The Inspired Room

Refining Your Home for Authentic Living™

Summertime is yard time July 31, 2007

Filed under: Gardens & Outdoor Rooms — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 11:30 am


I was just about to head outside to water some plants and I stumbled upon this great little dry creek on the Better Homes and Gardens website. I thought this was quite charming and a great idea if you have an area of your yard that tends to be a bit damp, narrow, dark or otherwise challenging to “decorate”.

Gives you a nice dry area to walk down and tend to your plants, too. A more creative approach than the traditional stepping stones!

Here is another tidy small narrow garden idea. A fresh contemporary design from Domino Magazine online.


I myself enjoy the ambience of the English style garden. This magazine would be great with a scone and a cup of tea!


Time to stop dreaming and get out to the yard!


How To Create An Authentic Home

Filed under: Authentic Living,Decorating Inspiration — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 8:24 am


Creating an authentic style, inspired by you and the things you love, does not have to be a daunting experience. It is a journey of self-discovery and self-expression that can be enjoyable, even for the creatively-challenged. Here are a few ideas to help you along the way to finding your style:

  • Think about beautiful places that have profoundly influenced you. Have you traveled abroad? Spent memorable time in the solitude of a mountain cabin? Walked on a nature trail? Been entranced by charming English gardens in a quaint old neighborhood? Spent Sunday mornings in a architecturally stunning church? Incorporate the mood of these experiences into your home.
  • Create dream box or notebook. Keep clippings of magazine photos you are drawn to, note cards with patterns you find charming, swatches of fabrics or ribbons, photos of beautiful things you come across in your daily life or travels. These things can prove valuable to you as you design your rooms. Details of what inspires you will begin to emerge. You might find you are consistently inspired by Asian culture, simplicity, a particular shade of pink, nature, or old world charm like carved wood and antique light fixtures.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix styles. There are no rules. Your goal is simply to create a pleasing environment with your own authentic style. You can be inspired by classic styles but consider adding in other elements of who you are to create a unique mix all your own. Add an antique French hutch to a contemporary room or painted table in a kitchen with natural wood to make your rooms more interesting and real.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask a professional for guidance, but do avoid asking friends for their approval. Creating a home is very personal. A professional decorator can help you translate the feelings you want in your home into a pleasing style, saving you money and frustration along the way. You may not have time or the inclination to put it all together, but be involved in what goes into your home. Find a decorator who is sensitive to authenticity, using what you have and love, and does not try to push their own signature style.
  • Be true to who you are. Don’t buy to ‘keep up with the Jones.’ Be content with where you are in life and design your home appropriately. Take finances, children, pets, entertaining styles, and both solitude and social preferences into account so you will be comfortable in your own space.
  • Be sure your home is alive with happy memories. Objects in your home can conjure up positive warm feelings. Gather things in your lifetime that bring you happiness when you see them. Buy a teacup when you visit a teahouse on your birthday. Have a silhouette drawn of your child. Bring back a pretty map from a vacation to frame on a wall. Buy things that move you, not meaningless objects gathered for the sole purpose of filling space.
  • Edit your possessions. You cannot keep everything you have ever owned or loved. Does the object or furniture suit your current lifestyle, home or taste? If not, let it go! Take a picture of it if the memory is strong and file it away in a memory box. Does something in your home have a negative memory associated with it? Get rid of it! Replace it with something happier.
  • Refine your style continuously over your lifetime so it always reflects who you are today as well as where you have been. Don’t get stuck in a time warp that no longer suits who you are. If you continue to refine your home even in small ways it will feel constantly fresh and alive.

Birthday wish list: toilet seat July 30, 2007

Filed under: Authentic Living,Decorating Inspiration,Domesticity — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 9:10 am

We had a great day celebrating my daughter’s 16th birthday yesterday. This was just her family party, friend event will come later. She wants to take a group of girls to our family beach house, which current looks like this:


Clearly you can see why the friend party will have to wait.

We all had a good chuckle over how we do birthdays around our house. You see, we all LOVE to get things for our house. In the case of my girls, they love to get new things for their rooms. This is basically how we decorate on a budget year round.

“Hey, sweetie, your birthday is coming up! How about a new toilet seat for your bathroom and a set of sheets for your bed?”

Yep, no joke. A toilet seat and nice sheets were among the gifts this year. And she was thrilled — she really was! Nothing like a shiny new toilet seat to brighten a girl’s special day. I’ve trained her well.

We have bought something nice (whatever our budget allows) for our house every year for our anniversary too. We almost always forgo staying at hotels in favor of shopping for something new — a cool new lamp, an accessory, something for the walls, furniture or plumbing — whatever strikes our fancy, or is a need that we normally would put off due to a limited budget. That is our kind of romantic evening! 🙂 Dinner and a new faucet!

It has worked for 20 years, and we are still happily married! Who needs diamonds or pearls? Give me new plumbing fixtures!

Come to think of it, maybe that is where I got the tag line phrase for my business: Refining your home for authentic living™. We make refining our home a priority all year round, with really no decorating budget. We just make our home the recipient of lovely and practical gifts on holidays that we can use or enjoy all year round. Other people buy jewelry or cars or electronics. We buy house stuff. Nothing really fancy, just stuff that makes life in our home fun and adds to the beauty of everyday living. Authentic stuff. Like new toilet seats.


Organize First. Products Second. July 28, 2007

Filed under: Domesticity,Organization — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 9:24 pm

I received a lovely compliment on my blog from Brandie Kajino of Organize & Simplify today. And from there, my day took a new turn. And as I think is the case with many creative people (even only SOMEWHAT creative people, such as myself) they are easily moved off task by the thought of something more fun, visually appealing or less mundane than say, paying bills or organizing paperwork.

Brandie’s thoughtful comment inspired me to take a stroll around her lovely blog filled with organizing tips and ideas. And from there, after reading one of her posts, I started thinking about my own tendency to shop for the fun organizing products first (to inspire me, of course) and then figure out how to organize “later”. Usually that results in lovely, empty organizational systems I didn’t really need. Not good.

Well, the truth is, while parts of my house & life are actually somewhat organized, everything is not as tidy as it should be. In fact, one of my big problem areas revolves around paper. Case in point, I have lost my daughter’s sixteenth birthday card and her birthday is tomorrow. I bought the card three months ago and it was perfect for her. I knew I could potentially lose it or forget about it, so I put it in my pajama drawer. HUH? Yep. You heard me. I do not have a tickler file. I do have a greeting card box, but since I didn’t want her to find it, I didn’t put the card there. I put it in my drawer, well, or so I thought. Two hours of searching later, I still can’t find it. I am sure I thought of a wonderful spot for it, I just can’t remember where that place is.

I am convinced. I need a tickler file.

And that brings me to another excuse to shop for lovely products! I won’t buy any, yet, I promise. But in case you are in the same boat, here is some inspiration for all of us. I could see myself enjoying filing if I had these pretties to look at!



Or, how about creating a card binder? I love binders. Lots of pretty binders, all lined up on a shelf…a visual delight! 🙂 Makes you feel organized just to see them. As if you really had them filled with cards & papers, and not sitting there empty. Ok. I get it. Organize first. Products second.




Products & photos from See Jane Work.


Inspired Rooms

Filed under: Authentic Living,Decorating Inspiration — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 8:36 am
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Do you know the difference between “inspired rooms” and “theme rooms?” Having a business and blog entitled “The Inspired Room™” I often get asked about how to create specific themes for rooms. Theme rooms conjure up the idea of every nook and cranny filled with trinkets and tacky wallpaper borders dedicated to your favorite hobby or sport. Ok, I’ll admit it, I don’t like tacky theme rooms. No more theme rooms, please! I know readers of my blog would never want to create a tacky room, but we have all been in one, right? Inspired rooms are much more subtle, but so much more effective. That is what we want, right? Inspired rooms!

So how do you avoid the tacky theme room? Think of the mood you are trying to create. Let’s say it is a lazy morning at a beach cottage. Before you run out and go crazy buying every possible lighthouse knick knack to illustrate your theme, go back to the idea of the “mood.”

A mood should suggest that you are actually AT the place you are trying to recreate, not at a tacky tourist shop. Find a picture of the kind of room you want to create and take note of what you see. Study the fabrics, the furnishings, the colors, the accessories to get you started.


A beach cottage doesn’t have to have shells everywhere in order to remind you where you are! Shells can be a nice touch, but again, you want to focus first on the mood, not the obvious accessories. Let the accessories add the finishing touch, not be the main event.

Take your inspiration from what you would see outside the beach cottage. Imagine the color of sand, the sea, the skies, the freshness of the air, the casualness of the environment. Matchstick blinds or airy sheers, bare wood floors, blues, teals and creams, an eclectic mix of overstuffed furniture, and comfy places to kick back & read or play board games can all add up to the mood of a beach cottage.

Rooms with a touch of whimsy or a delightful surprise can make you smile when you see them. And they can make your space personal. Maybe add a personal touch like in the photos above and below — a formal antique, painted in a soft hue. Also notice what I think are shells glued to the lampshade. Find creative and subtle ways to let your inspiration unfold as you or your guests take a closer look around.


Lastly, before you get inspired and head out to work on a room, think of ways to incorporate things you love with the style of your house, other rooms and existing furnishings. Incorporating things that are appropriate will be much more authentic and charming than things that just don’t make sense. If you actually live in an elegant Victorian home, rounding the corner to an over the top beach inspired family room will just seem forced and tacky if the rest of the house doesn’t support that.

Find ways to be subtle, be appropriate, and don’t shock yourself as you walk from room to room. If you have an old Victorian, work the “Victorian on the coast” idea into the whole house, not just one room. You don’t have to be bound to the style of your architecture by any means, but keep some continuity for your house as a whole!

Photos: Dominique Vorillon Coastal Living Magazine


Use your own creativity! July 27, 2007

Filed under: Creative Inspiration & Projects,Decorating Inspiration — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 2:20 pm

Upstairs hall, originally uploaded by Alicia Paulson. Photo used by permission.

I know I have been commenting on Posie Gets Cozy non-stop, but my oh my! I sure get inspired by looking at Alicia’s charming home, studio and life. I knew she was talented but I could just sit in awe for days looking at her lovely photographs. I promise to branch out and look at other people’s sites very soon (tell me where to look, I am new to this!), but for now I have been so content catching up on her life in photos. LOVELY! Even if you aren’t a craft person, you can learn something by observing her sense of color, placement and fresh ideas.

I wanted to share one of her photos with you (I think this is proper?) [note: Photo used by permission]. This is just too cute and charming for words. I actually recognize that second little flowered dress on the wall from my old Raggedy Ann Doll! The doll is missing right now (Alicia????) but it warms my heart to see her little dress hanging on Alicia’s wall.

This is a great example of how you can use things that you love to create art and interest in a room. Choose things that are lovely and arrange them in groups according to colors or common theme. You won’t be able to help but smile as you walk into this room. And that dog, how cute is he?