Turn a Tiny Bedroom into a Big Bedroom

24 Feb

Small Bedroom FIX


Do you have a bedroom that is much smaller than most?  Or what if you have a small guest or teen bedroom?  Undoubtedly you’d like that small bedroom to have style and personality.  Would some storage be too much to ask?  You can have it all with a little planning and judicious shopping – even in the smallest spaces.

Photo via Freshome.com

As regular readers know, light colors generally make a space feel bigger.  The room above has  light floors, bed frame and accessories. Other visual space making features are the open leg table and the  light frame chair instead of something upholsered.

Photo via Freshome.com

Just because the room is small, don’t be afraid to add a dark accent wall.  Balance the bold with bright white bedding, narrow nightstands and small scale lamps in keeping with the proportions of the room.

Photo via Freshome.com

The above bedroom has storage everywhere: under the bed, a wardrobe cabinet, nightstand and dresser with drawers, and shelving above the bed.  The long narrow room is squared up by darker accent wall which causes the wall to appear to move into the room. Choose a smaller scale bed without an oversize headboard since it’s the largest space user in the room.

Photo via Freshome.com

A great solution for small bedrooms is built ins.  They provide tidy storage and a clean wall surface.  If you can’t afford custom built-ins, measure carefully and buy stock items that fit side by side and fill a wall.  Another space-saving trick used here is to mount the bed lights on the wall which eliminates the need for a nightstand.

Photo via Freshome.com

The above room uses a range of light colors to maximize the visual spaciousness, built-ins for maximum storage including mounting the TV on the wall. The room even managed to squeeze in a small desk for convenience.

Photo via Freshome.com

This very small, narrow room uses some tried and true space saving tricks.  Note the open nightstands (visually light), hanging lights to give more space on the tiny nightstands, and the footlocker storage.

Photo via Freshome.com

Tall mirror panels over the nightstands are a great way to visually expand the size of the room.  Once again small scale nightstands and a low profile headboard combine to keep bulky items to a minimum.


Spaces Design via houzz.com
Light colors doesn’t necessarily mean white/beige.  These fresh light blue walls are a pleasant bedroom color and the mix of patterns creates a room that is filled with personality.  The wall of drapes hides an unsightly oddly shaped window and makes a light and soft wall.

This small bedroom is made cozy by using a dark wallpaper on all the walls.  The small scaled, open chair and shiny silver dresser and lamp add sparkle to that side of the room.

Small Room Tip Recap

You don’t have to sacrifice style just because your bedroom is small.  Instead of thinking how small and impossible to decorate it is, think of it as cozy and intimate.  Use these designer techniques to enhance the space:

  • Select a color palette that is light and bright
  • Use furniture that has open backs and legs rather than chests or upholstered pieces sitting directly on the floor
  • Hang lamps when possible to save the table space
  • Utilize built-ins for storage solutions
  • Look for every possible storage option:  under the bed, shelving over the bed and over the door, hooks on the back of the door
  • Reflective surfaces like mirrors, silver leaf furnishings, bright frames and art will all help create the impression of space

Open Up!

13 Sep

Open storage can be a beautiful thing – a way to showcase your favorite items or visually open up a space.  Or a disaster – too many items on the shelf create visual chaos.  Here’s how to make it work for you.

Open Storage 101

1.  Only use your prettiest or most colorful display pieces on open shelving.

Photo via Freshome.com

Rather than cluttering the display wall with lots of small items on each shelf, only one perfect accessory is featured.  In a small space like this one, simplicity is more effective in highlighting the focal wall and using  pieces that pick up colors from the art work is perfect!


One pretty piece of glass per shelf so each can shine.  Literally.  Keep them dust free and sparkling!

2.  Keep balance and scale in mind.

Photo via HGTV.com

3.  Don’t overcrowd each shelf.

Designed by Grey Crawford, photo via ElleDecor.com

Like the glass display in #1, displaying a collection with lots of breathing room lets each piece make its statement.

4.  Keep the display items clean and sparkling.

5.  Find attractive storage baskets or bins that blend with your decor to hold unattractive things like toys, magazines, remotes, etc.

Photo via BHG.com

There are so many pretty storage containers available these days that it won’t be hard to find ones you like to hide the ugly parts of every day life.  Whether they all match, like above, or whether each bin is distinctive, choose what suits your style and then fill them up with clutter (that is no longer clutter!).

In the Kitchen

Photo via BHG.com

The main challenge with open storage in the kitchen is keeping the items clean.  It seems no matter how far away from the stove the display storage is, grease and dust accumulate.  Make sure to clean the open shelving items regularly, especially if it’s glassware or dishes – you want them to sparkle!

Photo via ArchitecturalDigest.com

Open shelving seems most suited to country or very modern styled kitchens.  The items displayed on these shelves appear to be regularly used items (except maybe the top shelf) consequently keeping them clean shouldn’t be an issue.   Notice how the items are somewhat color coordinated to reduce the visual clutter.

Kitchen designed by Hamilton Design Associates

These boxy open shelves and displaying only clear or white dishes adds a distinctly modern vibe to this kitchen.

With the open shelves right above the sink/dishwasher, putting things away would be quick and easy.  Note how the chunky shelves are of the same material as the cabinets below.

Open shelving could serve as a room divider and excellent place for storage of platters or oversize serving pieces.  Those are often the prettiest dishes we own and worthy of display.

 In the Bedroom

Photo via BHG.com

A great space-saving idea is to use a bookshelf or other open shelving as a headboard.  I recommend not using anything too heavy or too fragile, just in case it falls out while someone is in bed – think safety with this headboard idea.

Designed by Massucco Warner Miller, photo via House of Turquoise.com

Open shelving can be a great architectural feature addition to a room.  Whether a custom built-in like above, or a budget version you make yourself with bookshelves flanking a daybed, the open shelving provides interest and storage.

 In the Bath

Designed by Terry Browder; photo via CoteDeTexas.com

Open shelving in a bathroom can be very attractive and spa-like when all your linens match.  When you display a lot of mismatched linens, the effect becomes cluttered and jumbled.  Don’t use open storage to display hair or bath products or appliances – use pretty boxes or bins to hide the tangle of cords or bottles or put them behind doors.

Open Shelves Around the House

Instead of a traditional china cabinet or armoire consider open shelving in the dining room to display your serving pieces.

In the laundry room open shelves can facilitate sorting and access to cleaning products.  Or it might serve as craft or wrapping storage if needed.

Keep It Together

Photo via BHG.com

Matching storage boxes in this home office certainly make for a pretty wall of organization.  What it really does is keep all those open shelves cohesive and a design feature instead of a design disaster.

 Comment section below and let us know your thoughts on open shelving









*as seen in yourdecoratinghotline.com

Oooh lala chandeliers

17 Aug

Whether your outdoor dining area needs a chandelier or your indoor dining area needs a chandelier, here are a few tips to help you make the right choice.

Photo hgtv.com Designer Heather Lenkin

Photo hgtv.com Designer Erinn Valencich

 Follow Four Steps

Photo hgtv.com Designer Shelly Riehl David

1.  Select a style that works.  Consider your architecture and your furniture when deciding on a chandelier style.  You’re bound to find one that is perfect for the space you are creating.  Look how well the one in the photo above works with the arch in the room, the shape of the chairs and the color in the room!

Photo lampsplus.com

Photo lampsplus.com

Are your dining chairs ornately carved and upholstered?  You might want to consider a crystal or glass chandelier.

Photo lampsplus.com

Do you eat at a farmhouse table?  Scope out chandeliers with a rustic finish.

2.  Determine the correct scale.  A large dining room will swallow up a small chandelier and an oversize chandelier will make a small room seem tiny.  To get the chandelier’s scale right, consider three things: 1. the size of your room; 2.  the size of your dining table; and 3. the height of your ceiling.

Too large – Photo bhg.com


Too small – Photo bhg.com


Just right! – Photo bhg.com

One easy trick is to measure the width and length of your dining room and add the number of feet together –  then select a fixture whose width is the same number but in inches.  For example –  a 14′ x 20′ room calls for a 34″ wide chandelier.  To make sure the chandelier works with your table, choose a fixture that is at least half the table width so the light doesn’t look too small.

Photo lampsplus.com


Photo lampsplus.com

If your ceilings are higher than the 8′ standard, first determine the correct width for the light and look for a tall fixture that suitably fills the space presented due to higher than normal ceilings.

3.  Lighten up with the correct wattage.  As you may know from previous posts, I’m a big fan of dimmers – especially in the dining room.  Before you can dim a light, however, you need to have it bright enough to allow you to dim!  You need a chandelier with enough wattage to light the dining area fully – and then the dimmer allows you to lower the light for a cozy or romantic meal.

Photo lampsplus.com

Before buying, check the chandelier for the maximum usable bulb wattage and consider the number of bulbs on the fixture.   To determine if it is enough for your room multiply the width and length of the room to determine the square footage.  Then multiply the room’s total square footage by 1.5 to determine the total wattage.  For example, a 14′ X 16′ foot room needs 224 watts. If you select a chandelier with 3 lights then each needs to be able to hold a 75 watt bulb (total wattage is 224) – just a bit more than needed for your room.

Photo potterybarn.com

4. Make the height right!  When you’re ready to hang the chandelier, make sure it is 3o” to 36″ above the table top.  This ensures that you have enough light and yet keeps the view clear across the table, prevents unsightly face shadows, and eliminates banged foreheads






*taken from yourdecoratinghotline.com

Be Our Guest!

13 Jul

Summer is here! Summer is the time when you get a lot of house guests. Whether you have guests often or just now and then, here are some first-hand tips to help you make them feel welcomed and at home during their visit.

Photo signsforhomes.co_uk


Guest Room Tips

Take a look at your home while imagining yourself in a guest’s shoes.  Is there a comfortable place to sleep?  Is there room to unpack or access suitcases easily?  Is a bathroom easily available?  Figuring out ways to answer “YES!” to these key questions improves the chances your guests will feel comfortable instead of intrusive.  Then consider these tips to enhance their stay:

Photo countryliving.com

  • A Comfortable Place to Sleep ideally would be a guest room complete with a generously sized bed – but if that’s not possible don’t fret.

Photo bhg.com

Alternatives include a day bed in an office,

Photo amazon.com

a blow up bed wherever you’ve got the space,

Photo southernliving.com

moving your kids to sleeping bags on the living room floor so you  can give guests their beds and, of course,

Photo bhg.com

don’t forget the sofa (whether or not it’s a sleeper sofa it’s a place to bunk!).

Bedding by Florence Broadhurst for kate spade new york – available at bloomingdales.com

  • Provide Fresh, Clean Sheets, Pillows and

Photo bhg.com

Extra Blankets (people have different temperature levels of comfort for sleeping).  Without a good night of sleep the visit won’t be fun for your guests.

Photo goodhousekeeping.com

  • Enable Guests to Easily Access Their Clothes.  Clear hanging space in the closet or provide a few empty drawers.  If this isn’t possible, add over-the-door hanging or hooks or, at the very least, a suitcase stand or a bench to elevate their suitcase.


Photo bhg.com

  • Provide a Nightstand and Reading Lamp.  This enables guests to enjoy reading in bed (you may want to leave a few of your favorite books or magazines for them to peruse) and lets them forgo climbing out of bed to turn out the lights.  If you don’t have a guest room in which to place a night stand or you just want to be a bit creative –

Photo designsponge.com

 a chair or a pile of books can easily hold a lamp.


Photo lampsplus.com

  • Offer a Nightlight so finding the bathroom in the middle of the night is not a torture trek filled with stubbed toes or bruised shins from bumping into furniture.

Photo countryliving.com

  • Supply Fresh Towels, Washcloths, and Soap.  To make sure your guests know the linens are for them if they’re sharing a family bathroom, arrange them creatively in the guest room,

Photo bhg.com

hang them over the door or lay them on their bed.  Adding little travel size bottles of shampoo, lotion or toothpaste is a nice touch.

  • Include a Mirror in the Guest Space so guests can easily do hair and make-up without feeling like they’re hogging the family bathroom.
  • Place a Wastebasket in the guest’s sleeping area.  It’s something you don’t think about until you need it – and guests will need one!

Photo elledecor.com

  • Incorporate a Reading Chair in a guest room if possible.  The chair offers a welcome relief – providing the guest a cozy spot of their own to retreat and, in turn, providing you a brief respite from hosting duties.

Photo myhomeideas.com

  • Minimize Decorating Accessories in a guest room so the guest has room for their things.  A room filled with personal photos and clutter only serves to remind guests that they’re  crowding you out of your space.

Photo workitmom.com

  • Notify Guests of Internet Availability by sharing a wireless password or showing them where they can plug in.  Many people travel with a computer in order to keep up on personal email and stay in touch with their family.

Photo officedepot.com

  •  Include a Small Wet Bar or Dorm Sized Refrigerator in the guest space if possible or invite guests to help themselves to a cold drink and show them where fruit is in your fridge.

Photo elledecor.com

  • Say “Welcome” with fresh flowers or a wrapped chocolate on their pillow.

Once you’ve got your guest space set-up, put it to the test by hosting yourself!  Spend the night as a guest in your own home and discover what works and what doesn’t.  If you’re not comfortable or if you find something lacking – your guest will also.  Make any needed changes or final touches and then welcome guests confidently, knowing they, as well as you, will enjoy the visit comfortably.

Hope that helps! Also I wanted to let you all know of some fabulous giveaways going on throughout the blogging sphere. Enter to win a TARGET gift card HERE




*as seen in yourdecoratinghotline.com

Need Our Help?

21 Jun
Do you have stacks of paper stuffed in desk drawers or high piles stacked up on your desk? 

    Are you feeling overwhelmed or hopeless when you have to organize?

    Are you moving & don’t know where to start?

    Does it seem like there is just not enough time in the day to finish everything?

    Do you ever find yourself putting off important days & things to get done because its just too overwhelming?

    Have you neglected taking care of your personal needs?

    Do you dream of having a personal assistant or a maid?

 Are you tired of never being able to find what you’re looking for?


If you answered YES THAT’S ME to any of those questions then you need to call us!


Simplify Your Life also known as Contain Yourself specializes in First Class Home Organizing.

This service is to help you de-clutter & organize your home & life.

Simplify Your Life helps you sort through & organize the things that are important in your home so you can enjoy the comfort of your surroundings.


This allows you to not only find things that you need, but donate & put to good use those items that take up your otherwise usable space.


An organized home brings peace of mind & a more simplified lifestyle.


Simplify Your Life is a non-judgment, respectful organization that keeps everything private & confidential.

Technology in Kitchens?

2 Jun

You’ve probably heard the adage “the kitchen is the heart of the home.” Today we welcome a guest post from Second Nature, an English company that’s all about kitchens.  They offer a little food for thought today about kitchens of the future.

Photo sncollection.co.uk

Decorating trends for kitchens are subject to the same cycles as interior styling elsewhere in the home and while some people prefer a more modern or minimal look, there are equally those who like to take inspiration from days gone by when it comes to their fixtures and fittings.

Other than decorating trends, one thing that has the power to significantly change kitchen design is technology. The introduction of the fridge and freezer into homes signalled modification to kitchen layouts, which no longer needed the pantry areas that had previously been vital to keep goods fresh. Technology changed the style of modern kitchens; designs like these modern fitted kitchens would have not even existed. With this in mind, it could be that the kitchens of the future look distinctly different than those of today.


It’s hard to forecast where technology may impact on the social hub of the home, but looking to science fiction can help. It’s possible that maid robots as seen in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon The Jetsons may one day be a reality, though we are far more likely to see improvements to existing technology used to enhance ease of use of kitchen appliances. For example, instead of remote controls being used to operate our home entertainment systems we may find that we are using remote controls to switch on our kettle, toaster or grill ready for those TV ad breaks. Those hard to open fridge or freezer drawers could also be opened with the push of a button, or by touching sensors.

And if you enjoy the benefits of your home entertainment system in the living room, why not transfer them to the kitchen sphere? Nowadays you can have flat screen televisions fitted in your shower, so in years to come you may well decide to have a flat screen fitted into your oven splashback, or even on to the door of your fridge. Your ability to control the appliances in the kitchen at the touch of a button may not even require you to be in the home at all. With an app on your smartphone, you might be able to turn on the oven at home in order to cook to perfection the lasagne lying in wait for your return. The slow cooker will be a tired old ancestor in comparison.

In addition to efficiency measures such as remote operating being provided for appliances, chances are you could reap the rewards of white goods that are good for more than chilling or cooking. Popular appliance brand Samsung already sell a refrigerator that incorporates a computer screen allowing you to record your shopping list – the next step would be a fridge or freezer that notes itself when you remove goods from it, carrying out a helpful stock check along the way.





*taken from yourdecoratinghotline.com

Hot Ideas for Summer Cool

31 May

Chill out this summer by surrounding yourself with hot decorating based on palettes of blue, green and white. Blue – the color of refreshing cool water.  Green – the color of summer grass and lush trees.  White – the color of crisp cotton fabric and pristine beaches.  Use them to create a cool summer setting you and your family and friends will love.

Blue, green and white suit most any style and any room in your house. Discover how relaxing and welcoming they feel in living areas.

Photo marthastewart.com

A watery blue curtain adds a relaxing shot of color to a neutral living room.


Photo bhg.com

Photo bhg.com

Side table vignettes each use green in very different ways – but both invite you to linger and enjoy.

Photo southernliving.com

Blue seems to cool the summer heat in this cheery kitchen.

Photo southernliving.com

A blue ceiling mimics the summer sky.

Blue, green and white are great colors for summer – or year around. 


*taken from yourdecoratinghotline.com