Considering the Shape of Your Decor {New Mirror for the Living Room}

Mudroom Bench - New England HomeNew England Home

Well, it was quite a week! I really wanted to post the last two days and life just got away from me. But rest assured, things are moving along with the house and I’m excited to share and keep you in the loop as best I can!

So, all that to say, I missed you. ACTUALLY, now that I’m here I’m wondering IS THIS THING EVEN ON? I know it is Saturday so, you know, if no one is online, I understand and I guess I’m just talking to myself. No biggie. I do that anyway. But if you are here, I hope you’ll comment so I’ll know.

As I’ve been puttering around trying to pull my living room and dining room together it occurred to me that one of the things I notice in a room is the SHAPES I see. Whether you actually notice the shapes like I do, or just feel more comfortable in a room because of them, the shapes in a room matter in so many ways.

Because shapes matter so much to how you actually feel in a room, you should be thinking about them as you design a room, too. And I don’t mean the shape of your furniture as in the condition of it, but rather the literal SHAPE.

Farmhouse Contemporary Kitchen - Better Homes and GardensBHG

One of the ways the right shapes affect the room is that a curved or round shape can soften sharp lines. If your architecture or furniture is more angular, you can balance the feel of the room if you want to by adding curved or rounded shapes.

My fireplace was intentionally designed to be asymmetrical and angular. Without remodeling it, I think I can give it the perception of a new or different shape by essentially tricking the eye. To give it a try, I decided to order a round mirror to hang in the center over the fireplace box to create the illusion of a more of a centered and balanced focal point.

Round will bring a circular pattern to balance some of the angles and add softness to that side of the room, too. Can you picture it? I’ll show it as soon as it’s hung, but you can see the round mirror we chose, below! Oh, also, we painted the fireplace (sorry to those of you who liked it as is) to appear to be a different color of stone (not white) and we like it so much better! Stay tuned for the update.

Montara Mirror - White and Rattan - Serena and Lily

Montara Mirror from Serena and Lily

I have been thinking about shapes a lot as I make decisions for the dining room, too. Some people might see the light fixture I chose and like it, while others might be unsure about it without seeing it hanging in the space. I like it already because I know it will add something significant that was missing in the room.

Besides just the color or style, the light fixture will add a shape the room needed! In this case, a round table and a round light add circular shapes. Again in this room, we have the asymmetrical window in the dining room AND we are creating an asymmetrical flow to the layout. Furniture and accessories will create the balance, hopefully making it feel both pleasing to be in the room and more interesting than if we just centered everything.

Tricky or crazy? Maybe both.

If you look at the cabinet in our dining room, it has a lot of angular lines (window panes and a rectangular shape). The rattan shelving unit has a lot of angular lines with the Chippendale pattern on the sides and the lines of the rattan. So again, the round table and round light fixture make the right contrasting statement (for my taste and preferences). The curvy shapes of the lamps currently on the cabinet add more softness.

Lastly, our dining room has a lot of hard surfaces (as many dining rooms do), so to add softness and make the room extra inviting (because we want to use it all day long) we chose the Parsons chairs because they are fully upholstered and have the slipcovers nearly to the floor. The shape and fabric of the chairs softens the other lines and hardness in the room to give it a calming feeling. Had we chose something like Chinese Chippendale chairs, the space as a whole would have felt busier than I intended it to feel.

Powder Blue Living Room - Better Homes and GardensBHG

Any room can benefit from considering shapes! Look at the lines, shapes and curves all over your room to decide if they complement the space. Do you feel comfortable in your room? If something feels off, perhaps it’s too much of the same shape, or just the wrong balance!

A coffee table can feel best square, rectangular or round, depending on your furniture arrangement. Some shapes of light fixtures can complement the height or shape of your room, and some can crowd it. If you have lower ceilings or a small room you don’t necessarily have to get a small fixture, but you should consider the shape you choose, so it doesn’t feel awkward or too long, which would lower the impact of the ceilings even further. The shape of the arms on your sofa can crowd the rest of the furniture, or make it feel more streamlined.

Even something like tile adds lines and shapes to a room. In our old kitchen, we used a slightly darker grout. The darker grout added more lines, so we had to make sure the tile was installed correctly or it would be a glaring mistake. The room would have felt too chaotic. Our floors also had a lot of movement in the wood grain with shapes and lines, too. We chose to simplify the other design elements like the countertops and painted cabinetry to balance the room and added round shapes with some of our light fixtures and hardware to soften the look.

It’s fun to think about the shapes in a room and how you can transform your space with those details! Look around your house today and see what shapes you have. Are you balancing the shapes so that your room feels pleasing and restful as a whole?

Sounds like a fun weekend project to me :)

That Time We Almost Bought An Alpaca Farm

John-Marshall-Custom-Homes-Modern-Farmhouse-North-CarolinaModern Farmhouse – John Marshall Custom Homes via Hooked on Houses

So, there’s something I haven’t told you. We almost bought an alpaca farm. You might think this is something that happened, like, way, way in the past, but it actually was only about a year and a half ago. I didn’t tell you because I had just written a book about all the times I moved to my dream house (Love the Home You Have). I just felt like it was way too ironic and awkward that I would be considering buying an alpaca farm. 

But it is true, before we even considered a move to Seattle to live near our family, we considered an entirely different life. A life on an alpaca farm.

Our goal at that time was more family togetherness and in the process, we dreamed some pretty big dreams. We dreamed about ways we could expand what we do as a family and somehow, the idea of a bigger property seemed like a reasonable idea at the time.

When an alpaca farm came up for sale, we went to look at it. We fell head over heels in love with it … the farmhouse, the circular driveway, the big studio, the amazing barn, the rentable apartment, the property and the way the buildings were set up and … the alpaca.  We visualized our future there, living off the land, planning events and church gatherings and weddings in the barn and hosting craft days in our own studio.

We pictured how cute those alpaca would be running up to greet us when we would return home. That’s what they did when we came to check out the farm, they ran along the fence to greet us! It was so charming. They must have known we would be suckers for that.

Alpaca Farm

We were really serious about the farm. We couldn’t get it out of our heads. We dreamed of ways to decorate the house and imagined waking up every morning to make a farmhouse breakfast. We dreamed of looking out the window to see our doodles Jack and Lily frolicking through the fields with the alpaca. We dreamed of having chickens. We thought of great ways to use the property and figured out how it might impact the things we already do in positive ways. It was a dream in so many practical ways, as well as impractical ways.

It was a big vision, I’ll admit, but our entire family got on board with it. It wasn’t just me dreaming big this time :). The property was a dream. The potential was exciting. But fortunately, before we went off the deep end and bought an alpaca farm, we all came to our senses.

Not that the property or the dream weren’t worthy of considering, they were! We just had to stop and re-define what and where our true priorities were for that season of our life. My natural inclination when I have a big dream is to just be brave and to jump off the deep end to see what happens. And doing that is a good thing, as long as you’ve carefully considered what you are doing to make sure it aligns with your goals and you are ready to take the plunge.

As dreamy as that property was, we had to be honest with ourselves about what we could handle and what we actually needed in our life. We weren’t the right people to take it on, nor was it the right season even if we wanted to. We wanted to simplify life to have more time for our family, not complicate it.

As idyllic as it sounded to frolic around on a farm with chickens and alpaca, we had to get real with ourselves. We aren’t farmers. We aren’t big property people. We don’t need more to manage, even if we would laugh all day long just knowing we owned alpaca.

Turns out, we loved the idea of the alpaca farm more than we would have loved the work involved.

We could have become farmers if we put our mind to it and felt it was the right timing, but did we want to go through the learning process, time and expense that would be necessary to succeed at farm life?

The Alpaca Farm

We decided we really weren’t prepared to add alpaca to our life. We needed to pare down and focus our energy on less things, not more things.

As a big dreamer, I always have more ideas in my head than time or money to do them. In fact, I have always have more grand ideas of what to do with my time than is humanly possible to squeeze into a day! Being a dreamer gets me in over my head if I’m not careful. I can get easily swept away with the romance or the vision or the potential of anything and lose sight of what is more important to me.

To experience peace in my life and my home, I have to continually pare down, refocus and simplify everything we do to what is really essential if I want to succeed at what matters to me. I can’t do it all. I can’t keep it all. I have to be intentional.

If I don’t take the time to be more purposeful in what I do and what I invite into my life, I’ll be ALL OVER THE PLACE. Like, literally I could have set myself up to be wearing overalls, FEEDING baby alpaca, PLANTING wheat fields or DRIVING TRACTORS or whatever we would have to do to live off the land while trying to still keep up with everything else we already had going on. It could be a dreamy life, but it just wasn’t the right dreamy life for us at that time.

I just got sidetracked from my real goals for a minute.

I’m definitely getting better about reining myself in so I can focus my attention on the dreams and house and people and pets we want to commit to. Simplifying means letting go of all the extra stuff (even if it is good stuff like an alpaca!) that will just weigh us down and distract us from our our real goals.

Sometimes simplifying means I have to let go of the dream of owning an alpaca farm.

Sometimes I just have to let go of the clutter in my closet.

But saying no to one thing I really don’t need (even if I love it!) means I have room in my home and life for something that matters so much more to me, and that makes letting go worth it.

If you haven’t yet picked up a copy of my new book, Make Room for What You Love, word on the street is that Amazon already released it two weeks before the launch date ( and maybe even Barnes & Noble!)! In it I’m sharing the little ways I’ve learned to simplify my life and home and pare down to what really matters. Enjoy!

Statement Lighting {New Light for the Dining Room}

Turquoise Statement Beaded Light - Amanda Nisbet Design
Amanda Nisbet Design via House of Turquoise

One of my main goals in creating a home we will love is to start by getting the lighting right. Not only because I want to create the right ambience, but because the right light fixtures can help set the personality and style, which is definitely what I’m really excited about!

The Inspired Room - Rearranging Furniture in the Dining Room

Right now the shell of our new dining room is kind of a blank slate. Other than hardwood floors and a large window toward the backyard, it doesn’t have a lot of architectural pizazz. But that’s ok, we can work on it and soon enough it will have its own unique look.

If you missed the post about our vision for a “classy breakfast room vibe” you can find the ideas and inspiration here. I can show you the new chairs and a bigger bench soon, too. They are going to look great!

While we will eventually be opening up the doorway to add interest, more light and better flow between the dining room and kitchen as well as adding other architectural elements like molding and refinishing floors in time, one of the first things we can do to improve this space (besides the new chairs and painting the room) is to install a statement light over the table.

Statement lights should do just that, make a statement. Light fixtures should either just blend in and support the rest of the decor, or they can stand out to bring a distinct and fresh personality to a space. I’m kind of partial to making a big statement with a dining room light.

Unique light fixtures can become a part of your signature style (check out the post on signature style!), so pick something special that speaks to you. It doesn’t have to be expensive, you can find statement lights anywhere on all budgets!

The Inspired Room Dining Room - Copper Lantern Plantation Shutters and Ikat Curtains

Case Indoor/Outdoor Copper Lantern in my old dining room

So what statement should a light make? How do you pick a fixture that can become a part of your signature look? Consider the house, your style and the actual space it will go in!

A light doesn’t have to be any particular style to be a statement, it just needs some personality. The first thing we did in our old dining room was to add a statement lantern! I loved that light so much, the copper on top really gave it a unique look and made the room feel memorable.

You might not even remember what our old dining room looked like when we first moved in, but just for fun, check it out, below.

dining room before just moved in

Crazy, huh? The swine walls with the carpet color…eek. Seeing it how that dining room was right when we moved in gives me hope that my new home will come together eventually!

So back in our new house, we have a new light fixture for our dining room that will help play up the vision of our home, which will be our own blend of a modern farmhouse coastal/island style with a touch of casual glam. :) The light we found seems perfect in every way to set that unique “look” for our home.

I’m pretty excited to already have it sitting right here in my house ready to be installed! Yahoo!

Signature Style - The Inspired Room New Dining Room Light

After extensively searching for the right light for us, we found this one (at RH Teen!) and knew it was IT. It is SO GORGEOUS in person! We love the gray and white ombre wood beads that make it feel fresh and the size and shape is perfect. It is big enough to be a beautiful focal point, but not too heavy for the space. The price was more than I originally wanted to spend, but I justified it (ha) in my budget by saving on other elements in the room (and by discovering it was a lot less than many other ones I loved!).

It is a statement piece that is definitely going to play a big part in the look and ambience of our house.

This light will make the room more memorable as well as set the right mood, which definitely qualifies it as a perfect statement light in my book!

10 Great Resources for Statement Lights:

Wayfair, Joss & Main, OverstockBirch Lane, Pottery BarnWorld Market, Lowe’s, Home Depot, WisteriaBallard Designs

What light fixtures would be so YOU? Think outside the box and find statement lighting that can set your own look and style.

Happy Monday!

More inspiration:

Lighting Sources in My {Previous} Home

Your Signature Style

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