The Inspired Room

Refining Your Home for Authentic Living™

Style Tips: A Picture Quiz July 24, 2008

Filed under: Decorating Inspiration,Style Tips — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am

Need some help defining your style?

I can’t guarantee the results of this, but you can have some fun trying! I saw a link to a fun picture quiz on This is Glamorous’ blog and tried it myself with my spare time tonight (ooo, you caught me playing when I should have been working or enjoying some solitude).

Here is a description of my style, according to the quiz:


You take the inspiration for your home from the surrounding countryside. And why not? The country cottage look has been, and continues to be, the epitome of what a family ‘home’ should stand for: warm, welcoming, cozy and comfortable. There’s nothing at all pretentious about this style, just a love of the good, simple pleasures in life.

So, what do you think? Did that description sound like me? What happened to my coastal cottage style? Or my British Colonial style? Guess I need to figure out just where I am, so I can look to the appropriate surrounding countryside for my style. This explains a few things about why I can never decide what I like best. As you know, I can dream I am just about anywhere. The shore, the French countryside, an English Castle. Whims are like that.

Give this quiz a try yourself and let me know the results! When you get there, just start choosing the photo that best describes each question.

Go ahead and play, it is almost Friday! And besides, knowing your style is serious business.

Have fun!

(kitchen) 25 Beautiful Homes
all others; Country Homes & Interiors
via House to Home


Sweet Escape: Blog Talk Radio & Beach Style July 18, 2008

Filed under: Decorating Inspiration,Style Tips,Sweet Escape — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 12:49 pm
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What a week! I had lots going on this week, so I am glad it is finally Friday!

I know I promised you all a link to my Blog Talk Radio appearance on The “O” Myth, so here it is. It was so fun chatting (live!) with the delightful hosts of that program, Brandie, The Home Office Organizer, and Krista of Organize In Style. So as a little diversion from the usual blog reading, feel free to pour yourself a cup of coffee and listen in our our conversation about decorating and the William Morris quote: “Have nothing in your house which you do not find to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

Paula from Neutral Dwelling is hosting a Photo Story Friday today where she is asking people to post photos of anything regarding design or our homes. Feel free to join in! In my post today, I am sharing a couple of images from one of my favorite shops in Cannon Beach, Sesame and Lillies. I have a growing fondness for “classy beach and relaxed summer decor” and this store really captures that for me! I It is a beautiful place to spend lots of time browsing and absorbing ideas. I love it!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

photos by: Melissa Michaels (taken at Cannon Beach Shop, Sesame & Lillies)

Blog Talk Radio: The “O” Myth, click here to listen in!


Style Tips: Seasonal Style June 11, 2008

Filed under: Decorating Inspiration,Style Tips — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am
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Ideal Home, August 2005

Coastal Living, Jean Allsopp

Coastal Living, Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Coastal Living, Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Many people really enjoy changing their rooms for the season. Whether you have slipcovers for your furniture or just change out pillows, rugs and accessories, part of some people’s individual style is having a home that reflects the mood of the season outdoors.

Not everyone likes to change their rooms all the time, and that too is a matter of personal style! It doesn’t mean you are boring if you like things to stay the same, it just might mean you are more settled and comfortable with your style!

When I see all these bright and light summery rooms, it makes me want to add some fun colors and whimsical or beachy accessories. In the summer, I really do love the idea of punches of citrus color and the laid back looks of wicker and fresh flowers. So many options, so little time! Ordinarily I would consider myself a “Fall” girl, loving the cozier styles. But maybe that makes sense that I am drawn to both, as it is still usually quite lovely here in the fall. You get the crisper air but still the sunny days. I think it is the best of both worlds!

Usually, other than some accessory changes, my style remains pretty much the same all year round. I think I have enough of a balance in my house that most rooms are able to go from season to season without a need for drastic changes.

Style Tip: Considering which season you love the most is a great way to help discern how to decorate for your personal style. And if you can’t decide, you might be one of those women who wants to change their rooms’ appearance every season. You can also decorate with more “season-neutral” items that can easily go from fall through summer with only very little adjustment.

So, which season are you?

Style Tips is a regular feature designed to give tips on developing your personal style. Click here for more inspiration!

For some Coastal Kitchen inspiration, click HERE!


Style Tips: Live A Beautiful Life May 12, 2008

Filed under: Decorating Inspiration,Style Tips — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am
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Country Homes August 2006

Ideal Home July 2005

Country Homes & Interiors February 2005

Country Homes July 2006

Homes & Gardens January 2005

Country Homes & Interiors March 2005

Homes & Gardens November 2005


It bears repeating.

Style Tips” is a regular feature on The Inspired Room where I share a few ideas on how to create your own authentic style.


Style Tips: The Unmade Bed Look April 15, 2008

Filed under: Domesticity,Style Tips — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:40 am
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One of my mentors is Alexandra Stoddard, as many of you know by now (click here for more info on that little tidbit about me). One of the things I remember her saying in one of her books is that she is an advocate of the “unmade bed look.

What this means is not necessarily that you don’t make your bed, but that you allow the layers of your bedding to show in some way. Allowing the details of the sheets to informally peek out from a coverlet or fold over a quilt is simply more inviting and welcoming than covering it all up with a bedspread. Not only does the bed look like it is ready to crawl back into (good idea), but it is not so stiff and formal that it feels untouchable.

  • Showing the layers, including pillows and pillow shams, gives you the opportunity to showcase your personal style through the pieces you have selected.
  • Conversely, the details you like in bedding provide clues to your style personality.

Do you like ruffly sheets? Flowered ones? Striped top sheets and solid bottom sheets? Or all matching yellow sheets? Bright or pastels? Are you drawn to fluffy down blankets or do you prefer coverlets? Stiff pillows or squishy ones? Lots of pillows or few pillows?

Each detail reveals something about you. Even if you aren’t a fan of the “Unmade Bed Look” having a formal bed with relatively stiff covers and few wrinkles allowed says something about your style!

So tell me, how would you describe your style, based on YOUR bed’s look (or better yet, the DREAM look if you could have the look you want?) I can’t wait to find out!

My own unmade bed.

I actually DO make the bed every day. I just like the more casual look of a less formally styled bed when it is made.

I’ll go first with an assessment of myself, based on my current bedding. Because I know you are all dying to know. I’d say my bedding says I am practical (as I do not own multiple sets of fancy patterned sheets, just one set of high thread count plain soft cream colored sheets that I wash and put right back on!). But I am not too practical as my matelasse coverlet is soft cream colored too. A creamy neutral like that is a bit risky with kids and dogs climbing all over it. Also, I could have several sets of inexpensive sheets but I would rather have one expensive higher quality set. Hmmm, sheet snob. My coverlet, shams and pillowcases have a subtle pattern and texture. This shows I like detail but not over the top detail. I like detail to surprise you and unfold rather than always screaming out for attention. That is my personality too, I have my moments of exuberance but I also have my quiet subtle side.

My choices show that I need a soothing environment for the bedroom without too much pattern on the bed. But, I do have a boldly striped sham on the bed so I guess that shows that I like a punch of color in a sea of creamy ones. Again, I see that tension between my practical side and my more daring side. I have two European shams for the back of the headboard, and the one striped sham and one accent pillow. Not a ton of pillows but enough to make it cozy and soften the hard edges of the bed frame. I’m a cozy person, but a restrained cozy! My coverlet and shams are not foofy but my bed is an old fashioned iron bed, so I guess I am a more tailored romantic. I make the bed with some perfection (I like the coverlet to be straight, for instance), but I never iron my sheets.) Perfectly imperfect is a good description of my style preference.

My description of my style based on my bedding also shows that I am a very WORDY person. I talk a lot. See how much we can learn from this exercise?

Now, how about you?

Photo: Coastal Living online William Minarich


Style Tips: Changing Your Style on a Budget April 9, 2008

Filed under: Decorating Inspiration,Style Tips — Melissa @ The Inspired Room @ 1:00 am
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Today we have a Reader’s Question:

I think the scary thing about decorating is……What happens when “all of a sudden” you realize your tastes have changed and you are sitting amongst items you’ve bought over the years that are just not doing it for you any more?

I love so many things I see on your blog, other blogs, magazines…..not so much on TV, anymore, (where did all the good decorating shows go?) …… I know I’m being influenced in a good way ……. but how do you make the switch without breaking the bank?

This reader poses a great question! Many of us find ourselves in this same spot. We have a collection of furnishings and accessories that just don’t feel like “us” any longer. Or we want to freshen up our look and we aren’t sure how. Most of us can’t start over from scratch. Creating a style you love out of what you have is oftentimes more challenging for people than being able to start over with a whole new look. Once you have lived with a certain look for a long time it is hard to visualize a way to make it look new again.

The good news is that updating your look oftentimes can be accomplished on a limited budget and with just a few simple changes. I do this all the time for clients (and I love it!), so if you need some personal help to get going, set up a consultation with me! I am now offering virtual personal style consultations at an affordable rate to help you refine and update your style. I’d love to help. More news to come on that (email me if you want details). But for now, here are a few quick tips to get you thinking or making the switch on your own:

1) Start with one room. Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to makeover the whole house all at once.

2) Find an inspiration photo. It is unlikely that you can duplicate it without starting from scratch, but it can give you inspiration about what you really love. You might discover that you prefer a “spring” room rather than a “fall” room, for instance. Looking at inspiration photos can also break you out of your rut and help you to expand your style options.

3) Ask yourself what you dislike about your room’s current style. Is it too dark, too outdated, too colorful or too boring? Compare your current room with your inspiration photo for clues as to what you don’t like about your current style and contrast it with what you DO like about your inspiration photo.

4) Re-design in a day. If you really want a full makeover, you can start today! Take everything out of the room. Even your curtains if they aren’t your favorite. Yes, this will mean chaos for the rest of the house. Then add things back in one at a time, leaving most of the stuff out of the room. If you just add back a few basic items it will be easier for you to visualize and achieve a new look.

5) Do a mini-makeover.
If a full makeover scares you or you do have several things you love, try getting rid of just the things in the room that you really dislike, which usually means they are uncomfortable or ugly or beyond salvage. Definitely remove all the clutter and knickknacks so you can visual the room with a cleaner slate. De-cluttering is the key. The cleaner the slate, the easier it will be to start over with a new look.

6) Make small changes. Once you have de-cluttered your room and have just the things you are going to keep, here are some things that can be changed easily and on a budget (even over time if necessary) to give yourself a new look. Using your inspiration photo as a guide, consider updating at least some of the following items:

  • New paint (walls and furnishings).
  • Changing window treatments
  • New stylish accent pillows. Try something new and fun!
  • New fabrics/reupholstering some pieces
  • New rugs
  • Throws, even a scarf or piece of fabric can be set over the back of a chair to give it a new look.
  • New or refurbished lamps and/or lampshades
  • Inexpensive accessories. Go for less accessories but make them bigger for a fresh new look.
  • Re-matting photos, painting frames or getting new picture frames can be a quick and easy update.
  • Adding in new textures. Textures are often overlooked as a way to change your style.
  • Try pairing new combinations. Put old next to new, shiny next to rough and expensive next to bargains.
  • Use existing items in new ways and move things around to different rooms.

Sometimes you can shop in other rooms of your own home to find the new look you are after. But if not, head to your local thrift store, garage sale, resale shop, discount store or department store and pick up just a few fun new things to add to your old look. You’ll be amazed how a few simple additions can make everything look completely different.

If your furniture has seen better days, or just simply does not work with your new style, it might be time for some “new” furniture. If you need a new sofa or upholstered chair, you can find often find great deals on name brand quality furniture at upscale resale shops. I recently shopped for a client and found a nearly new Williams-Sonoma sofa complete with updated custom quality fabric that would retail at about $3500, for a REAL bargain. From there, we are building a whole new look for her room and staying within her budget. Sometimes all it takes is one new piece to get the ball rolling.

Have fun!