Out of the Box & Unique Wall Decor Ideas

Like most people, you want your place to be a true reflection of you and your unique sensibilities. Personalizing your space with intriguing furniture pieces can be costly and painting intricate designs on your walls requires an artistic ability you may not possess. But fear not! The best, easiest, and most inexpensive way to display your personal touch is with equally personal wall decor.

Mirrors

Small mirrors collectively made into a unique, talk-worthy wall piece. By Bassett Mirror Company.

Small mirrors collectively made into a unique, talk-worthy wall piece. By Bassett Mirror Company.

Mirrors serve the primary purposes of letting you know how you look, but as a decorative accent, mirrors and reflective surfaces are a sophisticated, elegant, and futuristic form of modern design. Large, floor-to-ceiling mirrors on walls offer a simple and space-opening feel to a room, while antique mirrors lend a regal air to your space. Sets of mirrors in contemporary shapes or frames offer a modern take, while intricately designed mirror pieces collectively form a stunning and unique piece of wall art.

Shelves

Shelves don’t seem like a decorative accent, but if you use your imagination, you can create a surprising and spectacular display. Install intersecting horizontal and vertical shelves or create a geometric design using cubed or spherical shapes. You don’t need to actually shelve anything to make the decor stand out. If you’re not into design-it-yourself, line an entire or half wall with shelves to display whatever you’re passionate about – wine bottles, old license plates, seashells – whatever it is you love!

An out of the box bookcase and piece of wall art made with simple cubes and a lot of creativity. As seen in Apartment Therapy.

An out of the box bookcase and piece of wall art made with simple cubes and a lot of creativity. As seen in Apartment Therapy.

Frames & Family

Speaking of things you love, you probably want your home to have lots of photos of your family and friends. A frame wall, filled with mix-sized framed photos in a unified color is a smart way of displaying your favorites. You can also go the non-traditional route and have your photos printed on canvas, wood, or metal to create truly personal pieces. Don’t want to show off your family? You can still use frames in an alternative way by hanging them empty. Make the visual truly striking by choosing contrasting or bright colored frames, or ones with intricate or antique designs. Enhance your photo-less frame display by interspersing thematically similar or color coordinated wall sculptures or letters, numbers, butterflies, birds, or whatever else you might like.

Who says frames need to have photos in them? As seen in Lushome.

Who says frames need to have photos in them? As seen in Lushome.

Decals & DIY

For the non-committal, wall stickers and decals are one of our favorite ways to add unique design elements to partial or entire walls without punching holes for hanging art. With the endless availability of themes and designs, the possibilities for funky walls are infinite and often customizable. Not only will decals not destroy your walls, they’re easy to install and affordable on any budget. If you’re looking to get really out of the box and create a truly personalized and unique wall space, the best way is to do it yourself. If you’re creative and crafty, try one of these fun DIY wall art projects.

Home Entryway Essentials

From the welcome mat to the sign hanging on your door and beyond, the entrance to your home sets the tone for the rest of it. Making your entryway or foyer inviting will ensure your guests and visitors feel welcome and wanted, while making your family members happy to come home each day. From the moment you open the door until you enter your “proper” living space, here are some of the essentials for creating the most inviting entryway.

Door/Water Guard Mat

Before stepping foot into your home, make sure the dust, dirt, and grime on those feet stay where they belong – outside. Invest in a quality door mat that effectively removes caked-on dirt and is waterproof in order to handle those April showers. Make your door mat personalized by having your family name or a welcoming quote inscribed, or by showcasing your love for your favorite sports team in honor of baseball season.

Coat Rack/Hanger

If you weren’t blessed with a spacious closet for hanging coats and jackets, you have plenty of innovative and decorative solutions from which to choose. Use a fashionable coat rack or tree to match your decor or opt for space-saving wall hooks that can be used year-round to hang puffy coats in colder months, trench coats and umbrellas in rainy months, and hats and handbags in warmer months.

A fashionable and functional hall or entry way piece; storage bench by Coaster.

A fashionable and functional hall or entry way piece; storage bench by Coaster.

Storage Bench

Space permitting, a storage bench is a smart and functional piece of furniture that allows you store anything from winter clothes to rainy day wear to shoes you’d rather keep out of sight. Storage benches with multiple compartments are a fantastic way to keep your family organized by assigning each member their own personal space for out-the-door needs.

Shelves & Slim Tables

A stunning yet slim statement table (with room inside for storage!) makes the perfect foyer piece. Two-door cabinet by AFD.

A stunning yet slim statement table (with room inside for storage!) makes the perfect foyer piece. Two-door cabinet by AFD.

Depending on your space allowance, a sleek and slim wall-hugging accent table is the perfect non- intrusive hall or entryway furniture piece on which to place welcoming flowers, a vase or decorative figurines, or a handsome horn tray for keys and small accessories. Alternatively, shelves are an excellent space saver that serve a similar decorative and day-to-day purpose. Leave excuses for lack of organization and lost keys at the door with a centralized shelving solution for sorting mail, important memos, and storing keys.

This mirror wall art piece from Uttermost makes for a unique and talk-worthy entryway element.

This mirror wall art piece from Uttermost makes for a unique and talk-worthy entryway element.

Mirror & Accents

Make sure you look your best on your way out with an appropriately sized mirror. Go the resourceful route with a full-length hanging or floor mirror to cover your look from head to toe. If your bedroom or bathroom is already equipped with one, opt for a decorative piece that reflects your tastes. For a contemporary vibe, try a “mirror set” of two, three, or four pieces to create an interesting visual or a modern artistic take on a mirror. Alternatively, personalize your hallway or entry space with an inviting piece of wall decor from a favorite “welcome” sign to family photos.

Choosing the Right Patio & Garden Furniture Materials for Your Outdoor Space

The slow and steady rise in temperature probably has you thinking about spending more time outside, whether at the park, beach, a ballgame, or even just steps outside your home in the garden. Dining, lounging, and hosting get-togethers outdoors are hallmarks of summer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start prepping for your patio parties now. If you’re in the market for patio and garden furniture essentials, here are some key considerations to keep in mind.

Make and Materials

Whether you’re looking for a simple patio dining set or a fully furnished lounging suite, the cost of furnishing your outdoor space is comparable to furnishing your living or dining rooms. With that in mind, focus your attention on high quality and well-made pieces that will last through many seasons. The best place to start your search for outdoor furniture is brushing up on the various types of natural and manufactured materials used in building outdoor furnishings. And while all outdoor patio and garden furniture is – as its name suggests – made for the outdoors, there are many options, pros, and cons for each type.

Wicker & Rattan

Summer is so close. Get your garden ready with this wicker outdoor set from Fine Mod Imports.

Summer is so close. Get your garden ready with this wicker outdoor set from Fine Mod Imports.

Wicker, a combined material weaved from a variety of natural and man-made components such as bamboo, rattan, resin, and plastic is one the most popular in patio and outdoor furnishings because of its durability and light weight. Because of its classic look and ability to be manufactured naturally and synthetically in many designs and colors, wicker furniture satisfies just about any style and budget. Wicker can withstand severe elements including direct sunlight, rain, and humidity, and is easy to maintain and care for. Because of its light weight, however, wicker folding chairs and tables are not ideal for extremely windy environments. If you’re able to store your outdoor furniture seasonally or can splurge on a heavy duty set, wicker is the all-weather way to go.

Wood

Handsome, natural teak wood armchairs make your outdoor space even more outdoorsy!

Handsome, natural teak wood armchairs make your outdoor space even more outdoorsy!

If you’re looking for rustic and natural outdoor furniture, wood is your material. Teak and cedar wood are the most costly, yet highest quality option for durable, weather-resistant, and no to low maintenance garden furniture. High quality wood is resistant to warping, cracking, splitting, and rotting, and is naturally beautiful, with only an occasional need for sanding or cleaning. Steer clear of cheap woods for outdoor furniture, however, as they will end up costing more when it comes to replacing them every few seasons.

Wrought Iron & Aluminum

Metal materials may not seem like the best choice for outdoor furniture – if left in direct sunlight or in permanent shade, the metal will be too hot or cold to sit on. However, wrought iron and coated aluminum are heavy duty as well as fade- and corrosion-resistant, making them excellent options for year-round use. Caring for metal outdoor furniture is simple, occasionally requiring wipe-downs or a coat of wax on aluminum to bring out a shine. If you live in a milder climate, can make use of your outdoor space often, and want classic, elegant, and timeless pieces, metal-based furniture is a great investment. Plus, metal-based furniture lends a fantastic opportunity to personalize your pieces with outdoor pillows and cushions!

Plastic

Because it’s easy to produce, plastic patio furniture is among the most affordable. While it’s lightweight, plastic won’t get damaged in the rain, is easy to clean and maintain, and is widely available. If you’re in the hunt for fun pieces in a wide variety of designs and colors, and can store your pieces in the off-season, plastic outdoor furniture is a great option. As with any other material, stay away from flimsy and cheap plastics that bend and will tip over in a breeze.

Gender-Neutral Nursery Design & Inspiration

If you’re an expectant parent, there’s plenty to worry and fuss over long before your bundle of joy arrives. Setting up a nursery can be a source of great stress, especially if you and your partner choose the gender-neutral route, but it doesn’t have to be! From choosing the right furniture to color palettes and ultimately designing the perfect sanctuary for your baby, a gender-neutral room presents a fantastic opportunity to create a fun environment without boring blue-and-pink paint.

Themes & Color Schemes

Bright accents and decals bring the dark gray walls and plain white furniture of this nursery to life. As seen in Design Dazzle.

Bright accents and decals bring the dark gray walls and plain white furniture of this nursery to life. As seen in Design Dazzle.

Start your design journey by choosing a color scheme and corresponding theme to tie the room together. Gender-neutral colors don’t have to be white or taupe, but beginning with a neutral wall color allows for more creativity and wiggle room when it comes to choosing thematic elements like patterns and wall design. For a more traditional and classic theme, balance paint color with wooden fixture and furniture color so that your dominant wall color is in the off-white, ivory, or pale and pastel family. If you’re feeling more adventurous, go with a bolder, darker color like gray, brown, or navy that contrasts with white trimming or furniture. Up the elegance and sophistication of your nursery walls with smart and stylish designs like bold horizontal or chevron stripes.

Stylish and sophisticated - without knowing the sex of your baby. Gender-neutral nursery from 12 Oaks blog.

Stylish and sophisticated – without knowing the sex of your baby. Gender-neutral nursery from 12 Oaks blog.

When it comes to selecting a theme, your options are endless! From shapes to the alphabet to animals and scenes from nature, there’s no limit to how you can decorate. Select kid-friendly decorative accents that your child can use as they grow. Incorporating sticker decals, paintings, and framed posters for walls and shelves is an inexpensive way to easily decorate a nursery, with the option for change once your little one starts growing and developing an ever-changing affinity for Disney and Sesame Street characters.

Classic Cribs & Cradles

A sleek and modern take on the traditional rocking chair by Whiteline Imports.

A sleek and modern take on the traditional rocking chair by Whiteline Imports.

Because most nursery furniture available is wooden, choosing a gender-neutral colored crib, cradle, and changing table¬†couldn’t be simpler. Choose a simple design in a finish that coordinates well with your nursery theme, whether it’s white or black to match a modern and bold theme, or classic cherry, maple, or oak wooden finish for a traditional space. Stay away from trend pieces or patterned/designed drawers, tables, and rockers and instead incorporate style in the form of bedding and sheets and accent pieces such as hampers, rugs, and window treatments. Ideally, if you choose to have more children, you want your furniture to be usable for future babies; while other aspects and elements of the nursery can be changed, you want the most expensive pieces to last the longest, so sticking with timeless pieces makes the most sense.

Some other furniture pieces you can afford to play with in a nursery are rocking chairs, small sofas, and lounge chairs. For the first few months of your baby’s life, you will undoubtedly spend many late nights and early mornings feeding, rocking, and coddling your infant in his or her nursery, so a comfy seat for mom or dad makes for a comfortable baby. Invest in a stylish rocking or lounge chair which you can easily move to another space once your baby outgrows the nursery.

Setting the Table for a Memorable Meal

April is a busy time for you and your kitchen, whether you’re hosting an Easter dinner, a Passover seder, or a “welcome spring” brunch. So break out the good china and get ready to wow your guests with a stunning, deceptively simple setup that has all the makings of a memorable meal.

Your meal doesn't have to be catered to look this good! As seen in Decoholic.

Your meal doesn’t have to be catered to look this good! As seen in Decoholic.

Table Setting 101

First things first: flatware and plate setting. If you have never hosted a formal dinner, brush up on table setting protocol. If you’re like most people, however, you will probably be hosting a holiday meal for close friends and family, and may wish to forego the formality and stick with the “informal” style of table setting. Consult the following diagrams and make any necessary additions and deletions to fit your menu. If neither setting works for you, just remember the most basic principles of proper table setting: flatware is laid out in the order they are to be used, from the outside in, with forks to the left of the dinner plate and spoons and knives to the right.

Formal Dining Setting

Informal Dining Setting

Dinner Design

A chic napkin ring like this floral one from Dransfield & Ross is an easy way to up the elegance of your table setting.

A chic napkin ring like this floral one from Dransfield & Ross is an easy way to up the elegance of your table setting.

The “fancy factor” of your festive meal has less to do with how the flatware is set and more to do with the decorative elements on your table. A clean and simple neutral colored tablecloth or bare table with a seasonally appropriate runner and high end placemats transforms any table into a beautiful buffet. For white or accented dinnerware, enhance their elegance with gold, silver, or mirrored charger plates. For square or colored dinnerware, try an upscale or textured square placemat or fun and festive mat to coordinate with your runner or centerpieces.

Since table linens are relatively inexpensive and easy enough to purchase seasonally (i.e. pastel and floral prints for spring, darker colors for winter), you should think about investing in table accents you can use year-round like candelabras, vases, and – a personal favorite – napkin rings. There’s no easier way to enhance the chicness of your table setting or to express your creativity than with classic or cool napkin rings.

Centerpieces and Accents

The grace of traditional candle-lit dinner with the added splash of color. Hurricane candle holders by Lazy Susan.

The grace of traditional candle-lit dinner with the added splash of color. Hurricane candle holders by Lazy Susan.

Remember our 60-30-10 rule for choosing accent furniture around the house? The same idea applies to setting a spectacular dinner table. Ideally, your guests will be making good use of your perfectly set flatware and enjoying your meal with gusto, so the last thing you want is to overcrowd the table. Make sure the color proportions of your china, dinnerware, glassware, and table linens are well balanced so you can really make your table pop with a festive, creative, or stylish centerpiece. If you’re a fan of traditional candle-lit holiday meals, but want to retain your sense of originality, opt for a funky candle holder or take it a step further and make your own candle centerpiece. Fresh flowers in understated and classic vases are the perfect compliment for any spring holiday meal. Stay away from large and intrusive pieces that will obstruct your guests’ view of one another, after all, your meal is meant for mingling!