Archives for posts with tag: design



As the British explored the world, they began incorporating designs, motifs and materials of the locale they were in with their own.  Think plantation, coastal, breezy.  Antigua, Africa, Tobago, Barbados.  Rattan, leather, wicker, cottons, linens, sisal, jute.  Dark woods like mahogany.  Tropical plants. As they traveled, they drew and published prints of plants and animals.  Want more inspiration?  Motifs of pineapples, elephants.  Zebra.  Banana leaf shaped ceiling fans.  Then give it a little pop with an eclectic mix of accessories, including a little sparkle with crystal, glass, metals.  Keep your eyes open at thrift stores for items that fit into this design style as they are often available.  The woven box, pineapple base lamp, and white paisley semi sheer fabric panel were all purchased at a thrift store.   



It must be the hat that gives this vignette such a carefree flair!  I have images in my mind from commercials of someone running through a country field on a sunny day, with a summer dress, holding the hat in their hands, then the wind blows it away!  The hat is adorned with a lightweight scarf with butterfly images, and beautiful delicate crocheted floral tassels.  Two squares of fabric, that I’m keeping on hand for my next block quilt, sit underneath the hat, grounding it and bringing the eye to it.  The pattern on the fabric squares really sets the tones for the country feel, and the square shapes balance out the round hat and rounded lamp.  The patina and shape of the antique jar is perfect for adding to the country feel – it makes you think you stepped outside your door, and cut off the greenery within.  It’s neutral color keeps the focus on the hat and fabric, yet is an integral part of the vignette.  The warm buttery color of the lamp, scarf and a fabric square, warm it all up, and the blue of the other square gives it a bit of interest and balance.  Thrift stores often have a lot of hats, and I can’t wait to create a vignette with yet another style!

Thrift store wall candle sconce

Another thrift store score

It’s nice to have some accents on your walls that are not pictures, that add depth, dimension, texture, and other visual interest –  something that either extends out from the wall just the right amount, and/or something that is sculptural.   I feel the same way about something coming down from the ceiling although there are probably less choices in this scenario.  There are a lot of metal candle holders available that are meant to be hung from a wall but they do not have the substance that I am seeking.  Even though I like quite a bit of wall space to be decorated, I do keep away from small items – some have their place, and it is often amazing how one object strategically placed in a small wall area can dramatically change the ambience of your room.  They can also guide your eyes around the room – like a decorative journey of decor discovery!  I was quite happy when I got this item for only $4.99 – admittedly I passed it by on two visits and this was probably the first time ever that something was still available.  hehe….and don’t think of trying to hide something so you can return to the store later and purchase the item if you change your mind – everyone is on a fishing expedition 🙂  and it WILL be found!  It will be fun changing out the filling from time to time for a fresh look.



Checking out the lighting section in thrift stores, is something I always always do!  Usually, there seems to be a fair number on display, and I even like a lot of the styles (often ceramic’ish) but I don’t often see the right color,  something that sets it off a little from the rest, or just really catches my eye enough to say to myself ‘hmm….if I don’t get this, I might regret it’.  In the past, when I found I was in need of a table or floor lamp, that’s the wrong time for me to go out looking.  Either I simply cannot find anything I like – new or used – or the price is more extravagant than  care to spend when it is not necessarily any more beautiful than ones I see in thrift stores from time to time.  Would I buy one I really liked even if I had enough already?  You betcha – just in case.  Either donate the now least favorite back to a thrift store, or keep one or two away to rotate for a fresh look now and again, or for when another one might break.  I really liked this one – it was $18.00.



I’ve written before about setting decor items into trays – it looks polished, it pulls everything together, and brings attention, focus, and life to the objects.  Using a framed ‘picture’ has a lot of benefits, as well as versatility.  First of all, the availability of styles of frames is virtually limitless, never mind the fact that you can embellish them in your own creative way!  Then you’ve got the matte.  In the photo above, the ‘picture’ is actually a page I pulled out of a book I have on the history of carpets, but I have also used lovely scrapbooking paper, fabric, and pages from a book on the history of textiles.  Possibilities end only when your imagination does!  Finally, I adore the reflection of the bowl on the glass.  Then, when you are ready for another unique creative expression, put the picture on a wall somewhere to enjoy that way, and slip another one under your decor!



In this case, I paid a llitle more than you should expect because I found it at a store that sells crafty upcyled items.  It came with the two side windows taken out, and vintage lace skillfully inserted into place.  I also liked that it was ready to hang, using what seems like a ribbon rather than a wire, but is probably something stronger.  Windows from old houses of varying sizes and styles show up at flea markets, restores, and antiques stores and they are an easy way to add old-house or shabby chic character.  One could even use good glass paint to design a faux stained glass decor element – but it is probably best to keep these handicrafts in a shaded window.  You can even get little clear glass pebbles and other embellishments to glue on.  You might automatically think that the best place to display this would be in the window, and that would be a good place, but if you have a door opening with enough space above, you could also hang it from there, mimicking a transom window!  hmmm…..I remember seeing a larger window with mini-frames at a store – it might look great in a bedroom window!



I saw this lovely teapot set at the thrift store, and picked it all up for $18.00.  hehe….I saw a tag under the sugar container for $9.99 and thought the whole set was $9.99 until I went up to pay for it, and voila, another tag under the teapot!  C’est la vie – I I’m hopelessly attracted to all things of creamy colors and I love the cut-out trim.  I had the set sitting on my kitchen counter for quite some time as a decorative feature, since I don’t really drink tea :-/  but it just looked like more clutter, and disappeared into the off-white counters and backsplash.  Tidying up one day, I gave a second glance at this wicker tray that wasn’t being used for anything, and while I was cleaning the counters, put the trio tea set in, and a transformation occurred before my very eyes!  I’m not sure why I was so surprised because I’ve seen this happen time and time again.  If you have a surface where you have a few things on display, try putting them into a tray and see what happens.  It is often amazing!   You would think that thrift stores would be overflowing with trays of all kinds, but I don’t really see them very often, so if you recognize the difference they can make, and want to collect a few to change up your vignettes, if you see one that you like, I say tuck it under your arm and head for the cash register!

Lampshade Embellished with lace cutouts

Embellished Lampshade

I can see already that using the imagination where lampshades are concerned could become addicting! And what a fun way to change out the look of a lamp; and thus, the ambience of your room. At the thrift store, I found a nice square ‘tablecloth’ for $4.99. A small one that might fit to cover an end table or just the centre area of a dining table. Sometimes they have these in the tablecloth section, other times they are with the doilies. The centre was – for the most part – plain cotton, but the edges were lovely. I singled out this ‘motif’ and simply carefully cut them out. You should see it when the lamp is turned on in the evening – enchanting!! These would look nice on drum shades too, of course! As an aside, I want to mention that I was in a shop that upcycled vintage’y’ objects. She had a beautiful decorative umbrella that was made by sewing together a plethora of similar motifs from various lace tablecloths, and probably clothing articles too. So much to do, so little time 🙂



Ooh, I was delighted first of all, to find this lovely little shelf unit at the local thrift store!  I’ve been keeping my eyes open for any type of shelves – wicker, metal but they just weren’t showing up!  (One of those things that always seem to be there when you are not looking for them!)  It was $3.99.  Now, long ago I used to have a few tiny perfume bottles but somewhere between all my moves, they seem to have disappeared.  I’ve been keeping my eyes open, but perhaps the thrift stores don’t put these out, thinking noone will buy partially used bottles.  Then much to my delight, I was in an antique store that has SHELVES of these – must be over 100!  These little cuties were $2.00, $3.00 and $5.00.  As it turns out, this metal shelving unit is just delicate enough to be able to showcase the perfume bottles, and the antique while color is a beautiful backdrop for them.  Did you notice the chandelier crystal hung from the top right shelf?  I picked up a handful of these at a local flea market for $2.00 each thinking I would someday make a mobile with them, but it is the perfect embellishment here!  Initially for the bottom shelf, I only had the seashell and light blue riverstones, but nothing else I had seemed to work well.  Looking for other ways to decorate the shelf itself in my little box of scrapbooking decorations, I came across a long scrap of ivory crocheted trim, which gave me the ‘aha’ moment we all like to come across now and then.  It was just the right complement for the bottom shelf, including the little paper flower leaning against it.  The tiny bit of greenery is a nice touch, but I must say, the vignette looks just as lovely, but different, without it!


Always one to find a use for something other than what it was intended for, it didn’t matter that I did not have a window at the foot of my bed (bad feng shui anyway, right?), this lovely drapery panel adds a full yet airy ambience and is just…well….darn nice to me! So, if you see a nice curtain panel, but there is only one, or it’s not the right size, or you simply don’t need it but love the panel itself, I say, grab it! I discovered quite by accident that bamboo/rattan, in both the chair and a small round wall shelf that you don’t see here, works wonderfully with the semi-sheer lacy drapes to give me the ‘leather and lace’ look I am sometimes seeking to achieve. A vase sitting atop the chair is filled with palm fronds for a little exotic touch, which is echoed in the pampas grass peeking out at the bottom left of the photo. By the way, at first I had only the drapery panel by the wall. The fact that its width was not as wide as my bed, made me feel a little uncomfortable like it ‘cut off’ at a bad place, or like something just wasn’t right, even though it looked fine. As I thought about it, I realized that must be the effect of feng shui, because once I placed the chair and fronds where they are, it took care of that, and I immediately felt more grounded. Perhaps the softness of the fronds and the openness of the chair, allow the ‘energy’ to flow in and around my sleeping area just right. At the foot of the bed, across the width, is a pretty, semi-sheer, embroidered fabic panel (from India?) in a soft pink. Often enough I see these in the thrift store, but always in the fabric section. I’m not sure why they don’t place them with scarves and such, because they are finished, and have many decorative uses. The fabric panel was $5.99. The chair itself is part of a desk/vanity and chair set I found on kijiji for $75 when I first moved to my new city.