Designing Daydreams Come True!

A couple posts back, I mentioned that it was really time for my big boy to have a big room to match his big personality.  (I know, I know . . . that’s a lot of big.)  It was becoming more and more obvious that, whether or not we were able to sell our house, Aiden needed his own space that was not the nursery he had occupied since he was born:

The Nursery

We decided to go ahead and move him into the other room, since we are planning for another kiddo sometime in the near future.  This room  was initially the guest room and looked like this:

BEFORE: The Guest Room

I have spent the better part of my long, labor-day weekend transforming it into this:

AFTER: Aiden's new room!

I know the sports theme is a bit out of character for us, but Aiden loves sports and balls and I thought this could be really fun.

These chairs make the room! And when I found them for $20 each, it was the last push I needed to go ahead and decide on a basketball theme.

I'm pretty sure Aiden likes them too!

As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure he likes the whole room.

And he liked helping me decorate it too.

All in all, I think we scored a “home run” with this one!  What do you think?

Designing Daydreams

There are several factors playing into my desire to redecorate. The first is the perpetual and seemingly endless search for a new house. We have put an offer on a new place which, despite the uncertainty of actually attaining it (since we have to sell ours before we do), sends my mind buzzing into frenzies of interior design daydreams on a regular basis. The second is that it’s been three years since we moved and, since that time, I have not done ANY redecorating. No matter how pleased you are with your initial design ideas, after three years, they get a little stale.  The third, and probably most pressing, is that my little baby boy is not so much of a baby anymore. He is a big kid with big ideas and  . . . a nursery for a room.  He sleeps in a crib converted to a toddler bed that he barely fits in anymore.  The mobile is still attached to it for heaven’s sake.  It’s time he had a change.  New house or not.  So I’ve started brainstorming some ideas and I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve discovered.

I love the idea of using interesting color schemes on the walls. This is a very unique reversal of how most people paint a room . . . white on the bottom, color on the top. Quite striking!

Speaking of interesting colors on the walls, WOW! I don't know if I'd be brave enough to do something quite this bold, but it sure is remarkable!

Then there's always the option to do something crazy and decorative on the walls in the form of a pattern or a mural. I could definitely see myself doing a simple burgundy sunburst pattern in the corner of a room with light brown walls and then incorporating the same red tone into other room accents. As far as polka dots go, I'm not sure I could handle them on all of the walls, but ONE wall could be really fun.

Another unique and inexpensive way to revamp a room is to use fabric on the walls. This, of course, is a rather girly example, but I loved it so much I just couldn't pass it up.

If I had unlimited funds to buy new furniture and dramatic accessories, I could totally see myself doing something like this. I LOVE the "porch" swing sofa and the map rug!

We may actually look around for some affordable bunk beds. No boy's room is really complete without them, in my humble opinion. This is a perfectly playful bunk bed that would be SO much fun, it might make sleep hard to come by!

Lastly, I couldn't help myself from veering a little in the girly direction - we are after all hoping our next kid is of the feminine persuasion. There is something so lovely about this green and pink combination. I would probably add tan to the mix and make it a bit less flowery, but I love the color palate.

Tell me what you think.  I’d love to hear some other unique ideas for kids rooms.  This is only the beginning of my brainstorming and there’s lots of room for new concepts!

Fashion on a Budget

I have shared with you all before my love of shopping as a means of reducing stress. I know that for many of you this is unfathomable since shopping and stress are essentially synonyms in your book. But for me shopping is an outlet unlike any other, and it’s guaranteed to lift my spirits. But regardless of whether or not you share this sentiment, most of you can understand the ‘tired’ feeling that your wardrobe gets after certain items have been used and re-used – sometimes for years. It is that feeling that, despite having full draws and closets, you actually like very little of whats in there and constantly feel as though you have nothing to wear. Oh well . . . back to old faithful . . . Sigh. Because in today’s economy, who can afford to revamp their wardrobe every year?  YOU CAN! With a little extra work and an affinity for bargains and consignment stores, you can accomplish a tremendous amount on a dime.  Particularly if, at the end of a season, you find sales at consignment stores. Then the already ridiculously low prices are cut in half. And you can feel good about what you are buying, not only because you are saving so much money, but because you are helping reduce waste by buying second-hand. The best way to demonstrate this amazing potential is to share with you my most recent jackpot. Everything below I got for a TOTAL of $70.00 – the cost of one outfit new at a department store.  Enjoy and happy bargain hunting!

Yellow Dress - $4.80 (found at the Bargain Boutique); Red Dress - $4.00, Red Jewelry - $3.00 (both found at Goodwill), Boots - $3.00 (found at the Bargain Boutique)

Plaid Top - $3.20, Red Top - $2.40, Sandals $3.00 (all found at the Bargain Boutique)

White Top - $3.20, Black Top $2.40 (both found at the Bargain Boutique)

Red Top - $3.20, Purple Top - $2.40, Jean Skirt - $3.20, Shoes - $3.00 (all found at the Bargain Boutique)

Black Top - $3.20, Patterned Top $2.40 (both found at the Bargain Boutique); Jeans - $4.50 (on clearance at Target)

Coral Skirt - $3.20, White Shirt - $1.60 (both found at the Bargain Boutique), Grey Dress - $15.00 (found at Kid's Kloset)

Utilitarian or Aesthetic . . . or Both?

So many of the things we surround ourselves with in our daily lives are there because they serve a practical purpose.  But all too often, functionality exists to the exclusion of beauty.  Things are placed in one of two categories: utilitarian or aesthetic.  But why can’t they be both?  Wouldn’t life be so much more fun if we made a bit of an effort to dress up the practical and surround ourselves with simple beauties?  Take your office at work, for example.  If you, like me, work in a very small space the size of most people’s closets and every square inch of your desk is covered with papers, filing shelves, computers, phones, pens, sticky notes and general clutter, you may think that there is just no room for frivolous aesthetics.  But most of us use a desk lamp so that we don’t feel like we’re working in a cave all day.  So . . .

Why not switch it from this one . . . . . . . . to this one? (courtesy of Target.com)

Or what about our pets?  Many of us have pets because we love animals and the loyal, no-strings-attached affection that they offer daily.  But does having pets mean we are doomed to a life of mess and smell and having corners of our home that we hope and pray most people won’t notice?  Or perhaps even the practical necessity of a litter box can become a cozy nook in our kitchen or bathroom:

Which would you rather have in your home? (Second image courtesy of Merry Pet)

Or maybe our child’s relatively maintenance-free but awe-inspiring pet fish can go from a small plastic water hazard in his room to a living centerpiece in the home and garner much more attention that way as well.

Practical and pretty!

Unfortunately, most of the time this concept will only go as far as the budget will allow.  The three examples above are all very reasonable ways to upgrade functional objects to a new standard of aesthetic elegance.  But there are always things we daydream about one day being able to incorporate into our generally high standard of beautiful living.  Like some day being able to transform your bed from the place that you sleep to a mid-summer-nights dream.

Of course there are much more cost-effective ways to achieve this same aesthetic, such as leafy wall murals, earthy color schemes and throw pillows. But there is just something magical about this frame that can not be denied. (Image courtesy of theberry.com)

There are so many ways to convert basic, practical, and functional things in our environment into objects of beauty as well.  Just imagining the possibilities can put a brighter spin on your day and your general outlook, knowing that you’re making the world just a little bit nicer.

Digital Retail Therapy

When I was young, or perhaps I should say when I was childless, one of my most significant forms of stress management was SHOPPING!  I love to shop.  I believe some people call this retail therapy.  However, since Aiden came along and basically ruined shopping for me, turning it from stress management into stress manufacturing, I have pretty much given up shopping altogether.  While this is good for the pocketbook, which has also suffered since the arrival of our not so little bundle of joy, it is not so good for my moral. 

Enter online shopping!  Don’t get me wrong, the internet will never replace the sights, sounds, smells, and excitement of hitting the shops with some girlfriends and scoring incredible bargains, but it’s something.  It’s an outlet.  And there is SO much out there that you would never find in an ordinary store in your local strip mall.  One of my all-time favorite sites is ModCloth.com.  Their retro style is amazing and I feel inspired almost every time I visit their site.  They also have a blog called “Life in Style” that I have linked in my interests if you’d like to check it out.  I think, if I could just perfect my money tree project, I would redesign my entire wardrobe based on items, or at least inspiration from their site.  Here are a few of my recent favorites, just to peak your interest.

A collection of ModCloth Dresses that are to die for!

 

A variety - I actually purchases this retro inspired swimsuit last year and LOVE it. It's so modest that I feel comfortable in it while still feeling sexy and pin-up-ish.

 

ModCloth Hats and Shoes - Just lovely!