Most of us have a pretty good sense of our own style. But even the most design savvy can find their look going off track! Here are some hints that a look just isn't working for you.
#1. You Feel Depressed At Home
*Of course, we know that a happy home takes so much more than the right color scheme! This advice works for people that have, for the most part, happy and healthy relationships with themselves and the other people living in their house.*
Lots of people find that the environment can have a big impact on their mood. Even though you love a certain aesthetic, you might find that it has a negative effect on your feelings. Here's a great example: My mom is currently in a transition from traditional decor to something that is a lot lighter and brighter. This past Christmas she had a white tree in the living room she has been updating. She made the comment that she used to want to get her old, more traditional, tree down as soon as possible because it made the room feel dark and depressing. She found the light and colorful tree made her (and the room) more cheerful and it made the whole holiday season more enjoyable!
If you are prone to seasonal depression, you may find that dark, moody colors don't work for you. You may also want to use the gray trend with caution. While some grays can be light and airy, and many people find gray tones in their home calming, you may find them draining your mood. Lighting is also important to your home: overhead, mood and task lighting are all important elements in design, but for most people with seasonal depression, natural light is the most important. Try to utilize your homes natural light and bring in some bright colors for a more buoyant mood.
Image Credits: couverme.com (top image) boncville.com (bottom image)
#2. You don't get to display the things you really love
The appeal of certain styles, like Minimalism, is that there is no clutter and very few things take pride of place. The downside is putting away all of your favorite photos, decorations and mementos. While it's great to declutter, too much might strip away some of your joy. While overcrowding a room can be make it frustrating and less than user-friendly, you might not want to say goodbye to every memory or sentimental item. For balance, try blowing up a favorite family photo or use a unique display cabinet for your most loved momentos.
Denying your favorite things is not just a minimalist problem either, the same can happen in theme decorating. If you commit too hard to one theme, like a farmhouse kitchen with carefully curated open shelving, you may feel you need to hide your favorite cooking paraphernalia for not matching the look. If you feel frustrated every time you have to dig for you favorite ugly oven mitt or plastic colander, if may not be worth the sacrifice.
Image Credit: trendir.com (top image) ameblo.jp (bottom image)
#3. Your House is Uncomfortable
The battle between form and function seems to be eternal. Stiff chairs, sharp edges, cold metals… we can let our eyes do all the thinking when it comes to decorating, but your other senses are alive and well and if your house is battling your sense of touch, it won't be a joyful place to live. If you keep stubbing your toe on the perfect bar cart, or have a permanent bruise from your contemporary coffee table, you'll find your mood quickly changes.
Some homes are so precisely curated they completely lose their functionality. Eventually you may find whole rooms become "display only" and your house is no longer made for living in and enjoying. Strive for pieces that look AND feel great! People love a beautiful house, but nothing beats a cozy home.
Image Credit: decoist.com
Image Credit: igfusa.com
#4. Other members of your household are disproportionately represented... or not represented at all!
This one can get people worked up! Yes, I've been there and, yes, it can be tempting to take over as the decorating dictator! As much as you may want to be in control of your home's look, if you share your space with others, you may find it's good for your relationships and your style to do some creative compromising.
It's a common joke to talk about one partner's cherished belongings being tossed out or relegated to a basement or out building, utterly sacrificed for another person's look. Sometimes a spouse will grudgingly allow one piece that seems out of place, and will make constant apologies to guests. (Fans of The Office can reference the painfully real struggle when Jan and Michael move in together...) But the truth is, everyone wants to feel like they belong in their house!
Try some simple compromises to give everyone a say. I'm working on a post that will detail how my husband and I deal with our wildly different styles, but here's a hint: listen and be ready for some give and take. Your spouse hates yellow? Ok, there are so many other colors in the rainbow! They want their collection of animal skulls on display? Maybe you can find an eclectic way to integrate!
Consider kids in your decorating scheme too! Matte and frame children's art and intersperse it with other pieces on your wall, display a trophy, let someone else choose a room color, or pick out some furniture. You may feel a sense of personal satisfaction when you open the door to a Pottery Barn showroom, but you don't want to create a home where the rest of the family feel like strangers. As much as you adore your white-on-cream-on-sand living room, you might feel something even better when you see the rest of the family loving the home you all share!
Image Credit: 212concept.com (top image) houzz.com (bottom image)
#5. You're decorating with someone else in mind.
While it can be wonderful to get advice from family and friends when decorating or remodeling, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by other people's opinions. Maybe it's a picky mom, or an overly-critical friend, or maybe it's just the idea of company and concern for what others will think, but it's easy to lose your way when you start thinking about everyone else. You have to live in your home full-time. Visitors and guests will be with you some and the truth is, some people will love your style and some won't!
You need to make a home that suits the style and needs of your family. So if your mother-in-law disapproves when the formal dining room becomes a craft room, you may have to weigh the joy of your space with her frustration. Just be sure you're making choices for those that live IN the house! And don't worry too much about other people's reactions to your style. Everyone likes getting complimented and we may feel that warm glow when someone says how beautiful our foyer is, but if we count on the reactions of others to justify our choices we will have an unfulfilling, confusing, and even unhappy life. Are you thinking: I can't wait for people to see this antique-dresser-turned-statement-vanity or I can't wait to relax in my tub and stare at that gorgeous piece of furniture? It's ok to have a little of the former, but you want to have a whole, whole lot of the latter!
Image Credit: maisonmiel.com
Image Credit: memearts.net
How do you do decorating?
Do you like keeping the same pieces for years or would do you love changing your look? Do you love it when everything matches or do creative clashes make you swoon? We are here to help our readers discover their own, personal style and give you some ideas on how to complete your home's signature look! This entry is the first in a four-part series focused on creating the atmosphere that is just right for you!
Today we are looking at Style, Period, and Theme decorating! I'll give you a little intro about each and then we can look at some examples of each.
*Bonus* Check out the complimentary scents that go with each look! We're sharing our favorite Open Window Scents soap and Signature Scent candles for each style! All the scents and items pictured can be purchased at The Blue Rose. Also, be sure to comment below with your own personal style and you'll be entered to win a custom gift basket in your own look!
Theme Decorators: This one is self-explanatory in that you love a good theme! The most popular current theme is probably the Farmhouse style and many people can recognize this signature look! Beach, Cottage, French Provincial, Primitive Country, Shabby Chic, Retro/Vintage are examples of other well-loved themes. Some looks, like Spanish or Moroccan themes, are inspired by different parts of the world and incorporate traditional colors, patterns and textiles from those regions. Creative themes may use books, movies or characters as inspiration. Many decorators stay with one theme throughout their house, while others might use a few. Traditional and Contemporary decorators might branch off in a theme for one or two rooms.
We'll be looking at four current and popular themes: Farmhouse, Beach, Retro and Cottage
This theme was made wildly popular by Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper. Hallmarks of this style include the use of barn wood, shiplap, distressed furniture, and country and farm themed decor. The most used color palette is gray, brown and white, with the occasional pop of color. Clean white dishes and linens, galvanized metal, jute cord and butcher block all make frequent appearances in this look, along with sliding barn doors and the occasional piece of antique furniture.
Ashley & Jinger
Photo credit: Carrie Wilson Photography
Dresses, Duggars and Drawings Oh My!
We had so much fun welcoming TLC and the Duggars from Counting On to our unique town of Mt. Sterling! Joy Anna, along with her mother, grandmother and sisters visited in May to choose a wedding dress... and we discovered that it takes a village to make a TV show! So many different individuals and businesses worked hard to make the family welcome and we were so thankful to have a part in that!
Entrance to Renee's Bridal
Photo Credit Carrie Wilson Photography
As most people know, the Duggars have an excellent relationship with Renee Miller, dress designer and owner of the newly opened Renee's Bridal in Mt. Sterling KY. Dr. Danielle King did a beautiful job restoring the Main Street building which is next door to Spoonful of Sugar, Danielle's delicious bakery!
We at The Blue Rose were thrilled when Renee choose to decorate her store with custom painted pieces from our shop. Her signature purple made the antiqued white pieces standout beautifully! You can see our pieces in the background of season six,episode three of Counting On. Styles from our shop and other local businesses added to the store's charming look. Boxwoods brought beautiful greenery and Flowers On Main provided dozens of incredible fresh floral arrangements and made Joy Anna's amazing bouquet.
Photo credit: Carrie Wilson Photography
Here is an image from TLC's website with our furniture in the background!
On the big day, the Duggars, producers and crew were all fed by Spoonful of Sugar and got to sample Donna's amazing cookies! Carrie Wilson Photography came to capture the day (she's amazing by the way!) and Ellie, author of the Duggar Family Blog, came especially from Nashville to document all the events! We loved meeting Ellie and learning about her incredible blogging career! She is sweet and fun and does such a good job!
These are the amazing treats that cookie artist, Donna Cassidy, served our guests!
Ellie also writes the blog Nashville Wife! Click on the image to check it out!
Our most exciting news, The Blue Rose got to do a special project for Renee and Jinger Duggar Vuolo! Jinger was Renee's first custom Duggar dress, and fans will remember that it was spectacular! Jinger and Renee had a wonderful bond, so we collaborated with Renee and TLC to create something extra special for Jinger.
I (Ashley) did a pencil drawing of Jinger's stunning dress and it was such a pleasure! Some of you know that my favorite thing to paint is fabric, and my recent gallery exhibits focused on fashion. It was an honor to add such a beautiful dress to my catalog! The 24"x30" drawing was done in graphite pencil, and highlighted the beautiful hand-sewn lace and pearl details of Jinger's unique dress.
Once Joy Anna said yes to her dress, I delivered the framed drawing and got to enjoy Renee and Jinger sharing a special moment together! After that, I had a great time watching the filming wrap up! The crew was amazing and it was awesome to see them work! I had a great time chatting with Jinger, Michelle and their sweet grandmother, Mary!
Ashley & Michelle
Photo credit: Carrie Wilson Photography
Our store was also happy to share some of our favorite products with the Duggars! Megan and Donna made specialized gift sets, including a Kentucky Proud basket filled with local favorites like Lighthouse Candles, Old Hickory Hill syrup and Ruth Hunt Candies and our signature Open Window Scent soaps which are made in Georgetown, KY. Spoonful of Sugar brought more delicious cookies and then we all said goodbye to the Duggars.
A little gift for the bride, Joy Anna Duggar, from Ashley, Megan and Donna
After the shoot: I shipped the drawing to Jinger and Jeremy Vuolo in Laredo, TX and a few weeks later received this sweet thank you.
And it looks like they will be back! Check back for another post on the next visit from TLC!
In the mean time, you can visit all the great businesses listed above and ask them about their experience working with the stars of Counting On! If you are interested in commissioning a dress portrait like the one I did for Jinger, visit my website AshleyRaeHowell.com or check out our Fine Art page here.
Photo Credit: Carrie Wilson Photography
Creating The Perfect Vintage Event-
So you have those cool vintage dishes, bowls, tablecloths, etc.. but there never seems to be a good way to showcase them. Or you’re planning a wedding reception and you’d kind of like an informal atmosphere, but you don’t want Uncle Joe coming in his overalls… Its really quite simple, just make a garden party!
The garden party is the perfect setting for a mix of both vintage and modern, formal and informal, planned yet with a relaxed feel. For Ashley’s wedding at our home we used vintage sets of dishes from Ashley and Kevin’s moms, aunts, and grandmothers. The table number sign included a note with that person’s name. It made for good conversation and a way for some of the two groups of friends and families to interact and make a few connections.
My fav part was the flower settings. First we laid vintage linens on the silver tablecloths. Some had been made by Ashley’s Grandmother Sylvia. Then we chose one of my vintage bowls to go with the china for each different table setting. We took them to our awesome florist, along with a picture of the dishes for that table, and she created a unique center piece for each table.
Some tables were set with fine china, and some with pretty vintage dishes that some special lady had set her every day table with back in the 40s, 50s, & 60s. How cool is that? It gave a feeling of both formal and sweetly informal.
Besides the flowers, the outdoor setting is a great backdrop for mixing the formal orchestra for the ceremony in the front yard, and the local band for the reception in the back yard under the tent.
When you have an outdoor garden party you really can’t go wrong. The bridal party can be in their formal wear while the guests come in sundresses or shirts & ties, no coat required! Just be sure Uncle Joe knows the expected dress for the evening, but if he still wears his overalls, all is well ‘over-all’:)
And, of course, this wedding wouldn't have been beautiful without our friends at Flowers On Main in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky! They went above and beyond! And another special thanks to Erin Trimble Photography in Louisville, she made a rainy day gorgeous!
Here at The Blue Rose we love being a part of such a charming and vibrant downtown! And it is only getting better! Thanks to the efforts of so many people, Mt. Sterling is constantly evolving. New shops, events, and activities are popping up all over town and people are loving it! This season is no different and we wanted to give you an idea of what is coming in the near future!
After an exceptional Spring Open House, where downtown merchants opened their doors with deals and prizes, we are on to the next TWO big events!
The next big event will be a first for downtown...
The Mount Sterling Bridal Experience is coming!
This evening event boasts:
-Quality wedding vendors from Mt. Sterling and the surrounding areas
-Extended shopping hours with the downtown merchants
-A cocktail and mingle hour in the Main Street Park
-VIP Packages available for Brides, including tours, demos, gifts and more!
-Tours of Mt. Sterling's historic downtown churches, including the town's oldest church, Church of the Ascension Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Post, originally the town's post office and one of it's most beautiful pieces of architecture
-Grand Finale, a red carpet FASHION SHOW presented by Renee's Bridal, featuring her beautiful custom gowns and debuting her new boutique!
Brides and Visitors, here's your link:
The Mount Sterling Bridal Experience
Vendor, here's your application:
"What kind of paint do you use?!" A favorite question from customer and DIYers alike. Lots of our customers are curious about the paints and techniques we use at The Blue Rose! As with most questions for crafty people, there is a long answer and a short answer!
The short answer is: We use all kinds of paints and painting techniques to achieve different looks!
Did you want more than that? Then the long answer s....
We use all kinds of paints and painting techniques! But we'll break it down a little more for you :)
We have a long list of materials and we use all kinds of combinations! For just a sample, we use oil-, water-, and latex-based paints, a variety of glazes and mediums, additives like lime and plaster, washes, stains, seals and varnishes. Each piece we paint is different and each vision requires a different set of tools! Depending on what you are looking for, the answer will be different each time. So here are two different categories of people who are typically interested in material choices. Figure out which one you are and we can go from there!
Most people want to know how the piece will fare in their home. Can you clean it? Dust it? Scratch it? What can the piece be used for? If you have a question about a specific piece we can give you more specific answers!
Heavy Traffic Furniture: Kitchen and dining tables tend to have layers of sealer that will keep it protected and allow you to wipe it off like a traditional table. As with other heavily used pieces, painted furniture can be scratched and chipped, but for heavy use furniture we do our best to protect them!
*Side Note: We typically use a latex-based paint on these pieces, but requesting an oil-based paint for furniture that gets lots of use can add another layer of protection to your piece. Oil-based paints tend to dry harder than water or latex based paints.
Accent Pieces: Decorative pieces like accent tables, mirrors and picture frames might be painted with any number of techniques. We can employ paint with different textures and different bases to make more unique looks. Plaster or lime may be for a chalky look, oil can give a high gloss, or glazes can be used for depth.
Distressed and Antiqued Furniture: Distressing can be done with a variety of paints. Your distressed furniture can be sealed or left so that it continues to distress and show natural wear, for a more authentic look. We use different techniques for distressing furniture and for antiquing and aging. Latex- and water-based paints, or paints with a chalky finish are great for distressing. Smoother surfaces are good for antiquing!
Hand-painted design: The addition of a unique pattern or design to your piece can really set it apart! Depending on what you want or need, this is typically down with acrylic paint or glazes and is typically sealed for protection.
*example of hand-painted design at The Blue Rose using acrylic paint.
Lots of people like to talk to us about furniture they are painting, have painted or are thinking of painting (some people play it coy, but usually know your plans wink wink). We love hearing about your projects and knowing what you are trying to achieve can help us give you advice!
We love helping people achieve their furniture goals and we know lots of you are high level DIYers! Sometimes though, people are disappointed if we don't give enough specifics or step-by-step instructions. So here is our best advice when it comes to materials and techniques:
Research, research, research! That is how you will find the best fit for you and your project. Everyone comes to art and creativity from a different place. I am a classically trained oil painter (which means I love realistic details and work slow lol) and I worked for an professional interior+furniture painter (which means I learned a lot about faux finishes and that I have to work much faster lol). So there are lots of techniques that work for me that might not translate or interest you. Conversely, you may know a lot about carpentry or science or sculpture and that might influence the direction you take.
There are millions of videos, pins, tutorials and step-by-step guides. There are also millions of personalities! I've read tutorials by completely laid back painters who will change their recipes every time they paint. They will tell you to use a dash of something, or sort-of-equal-parts this and that. There are other painters who will tell you down to the teaspoon, ounce or milligram.
So, while we will help you in the beginning, we think you will be happier searching and learning about different techniques! The more of that I do, the better I become and the same will happen for you! So, stop by and see us if you have questions or want help getting started! We love sharing ideas and helping people on their journey to amazing decor! We can bring your vision to life or just point you in the right direction. :)
So, to make a long story short, we love to tell you about what we do and we love to help you get started! Stop by if you have any questions and share your ideas with us!So, to make a long story short, we love to tell you about what we do and we love to help you get started! Stop by if you have any questions and share your ideas with us!
"Is that chalk paint?" is one of the most popular questions we get at The Blue Rose. It is one of the first styles people encounter when they start looking into painted furniture. You've seen it on Pinterest or in a blog, someone you know loves it, or you've seen one of the many little shops that have been popping up around the country. Lots of people are passionate about it and lots of people have questions so let's get this one answered!