Posts Tagged ‘Decorating’

How to Start a Decorating Project

Spring is almost here and I have a ton of projects I want to tackle. How do you start a decorating project from scratch?  There are several things I like to do when I’m starting a design project.  Sticking to these steps keeps me from making costly mistakes.  Learning from experience, I don’t want you to make the same mistakes.

Starting a decorating project can be quite overwhelming, especially if you’re doing it on your own.  Here are some tips on how to start a decorating project.

These pictures were from Homearama 2016 The Tara Preston Home. I styled this guest bedroom with these gorgeous beach colors.

These pictures were from Homearama 2016 The Tara Preston Home. I styled this guest bedroom with these gorgeous beach colors.

  1. Are you doing it on your own or hiring a professional? This is important to think about right from the beginning. If it’s a smaller project and you think you can do it on your own than great.  But if the project involves structural changes, you might want to hire a professional to oversee the changes you are making.  I’m sure it will be money well spent.
  2. Decide on a budget. Coming up with a budget is very important.  Deciding how much you will spend will decide all the other decisions, so this is a huge step.  Think about it wisely and don’t rush this step.  Get your spouse involved.  How much can you comfortably afford without breaking the bank?
  3. Look at your current room and assess the situation.  Ask yourself some important questions to get a feel for what you like and don’t like.  What do you like? What do you dislike? Can you keep anything?  Do you see any inspiration?
  4. Make a mood board, Pinterest board, or photo file of things you like. From the pictures you gathered see what similarities are repeated. This will help you start to see a pattern of things you like.  It may also show you what you dislike in your current room. Give yourself plenty of time in this stage so you have time to find things you like.  This step is very important in the the creative process so spend adequate time here finding what you like and dislike.  It will make the process go a lot smoother.
  5. Create a wish list.  Creating a wish list can help your designer narrow down the things that are Important to you.  You may not get everything on your list, but you can start to see what items are needs and what are wants.
  6. Do you have a focal inspiration piece?  Having a focal piece like art work, a pillow, or a rug will help you with your color selection.  This is very important.  This usually comes to you during your mood board and exploration stage.  If you find a piece you’re in love with your designer can select your paint color around the colors in your inspiration piece.

These pictures were from Homearama 2016 The Tara Preston Home. I styled this guest bedroom with these gorgeous beach colors.

I hope you found some helpful tips on how to start a design project.  Whether you do it on your own or hire a professional, I’m sure your project will turn out great.  Take your time in the planning stage and spend time finding out what you really like so your vision can easily translate in your design.

Yours Truly,




Decorating Trends for 2018

We’re well into 2018.  Are you used to saying and writing that now?  I thought I would share some of the decor trends for 2018.  Some things carry over for years and some only last for a year or two.  I feel like bigger things like kitchens go in phases of like 7-10 years and smaller things like accessories for your living room change every couple of years.  Thank goodness because I don’t know many people that can give their kitchen a facelift every couple of years. Here are some decorating trends for 2018.  Did you guess some of them?

Decorating Trends for 2018

PINKS, FLORALS, and FEMININE TOUCHES Pantone’s color of the year in 2015 was Rose Quartz which was a blush pink.  It came in and never left.  I think it is here to stay.  That blush color has become so common that it is considered a neutral now. Men need to get comfortable with pink and feminine touches in their homes.  Done subtly it can be just beautiful.  Putting feminine touches like fresh flowers and candles in a room can soften it up and make your home look lived in without looking too frilly.  Nobody does pink better than Summer Adams.  You can check out her pink office reveal here.

Adding pinks and florals to a room can give it the feminine touch it needs. You can never go wrong using fresh flowers.

MIXED METALS– There are so many reasons why mixing metals is still so popular. It is affordable, creates drama, and gives off an elegant vibe in your home. I think the most important element is it gives a cohesive look, without looking like you just ordered a matching set of furniture from a catalog. Also, if furniture doesn’t have to match now, you can replace items and update your room one piece at a time without having the cost of replacing all the pieces at once.  That is a win-win for everyone. Interior design can take a page out of fashion’s handbook.  If pieces blend well together and you like them then go with it.  Your room is a reflection of your style.  Be confident in your choices and it will turn out beautifully. You can see in the picture below that I have gold accessories, a mercury glass lamp, and the picture frame is an antiqued silver.

I love the use of mixed metals in this black, white and grey guest bedroom. The picture frame, accessories, and lamp all look like a cohesive grouping.

TWO TONED KITCHENS– White kitchens are still popular so don’t freak out.  However, we are starting to see multi-color cabinets and counter tops in kitchens.  My kitchen actually has cream colored cabinets on the bottom and then the darker cabinets at the top.  I also have a solid counter top and brown and white one. If you wait long enough everything comes back in style. Since the white kitchens are so popular and grays are still in style, these colors are being used in the cabinetry and counter tops. I personally love this look.  A great example is Dear Lillie’s kitchen.  I have always loved her style.  You can check out her kitchen here.

LIGHTING– Lighting is such an important part of a room.  Of course if you have a natural light  source available in your room than that is your best bet.  However, some people don’t always have that and changing that is difficult and costly.  So using chandeliers, lamps, and recessed lighting can play a big part in how you light your room.  Chandeliers have become so popular recently.  There is such a wide range to choose from now.  Of course there were aways the glamorous ones, but now there are the rustic ones, craftsman style, farmhouse, and industrial masculine lights. I’m sure if you look hard enough you will find the perfect lighting for your new build or your makeover. The best place I’ve learned about lighting is in Rebecca Robeson’s design sessions.  She is an interior designer in California,  She has a Youtube channel, but she does design sessions once a month.  She did one on lighting that was amazing. Check her out for more information.

GALLERY WALLS– Aren’t we glad gallery walls are still popular?  You can display your family  pictures or your art in planned groupings on your wall. There are so many things on Pinterest about gallery walls that I’m not going to repeat it here.  For a good reference on gallery wall configurations check out this post.

I hope you are crushing on some of these trends for 2018 because they may hang around for a little while.  Which ones are you currently using and which ones might you use in the near future?  I would love to know.  Leave me a comment below and let me know if you have any projects coming up.

Yours Truly,



Be Our Guests

  The Ultimate Guest Room

If your home is like ours you probably host a lot of guests during the holiday season.   There is one thing you can be sure of, after I travel 8 hours with two teenagers for Thanksgiving, I am the perfect one to describe items that weary travelers need when they arrive at their final destination.  You don’t want your guests to have to ask for items they may need or have forgotten to pack.  This guest room has a coastal design and is just amazing.  The furniture is from Outer Banks Furniture and was in Tara Preston’s Homearama home this year.  I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to help decorate this home.

The majority of this house is done in blue tones. However, I think the yellow accent color makes the room so bright and cheery.  Of course a guest room needs to be aesthetically pleasing, but there are several necessities that I immediately think of when I entertain overnight guests.

Blue guest room with a coastal design.

Musts for your overnight Guests

1.Have closet space for guests to hang their clothing-  Lots of us use our closets for storage.  However, when guests come to spend the night at your home, they will have clothing that will need to be hung up.  Always have empty hangers in the closet and make sure there is room for their clothes.  Nobody wants to open a closet and have an avalanche of your items fall on them.

2. Luggage rack- It is always a good idea to have at least one luggage rack for the guest room.  It makes it very convenient for your guests to place their bags on the rack and not have to put their suitcase in the floor. These are easy to find and don’t cost very much.  Plus you really don’t want luggage placed on your nice furniture so it is just easiest to have this for your guests.

Guests need a luggage rack and place to hang their clothing.

3. Lamps-  Having lamps by the bedside tables give your guests the proper lighting they need.  Some people like to read before bed and this gives them the opportunity to do that without having to keep the ceiling light on.  Plus, if they have to get up in the middle of the night this gives them the option of having a light source. Sometimes, I even leave night lights in the bathroom especially if the guests have small children.

4.chair-  When I visit other people’s homes I love when there is some type of furniture in the room.  You can use it to layout clothes for the next day, sit and read, or just rest a few minutes in between activities without having to get into the bed. This isn’t a necessity, but I think it is a luxury most people would appreciate.  There will definitely be down time and time at night where your guests will have time to themselves and they can unwind by watching tv in their room.  It doesn’t have to be large or the latest smart tv, but your guests will appreciate the option of having one in their room.

6. Reading Materials- My mother in law has the best magazines for us when we visit her house.  I always take a book when I travel, but when I go to her house I never have to take magazines. We all know how much the decorating magazines cost so having several out for your guests would be greatly appreciated.

7. Wifi Password-  If your home has a password to use the wifi, you need to make sure your guests have instructions on how to use their technology. This is something you don’t want them to have to ask about.  You could even put this in a basket of goodies.

8. Basket of Goodies– Sometimes guests feel insecure asking for food or drink at other people’s homes.  To make this less awkward, leave a basket of goodies and water in their room.  Then they can access this whenever they feel hungry.  I’ve used nuts, granola bars, trail mix, and water to name a few.

Coastal decor for the guest bedroom.

9. Extra Toiletries- Of course I always have things in the shower like shampoo, conditioner, bath gels and soap. I also put out enough fresh towels for my guests.  However, I leave a glass jar of extra toiletries just in case they forgot some things such as a razor, toothbrushes, toothpaste, q-tips, hand lotion, mouthwash, and small shampoos in case the large ones have agents they may be allergic to.  My son is allergic to lavender and lots of products have scents that bother me to the point where I get migraines. This makes me very sensitive to that issue and I try to put out things that I would normally pack myself.

10. Clock- Even though your guests are on vacation it is important to have a clock in their room.  some activities you may be doing have time constraints like dinner or theater plans and guests might need to be ready at a certain time.

11. Extra blankets– It is a great idea to leave extra blankets of varying weights and pillows in the room so guests can control the temperature.  I’m allergic to feathers and always prefer the down alternative options at hotels.  It is definitely something to think about when buying linens for your guest room.

12. keurig station-  Having a coffee and tea station set up in the guest room would really make your guests feel at home.  They could wake up and get the caffeine kick they need first thing in the morning.  Or in the evening some hot tea might hit the spot right before heading off to bed.  I know I would really appreciate this amenity.

Other Guest’s Amenities

I have insomnia and unfortunately am a late night snacker. Therefore, I know what it is like to be up late at night when everyone else is sleeping and you wish you had something to eat or drink. I like to stock a little basket of healthy snacks such as granola bars, nuts, fruit snacks etc… along with bottled water for guests. It also makes taking medications easier on guests if there is water in the room. Also, place some current magazines in several different genres for your guests to read during down time.

 Royal Treatment

The most important thing is to let your guests know up front that you are there for them and wish to make them as comfortable as possible. If you establish that from the start, you’re bound to have an amazing visit with your guests. The best thing to do when preparing your guest room is think about the things you would like or need when staying away from home.  Then you really design a beautiful, but functional room that you and your guests are happy with.

From Casa Ely we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends and travel safely.

Yours Truly,


Why I chose White in My Decorating

I decorate using a lot of white.  My china and everyday dishes are white.  My couches in my main living room are white as well.  Would I have ever decorated with white when I had small children? NO!!  But my children are older now and I can have pieces that I have always wanted.  Some people see white as a boring color and sometimes almost stark or sterile.  I see it as an opportunity to have a neutral space to use pops of color or layer different hues of creams, beiges, grays, or black.


white sofa with fall accessories.

There are many ways to add a cozy, warm feeling to a home filled with tons of white space. One of which is adding tons of texture.  You want to layer textures and patterns so you have dimension in your decor.  You can do this by adding pillows with patterned fabric as well as solids of varying colors.  You can also buy throws for different seasons.  A plush fur throw or knit throw would be perfect for winter, while a cotton or linen throw would work well for summer.

winter white pillows on white sofa-

Adding natural wood, marble, leather, and metals are another way to bring in materials to warm up your space.  I love how leathers and an industrial piece gives a room a masculine feel.  I have bookcases in my family room that have metal sides and marble tops and I think they really add depth to the room.  I wanted to make sure the couches weren’t too feminine so I added this piece to even out the room.

Metal bookcase with marble shelves adds an industrial feel to the room.

Leather and animal hair chair gives such a masculine feel.

Use Varying tones in a room.  You never want to go with one hue in a room.  I watch shows like Property Brothers, Fixer Upper, and Flip or Flop all the time and I think it’s crazy when the home owners come in and say I want everything to be all white. They literally want the cabinets, the paint color and the flooring to all be one shade of white. The designers know best and they always try to break up the space with varying color tones and accessories that give the space dimension. This gives you an opportunity to bring in different shades of cream, gray, beiges, and black.  Some whites I’m loving are Benjamin Moore’s White Dove and Simply White and Sherwin Williams’ Repose Gray.  They are very different but I love them all.  There are so many whites that it can really be hard to choose.  Some look like “just” white while others look like they have a gray tint.  Whites can be cool or warm.  Who thought picking out a white could be so difficult?

Another great way to cozy up a neutral space is to bring in greenery.  I haven’t had much luck with live plants except for my lemon tree.  My kids got this for me two years ago for Mother’s Day. When I got it, it was about 6 inches tall. Now it is about 3 feet tall and going strong.  It hasn’t produced any lemons yet, but it has had lots of blooms on it.  At least I haven’t killed it yet so that is a step in the right direction. Adding live or artificial greenery to a space makes it seem like a more lived in space.

You can’t forget the accessories.  Accessories add the personality to your home that shows off your style and makes your home unique.  These items are the things I would change out seasonally to add color and character to my home.  In the spring, I would put lovely purple and pink tulips out.   In the fall, I add lots of brown and orange.  It’s these pops of color that give me the look I’m going for.  These items don’t have to be expensive to make a difference. It’s the little details that make your home special.

Accessories help bring life to neutral spaces.

As you can see, decorating with white doesn’t seem boring at all to me.  It seems quite the opposite.  A great way to start trying out using white is getting a set of nice white dishes.  You can add tons of color through placemats, napkins, serving pieces and your centerpiece.  You can start small and work your way into using whites and neutrals as your situation allows.

white dishes using pops of color.

White dishes are great to create a neutral place setting.

Do you decorate using whites and neutrals?  I would love to hear how you use whites in your everyday decorating. Now that we’re in spring, what are you putting out to give your decor a fresh, bright feel?  I love when you guys comment down below.  Check out my instagram account as I update this more frequently.

  Yours Truly,


Spring Table Settings

Easter is a holiday that gives me such hope. Not only are there my religious beliefs behind this holiday, but the timing of the year this holiday falls under; SPRING!!!  Everything is new again.  You are pulling out new decorations, clothes, and the flowers are starting to bloom.  Spring just reminds me of LIFE.

I thoroughly enjoyed decorating my house this year for spring and Easter.  Especially my dining areas. I love all the table settings that I own for this holiday.  They are very different and each special in their own way.  Some are playful and fun, while others are sweet and delicate.  Both work, depending on what type of event you are hosting or look you are going for.

The off white set with the orange bowls are perfect for an everyday fun look. It is casual, yet elegant enough to make a statement.  The ripple in the dinner plates really make it have a dressier look, while the orange in the bowls make this casual and acceptable for everyday. I love how it is set up at the bar for a breakfast or a family brunch.  My bowls are from One Kings Lane.  However, you can recreate this look with similar bowls from Target in several fun pastel colors.

Casual Place Settings

Breakfast Brunch

Breakfast brunch bowls from One Kings Lane


Easter Brunch Set up

Beautiful Easter Brunch with your Family


place setting

Gorgeous place setting for 4

 Formal Place Settings

My bunny plates are from Williams Sonoma.  The baby blue color is the main color used in my motif. However, I did choose to stay with the spring pastels using pink plates as well.  I love how all the bunnies have pastel ribbon around their necks.  It just gives that extra touch.

Easter Place Setting

Easter Place Setting with William Sonoma Plates


center piece

Beautiful Center piece gives your table pizzazz

You can’t forget the goodies.  The holidays wouldn’t be complete without some form of dessert.  I thought it would be so cute to do lemon Cadbury egg cupcakes.  Nothing says Easter candy like Cadbury Eggs.  Any child would love to see these at an Easter party or in their Easter basket.  To make things easier on me, I went to my local bakery and purchased these lovely, lemon cupcakes and just added the Cadbury eggs from the store.  You can make the cupcakes with your kids if that is what your family prefers. If you’re looking for a recipe to put Cadbury eggs in the middle of your cupcakes (see blog post here) or visit Courtney at  She has a great recipe and I think her cupcakes turned out fabulous.


Wonderful lemon and Cadbury cupcakes



Easter Goodies finish off the table

You don’t have to do an elaborate table to pull off a successful Easter meal.  Just gather your family and enjoy your time being together.  I hope you can get outside and enjoy the longer days and the start of the warmer weather.

Yours Truly,


Bold Color Risks

Working That Pop of Color

Adding a pop of unexpected color to a room will give you an inexpensive design choice without sacrificing your style options. I wanted to keep the walls a neutral color, but I also wanted to do something bold with a few furniture pieces and some accent decorations. I knew the solid blue rug and the glam white sofas were the bulk pieces in the room that really held the room together. However, I really wanted to take a risk with the chairs and the coffee table and those pieces are what I fell in love with in this room.

Living room

A view of my entire Living room.

Those furniture pieces are what make this room stand out amongst other rooms with similar color palettes. Because I had neutral colors as anchoring pieces, I was able to take the chairs and push the envelope a little with the texture on the outer section.


My favorite chairs that took me 8 months to find

I also chose to go with the bright orange accent color.  I love how it gives the room the right amount of flair that I needed to brighten the room and bump up my style factor.  Using pillows as accents are an easy way to change out color seasonally, or when you want to do a little inexpensive touch up in a room.  I love the way the tray on the coffee table is the perfect shade of orange to match the pillow.

orange pillows

My orange pillow covers are genius.


Orange tray

Beautiful orange Tray brightens up the room

For the gallery wall in the living room, I chose to have our various family portraits along the wall in different groupings.  I planned our clothing around what room I was going to display the portraits.  I knew I wanted to have neutral colors with pops of orange in the picture. I wanted my husband to be the bold color and for the rest of the family to anchor around him.  With us wearing white with pops of color in our scarves, I thought the grouping would work well in the living room.  The orange in my outdoor furniture also matched the orange in his shirt and really pulled the look together.  I think the gallery wall gives the room the personal touch it was lacking. Next time you take family photos, first, envision where they will go and then pick out your clothing so that it matches some coloring for that room.

Gallery Wall

Family Gallery Wall with a pop of color

Does the room your working on need a bold pop of color?  If so, make that your goal for the upcoming season or next holiday.  I would love to see the projects you are working on. For other decorating ideas, follow me on pinterest to see more beautiful decor ideas (see icon in right hand corner).

Yours Truly,


You Might Also Like:

An Inviting Entryway

Stylish First Impression

When someone steps into your home, you want them to feel welcome as soon as they walk through the door. Your entryway can make a great first impression and set the tone for the rest of the house. This room needs to be functional to store outerwear and shoes, (especially if you don’t have a mudroom) It also gives your guests a sneak peek as to what they will see inside the rest of your home. As a design rule of thumb, you want to pay close attention to the size of your entryway and be realistic of what you can really do in this space. You want the entryway to be practical for storage so things are not cluttered and look nice for guests’ arrival. Mine is two story, but where I put my console table is not. Just remember to keep things to scale and you can’t go wrong. Your decorating options are endless.

entry way

You want your entryway to be welcoming to your guests

Your entryway becomes a real focal point as soon as you enter the home.  Some people don’t have a mantel and this vignette becomes their main decorating space for special decor and holiday favorites. You want to create a space that is functional for you. The last thing you want to do is to replicate a cookie cutter model of a blogger’s mantel or a magazine picture that doesn’t reflect your style or your needs. All floor plans are different and require personal touches depending on how you will be using your foyer.

Now, let’s jump into the fun part. My glass vases are from pier one and luckily I bought them on sale. The wooden carving wall art and wooden decorative vase are from Target.  I love finding beautiful items that look expensive, but are so reasonably priced.  You don’t have to use all high priced items when decorating.  You can mix and match and your vignettes will turn out lovely.  The key is to shop often and to watch your sales papers.  Have a plan, know what your looking for, and get ideas from decorating magazines, pinterest, and your instagram friends.  These are all very visual and should give you tons of ideas.

Frontgate throw

This cashmere throw is from Frontgate.

You can also change out your entryway for the holidays and add in seasonal decor.  That is an easy and quick way to decorate your house without going into too much detail, but putting forth a big effort.  For other great posts on entryways check out Kathy, from The daily Nest.  She has an amazing blog and her entryway article is one you don’t want to miss.  For pictures click (here). Lastly, one of my favorite bloggers, Liz, from Lizmarieblog, does a lot of DIY projects.  Her Valentine vignette was done using wood that she glued together and finished off with other decorations. I just love it and all the other projects in her home.  Go check her out (here.)

Glass vases

Beautiful Glass vases from Pier 1.

Decorative moss

Wooden vase from Target with moss from Michaels

I can’t wait to decorate this console for spring.

Happy decorating!

Yours Truly,



Styling Your Way to beautiful Bookshelves

Where do I start?

Styling bookshelves can be quite intimidating.  I’ve been there before, staring at blank shelves with no clear vision or direction wondering where to start.  If you’ve been looking at decorating magazines or pinterest you have seen gorgeous, finished shelves that scream professional decorator.  You can have the same results with just a couple tips and some time to spend getting the look you’re going for.  I’m in no way a professional, but I do enjoy working on my decorating until I get it just right.  If you put the time and effort into your shelves I’m sure they will turn out perfectly.

I like to start with a blank, clean shelf and then gather all my items and place them in the floor near my workspace.  Most items you use, you will already have around your home. You want things of varying sizes, shapes, and textures. I try to stick to using 3-4 colors. You might want to pull things from different locations in your house or shop for a couple new pieces.  You can find great shelving decor at Home Goods, TJ Maxx, Pottery Barn, Pier 1, Steinmart, and even Goodwill or other flea markets if you know what you’re looking for.

living room shelves

Decorated shelves from my living room


The trick to setting up your decorations is grouping them in odd number pairings.  Things look very nicely paired in groups of threes and fives in various heights. I like to start on the shelf that is eye level and go from there.  I definitely try to have a symmetry between the shelves and this is where the trial and error starts.  You may try something and if it’s not working take a step back and switch it out and try something different.  I actually enjoy styling bookshelves because I feel your shelves tell your personal story.  If you are putting in things that reflect your style and personality, who wouldn’t love it.  Your shelves can actually become a major focal point of the room.

Sets of 3

Grouping items in sets of 3.


Once you have the bookshelves the way you want them, you can change things out seasonally as holidays approach.  You can really have some fun and add some pizazz and a couple unexpected pieces.  You know you’re on the right track if your style is being reflected when you decorate.  If you love the pieces you’re using, that confidence will show when you have company in your home. I think the most important thing is to let your style shine through.  You may love your favorite blogger’s style, but if it is not yours, you won’t be happy trying to emulate that in your home.

 Styling Beautiful Shelves


Beautiful shelving examples displaying books

 I would love to see pictures of your gorgeous home and check you out on instagram. Don’t

forget to check me out on all my sites in the right hand corner

so you can get to know me better.

Yours Truly,