Category: Tips (Page 1 of 2)

Mirrors at Homegoods Right Now!

I love a good Homegoods session.  If you are like me, it’s fun to go in and wander around for a few hours (if we get so lucky!).  I am definitely that person that goes in for 1 random thing (like Himalayan salt) and I walk out with 2 lamps, an area rug, and a cake plate.  I love Homegoods because it’s a great store to go into with some inspiration, but then find similar items and not pay designer price tags.

One of my favorite things they sell are mirrors!  I find that most other retailers charge so much for mirrors.  Don’t get me wrong, I love good quality investment pieces, but my thoughts on what those should be continue to change.  With stores like Ikea, Homegoods, and Target all stepping up their game every season, I find more and more great stuff there.  Since I tire easily of some decor items, I like having the option to change things up at home without spending a lot of cash!  With everything being so expensive these days, we all want comfortable homes that reflect our styles, but we still want some extra cash in our wallets for other fun things.

I found these great mirrors just a few days ago at my local Homegoods.  The prices were $80-$100 and they were great, large sizes!  These are timeless and can go with any decor.  In fact, I’m kind of annoyed that I don’t have any spots in my house that are in need at this moment.

Hexagon Shape:  Is this even a hexagon?  I am no geometry whiz but I am in love with this shape right now!

Timeless Rectangle:  Now this one I know is right:) I love this mirror because of the fact that it’s mirrored the whole way around the frame.  It gives off a luxurious feel and can really brighten up a room.  This style literally goes with ANYTHING!

Rounded Edges:  This mirror has more of an industrial feel but goes well with any decor style.  The dots are a nice contrast to any patterns you might have going on in your room (unless of course the room is polka dotted – that might be a bit too much!)  I also love that the frame is also mirrored and rounded edges are a more modern touch!

Fleur de Lis Style:  I’m actually not sure if that’s the technical term for this shape but it’s what I think of when I see this.  The photo is hard to make out but I did my best to show you!  Basically this mirror has a fancy designed top which is just gorgeous!  I love bringing in interesting details with wall art and mirrors.  This one is a show stopper and I see this working well in a girl’s bedroom or any bathroom! And again, with them mirrored frame for the win!

If you are like most people who get totally overwhelmed by walking into a Homegoods and can’t focus on what will work in your home, I am happy to shop with you and help you collect the right pieces.  My biggest advice though, is if something speaks to you, buy it!  Right then and there!  Buy it and bring it home, try it out.  You can always return it if it doesn’t work.  I always feel better when I buy something I thought I loved, brought it home and realized eh, not so much.  Returning is simple and gives you another reason to look around:)

Happy Homegoods shopping!  Have a great weekend!



Favorite 5 (Affordable) Kitchen Backsplashes

Kitchens are the heart of the home in my opinion and they are one of my favorite spaces to design.  If you are anything like me, I spend about 80% of my time in our kitchen.  So for me, it has to be a space I enjoy being in.  As I always say, I love simplicity and kitchen design is no exception.  I am loving the latest trends I’m seeing out there because they really speak to my need for classic, clean and simple design.  Open shelving, hidden appliances, and great organization are all features that have been the biggest take-aways when I peruse kitchen designs.  I could write 10 blog posts surrounding kitchen design (hey, maybe that’s a good idea!), but today I am focusing on my 5 favorite (affordable) kitchen backsplashes.

When choosing a backsplash there are a few things to consider.  If you are starting your kitchen design from scratch, obviously your options are endless.  However, if you are working with existing cabinets or counter tops it’s important to look at everything as a whole.  In my own kitchen, I have a gray granite which is pretty busy looking.  In my case, a really simple backsplash is in order since something with a lot of color or pattern makes your eyes go all sorts of crazy.  The key is to have an impactful design feature, but also let the eye rest surrounding that feature.  If I had a more clean, simple counter top, I could push the envelope a bit with the backsplash.

I also like to consider the size of the space as well.  If you are working with a large kitchen (and simple counter top), a smaller patterned backsplash is a great idea and will bring interest and warmth to the space.  If your kitchen is on the smaller side and cozy as it is, the best option would be a larger tile to make the space feel bigger.  If you feel totally confused by all of these suggestions, don’t be afraid to reach out for some design services!  These considerations are what designers think about to get you the best design:)

Here are my favorite 5 affordable backsplashes right now:

#1.  Classic Subway Tile

Image Source: Mullet Cabinets via Decor Pad

The options are endless!  Color of tile, ceramic, glass, color of grout and style of install are all reasons this tile is a win.  It’s a classic style that can be customized to your personal preference.  This classic white ceramic 3″ x 6″ subway tile is $1.76/sq foot at Home Depot and has many other variations on websites such as Wayfair.

#2.  Herringbone Mosaic Tile

Image Sources:  HGTV Magazine

Herringbone is another classic pattern that will never go out of style.  The photos above are likely individual subway tiles laid in a herringbone pattern, however, there are sheets of smaller tile available.  The mosaic sheets are a bit pricier but they cover 12″ X 12″ of space which can make the job go quicker!  Check out this herringbone mosaic from Home Depot.  At $11 per sq/ft it’s a great price when compared to some other options at tile specialty stores.

#3.  Arabesque Tile

Image Sources:  Home Depot

Arabesque is another pattern that I never tire of.  I love that it has soft edges which is a nice contrast to all the hard edges in a kitchen.  It can look busy depending on your other finishes, however, there are so many color options that make this style really versatile.  Of course the marble option is my favorite!

#4.  Brick

Image Source:  Decor Gold Designs

Image Source:  Home Depot

I love the look of exposed brick (when the brick looks a bit vintage).  This could look really great in the right kitchen.  In the first photo, real bricks were used and cut down.  That’s definitely a great option, but labor intensive.  I have seen brick veneer in tile specialty stores that look beautiful.  Home Depot comes through again for a great option in the 2nd photo.  The Abbey Brick in 2″ X 10″ is only $4.99 sq/ft.

#5.  Moroccan Fish Scales (Fan Shape)

Image Source:  House Beautiful website via Decor Pad

Can I just stop and say I am in complete awe of this kitchen by the designers at Urban Grace?  The colors are amazing and as you might imagine it’s a home near the water!  This kitchen shows that if you want to skip the white kitchen trend, this is the way to do it!  Like the other tiles I mentioned, fish scale (or fan shape) comes in too many colors and materials to count!  The soft edges are perfect paired with all the hard edges in the kitchen.  Mercury Mosaics and Tarbaka Studio have some amazing options regarding size and color, but might be pricey for a kitchen on a budget.

Image Source:  Marble Online

I was able to find this honed Carrara marble option at Marble Online for only $14.99/sheet!

I hope this helps anyone planning some home renovations!  I offer a la carte design services so please feel free to reach out for design advice if all of these decisions are too overwhelming.

Have a great weekend!  We are getting buried in snow:(



Is it Already Time for Another Holiday?

I’m not gonna lie.  This was the week from hell!  All 4 of us got the stomach bug at the beginning of the week.  It took us a few days to recover.  The only good thing that came of it was that none of us could eat so I didn’t feel guilty about not cooking at all for a few days.  Literally, all we we could do was lay around, watch T.V. and nap – would have been heaven if we didn’t feel so crappy.  We are all finally back to normal though it’s still tough for me to eat much.  As if the bug wasn’t enough, I got hit with a cold yesterday!   I cannot wait for this week to be over!

With all that said, I have been getting in the spirit of Valentine’s Day and seeing some really cool ideas out there!  I was trying to think of something fun and special to do for my family for dinner/dessert and one of my favorite bloggers, Driven by Decor, just posted the cutest idea – fondue!  We bought a fondue maker a long long time ago and the kids loved to use it.  It’s one of those things I forget to pull out every so often so when I read her post I knew it would be perfect!  I also love the heart-shaped bowls that Kris found at Homegoods.  Such a cute detail.  I see strawberries, pound cake, and marshmallows in my future:)

Image Source:  Driven by Decor

On one of my many many Target sprees I found these cute place mats for $3 each!:

And these cute straws:

I had to give our cocoa bar a little update too:)

We are lucky enough that our local farm Smyth’s Trinity Farm in Enfield, CT makes delicious strawberry milk so I will have some of that on hand.  I saw these milk ice cubes from A Subtle Revery and just about died!  These are made with regular milk, a little bit of food coloring, and a heart ice cube tray (I have seen trays everywhere!).  As they melt they make the regular milk turn pink.  So simple and so cute!

Image Source:  A Subtle Revelry

I LOVE this idea for special sugar cookies from Kelsey’s Kitchen and found cookie stamps on Amazon.  This will be a fun thing to have when the kids come home from school.  I also wanted to mention, if you are concerned about dyes in your kids’ food, I am loving these natural dyes I found on amazon.

I saw this cute idea for the days leading up to Valentine’s Day from Skip to my Lou.  She calls it a Valentine Heart Attack which is so clever!  You can start this anytime, but the idea is to start February 1st to the 14th and add a new heart to your child’s bedroom door (or wherever you choose to do it!).  Simple and sweet.  I think the kids will really love this.

Image Source:  Skip to my Lou

For all the incredible cupids out there, I have to mention how in love I am with Farmgirl Flowers.  Skip the grocery store bouquets and opt for the natural, freshly picked from-the-farm look of Farmgirl Flowers!  They have even created a “hint” card to leave out for your sweetie with a 15% pre order discount through 1/28.  How cute is that???

Image Source:  Farmgirl Flowers

Image Source:  @farmgirlflowers on Facebook

I hope you all stay healthy this season and this stomach bug avoids your families.  It is a doozie.  We were spared last year so maybe this was payback?  Have a wonderful weekend!




Favorite Dark Paint Colors

One of the big trends this year is a focus on dark, moody paint colors.  This is one of my favorite design choices!  I love me a deep dark wall or room!    Deciding what color to use can be a challenge and my biggest piece of advice is always get a small sample of paint (a quart is sometimes what you will have to buy) and paint a few areas to see if you like it.  A bold paint color is a bit more risky in that it is harder to paint over someday if you change your mind – not impossible but just a little more work.

When you are deciding on a color, take into account the room itself.  How do you want to feel in the room OR what feeling are you trying to invoke from others?  One rule to follow when painting with a dark color is it almost always makes a space feel smaller or more cozy.  It also makes a space feel dramatic.  Some examples of great spaces to use a dark color are:  a powder room, an office, a more formal space or even just an accent wall in a bedroom.  Choosing to put a bold color on some cabinets is also a win in my book! These are just some examples of tried and true options, but a moody color can really be used anywhere.  I like using bold colors in smaller spaces or on an accent wall because I have an itty bitty problem of constantly changing my mind and this way it’s only a small space to paint over.  I also suggest picking 1-2 areas in your home to go bold in.  It can be overwhelming if every room has a bold dark color.  Contrast is our friend in good design.  Mixing light rooms with a 1-2 darker ones is the design jackpot!

Here are some of my favorite colors to go bold with!  I happen to love Benjamin Moore paint due to it’s quality, price and accessibility but almost every line of paint has something similar to these.

In general, I love blue paint.  It’s classic and rich.  It makes me think of New England, the ocean and the preppy look which is just so crisp.  I love dark navy, grey navy, pretty much any navy.  The blue paint below happens to be Brittania Blue and it has some gray and slight green undertones.  It’s definitely not a true navy.  For a truer Navy,  I also love Hale Navy and have used that in my son’s nursery 10 years ago!

Brittania Blue:

Hale Navy:

side note:  a Pottery Barn Kids nursery was my go-to back then!  I still love that preppy look with dark blue walls and stripes!

These cabinets!  Oh these cabinets!  What a dreamy kitchen.  I love this neutral space with the pop of Hale Navy island cabs and can I mention the brass fixtures???  Stunning!

Image Source:  House of Jade Interiors

The white built-ins in this office perfectly off set the darker Hale Navy surrounding walls.  This combo is perfection!

Image Source:  Studio McGee

Image Source:  Studio McGee

This year I am really excited about all the green I’m seeing in interiors!  I love placing green plants in a home because it really brings the design to a whole other level.  It brings nature in and makes the spaces kind of interchangeable.  So bringing a emerald-like green to the walls has me really excited!  It’s a nice change from all the blue!

I love how The Faux Martha paired the green wall with modern leather chairs and a colorful antique rug!  The perfect combination!

Source:  The Faux Martha

Studio McGee just nails these colors EVERY TIME!  I love this mixture of blue, green, gold and natural elements!

Source:  Studio McGee

What a pretty tile for a kitchen back splash or a shower stall.

Source:  Fireclay Tile

This hexagon tile is gorgeous with the raw wood floating shelf, neutral cabs and countertop!

Source:  Kate Arends Wit & Delight

I hope this post inspires you to go bold in your own designs at home!  Have a wonderful weekend!



Exterior Inspiration – My Top 5 Tips for Curb Appeal

New England weather is so fascinating.  Last week our temps were hovering around 10 degrees, we had a snowstorm and now the last few days have been in the 50’s!  All the snow has melted so I took the opportunity to put away the outdoor Christmas decor.  I couldn’t help but notice just how many home imperfections stand out this time of year!  Maybe it’s because there is no greenery or color to distract the eye?  Or maybe with all the brown drab colors out there, it makes any paint color really stand out?

Whether you begin to plan some spring changes to your home or you are getting it ready for the real estate market, it’s a good idea to spruce up your exterior.  I said this last week, but I love this time of year for planning.  Since not much can actually be done at this time, now is the time for the leg work.  Get those paint quotes!  Get any outdoor construction quotes.  Plan your landscape or entry ideas and price them out if possible.

To help with some exterior inspiration, here are my top 5 tips for creating standout curb appeal!

By Minneapolis General Contractors Sicora Design/Build via The Creativity Exchange

#1.  Paint:  I can’t stress enough how much impact a simple thing such as paint can make.  Exterior painting is a bit more challenging than indoor so it’s best to consult your local paint store or consider hiring a painter.  The existing paint needs to be really clean and any spots that are peeling need to be scraped, sanded and primed.  Also, the air temperature and weather play a role as well.  Even sprucing up trim alone can make a huge difference!  Don’t forget to paint the front door and garage door while you are at it.  This is the most important thing you can do for your home’s curb appeal!

by Anne Thornton Interiors

#2.  Entryway:  The front door is SO important.  This should have a fresh coat of paint.  If it’s in really bad shape look into replacing it with something really charming.  Check your front steps and be sure they are safe.  Assess if they could use a sprucing.  Sometimes all it takes is a fresh coat of sealant or concrete to make them look new again.  You can also get fancier and “cap” concrete with stone.  Another simple, inexpensive addition is a welcome mat to warm up all the hard edges out there.  Here is one that I love from Target.  It’s large and costs only $22 right now!  Flanking the steps or front door with planters is also a great idea and makes the entryway so inviting.

Project from Pioneer Construction

#3.  Landscaping:  This is another favorite of mine as far as big impact.  Swapping out overgrown shrubs for more appropriate-sized plantings is always a win.  Or simply planting shrubs where there were none creates impact.  Take into consideration how much sun is available, the different seasons, colors and blooms as well as height and size.  Local nurseries are wonderful at helping out with this.  Some charge a small fee for a design plan and usually waive the fee if you buy the plants from them.

Photo by Paper White Homes

#4.  Lighting:   This can be a pricey fix or totally budget-friendly.  It really depends on your style.  However, I will say there are so many sites out there that have great lighting – it’s worth it to do some leg-work here.  You can find similar lighting on sites like Wayfair and Joss & Main for a fraction of what lighting stores charge.  However, one caveat is sometimes these lights may not hold up quite as long.  Depending on the climate and location, it can be best to spend more to purchase better materials that will hold up to extreme temperature, salt water, snow/ice etc or prepare to replace inexpensive lighting every few years.

by Etsy Shop WoodDesigners

#5.  Exterior accessories:  Take the time to spruce up or replace things like flags, mailboxes, house numbers and even basketball hoops/nets.  Some of these items may just need a bit of spray paint.  Items such as house numbers can be replaced inexpensively.  You can even consider a pretty handmade plaque like this from Etsy.  It’s a simple way to add some charm to the exterior.

There you have it!  If you are planning on listing your home for sale this spring, these tips are a MUST to get buyers in the front door!  Otherwise, take this opportunity to plan out some changes you may want to make when the weather breaks.

Have a great weekend!

xo Sarah



Is It Time for a 2017 Refresh?

As I’m packing away my holiday decor, I can’t help but love the feeling of a blank space.  It’s this time of year (maybe from my corporate retail days), that I think spring.  I know, it’s crazy!  But with a new year, I think of new beginnings, new goals, and new hope.  And that leads me to spring.  You will start to see retailers hold their clearance events and begin to set their floors with spring merchandise.  At this time of year, I like to keep decor to a minimum.  Keep it simple.  Sometimes, you need to let your eyes rest a bit especially after all of the sensory overload of Christmas and holiday decor.

I love the simplicity of this fireplace and mantel display from Love of Homes.  And the crisp white is perfect for January!

I also love this simple shelf styling from Magnolia Market/HGTV Fixer Upper.  You can swap out the books for more personal treasures, but keeping the palette simple feels so fresh.

January is a great planning month.  This is a good time to assess what home projects might be tackled this year, plan your garden, flower beds, or outdoor needs so that when the weather breaks, you are ready to go.  As for the interior, January is a great month to purge your home (and the dreaded closets!).  As the hosting and entertaining winds down, it’s also the perfect time to splurge for a deep clean of your home including shampooing carpets, upholstery etc.  Or if you have the time, perform it yourself to save money.     Take some time to assess how you are utilizing your spaces.  Could there be a better way to use them?  Could a space need a piece of furniture to help your goals or is it time to sell or donate something?

Here is a great idea from Always Chasing Life for a hall closet that just isn’t working as well as it could be.  Convert it!  Here is a blog with some instructions if you have a single closet.

If you are planning a garden or some landscaping – it’s a great idea to look for inspiration now and save the ideas to bring to your local farm/plant nursery when the weather breaks.

I have big dreams for creating a little fairy garden in the spring somewhere for my sweet, fairy-loving gal.  She is really into them and I just know she will be all grown up in the blink of an eye so this spring is a great time to tackle that fun project.  Check out this post from HGTV.  It is just the sweetest!

Winter could go on a few months longer and surely we will get a few snowstorms, but there’s no reason we can’t plan for spring and there’s no reason it can’t feel like a clean new space inside 🙂



My Favorite Crowd-Pleasing Treats

I hope you are all mostly prepared for the holidays coming up!  Now that all my shopping and wrapping is done (update: today I had to unwrap a gift and return it already – booh), I can focus my efforts on food.  My contributions to family and friend gatherings are almost always some form of dessert.  I have a major love of sweets and I am obsessed with anything home-made.  I thought a post with several of my tried and true desserts might help some of you scrambling for things to make!  They are all so delicious and I can’t wait to make them again for this weekend.

My family is always begging me to make Joanna Gaines’ lemon pie recipe with fresh whipped cream.  It’s fresh and light.  It’s a great summer dessert, but is nice in the winter with all the other heavy flavors.  Doesn’t everything Joanna does say perfection??

This Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie by Tasty is as delicious as it is beautiful!  I buy Annie’s brand cinnamon rolls to make sure there is no added junk in the crust.  As far as ingredients needed, it is the simplest dessert to make.

This is my all-time favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  These are a little crusty on the outside but really soft on the inside.  The perfect combination in my opinion.  This year, as a holiday treat, we gifted logs of cookie dough to our close friends.  Giving cookie dough is a great option because we all get bombarded with sweets this time of year.  The dough can be used immediately or frozen for another time when that sweet tooth is calling!

I love the look of decorated cookies and I love to make them look festive for parties or for Santa himself, but I also need simple ingredients.  These sugar cookies are so adorable and with a touch of peppermint and candy cane, they are the ultimate holiday dessert.  I don’t even think the kids can make too much of a mess making these (not!).

There you have it.  A simple little roundup of my favorite desserts.  I have the first 2 pies to make so I better get going!  I can’t believe how quickly Christmas is coming!  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones!

XO Sarah




Mud-Hall Reveal!

This mud-hall has taken me a lot longer to button-up than I anticipated (it ALWAYS takes longer than you think!).  However, I finally finished with just a few more things needed to complete it.  I have more painting to do and I need to order shades and possibly a new runner, but otherwise this space is being put to good use!  Just in time for the wet weather in New England.


I had to add a little Christmas touch!  I particularly love it when each space has a very small touch of Holiday.  Maybe that’s just the minimalist in me.  The pillow was a score from TJ Maxx and the baskets are from Homegoods.  I love a bargain!


The chalk board is from Magnolia Market!  I use it for all different kinds of messages (the leaf in this photo is really bugging me!).


The bench and hooks are from Wayfair and calendar system is from Pottery Barn.

I will be hopefully knocking out some more Christmas shopping this week and finishing up a few projects.  Fingers crossed!  Have a great week and thanks for checking out my blog!




Friday Inspiration: Organization Ideas for the Kids

As soon as the weather gets chilly, it’s time to turn our attention to our home’s interior.  We are stuck looking at it so much more now.  Time to touch up walls with paint, fill holes, perform a deep fall clean and purge purge purge!  My routine is to go through all the closets and donate what doesn’t fit or what we think would be great for someone else to love.  That takes priority.  I hate to wait too long because I don’t know about you, but I feel as though retailers move SO fast on seasonal product (or maybe I am a procrastinator?)!  Things start to get marked down and picked over pretty quickly so I like to get clothing, coats, hats, winter gear needs taken care of right away to get the best selection.  Sales are starting up now so pay attention to your favorite stores!

Now I am turning my attention to the main areas of the house and the kids toys. The dreaded toys and games  – OH SO painful!  But it feels so good to donate things they haven’t used in the last year(s) and have less “stuff”.  Here is a round up of my favorite kids organization ideas for our biggest clutter issues.

Dirty laundry:  This is a great option for fighting the ever-mounting laundry mountain.  Give each of your kids a stylish hamper that looks like cool decor like this one  from Pottery Barn Kids (currently on sale!).


Displaying knick knacks:  Here is a really fun option for displaying trophies, collectibles etc.  If your child is into a particular sport, there are several options.  I like using one or 2 of these pieces but not going overboard as kids’ interests change like the seasons.


Space to create, read and work:  This next idea is one of my absolute favorites and could be a pretty simple DIY.  Desk space for crafts, reading and homework is a must for kids of all ages.  I love the simplicity of this desk.  It also doesn’t take up much room so I can see this working even in very small rooms.  With some brackets fastened securely on the wall and any type of wood you can dream up, this could be a simple addition to a space!


Legos:  Everyone’s got ’em!  Holy moly – storing those things can be a total nightmare.  It took me a while to “let go” and if things we built got smashed up – that was ok!  Sadly, I am President Business and my OCD is in full force – I would love to krazy glue those things in a heartbeat.  BUT our kids have other plans.  And why not smash and build new things right?  So what a brilliant way to store them: by color!  I had not thought of it until a visit to the Lego store with their amazing displays of colored Legos.  Duh!!!!  Check out this blog – it has tons of great ideas for lego storage!


And I just loved this mini figure display.  Fun to play with and so fun to decorate with!


Toys etc:  My best advice is to go through them often and donate, de clutter, dispose!  If this is done often enough I find that I can donate so much because the toys/games haven’t been destroyed – which is what happens when things are held onto for too long.  To organize the chaos, it’s a good idea to sit down and look at those items that are must-keeps.  Toys come in all shapes and sizes and it helps to see what could be grouped together and what size storage would be needed.  Try to estimate how many bins etc you would need to keep the must-keeps contained.  This closet would be simple and fairly inexpensive to execute by heading to your local Target.  I love that most everything could fit in this space and be closed off when not in use.


If you don’t have a closet nearby, I love these simple stacking bins.  So many retailers have their version of them at all different budgets.  This style happens to be my favorite because it can truly grow with your child and even adults can re purpose them for a craft room or another closet organizer.


I hope you leave inspired to whip your homes into shape before the holiday craziness is upon us!

Friday Inspiration: Favorite Pins of the Week

The weekend is here and it’s getting colder outside.  I’m looking forward to staying warm and cozy inside and dreaming up new projects.  Time for some inspiration!

This gorgeous master bedroom has me dreaming about the ocean in October!  Loving it’s calming effect.


Another master bedroom with an AMAZING ceiling that brings just enough warmth to the space.  Cathedral ceilings CAN be cozy.


I am drooling over shelving like this and am plotting to add it somewhere soon.  Love the contrast of the lighter wood and black iron.


This dining space looks so inviting for the holidays coming up.  The reclaimed wood table and the mix of seating styles are the perfect combo.


Curb appeal goals!  Such a winner to add evergreens around the front door to keep up the curb appeal all through the winter.



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