A blog from Visual Jill, East Bay Interior Design

A blog from Visual Jill, East Bay Interior Design

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Quick Tips for Styling Shelves

Sometimes it can be overwhelming to look at empty shelves or a bare mantel. How do you arrange your books, vases, and other stuff without making it look like a thrift store?

Well, fret no more. Here are some secrets to styling that will make your shelves look ready for a magazine shoot!
Play with shapes and scale. In this vignette, we mixed round objects (the vase, the bowl and the lemons) with square (the mirror and the books).
Use different textures. This vignette uses finished and raw wood, grass, and textured ceramics. What makes it work so well? The three vertical pieces on the left are different materials but similar shapes, and are offset by the small stack of books next to them. We also incorporated the artwork on the wall as part of the overall styling.

Pay attention to scale. Don't use all big, or all small, pieces. Here we used a bold round vase with tall branches on the left, and a lower composition of books and basket on the right. The horizontal artwork acts as a "bridge" that joins the two.

Put your books in different directions. Vertical, horizontal, spines in, spines out. Just make sure the books in the stacks are similar sizes. And leave "white space" between and around the books -- don't pack the shelves completely full.

Here are a few more tried-and-true styling rules to remember:
- In general, pieces look best grouped in odd numbers (one or three) vs. even numbers (two or four).
- Avoid "matching" the two sides of a mantel. For example, don't put one green vase on the left corner and a matching green vase on the right corner. It will look better if you switch out one of the vases for a live plant or a similar-scale basket.
- Less is more. Just because you have more room for books or accessories doesn't mean you should add them! Leave some breathing room for your objects so your eye has somewhere to rest when taking it all in.

Friday, May 18, 2012

POP goes the neon!

Have you noticed all the neon colors in fashion and home design these days? We love it -- but it must be tempered by beautiful neutrals, like gray or white -- as seen in these lovely color palettes from the remarkable site Design Seeds.

We love the way neon has been incorporated into these home designs . . . 
(via pinterest, via digsdigs)
(via pinterest, via hannasroom)
(via pinterest)

And in fashion . . . as seen in the recent Anthropologie magazine . . .
And what about this coat?
(via pinterest, via Vogue)

We're excited to work some neon into our summer palettes!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Style to Sell Success!

We just completed a Style to Sell project and we love the way it turned out. This was a full staging, meaning we brought in everything -- furniture, rugs, accessories, etc. Our goal was to make this cute little bungalow fresh and colorful.

We'll start with the "after" photos . . .

And here's how the house looked when we first saw it . . .

Of course, we can't take all the credit for the transformation . . . the homeowner and real estate agent put in a lot of work cleaning, painting and fixing things up.

Inspiring, isn't it? Of course, no one's real house is going to look as perfect as a staged home, because everyday living means everyday messes, stacks of paper, etc. But you can refresh your own house -- without putting it on the market -- by taking these three steps:
1) Declutter! Pretend you are moving, and challenge yourself to keep only those things you would take to a new home. Box the rest up and donate or recycle it.
2) Paint! Lighter neutral colors always look fresh.
3) Use colorful accents! Notice the pops of color in the pillows and artwork we chose.

Just try this 3-step refresh strategy in one room -- you'll be amazed at the difference.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tips for Great Outdoor Spaces

May is here! It's time to think about outdoor dining and entertaining. Creating an inviting and comfortable outdoor space doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. You just need some basic furniture (and there are many options), plus a few finishing details. Here are some examples . . .
We created this outdoor room in Mill Valley -- notice the mix of potted plants, pillows and other accessories.

On a more modest scale, this lovely yet simple set-up is from the backyard of our most recent Style to Sell house. It features Appalaro outdoor furniture from Ikea ($139 for the drop-leaf table, $34.99 for the folding chair, and $89.99 for the bench). It's a nice set, but what really makes it feel like a "room" are three important details:
The rug -- A rug grounds the ensemble, just as it does in your indoor living room. Be sure to buy one made specifically for outdoors. We love the rugs from MadMats, but there are many other options available online and at your local hardware store.
Pillows -- They add personality and comfort. Choose some fun contrasting colors as we've done here. A good source for outdoor pillows is Home Decorators Collection.
A centerpiece -- Fill the middle of your table with a vase of flowers, a tray holding a pitcher of margaritas, or outdoor lanterns. Sometimes candles can melt if they're left in the sun, so here we substituted with some cute little cactus. (Cactus and lanterns also from Ikea!)

Of course, it's fun to fantasize about luxurious outdoor rooms too. Here are some spaces we've been admiring lately on Pinterest:

(via wish!, via From Paris to London

(via houseOMG!)

Luckily for most of us (who don't have properties like these), you can enjoy whatever space you have -- your backyard, patio, or even your tiny terrace. Just set out a chair, grab a cold drink and feel the sun on your face.