Shopping Guide: Killer Dorm Decor That Will Set You Apart From The Crowd

by Faith Provencher
Shopping Guide: Killer Dorm Decor That Will Set You Apart From The Crowd | By Curbly #dorm #decor
Photo: Urban Outfitters

It's hard to believe, but it's that time of year when college kids are starting to think about packing up to head back to campus... which means it's also time for a dorm decor shopping guide! Infuse your space with some extra style this semester with these über trendy, character-packed picks that will make you the envy of all of your friends.   

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Curbly Original
Styling 101: How to Get That Scandinavian Look in Your Living Room

by Lidy Dipert

Styling 101: How to Get That Scandinavian Look in Your Living Room

For as long as I can remember, I have gravitated toward Scandinavian design. Seeing images of homes that had that clean aesthetic made me want to transform my entire house into a peaceful and airy retreat. It's easy to believe that Scandinavian design means you have to be a purest: black, white, and grey spaces with very little clutter and furniture. But that's not necessarily true. There are all kinds of amazing styles that can mix well with...

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Curbly Original
How to: Make a DIY Calder-Inspired Mid-Century Modern Mobile (for under $10.00)

by Chris Gardner

DIY Calder mobile sculpture project

Iconic mid-century designer Alexander Calder’s background in engineering and mathematics inspired him to make art that was three-dimensional and kinetic. But you don’t need a degree to make your own DIY Calder mobile! It just takes a little imagination and a lot of balance. In this project, you’ll learn how basic shapes can come together to create a spinning, swaying, stunning work of art for any room. For less than $10.00, you'll have your own version of this sculpture, inspired by the great Alexander Calder.

DIY Calder Mobile Materials

  • 20” x 32” sheet matte board
  • 3-4 3?32” x 3’ brass or copper coated steel rods
  • Spray paint or decorative paper and spray adhesive

Tools

  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Electrical drill and 3/32” drill bit
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Lineman’s pliers (optional)

Note: Brass or copper-coated steel wire is available at welding supply shops or hobby stores that sell model trains and airplanes.The goal is to find something sturdy but soft enough to bend.The raw steel in the weldable section of the hardware store is too tough to manipulate by hand.When looking for supplies ask for piano wire or coat hanger wire.

Let's make a Calder Mobile!

Step 1

Taking inspiration from Alexander Calder’s mobile and sculptural work, draw a series of organic shapes (amoebas, boomerangs, teardrops, etc.) on the matte board, with each getting a little bigger in size. Cut these out and paint them or cover with decorative paper and spray adhesive.

. Cut these out and paint them or cover with decorative paper and spray adhesive.

Step 2

Drill two 3/32” holes near the end of each shape, about 3/4” apart.

Drill two 3?32” holes near the end of each shape, about 3?4” apart.

Step 3

Insert a rod into the hole nearest the edge of the smallest shape. Using the needle nose pliers, make a 90° bend about 3/4” of the way down, then make a second bend the distance between the two holes.

Insert a rod into the hole nearest the edge of the smallest shape.

Step 4

Place the end of the rod through the second hole. Use either the needle nose or the lineman’s pliers to crush the end of the rod, securing it to the shape. Bend the rod back in line with the shape.

Use either the needle nose or the lineman’s pliers to crush the end of the rod, securing it to the shape.

Step 5

For the first level of the mobile, both sides will have a secured edge. Cut the wire about three times the length of the smallest shape. Repeat the stapling process with the second smallest shape at the other end.

To balance the connected shapes, place them on the tip of the needle nose pliers and udjust until you find the balance point. Move the pliers just a bit towards the shorter side. Bend the rod and shape 180° towards the long end, making a loop in the center of the rod. Place the loop on your pliers, and look! It’s balanced!

Bend the rod and shape 180° towards the long end, making a loop in the center of the rod.

Step 6

For the second tier, place the third smallest shape on your table and evenly space it with the first two. Cut a second piece of metal rod a bit longer (enough to compensate for three more loops), and attach one end to the shape (as in Step 4). Holding the connected rod and shape so the shape’s face is perpendicular to the floor, make an open-ended hook at the opposite end, bending the wire towards you. Orient the hook toward the face of the shape, rather than the ceiling (see photo).

 Holding the connected rod and shape so the shape’s face is perpendicular to the floor, make an open-ended hook at the opposite end, bending the wire towards you .

Step 7

Now place the hook through the loop of the first tier and find the balance point between the unit of shapes 1&2 and shape 3. Remove shapes 1&2, move a bit towards the shorter end, and make a loop as in step 5.

Insert the loop of tier one into the hook of tier two. Check the balance by placing the loop of tier two on the pliers. If it balances, crimp the hook of tier two closed.

Now place the hook through the loop of the first tier and find the balance point between the unit of shapes 1&2 and shape 3.

Step 8

Finish the mobile by repeating Steps 6 and 7 for the rest of the shapes.

Finish the mobile by repeating Steps 6 and 7 for the rest of the shapes.

created at: 06/17/2010

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Curbly Original
A Small Hallway Gets a Minimal Makeover

by Lidy Dipert

A Small Hallway Gets a Minimal Makeover

Hallways can often be the spaces in the home that get overlooked and definitely taken for granted. They seem to just be a pointless area that allows transportation from one room to the next. And really, they deserve just as much attention to detail than any other space in the house. It might just be an area that feels aimless and wayward, but maybe it just needs a little love and attention. 

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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.       

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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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15 Gorgeous Bathroom Light Fixtures Under $100

by Faith Provencher
15 Gorgeous Bathroom Light Fixtures Under $100
Photo: M.E. Russell

It can be difficult to find the perfect bathroom light fixture, especially when you're working with a tight budget. Part of the problem is the sheer number of options... it's difficult to cull through everything. So we've done the work for you! Today we're sharing 15 of our favorite affordable bathroom light fixtures in a wide variety of styles.    

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17 Ways to Introduce this Trending Pattern into Your Home

by M.E. Gray
Selection from the Unmagic Eye Exhibition by Spencer Harrison and Billie Justice Thomson; Photo by Bri Hammond
Selection from the Unmagic Eye Exhibition by Spencer Harrison and Billie Justice Thomson; Photo by Bri Hammond

The home decor world is operating mostly in throwback-mode right now. What used to be tacky is now tasteful, and looking dated doesn't matter as much. Walk into any big box store like Target, West Elm, or CB2, and you'll see interpretations of designs and color schemes that originally surfaced over 30-40 years ago. From the resurgence of treatments like terrazzo to the re-introduction of wicker, what's old is new again. If you're like me, you've noticed a familiar pattern pop up. And if you're like me, it's making you gleefully reminiscent. I'm talking about the bold and bright world of Memphis design, and its colorful impact on the 80s and 90s.                 

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Curbly Original
A Crash Course in Mid-Century Modern Design, and How You Can Get the Look

by Kate Wagner
Mid century modern guide to furniture, architecture and design
Drawing of a Suburban House from a 1953 issue of House + Home
Photo from the archives of the author.

Mid-Century Modernism is ubiquitous - from Ikea to West Elm, Architectural Digest to Houzz, the sleek, clean style remains atop interior design charts almost ten years after its resurgence began (often accredited to the onset of Mad Men in 2007). This article provides a crash course in the movement's important figures, furniture and interior design styles. Learn how to get the mid century modern look in your home without paying a fortune. 

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150+ Do-It-Yourself Ornaments You Can Make Before Christmas

by M.E. Gray

A mega roundup of DIY ornaments for your Christmas tree, whatever the theme may be!

Can you believe it? Christmas is coming up quick! The holiday season always seems to whizz right by, doesn't it? If you're feeling like you've missed out on the festivities, don't fret - there's still enough time to make some last-minute baubles and bits. We've rounded up a few (well, not a few - over 150!) of our favorite DIY Christmas ornaments that you can definitely get finished this weekend, and enjoy for Christmases yet to come.       

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16 Christmas Stocking Hanging Ideas (that don't require a fireplace)

by DIY Maven
Christmas stocking hanging ideas
Source: Coco Kelley

Okay, so you have TONS of tutorials for Christmas stockings that you could tackle between now and Christmas, but you don't have a mantel on which to hang them. Not to worry! Santa doesn't really care where the stockings are hung (he has an uncanny ability to find them wherever they are). What I've heard is that he actually LIKES to find them hanging in less prosaic places. If true, these 10 Christmas stocking hanging ideas will surely please him.       

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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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