I love the current design trend all about nature and natural history.

You have probably noticed all the magazines and internet are full of botanicals, shells, antlers, eggs, birds, ... you get the picture!    I've been a fan of nature and botanical items for a while, and I've amassed quite a collection of vintage prints - even picked up a few antique botanical prints last year in London -  egg prints from Portobello Road.  LOVE that place!
Botanicals are a great way to make a large impact by hanging a collection together
but a small showing is just as lovely

the nice thing about botanical art is it can be both formal and very casual…

Most of these antique plant studies were originally hand colored, 
making them even more unique and beautiful.

There are several places on the internet you can download your own prints from centuries old publications.

You can also purchase botanical prints at sites like Art.com or other online print shops.

If plants aren't your thing, try shell illustrations

they are some of my favorites.

Another is birds egg studies and nests
or the actual birds…

As natural history goes, the real thing looks pretty great too

There are ocean themed botanicals, such as coral and seaweed

or the beautiful florals

lots and lots of florals...
powerful on their own, but downright heady in a collection

I have grown quite fond of bird and floral prints…
but growing in popularity out there are
and not the pretty ones, like butterflies and dragon flies - although those are popular, too
my favorite of late, though, has been ferns.

What are yours?

It's question and answer catch up time.  I'm working on a backlog of inquiries - see if your question is being featured in this post....

As fun and fulfilling as I find decorating, I know there are those of you out there who find it equally frustrating and difficult.  Don't despair.  Take a deep breath.......and send me a question!  


This morning I was trying different color of curtains... but I just didn't find a fit...  HELP!  thank you so much
I found you online and LOVE your color ideas. I'm horrible at decorating, I think I was a man in a previous life.
I need your help!  This is our house, looks terrible and I don't know what to do to make it nice and cozy

 I'm glad to note that you don't usually have the multi colored curtain look.  Basically, you are fortunate.  You have a blank, neutral palette. (Minus the curtains)  Here is what I would do to make your living and dining area more inviting:

1.  Choose neutral curtains.  At this point, your whole room is neutral.  We will add color, but I don't think it is wise to add bold color on the walls.  With everything else neutral, it will overwhelm your room, much the way it has in the photo above.  A print or stripe is fine, as long as it is in neutral tones - nothing too bright - we will bring that in later in other ways. 

Hang your curtains as high as you can without having them come off the floor - they should touch the ground, but draw the eye as high as possible to make your room feel larger.   If you want them to close across your windows, you will need to join more than one panel on each side, especially for the larger window behind the sofa.  An alternative is to provide privacy with blinds.  Lowes has both woven wood and faux wood blinds. 

 They are inexpensive and can be cut to fit.  You would probably need two for the wider window behind the sofa.

I would not do 'rod pocket' style drapes.  They look cheaper and don't hang as nicely.  Instead, get some metal rings to attach and use the drapes to frame the window. (Also available at Lowes).   

2.  Purchase a rug to bring in color, pattern, texture and define the living room area.  You will need at least a 5x8 foot size, and the sofa can sit on the edges a little.  Anything smaller will float like an island in the space, and that will not be good.   Try Overstock.com, Lowes and Home Depot for inexpensive selections. 

3.  Choose a couple of the colors that coordinate with the rug and your neutral tones, and find some great colorful, graphic pillows to go on your sofa.  Home Goods, Pier 1, World Market, Pottery Barn, etc., always have a great variety.  I'm working on keeping this budget friendly because I'm asking you to do several things to bring your room to life.  But feel free to shop wherever you want, depending on your personal budget!

4.  So, you have probably found a couple of colors in the rug and pillows that you like - bring those same colors into a few accessories, wall art, etc.  

 On your ottoman, you can use a tray to display some books, a vase or plant, and a candle -

5. Your dining room table could use a centerpiece - something like...
a nice green plant in a pretty pot - or a big bowl of apples (real or faux)

or a nice vase of flowers (real or faux)

6.  Take a pointer from the beginning of this post, and put a grouping of botanical art on the dining area wall.  Ikea has wonderful frames - complete with mats - for little $$.  This will fill a wall easier than trying to find a large piece of art.

7.  If you follow the suggestions above, you will have a good start on your cozy decor.  But keep adding a few layers - a comfy throw over the arm of the sofa, family photos in pretty frames, some more art on the walls, an end table with a lamp, or a floor lamp near the sofa for reading and that warm glow...

If you get stuck or have questions, shoot me an email!  If you feel brave enough, send me a photo of your efforts!  We'd love to see your progress!

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