Category Archives: Master Bedroom

Curtains, Drapes and Blinds, Oh My!

*For those of you around Pocatello, I am teaching “The Organized Home: Clean Sweep” on Monday, February 9, from 6-8:30 pm!  Sign up through ISU Workforce Training!

I know I am not the only one who finds this time of year a little depressing.  One way I try to combat the short days and cold weather is to open up the shades and let the daylight in for as many hours as possible.  I am much more likely to open the window treatments if they are quick and easy to operate.  Here are a few suggestions that will help you let the sun shine in during those precious daylight hours:

1. Hang your curtains or drapes high and wide.  Hanging the fabric almost entirely outside of the window frame allows much more of the window (and daylight) to be open and visible.  Hanging the panels 6-9 inches above the window makes your room appear taller.  While I have always tried to do this, the curtains in our living room were too short to hang much above the window. IMG_6351We lived for a short time with the left curtains still lower and the right ones raised up! This photo really shows how much difference it made to raise the curtains higher.IMG_6630I recently purchased longer curtain panels, so we raised both rods to the 8-foot ceiling.  We were amazed how much taller and bigger our living room appeared!

2. Make the window treatment easy to open.  If it is tedious to pull back the drapes, it is less likely to get done.  Our living room curtain panels have grommets at the top so they slide easily on the rod, and I open them every day.  Ring clips also work well for simple fabric panels.  If you invest in heavier drapes, make sure you also get quality, smooth running pulls.  IMG_6613

3. Consider layering window treatments.  For our bedroom, we have inexpensive bamboo stick blinds layered under floor-to-ceiling curtain panels.  The curtains usually stay open all the time, and we just open and close the blinds.  IMG_6615The blinds are also hung to the ceiling, concealing the bit of wall between the ceiling and the top of the window.  Hanging blinds high allows more of the actual window to be free, making it appear larger.

4. Research your options.  Although I love the look and added softness (and color) of fabric window treatments, we chose a different route for the kids’ room.  Floor to ceiling curtain panels took up too much wall space in the already small room.  I also worried about them being pulled down accidentally.  I don’t particularly like the look of shorter curtains, so instead I purchased white blackout roller shades at IKEA. IMG_6637 They are very easy to open and close, and the wall below the window is now open for play.

IMG_6644To keep afternoon light from overpowering the kitchen, I shortened a bamboo blind originally designed for a french door.

5. Window treatments should compliment your lifestyle and the style of your home.  Proper drapes with heavier fabrics will make a room feel more formal.  A boxy valance is also formal, but can give a bedroom a luxe hotel vibe.  For a playful look, try a bold pattern or use unique accessories as a tieback (think leather belts, chains, men’s ties).  For us, washable curtain fabrics help keep living with kids a little more carefree.

How about you? Do you open your curtains first thing in the morning, or is it something that doesn’t even cross your mind?

Finding Your Own Style

I love a guided project where I feel like I am somewhat accountable to finish assignments.  Sort of like school, but even more fun because it is something you have chosen to do.  One of my favorite websites, ApartmentTherapy, has an annual fall tradition called the Style Cure.  They give you around 22 assignments over a month’s time to guide you in finding your personal style and then making over a room in your home.  As long as you don’t tear down walls or anything that drastic, the assignments are pretty doable in evening or weekend timeframes.  Sign Me Up!

 

Image Source

As an interior designer, one of my favorite jobs is helping people discover their own style and then recreate it in their homes (hence the name, Uniquely You).  The Style Cure has you interview yourself for the first assignment.  Their questions are interesting and useful, so check out their site if you are inspired.  The first question I typically ask people is how they want their home to feel.  It may be your cozy sanctuary from a crazy work day, the neighborhood hangout or even a live/work type of environment where you crave a little distinction between the two.  Most people see (or would like to see) their homes as a place where they can restore and re-energize themselves after a stressful day.

Image Source

The next step in finding your personal style deals with putting images and colors to the feeling you want to create in your home.  For example, how you visualize a cozy sanctuary might be completely different from someone else’s vision.  One person might like warm dark earth-tones, while another might prefer cool and light beachy colors.  I have people gather images that they really enjoy and jot down a note or two about why they like the particular image.  You will soon notice some commonalities, whether it be references to nature, a particular color or possibly a style of furniture you prefer.  If you share your space with others, have them choose some images also, and then work toward emphasizing common interests.

Image Source 

After gathering images and studying them for awhile you should have a much better idea about what you like and don’t like.  My husband and I both like a simple combo of midcentury and Scandinavian style with neutral bases and pops of color.

This is a good time to take a cue from the Style Cure interview and choose three words that describe your personal style.  You might feel like this is an unnecessary step, but putting your style into words will help you focus.  When you are out shopping for accessories and become overwhelmed with all the options, reminding yourself of your three words can help eliminate some of the decisions.

I have decided to work on our bedroom for the Style Cure.  I have done a lot of work in there this past year, but it really needs to be finished up.  My husband and I are aiming for a modern, restful and uncluttered space, and we have until Thanksgiving to get it there!

IMG_6057

Mission: Closet Organization

Well, as hard as I tried, I couldn’t transform our shared reach-in closet into a dreamy walk-in dressing room.  Maybe I need some new magic words?

This closet makeover has been in progress for quite awhile now, but it is finally nearing completion!  Since I recently turned our guest room closets into a sewing space and kid art/learning storage, we really needed our closet to function to its fullest potential.

 The first thing I recommend when cleaning and organizing any closet is to take everything out and get rid of anything that doesn’t fit and doesn’t make you feel good.  I did this when my sister was visiting, so I had a trustworthy critic to help me be ruthless.  I donated two garbage bags full to the thrift store!  And that was after I had already gone through things on my own.  While I was at it, I switched from plastic to slim and sturdy velvet covered hangers to gain more space.  (fyi, our Costco has them on sale right now, and they are not flimsy like some others I have bought).

For our closet, we decided to go vertical and raised the existing shelf and hanging bar to make room for a partial second hanging bar.  Jer built a box of sorts out of plywood and we attached a hanging bar to it and the wall.  About one-third of the closet is reserved for longer items (my dresses and skirts) and the other two-thirds is divided with two bars.  The high upper shelf is now the perfect size for labeled baskets containing infrequently used or off-season items.   Jer didn’t really want baskets for his things, so I will likely add a few shelf dividers to keep stacks neat.  We each have a row of hooks on ‘our’ sides of the closet to hold belts and scarves or ties.  There is currently room for some shelves for sweaters, jeans, etc. but we are going to live with the closet as-is for awhile to see what would work best for our needs.

Shoes are always a challenge in a closet.  Since our closet is small, I opted to use a hanging shoe rack over the door.  I bought a metal one, but it kept falling apart, so I twisted wire around each of the joints.  It works m.u.c.h. better now.  I might spray paint it a fun color one of these days, but right now I am okay with the white.  Boots and other shoes that don’t fit on the rack have their own spots on the floor of the closet.  We might build custom cubbies for these (I will share the details if we do).  If you do have the space, clear shoe drawers and boot boxes with a photo of the shoe on the front are a fun option.  Jer has fewer shoes, so his are on three shoe shelves that fit sideways on the bottom of the closet.  Another option for everyday shoes is a sturdy basket on the floor of the closet to toss the shoes into.  We do that in our entry with our summer shoes.

When all of your stuff is out of the closet, it is a great time to paint and freshen up the space.  I painted the closet the same color as the rest of our room, but if you are feeling adventurous, closets are a fun place to add bold color, a stencil or some wallpaper.  Since our room is small and the door opens right in front of the closet, we removed the closet doors right away.  I made curtains that I will hang eventually, but I really love not having to wrestle with doors coming off their hinges.

I always color-coordinate my clothes when I put them back into the closet.  This looks fun and enables you to find a particular item more quickly.  It also tells you a lot about your color preferences!  I labeled my baskets with scrapbook paper, ribbon scraps, and a few feathers from my kid’s craft closet.

I am looking for a fun divided tray to set on top of the shelf created by the second tier.  My husband likes to toss random objects on any flat surface, so this would be a way to corral some of the clutter. We also hope to add a light to the closet at some point.

Ahh, I really love a freshly organized space!

January Cure: Assignment 2

After an eye-opening experience coming up with my project/problem list for Apartment Therapy’s January Cure, the next assignment involved a lot more elbow grease.  Assignment 2 was entitled Flowers and Floors, and consisted of buying flowers for your home and deep cleaning all of your floors.  No problem, I thought to myself.  I have all weekend to do this…

I got a great start on Friday.  My littlest one took an unprecedented 3 hour(!!) nap and I scrubbed my kitchen floors until they gleamed as much as cracking vinyl floor tiles can gleam.  Then I got a little sidetracked and started painting the cabinet toe kicks and some of the trim.  But it looks awesome, and was on my list, so I am okay, right?

My awesome hubby had finished tearing out the carpet in our bedroom to reveal hardwood floors in passable shape.  On Saturday, I convinced him to help me move everything out of our room so I could clean and shine up the floors and paint the walls.  I ended up painting the walls and scraping paint off the floor Saturday night after the kids were in bed.

Closet Before. Maybe those light areas were stripped previously?  I should have tried to stain them first.

View from closet.  Lots of scratches and dull spots.

Sunday night after the kids were in bed, I scrubbed the floor and used a floor restorer called Rejuvinate on it.  I used the high gloss formula to bring some shine back.  I was very happy with how it looked, for the most part.  There were parts of the floor that had possibly been stripped at one point, so they are lighter in color.  Most of that is in the closet and covered with shoes anyway, so I think we are just feeling fortunate that there weren’t pieces ripped out and replaced with plywood.

Closet After.  We might put in some FLOR tiles or a rug during the closet overhaul.

Before the kids woke up Monday morning, I put on a second coat of the floor restorer and let it dry for the day.  After the kids were in bed for the night, I put a second coat of paint on the walls.  I was bummed that I had to do a second coat, but there was a lot of white showing through.  I was painting over white walls with Valspar’s Signature Paint + Primer from Lowe’s, but it just wasn’t quite cutting it for this project.  I am super happy with the finished results though, and am glad I decided to do the second coat.

View from closet.  Scratches are much less noticeable and it is shiny, shiny!

Tuesday was a day for drying and off-gassing fumes with the window open (and it is COLD here, people!).  The kids loved running into the open space, so it was hard to keep them out.  I brought some of the light furniture back in, and tried out an awesome rug from Jer’s grandpa in the space.  I loved the rug, but unfortunately it was just too big for the room.  I don’t want to cover up all the cool hardwood that we just uncovered!  The rug will be reappearing soon in another room, another post.

Phone photo of the rug.  It went end to end and almost edge to edge!

On Wednesday, I convinced Jer that I could not stand another day with our bed and dresser taking up the e.n.t.i.r.e living room, so we moved back in!  I am so excited to put the room back together, without the piles of crap, of course.  The piles are still in the living room, waiting for me to deal with them.  And unfortunately they are patient little buggers and don’t go away when I ignore them.  A lot like my kids.

As for the assignment, I bought a $3 poinsettia at Home Depot when I was there getting my floor restorer.  The floor in my kitchen is now needing another scrubbing as it is covered in food remnants and Play-doh.  The other floors were neglected.  But, WOW does our bedroom floor look good!