*Giveaway* from Cutting Edge Stencils

A quick trip out to Cutting Edge Stencils conjures up an entire house full of inspiration… from damask to peonies I love the idea of adding a bit of diy wallpaper somewhere in my home. Perhaps a wall in the bedroom? A beautiful {soon-to-be} nursery ceiling? Or maybe one of these great geometric patterns in the office…

One winner will get a chance to revamp their space with a $50 gift certificate towards any stencil on the Cutting Edge website.

I recognized this stunning ceiling immediately over at Three Men & a Lady when Michelle used the trellis pattern to makeover her bathroom: {Wow! I’m dying to give this a go…}

Let the home makeover projects begin…



$50 towards any stencil of your choice + free shipping.

To Enter: Jump out to Cutting Edge Stencils to be inspired… and then comment here with which area of your home you’d like to decorate.

Giveaway ends Friday, September 3, at midnight PST. Winner will be chosen randomly and announced the following Monday. Good luck!


Friday Guest Blog Interview: A Diary of Lovely

Here’s a great little blog that I travel out to quite often. Helena highlights everything design and shares regular inspiration on fashion, food, travel, home, party decor… you name it!

My favorite is a regular post called “My Stuff Series” where she creatively shares the loves of a fellow blogger (from places to shoes to bedding to perfume) and I always walk away eager to try out a new shampoo or lip gloss, or hunt down that great cardigan that was featured (the series is based off of Vanity Fair’s “My Stuff” series and is plenty of fun).

I love Helena’s casual writing style (almost as if you really were peaking into her ‘diary of lovely’) and the fun images she includes. She’s all-over-the-board talented and super cute. You don’t want to miss her interview answers to PDB’s four questions – especially Helena’s highlights of favorite trends and all of the fabulous images! (Did I mention she lives in London?? Added bonus).

Let’s jump right into the interview with A Diary of Lovely….

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Bookshelf Styling: Ten Quick Tips

When I first posted on the finished living room, I received a few comments and questions on bookshelf styling. I had put so much thought and research into redecorating our bookshelves (believe you me when I say they were crowded and totally unappealing at the start) that I thought I’d share a few of the tips and tricks I learned from other blogs and my favorite catalogs.

The biggest challenge? Corralling so much material into one space. Sure it’s easy to style a bookcase if you don’t have any… books (like all of those lovely catalog photos), but trying to incorporate different sizes, colors and heights of dozens of paperbacks and reference books so that the bookshelf was usable was another story entirely. At the end of the day our bookcase needed to pass both the form & function test, and ultimately become a reflection of who we were.

But back to the styling… my trusty Pottery Barn catalog actually turned out to be the biggest help in determining layout, organization and aesthetics while Young House Love’s bookcase styling tips came in handy as well.

Top Ten Bookshelf Styling Tips & Tricks

1. Start with a fresh slate. Clear your palette, dust all of those hidden corners and start with a clean slate. Sort your now de-shelved items into broad categories: related books (ours were home improvement, paperback novels – fiction and nonfiction, philosophy/religious topics, travel and over-sized), picture frames, tchotchkes, etc.

2. Create a rough layout. This may take some time but play with the layout and design of your space. This might mean adjusting shelf heights to accommodate larger items or baskets.

3. Don’t fill every shelf with books. When you’re ready to start building, consider random book groupings throughout the shelves. I suggest starting with books over decor items because it’s easiest to see what will take up the most room, require organization (in baskets, bins, etc.) and which ‘book categories’ should go where. An every-other-shelf rule is a good one to follow, or at the very least skip large spaces on each shelf to give the eye a visual rest.

4. Baskets, boxes, bins, oh my! Now that you’re aware of what types of storage you’ll need, pull in a few baskets and other holding receptacles to wrangle unruly items. I used a large basket and two brown note card containers on the lowest shelf, for example, to house miscellaneous papers, DVDs and CDs. A shallow basket on the second level easily holds paperbacks that aren’t as pretty (two levels deep with just the tops of the spines popping out). Stick with like-colored baskets in various sizes or choose two-three complimentary shades to keep the flow. Michael’s, West Elm, Home Goods and organizing stores are all great resources.

5. Grouping books by size and color. Now that we have many of the books ‘boxed up’, choose your favorites to display. I chose to add them back to the shelf in their ‘categories’ for easy access but you could group but just height, color and size for aesthetics. I arranged the books within my categories until they were pleasing to the eye (taller books towards the ends, like colors grouped together, etc) and even placed several on their backs (bottoms out) because the whites of the pages were much more appealing than large, random colored spines. As you place your books step back occasionally to be sure that the flow from the top of the shelf all the way to the bottom works well.

6. Now on to the decor… Not every bookshelf will need to hold books. Here’s are two examples from my dining room used primarily for glassware and serving dishes. But book-toting-bookcases and display-only shelves alike, general decor objects can all follow the same rule: less is more. Choose only your favorites and sort them out by height, size and color.

7. ‘Filling’ the space while taking care of the height. One of the easiest mistakes to make is to not ‘fill’ in a shelf space. This means horizontally and vertically. Try stacking your books with picture frames on top or paintings in the background. Vases, plates and sculptures also help to fill in on height. A note on pictures (since they provide a great option fo height): It’s fun to display every great framed photograph you’ve got but I found this to be the most crowding effect on the whole shelf. So I sadly sorted out the not-so-great ones for other locations and chose a select few that tied in well with the overall layout (height, color of frame, etc).

8. Rounding out your space with a variety of textures. Between the baskets, boxes, books and decor items you have plenty of textural elements all in play, but keep in mind that they should be varied and found through out the display to create the most appealing look. After playing with this bookshelf forever I finally found the right solution for the lower left hand corner – a simple stack of soft blankets that pulls the white from the vases and create a soft and comfy element to the layout. Branches and decorative wood-themed balls helped to tie in enough natural elements to make up for the lack of a great plant (or the like). I do wish one would grow in this shaded corner of the room, though!

9. Similarly colored ‘extras’. By extras I mean all of those vases, bowls, ceramic animals and general keepsakes you have lying around. Kevin is quite the sailor and we have slowly amassed miniature boats, anchors and navigational notebooks to account for a whole shelf, but by choosing just a few for the living room that represent his love, the shelf feels less ‘overtaken’. I also love simple white decorations – ceramic vases, animals, plates, you name it – and a few here and there tie together a clean and organized layout.

For the dining room, it’s easier to group items by color because you likely have all clear glasses and perhaps just one or two colors of plates, bowls, etc. Group in odds (love those odds!) and get creative with displaying (such as vintage plates or juice carafes popping out of baskets). Pitchers, vases and stacked plates/bowls make great height statements, but don’t be afraid to incorporate non-dining room wares into the mix (such as this thrift store mirror that ‘fills’ in the space behind the juice carafes). And use those cake stands! They make great display areas.

10. Step back and smile! The bookshelf should represent you and not the random findings of a West Elm photoshoot, but now that it’s organized, well-laid out and aesthetically pleasing you’ll love the look. Take this opportunity to move around pieces and level out spaces. Congrats!

Here’s more inspiration I dug up for the dining room displays:

As a quick wrap up, here are my go-to tips for organizing a bookcase: group by height, color and size – don’t be afraid to pull in plenty of storage help – keep the flow of your shelf constant by ‘filling’ in the shelf height – and less is more!

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