From the category archives:


The post below 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.

Walk down most hallways and you’ll feel like you’re, well, walking down a hallway. But think of all that potential. All that under-utilized real estate.

If you’re ready for a hallway that wows, these tips are for you.

Just because the hallway is connected to the the living room and the kitchen doesn’t mean the floor has to be totally consistent throughout. Because you are dealing with a relatively small space, you can often have a little fun, making a statement that is unique but not over-overpowering.

I’m a big fan of carpet tiles, like those offered by Flor. They have great patterns and a bunch of interesting design layouts. What I really love about carpet tiles? Simply swap out a single tile in the event of a stubborn stain. No more tolerating ink-blot carpet for years until it’s finally grubby enough to replace the whole thing!

This staggered tile layout adds visual interest and, on the practical side, softens footfalls to help keep a little peace outside of bedrooms or in high-traffic zones.

Photo source: Flor

If you’re looking for even more design impact and are willing to take a slightly bigger risk, consider the options provided by Marmoleum. Available in both sheets and tiles, this easy-to-install flooring clicks into place and is made with renewable ingredients. Similar to Flor, there are a lot colors and patterns to choose from. Consider making a hallway, especially one near the front door, a focal point rather than an after-thought.

Photo source: Houzz

You can achieve a similar look with wood floors that may have seen better days. Painting or staining just a small section won’t break the bank or your back, but will certainly liven up hallway space. Best of all, the sky’s the limit in terms of style and design. Whether you choose a repeating pattern, a special text, or to simply outline the space in a bright color, you will have a hallway that truly represents your sense of style.

Photo source: Alisa Burke

Hallways are a perfect spot to display galleries of any kind. Consider the size of the space as well as if it is public or private. You may choose to reserve certain photos or mementos for family-only areas or you may want to show them off to friends and company. The point is, just be intentional with your strategy so you don’t regret it when you’re done!

I love the layering of picture frames here:

Photo source: Houzz – Spinnaker Development

Photo source: Houzz – Mary Prince

Wainscoting is another great option that gives the hallway a clean but still interesting appeal. White is the traditional choice for wainscoting, but don’t let that deter you from breaking the “rules”.

Photo source: Young House Love

Photo Source: Houzz

If you know much about me, you know that I’m all about using vertical space. Hallways are no exception. If you have a nice, wide hallway, I love the idea of adding practical, attractive built-ins for display and storage. Talk about maximizing space!

Photo source: Houzz – White Picket Fence, Inc.

Last, but certainly not least, there is my reliable favorite – paint! There are few better ways to easily and affordably update your space. Just like with flooring, consider having some fun with stripes or a bright pop of color that might be too much or feel too risky in a larger room.

Photo Source: Houzz

Photo Source: House of Turquoise

Hallways aren’t known for being the brightest spots in the home. Why not let there be light! Adding lighting to a hallway really lifts up the space and adds a fun, interesting element of design. The long, narrow space of hallways is an ideal place to play with bold fixtures or highlight repetition in design.

Photo Source: Apartment Therapy

High ceilings are great for oversized light fixtures, staggered or in a row.

Photo source: Gather & Build

Rustic candelabra fixtures and wood paneling create a clean yet eclectic aesthetic here:

Photo Source: nestegg

Or how about a simple message:


Photo Source: The Gadget Flow

Or a cute, contrasting coat of paint:

Photo Source: Involving Color

When you think about it, some of the hallways in your home may see more action than many of the rooms. As such a crucial part of your home’s flow, don’t let them be an after-thought when it comes to design. With a little, or a lot, of attention and creativity you can maximize style and/or functionality of this once-forgotten space.


Top Shop Tuesday

July 8, 2014

On today’s Top Shop Tuesday, warm tones and rich wood.


1. Matthias Transitional Chandelier, 2. Leonzio Traditional Round Mirror, 3. Tina Pillows, 4. Donald Gold Bead Table Lamp, 5. Cambrion Iron Drum Stool, 6. Banjo Contemporary Hand Tufted Wool Rug


5 Pin Friday

July 4, 2014

In honor of the Fourth of July, let’s have a little red, white and blue fun!

  1. Love those stripes!
  2. Striped, crisp, Nantucket style
  3. A powerful design punch makes sure this is more than just a hallway!
  4. A patriotic living room
  5. And of course, let’s not forget the beauty of the flag itself!


The post below 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.

It’s summer. The sun is shining. The kids are itching for family fun. You’re ready for some play time, too, but you also want to give the house a little love. Enter the quick fix!

Here are some of my favorite ways to make a noticeable impact on your interior while still making the most of summer days.

Repurpose. Paint. Repeat.
Furniture shopping on a bright summer day with amped-up kids in tow? I don’t think so. My solution: learn to see the potential in pieces you already have. A fresh, fun coat of paint or a few slightly technical tweaks can transform something old and boring into just the kind of statement piece you need.

This idea may seem a little tricky but the concept can be applied in many ways. Here, duplicate coffee tables have been stacked (and carefully secured) and painted fire engine red. The result: a creative shelving unit with bonus storage drawers that makes a bold, bright impact.

Photo source: Camilla at Home

Have a lovely old armoire (or any kind of cabinet) that’s seen better days? Remove broken drawers and/or doors and have fun with your choice of paint.

Photo source: The Cottage Market

Who would have guessed that this tired old sideboard could have a second life? Create a new entertainment center in a jiffy!

Photo source: The Homes I Have Made

Project Camouflage
Sometimes you just want to hide a mess. Whether it’s the ubiquitous tangle of cords or the inside of a not-so-pretty space, the best solution may be to get it out of sight.

I haven’t been to a single home that doesn’t have at least one router or cable box and even bedrooms are crowded with cords these days. I just love the idea of transforming a pretty box into stow-away space that doubles as tidy storage.

Photo source: Apartment Therapy

Similarly, no one wants to air their dirty laundry. With some minor installation assistance (a handyperson for hire will do), transform existing cabinets into pull-out drawers for stashing baskets. For a really quick fix, just remove cabinet drawers and apply some fresh paint for easy-to-access yet attractive laundry storage.

pull out laundry bins.jpg
Photo source: Sunny Side Up

There are few things better than a cozy fire on a damp winter night. But in the summer, fireplaces can look rather dark and foreboding and be a magnet for restless young hands looking for a fresh mess. This cute DIY firescreen (instructions here) takes care of both and is easily assembled with wood slices, plywood, paint and glue or nail gun. It slides in and out as needed and creates a cohesive, protective cover when in place.

Photo source: Pepper Design Blog

Spice it Up
By now you know how I feel about a fresh coat of paint. Easy and oh so effective for creating a new look! Overlays, one of my latest obsessions, takes fresh paint to a whole new level.

Overlays are decorative panels that add interest and texture to just about any piece of furniture, including mirrors. They come in a huge variety of styles and colors and are easy to apply and update. The brilliant people at have even developed styles for specific lines of furniture, including IKEA. Such a fun, creative way to perk up an existing piece!

Photo source: O’verlays

Feeling up to something a little more DIY? Check out the fun you can have with steel wool and painter’s tape. Simply mark off a pattern using the tape and gently scrub the surface with steel wool to remove the varnish. Leave it as is for a retro-rough look or finish with some contrasting paint. See the full instructions here.

Steelwool Coffee Table.jpg
Photo source: Creating Really Awesome Free Things

If you’re thinking it is time to update the kitchen but want to go light on the budget, give cupboard doors a face lift with a few carefully placed pieces of plywood. Finish the seams, sand, and paint! The inspiration below has complete instructions here.

Cupboard Door Update.jpg
Photo source: Country Woman Magazine

Things are finally starting to look up around your home! But speaking of looking up, in what kind of shape is the ceiling fan? Covered in cobwebs from the long winter? Chipped or maybe a little rusty? A few strips of washi tape may be just the quick fix you need. This decorative tape comes in a variety of colors and patterns and removes easily when you are ready to change out the design.

Photo source: Pinterest

First and foremost, summer should be all about fun. So have fun with these and other perk-up projects around the house. Get your kids involved and make home decorating a creative family affair. Chances are good they may have ideas or inspiration you never even considered!