1. Using Wood Shelves For Neutral-Color Rooms

    There’s a big design trend in homes these days to use more neutral tones for certain rooms; a lot of whites, off-whites, and beiges to create a more ‘subdued’ look.

    It’s a look that goes great in a lot of rooms, but if you’re the sort that fancies yourself an interior designer you might notice that it can be a little hard to decorate with sometimes. The neutral colors can find themselves oddly contrasting with anything you try to decorate with, and it can make it more difficult than you expect to arrange things in a way that’s pleasing to the eye.

    We think we have just the thing: wood shelves! Wooden wall shelves are a good, neutral way to add more ‘rustic’ looks to a room and add storage space without worrying about contrasting colors or mismatched tones. The possibilities are nearly endless, but here’s a few ideas we’ve seen and liked:


    • Mirror storage: A good way to open up any room, especially one with solid lighter colors, is with strategic placement of small mirrors to make the space feel bigger. Use wood shelves (or other wall shelves) to hold mirrors and expand a space.
    • Coordination: For more neutral-colored rooms, an easy solution is to use earthy tones splashed about the room to provide greater contrast. Pair wood shelves with darker, wood-colored dining room furniture or living room furniture to get a more cohesive look.
    • Bathroom spas: For master bathrooms (which are generally white or lighter in color anyway), wood shelves are a great way to create a more relaxing, spa-like atmosphere. Use them to keep things like bath salts, lotions, and anything else you need to relax.
    • Office nook: Unless you have a dedicated office in your home, converting an unused corner in another room into an office can be a good way to maximize space but it can feel ‘forced’. Wood shelves can help complement your home office desk and maximize your space without the bulk of bookcases or other big shelving installations.
    • Room to sit: If you have larger bay windows or an unused corner in a larger living room, wood shelves are the perfect complement to a couch. Set up a couch or loveseat in front of the window and place wood shelves around it - if the couch matches the white room, wood shelves will help add a pop of color and give you somewhere to keep your books.


    Have you used shelves to decorate a primarily white or neutral-colored room in your house? Drop a comment below and tell us how it went!

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  2. House Plants: Why You Need Them and How to Organize Them

    Aside from simple aesthetic concerns, it turns out having house plants is actually very good for you in a number of ways.

    Sure, they brighten up your room and add a touch of natural color to any space, no matter what your decoration sense is otherwise, but tons of studies have been shown that they actually can help with both physical and mental health.


    Researchers at Kansas State University, for example, noticed that patients recovering from surgery experienced a lot less fatigue and anxiety when they had a potted plant of some kind in their room while they recovered, not to mention the benefits they provide to air quality and humidity control in any room.

    But even if you decide to cheer yourself up with a nice house plant and clean the air in your house, there’s always the pesky question of where you’re going to put them. There’s a few options for this, and it really all depends on the sort of plant you want.


    Are you more into bigger ‘centerpiece’ plants like a ficus or a philodendron? These plants tend to work best in corners of rooms or anywhere close enough to a window to get sunlight; trying to keep them in smaller rooms usually leads to things looking too ‘cluttered’ due to their size. Get some good sized end tables set up near the biggest available window to allow them to get some sun and fresh air and watch them grow.


    Smaller plants like yucca or palms can be kept a number of places. If they’re small enough, you can put one on either end of your coffee tables for a nice accent piece, or a larger one in the center to replace your old coffee table books. These plants also work really well on wall mounted shelves to help with better access to light, as well as giving your walls a good pop of color that you just can’t get from things like movie posters.


    You can also easily arrange plants to accent each other. That large ficus we talked about earlier could be easily flanked by a few small pots with succulents or a peace lily to add a more ‘greenhouse’ look to the room. Arrange taller plants in the back of your shorter ones to give the room a bigger illusion of depth and add more shape than you had before.


    Above all else, remember to decorate around the things you already have in your room. Don’t stress about moving chairs or desks unless they’re really in the way of the good window—instead, try to use house plants to bolster the things you already have in there. Make a still life on your windowsill, jazz up those end tables or glass shelves a little more, and remember not to stress. If it doesn’t look good in the living room, there’s always the kitchen!

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  3. The Art of the Cart: Five Ways to Use a Bar Cart At Home

    Maybe we have Mad Men to thank, maybe it’s the trend towards more people entertaining at home, maybe people are just looking for more ways to decorate, but however you slice it, bar carts are totally in right now.

    The humble bar cart has come back in a big way over the last few years, as both professionals in the restaurant business and regular folks alike discover the various presentation, decoration, and space advantages that bar carts can offer.

    Have you recently acquired an antique bar cart you can’t wait to put to work? Are you eyeing a new one but want to have a plan for using it before you click ‘order’? Wait no longer: here’s five fun ways to use bar carts & serving carts in your own home!


    Serving Drinks

    It’s pretty obvious but it’s still worth mentioning—serving carts are an ideal way to keep cocktail mixers, serving supplies, and favorite drinks close at hand. Depending on the design of your cart you could go about it a few ways, but the ‘conventional’ method is to keep glassware and serving supplies (coasters, stirring sticks, beakers if you’re a really devoted mixologist) up top and the drinks down below unless you’ve got a lot of them or there’s one you find yourself reaching for a little more than usual.


    Coffee Station

    Not too into the whole liquor thing? Serving carts are a perfect way to arrange a station to get your coffee going easier than ever. Keep your coffee maker/Keurig machine on top and spread out your favorite coffee flavors, creamers, and mugs through the rest of the cart to make sure you can get that jolt you need in the morning.


    Movable End Table

    End tables are a common fixture in many living rooms thanks to their versatility, but for a truly useful small table, a repurposed serving cart could be just the thing. Imagine how much easier it would be to eat, drink, or simply organize your magazines and remote controls if your end table could roll around—if you use a bar cart, it can!


    Dinner/Appetizer Serving

    In a similar vein, serving carts can provide a helpful function in the kitchen or dining room by providing a mobile serving station. Wheel everyone’s plates straight out from the kitchen, push around a tray of hors d'oeuvres during a party, or just use it to make appetizers easier to get to before the main course is ready.


    Party Favors

    If you’re the sort that loves having a get-together, you’ve probably encountered all kinds of storage issues with gifts, party favors, and the like. If you need to provide everyone a place to keep their birthday gifts, or if you’re laying out something like a guestbook or photo props, a serving cart is a perfect (and movable) way to get them out to the guests where they belong.


    Have you been using a bar cart in your home? Leave a comment below and tell us how!

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  4. More Than a Seat: Uses for Bedroom Benches

    Organizing your bedroom can feel like a constant push and pull at times, can’t it?

    You need to make sure you have enough room for your clothes, while also providing the sort of furniture you’d expect from a bedroom (at least a bed, maybe somewhere to sit down) and it can all start to take up a lot of room!

    That’s where bedroom benches come in. Bedroom benches can provide the benefits of comfortable furniture along with some new ways to organize or decorate your bedroom, and in ways you may not have expected.

    Check out a few fun uses for bedroom benches below, and see if you get inspired to bring some new seating into your bedroom:


    Shoe Storage: One of the most obvious benefits of bedroom benches is that it gives you the opportunity to store your shoes somewhere a little more convenient. Many benches come with a shelf underneath to store shoes (or smaller things like purses), and even without an extra shelf these benches are a great way to keep your shoes aside where they can be easily accessed—and out of the way so nobody trips on them).

    Window Seats: A common decorative touch in homes these days is large bay windows inside a bedroom, and bedroom benches offer a great place to sit down and enjoy the view. Line your longer windows with a bedroom bench for a more aesthetically pleasing place to sit down while you get ready for work or change into your pajamas after a long day. And if you have pets, they’ll love the chance to get a better view of the outdoors.

    Landing Strip: Whether it’s in the bedroom itself or right outside, a bedroom bench provides a great ‘landing strip’ for things to end up on at the end of the day. Even if nobody sits on it, leave a bedroom bench close at hand to keep things like wallets, watches, or other items you’ll need to remember in the morning.

    Camouflage: Got an unsightly vent that you want to cover up? Benches are a great way to conceal the less pleasant but still needed parts of a bedroom, like grates or heaters. (Just make sure you’re not causing a fire hazard with your placement!)


    Got any other fun ideas for sprucing up your bedroom with a new bench? Drop a comment below!

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  5. Styling a Practical and Pleasing Bookshelf

    Bookshelves are a handy place to store items but overtime, you may cram in things until left with a cluttered, unsightly display. These areas can show off what you read, collect and adore. Instead of viewing bookshelves as mere storage space, create something that’s not only functional but beautiful. Here are some ways how.

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