From the category archives:


I recently worked with a client, a mother of four, who broke the mold for the way most busy families approach their homes. She wanted to design the master bedroom FIRST!

Not the family room. Not the kitchen or a bathroom—the rooms most commonly at the top of the list—but the master bedroom, the place where, at least in theory, she and her husband can escape, connect, and recharge for the next day. I loved it!

Whether you are ready for a full makeover or want to enhance your bedroom over time, here are some considerations and ideas to get you started.

Set the Tone

Think about how you want the room to feel and how you use it.  Do you want it to feel warm and cozy, elegant, sensual, streamlined and simple? Is this space all about sound sleep, quiet music and reading time, or do you want it serve as a private lounge space to catch up on your favorite shows? Maybe it’s a little of each.

Whatever the case, considering the desired tone and function before you buy, paint, or re-arrange a single piece will save time, money, and produce better results in the end.

Start With the Bed

The best starting point for setting the tone is the bed and surrounding wall since this is usually the focal point of the room.

Maybe you need a new headboard? Or if you don’t have one, maybe it’s time. Headboards create  structure for the bed space and can change up the feeling of your room in a snap.

For a traditional look, try dark wood or a tufted, upholstered frame.

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Photo Sources: Houzz, Park Avenue Princess

For a more modern look, consider a classic shape with a twist, a contrasting fabric, or a pop of color.

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Photo Sources: Lauren Conrad, Lonny

For a contemporary yet rustic look, I’m wild about this wood plank wall created with one of my all-time favorite products, Stikwood.

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Photo Source: Stikwood

The privacy of bedrooms make them a great place to display photographs and personal effects. How sweet to sleep with a gallery of beautifully framed, meaningful photographs above your head!

Do you and your partner have different tastes? Don’t be afraid to mix and match, like this photo on the right featuring the whimsy of a bold, patterned wallpaper along with traditional wood and clean lines.

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Photo Sources: Apartment Therapy, Tizzi Lish

Don’t forget about the ceiling! Whether it’s to add a burst of color in an otherwise neutral room or to set the mood for dreamy sleep, the bedroom ceiling deserves a second look.

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Photo Source: 6th Street Design School

Go for Form and Function in Furniture

Because bedrooms are more private than other rooms in the house, bedroom furniture is often over-looked. But I think just because this is where you start and end every day, bedroom furniture should provide optimal function as well as delight.

Before you buy or replace anything, consider both form and function. How much and what kind of storage do you need? What about placement in the room for optimal flow? What kind of style works for the feeling you want to create?

Dressers offer great storage and keep clothes neatly out of sight. They can also be pricey, so I like to work through creative alternatives first if my client doesn’t have a dresser they totally love.

dresser.jpg  dresser 2.jpg

Photo Sources: Running From The Law, Emily Henderson

Maybe a large nightstand is all the storage you need. Or you might find that a non-traditional bedroom piece, like a sideboard, credenza, or shoe cabinet, suits your space and needs just fine.

shoe cabinet.jpg  sideboard.jpg

Photo Sources: I Heart Organizing, Hunted Interior

Nightstands are mandatory in my book. They are the natural place for reading material and a light, they help balance the bed, and are also a good spot to infuse personality.

These 3-drawer Malm dressers from IKEA look great, are inexpensive, and hold a ton of stuff! Below is the same dresser shown three ways. It looks great on it’s own, but a great option is to add embellishments from PANYL or O’verlays to dress them up, like the ones in the middle and on the right.

ikea malm.jpg  ikea malm 3.jpg  malm gold 2.jpg

Photo Sources: IKEA Spotting, Work, Play, Etc, Dawna Jones Design

Pro Tip: For a balanced bedroom set-up that isn’t too matchy-matchy, I like to mix-up either the nightstands or lamps like this bedroom below. Matching lamps with different but complementary nightstands make this room really dynamic and reflect the personality of the couple.

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Photo Source: Pursuit of Handyness

Be Smart About Seating

If you’re short on space, a pair of ottomans or a small bench work nicely at the foot of the bed. Choose one with hidden storage to stash shoes, linens, or off-season items.

end of bed ottomans.jpg  headboard or bench.jpg

Photo Sources: Name 5 Things, Upcycled Treasures

If you are lucky to have space for chairs or a chaise, by all means go for it. It can be nice to have a space to read or catch up on the laptop without getting into bed. Just be warned that chairs and chaises can just as easily become a dumping ground for clothes and clutter.

bench at end of bed.jpg  seating area chairs.jpg

Photo Sources: My Chic Nest, Houzz

To TV or not to TV?

Not sold on having a TV in the bedroom but your husband won’t budge? Try one of these tricks to minimize the impact so it doesn’t become the focal point.

Create a gallery wall around it.

tv gallery 2.jpg  tv gallery wall.jpg

Photo Sources: Style Me Pretty, A Thoughtful Place

Add a large piece of art behind it to steal the show.

tv with art.jpg

Photo Source: Gorgeous Shiny Things

Frame it.

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Photo Source: PB&J Stories

Light the Way

Like everything else in your bedroom, lighting should be a happy marriage of form and function. You need enough light as well as the right kind of light to cast the desired tone and mood.

The main, overhead light can be a focal point and a powerful way to amplify the tone of your room. Going for tranquility? A soft chandelier can be lovely. Want something with a little more wow factor or edge? Consider wrought iron or something a little more sculptural.

lighting shell chandelier.jpg  lighting above bed.jpg

Photo Sources: Style Estate, Houzz

Be sure to consider the interplay of the main light fixture, if you have one, and nightstand lamps. If you are going bold in one place, consider something more understated in the other. You want to maximize style but not with chaotic or competing elements.

The photo below is a great example of style and balance. The main fixture is dramatic with side lamps that are different enough to be interesting but not disruptive or overdone.

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Photo Source: West Elm

I was thinking. This thing about starting with your master bedroom instead of, say, the playroom is kind of like the notion of putting the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others. By creating a bedroom space you love first, you may find that the rest of the house, and even your attitude about it, starts to feel different with half the effort.

The post above is a copy of the article I wrote for the online publication of Seattle’s Child, where I publish bi-weekly articles on home organization. To see a complete list of all past articles, please visit the Making Home section on Seattle’s Child. See this article on the Seattle’s Child website here.


I am honored to have been awarded “Best of Houzz” for Customer Satisfaction by Houzz. I love what I do, and working with all of you fantastic people is what drives me. Thank you for all the lovely feedback and comments that led to this recognition.

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Texture Tips: 5 Places to Make Your Home More Visually Interesting

While it’s natural to want to jump right into your room’s layout and color scheme, texture is a key component to setting the tone for the room, too. To clarify, by texture I mean the interplay of shape, pattern, and finish that creates dimension. It’s the subtle (or not so subtle) art of mixing and matching that makes a space dynamic and interesting.

There are many ways and places to play with texture. You can even create texture by blending styles, like vintage and modern, in one space.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

#1 – Focus on floors.

Tile is one of my favorite ways to add some pizazz in a small room, either from the tile material itself, from the pattern you create with the tile, or from the contrast you create with another surface in the room.

Photo Credit: Houzz

hex tiles floor.jpg

Photo Credit: The Apron Blog

Cork has become a hot ticket as far as flooring goes, and for good reason: it’s all-natural, great for people with allergies, and a bit cushioned for comfort. Besides all that, it looks great and adds instant visual interest without a lot of fuss.

Photo Credit: Apartment Therapy

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Photo Credit: Apartment Therapy

And of course one of the easiest ways to add texture to your floors is with carpet or a really great area rug.


Photo Credit: Design Love Fest

circles rug.jpg

Photo Credit: Rosenberry Rooms


#2 – Have your way with the walls.

Wood paneling isn’t just for the 70’s anymore. Ok, so maybe wood paneling really is a thing of the past, but there are lots of creative and contemporary ways to incorporate wood plank on walls to create a warm, rustic look that can be both cozy and modern.

wood wall.jpg

Photo Credit: Mandy Jean Chic

Photo Credit: Project Nursery

Wallpaper has made a comeback, too. Whether you choose a textured wallpaper to literally add texture or play with pattern to liven things up, it’s a relatively affordable way to add a unique touch that can truly transform a space.

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Photo Credit: Red River Interiors

It’s a sad fact that many people still only think of tile when it comes to the bathroom or a backsplash. Want some drama (the good kind) in a small space? Do the whole darn wall!

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Photo Credit: Decor Pad

When it comes to making a statement, consider tile with texture over a bold color. It will be easier to incorporate accents and might not feel so two-years ago trendy down the road.

Photo Credit: Pinterest

hex wall.jpg

Photo Credit: Design Milk

#3 – Expand your artistic horizons.  

Art doesn’t need to be limited to tidy framed classics hung in perfect order. I mean, unless that’s your thing. There is a whole world of creative, beautiful things out there waiting to be displayed on your wall!

Mix and match. Play with dimension. Tell a story.

Photo Credit:  Pinterest

Photo Credit: Driven By Decor

Photo Credit: House Beautiful

The fireplace mantel is a perfect spot to try your hand at depth and texture without making any big changes or investments.

Photo Credit: Addicted2Decorating

Photo Credit: Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

#4 – Have a fabric free-for-all.

Throw pillows. Bed linens. Furniture upholstery. Fabric is one of my all-time favorite ways to change the look of a room quickly and with minimal cost. Swap pieces between rooms to keep things fresh without buying a thing!

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Photo Credit: Target

layered pillows.jpg

Photo Credit: Cute Home Design

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Photo Credit: Decor8


Photo Credit: Lemonade Makin’ Mama

#5 – Make a ceiling statement.

Granted, changing up your ceiling can take a bit of thought and work, but the effect can be nothing short of stunning.

ceiling tiles.jpg

Photo Credit: Interior Design Info

wood ceiling 2.jpg

Photo Credit: Apartment Therapy

painted ceiling.jpg

Photo Credit: Apartment Therapy

I find that playing with texture is one area that feels risky to my clients but also really lights them up. When it’s missing, you might not be able to name it but even a beautiful room can tend to fall flat.

When evaluating floor choice or art in isolation, it’s easy to think a more creative option is too much. But in the context of your room or space, all the elements work together. Think about the big picture and mix and match to convey the desired texture and feeling over time. Before you know it, creating texture and dimension in your home will be second nature.

The post above is a copy of the article I wrote for the online publication of Seattle’s Child, where I publish bi-weekly articles on home organization. To see a complete list of all past articles, please visit the Reclaim Your Home section on Seattle’s Child. See this article on the Seattle’s Child website here


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I get asked about photo organization and storage a lot. I mean, A LOT. And to be honest, the question always makes me cringe a little bit.

The truth is, until now, I have avoided the entire issue in my personal life. Perhaps like you, I’ve been so overwhelmed by the years of digital photos I’ve accumulated, I haven’t known where to start.

But it’s a new year and a fresh start, so I finally bit the bullet and researched some resources to help you AND me get over our picture paralysis already!

To start, focus on photos you’ll take from this day forward. Once you have a system and develop a habit, it’s much easier to tackle the past years’ pics.

1. Develop a Photo Filing System

That’s right, start with an organizing plan! In order to keep up with saving, storing, and locating photos regularly, you need a simple, smart system. For example, the folder filing system on your computer.

You can create and name folders however works best for you, but I recommend organizing at least by year and month with folders for specific, memorable events. Here’s how mine looks as I’m starting to plan for 2015:

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2. Save and Edit Regularly

It is important to save all photos you take, from any camera or mobile device, to your computer regularly. When you take photos of a specific event or occasion, download them immediately and erase them from your memory card or phone. For all other miscellaneous photos, try to get in the habit of downloading them weekly.

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Once you’ve saved photos to your computer, go through and edit to discard any crummy shots or duplicates. You’re striving for quality over quantity, and you’ll be glad you took the time to edit them later.

3. Create a Backup Plan

It’s always smart to have a back-up plan, and dealing with precious family photos is certainly no exception. An external hard drive is one easy option, but of course that means that if the hard drive is lost, stolen, or damaged, so are your photos.

For that reason, some people prefer one of the many Cloud-based systems that have cropped up in recent years.

Choosing the right Cloud service can feel overwhelming. We got a lot of great information from this article by fellow professional organizer, Lauren Halagarda, of

Halagarda recommends photo sharing and storage sites like Flickr, Google Plus Photos, Photobucket and SmugMug for a few key reasons:

  • They offer lots and lots of storage.

  • It’s super easy to share your photos with friends and family near and far.

  • You (and whomever else you designate) can download the original photo. Great for printing!

  • They offer lots of great bonus features such as photo editing, facial recognition, automatic upload/backup, and much much more.

  • They serve as an off-site backup—just in case.

Halagarda created a comparison chart of the top cloud-based providers that is too good not to share:

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Bottom line: Find what works for you, and make photo back-up a regular habit.

4. Print Your Favorites

The point of taking photos is to enjoy them and the memories they capture. So don’t just leave them neatly filed away in the clouds. Print them! Show your loved ones and favorite moments off!

Most photo storage and sharing sites make it pretty easy to order prints, but there is another service that’s caught my attention: Free Prints Now. (Did they say “free?!”). For the cost of shipping, you get up to 1,000 free 4×6 prints every year. You can upload photos from your computer, phone, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, or Picasa accounts and there’s also an app to make the whole process even easier. I also like that you can order larger and odd-sized prints, including 5” x 5”, that are perfect for artsy Instagram photos.

If you’re in need of some new frames for those special photos, January is your lucky month! Aaron Brothers is having its bi-annual One Cent Sale: Buy one frame, get a second frame for a penny!


Now if you’re feeling really fired up, I say you get extra credit for turning favorite photos into artwork, albums, or family yearbooks.

Here are just a few great resources:

Canvas on Demand – Turn photos into a work of art on ready-to-hang stretched canvas.

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Minted – Create truly unique custom photo art.

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Artifact Uprising – Create super high-quality prints, photo books, calendars and unique items like wood prints.

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Chat Books – Purchase $6 mini books one-at-a-time or through a subscription linked to your Instagram account.


Blog2Print – Create a printed version of your family blog as a yearbook.

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My Social Book – Print a copy of your Facebook photos and posts for any given period of time.

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I know this is a lot of information, but I’m sure feeling more motivated than I was way back in 2014. This IS the year I’m going to get and keep my photos organized. How about you?

Let me know how you’re doing so we can compare notes!


If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, try working with a professional. I’ve heard great things about Molly Bullard at Seattle Photo Organizing. She’ll work with you one-on-one and also hosts classes for both Mac and PC users.

The post above is a copy of the article I wrote for the online publication of Seattle’s Child, where I publish bi-weekly articles on home organization. To see a complete list of all past articles, please visit the Reclaim Your Home section on Seattle’s Child. See this article on the Seattle’s Child website here