows. P.s. notice the color buddies? The blue sofa is pals with the light blue lamp?

Well, there you have it.  My go-to advice with some tips that are tried and true!  Design doesn’t haven’t to be difficult, it can be a very fun, exhilarating, and enjoyable process if you follow a few of these steps.  Most of all remember that you are designing for you and what you want the room to be and feel like for you.  I hope this information can help and as always please reach out with any questions or remarks.

I hope everyone has a great day today!  Make it amazing!!







How to Style your Mantle like a Pro


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Hey everyone!! How is summer going?  I ask this because summer is seriously going… going… gone.  I feel this for many reasons, one being the sun looks different in the sky.  I always notice this in August, which is the ultimate start to a long farewell.  Honestly, once you start to notice how different the sun looks during the day and how much time you are loosing in daylight, you too will feel autumn approaching.  Another reason I know the summer has come to an end is the start of school…YIPEE!!!   Fall is one of my favorite seasons which is why I feel it needs its own decor all together.  Bringing in more earth tones in deep honey, chocolate and caramels is a must!!  So long summer decor and hello autumn.  Which brings me to the reason for my post, styling, and updating your mantle for the fall season which is just the start to a long run with holiday decor.  I always like to kick off the holiday decor season with a little fall display followed by Halloween, Thanksgiving and then Christmas.  And it doesn’t just stop there…then you have Valentines, St. Patricks Day, and Easter.  After Easter, I am so burnt out that I style spring/summer decor and don’t think of it again till I can smell fall in the air once again.  When I then feel ready to style something different and fresh.  So prep yourself and get ready to welcome all the seasons, starting with a few guidelines on one of America’s favorite holiday decor canvases, your fireplace mantle.  That’s right, the fireplace mantle.  Think about it, when you prepare for any holiday, say Christmas, you always think of the fireplace mantle first.  So let’s have a quick run-through of some style rules (I like to call them guidelines) to help us train for a long season of changing out all the beautiful things.

photo cred: David Tsay @ EHD

So long summer decor, let’s tuck you into your long winter’s nap and I’ll see you on the other side.  I may or may not have this conversation in my head… (channeling my inner Marie Kondo).  First, let’s start with clearing the mantle and prepping it for a new style.  I always enjoy switching things up before they get too stagnant. What a perfect time to do so with the change of the season.  I like to prep the mantle with a light dusting and cobweb clearing as my mantle has been neglected all summer.  Then I visualize what I want the outcome to be using my special recipe.  That special top-secret recipe that all the stylists use… ok, maybe not that top secret.  The first step in this recipe is to find an ingredient that is vertical or tall.  Something tall placed off to the side or sides of the mantle as pictured above.  The candlesticks and stacked books with the seal-like sculpture, (not sure what that sculpture really is but I totally dig it) create height in this example.  The second step is to find a horizontal/short ingredient.  Something that elongates your design such as the books on the end laying vertical or the sculptural like tray with a brass handle.  This helps to balance out the height, balance is the goal we are going for here so you may need to play with it a bit to find just the right piece.  That’s half the fun of it though (at least for me) finding the right piece to the puzzle and having fun along the way.

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The next ingredient needed would be something shiny, in the example above it would be the mirror.  Now, you don’t have to use a mirror but something with visual texture in the realm of shiny would be just the piece.

photo cred: EHD

In this example above, something shiny could be either the visually interesting vase (the ceramic texture of the vase reflects light feeling shiny) or the beautiful sconce which of coarse produces light that is…SHINY.  While I love a mirror as much as the next person, I like to think a little different and be/do differently.  In my opinion, we don’t use enough sconces on the mantle anymore and I for one would love to see this trend reemerge.  All in all, this would be a wonderful alternative for your “shiny” piece.

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In the world of balance, what would the opposite of shiny be?  You guessed it, dull.  The fourth ingredient… something dull.  In the example above a black and white photo can really bring balance to your mantle.  Honestly, the element of the wood mantle is dull enough to bring in that ingredient all by itself but the black and white photos finished it off nicely.  Another good alternative to the black and white photos are some neutral colored books stacked in an interesting way.  The options are endless it is just up to the eye of the designer.  That is really all this is after all.  What you feel is the correct balance and what you like because, in the end, this is your home and your mantle.

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The last and most important ingredient, (at least in my opinion) would be the natural ingredient, the organic ingredient.  You will notice in all my examples pictured above, they all have some element of nature, a plant or beautiful twigs placed in a vase, etc.  If you know me you will know a design that truly feels fulfilled has an element of the outdoors.  Bringing a piece of nature into your indoor space always feels grounded and fresh.  Reminding you of the beauty of nature.

Just some more examples of some beautifully designed mantles.  I hope this post can help with any decor challenges you face in this upcoming season. When dealing with holiday decor, be conscious of the ingredients for a general guideline and place them where needed.  For example, something shiny for a Christmas mantle may be a shiny bell or an organic piece for Halloween can be some leafless twigs or jack-o-lanterns.  Another example of something for a Thanksgiving mantle using a verticle ingredient may be to use a cornucopia incorporating an organic ingredient with items used inside the cornucopia. Please share your mantles with me as nothing brings me more joy than to see someone styling and jamming to their own design.  I am addicted to design and would love you to supply me more of what I crave…beautifully styled spaces.

Happy tasteful Tuesday!



You Should Totally Paint Your…


photo cred: Studio McGee

What can you do with one gallon of paint that will totally change a room…baseboards!!!  That’s right baseboards, take a look at the picture above, and think how it would look if the baseboards were all white and flowed seamlessly with the walls.  It definitely wouldn’t look bad or would be wrong, but look at how it transforms the room to just add a splash of color to the trim and baseboards.  It is a trend we are seeing a lot of right now and I couldn’t be happier about it.  The amount of time and paint you have to put into this project is extremely minimal yet so impactful.  Now I am totally a white wall kinda gal but painting the baseboards with or without the trim and crown molding is a great way to add color and interest to a room of white walls.  Maybe that is why we are seeing so much of this right now….most of us all love a white wall but may be ready to have some fun with color.  Not to mention the fresh coat of paint to your baseboards, trim and molding will really freshen up the parts of your home that tend to take a beating.  I promise you all, with this simple project, you will feel in awe of what you created in no time at all.  So get ready for your next weekend update (ok that’s an SNL skit but you get the idea).

Now in my opinion (so take it for what it’s worth), this is the way to paint your baseboards unless you have a maid on duty 24/7.  A shade of white or beige hues with grey to green undertones is the best hue possible for your baseboards assuming you have a light-colored wall, (if you have darker walls try a trim in the same hue of your wall but slightly lighter or darker than your wall).  Why is this you ask?  Well, the first reason is that I predict the colors of 2020 will be more earth tones than anything, we will be seeing a lot of natural colors in warm beiges to caramel.  So to keep with the trends I recommend a natural hue like the ones pictured above.  The second reason is to cut down on the sight of dust and dirt.  A white baseboard, trim and molding can appear dirty with minimal dust and dirt.  A darker baseboard will also appear dirty sooner than later with dust and if you have an animal in the house, (it will be dirty as soon as you finish dusting).  So for a minimal chore and dusting effort (who has the time), this is why I recommend a lighter off white hue.  The third and final reason for a lighter baseboard hue would be for the longevity of this trend.  Who wants to paint baseboards every year when new trends sprout?? Not I!  Painting a lighter hue will ensure that you can easily decorate around this design.  Remember the 90’s when everyone had a red wall that shouted at you?  I do (my parent’s dining room is a ragging red), and those red walls are really hard to bring into the next decade of trends.  The lighter hue can go with almost any decor of your choosing.  Win-Win with fewer chores on the to-do list as well as taking your space into the next trend seamlessly.

Now if you are feeling bold and sassy with a tendency to try every trend, try this one for sure!!  Painting trim, baseboards, and molding as well as doors a darker hue is definitely eye-catching and soooo on-trend right now.  I love this look but personally can’t bring myself to commit to these darker colors for a long period of time.  I also don’t want to dust them on the regular, as we have animals that shed at my abode.  Like I said if you have a maid on call and a desire to really pop a room then this style is for you.  We are seeing a lot of black hues as well as some darker blue to grey hues.  In the first picture above you can see the trim and doors as well as the crown molding painted grey with blue undertones, this looks phenomenal with the light flooring and walls.  In the third picture above you can see the black trim, baseboards, and doors painted black and paired with darker flooring which is still very striking.  So the take away is this, the look can really go with just about anyone’s current taste.  It is just a way to mix it up, update a room with a whole new look, and do so with a low budget.

If you happen to update your room with this paint trick please share as I always love a good before and after.  With this before and after however, it is amazing how different the room can look with such a simple paint trick.

Have an amazing Tuesday everyone!!


Colors to watch for in 2020

Photo cred: PPG Paints

In light of my last post on color, let’s keep the ball rolling.  Let’s talk about some of the colors that will be trending in 2020.  While a few major paint lines have released their 2020 color palettes and named their top pick for color of the year, some (Pantone) have yet to tell us their top pick.  If you like to be ahead of the game to see what will be trending next year, there a few ways to predict what color story 2020 has in store for us.  First, let’s start off by what we do know for certain.  In my last post “Did You Know  Color is a Mood?” we talked about colors telling a story or having a “mood” so to speak.  Looking at what is going on around the world as a whole and summing up its story can really lend us a headstart on any fashion and design trend.  What we are seeing now are very chaotic times, busy times, people in general feeling overwhelmed and wanting to minimize and simplify as much of their lives as possible.  For example, we are seeing many trends in design with furniture pieces being multifunctional.  Making the piece of furniture a simple, functional and useable piece.  Take the picture below of the chair with the built-in table.  It has more than one function allowing you to sit and relax while having a place to set your book or beverage all in one.  No need for a separate chair and table.  SIMPLE. EASY. FUNCTIONAL.

Photo cred: UNIQFIND

So being in that mindset of simplifying your life, think what else and how else that can be achieved through color.  To simplify your life and calm the chaos you would start to think of calming factors.  Such as colors that can calm or ground a person.  That being said those are the colors we will be seeing a lot of this next year, 2020.  Earth tones can definitely ground a person, helping them feel more connected to the outside world and nature.  Bringing those elements inside their living spaces can really clear the clutter and keep you connected to the earth quite literally.  Behr paints is very much in this mindset which was obvious when they released their 2020 color story palette last June. There are three themed “stories”—Worldhood, Restore, and Atmospheric— that each contains five colors, all of which were inspired “from the desire to engage with the world around us and restore balance in our everyday lives,” according to a press release.  We are really seeing some earth tones in this Worldhood story:

Keeping with earth tones and mixing in some calming hues is something trending for 2020.  With so much noise out in the world (especially politically) we as a society are needing calm in our homes more than ever. This color story for 2020 is labeled Restore.  Restore has a calming color mix meant to motivate balance. Blues and greens make up the natural-feeling theme that ties back to the outdoors, “creating a soothing sanctuary” that is ideal for the environments that need them.


Moving onto Behrs third color story Atmospheric: a color combination that complements both modern and traditional environments through subtle pastels and neutrals. This results in a “dynamic yet deliberate color story appeal.”  Behr is really creating the color stories for every walk of life bringing focus to health and wellness.  I am 100% sold if this means color bringing balance and a healthy wellness into our lives!!


PPG Paints has announced their color pick for 2020 and I am loving this jewel-tone Chinese Porcelain.  This shade of blue can instill calmness as well as reduce anxiety and encourage sleep.  HELLO, Chinese Porcelain… I was sold at jewel-tone!!

One last thing I wanted to share with you; my design tip: getting the best of both worlds.  Designing with some top trending colors creating a complementary color palette, that has all the calm earth tones you can ask for!  Remember from my last post on the recap of color theory, complementary colors are those that are opposite of each other on the color wheel.  Well, lucky for us blue is opposite orange, therefore creating an eye-catching design.

Photo cred: PPG Paints

Using the color Chines Porcelain for you calming accent wall right next to your calm space in the room.  Turning to an accent piece or accent wall (in this loft pictured above) using the colors from Behr color story Worldhood; Rumba Orange.  Then speckling in some earth tones of Creamy Mushroom and Painters White from Behr, finding these colors in textiles such as some linens, curtains, and throws, all being very complimentary of each other.   Creating the perfect on-trend color palette, I for one am excited to see what more paint brands have in store for us in 2020.  Already such a great way to start a new decade with eye-pleasing colors.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous day!  Love and Cheers!









Did you know color is a mood?


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Can color really be a mood?  Yes, it can and once you understand the mood and feel of color you can better understand color theory.  That is color theory for design.  I am going to give you a few tips from the trade to better equip you to choose color when designing your home.  Designing your home can be a very fun and exciting thing to do, but sometimes it can be really stressful.  So let me take the guesswork out, and help you to make the design process fun and easy by giving you the knowledge and confidence to accomplish such a visual task.  So first, let’s start with mood.  If you follow me on Pinterest, (@cottonandchaos) you will see I have a board full of pins labeled “moody colors to own in 2019”.  While it is a zippy name to use it is also 100% true…colors are very moody!  What do I mean, well colors can portray a mood and once you figure out what mood and vibe you are looking to express, the rest is really easy.  So ask yourself do you want your room (in this case lets say bedroom) to be relaxing or energetic?  Most likely, because we are talking about a bedroom where one rests, I am going to say you would choose relaxing…right?!  Well, let’s think of some words that mean the same as relaxing; calm, quiet, and soothing, these are all terms that describe “cool” tones when speaking of color.  What are cool tones?  Well think of the color wheel (go back to kindergarten) and remember the three primary hues along with the three secondary hues.  We have red, blue, and yellow as primary hues and green, orange and violet as secondary hues.  So thinking of cool tones think of something “cold”…ice cubes in water, the cool blue-green lake in the mountains, and you will find the answer.  Cool tones are blue, green and violet, however, violet can be a tricky hue as it is made with blue and red, so looking for a violet on the cool side would mean looking for a violet with more blue than red.  Now think of the red hue, red is strong and energetic, like a fire burning, it is considered a warm hue.  Red isn’t a hue that gives off a soothing vibe so this would be a hue to navigate away from when looking for a relaxing mood.  So to better emphasize what I mean, I have some eye candy to check out:

Look at the pictures above, these pictures all display a cool color scheme using cool-toned hues.  Everything in the first picture from the blue velvet round ottoman, the black-grey painting above the sofa and even the bright blue-white of the couch are all cool-toned.  The second picture displays a color scheme with about 90% cool-toned hues.  The cool grey walls along with a cool grey rug pair nicely with the cool blue-green sofa.  The sculpture above the sofa displays cool browns with a cool white pearl-like center.  The gold table and lining of the sofa do show some warm tones in a yellow-gold hue but for the most part, this room is a cool color scheme.  The third picture is on par with the second picture with a 90% cool-tone scheme and a meer 10% warm-toned scheme.  Everything from the cool white rug, cool brown flooring, cool grey sofa matched with the cool green-blue accent chairs.  Topped off with cool white walls and a painting with cool-toned hues of green, blue and black.  The warm tones are coming from the natural wood in the coffee table that shows some warm yellow undertones alike with the stem arrangement resting atop the table.  Starting to get it? Great, let’s move on to some warm-toned hues.


Here we have warm-toned color schemes pictured above.  In the first picture, we have what seems to be a neutral color palette but look again.  This is a warm-toned palette because the white hue in this room actually has some warm yellow undertones which lend its hand to the warm wood flooring as well as the warm animal rug and warm-toned chair in the corner.  The first picture is 100% warm-toned.  Now look closer at the second picture above.  While 90% is a warm-toned palette there is a small percentage of cool tones in this living room.  Everything except the cool grey cushions on this platform sofa is warm-toned.  The third picture is again a warm-toned color scheme with most everything pictured having a yellow undertone.  The actual plants are the only “cool” color of green.  So now that you can see the difference between cool and warm color tones let’s look a little further into what they express.

Cool tones tend to express more relaxing and comforting vibes, a place for rest and calm.  Warm tones tend to be more energetic and vibrant keeping you awake and focused.  So ask yourself what kind of mood you want to express.  If this is still a hard question to answer, consider your climate.  If you live in a hot place, say, the coast in Florida, you will most likely choose a “cooler” color scheme as this will balance out your inner and outer environments.   Likewise, if you live in the cold mountains of Montana, you might choose a warm color palette to equal the balance in your environment.  This is why you see the coastal themed rooms on your Pinterest account in blues and blue-whites, too cool off the people that are drawn to this vibe.  Ski resorts tend to be designed with warm hues and accents to literally warm their guests up visually.

Okay, just in case you are still struggling with the concept of what mood do I want to portray, let me ask you one more question.  An old rule of thumb used by designers would be to figure if the room you are designing is north or south-facing room.  Why?  Well, north rooms get a softer morning light with more blue undertones, so if you felt that your north-facing room needed more warmth you would decorate with warm-toned hues.  Vice-versa with a south-facing room.  South-facing rooms tend to get the afternoon/evening light which leans more toward your typical warm undertones, so in order to cool off, you will want to use a cool-toned color palette.  By now I am more than confident that you can answer what kind of mood you will want to portray in any room you desire.


One more tip for creating a cool or warm-toned room that is inviting and allows the eye to move through your room with interest and ease; using complementary colors in an almost equal or a little less than equal percentage to each other.  Again, lets head back to kindergarten, remember the color wheel.  Compliementary colors are the hues that are opposite eachother on the color wheel.  Don’t remember the color wheel, simply google it, (I google everything).  Let’s explore this concept:

Let’s take a look at photo 1- The blue-hued cushions mixed with the cool-toned rug and painting hues are at a very pleasing 30% to 60% with the room being primarily warm-toned.  Photo 2 – is a perfectly balanced 50/50 with the cabinets being cool-toned and the bar stools being warm-toned, all balancing out nicely.  Photo 3 – This photo is more cool-toned than warm-toned, but still displaying an interesting balance between the two.  The warm tones of the wood stool and wood-based accent chair really compliment all the cool-toned shades everywhere else throughout this room.  Photo 4 – This photo is really quite fun as it is hard at first to dissect this room into a cool or warm-toned palette which leads me to believe that it is at a perfect balance.  The cool blue-toned wall mixes well the cool-toned painting above the sofa.  The sofa is green (which typically means cool-toned) but leans more to the warm side of green with some yellow undertones.  The cool white table with cool blue vases balance the warm-toned leather accent chairs.  VERY nicely done.  Photo 5 – A cool-toned room at large except for the warm blush/burgundy tones of the pillows and wood stool pairing nicely with the warm candlelight behind the sofa.  Another pleasing balance between warm and cool tones.  Photo 6 – This last photo is yet once again a perfect balance.  A perfect mixture of warm accents, such as the mustard pillows, warm-toned light fixture, plant stand and table pieces resting atop the coffee table complement the cool tones throughout the rest of the room.

With all the design eye candy listed here today, what is your favorite?  Do you prefer a tonal room with a solid cool or warm-toned scheme?  Or, do you find yourself pulled to a more complementary style with a perfect or somewhat perfect balance of complementary colors?  Knowing what you like will help you to determine your color scheme and mood.  Once you have decided on the mood you want to portray, you may then move forward in the design process with ease and confidence.

Pop Quiz:

Which Picture has a cool-toned color palette?


Which photo displays a warm-toned color palette?

This article is something I wish I would have had at my disposal years ago as this would have made all my design endeavors much easier.  Instead, I guessed my way through many projects hoping, in the end, it would feel “right”.  Many turned out great and many did not.  This would have made my design process so much smoother had I known how simple the break down is.  I hope this helps you in any design adventure you are undertaking.

Have a great Sunday and start to the week ahead.




Gallery Wall Dilemma

Gallery wall dilemma!! This was the gallery wall that I quickly put up for some color in my house when we moved in (almost a year ago).  I knew it didn’t look and feel right but I was just happy to have some color on my walls.  My general rule with color in your home, 90% white walls and 10% color.  If you haven’t gathered I am a total white wall gal, but definitely, love to play with color.  Anywho, I just couldn’t take it anymore and decided to tackle this dilemma, and by dilemma, I mean this wronged gallery wall.  This wall needed justice and it was about time it was served.  So without further ado here is my new and improved gallery wall…

MUCH MUCH better!! Now let me tell you why this works and the previous wall didn’t.  My wronged gallery wall, (what we will now refer to it as) was too proportioned.  What I mean by that is, it had a center that was centered, (if that makes any sense).  This is a huge no-no, as a gallery wall should not have a center.  You may have a focal point like I do, which is the colorful, circular sand art (my son made, such a proud mama), but it should be slightly off-center in your gallery wall.  Second, no-no in the wronged gallery wall is the fact that I have all the same picture sizes and color of frames…BORING!  You really should mix it up a bit to allow the eye to move through your design, gallery walls are not meant to be “equal”.  Third, no-no in the wronged gallery wall is not enough pictures to feel my space leaving to much negative space.  Gallery walls are meant to be “cluttered” within reason. Show some personality and have fun with the placement, do not measure out the pictures to have equal perimeters.  So turning our attention to the “justice served” gallery wall notice how I addressed all the issues.  First off my colorful focal point (sand art) is off-center a tad.  I added more pictures and objects in various sizes to mix up my design and give it some character.  Using objects is a great way to break up a gallery wall.  I used a plastic face mask along with a basketweave placemat to really layer in the texture and shape.  I also added a few different frames or no frames at all which also helps it to feel less “perfect”.  And of coarse by adding more art, my negative space is minimized and helps the wall feel more complete and proportionate.  Sounds crazy right?!  But seriously “less is more” is not the quote you want to use when designing a gallery wall.  “More is better”, along with, “off-center and mismatched shapes and frames” all allow this wall to feel more akin and equal.


To sum it all up:

  • layer in texture and shape for more character
  • use different shapes and sizes of art
  • use different frames or no frames at all
  • do not center your focal point.
  • use enough art to accomplish a gallery wall without too much negative space
  • have fun and enjoy the process


The best advice I can give, grab those comfy pants, (if you know me, you know that I love a good comfy pant) turn up the music and enjoy the ride.  This is a creative process with no hard rules, it is more about how the wall looks and if it feels balanced to the eye.  Not balanced with a ruler.  There is a difference there and when you accomplish it you will know it.  Don’t get too frustrated or discouraged if you have to take down what you just hung up, (more on this in a sec) just know that Rome wasn’t built in a day so have some patience because, in the end, it is totally worth it.

Your best friend through this whole process will be command strips:

They will save your wall from too many nail holes which you will have to fix in the future when you feel like changing up your wall.  Also, they allow for more “flexibility” when trying to place the art on the wall in different spots to find just the right balance.  Seriously people…these are the way to go with your gallery walls.


When you feel that your wall is balanced to the eye and you feel complete, take a picture and look at it from that view, to make sure you feel that it is truly completed.


No more gallery wall dilemma!!  This made me feel so accomplished, something that has been on my to-do list for a year now!!  To find more inspo on gallery walls follow me on Pinterest @cottonandchaos.  Also, do you have any before and after pics of your gallery walls??  If so please share as I love a good before and after!!


Happy Tuesday!!





Make your bed…styled

Courtesy of Etsy

Didn’t your mother ever tell you to make your bed and you were always like, “but why, I am just going to sleep in it tonight”.  I know that thought has crossed my mind a time or two before.  In all honesty, making your bed first thing in the morning is actually a really positive and productive way to start the day.  As Naval Admiral William McRaven, the commander of U.S. Special Operations, put it best: “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another,” he said. “By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”  Among other reasons, it helps keep the rest of the room tidy which can improve your mood and stress level.

So why not have a little fun with this chore and style your bed like a pro.  Here are some tips to achieve that styled bed that you see on Pinterest, Interior design blogs, etc… it really is easy once you know how.

Courtesy of Pottery Barn

This layout shows you how many standard pillows, euro pillows, and throw/accent pillows you can use for the size of bed you are styling.  This guide is a great reference.  But remember, when styling, what makes it great is that you make it personal.


Courtesy of Studio McGee

Now let us move on to some pro tips and tricks:

  1. Make the bed with the flat sheet wrong side up and plenty of room at the top to fold over your top blanket or quilt
  2. Use a pair of large Euro square pillows to add height and texture.  A good pointer is to match the Euro shams to the duvet or quilt. When styling a king size bed use 3 Euro shams as listed in the layout above.
  3. Use pillow shams instead of pillowcases for a finished look.  Match them to your sheets or use them to layer in more color and texture.  When styling a king size bed use king-size shams and pillows.
  4. Using lots of layers (which is great for warmth depending on seasons) and adding a quilt or blanket is a must.  Place your duvet on top turned up, halfway down with the quilt laying flat or turned down over it.  Or fold your duvet into thirds at the foot of the bed.  You can introduce a new texture, color or pattern such as cotton or velvet.
  5. Use boudoir + throw pillows to layer in texture and color…think velvet, beaded, silk, embroidered or even furry.  Bolster pillows are a great option especially for king size beds.
  6. Add a soft throw blanket at the foot of the bed for a final touch.  This is a great way to break up the expanse of a bed.

Bonus tips:

  • For extra plush use two inserts into your duvet cover (or try using one size larger).
  • Add a featherbed beneath your fitted sheet for extra softness
  • If you really want to impress, try ironing your sheets.
  • Instead of putting all pillows upright, try laying a few flat and then resting Euro shams against and upright for height.  The look leaves the bed full and balanced.
Courtesy of Studio McGee

The look of layering:

The all-white bed is a summer classic, crisp and inviting all year long.  Remember to layer with texture to enhance the style.

The monochromatic bed is layering tonal versions of one color in different materials and textures.  This look is very sophisticated and can really pop.  For example, try linen sheets paired with a silk quilt and velvet duvet.  Adding small texture and pattern to the throw pillows.

The colorful bed a bright colorful bed is a cheery way to spruce up your bedroom.  If you choose a bold pattern or color for your duvet opt for solid or white sheets, and a few solid throw pillows to balance it out.

The soft patterned bed a way to make an impression is the duvet cover.  Choose a soft, mild pattern and then pick one color or neutral to use on the sheets and pillows.  Pump up texture with throw pillows and throw blankets.

Lastly, let me leave you with some styled bed inspo…

Hope you all have a great weekend!  Anything fun planned??  After all this bed talk, and exhaustion from my kiddos being home this summer I may just stay in bed…haha!




Problem Solved; 10 Decorating Mistakes and How to Fix Them

You know how it goes, you have picked the perfect color, scored the comfy yet stylish sofa, you have accessorized and styled your favorite nicknacks, yet something isn’t quite right.  You know it is off but just can’t pinpoint exactly what went wrong, (these are my emotions on the daily, I swear).  A common decorating mistake may be to blame, don’t sweat it, these mistakes are easy to correct.  Here are some prevalent mistakes with tips and tricks to fix them.


Mistake No.1: Hung too High Artwork


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You can really personalize your space by hanging artwork on your walls.  However, hanging stuff can be intimidating and tricky.  The tip here is to hang your artwork at the right height which is typically 57 inches from the floor.  The average height for most people is 57 inches, so hanging your artwork at this height allows people to see your artwork straight forward and comfortably.

Mistake No. 2: Curtains Hung Wrong

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Finding the right panel length is easy.  First measure from the floor to just above the window casing.  Next, mount the rod to match panel length, rather than the other way around, as you would for custom-made curtains. Panels should be as wide as the window and rod brackets mounted six inches outside the frame so panels can be pushed away from the glass easily.

Mistake No. 3: Teeny Tiny Rugs

Courtesy of Jessica Forbes

I know it costs more money to buy the bigger rug, but the splurge is totally worth it!  A rug that is too small can really bring down the look of your room.  For most spaces, that means a 5×8-foot rug is too small, so look for something between 6×9 and 9×12 feet.  However, if you love or have an attachment to a smaller rug try layering it with a large neutral rug underneath.  This allows the right amount of real estate for the furniture but still allows you to use that special piece.

Mistake No. 4: Disregarding Comfort

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Balancing form and function is always a must.  You know we have all done it, bought that super stylish chair without giving comfort a thought.  Just to get home and realize how uncomfortable it is.  Don’t be afraid to give those chairs a test run.  Doing so will ensure a relaxing and comfortable home that is chic to boot!

Mistake No. 5: Poor Lighting

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We all need to get over the thought, to light a room with one bright overhead and a big clicky wall switch.   We need to think of lighting a room in layers.  Plan to design with task lighting for work areas, accent lamps to add color and personality, and put that overhead light on a dimmer to change the mood of the room throughout the day.

Mistake No. 6: Wall Hugging

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It is always nice when everyone in the room is getting along (hugging) but this is not the case with your furniture hugging the walls.  You may feel that it gives you more space but I promise you it is a big no-no.  An alternative is to find a focal point in the room — entertainment center, fireplace, each other for conversation — and build your design around that. Move furniture away from the walls for a more intimate feel, with chairs no more than eight 8 feet apart to encourage talk. Position a table within reach of every seating piece, with traffic lanes several feet wide to allow easy movement.

Mistake No. 7: Too Much of One Color

Courtesy of BHG

Our living spaces deserve a good dose of color variation. Even if it’s just a single deep-blue pillow amid a sea of neutral beige, adding a little pop of your own will spice up any room in a snap.

Mistake No. 8: Cluttered Design

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It’s easy to pack your rooms with way too much stuff, but that look crosses over easily to clutter (and the next step is hoarding, so beware).  When you put too many nicknacks in one place, none will stand out as special.  Solve the issue by clearing off every surface in a room, one by one, and returning only half the things on it. Be your own tough editor and store the objects that didn’t make the cut this time. You can bring them out next season — or make a donation trip to the secondhand store.

Mistake No. 9: Storage Problems

Courtesy Unknown?


Take a look around your room and see where you can comfortably add more places to put things away — the easier to reach the better. Consider bare wall space first — anywhere to mount shelving or cabinetry? Can you add side tables with drawers? Any missed opportunities for built-ins? In bedrooms, consider building shelving around the headboard and adding storage boxes beneath the bed.

Mistake No. 10: Devouring Trends

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The unsung hero of your living room

Courtesy of One Kings Lane

Hey all, I know what you are thinking??  The unsung hero of your living room… what the heck is that?!  Well let me tell you, it is the coffee table.  Honestly most of the time this guy isn’t even thought of when designing a room.  If he is thought of he is aftermath thought or a creative burnout, can’t make any more decisions, just pick one, thought.  Even better this may not be something you even have to think of as you may have Aunt Blanche’s hand me down coffee table that has stood the test of time but not the test of style, (don’t get me wrong Aunt Blanche we are thankful).  Then, of course, there are the people that do plan and know they will need to have a coffee table because honestly who doesn’t??  This piece serves as a multi-functional table for just about everything.  Sometimes she may be the dinner table, (you know we all do it), or that footrest after a long day, she may be the kid’s obstacle course or their coloring station.  The list goes on, she is the keeper of the remotes, beverages, and books as well as the game hub on family nights.  I am telling you all… MULTI-FUNCTIONAL!!  So why not make this hardworking piece beautiful and just right for the space.  Let’s talk style, sizes, and shapes of coffee tables.


I have never been one to like “rules” and honestly, when choosing a coffee table there are no rules, maybe just some guidelines.  Let’s go over a few general things to keep in mind so you can have a good flow between your sofa and coffee table.  Your coffee table should be at least half the length of your sofa but no more than 2/3 the length.  The coffee table should stand to the same height as the sofa seat give or take a few inches.  If you have a sectional with a chaise, placing your table in the L-shaped opening the sofa creates, the size guideline refers more to the length of the horizontal seat rather than the full length of the sofa.  Here is a quick graphic by Emily Henderson Design (LOVE her).

Which brings us to our next guideline or better yet, information so that you can make the best design decisions for your space.  The scoop on shapes; round, square, oval, and rectangular.

Courtesy: Living Spaces

Round: Small spaces are the perfect setup for round coffee tables.  I would like to think you are cutting corners literally to save space.  This is also a good option for a sectional with chaise as round can fit into that “nook” beautifully.  This is purely opinion, but I believe round tables are a bit more sculptural fun.  I have found a few of my favorite round coffee tables to share with you.

Anthropologies Silas round coffee table- $600 (on sale now)!
Serena and Lily round table $1,998
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Square: There is not much to say about square other than it fits into any configuration easily.  It is great for the middle of your chat zone with a sofa and a couple of chairs facing each other.  Or perfect for those L-shaped sectionals, really this is almost a win-win situation, therefore, getting the most bang for your buck.  Whether your style is traditional, modern or contemporary the square shape plays along nicely with all.  Check out a few of my favorites below:


CB2 Spin rotating coffee table- $800
Courtesy of West Elm

Oval: This Oval shape is great if you are designing for a high traffic flow space.  This shapes really helps to have some visual flow, breaking up any angular shaped sofa’s.  Oval is also really good for the little’s as they won’t have any sharp ends to contend with (same with the round shape).   Behold some oval inspiration below:


West Elm Reeve coffee table- $800
World Market oval glass coffee table -$350


Courtesy of Article

Rectangle: Rectangular coffee tables are a great choice if you are working with a narrow space with little walking clearance.  A bonus of the rectangular shape is for the ease of everyone reaching their beverage or snacks.  This shape works well for standard size to larger sofas.  Look below for some awesome rectangular coffee tables:

Amazon Haven Home Zane table – $259
Serena and Lily Blake Raffia table -$1198

So there you have it, some easy guidelines to help you along the way so that you may choose the best coffee table for your space and design.  Create the perfect vignette for your coffee table (more on that in a later post) and let this shining star come to life.  Give some love and attention to this hero of the room and you will never regret it.   If you have any questions or problems trying to figure what’s best for you space please comment as I would love to help out.  I love a challenge!! Hope everyone is having a good hump Day!!



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