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We’re still in the midst of renovations and it might seem counter-intuitive to be decorating at the same time, but since I know we’ll be renovating for at least another year I decided it was important to start making our home look like our home.
Today, I’m sharing with you some simple ways to use collections of things you already have to decorate your home to give it personality, while still keeping things classy.
Decorating – actually putting nails in the wall – is really hard for me. I grew up in the military, moving often and never really felt permanency in any home – ever. Even buying this house has felt a bit like a whirlwind and it’s not fully sunk in that I own my home.
I’m also a perfectionist and sometimes have the hardest time starting a project if I think there’s even a chance that I’m not going to do it perfectly. However, the opportunity to work on this decorating post came up and I had to make a hard decision – was I going to face my hesitations and start putting some holes in that fresh drywall, or was I going to keep my walls bare and personality-free for another few months?
Clearly, I chose the first option.
I decided to focus my efforts on our dining room, where I spend the majority of my days and we spend the majority of our family time.
Our dining room also serves as my office, our craft room, and I do most of my photoshoots in here, too. It needs to be pretty, yet functional – and I wanted to be able to look up from my work and see treasured momentos and beautiful memories on the walls.
I think it’s a beautiful juxtaposition to fill your walls with your favorite things, special memories and momentos from trips or moments that were important to your family – to live your life and see the best parts reflected back in your surroundings.
I wanted the pieces we picked to reflect not only favorite moments, but also to convey our family’s fun-loving, whimsical and wanderlust tendencies.
Just Start – Even if it’s Small
I started small, hanging our Mickey ears collection and some DIY glitter whiteboards on a small strip of wall leading up to the loft.
What was great about starting with that collection was that there were only a few options for lay-out (so I didn’t feel stumped) – and it’s a collection that we are still building so it was okay to leave it looking “open” and “unfinished” because it would continue to be a work in progress. It was a great way to get me started and outside of my perfectionist tendencies.
Next, I worked on another collection – Ella’s pins. I made two cute heart shaped corkboards and had her assemble her pins however she liked and simply hung them above her desk.
Although with design you should try to always work in odd numbers, I have a theme of pairs going with her desk – I just try to keep things asymmetrical so that it works. (Putting the hearts a bit off-center from each other, pairing a large mannequin with a short one, etc.)
How to Put Together a Gallery Wall
And then, I tackled the big one – a gallery wall on our large 10ft museum-style dining room wall.
I assembled all of my prints, several of Ella’s canvas paintings, and all of my frames. There were also a few sculptural pieces in the mix. (Eventually, I’d like to start buying more original art – but that’s a goal for after the renovations!)
First, I cleared off a section of the floor that was the same size as the portion of the wall I wanted to decorate. You can mark it off with painter’s tape, to make it easier to remember.
My dining room has a white, pink and gold with touches of blue palatte, so right away that eliminated any work that didn’t fit that color scheme. (And made it easier to choose what to include.)
Next, I assessed which pieces had non-negotiable placement – in this case, really just Ella’s polar bear had a necessary placement, as it was the only piece deep enough to cover our eye-sore of a thermostat.
I found it easier to work in pieces, assembling Ella’s mini-gallery first, then a trio of black framed cityscapes above it, etc.
I’m not 100% happy with the gallery wall lay-out, but I’m really happy it’s done and I love looking up and seeing all of these beautiful reminders of our travels and the life that I am building with my girl.
There are a few adjustments I’d like to make and a couple small pieces I still want to add once I can find small enough frames – but adjusting a few pieces is not a huge deal and will only take about 20 minutes. I’m just leaving it for a bit so I can do all adjustments at once (to ensure they are really necessary and also get a few second opinions from friends).
On the table, I like having a pretty centerpiece collection that is easy to remove when the table needs to be wiped down but enhances our dining experience and time spent crafting at the table.
I used a pretty white marble cutting board and placed a circular vase with pink and white silk flowers on top. I also added in a few of Ella’s pipe cleaner creations for fun.
Beside the marble and floral centerpiece, I placed one of my sugar skull plates for a safe spot to have candles on. I’ve learned the hard way that not all candles should be placed directly on the table, so it’s best to have a designated spot that can handle the heat!
I picked up three of The Atmosphere Collection™ Fine Home Fragrance by Glade® candles from Kroger (and you can save $1 when you buy any one) and Ella helped me pick which one to try first.
What really excited me about this collection is that the scents were designed by world-renown fragrance designer Ann Gottlieb – aka, the designer behind Marc Jacob’s Daisy, Christian Dior’s J’Adore, and one of my personal favorites – Covet from Sarah Jessica Parker.
We purchased N°1 Enraptured™ – Jasmine and Cedarwood, which has notes of jasmine, lady apples, sweetheart rose petals on a base of cedarwood; N°2 Bright™ – Sweet Pea and Pear, which has notes of sun warmed pears and sweet pea flowers; and N°3 Free™ – Coconut and Beach Woods which has starfruit, beach woods and coconut in a heady, creamy cocktail. I love the simple design of these candles – they look like they were bought at a luxury boutique, not the grocery store.
It was incredibly cathartic and grounding to decorate the first room in our new home and I’m so excited to continue sharing this process with you.
If you’re stumped with decorating, I definitely encourage you to make that first, small step of just starting on a small collection, something that can be done in just an hour or two, and let that break the ice.
Pin these tips on how to decorate your home to reflect your fun personality in a classy way:
What are your design hang-ups? Do you have any decor projects you need to tackle?