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How To: Give Your Dining Room an Instant Fall Makeover

by Lidy Dipert

How To: Give Your Dining Room an Instant Fall Makeover

It's full-on fall, which means you have an excellent excuse to give your home a mini makeover! Or in this case, your dining room. The trick to styling any space for Autumn is finding that nice balance between modern pieces and combining them with warm and seasonal elements that really translate as homey and cozy. With these simple steps, your dining room will be ready for fall in no time! 

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50+ Frightful and Delightful DIY Ways to Decorate Your Home for Halloween

by M.E. Gray
DIY Halloween Decorations Mega Roundup
Source: Country Living

BOO! Did I scare you? If not, this might give you a fright: it's almost October, which means it's almost time for Halloween! Now that's truly terrifying. Halloween is one of the most fun holidays to decorate for, and there are so many ways you can celebrate. Whether you prefer creepy crawlies, or more glitz and glam, there's no end to the DIY Halloween decorations you can make to adorn you home - inside and out! Here are a few of our favorites. Prepare to be spooked!       

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Curbly Original
Amazing Fall Decor Ideas for Every Style, Budget, and Room

A cozy fall scene with a plaid blanket, hot chocolate, and fall leaves on a wood tray

It may or may not feel like it yet where you live, but I'm sure you don't need to be told that summer is nearing its last days. After a long, hot season, many of us are ready for cooler weather, colorful leaves, hay mazes, and apple picking. It can be fun to bring some of that fall flair into your home decor, too. So whether you want just a touch of fall decor, or want to kick summer to the curb and go all in with your fall decorations, we have tons of ideas for ways to turn your home into a celebration of autumn.          

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How to Build DIY Floating Shelves 7 Different Ways

by Rachel Jacks
Want to build your own DYI floating shelves? Here are 7 different tutorials that show you how.
Photo: Rachel Jacks

When I first set out to build live-edge floating shelves in my kitchen a few years back, I had no idea how to do it. At the time, I had to figure a lot out myself. Luckily for you, the internet now has step-by-step instructions for a variety of different methods for building shelves without visible brackets. Having personally built floating shelves two different ways, I can tell you that it's not difficult once you have some basic woodworking skills. I managed to do it even as a beginner. Here are seven different tutorials that will help you build the floating shelves (or floating corner shelves!) of your dreams.          

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Shopping Guide: How to Put Together an Affordable Mid-Century Modern Patio

by Tracy Leigh Morgan
CB2 Ixtapa Chair
Source: CB2

Who loves a good deal?! Yep, me too! Whether you're setting up your patio for the first time this summer, or just giving it a little zhuzh for the season, it's always more fun when you find affordable goodies and killer seasonal sales - more summer for your buck, so to speak. For this shopping guide, I've put together a soft, summer-y version of Mid-Century Modern. Not too edgy, but with the right amount of clean lines and angles - and at an affordable price.       

 

I love a good design influence, so I always start with a look or a vibe I'm trying to achieve (in this case, MCM!). Starting with an idea helps me plan my color palette, as well as the elements I'll need. It's a good idea to plan ahead, as it'll save you from shopping those precious summer minutes away!

This patio look will work in almost any environment. It shares a neutral color palette with a blend of a few colors, grounded with natural wood and black accents. By keeping the palette neutral and the furnishings classic, you can play around with new colors and textures year after year, while keeping the basic furnishings.

And, we're not staying strictly MCM in style, either. Consider this an updated-for-2018 version of MCM, with all the right vibes. Purists can say what they want but THIS is the today-feeling patio that I want to sip cocktails on.

I've included high, low, sale, and affordable selections here (prices are likely to change, of course)...and even a few vintage finds! Overall, I think a little restraint with colors and a style "direction" helps the blend feel pulled together and still casual, instead of edging towards a mix-matchy retro garage sale vibe. Okay, let's go!


Furniture

Midcentury Modern Vibe: Patio Furniture

1. A bit of an investment (but on holy-moly sale right now), West Elm's coffee table is a serious MCM nod to get the party started: Mosaic Tiled Outdoor Coffee Table; Regularly $469, now $281

2. This petite dining table from IKEA is perfect for morning coffee and happy hour sips: LÄCKÖ table; Regularly $39

3. Another MCM wink here with CB2's updated take on the rope-strung, South American styles of the past: Ixtapa Grey Lounge Chair; Regularly $259, now $199

4. Even if you don't have a full conversation set yet, just toss one of these poufs into the mix and everyone will feel right at home: Project 62™ Ikat Dot Outdoor Pouf; Regularly $49.99

Add some great weather-resistant pillows to give an extra pop of color, if you'd like.

Underfoot

Midcentury Modern Vibe: RugsUSA.com Trans Ocean Ravella Outdoor Rug

These muted colors act almost as a neutral base for the "room" and would look fab with weather-resistant jute or sisal-look rugs layered on.

5. RugsUSA.com is actually one of my favorite decorating "tricks." There's almost always a sale going on and they have just about any style you can think up. This sassy outdoor stunner comes in a variety of shapes and sizes: Trans Ocean Ravella Ombre in Aqua, 3.5' x 5.5'; Currently on sale for $147


On the Table

Midcentury Modern Patio Vibe: Tabletop

6. I love enamelware over plastic for outdoor use. Somehow plastic never feels like it stands up to the abuse, or looks as stylish: Hearth & Hand with Magnolia™ Enamel Dinner Plate; Regularly $4.99 ea

7. All purpose, BPA-free & dishwasher safe, this is the kind of plastic you want. Pour the piña coladas, please!: Williams-Sonoma Domaine Shatterproof Outdoor Goblets; Regularly $9.95, now $7.96

8. Basic and pretty; another situation where real trumps plastic every time: H&M Home 4-pc matte black forks; Regularly $12.99

9. A cute modern touch that brings the graphic element of MCM to the table. Literally: IKEA HEMMASTADD paper napkins 30 pack; Regularly $1.99


Decor Accents

Midcentury Modern Patio Vibe: Decor

Now, you can spend a gazillion bucks bringing in the final touches. Decorating, styling, accessorizing...whatever you want to call it, this is where things get exciting. Let's start with the patio necessities: plants & light.

10. I can't get over how slick this pendant is, and how seamlessly it would work with MCM, modern farmhouse, Scandi, and just about any style you can think up. Plus...it's solar!: Black Cap Solar LED Outdoor Pendant; Regularly $49.99; sale $34.99

11.  Hairpin legs - classic MCM. While these aren't down & dirty cheap, they are another foundational style element and worth the moolah. This one comes in 3 different sizes, too: 9" White Ceramic Planter with Stand; Regularly $29.99

12. Another MCM-goes-modern twist: Dark Turquoise Ceramic Planter With Wood Stand; Regularly $24.99

13. The reflective gold insides of these cheap candle holders are perfect for extending the summer evenings, and no one will ever know if you're burning citronella tea lights!: H&M Home Small Metal Tea Light Holder in charcoal gray; Regularly $2.99 


A Little Something Extra

Midcentury Modern Patio Vibe: Vintage & Other Extras

With any decor project, I like to bring a little soul into the room by way of vintage additions or just a pinch of good fun.

14. These affordable bowls, platters, pitchers and dinnerware are everywhere so keep your eyes peeled at thrift stores and vintage shops. Or, search Etsy & Ebay for "melamine" or "melmac" for indestructible outdoor goodies. Vintage Boonton melamine divided bowl; Regularly $12

15. Pier 1 brings the pool silliness here, with a perfect mid-century vintage feel: Peacock Pool Float; Regularly $89.95, now $67.46

16. Great little side tables and stools help round out the look: Vintage Midcentury Modern Tripod Serving/Side Table; Regularly $52.50


Affordable Summer Midcentury Modern Patio Shopping Guide
Share this shopping guide on Pinterest!

Now you'll have a perfect start to your summery twist on the Mid-Century Modern patio. Let me know in the comments if you've found other budget-friendly or packed-with-style items this season!    

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A Quick Start Guide For the Soft-Core Minimalist

by Tracy Leigh Morgan

Simple desk, minimalist workspace

It's tempting to think of minimalism as a "must do" trend. There's been so much chatter online, in books, and on podcasts about it lately - it's seemingly on everyone's mind. Minimalism is getting maximum exposure! For those new to the concept, it's also all too easy to peek at any of that material and feel immediately overwhelmed.         

 Ironically, it's that overwhelming feeling that is usually what starts people down this path AND is the leading cause of falling right back off.

So, let's approach this differently. Instead of worrying about what minimalism means "out there," or feeling like we need to adapt an all-or-nothing mentality to get on board, let's try just dipping a toe in and testing the waters. Feels good, right?  

Minimalist inspiration
Photo: Tracy Leigh Morgan

First, surround yourself with the vibe.

Enjoy some time learning a bit about what minimalism really represents and looks like in real life. It's not solely about stark, sleek interiors or capsule wardrobes. No one's ever accused me of living a minimalist lifestyle, but there is something in the vibe itself that speaks to me: it's about keeping things essential. (Between you and me, that's the word I tend do use when I'm trying on aspects of minimalism, like one might try on a new outfit.)

Scan the blogs, get lost in the gorgeous books, check out a few pins, and maybe listen to a podcast or TedTalk. Gather up your ideas about what minimalism could look like in your life, and see what the common themes are. Feel where this hits you - what pain point does this research bring up? Forget what everyone's saying you should do.

What are the one or two things in your life that could use a simpler, more essential approach and how would that make your life better?

Next, pick ONE thing.

Yep, this is where you already start practicing what you’re going to preach. Instead of trying to boil the ocean of lifestyle areas that need tweaking, identify the one thing that will 1) impact your life in a meaningful way, and 2) give you a quick win. There's nothing like momentum and success to keep us on the path when trying to make a shift.

Is your pain point a cramped closet, cluttered desk, chaotic mealtime, or an over-scheduled calendar, perhaps? Then, start right there. Don't fall into the trap that minimalism is an on and off switch; you can use the dimmer.

Simplify your closet with a capsule wardrobe.
Photo: All About Space/Shutterstock

So, if your closet has lost its mind and you've not worn half that stuff for eons, then envision what a capsule wardrobe might look like, and start putting together a "draft" version for yourself. Apply a little Marie Kondo, and strip out the things that don't bring you joy or inspiration. And get real if things are damaged, out of size, or otherwise unwearable now. You're living now, so prioritize the things that support your life today.


Meal planning & batch cooking can simplify mealtimes
Photo: Stephanie A. Meyer/Project Vibrancy Meals

Give technology a good, hard, side-eye squinty look. 

Tech can be your best friend or your kryptonite as you approach minimalism. Use it for good, friends.

Try these ideas:

  • Go as paperless as you can. It's 2018, let's do this.
  • Take breaks from social media & the relentless news cycle. The stress of keeping up often fuels the behaviors that got us into the maximalist, over-spending, stuff-collecting groove to begin with.

  • Lean on apps & digital services that can make your life easier. Struggling with mealtime decisions or spending too much money on take out? It's not a sign of defeat to pay someone else to do the meal planning; subscription services like Project Vibrancy Meals (pictured above) can do the heavy lifting for you. Or if money management is one of your Achilles-level pain points, apps like You Need A Budget can be a game changer.

  • Learn about minimalism, essentialism, and other related practices on podcasts and blogs online. The Minimalists is one of my favorites.

    Bonus points: Try a challenge! Most of the minimalist & simple living blogs offer jump-starts by way of simple challenges. Just remember to keep yours focused on your ONE thing and don't overdo it.

Create a stylish entry way "landing zone" to make your new routine easier.
Photo: Lucia Coppola/Shutterstock

Adopt a new mini-routine that supports your "one thing."

The most effective behavior changes happen when they become almost mindless, like turning on the coffee pot each morning or grabbing your keys before you walk out the door. Once you have your minimalist goal in mind, create a little routine around it that connects the behaviors to the change itself.

So, for instance, if clutter is your bug, start by creating a landing zone for keys, bags, mail, and other papers & detritus that come in the door with you. Make it your new habit to empty your pockets, dig the receipts out of your wallet, drop the change into a jar, leave the keys in a pretty bowl with your sunglasses, and plug in your phone to charge. Boom. You're on your way to a behavioral baby step that's directly connected to the everydayness of walking through the door.


Finally, reflect on what's working...and what's not.

I love a pen-to-paper journal for this, but use whatever format you prefer. There is little point in pushing for a change when it's not meeting your needs, or is only meeting them part-way. As with most "lifestyle" practices or approaches, it's always best to be honest with yourself and take the parts that work, and leave the rest in the dust. There are no martyrs in minimalism...that just wouldn't be essential or necessary, would it?

As an example, I love my Kindle. I use it each and every day and have since Kindle 1.0 was a thing. But, deep in my heart, I also love books...the smell, the feel of paper, the weight, and certainly the look of them on my bookshelf. So a book-free life is not for me. But I've adopted a new mentality towards how I buy books and what I keep around so that it works for my approach.


Quick start guide to soft-core minimalism
Share these ideas on Pinterest! 

At the end of the day, trust yourself to learn the basics, practice a bit, and then tweak what you’ve got to make it work for you. Start simple, get the small win, and keep on easing in.

Looking for more minimalist inspiration? Check out this streamlined home, owned by a very organized couple.

Minimalist House Tour

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Curbly Original
An Evening Cleaning Tip That will Change Your Life

by Erica Young
An Evening Cleaning Tip That will Change Your Life
Photo: Jodie Johnson/Shutterstock

Conduct one Pinterest search, and you’ll quickly discover: there is no shortage of cleaning hacks out there. Of course, some of them more reasonable than others. I once read a tip suggesting that instead of dusting my window blinds, I should wash them all at once in the bathtub. Brimming with misplaced cleaning confidence that only a long Pinterest session can inflict, this seemed like a brilliant idea. The inevitable and unfortunate results? A bathtub full of blinds now caked in wet gray grime rather than easy-to-remove dust. As I awkwardly leaned over the side of the tub and swished the blinds around in what had quickly become dirty water - which seemed...counterproductive? The real kicker was the near-back injury as I realized the water-logged blinds were now much too heavy for me to lift out of the tub.

Since then I've learned that – no matter what the internet says – simple cleaning tips are the most effective.

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The Wabi-Sabi Home: Learn to Embrace Imperfection and Authenticity

by M.E. Gray

Wabi-sabi home

I used to own this cup and saucer set. It was white with a yellow border - I found it at the thrift store. The handle of the cup was comfortable, and the saucer large. I loved it. I loved it in a way that it seemed to make my coffee taste better in the morning. One day, my yellow cup met a fate that many ceramic dishes face. It was dropped, and the cup cracked. The vessel was still usable after its accident, after a bit of gluing. But it never looked the same again. A piece of the ceramic was missing, a chunk gone. I still held onto it, because I loved this cup, and life happens, you know? This is, roughly, the definition of wabi-sabi.               

Photo by The Ranch Uncommon
Photo by The Ranch Uncommon

I only heard of the term wabi-sabi recently, but I was immediately intrigued by the concept. Being someone who is always fighting with achieving perfection in reality, I am drawn to the freedom of wabi-sabi, and can see its value in the Western world. I'm no expert on the topic, but here's what I've come to understand about this Zen Buddhist aesthetic.

Definition: What is Wabi-Sabi?

Traditionally speaking, wabi-sabi is the acceptance of imperfection as an aesthetic.

Let's start from the beginning. In Buddhism, there are three marks of existence that are taught about. The first is impermanence - the idea that nothing that is alive will last forever. The second is suffering - that all living things suffer. And the third is lack of self - that all living things contain no permanent soul (which is where the idea of reincarnation comes into play). Wabi-sabi was born out of the teachings of these three marks of existence. If all this talk about suffering and impermanence is getting you down, try shifting your perspective. 

Photo via The Future Kept
Photo via The Future Kept

The Aesthetic of Zen Buddhism

Rather than wallow in the idea that nothing is permanent and every living creature suffers, over time the translation of these definitions changed. It was in Japanese culture that wabi-sabi moved away from a nihilistic mindset and became revered as a sort of flawed beauty. 

Wabi-sabi, like many forms of Eastern art and design, exists as almost an opposite to Western culture. Rather than always aiming for perfection, wabi-sabi embraces that perfection is unrealistic. There is nothing grand about the Zen Buddhism aesthetic. Instead, it's introspective. It says, Yes, the cup is chipped, and is now imperfect. And we accept that as beautiful. Because life is imperfect, and life is beautiful.


Examples: The Wabi-Sabi Home

Photo by Emilie Anne Szabo
Photo by Emilie Anne Szabo

So how does this life-is-messy-and-that's-okay mindset translate into the home? It can be as small an act as accepting the chipped dish as a beautiful part of your life. Maybe it's the acceptance of a wobbly chair that you love in spite of its imbalance. Wabi-sabi exists almost opposite of the culture that we in Western Civilization are accustomed to. In Western culture, bigger is better, everything is store-bought, and if something is broken, throw it out immediately. A wabi-sabi home is quieter, unfocused on grandious materialism, and forgiving. On the scale of home decor, the wabi-sabi home is somewhere between bohemian and minimal. Here are some queues to take when considering this quieter design style.

Photo via Billie Blanket
Photo via Billie Blanket

Natural materials

Natural materials are the best method for embracing a wabi-sabi home. You can't control how a fresh flower blooms, nor can you totally tame a hosueplant. Add texture to your home through natural materials like dried flowers, furs, and raw woods

Photo via ElleDecor.com
Photo via ElleDecor.com

Natural colors

When choosing color to bring into your wabi-sabi home, mimic the hues of nature. There's nothing manufactured about the Zen Buddhist aesthetic, and your color scheme should flow with this idea. Pick calm blues like water, earthy neutrals, greens, and grays

Photo by Amanda Watters via Design Sponge
Photo by Amanda Watters via Design Sponge

Utility and design

What separates a wabi-sabi home from a bohemian one is utility. Remember, this aesthetic is un-fussy. There should be little in your home that doesn't serve a purpose. The appliances and electronics you have in your home should be there because they work, not because they're the newest and or most recent version released. Artwork should bring joy, not just fill space. Everything has its role, and that role includes bringing joy, so don't feel like you have to strip your home totally down to utility only.

Photo via Malfatti Glass
Photo via Malfatti Glass

Fewer items of higher value

Western culture is obsessed with buying and spending, and that mindset is engrained in every facet of our culture, including interior decorating. The wabi-sabi home exists opposite of that, putting value in usefulness over trend. Sturdy fixtures and furniture tend to be more expensive, but their higher cost will pay off in their longevity. Focus on bringing fewer items into your home, and be mindful that what you do incorporate should be sturdy and long-lasting.


Important People - Leonard Koren

Leonard Koren's home, photo by Aubrie Pick
Leonard Koren's home; Photo by Aubrie Pick via the San Francisco Chronicle

Just as hygge has Meik Wiking, wabi-sabi has its big player, too. Let's talk about Leonard Koren, the American artist and aesthetic afficionado. Born in New York City in 1948, Koren made his first big splash in the design world by founding WET Magazine (did you catch the pun?), a publication that focused on gourmet bathing. After that, Koren went to live in Japan, where he wrote several books on the wabi-sabi aesthetic, successfully introducing this Japanese Philosophy into Western culture. 

"'Material poverty, spiritual richness' are wabi-sabi bywords. In other words, wabi-sabi tells us to stop our preoccupation with success - wealth, status, power, and luxury - and enjoy the unencumbered life."

- Excerpt from Koren's book, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers


More Resources - Books/Articles

Photo excerpted from "Wabi-Sabi Welcome" by Julie Pointer Adams
Photo excerpted from Wabi-Sabi Welcome by Julie Pointer Adams

 

If you are interested in learning more about the wabi-sabi aesthetic, there are lots of resources out there. In additon to Leonard Koren's works, check out these articles and books as well: 

 

  • Wabi-Sabi: A Japanese Aesthetic as Worldview - This article goes deep into the Japanese roots of Zen Buddhism, and answers all your questions about the aesthetic in practice.
  • Wabi-Sabi: Finding the Beauty and Peace in Ordinary Things - This article from Mother Earth News includes 12 ways to cultivate wabi-sabi.
  • Wabi-Sabi Welcome by Julie Pointer Adams - A journey of discovering wabi-sabi all over the globe, and lots of beautiful imagery.
  • The Natural Home by Hans Blomquist - Visual inspiration on bringing nature into the home as part of the overall design. A case study on the natural color pallete. 
  • Imperfect Home by Mark Bailey and Sally Bailey - While this book isn't about the wabi-sabi home per se, it still deals with the action of accepting imperfection in decor.
  • The Kinfolk Home: Interiors for Slow Living by Nathan Williams - What it looks like to simplify your life from a design perspective. Again, not wabi-sabi exactly, but a nice pairing. 

The Wabi-Sabi Home: Learn to Embrace Imperfection and Authenticity
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 Even if you don't want to take on wabi-sabi as an entire design scheme, this Japanese philosophy can be an enriching aid to anyone. Perfection is unreal - life is imperfect. This imperfect life is the only one we have, so why not celebrate it?

If you're looking for more ways to cleanse your home, check out these five minimalist blogs.

5 Minimalist Blogs

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Pastel Paradise: How to Make Natural Dyes for Fabric

by Holly Wade

Pastel Paradise: How to Make Natural Dyes for Fabric

I'm all about pastels right now, and I suspect we'll be seeing even more pastels while spring is in bloom. To create the pastel paradise I want for Easter, I felt I needed pastel colored fabric napkins. Since I wanted to learn more about natural dyes, I searched for ways to dye fabric with traditional household items in order to achieve my pastel color palette. I decided to experiment with a few different ingredients, and ultimately, red...

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Easy DIY Snowy Mountain Napkin Holder

by Faith Provencher
Easy DIY Snowy Mountain Napkin Holder
Photo: Faith Towers Provencher

A napkin holder is one of those (usually) mundane dining items that you never think about until you need it. And typically, napkin holders aren't exactly visually exciting. Unless you make one yourself! Today I have a fun, super simple project that will up your napkin game exponentially. Click through to find out how to make this trendy snowy mountain motif napkin holder.   

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How High Should I Hang A Picture: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet

by Jesica Versichele

How high to hang pictures? Wall art placement tips

How high to hang pictures? Should they be at eye level? Does that mean my eye level or the eye level of the average person? What if I have very high ceilings? What about those gallery walls everyone is posting Pinterest pictures of? It's a lot to think about, right? Sometimes it seems as if there are as many answers to this question as there are different kinds of houses. This quick cheat sheet is designed to help you make this decision based on your own interior, and find the perfect height to hang pictures in your home.

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81 Do-It-Yourself Christmas Decorations That Are Actually Stylish

by M.E. Gray

A mega roundup of do-it-yourself holiday projects that are actually cute

Christmas decor comes in a wide range of styles. Some decorations are cute, some are classy, and some are, well... I'll say it: ugly. Sadly a lot of do-it-yourself decorations can fall into this last category, but I'm here to tell you it doesn't have to be that way. I've found 81 examples of stylish Christmas decor that you can make yourself (and proudly display when you're done).          

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