{photo from Visual Vamp — I think??}

A very common decorating dilemma is the ever so daunting blank wall behind the sofa scenario.  I am constantly looking at how different designers address a wall that in my opinion, can make or break a room.  I have found the most common mistake people make is scale.  Scale is one of the most important design elements.  Always, always, err on the side of too big when it comes to artwork.  I much prefer larger pieces on a wall that make an impact over  a scattering of things that are too small and random- major pet peeve.  A very favorite way to address this wall is a large Oriental screen as seen in the photo above.  When decorating on a budget (which as we say at work, everybody has a budget) these large pieces, especially screens, can be tricky.  My friend, Katherine, let me in on a little secret…Horchow Finale.  She got her screen for a very good price, and I have one over my sofa that I found in the clearance ding and dent section of the outlet for $200.

Another way I like to see the wall behind the sofa addressed is with a series. Whether it be maps or prints, this look is very polished and symmetrical and allows other parts of your space to be quirky and a bit “off.”

I love these Paris Maps that Carolina scouted at the fabulous Houston store, Area.

This (as seen in Elle Decor, May 2007) is a room I just keep coming back to.  It makes every part of me want to completely redo my living room and go all white and neutral (I’m a color lover, but I’m working towards this).

{Photo by:William Waldron from House of Turquoise}

I love how Jan Showers used the architecture of the room to incorporate antiqued mirror flanked by a series.

{photo from Girl Meets Glamour}

I love how different pieces of art are hung on a framed mirror, genius!
Like I mentioned, I am a huge fan of oversized {contemporary} art of the sofa.
{photo via Habitually Chic}

I LOVE this piece, and talk about oversized!

The art makes this room feel fresh, not stuffy.
Another no-fail trick is a fabulous mirror flanked by art/photos on either side.

Love, Love, Love, this grouping by Ruthie Sommers.
Symmetry is key in this Living Room designed by Scott Laslie for the Traditional Home’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” Showhouse.
Bottom Line: Think scale, think drama, and think symmetrically.  This will make your room balanced and allow you to experiment with your furniture and accessories.

I have to confess something, I really cringe when I hear the word, “trend.” To me that immediately signals the downfall of something I’ve probably liked for years that will now be everywhere, saturating the market, and I will be eventually worn down to the point that I fall out of love with it a little bit. Now, let me clarify… trends are fun, but I personally have more fun experimenting with them in fashion.  To me putting a trend in your home for the sake of a trend is a little too permanent.  Being a designer and design blogger it can be difficult/annoying to watch your beloved suzani be commercialized to the point of a sale rack at Target (not that I don’t shop the sale racks at Target).  So when we talk about trends it is definitely a love/hate kind of thing!
Interlocking links or chain link is an example something I have always liked that now seems to be everywhere (but right now in a good way). I love it because it is such a simple design with humble origins yet it has become iconic (Thanks to Hermes and Chanel).

The Chaine D’Ancre pattern from Hermes has an underlying equestrian feel.

Lauren Conrad carries a classic Chanel bag with the signature chain link straps.

Chunky chain gold jewelry is an accessory staple for me (J Crew bracelets).

This link “motif” has been around a long time. I LOVED these windows at St. Peter’s in Rome.

This ingenious D.I.Y. shelf was showcased in the late Blueprint Magazine but I found it here.

These slinky chain metal curtains add amazing texture to this sleek room.

These bath mats are a pretty literal interpretation.

Bedding on sale from Pottery Barn.

Glass Links chandelier from Z Gallerie.

Nate Berkus used a lot of chain link in his collection for the late Linens N’ Things.

A favorite mirror from Mecox.

This neutral pillow is great if you want to add just a hint of the pattern.

Nordstrom “Etched Key” Vase.
I leave you with the immortal words of Billy Baldwin, “Be faithful to your own taste because nothing you really like is ever out of style.”

C Bell goes Glam!

Posted By Lauren-Houston | Oct 22, 2008 | 5 Comments | Category: Decorating, Furniture

Ooooohhhh “I DIE” over both of these consoles/desks/tables/vanities from C Bell. They are multi-functional people!

It is hard to believe that it is the middle of October already!  I know I have been lax in my decorating for the fall (I guess I’m just saving up my energy to go all out for Christmas).  My mother-in-law goes all out for every season and loves every second of it.  I thought I’d share these pictures of her Halloween decor.  Enjoy!

Vintage postcards are something Cathy always picks up in antique stores.  Often she will make a color copy of the postcards on card stock and then add glitter to really make them special.  Vintage postcards are pretty much available for every season… Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, etc.  Vintage wedding cards look awesome displayed at a bridal shower or luncheon.
Using Scrabble stands, Cathy collects fun letters and incorporates them in all of her seasonal decorating.

Halloween is really the time to get “creepy.”  Scary black cat!

No detail is too small, including the orange and black ribbon ties on the festive napkins. Another good idea is to collect old yearbooks and make photocopies of pictures that work with the season.

If you look closely you can see how she covered books with coordinating scrap-booking papers.
Building up your seasonal decorating arsenal is no easy task.  It takes a while to gather gobs of glass domes, apothecary jars, cylindrical vases, candelabras etc.  It is a good idea to collect these things throughout the year.  For example, Pottery Barn always puts their mercury glass jars and containers on sale after the Christmas holidays.  Of course, the more organized you are the easier your life will be year after year trying to locate and find all of your decor for each season.  If you love the look but don’t have the time, desire, energy, or knack hire a designer or decorator to do it for you!

Time for another round of “Classy or Trashy?!” I found them here…don’t look before you decide.

This weekend I flew to Oklahoma for a friend’s wedding.  Well, I just can’t go to Oklahoma City without a “quick” trip to my favorite store, Mockingbird Manor.  M.M. is a treasure trove of antique, vintage, and new finds displayed by various vendors but without the antique mall feel. The above picture is the of the entry (it is a converted house) and I wanted that parson’s desk soooo badly (alas it was already sold).

I always like the styling of the front entry.  Desk shot again.

The other side of the entry.

There is a kitchen upstairs that used to be a vendor’s space, but it looks as if a Designer has made a small office out of it, what a great place to work!

I love seeing how other Designers organize all the unruly swatches, books, loose tiles, etc.!

I really apologize for the lack of pictures!  You’ll just have to go visit it in person.

Mockingbird Manor

4417 N. Western Ave.

Oklahoma City, OK 73118

Shelves on the Cheap

Posted By Lauren-Houston | Oct 03, 2008 | 4 Comments | Category: Budget Design, Sales

Perusing the Pottery Barn clearance section I spotted these bamboo shelves available in white in the 2′, 3′ and 4′ lengths for 24.99, 29.99, and 34.99 respectively! Now if I could only find a place for them (details, details)…