How Do You Dress Your Mantel?

While working on new decorating ideas for the living room, I’ve been playing with creative ways to decorate the mantel. I’ve found great inspiration on Flickr and the like – but keep coming back to two different options. I’d love to hear your thoughts…

A central mirror (this West Elm circular mirror brings in a bit of modern design to an older Spanish home like mine):

Or a cluster of photos in similar frames (I love these black and white shots from our wedding… maybe the mirror is too modern?):

So I’m curious to know, which do you like best?

[poll id=”2″]

Side note: Poll was disabled earlier… but it’s working now! Woo hoo!

Guest Post: Organizing Tips by Simply Modern Mom

When Tiffany asked me to take part in her “Simply Said” series by sharing a few suggestions for keeping celebrations simple yet classy and fun (think great decorations, cool themes and handmade details) I was delighted to share my tips & tricks. Tiffany in return put together a wonderful post on living room organization that I think you’ll all love, so without further ado, here she is:


Hi, I’m Tiffany from Simply Modern Mom and I am excited to be here on Pepper Design Blog. Love Morgan and her amazing ability to make things look gorgeous all the time. My site, Simply Modern Mom is a place where moms learn and share ways to simplify their lives. I share tons of tips, photo tutorials, craft projects and lists.

As a mother of two girls age 4 and 18 months, my house used to look like this. Who knew two little girls could make a mess this big every. single. day.? Don’t believe me? They are in the pictures. Proof. And the mess even traveled upstairs and into other rooms. It wasn’t unusual for me to find toys in my bed, in kitchen cupboards and hidden throughout the house. Every inch of carpet was covered with toys. Ridiculous.

To put an end to this insanity, I got clear plastic bins. Shoe box size in a pack of 10. I organized the toys in each bin according to type. It’s soothing for me to sort things. I’m one of those weird people.

The rule in our house is each child can only have one bin open at a time. If she wanted to play with toys in another bin, the first bin must be put away. If she is good, sometimes I would spoil her by allowing two bins opened at a time. Oh. You cannot what a difference this makes. My kids learned to appreciate their toys and enjoy playing with them more than before.

Not only that, we purchased a coffee table from Ikea that holds all the bins below. It is nice to have the toys hidden and the play room is more visually appealing.

And yes, the play room has undergone a little makeover since the pictures taken at the beginning of the post. The play room is at the front of our house and one of the first rooms people see when they enter our home. I wanted to make it more inviting than childish. It is still a work in progress. At least it’s not cluttered with toys.


Thanks, Tiffany! What a genius way to corral in all of those toys!

Finally Movin’ on the Living Room Redesign

Photos have found their frames, sofa is in place, rugs carefully selected, a custom ottoman created, and a beautiful fabric lampshade addition has arrived from a fabulous etsy artist that I can’t wait to introduce you to! There are just a few more projects left before the living room is officially in it’s *happy place*.

As a quick reminder, this is what we started with:

The initial inspiration for the room came in the form of soft tans, beiges, raspberry reds, burgundy, chocolate and orange.

We started by painting the room a light tan to bring in a bit of warmth (there’s nothing like good friends to tackle an all-day project).

I found the ultimate color palette inspiration in a beautiful Suzani swatch by Calico Corners. I used just a yard of the favorite print to refashion a coffee table into a padded ottoman (you can check out the entire diy project here).

And that’s where we’ve left off! I can’t wait to share the new details and the final room this week.

With just a few additional diy projects and a couple of key decisions to be made (it’s awful when you can’t make up your mind) I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the progress in the next few days.

Hope everyone had a restful and relaxing holiday weekend!

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