The article from AZ Magazine that came out in April was also in the Arizona Republic Home section on Saturday. Welcome AZ Republic readers! I am taking a short blogging break, but will be back soon. Thanks for stopping by!


Picking color schemes

I got an e-mail asking me how I decide on what colors I want to use in each room. For me, my process is kind of scattered. I usually try to work with items that I already have, and incorporate a few new things to make a cohesive look. For instance, in my office, I knew I already owned several yellow accessories, but I wanted to add a new element - and so decided to paint the room green; and my color palette was born.

I think the easiest way to pick color is to find something you love such as a pillow or piece of art, and build the room around those colors. Here are a few examples:

Poster: "Canal Street, New Orleans" by Matte Stephens

Here's a room with a similar color scheme.
orange blue green

Pillow: DwellStudio Sevilla Pillow

green and gray
Jonathan Adler

green and gray
Amanda Nisbet

Obviously color inspiration can come from anywhere, not just items that are already room decor. Like this stationary for instance.
Stationary: Mae Mae Paperie

pink and orange
House Beautiful

Before and After : Master Bedroom

I finally took some pictures of my bedroom to share. It's not perfect, but a vast improvement to the ugly beige box that it was before. I'm still not quite happy with the area around my dresser (too much black over there) - but I've found I'm never really completely satisfied with a room. It drives Zach a little bit crazy to say the least.

Bedroom before
Speaking of Zach, there he is, refusing to get out of my before picture.

5-25 001

5-25 008

5-25 006

The biggest project in this room was painting my laminate dresser. I used this tutorial.

Dresser before:
dresser before

Sanding and priming, with the help of Peggy the cat:
dresser primer

Dresser after:
5-25 005

Source List:
Paint color - Valspar "Rising Tide"
Gray and White bedding - Marshall's
European pillows - Target
Gray pillows - Home Goods
Striped pillow - Made from a shower curtain courtesy of my Mother-in-Law
Turquoise throw - Target
Faux fur rug - Target
Lamps - Thrifted and painted (I posted about them here.)
White curtains - Ikea
Night stands - Big Lots

Design Advice : Haley's Room

Here is Haley's e-mail, and her bedroom as it looks now.

Hi Erica,
LOVE your blog, style, and your house is lovely! I'm writing because I need your advice on what to hang above our bed (and our DIY headboard - tutorial courtesy of Young House Love!) - I'm torn on whether this should be one big frame, three small ones, a cool mirror, or any other option? I also want to give more texture to the room b/c I feel it is a little too "matchy-matchy" right now. I'm thinking of spray painting my lamp bases in a different color (any suggestions on color?). I also would like to keep the art on the cheap if possible.
Would love to hear any guidance you could give me!
Thanks a million!

haley bedroom

Here are my suggestions for Haley.
Haley's Room

1 / 2 - First, I think the room could use some new throw pillows to punch up the color a bit. Pillow 1 is from Pier 1 and Pillow 2 is from Crate and Barrel.

3 - A cute and shiny retro alarm clock to add a little bling.

4 - This lamp is a rendering of my suggestion to makeover Haley's current lamps. I think new white shades like this one would update the lamps a little, the current shades blend in with the wall too much. Gluing some red ribbon along the trim of the shade would give the lamps even more style. Finally, I couple of coats of silver spray paint on the lamp bases would finish off the look.

5 - I like a simple mirror hung above a bed, this one from Target is chic and affordable.

6 - Blue canisters to add even more color, and tie in with the paisley pillow.

7 / 8 - Some simple stainless steel balls set in a wooden dish adds texture and shine.

Striped Dining Room

I got a wild hair on Saturday afternoon and decided to paint stripes in my dining room.

Here's how the room looked before we moved in.
dining/front room before

And here it is in its striped glory.
rooms 020

rooms 017

rooms 021

There are still a few things I'd like to do in here, like probably get a big art piece for the striped wall that doesn't have the window, and a big rug to bring in some more color. But I am liking the progress so far.

I used this tutorial from Young House Love. I also tried FrogTape for the first time, and I am a believer. My wall is textured so I was worried about paint leaking through the tape, but the FrogTape worked like a charm.

5-24 006

Ish and Chi

Just when I think I've seen every design blog that is out there, I find a new one that makes me really excited and inspired. I just discovered Ish and Chi today while browsing around on flickr. Viv blogs about decorating her home among other things, she is very talented and I am completely drooling over all of her rooms.

This wallpaper nook in the kitchen is making me die. DIE.
ish and chi1

Master bedroom. What a great and simple idea, she put wallpaper in three Ikea frames.
ish and chi2

Love the mirrored console table.

From her son's nursery.

Her studio.

And her laundry room just might be my favorite.

Are you kidding me with these labeled baskets. LOVE.

Design Advice : Tesi's Bedroom

Here's Tesi's e-mail:

I was going to try a light almost white purple on the wall with gray and then it kind of stopped there, but I'd love to hear what you think. I am looking to be "budget friendly" as you said, and I'd like to fit a small desk in there. Thanks again, I really appreciate it.

Taking into account Tesi's purple and gray color scheme, here is what I came up with:

tesi's room

1. Striped gray bedding from Walmart if you can believe it.
2. Circle mirrors for above the bed. These are more affordable than one big mirror, and can be arranged in different ways.
3. Curtains from Ikea. Love this color of purple.
4. A pair of these cute lamps from PB Teen to put on either side of the bed.
5. Tesi wanted to fit a desk in the room, I think the best way to do that in this small space, is use a desk as one of her nightstands. This one is only about 28" wide and would work like a charm.
6. A wire wall letter for above the desk, T for Tesi of course.
7. A chair for the desk.
8. For the other side of the bed, this small nightstand.
9. Throw pillows for the bed, this cute purple one from West Elm.
10. This crisp white one is from Target.

Here is my suggested layout for the room:
Tesi's Room Layout

Good luck Tesi!

Living Room Jealousy

I'm sure you have heard of the online accessory shop Old Soul, New Heart. Well Shea is a co-owner of the business with her mom, and today I happened upon Shea's personal blog. And her living room is making me green with envy.


And I love that it looks like she put it together on a budget. I spot items from Target, Ikea, and Pier 1 to name a few.

Organizing Photos

Like most people, I've got a crap-load of photos from the pre-digital years and they are scattered throughout my house in boxes and mismatched albums. Yesterday I declared to Zach, "I am going to gather ALL our photos and ORGANIZE THEM!!!" He was like, "Cool."

I haven't decided if I'm going to use albums or photo boxes, or some combination of the two. But I mean look at these pictures I found today. Don't they make you want to cry from happiness?

Becka Higgins

photo boxes
Martha Stewart

Ali Edwards

Ali Edwards

I hope to start the Great Photo Organization Project of 2010 this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes.


Some people think posters are tacky, I do not happen to be one of those people. I think with all the beautiful designs out there now, a poster can be great artwork in the right space with the right frame.

Here are some very affordable posters from two of my favorite sources.


Top Row - The Poster List
Bottom Row - Keep Calm Gallery

Design Advice : Cindi's Family Room

Cindi emailed me for some design help with her family room. Here is part of her email:

We have recently moved into this house and just threw some things up. I want a new entertainment center. I don't think I want a large one since that wall isn't too big and that is where the cable is so the tv has to stay on that wall. Maybe something like the one we have but sits up higher??? As far as colors I am not sure. Our family room opens up to our kitchen and the kitchen is red and green. So I am thinking a color that would go with my kitchen.
OK sorry for my life story on my family room!!! Just wanted to let you know what I have been thinking. As far as a price point, obviously less is better!! But I don't mind spending some money.



I like the red accents Cindi has chosen, but I think the space would benefit from even more color to give it a little more depth. Here is what I put together.

Cindi's Plan
1. Curtains, $9.99 a panel
2. Mushroom Prints, free from Vintage Printable
3. Baskets for Topiaries, $3.99 and $4.99
4. Ikea Bjursta Sideboard, $249. (I think this would be a great solution for Cindi's TV stand.)
5. Green pleated pillow, $34.95
6. Yellow pillow, $24.95
7. Floral rug, $109.99 for a 5'x8'

I think the TV wall could become a great feature wall and focal point for the room with a little artwork. The mushroom prints I found are from Vintage Printable and are completely free to download! I think they bring just the right amount of red in to tie back to the rug. Here's what I would do with that wall.

TV Wall

I hope you like my suggestions Cindi, and good luck!

If you are looking for design advice like Cindi, shoot me an email!